Thursday, October 29, 2015

Low #10 - Series to Date

I suspect that I should write about the current series I'm reading in a way that says "here's what I think of the series to date". As you know I've been a little sick this month so I got behind in my reading. Last night I caught up on Low.

If you are not familiar, Low is an underwater science fiction opera which follows the trials of the last survivors of mankind. We follow Stel Caine who clings to the hope that probes sent to land above sea will find a hospital environment for mankind so that they can ascend from the ocean and live on land once again.

The ocean on Earth is full of all kinds of mutations. Humanity has attempted to coexist with different species of mer people. The story is written by comic giant Rick Remender who's work I've been a large fan of now for some time. I never seem to hear much about this series however. No one is raving in my ear about it yet it remains one of my favorite series to date. Within less than twelve comics, this story has managed to introduce a myriad of characters, complex and diverse, who have changed and developed through different times, and environments. Remender has created a complex underwater world where different civilizations have been established with different laws, cultures and levels of civility. I really love this whole barbaric underwater world.

I'm a big fan of the surviving characters to date. Well most of them and Remender has managed to introduce some fairly interesting characters along the way. The entire series to date has been illustrated by Greg Tocchini with some contributions later by Dave McCaig who's style is nearly. Greg Tocchini's style is very much up my alley and had originally sold me on the series entirely.

If you are looking for a well established science fiction series by two masters, I seriously suggest this story. And even more to the credit of the book, I really enjoy the female characters which isn't something that happens all too often for me with male writers lol for a lot of reasons I'll rant about elsewhere. You can currently grab Volume 1 at the awesome introductory Image series price of 10 bucks. Volume two comes out November 11th and will of course be slightly more expensive. However it is well worth it and you won't be able to predict just how crazy this world will get with each issue. Love it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Royal Jelly: October 28 2015

Back from temporary and unexpected hiatus due to illness. When I'm that sick, I don't tend to read much because I find reading while nauseated a big feat. So I will get back to my reviews asap AND I will have some coverage of the local con here in Halifax, Hal-con which happens this weekend. So here's my pull list:

SPIRE #4 (OF 8)

A couple things, I through Angela Queen of Hell on there because check out this cover, not to mention the fact that Angela is pretty much gorgeous the entire way through. This is the relaunch from the new Marvel Universe. We'll see right?

Also looking forward to checking out Art Ops #1 which is a new series from Shaun Simon, co-writer (with Gerard Way) of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, and legendary artist Michael Allred who you should by now know that I'm thoroughly obsessed with (Madman, Silver Surfer, X-Force to name a few).  This story focuses on famous characters from great historical works of art who suddenly escape their frames and go rogue, leaving their paintings. This sounds amazing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Royal Jelly: October 21 2015

1872 #4


Obviously I don't have a whole lot to say today. Make sure you get this month's Dark Horse Presents because the new Finder story is in there!!! So that's an important one to grab for sure! Keep your eyes peeled for new reviews!!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Carla Speed McNeil on Finder!!

One of my favorite comic book stories every is continuing in a new serial with Dark Horse Presents. You can imagine how quickly I sought to read Finder after learning of it's return! It was immediate and no sooner had I read it, I found myself online emailing author, illustrator and Finder creator Carla Speed McNeil about the resurfacing. She quickly emailed me back agreeing to answer my questions for you my dear readers! 

The new Finder story entitled CHASE THE LADY will debut in this month's issue of Dark Horse Presents, issue #15 out Wednesday October 21st. 

TFQ: Finder is back but for how long? How many issues of Dark Horse Presents will we see the new Finder story?

Carla: Currently, I have 96 pages of the next FINDER story, CHASE THE LADY, drawn and ready to go. That's a little more than half of the new story, and a year's worth of episodes for DARK HORSE PRESENTS.

TFQ: This first part of the serial focuses on a mysterious religious event. Can you give us any hints about what is going on in this introduction?

Carla: The first episode of CHASE THE LADY depicts a moment of spiritual crisis for a high official of one of Anvard's many faith organizations. From the perspective of the main character of CHASE THE LADY, it's just the reason for a major traffic snarl.

TFQ: Can you tell me a little about where the plot is going and whether we will see some familiar faces? 

Carla: This next book returns to Rachel. CHASE THE LADY is my attempt at an Edith Wharton novel, in that Rachel is now a penniless aristocrat who needs to marry a suitable person-- suitable here meaning one with enough zeroes after the 1 and the 7 in her bank account.

TFQ: Every time a Finder story ends, I fear it may be the last. What makes you continue to resurrect Finder?  

Carla: I'm not in any rush to end FINDER. I set it up so that I could tell nearly any kind of story I wanted to. VOICE and 3RD WORLD and CHASE THE LADY are all part of my attempt to get into the guts and bones of this world, to show the whys and what-happeneds, because this isn't post-apocalyptic fiction, it's post-post-post-post-apocalyptic. What Happened happened so long ago that nobody even thinks about it anymore; they just put everything back together all wrong and now no one remembers the world ever having been any different.

TFQ: Is it difficult to revisit each time or the opposite? What is it like for you personally each time you begin a new story arc?

Carla: It's never hard to get back into FINDER. It's basically a snapshot of the inside of my head, and exists to keep me from getting bored. I'm horrible when I'm bored.

So it may be that I step aside from time to time to tell other stories, work with other people, but right now I have no plan to stop doing stories set in the FINDER scenario. As long as I think I'm still learning and have something new to bring to it, it will still be alive in my mind.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Balkans Arena

This is a story I never thought I would read in the form of a graphic novel. It acts like a true crime drama but the story is all too real. Just released on October 14th, Balkans Arena has already received a lot of attention. The story is based on real events however is a work of fiction and so are all the characters. Even still, an eerie chill crept into me as I read on. The thought that some one somewhere was subjected to such a horrific life...I can't even imagine.

The story is based on a Croatian family living in Ontario, Canada. As officer Frank Skol receives word that his mother has passed, he makes the fateful decision to travel to his homeland with his son Ben who has never met his father's family. The story descends into a horrific tale of kidnapping and child trafficking for the purpose of underground fighting. Children are trained and forced to beat each other while Croatian mob look on and bet for the winner.

Written with Philippe Thirault, Darko Macan and illustrated by Jorge Miguel who is also responsible for the very humorous zombie book The Z Word and The Zombies Who Ate The World. This is quite a change of pace for Miguel but his style blends with the story to create the dramatic feeling of loneliness and helplessness the young children must have felt within the arena.

I recommend this book to everyone. Not only are the events compelling and thought provoking but the authors have put a tremendous effort into making the characters real, believable and endearing. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Royal Jelly: October 14th 2015

LOW #10


This month is pretty much the reboot month for most Marvel titles. This Wednesday is the reboot for Spider Gwen. It's entitled Radioactive. I myself have decided to drop Marvel titles for a year. All but Silver Surfer obviously. This choice is purely one that comes from a financial point of view. If there are any books I desperately want to read, I'll attempt to grab them in trade as finances allow. However, the price of comics are much too high now. My Marvel addiction alone was costing about 20-30 dollars a month and that's just ONE label. 

I can't explain how much I love the titles listed above. Even though I regularly get annoyed with the Walking Dead, I'm actually enjoying this silly story arc with Carl being all.... adolescent. I'm still totally in love with Low and Hellblazer so even though I'm super poor at the moment, I will reserve a few dollars a month for a couple of these titles. 

Scott Young's new and highly anticipated series I Hate Fairyland comes out tomorrow! People are super excited about this one. It's been all over the blogsphere and comic book creators have been promoting it all over facebook, twitter, IG and whatever other social networking platforms other people use. I promise to bring you a review of that one. 

Black Mask bring readers a new title this week with Clandestino. This story of revolution comes from Amancay Nahuelpan also responsible for Young Terrorist. I'm looking forward to this mini series.

Monday, October 12, 2015


"A powerful and enthralling sci-fi epic about a perfect warrior unleashed in an age of barbarism and sorcery, and fated to one day destroy the gods."

I take issue with any story who's hero is white while the other characters described as "barbarians" are all people of color. I tried to explain this all to myself... tried to compare this to something that didn't echo complete racism and I remembered this Aztec myth. 16th centry conquistadores were greeted as gods by the Incas. Their god Viracocha was a white, pale skinned man with long flowing white hair. This belief was shared by many ancient cultures, each pale faced god with its own story and name. It was the first thing I thought of when I started reading this book. Then I finished the book... then I felt upset. 

 As with many science fiction books, the big reveal is at the end of the story. The plot twist was more of a sad punchline. American patriotism at its... finest? I mean the artist Bazal isn't American, he's Mexican but writer Kurt Busiek is most certainly American and very white. What the hell was he thinking ?

 The worst part is that the book isn't yet released so I can't give away the ending which urked me the most! I read a few other reviews and apparently I'm the only person that had an issue with race in this book. Everyone else applauded the work Busiek. I guess once your responsible for some of peoples favorite Avengers' stories, people don't think to question your work and perhaps can't look as critically upon it. 

The only thing I really enjoyed about the book was the art style but it wore on me as the book went on to reveal that each and every female character was impossibly shaped. I'm use to this in comics but this book is undoubtedly aimed at men from the story to the artwork. Not just men but hetero men.

Every female character merely existed to have sex, be saved or killed by the "hero" of the book. Who by the way, is not a hero or even a proper anti-hero. He's just the person we're forced to follow around for 120 pages. We're suppose to wonder who he is and where he came from when really, the only thing I was really wondering about was if anyone would put this self important jackass in his place. He literally razed a village to the ground  (women and children) because it's elders and leaders plotted against him. UGH. 

It's worth mentioning that I had a hard time getting through this book. I finished it simply because I had hoped the ending would ultimately make the book. It didn't make the book, it made the book worse. Sadly I can't explain why without spoiling the plot but do you even care? If so, you can of course grab Redhand on November 11th!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Plutona #2 *some small spoilers*

There's something magnificent about a comic book opening up with a bunch of kids gathered around a superhero's dead body, discussing whether they should bury her, and how they should do it. That holds my attention. I can't think of another comic where this particular scenario took place. Not that I need something to be totally new and never seen before in order to be worthy of praise. Yet I honestly can't think of another book where this has happened. That being said, I haven't read EVERYTHING.

Let me say how much I love the artwork. I really do. I think it's adorable while maintaining a graceful edginess needed to tell such a tale. I think it's pretty clear I'm not the biggest fan of perfectly photoshopped panels. It's one of the reasons I don't read more X-Men comics.

I was really worried about this series. I wanted the second issue to be as awesome as the first. I wanted it to keep establishing these amazing atmospheres. It did! A personal favorite is the speech bubbleless panels at the end which shows each child at home dealing with their reactions to the event that had unfolded in the forest. They must not let on they know anything to their parents. Each child dealing with their home situation in a different way. It's almost haunting to see which is how the children must feel with their new secret pact- haunted.

I know I said a bunch of stuff in my review of Paper Girls that perhaps a lot of people didn't want to hear or perhaps they didn't like. I know I praised Plutona, a couple times. So I thought I'd talk about the second issue a little... for instance I like this series so much that if I got to go to NYCC like everybody else I know, then I would have totally cosplayed Mie!

She's adorable!! I mean all the characters are adorable but I mostly just want an excuse to make the shirt. Fuck it, I'm making the shirt anyway. PEAR T-SHIRT!!  I NEED IT!! And I get to wear a tuque so it's really perfect for me. Maybe I can pull it off before Hal-Con. Who knows.

A little icing on the cake with this series is the little mini story at the back illustrated by Jeff Lemire which details Plutona's last adventure. We get a couple pages of this back-up story every issues that gets us a little closer to just what happened to Plutona. I'm in love. :D

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Paper Girls #1

I feel like people are going to love anything Brian K Vaughan touches at this point. I mean Saga has taken storm over the comic book world and even managed to grab the attention of non comic readers and suck them into this whole world. This whole world of comics comes with a lot of bias like any other world. People are fiercely dedicated to their favorite writers and artists, so much so that they may be blinded to their downfalls. I believe Paper Girls is going to get glowing reviews and don't get me wrong, it's not a terrible book. It's just a so-so book judging from the first issue.

Let me explain why I think it'll get glowing reviews: because it's main characters are female and people want so badly to proclaim how powerful female characters are... when they are written by powerful men. Now Brian K Vaughan might not be powerful in the traditional sense, but lets just zoom into the world of comics and out of the rest of the world. He's a huge name, responsible for over a decade of amazing comics. I can't stress how big a fan I was of Y The Last Man, Pride of Bagdad and Ex Machina (just to name a few). Now with Saga, he's the elite of the comic book industry.

That however doesn't mean that everything he does is golden. I was passingly bored with the first issue of Paper Girls.  I think that some other young person stories that have just begun are better. For instance, I'm really liking Plutona. It felt far more entertaining and hinged on the same discord, bullying and harassment young girls face, not only by boys but their female peers. With Paper Girls, the bullies are just bullies without dimension, almost faceless and "evil". The bully's in Plutona feel real. They aren't "evil", they're just going through some evil stuff and not handling it well... you know.. like children do.

Why am I writing about this? Well, I'm a little tired of men writing about women and it being proclaimed the most awesomest feminist thing ever. I mean, don't get me wrong, I know male feminists and I love them. Do you know what feminists the public loves? Male feminists. So when a man talks about feminist issues in a book, they get considered (almost as if they are new concepts). When a woman talks about feminist issues in a book, exploring the reality through fictional characters... she's just a fem nazi, a complainer, and she should just stop fucking bitching. That's what the LARGER public believes.

So really, this article isn't really about Paper Girls, but the attention it will ultimately receive due to the above. That gets to me you know? It grinds my gears because it's not a great first issue. I don't think it deserves to be gushed over but I know that it's going to be gushed over and it's just mediocre. Now Plutona.....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Royal Jelly: October 7th 2015

D4VE2 #2 (OF 4)


So there are a lot of new series out this week but only a few that have actually caught my eye. Award winning playwrite Sean Lewis has teamed up with Ben MacKay to bring a new Image on-going series, Saints. Of course it was the artwork on the cover that immediately caught my eye. The story centers on a two people who discover a holy war raging on and a new generation of saints appointed to fight it. I'm pretty excited to check this one out!

Brian K. Vaughan has new on-going series as well. Paper Girls #1 hits the stands today. It's being described as Stand by Me meets War of the Worlds. It's definitely worth checking out. 

I feel like such an Image Comics whore. They could put out a book about mud and I'd read it. But Black Mask is quickly making me their bitch. Space Riders #4 is finally out today!!