This kitty is missing a decent narrative

Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vol. 2: Avengers of the New World
by Ta-Nehisi Coates,  Wilfredo Torres (Illustrator),  Jacen Burrows (Illustrator),  Adam Gorham (Illustrator),  Chris Sprouse (Illustrator),  Brian Stelfreeze (Cover Art),  Leonard Kirk (Artist) 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Woooshhh… that‘s the sound of the story going over my head. I didn‘t read Vol. 1, so that might be on me. The artwork is okay-ish, the story is mostly not there. DNF at 68 pages and 23%. I really can‘t see myself muddling through another 230 pages of this.

ECHO is back!

Some news by Rebecca Roanhorse. She is back at Marvel — I blogged about her participation in Indigenous Voices a few days ago…

Recommended reading: Trail of LIghtning, her first UF novel. Granted, I gave that one only three stars and did not read the sequel, but it was not bad. Her new book, Black Sun, was nominated for a ton of awards. I probably need to add it to my TBR pile…

I’m back at MARVEL and writing a new Phoenix-powered Echo series, art by Luca Maresca. First issue out in October! For more info: Echo Embraces The …

ECHO is back!

Indigenous tales

Marvel Voices: Indigenous Voices # 1
by Jeffrey Veregge

Three stories based on Marvel. In each very short story a well-known Marvel character shows up. In summary not a great offering. The last one stood out. It was difficult to get a good grip on this, as the stories were very short.

“Hugo, Nebula, and Locus-award winning Black/Ohkay Owingeh writer Rebecca Roanhorse and Tongva artist Weshoyot Alvitre tell an Echo tale like none you’ve heard before.“

Anatomically off and I’m not a fan of the colouring. The artwork is not a winner. The story was ok, but didn‘t do much for me either. ★★☆☆☆

“Geoscientist and Lipan Apache writer Darcie Little Badger joins acclaimed Whitefish Lake First Nation artist Kyle Charles for a Dani Moonstar story that’s out of this world!“

The artwork is better. I also preferred the story of a mutant teenager in trouble a lot more. This is X-Men, coming to the rescue… I liked Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger, so it was nice to see that she delivers in a different medium. ★★★½☆

“And Bram Stoker-winning horror writer Stephen Graham Jones of the Blackfeet Nation teams up with Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation artist David Cutler to revisit one of the darkest spots of X-Men history!“

I didn‘t particularly like The Only Good Indians, so I had low expectations, when I read the author’s name. However, I immediately liked the artwork.

I liked this one. Good story, albeit with a reference that I‘m not getting. I recognize the Marvel character, but I am missing the backstory. Still, this one was good all around and the best of this collection. ★★★★☆

This read is part of my attempt to clear my TBR pile of owned books and my #ReadBIPOC2021 challenge (entry for June).

September Wrap-up

Towards the end of the year my reading always seems to go down. Not sure why. Anyhow, I just finished one audio and will post the review later. And I am about to start the next audio. I have one credit left with Audible and yet again I am contemplating to cancel my membership. Sometimes I enjoy listening to audio, but most of the time it feels more like a chore to sit and listen. My listening comprehension is not as good as my reading comprehension and I do have to make more of an effort to understand and follow the stories.

There are a few notable exceptions. One exception are the Peter Grant novels—not because they are fun, but because they are so excellently narrated. And the Expanse novels by Corey were a fun ride as audiobooks. So there is at least one more audiobook in my future, for that I would revive my Audible—the last Expanse novel, Leviathan Falls, to be published sometime in 2021…

So, what did I read in September?

Buddy reads:
– Mindtouch, ebook, ★★★★★, pastoral SF, non-sexual not-quite-romance, finding your place in the world… Another one of Hogarth‘s offerings in her Pelted Universe.
– Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5), ebook, ★★★★½, all the Ilona Andrews fans go „Yay“. Enough said.
– Sourdough (zombie), ebook, ★★★★☆, techy San Francisco and a mystical sourdough starter. This made me bake.
– The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, ebook, ★★★¾☆, solitude, books, family, trivia and romance.

Comics, aka my guilty pleasure:
– Captain America: Sam Wilson Vol. 1: Not My Captain America, ★★★☆☆, Sam Wilson takes over as Cap. And turns into a werewolf. The bad guy is Donald Trump in disguise.
– Pretty Deadly #1, ★☆☆☆☆, weirdWestern, allover the place, no plot.

Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews Captain America Sam Wilson Vol. 1 Not My Captain America by Nick Spencer Pretty Deadly #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick Mindtouch (The Dreamhealers, #1) by M.C.A. Hogarth The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman Sourdough by Robin Sloan 

Definitely not my Captain America.

Captain America: Sam Wilson Vol. 1: Not My Captain America
by Nick Spencer,  Daniel Acuña (Illustrator),  Paul Renaud (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A mix of different artists, letterers, inkers, whatever… my track record is not great with that concept. Usually it ticks me off that the artwork changes from chapter to chapter… Beware, my review is a somewhat spoilerish chapter recap.

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Chapter 1
Captain America is on deck and approaching! On wings!

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Artwork, meh. Oh, but I do like her:

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Blaxploitation comes to mind. That‘s not necessarily a good thing, is it?
A political message this strong in a Marvel comic is rather unusual. Not bad.

Chapter 2
I don‘t really like where this plot is going. And I don’t like this Cap a lot. Should he really be this inept and clueless?

Chapter 3
Cap-Wolf? Now that is funny… the artwork has gone downhill though. And the previous artwork was not up there either. The ending was a bit silly, no?

Chapter 4
This is my kind of artwork! Better!

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Wordy and heavy on social commentary. I am dying to find out who the whisperer is…

Still a wolf, btw. There has been some shedding, lol! My favourite so far. Definitely the best artwork and I like the story telling as well. 

However, bottom line, this Captain America is not really happening for me.

Chapter 5
Is this dude Donald Trump in a Super Villain Snake outfit? 

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The political commentary keeps on giving with a heavy hand.
Much better artwork than the previous chapters. 

Chapter 6
Ok, that wrapped up the storyline quite nicely. If you don’t mind that the guys enabling the villains got off like that. Cap turning from inept to way too jaded? The whole stock exchange thing and that newscast part were pointless. 
And it was a bit lame, that Sam is just back to his old self like that. Is that like the closing sequence in Star Trek, where everybody is back to square one and happy?
Not sure if I like the new Falcon much either. 

Oh, and Diamondback needs a job and all she can come up with is exotic dancing? The women in this are just the same old clichée, aren‘t they? Would be nice to have female superheroes or villains for a change that are not defined by the size of their boobs and lack of clothing.

Ok, I‘ll stop now, before I talk myself into rating this down any further.

PS: Yes, my review is allover the place, just like this comic. I can‘t decide if I like it or not.

FiiiizzzzChunck!

Secret Invasion
by Brian Michael Bendis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is not a well structured review, more of a stream-of-consciousness-commentary. Here we go…

I liked the direction the prologue was going and the artwork wasn’t bad either. Maybe a winner?

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Chapter 1
It‘s Tony! 

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This comic had me at Red Alert!And there is humour! Sarcasm! Who the heck are Simon, Carol and Bob? The Civil War thing isn‘t quite done with, is it? I like this story!

Artwork — some of the characters‘ proportions are a little off. Some very strange boobs. But mostly it‘s good. Very colourful. 

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A little confusing there at the end…

Chapter 2
Some weird mirror verse scenario is going on… Spiderman is funny in both manifestations. Lots of fighting, bright colours, not a lot of talking or any annoying narration. FiiiizzzzChunck! Fun!

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Chapter 3
An in-between chapter, connecting the dots… a little bit of Maria Hill and the helicarrier, a little bit of the bad guys, a little bit of the new Avengers…

Devastating revelation!

Chapter 4
I am confused. And why do the women always have to wear clothes that are barely there?

This would make a pretty good screenplay. But seriously, the weird boobs are distracting.

Sometimes I am not sure, which superhero I am looking at. So I am missing out on some of the fun. Just another dude with a chiselled chin in a cape…

Chapter 5
Nice page layouts! 

I am sorry, but this white dude as Nick Fury just looks wrong! Even if he started out looking like that in the original comics. Give me Samuel Jackson any day!

It feels a bit as if I‘ve accidentally stumbled into the set of Men in Black with all those alien impersonators.

Chapter 6, 7 & 8
Fighting! Lots of fighting! Resolution? Reunion? Drama! Yay! And oh no! Sadness! And oops! And no — you have got to be kidding! Well, that was bloody entertaining.

Alternative covers — some nice, some ok, not a bad offering.

I wouldn‘t mind reading the next volume. Tne next issue after this could be Secret Invasion: War of Kings — it‘s hard to tell.

Costly weirdness

Doctor Strange, Vol. 1: The Way of the Weird
by Jason Aaron,  Chris Bachalo

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Weird is a good title for this. The story is indeed pretty weird and also funny and tongue-in-cheek…

I liked the artwork. With Issue #3 the story started to really take off. I especially liked the contrasting of bright colours with black-and-white line art. It made for unusual and very nice visuals.

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Issue #4 got darker and that bit more desperate. The art became grimmer. We learn about the cost of being the Sorcerer Supreme. Not something that ever was a topic in the movies, although I do know the concept from novels dealing with magic and witchcraft. Unexpected, but it added a nice layer of depth to this. 

Oh, and by the way, the Sanctum Sanctorum is quite a bit weirder and scarier than the movie version. 

Issue #5 got even grimmer. It does not look good for Stephen or the rest of us.

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Pretty good! Much better than expected, actually… Good plot, although on one or two occasions I struggled a little to make sense of what I was seeing.

4.5 points, rounded up. Added the next volume to my TBR pile.

Superhero fight club

Civil War
by Mark Millar (Goodreads Author) (Writer),  Steve McNiven (Penciller) 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Nice prologue with new warriors, wanting to pick a fight, looking for material for their Reality TV show. It‘s all about the ratings.

Something goes horribly wrong, something major is blown up, children are killed. Tony Stark is blamed and attacked for financing the Avengers and supporting reckless young Avengers not upholding the law. THINGS TURN UGLY.

And, same as in the movie, Tony is willing to work with the government and to become more accountable for the actions of superheroes…

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And, also as in the movie, Captain America is not a fan of the idea. For him the Avengers have to be above government control, lest said government starts to tell them who the bad guys are…

We go to Wakanda to meet T‘Challa, we visit Dr. Strange in New York, we go to Westchester to meet the X-Men. This encompasses pretty much everybody from the Marvel Universe. Tony is rounding up the troops. So is Cap. He and his Resistance group are getting into the undercover lifestyle…

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I was rooting for them, although I could see Tony‘s point of view as well. It‘s really hard to not end up disliking him massively for his course of action.

Things go to hell in a hand basket really quickly! There are a lot of fight scenes with tons of characters, things become very violent and grim. Lives are ended. Allegiances are questioned. This was darker than I expected. 

I liked the final battle and its aftermath. 

Bottomline, this was gripping enough for me to read it in one sitting. However, the multitude of characters was a bit too much. I had a hard time telling them all apart. And as I am not a hardcore Marvel fan, I really didn‘t have a clue who many of them were. Maybe fewer characters and instead more depth and character development would have been nice.

Combines Civil War #1-7.

Short comics

Ms. Marvel Infinite #1 (Ms. Marvel Infinite Comics)
by G. Willow Wilson (Goodreads Author) (Writer),  Adrian Alphona (Illustrator) 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Too short for anything meaningful in terms of plot, more of a preview. Nice artwork. The eComic is well done, with layering over the single frames, starting in grey tones and then morphing into colour with speech bubbles.

I might pick up something else of this series, if I came across it cheaply. I actually do have Vol. 1 and will get to it eventually.


Rating: 3 out of 5.

Previews of Black Panther. Several short ones by different authors and artists.

The artwork of the first one is very run-of-the-mill and looks a bit old-fashioned. The plot is senseless. As a preview it‘s utterly confusing and not making me want to continue.

Second one: 
The artwork has a watercolour look on canvas. Not bad. Didn‘t like the blocky lettering though.

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Very, very short. However, it makes me a little more interested in continuing this one than the first story.

Third one: 
Good artwork. Starts in the middle of it and is also very brief. Not bad though. Bonus points for a female MC and passing the Bechdel test.

Fourth one: 
Colourful. I liked the look of the artwork, I wasn‘t sure though if it was really wooing me.

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It grew on me. A bit of a f/f-romance vibe. This is the first one I would actually want to continue. It‘s a preview for Black Panther: World of Wakanda.

Fifth one:
Set in space, with flyers that look as if they came straight out of Star Wars. One page only. Seriously?

As an orientation this sneak previews were ok, if you want to get a feel for picking the version that might work for your taste. Do not spend any money on this.


Faith #1: Digital Exclusive Edition
by Jody Houser (Goodreads Author) (Writer)

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The artwork was ok-ish, the plot sometimes slightly confusing and mostly boring. It talks about Faith‘s background and shows her uneventful present. A plus sized superhero is a nice touch and her colleagues are a diverse bunch of people, but a little action on top of her flying to and back from her Clark Kent dayjob would have been nice.

I will not continue with this one.

I am not having much success with Valiant comics, they don‘t seem to be my cup of tea.