Secret Avengers is one of my favourite comics in the year or so I’ve been reading them. I first picked it up because I knew the majority of the characters thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes TV show so figured it was a pretty good place to start in the vast world of Marvel comics. Also it has Hawkeye in it and I’ll pick up anything that features Hawkeye.
I haven’t read Ed Brubaker’s or Rick Remender’s story arcs yet. Instead I started with Nick Spencer and Luke Ross’s run, because that’s the one that featured the most characters I already knew about. I did find their run a bit confusing as the main story was to do with memory wipes and you never knew entirely what was going on but I liked be art and the relationships between various characters – especially Nick Fury and Phil Coulson’s friendship.
That story arc came to an end in the middle of last year and then the series was taken over by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh and now Secret Avengers is definitely my favourite comic book series. (more…)
WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. It’s a simple meme where you just have to answer three questions:
– What are you currently reading?
– What did you recently finish reading?
– What do you think you’ll read next?
I think it’s a great way to share my recent reads as my reviews are always way behind what I’m actually reading.
So here’s my answers!
What am I currently reading? Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
I’m not sure what I think about this book at the moment. Crash is telling the story leading up to when Burn takes their school hostage and how Crash stopped him and saved the school. There’s certainly a gallows humour in it which is weird for a book about a school shooting and I am intrigued about both Crash and Burn but at the same time the characters aren’t that likable. I’m half way through it now so I kinda feel like if I give up on it now I’ll have wasted so much time on it – I guess I’ll keep powering on.
What did I recently finish reading? X-Men: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont and John Byrne
While the actual Days of Future Past storyline was only across two action packed and fast paced issues, the rest of the collection had the lead up to that event so you knew more about the characters and the stakes that they’d be facing. I’m glad I’ve now read this iconic comic.
What do I think I’ll read next? Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza
I saw this book in WHSmith and had to pick it up. Mainly because the similarity between the front cover and the Fifty Shades of Grey movie poster made me smile and I hope that’s been done deliberately. It’s all about how social media and the internet is changing the magazine industry and as someone who works in PR I’ve seen those changes and how some embrace them and some resists them so I’m interested to see what the main character in this does to survive the changes.
Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. I read a lot more this year than I thought I would and a lot of what I read has been really good. So this weeks Top Ten Tuesday is the perfect time to look back at what I’ve read and pick out some highlights. I reviewed some of these books I’m going to mention, so if it you want to find out more about what I thought – just click the link and you’ll get to my review!
Young Avengers Vol 1: Style > Substance – Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie Young Avengers really kicked off my comic book reading this year. I had read a few volumes towards the end of last year but this year I’ve read a lot. Young Avengers is a lot of fun and the story arc was very easy to get into even though I only knew one or two characters from the team before I started reading it. If you like teenage superheroes saving the world while having relationship dramas and having great banter – Young Avengers is for you.
Vicious – V.E. Schwab
I’m always intrigued about people with powers and I loved the take on that in Vicious. All the characters are interesting and no one is just a cardboard cut-out of a hero or villain. (more…)
I’ve been catching up on my comic books (the majority of which featured awesome female characters) so here are another batch of reviews.
Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Woman – Matt Fraction, Annie Wu and Javier Pulido Hawkeye Volume 3 combines alternate issues of the comics run – Hawkeye Annual 1, Hawkeye 14, 16, 18-19, 21. I thought it was a bit strange to have odd issues instead of consecutive issues like your average trade paper back but it turns out it makes a lot of sense. The volume follows Kate Bishop who after getting fed up with Clint Barton has decided to go to LA with Lucky the dog. Instead of having a nice, relaxing time in the sunshine she stumbles into supervillain Madame Masque’s plans. Kate’s not quite on her own; she does have Lucky, the cat she’s supposed to be looking after and the newly-weds next door to help her out.
It was great seeing what Kate gets up to when she’s not dealing with Clint’s ridiculousness – Kate’s such a great character so it was nice to see her strike out on her own. The art was different to the rest of the series but I liked that as it showed how Kate and Clint are different on another level. I especially liked the pictures that were Kate’s inner thoughts. Hawkeye Volume 3 continues to have great writing that’s funny but also touching and the art compliments the writing perfectly. 5/5.
Lazarus Vol. 1: Family – Greg Rucka, Michael Lark and Santi Arcasb Lazarus is set in a dystopian war-torn future where there are a few great families who have the power. In each of these families there is a Lazarus – the Lazarus has the best training and assets and is the family’s sword and shield. In the Family Carlyle, the Lazarus is called Forever and she is deadly.
Forever is near-indestructible and will do anything to protect her family. Her family isn’t exactly honest though as everyone seems to have their own agenda and Forever is being kept in the dark. Forever is an interesting character, she’s strong but there’s a vulnerability about her and I like that a lot.
The plot is slow moving but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. It takes the time to build the dystopian setting, add layers to the characters and it slowly builds the tension between the characters which I can see paying off in the future. I’m definitely going to be picking up volume two soon. 4/5. (more…)
I’ve been commuting to London for an Internship these past few weeks and on my travels I’ve been reading quite a bit – either on my kindle or a physical book. When I haven’t been reading (or sleeping) on the train I’ve been people watching, or more specifically, watching what people are reading. Of course many people use e-readers nowadays because they are smaller and easier to carry around but a lot of people still read physical books and I find it fascinating looking to see what sort of things people are reading.
Here’s a list of books I’ve noticed people reading – it’s surprisingly hard to check out the front cover of people’s books without looking like a creep.
Hornet’s Nest – Patricia Cornell
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
We are all Completely Besides Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler
Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
Kangaroo – D. H. Lawrence
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – Marina Lewycka (more…)
I’ve been reading a lot of comics this year so thought I’d do a five mini reviews of some of the series that I’ve read so far. Some of these reviews are for individual volumes and others are for a complete story arc.
Young Avengers – Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie
Like with most Marvel/DC comics there have been numerous incarnations of different characters and teams. This run of Young Avengers is the most recent and the team consists of Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Wiccan (Billy Kaplan), Hulkling (Teddy Altman), Kid Loki, Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr) and Miss America (America Chavez). I love every member of this team and the writers do a great job of introducing each character to readers who may know nothing about them or their powers without too much needless exposition. I only knew Kate Bishop from Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series so I was new to all the other characters but soon figured it out.
The main “big bad” is the Mother who can bring the Young Avengers dead parents back to life, though they are not how they remember. Besides all the action stuff, at the heart of Young Avengers is the relationships between the characters. Wiccan and Hulkling are in a relationship that has its rocky moments and then they are a group of teenagers that are often reluctant friends – especially with Loki as no one really knows how much they can trust him. Young Avengers is really funny and the art is gorgeous – the story goes across three volumes and it really is a lot of fun. 5/5
Five Ghosts Vol.1: The Haunting of Fabian Gray – Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham Five Ghosts is very Inidana Jones-like and it is awesome. Fabain Gray is a treasure hunter who after having an encounter with an artefact called “The Dreamstone” is possessed by five literary ghosts and granted access to their unique abilities. Those five ghosts unnamed but it can be guessed that the archer is Robin Hood, the wizard is Merlin, the detective is Sherlock Holmes, the samurai is Musashi, and the vampire is Dracula.
There’s a mystery surrounding the Dreamstone as Fabian tries to work out how to use these ghosts powers while continuing to be an infamous treasurer hunter and also trying to help his sister. The art is gorgeous and more realistic than some of the superhero stuff I’ve read, and it’s reads like an action-adventure film as Fabian travels to deserted temples and jungles. It’s a very cool book. 4/5.
Yesterday I went to London Film and Comic Con (LFCC) and it was my first time at any type of comic/book/film convention – though saying that, I did go to Empire Big Screen a few years ago in 2011 which was a film convention with panels, screenings and a few siginings but it was much different to what I experienced at LFCC yesterday. So I thought I’d do a list of things I learnt as a Comic Con newbie.
1. If you really want to meet someone/go to a talk – buy the tickets online. I’d thought about going to LFCC when tickets were available online but then forgot about it. When it got closer to the time and I thought about it again, they’d stop selling tickets online in order to make sure everyone receives their tickets in the post so I missed out on some photo shoots and people I’d like to have seen.
2. Queues. Everything about Comic Con is queues. My friend & I hadn’t bought tickets online so so we got to Earl’s court and joined the pay-on-the-day queue at about 8:15am and got into the convention just after 10am – which wasn’t so bad. Then there was queues to buy tickets for photo ops with the various stars – I wouldn’t have minded to meet Stan Lee but obviously those tickets were sold out, so (going back to my first point) if I’d bought them online I’d have been fine. There was queues for signings and sometimes the organisation of the queues weren’t that great and one queue could accidentally blend into another.
On Tuesday I finished reading The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan on my kindle. I liked it a lot and thought it was very atmospheric and creepy and now can’t wait for the TV show (I’ll continue with the trilogy at some point but I don’t feel as if I have to read them right now) So after finishing that I was thinking about what I’ll read next. I’m not reading loads right now (since I’m supposed to be writing my 15,000 word dissertation) but it is nice to be able to switch off the academic part of my brain and read for fun. I was considering The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson which I’ve borrowed from my mum but I don’t really fancy something so long (and possibly dense) right now. Thinking that led me to the comic books/graphic novels which are sitting on my shelf. I went to Orbital Comics a few weeks ago and bought four more comics so considered reading one of them.
My pick is The Losers Book Two by Andy Diggle and Jock. I read the first book a few months ago and fell in love with everything about it (it probably helps that I love the movie) and I wanted to continue the story straight away but unfortunately my go-to comic store is in Central London and it takes me about an hour to get there.
As I start the second book of The Losers I wonder if I should be taking note of when I read them like I do with regular books. Comic books may have pictures and fewer full sentences than a novel but they still take time to read. Since the start of this year I have read four comic books – the first The Losers book and all three volumes of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s run of Young Avengers – but I didn’t add them to my Books of 2014 list. I know they’re not novels (and originally that was only for novels) but I’m finding that I can get a lot of enjoyment from comic books as well. I don’t think the medium is any less than 300-page novels, it’s just a different way to tell stories.
So I think I’ve decided I’m going to add the comics I read to my book list – I may not count them to my goal of reading 12 books this year but at least it will still be noted when I read them. I suppose one way to look at it is that often trade paper backs of comics and graphic novels are included on reading websites such as Goodreads – so if it’s good enough for Goodreads, it’s good enough for me. A comic may not take as long as some novels to read, but they can certainly take you to new places and get you involved with the characters and the story – Young Avengers vol. 1 made me laugh out loud. So the next thing I’m going to be reading for fun when I need a break from the dissertation is The Losers and I’m very much looking forward to it.
(This blog got away from me a bit and turned into a weird train of thought…)
I have always loved comic book movies and TV shows – I adored X-Men: Evolution, Teen Titans and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and I got my dad to take me to see Spider-Man when I was 10 years old and have since gone to see just about every Marvel and DC movie in the cinema. So I love these characters, I love the films but I had never gotten around to trying the source material – the comic books.
Now don’t give me that “fake geek girl” nonsense because I have nothing to prove. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if the start is from the TV shows or a movie then that’s fine, and it’s also perfectly fine if they never feel like picking up a comic book in their life. Wikipedia is perfect at filling in the blanks of a characters backstory anyway.
My comic collection (minus Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon ‘cos that’s at home)