Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Girl Genius Volume 1 Cover

Adventure! Romance! Mad Science!

That’s the tagline of Girl Genius, and the comic doesn’t fail to deliver. Read it, and you’ll get heroine Agatha Heterodyne’s adventures through a strange and dangerous alternate version of Europe where steampunk technology has run wild. She encounters a cast of quirky, memorable characters (half of whom are mad scientists or creations of mad scientists, and most of whom want to kill and/or use her) and finds romance along the way, though all of her relationships are “complicated,” to say the least.

By Phil and Kaja Foglio, Girl Genius describes itself as a gaslamp fantasy, but I’m pretty sure that’s just because it’s been around since before steampunk was a thing. You don’t get more steampunk than this. It’s got everything from clockwork ladies…

Clockwork Lady Image

To airship cities… Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Girl Genius

Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Lady Sabre Image

When was the last time you read some good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure? It’s probably been too long, right? Well, brush up on your sword-fighting skills, because today we’re diving into Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether.

Here are just a few things you’ll find in the pages of Lady Sabre: airship pirates, steampunk robots, stone-cold cowboys, and tons of sword duels. Now, just because you throw a bunch of cool things into a comic, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to have a good story. But Lady Sabre combines these elements into an epic steampunk adventure. And it does it with style.

Airship Image
Pictured: Style

I’d say there are two main characters despite only one being mentioned in the title. The first, of course, is the lady herself, and to quote her own introduction:

“Name’s Sabre, Lady Seneca Sabre… Fourteenth Marchioness of Cascadia, Captain of Pegasus, muse of Darent Found, and a host of other titles that would probably bore you to tears if I recite them, which I shan’t, as I’ve recited enough.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Empowered Cover

Superheroes are sexy.

That’s not news to anyone. The tight spandex. The peak physical fitness. The contractually-obligated shirtless scene in every Marvel movie:

Shirtless Cap Gif

But for the longest time, comic book publishers seemed to think that “sexy” equaled a superheroine in an impractical costume twisted in a weird position to put both her boobs and butt on display. Combine that with some truly unfortunate storylines and shallow characterization, and it’s no wonder comics sometimes get a bad reputation for their treatment of female characters.

On paper, Empowered would seem like one of the worst examples of this. Its main character, the superheroine Empowered, gets her extraordinary abilities from her costume—a ridiculously sheer bodysuit that doesn’t hide anything. It also gets ripped in battle a lot, which not only exposes her but leaves her powerless. And so she regularly ends up captured by supervillains and put in bondage.

Sounds terrible, right?

But it’s actually incredibly well-done, and can be sexy, hilarious, and at times, tragic. Honestly, there’s nothing else like it in superhero media. Here’s what makes it so good: Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Empowered

Turn Back the Pages: Young Avengers

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Young Avengers Cover

Superheroes save the world. Thanks goodness they’re around, or we’d all be dead, right? But the thing is, sometimes superheroes save us from a threat they created in the first place, and if it weren’t for the hero, we’d all be fine.

Think Avengers: Age of Ultron. Nice job inventing a killer robot, Iron Man.

This is what kicks off the plot in Young Avengers: Style > Substance. Billy Kaplan, formerly the teen hero Wiccan, uses his incredibly strong yet untrained magical powers to bring his boyfriend Teddy’s mother back from the dead, and he pulls it off with no negative consequences whatsoever.

Just kidding. There are awful, horrifying consequences. As Kid Loki puts it, it’s “terribad.” Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Young Avengers

Turn Back the Pages: Marvel Holiday Special 2005

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you’ve all been good little girls and boys this year, because Santa Claus Santron is coming to town, and he’s got neural disruptors and a thirst to kill all humans.

Santron Image

Ultron is Santa Claus, and the Avengers are on his naughty list.

Really, that’s all I should have to say about this comic. If that premise doesn’t get you excited, then your heart is three sizes too small. But why stop there? Let’s get into all the delightfully absurd detail of why “Yes Virginia, There is a Santron” is the comic you need to read this Christmas.

It all starts with Virginia Hanlon, a young woman who got bullied for believing in Santa Claus as a kid (which, yeah, is pretty relatable). So as an adult, she builds a robot Santa to make the world a happier place (which is…less relatable). Unfortunately, some of the robot parts she used belonged to an old Ultron model, so when Robot Santa comes online, the first thing he does is fly off to kill the Avengers. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Marvel Holiday Special 2005

Turn Back the Pages: New Avengers

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

 New Avengers Cover

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a new threat arises, forcing a group of otherwise unrelated heroes to band together to stop it. Afterward, they decide it might not be such a bad idea to form a team to protect the world from similar dangers.

It’s a tried and true superhero story, but dang, I’ve rarely if ever seen it done better than in “New Avengers: Breakout.”

The premise is fantastic. The supervillain Electro is paid by an unknown client to break a specific person out of a top-secret, ridiculously secured prison full of super-powered criminals. Electro shorts out the prison’s power, releasing the person he was paid to, but he also frees every single other supervillain that was locked up in the place.

A Ragtag Group of Heroes

Seven superheroes respond to the mass breakout:

  1. Luke Cage was working as a bodyguard for lawyers Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson, who were visiting one of the inmates.
  2. Daredevil, whose secret identity is definitely not Matt Murdock, was nowhere near the prison. Really.
  3. Spider-Woman was on a hiatus from superheroics and working as a SHIELD agent on assignment to escort Murdock, Nelson, and Cage.
  4. The Sentry was the inmate Nelson was visiting.
  5. Captain America was in a helicopter, which he redirected to the prison. (It crashes.)
  6. Spider-Man hitched a ride on said helicopter when he saw the massive fricking lightning bolt that knocked out the prison’s power. (He also crashes.)
  7. Iron Man was…just flying by, I guess? He shows up halfway through.

Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: New Avengers

Turn Back the Pages: Thor The Mighty Avenger

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Thor Cover

I can’t wait to see Thor: Ragnarok.

The trailers have been fantastic, and every time I see a new clip or image, I’m like:

Thor Gif

If I feel any more hype for this movie, I’m going to explode, and if you feel the same way, you’re probably looking for some good Thor stuff to keep you occupied until the movie comes out. Well, I’ve got a recommendation.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger is a complete collection set in its own self-contained world outside the normal Marvel Comics universe. You don’t have to know 60 years of Thor and Avengers comics history to understand what’s happening. It’s great for new readers, but long-time comics fans will appreciate the distillation of Thor’s story. Continue reading Turn Back the Pages: Thor The Mighty Avenger