Today I Read…Ensign Sue

Ensign Sue Must DieToday I read the Ensign Sue trilogy, Ensign Sue Must Die, Ensign Two: The Wrath of Sue, and Ensign Cubed: Crisis of Infinite Sue, written by Clare Moseley and illustrated by Kevin Bolk.

The multiverse is about to face the greatest danger it has ever seen–Ensign Mary Amethyst Star Enoby Aiko Archer Picard Janeway Sue! Torn between Kirk’s love and Spock’s (say what?), the seventeen-year-old medical officer, half-Russian, half-Vulcan, half-Japanese, half-Klingon, proud owner of Le Cutest of Beagle anda spunicorn (it’s like a unicorn, but it’s in space!), she is the most annoying creature the Enterprise has ever encountered. Unfortunately, in their desperation to get rid of this galactic pest, they accidentally ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and spread the Sues across the multiverse! It’s up to the crew of the Enterprise, the Doctor, and Wolverine (if there’s a team, he has to be on it), to travel the multiverse and trap the Sues in Pokeballs, and they gotta catch ’em all! But they have to be careful, because Sues lurk where you least expect…

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Wrath of SueI found this comic at the Interrobang Studios booth at Fan Expo last August, and the premise was hilarious so I bought the trilogy and read it on the train home that night. And I was right–it’s terrific! Both wonderfully funny and an excellent examination of the dreaded Mary Sue trope, the third book takes a turn for the serious by making Mary Sue into a character with a deeper motivation than her pretty hair. All she really wanted was for the people she loves so much to love her back–something many fans would like. She just has to learn that she can’t force people to love her–again, a lesson a lot of people in real life could stand to learn.

Crisis of Infinite SuesThe illustrations are adorable, and I really love the Sues’ cheek cutie marks, that help differentiate their different universes. And Sulu’s frustration at Anna Mae Sue’s terrible pidgin-Japanese, and how Mirror-Sue is evil because of her outfit, and how Khan-Prime defeats Reboot-Khan, and Kirk’s despair over his own sue-ish tendencies, and how Bella Swan is too useless and boring to even be a Sue. Basically, I love everything about this series.

It will probably appeal most to fangirls, and ones who can see the funny side of fandom and fangirls. And remember–may the Sue be with you (’cause she’s driven everybody else crazy).

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Free Comic Book Day 2014 review

So last Saturday, as the first Saturday in May, was Free Comic Book Day, and it was great! This was the 12th year it’s been held, and the 4th year that I’ve participated. I went to my local comic book store, The Comic Connection. They went all out, with special sales, cosplayers taking pictures with people, local comic artists selling their work, and of course, the free comics! Here’s my haul:

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I haven’t read everything yet (real life really gets in the way of reading, don’t you find?), but so far I loved the Guardians of the Galaxy and Rocket Raccoon comics–I’m really looking forward to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie due out later this year. Epic was fun–talk about a nightmare for a teenage boy who wakes up with superpowers! I really enjoyed Help the CBLDF Defend Comics as a good history of comics in America and some of the challenges that have been faced over the years. And though I haven’t read it through yet, Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love to Read! looks really useful to me as a librarian, since it outlines the appeal factors of comics and how to read them and why they are designed the way they are. I think this one is particular would be really useful for any librarians who aren’t familiar with comics and why people (not just kids!) read them. The full list of what was available is here. I’m disappointed that I never saw the Grimm Fairy Tales, since I collect the trades, but oh well.

Comic Connection was also handing out Iron Man masks. The only problem is that I wear glasses (thanks mom & dad for the lousy vision genes) and there’s a very good reason that superheroes only wear glasses in their secret identities, not with their hero costumes…

Iron Man CorrinaI also might have picked up one or two other things while I was already there…

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Free Comic Book Day is amazing and fun, but it’s also important to support your local comic store–they still have to pay for all of the free comics. Also, I wanted these anyway.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of reading to do…

 

Today I Read…The Ultimates

UltimatesToday I read Marvel’s The Ultimates, written by Mark Millar and pencils by Bryan Hitch. This hardcover omnibus contains the first 13 issues of the Ultimates series and an introduction by Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers movie.

The world is getting more dangerous, and Nick Fury, director of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division has decided it’s time to put together a special response team, made up of very special people: Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, the World War 2 super soldier, recently found alive after being frozen in the Arctic Ocean for 52 years, who returns to life to discover that his family is long-since dead and his fiancée married his best friend. Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, the billionaire scientist and head of Stark International, who created the most advanced flying suit of armour in the world but cannot cure the brain tumour that is killing him. The Hulk, known by a select few as Dr. Bruce Banner, the nerdy geneticist with serious anger issues, desperate to recreate the super soldier serum that created Captain America in his quest to rid himself of his green, rage-filled alter ego. Giant Man and Wasp, Drs. Henry and Janet Pym, who can change size from tiny to enormous, and who have a terrific marriage other than the occasional spot of domestic violence. And Thor, Norse God of Thunder and Odinson, who will help fight after the American president doubles his international aid budget. Together they will save the world, if they don’t destroy each themselves first.

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I’ve heard of The Ultimates before as a version of the Avengers, but I’d never read the original series until now. This is a gritty, modern, realistic take on superheroes, deeply flawed and troubled people with remarkable abilities that they don’t always use wisely. The Ultimates will be jarring to anyone who’s mainly familiar with the Marvel MovieVerse–Banner deliberately becomes the Hulk to attack (and eat) civilians, while Betty Ross wavers between airhead and manipulative media specialist. Cap is extremely violent and angry about losing his life in the ocean, and not quite as much the paragon of virtue he is in the movies. Henry beats Janet into the hospital after using her mutant blood in ‘his’ growing formula. Thor is a hippie activist and possibly a demented former mental patient won’t help save the world from an alien invasion until he gets his way. And Tony Stark is actually a little more stable than he is in the Iron Man movies, though still an alcoholic and a womanizer, and a highly respected businessman with a fairly good relationship with Fury.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of making superheroes all dark and gritty and ‘modern’ (yes, I realize I just complained that Kevin Keller was too shiny and perfect–he’s not a superhero, hush). People who wear brightly-coloured spandex, answer to silly names, and do things like fly and shape shift and shoot lasers from their hands? There is a little bit of inherent silliness in them, and a lot of larger-than-life characteristics–I don’t want them to be too dragged down into the grime of ordinary people. And on the other hand (what am I up to, three?), many of them are ordinary people given extraordinary and not always welcome gifts, and thrust circumstances and by fate into extraordinary situations. People aren’t perfect–it’s what they do when they have to that makes them heroes, or not. Sometimes it’s easier to fight aliens than say “I’m angry” or “I’m afraid” or “I’ m sorry”. That said, The Ultimates is an incredible piece of storytelling. The commentary with Millar and Hitch in the back of the volume explains some of their thought processes and memories of creating The Ultimates, and of course as a devoted Whedonite of long standing I love Joss’ introduction and the anecdote about his wanting to buy a piece of the original art for Sarah Michelle Geller and Freddie Prinze Jr.’s wedding. The casting scene is also interesting, since The Ultimates predates the Phase One movies, including the casting of Samuel L. Jackson as Fury. In fact, it was after Jackson found out that Ultimates Fury was modelled after him that he asked to play Fury in any movies Marvel was planning.

In The Ultimates , the heroes aren’t always likeable, but they are very, very watchable.

And I STILL WANT A BLACK WIDOW MOVIE! YOU HEAR ME MARVEL?