Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Justice League 3000: Reviewing issues 1-9


This is a spoiler-free review, so make yourself comfortable.

We've all heard about the imminent return of BLUE BEETLE & BOOSTER GOLD, yes, the real ones, the pre-New 52 ones (at least the ones I consider to be the "real" ones). They're supposed to appear in Justice League 3000 #12 and I just couldn't help it and had jump into the series from #1.

I remember reading the first issue back when it was first published, but it had a sour aftertaste since Kevin Maguire had been dumped from the book and the entire first issue got pencilled all over again by Howard Porter, who happened to be the one who actually designed these new characters. The creative team that reunited the original writers (Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis) and penciller from the classic 80s-90s Justice League was simply gone. This whole mess turned into a deep dislike of what I read in the first issue at that moment.

Now, with a different perspective in sight, and realizing that the "New 52" tag had been removed from the series starting with issue 9, I had a better vibe towards this book. So, I went on reading. And whoa, what a reading, I enjoyed every bit of it. The characters are dead on and they're definitely not our regular Justice League. From an obnoxious Superman to a bloodthirsty Wonder Woman, and add an ironic Batman, a shy Green Lantern and a tragic Flash, we have quite a set. I mean, I don't love the idea of a bloodthirsty Wonder Woman (I hate her regular book), but this whole thing has a giant joke behind. Yeah, I think they're doing their best to recapture the sense of humor comics these days are so much lacking.

Yeah. Shake in your seats. This book is bringing humor back to the fold.

Who would have thought? After the entire mess of the New 52 that there was this book that was really doing its best to build a different tone, and it was going unnoticed! News and company politics threw most of us out of the door and didn't let us give this book a chance. Well, now it comes with my biggest recommendation.

My only complaint is the pace. Nine issues into the series and the first story-arc is still incomplete. But it will be coming to an end with issue 10, so, I will have to wait just a bit. (There's nothing I can do about the pace since that's the regular thing these days in the comic universe). But at least this is an enjoyable series. I even grew to like Howard Porter's style, which is quite rich and hast its own merit. Comparing it with Kevin Maguire's may be a problem and not exactly fair. DC kinda forced the comparison, too bad.

So, what do you think? Will you give this book a chance? If a DC book from their core line, without the "New 52" tag does succeed, it should mean something, uh? What do you think?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: "...And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too"

Title: ...And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too
Author: Jeremiah Swanson
Print Length: 493 pages
Buy it digital:  Amazon
Kindle Price: $9.99

This is be a spoiler-free review, so, read it at ease.

The book description starts like this:  "Christian Thompson had the power to heal people with a touch of his hand, but in order to cure one person he first had to kill someone else."

Just by reading the description you see that this is about a special ability, and we, as comic book readers, would just call it a "super-power." So, for those of you wondering, this is why it made it to this comic book blog.

The book is told in third person and moves back and forth through time. As far as I've seen in other books and even TV shows, this technique can be disorienting if it doesn't get well handled or if situations in the past and in the future don't blend all too well. Thankfully, this is not the case. In this particular book, Swanson moves back and forth showing you different moments in the life of Christian Thompson and some of the other characters, in a way that make sense to each scene and make the story a whole lot richer than if it had been told in one single timeline.

This is a complex story with lots of sub-plots, but be at ease that all of them get resolution, as surprising as it may be. This was a well thought story, everything does fall into place at one moment or another and that's quite an achievement considering there is so much going on.

I found it interesting that Christian Thompson, the main character, isn't necessarily likable. He's some sort of anti-hero dealing with impossible situations, but you do get a good read of him and his choices, making us understand why he does what he does.

The Good:

The plot moves fast, sometimes focusing on Christian Thompson and some other times on secondary characters that play important roles in the story, and its rhythm is that of a roller coaster. There are ups and downs and you get overwhelmed, in a good way, about all that is going on. You get to see one surprise after the other and most scenes end with cliffhangers making you want more.

The Morals:

The book is all about life and death. Seriously. This makes it for an interesting debate that goes within Christian Thompson as he has to make some serious choices and deal with the their consequences. This dilemma could get old real fast but it was handed properly, always making sense with the character's evolution at the moment.

The Ugly:

When I first started to read the book, I found a review over at Goodreads which wasn't very flattering. I just got curiouser and curiouser. Once I finished the book, I went back to that review and that's when I think I understood what happened there. The reviewer was a woman, and well, the portrayal of women in this story is not very flattering. They can be either over sexualized or victims or violated in unspeakable ways. This is not something new, we see this in many mediums and definitely, we see it in comic books, too. This book may not be for everyone, considering that some people may see this as a fault.

The Pet Peeve:

My particular pet peeve with this book was its title. I still find it hard to remember and that was bad when I told people I was reading this book that was so interesting but I couldn't remember its name...

My Grading:

I'm giving this book four and a half stars. It wasn't a life-changing book, but I wasn't looking for one. It was a fun and addictive read that made my head spin more than once and that is something I highly value.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The New Wonder Woman's fierce stare-- revealed!


Ever since Gal Gadot's newest picture as Wonder Woman for the "Batman V Superman" movie hit the Internet, I knew there was something really off about those starving eyes--

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

We Were Legion - Chapter 2 - Original Fanfic

We Were Legion - Chapter 2
by Christian Zamora Dahmen

As a kid who had been found stealing from a candy store, Nura turned around nervously and shook her head a little making the veil cover at least part of her eyes.  She didn't want anybody seeing her swollen eyes.  Her crying was her own personal business.

“Nura?”

Finally, she looked through the haze of her own surprise and recognized the built figure of one of her former teammates in the Legion.  “Jo…” Jo Nah was standing right in front of her, not menacing at all, but unsure of what to do since it was obvious he had startled her. 

The Rimborian who was also known as Ultra Boy, the boy who could only use one super-power at a time, was out of his red and green outfit and wore a long and dark trench coat.  Costumes seemed to have been gone along with the disbanding of their team.  The shade of his beard was thicker than usual and you could tell he hadn’t taken a shower in a while.  He looked just as shaken as Dream Girl.  His eyes were smaller than usual and darker, as if holding his own ground within, doing their best to keep strangers at bay.  Still, his rigid stand reeked of loneliness.

Nura and Jo stood there for a moment, looking at each other, trying to reach the other without without making the first move.  Could it be possible that in just a few weeks they had lost the connection they had for so long?  Was their camaraderie finally gone, along with the proud title of Legionnaires?   They weren't particularly close, but that didn't mean they wouldn’t care for each other.  As teammates they rarely spoke.  Somehow they used to be the stars of their own show and they rarely shared the spotlight.  Now, things had definitely changed.

 “I’m so sorry.”  Jo was the first to break the uncomfortable silence that kept them frozen where they stood.  It didn’t take a genius to realize what was going on inside of Dreamy.  She was standing right next to the tomb of the love of her life, the one man who knew the real woman that hid behind the flirtatious attitude and the graceful moves.  She still had her hand on the tombstone as if refusing to let it go.  The entire scene was there for him to read it and it needed no further explanation; Jo was just not a dumb hunk. 

He walked closer and, without another word, took her into his arms.  The pride within Nura almost forced her to break the embrace, but it didn’t take her long to finally give in.  She didn’t allow a sound to escape her mouth, though; she didn't like playing the victim, not when she was actually feeling so vulnerable.  She had played the weak card before, whenever she wanted to trick someone into doing her biding, but then it was always a game; now, it was real and she didn’t know how to handle it.  She feared if she let it go, her drift into self-pity would never end and she would never forgive herself if she did so.  But pretending to be strong was a tough act, even tougher if there wasn’t really an audience to convince because she wasn’t fooling no one, definitely not Jo, and she was fighting no one as she lied in the arms of a man who cared about her and held her tight, doing his best to help her with this unbearable void that kept claiming her soul from the inside.  For a moment, she felt like she could finally loosen up.  It was comfortable in there.  She could have stayed right there for days, letting him carry the sorrow that was tearing her apart, a pain that was too big for such a thin body.

Still, as conceited as she was, she knew she wasn’t the only one going through a rough patch.  She put her hands on Jo’s shoulders and laid some space between them, so she could gather her senses. 

“Thank you, Jo.  You have no idea how much I needed this.”  She paused for a moment as she saw a sympathetic sad smile taking form in his face.  “But I think I'm not the only one who's messed up right now, uh?”  Jo sunk his head and Nura brought it back with a finger in his chin.  "Why are you here?"

Jo shrugged once again.  “I just didn’t know where else to go.”

“But this is a cemetery…“

“It’s also the last thing I have left,” he replied, “the Legion is gone, Tinya is still missing, I have no home to go to and Rimbor, just as usual, is simply a huge nest filled with crooks and I just don’t feel like taking a fight every other night at the bars.  This place…”  He looked around.  “This place is dead, but it is also quiet.  It just felt right.  I know Tinya is not dead, but I don’t understand why she hasn’t come back.  It was so unlike her to run away from the Legion when things went bad.  Not when she was finally leading the team.  She was…  She is Phantom Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes, for the Gods’ sake!  She was among the first batch of new recruits the Legion ever had.  She was there before any of us ever thought of joining.  It was so unlike her to run and hide.  And she hasn’t come back to me..."  He paused for a moment getting some air.  "It makes no sense at all.”

Nura uncovered her face completely this time and studied her friend’s carefully.  He needed help and simply didn’t know what to do.  He just use his ultra-strength and punch this problem away, and the impotence was tearing him apart.   She studied him for a moment with sympathy.  In a selfish flash she thought that maybe this was exactly what she needed as well; to have something to do to finally step away from this unbearable pain and do something for a friend instead of dwelling in self-pity.

“I will help you find her,” Nura said with a glimpse of hope in her blue eyes.  "Something is keeping her from coming back.  Otherwise she would be right by your side.  She is much braver than this.  We all know it."

“But how can we find a way to her dimension?,” Jo asked, “she jumped back to Bgztl and it’s not as if we can just follow her into that weird universe of hers.  And it's not as if this thing has any use at all."  He showed her his Legion ring.  Once it allowed them to fly and communicate, among other functions, but right now it was just some dead jewelry with too much history trapped inside.

"The Legion was much more than a ring and you know that," Nura said reassuring.  "Maybe finding a way to Bgztl isn't within our reach, but it's not as if we have to solve it all by ourselves.  If we need a genius, you know who we have to pay a visit."

"Brainy?"

"But of course.  He may not be the most pleasant person in the universe, but…"

"Wait!"  Jo interrupted her and made a gesture for her to be quiet and stay alert.  There was a noise in the air and he pointed at some spot in the sky.  There was a Science Police spaceship moving through the air with a spotlight pointing to the ground; searching, seeking, detecting any movement.

"It should be okay," Nura said quietly, "it's the Science Police…"

"Yes, the Science Police," Jo said ironically, "the same one who disbanded us and practically vanished us from Earth.  I'm sorry but I won't start trusting them unless they give me a good reason to do so."

The spaceship locked onto something and started to land not very far from the former Legionnaires.

"They found my ride."  Jo concluded with a frown.  "Did you come in one, too?"

"Yes."  She pointed to the opposite side.  She had been lucky enough to land in a spot that wasn’t that exposed.

"Let's go."

Nura followed him, she would have said something but there was no time to argue.  They had a mission in mind and that was all they should care about.  For once, she was excited.

As they approached Nura's ship, they heard a contained explosion and the voice of a man giving orders out loud, followed by the unique sound of people running all over the place. 

“There go the last few things I had…”  Jo said frustrated.

"They're looking for us!"  Suddenly started by the harsh move of the officers.  “I just can’t believe it.”

"You got it, Dreamy.  I could take them down, but what's the point in punching them down?  We have to get out of here.  The Science Police is up to no good."

They moved into Nura's space ship and sat in front of the commands.  A quick move on Nura's part turned the motors and the stealth mode on.  It made a soft vibration but no noise at all.

"Let's get out of here."  Jo finally said and the ship floated above the land for a few seconds and then flew into the emptiness of space at unbelievable speed.

"They may have seen us, but they will never catch us."  Nura said with pride.  "This is Naltorian technology, with a little touch of magic in its systems.  They won't be able to track us down."

Jo smiled for the first time since they met today.

"So, Colu it is?"  Nura asked already knowing the answer.

"Yup.  To Colu!" 


And in only a few seconds, the space ship defined the route to Brainiac 5's homeworld.



This story takes place after LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 23, 2013.  Names, concepts, and characters belong to DC Comics.  No infringement of copyright is intended. This is only a work of fan fiction.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

We Were Legion - Chapter 1 - Original fanfic

We Were Legion - Chapter 1
by Christian Zamora Dahmen


Shangalla was a sad and lonely place.  As a small planetoid, it served as a cemetery where dead Legionnaires would rest for all of eternity.  “Rest,” a curious word for those who no longer felt a thing.  Those who were left behind were the ones who deserved some peace, most times.  Letting go and moving on were some of the hardest trials in life, and even if this was the 31st century, this part of human nature hadn’t changed one bit.

You would expect this time in the future would be filled with joy, considering humanity would have left behind its pettiness and lack of empathy, and finally replaced it with a glorious sense of universal caring.  But truth be told, people may have moved into different planets and conquered the most unusual worlds but their nature basically remained the same:  They still were selfish creatures that would battle each other just because they could and they wanted what they couldn’t have.  These battles over demanding something they wanted to own were basically what moved humanity these days.  People’s sense of greed grew into a cosmic scale; they leapt from desire and went straight into the taking.  The result was staring right at us, from these graves.  Those who would get in the way of wants would often pay the ultimate price.  As of a now, the so-called “heroes” were a rare species which would always get in the way of the holiness of power and money; they would do anything to protect those who needed protection and save those who needed to be saved; they would put their lives in the line for the sake of the universe; something that simply would not be appreciated by those who wanted more and more no matter what.  The Legion of Super-Heroes’ task was a noble one; sadly it had gone unappreciated with time until it was forced to fade away. 

The Legion’s testament, the only inheritance these brave men and women left behind, now rested at Shangalla:  The cold stones representing those who sacrificed their lives willingly, always hoping for a brighter future.  Now, it seemed that it had accomplished nothing.  The same Science Police they used to help so frequently disbanded their team and sent them home, as brats who had just thrown a tantrum and deserved some punishment.  And with this incomprehensible move, the former Legionnaires were somehow exiled from Earth leaving behind a lack of hope that would hardly be ever filled again; and at the same time, each hero carried within a sense of ungratefulness that would be stuck inside forever.

The dark and cold planetoid was often deserted.  It required little maintenance and only occasional visitors would give a little heartbeat to this desolate monument to loneliness and death.  In this occasion, a small spaceship arrived.  It was evident that it came in stealth mode, choosing the less traveled road to get to this place unnoticed.  It came from a very distant world and didn’t make any stop before arriving to Shangalla with an unstoppable desire to get to the very place where hopelessness seemed to have set foot.  It landed softly and its door lifted with a quiet murmur.  A woman descended from the ship, wearing a black outfit that covered her entire body in a long dress that looked vaporous when it reached the floor.  She walked down the stairs with a slow pace; now that she had finally arrived there was no sense in rushing.  She had a broad-brimmed hat that seemed to belong to another era, one of those only rich women would use for a funeral, with a veil that covered her face, hiding her eyes as if she didn’t want to be recognized, keeping her sadness as a private thing.  She walked straight to the two new burials that were right at the end of the newest row.  She stopped and stared at a strange monument which shape she could barely describe, but she still noticed the sculpture of a little sun up at the top.  She put her hand over the strange monument that got built over the empty casket that couldn’t even contain the remains of the man who left behind such a resonant history.

“Oh, Dirk, never thought you would go like this.  No glory, no flames, no nothing.  I know death can find us unguarded, but she did play a bad joke on you, didn’t she?”  She caressed the small monument that was built over the memorial site.  “I never got the chance to tell you how much of myself I saw you.  If I had been a man, I think we would have been the best of friends.”  She paused for a moment, bowed her head and made a gesture with her hand in the air proper of her own world to show respect and made a reverence.  “I can’t believe there was nothing to bury--  But you-- I will never forget you, I can promise you this.”  She kissed her the tip of her fingers and touched the monument once again, staying frozen in time as if she was caressing his face one last time.

She turned around and walked towards the other new burial site.  A void took over her stomach just like the first time she attended this particular spot.

“Thom--“  Her words broke as she couldn’t hold her voice any longer.  She raised her veil and strands of white lively hair fell to both sides of her young and beautiful face, finally allowing itself to show the redness in her eyes, the only witnesses of the pain she had been carrying within for so many days.

Nura Nal, whose nom de guerre, “Dream Girl”, was known through the entire United Planets, was right there, standing tall as she was devastated inside.  She had been the sexy Legionnaire for so long, then the leader and finally the wise woman who always had some powerful insight into whatever situation the former Legion of Super-Heroes had to face.  She had an ability that was common to every native of her homeworld, Naltor, she was a precog and had visions of the future that would come.  It was probably a fatalist power, but the way she used her natural power forged her as a hero.  She accomplished many victories by the side of her teammates, but now those days seemed far-gone.  And if the sadness of letting go of her past wasn’t enough, she was also mourning the death of Thom, her long time lover, teammate and the kindest soul she had ever met.  Thom Kallor was also a super-hero in this Legion, he was Star Boy and he was always the brighter star in her sky.  Sadly, the heat of his embrace and the kindness of his smile were now gone and she would have to live the rest of her life knowing she had lost him forever.

She sat by the little monument’s side and leaned her head against the metallic stone searching for a warmth and comfort that were no longer there.  Tears ran down her face, as she no longer held back the unbelievable pain she had been carrying inside for the past few weeks.  It was easy to keep a strong face in front of others, but now that she was all by herself, she didn’t have to prove anything to anyone and so, she finally let go.  Images of a past life together ran through her mind and over her soul giving her a physical pain inside her chest she wouldn’t have expected.  Dealing with such a big loss was the toughest task she had ever faced.  She didn’t want to move on as others asked her to, definitely not at this point.  She was simply stuck in the moment where everything lost direction in her life.  What was left to hold onto anyway?  Not only the one man that meant everything to her got taken away, but she was now adrift in a huge universe, senseless, with her ideals shattered and no place to call home.  No, her world would never be home to her; not like the Legion always was that special place for her--  And the Legion was no more--  For the first time in her life, she was an orphan with nowhere to go and without the strength to move forward.  At another time she would have gathered what was left of her and fought against all odds, but was there really anything left behind worth fighting for?


“Nura?”  A manly voice broke the moment startling her and forcing her to wipe out the tears off her face.


This story takes place after LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 23, 2013.  Names, concepts, and characters belong to DC Comics.  No infringement of copyright is intended. This is only a work of fan fiction.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Secret Origins 01 - Spoiler-Free Review


Now, this was quite refreshing!

After getting burned with Forever Evil and it's underwhelming outcome, and getting deeply bored by Future's End, I decided to try yet another DC book and see if I could finally stick with at least one.  This was actually a kiss goodbye, like the last chance to be impressed--  And did I get impressed!

It's no secret that I don't embrace the New 52 at all.  They destroyed their entire history just to be all the hype for a couple of months.  But then again, stories can always be told in a compelling way if the talent is there and if editorial doesn't interfere too much (meaning, keeping DiDio under chains).  This is a good example of great storytelling, at least for me.

I have never been a fan of anthology books, but for a change, these short stories seem to have more heart than these huge crossovers that go on and on and on and have no ending nor relevant outcome.

This particular issue told origins with a "twist".  Either because of the perspective in which they were told, or who told them, or the lingering theme in each one of these short stories.  All I have to say is that they were endearing and I deeply missed that in DC Comics in particular.  I sincerely hope they can keep it up.  I'm so done with their books being actual dead ends.

So, I would suggest you give this new series a try.  Issue 1 told stories for Superman, Dick Grayson and Supergirl and, yes, it was worth it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

No more New 52


I've read posts on this subject for years since this New 52 DC Universe got launched back in September, 2011; so this isn't anything you haven't read before, nor more heart-felt, not even original.  I've seen a lot of people speak up on this subject.  Some fans (because deep down we all are -or used to be- just fans) were furious, some were deeply sad, some were frustrated and there were still the hopeful ones who gave up and still wanted things to change for the better, sometime down the line.

Their message never got through and I highly doubt mine will, either.

So, here's this rant, sent into the digital universe more as a cathartic cry, not really asking for anything to happen, just to speak up my mind.

I've been a DC Comics fan for my entire life (see?, I told you I wasn't going to be of the original kind); I went through a lot of changes and rolled with the punches, some were good, some not so much and then, there was the New 52.  I set the New 52 apart because it was a different kind of creature.  It undid everything that was done before.  But unlike the famous Crisis on Infinite Earths, the outcome was rushed and the essence of the characters got dropped along with their history.  Superman was no longer the hero everyone looked up, no, now he was this troubled alien who felt out of place among humans, which is beyond odd since he was always supposed to be the most human of them all--  Then, Wonder Woman stopped being an all female character and became the daughter of Zeus; and the essence of her character got thrown out of the window.  And these are just two examples of what the New 52 meant to the rich universe that was the DC Universe.  From a group of Teen Titans that were never side-kicks, to a Flash family that never existed, the richest side of their characters got undone, up to a point that they were no longer recognizable.

I work in the advertising field, I know the meaning of keeping a brand fresh.  A brand shouldn't age or it would grow obsolete, I completely get that.  But then, dropping an entire fan base while searching a new one doesn't look like good business to me.  What about keeping them both?  Sounds a bit absurd, uh?  Well, with the richness of the DC Universe that could have been done, but they chose a different venue.  Starting fresh could have meant a lot of things and not just dropping everything they were.  Moving forward, for instance, could have been a great choice.  They could have redesigned the characters to look like 2011 characters, instead of going retro with their 90's designs.  They could have moved forward with guidelines like:  "Don't revisit past storylines, move always forward", that would have made sense.  Comics in general and DC and Marvel in particular, were a bit incestuous with theirs pasts and never stopped revisiting.  Anyway, moving forward could have been the move to pull; and it's not as if the big shots couldn't have considered it, they must have, they just didn't think it would be wild enough to make the headlines.  And they did hit the headlines!  But then again, at this point, the negativity surrounding them is huge as well.  A big chunk of their fan base left, their numbers aren't that big anymore, or even bigger than they were before that infamous and extremely rushed "Flashpoint".

And they keep pulling their New 52 tricks again.  Wally West will be coming back as someone you never knew.  I heard that line before.  Sorry, but no.  I got burnt once, twice, a trillion times and I'm finally done.

It took me a while, a few years actually, but I finally gave up.  Not with a "bang", but with a "whimper", like most of us left.  Unnoticed and uncared for.  We're not the demographics they're looking for, so, we're worthless.

Somewhere in the DC offices, someone must have thought at one point, "shouldn't we throw them (old fans) a bone?"  Maybe the response wasn't a resonant "no", but it did feel that way.  In the end, we weren't that important to them.  And well, a brand that doesn't care about its audience, will eventually get the short end of the stick.

Friday, November 29, 2013

There's something about the Silver Surfer--


The Silver Surfer is an interesting character, in the way that he kind of sums up the cosmic philosophies of the 60's and 70's, or so it seems to me.  While I'm no expert in all things Silver Surfer, his constant rants, epiphanies and drama, always hit me in a weird way.  I mean, we all know he suffers.  He actually suffers a lot.  No place to call home, a growing guilt that could easily hold a pocket universe, and such a huge sense of loneliness.  I mean, these things can mess up a guy--

But still--  C'mon, dude, lighten up!