Tansy Rayner Roberts

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Issue #1 Secret Six

Monday, January 26th, 2015

secretsixcover1Title: Secret Six #1

Writer: Gail Simone

Artist: Ken Lashley & Drew Garaci

The Buzz: Basically, Gail Simone tweeted that Secret Six was coming back, and let slip that Catman was in the new team, and that was ALL WE NEEDED. Her previous run of Secret Six are the kind of comics you thrust into the hands of friends on the condition that they read them fast and get them back to you because the trades are always half out of print, damn them all. Dark, funny and occasionally kinda filthy. So the promise of more of the same made the New 52 look a whole lot more interesting.

All You Need To Know: Secret Six happens when a bunch of amoral super-types, nutcases and criminals get together. I’m not even sure from this issue if they’re doing a Birds of Prey on us and pretending that the pre-New 52 Secret Six issues never happened, but I choose to believe they totally did happen. Still, you don’t need to know much except that Catman is the best and the worst, always.


ROBOTECH REWATCH 35: Field Promotion is for Girls

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

Southern CrossRobotech will be rewatched after these messages!

Dana Sterling is on the fast-track to something…

Episode 39 – Southern Cross

So, these Robotech Masters dudes are still in orbit around the planet, being vaguely threatening. They want to steal all of the Earth’s supply of Robotech. A world-wide public address announcement goes out, explaining the story so far.

Earth’s military leaders argue about how to best use their greatly-outnumbered forces. Sadly there’s a pre-existing regulation that Earth forces always have to attack first, regardless of whether it makes military sense, because it makes some kind of philosophical statement about them as a race.



Friday Links Has Many Companions

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Companion-Piece-cover-web-200x300 (1)Companion Piece, the new ‘Chicks Dig’ essay collection from Mad Norwegian Press, has just announced its official Table of Contents. Edited by a wonderful assortment of Lizes (L.M. Myles of the Verity! Podcast, AKA Scottish Liz, and Liz Barr of No Award, chair of Continuum 11), this book is packed full of essays about Doctor Who companions, and the women who are fascinated by them.)

I’m in the book, talking about Sara Kingdom! And Tehani is in it, talking about Tegan! And I am so excited to read all the essays, I can’t even tell you. Mags L Halliday writes here about the personal side of her own essay about Barbara and Ian.

L.M. Myles, meanwhile, wrote a great ‘My Two Cents’ piece in response to recent Verity! episode, Companions Who Never Were. Because yes, Verity!’s theme for this year is Doctor Who companions too. Liz’s piece is called The Companions Who Should’ve Been.


Issue #1 – Bitch Planet (2014)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

BitchPlanet_01-1Title: Bitch Planet #1

Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick

Artist: Valentine De Landro

The Buzz: You had me at Kelly Sue Deconnick. But the idea of Orange is the New Black in Space was pretty damned tantalising too. This is an out and out intersectional feminist rage machine of a story, touted as “Margaret Atwood meets Inglourious Basterds.”

All You Need To Know: In a world where female compliance is mandatory, women who break the rules are shipped off to “Bitch Planet,” a prison outpost with a side order of grotesquely invasive reality TV. So maybe like The Hunger Games but with more angry naked middle aged women who want to cut you.

Story: Men suck. Specifically, Marian’s husband really, really sucks. But Marian, the devastated, completely innocent (if slightly non-compliant) middle aged white lady prisoner, is not the hero of this story. Penny Rolle can’t fit her tits in that uniform, and Kamau Kogo will beat you up so hard if you cross her, or anyone she chooses to protect. I can’t even start with telling you what’s going on, but it’s snarky and confronting and basically amazing.


Issue #1 – The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2015)

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

squirrel girlTitle: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Writer: Ryan North

Artist: Erica Henderson

The Buzz:

“Squirrel Girl, Squirrel Girl! She’s a human and also squirrel! Can she climb a tree? Yes she can, easily.”

I didn’t even know that much about the character when the buzz started but man, did the internet get excited about this comic existing. Sometimes you just have to lie back and trust the internet.

All You Need To Know:

“WHAT?! You got accepted into college and you’re not even gonna major in SQUIRRELS?”


ROBOTECH REWATCH 34: Death By Ditzy Teenager

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Robotech will be rewatched after these messages!

Don’t do this at home, kids. Taking unapproved road trips while working for the military may be hazardous to your health.

EPISODE 38 – False Start

It starts with gossip in the break room – Tactical Armoured Squadron 15’s Commander Sean Phillips has been put in solitary confinement for making a pass at a superior officer and they all have their doubts about his replacement: newly minted, baby-faced Second Lieutenant Dana Sterling who also happens to be the only girl in the squadron.

Dana is delighted with her new command (she pronounces them cute but dull) and decides to take everyone out on a recon patrol as a drill, despite the reservations of Corporal Angelo Dante.

Last episode’s attack on Moon Base Luna, it turns out, was by a group of aliens calling themselves the Robotech Masters, and everyone is supposed to be on high alert. Dana dismisses the concerns of ‘Angie’ and challenges him by suggesting he is uncomfortable taking orders from a woman.

(No, Dana, he’s uncomfortable taking orders from a maniac)


Friday Links is Going Retro

Friday, January 16th, 2015

fffsssSince Christmas we’ve been embracing the joys of the 1966 Batman series, with its stately Wayne Manor and Bruce’s obsession with Dick’s education, and Aunt Harriet sneaking off to find out nightclub trends, and DID YOU KNOW THAT LIBERACE WAS A BATMAN VILLAIN?

Ahem. It’s been pretty awesome. I’ve also introduced Raeli to the Batman ’66 digital comic, which she has delighted in, at least partly because it has given her a taste of some of the later seasons’ treats we are yet to reach in our viewing, like Eartha Kitt as Catwoman and Batgirl on her purple motorbike. The comic captures the camp, family-friendly tone of the TV series perfectly, with retro fashions and a whole lot of fun.

wonder woman 77Given my ongoing quest to find comics suitable for an advanced reading but occasionally sensitive pre-teen girl to read, I was delighted to hear the news that after the success of Batman ’66, the next digital comic to be launched will be Wonder Woman ’77, based on the Lynda Carter TV show. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the most interesting and innovative DC Comics material right now is happening in their digital comics.


Paste Magazine on why 2014 was the Year of the Female Comic Fan.


How to Read the Young Avengers

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

young avengersSo I embarked on a recent quest to go through the proper reading order of the Young Avengers, in preparation for reading the recent (and now-complete) Marvel Now reboot relaunch of the series.
Unlike a lot of characters in the Marvel Universe, the Young Avengers only came into being about 9 years ago, so it’s actually possible to follow them through in a mostly-completionist fashion – and totally worth it!

It’s worth getting hold of two trade paperbacks: Avengers Disassembled, and House of M. (they’re easy to get hold of because they were major releases – my local library has them both) While not being comprehensive introductions to some of the baggage that our sweeties will have to deal with, they cover the most important parts and will answer a lot of questions that might come to mind while reading Young Avengers. If you make it to The Children’s Crusade, you’ll thank me for this. Also, getting caught up on some of the backstory surrounding Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will be fun preparation for this year’s upcoming Avengers movie: Age of Ultron, which introduces both characters to the Marvel universe.


Issue #1 – S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

SHIELD 1Title: S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Writer: Mark Waid

Artist: Carlos Pacheco (though the title will apparently feature a rotating team of artists)

The Buzz: I’m not saying there hasn’t been any buzz for this one, but I hadn’t heard any – then again, I haven’t been paying attention to the blogs and things lately. All I saw was the ‘pre-order’ page floating around Comixology, and that was enough for me. Because COULSON LIVES. It didn’t hurt that this was the only new Marvel comic that released on New Year’s Eve. The promo material for the comic (which I only found belatedly) had this to say:

Writer Mark Waid (DAREDEVIL) and a rotating crew of mission-specific top flight Marvel artists make you one promise: Every issue: Twenty pages. One mission. Unlimited budget. Unlimited imagination. Six periods. And a helper monkey. Welcome to Level Eight. Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D.

All You Need To Know: This is sort of a tie-in to the Agents of SHIELD TV series, only totally not. It shares many of the characters with Season 1 of the show – notably Agent Coulson, the cool-headed pilot and asskicking specialist Melinda May AKA “the Cavalry”, and adorkable science duo Fitz and Simmons – but it’ss clearly part of the 616 (default) Marvel Universe rather than the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so stands completely alone from the show. You don’t need to have seen even ten minutes of Agents of SHIELD to get this comic because it’s a well-crafted Issue 1 that isn’t afraid of explaining stuff to newbies.


Issue #1 – Captain America & the Mighty Avengers (2014)

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Captain_America_and_the_Mighty_Avengers_Luke_Ross_CoverTitle: Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1

Writer: Al Ewing

Artist: Luke Ross

The Buzz: I didn’t hear any particular buzz about this one ahead of time but we can count the same ‘hey Captain America is black now’ buzz for this title too. I was mostly drawn to it for the same reasons I tried out All-New Captain America : 1) Anthony Mackie, 2) Attention-grabby covers featuring Falcon!Cap plus a brand new reason 3) a team with a diverse line-up, which is always interesting to me. It’s been billed as the first Avengers team with a predominantly non-white team, which is in itself pretty exciting.

All You Need To Know: Sam Wilson, AKA the Falcon, is now Captain America but he still has his wings. Luke Cage is a great, interesting and nuanced character in pretty much everything else I’ve read him in.

Story: There’s a new Avengers team in town – this one is apparently “for the people,” operates out of an old cinema, and responds to a hotline. Luke Cage is grumpy. Sam conspires with Tony Stark to destroy the other Avengers. There’s some posturing villain appearances, and no clear narrative throughline. Meh. For a team book there’s surprisingly little showing (instead of telling) what the team is going to be like together, or even how they know each other.


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