Sunday, January 9, 2022

A Few Graphic Novels - Jan 2022

 A friend of mine lent me some graphic novels a little while ago and I finally got around to reading them today. 

First was Return of the Valkyries, a random story where Jane Foster brings more Valkyries back (?) in the middle of Marvel's The King in Black event.  Right off the bat I was kind of in trouble because I knew nothing about The King in Black (but the book does a good enough job of giving you the gist of things so I get that it's like a chaotic god named Knull is attacking the earth with an army of symbiote-dragons).  It opens with Jane Foster ferrying the best super-human, Sentry, to death because he failed to stop the mad god (I'm not a comics expert, but I have never heard of this guy before so his death meant nothing to me). :( On the way to the afterlife, they find the body of the Celestial whose head is being mined elsewhere (where the Collector lives in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie).  The body has been trapping souls and manages to snag Sentry's.  While trying to get him back, Jane frees another lost soul (and fellow Valkyrie). They return to Valhalla where Brunnhilde fills Jane in on what they're dealing with (the Celestial's body is tied to Knull.  Breaking the bond between the two will weaken Knull.  But the rescued Valkyrie isn't interested in joining the fight, so Jane hatches a desperate plan with two others.

I found this one kind of hard to follow at times.  Yes, I understood the main plot and what was going on.  But I had a hard time keeping track of what all the characters were doing and why (and also who was dead vs who wasn't, as the dead Valkyries all show up to help).  I also have no idea what the rescued Valkyrie's name is (I'm sure it says it somewhere, but I didn't catch it, even though I caught her dead lover's name, and the names of some of the dead Valkyries).  This story also kind of felt out of place to read it on its own - it would probably be a lot better within the context of the King in Black storyline.

Next was Star: Birth of a Dragon. Star (aka Ripley Ryan) is a character from Captain Marvel.  While interviewing Captain Marvel, Ryan was kidnapped and later gained superpowers, attempting to kill Captain Marvel (she failed, but I think she killed many in New York).  To stop her, Captain Marvel ripped a hole through her chest.  But she didn't die.  Instead she somehow ended up bound with the reality stone.  Sentenced to prison on the Raft, she breaks out and just wants to be left alone.  But her uses of the infinity stone are clumsy, and she suddenly has a whole pile of superhumans looking for her to obtain it!

 This was a really interesting read.  Ryan is suffering from PTSD after being kidnapped and having Captain Marvel punch a hole through her.  She's trying to deal with that while also trying to control her new powers.  And to make everything worse, guess who shows up, but Captain Marvel herself!  I think what really made this story shine was at the end when Carol Danvers doesn't understand what happened (and just how traumatized Ryan is by her), why Ryan chose to make a deal with the Black Order rather than fighting with her and Scarlet Witch. I'm not sure if that PTSD will feature in future stories with this character, but I'm definitely interested to read more!

Finally, I read Crossover Volume 1: Kids Love Chains.  This one has a really interesting premise.  All the people of all the comic books have suddenly appeared in our world, blurring the lines between what is real and what is fake.  The comic people have erected a barrier over one of our cities.  Any of the comic people caught outside of the dome are immediately surrendered to the police when caught.  

In the middle of all this is Ellie, a young girl whose parents were caught on the other side of the dome.  She works in a comics shop with Otto.  When a young comic girl, Ava, is found in the shop, everyone panics and the shop is lit on fire.  Ellie, Otto, and Ava escape, and end up embarking on a journey to return Ava to her world (and hopefully find Ellie's parents along the way).  

I really, really enjoyed Crossovers.  It was a really interesting look at what could happen if our world collided with the fantasy world of comics (in a very District 9 kind of way).  The one issue I had with it was that I didn't really know who any of the characters in it were (although there was a list at the end with thanks to people whose characters appeared in this, so that was helpful).  I loved the ending, and can't wait to read more of Ellie's adventures!

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