Monday, April 8, 2013

Abe Sapien #1, Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the B.P.R.D.

Abe Sapien #1
Dark and Terrible (1 of 3)
Writers: Mike Mignola and Scott Allie
Artist: Sebastian Fiumara
Colors: Dave Stewart

Abe Sapien #1 is the first Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comic I've bought since the original Lobster Johnson miniseries came out years ago.  Actually, I didn't even buy this.  Courtney was interested and, despite my observance that I never buy Mignolaverse books because I feel like I'm constantly in the middle of a story, she bought it anyway.  Well, this issue proved my concern about the accessibility of the Hellboy/B.P.R.D. comics to be true, but at the same time, it's just so well drawn and compelling that I don't really care.

This issue certainly takes place within the context of the greater B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth storyline, of which I'm only vaguely familiar.  It does very little to try and bring new readers up to speed other than lay out the very basics of the story: big demon crab-spiders called the Ogdru Hem seem to be crawling out of the earth and laying eggs all over the United States, and Abe Sapien has gone awol for reasons unknown.  The mystery of why Abe has left the B.P.R.D. to go on his own adventure is so far unexplained, but I'm sure it will be revealed as Mike Mignola and Scott Allie's story unfolds.

As someone who only has a passing knowledge of the current run on B.P.R.D. and Abe Sapien's backstory, I found myself lost in the middle of the bigger picture, but intrigued by the small story presented here.  In a sense, this is really how the story unfolds itself, as a group of hobos on a train swap stories about the Ogdru Hem, the devastation they've seen across American, and their theories about how the federal government is or is not responding to this demonic threat.  The bigger picture is lost on these homeless men, and as a new reader I identified with their fundamental lack of context or understanding.

If I'm being honest, I'd say that anyone who considers picking this up and isn't following B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth should probably start there, as it will provide a lot of the context for the story presented here, but readers who are curious about diving into the expanded Hellboy universe could do a lot worse than starting off with this new ongoing series starring one of Mignola's most memorable characters.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Abe Sapien and Fables Vol. 8

I did pick up Miss Fury while at the comic book shop today.  And then put it down again.  Quickly.  No one's boobs look like that.  Seriously.

So I picked up Abe Sapien #1 instead, which I found quite enjoyable.  The nod to Justin Bieber in the devil-conjuring scene totally hooked me.  Of course the girl wearing a Justin Bieber turtleneck gets sacrificed.  Of course.

I was definitely left with more questions than answers after this issue.  Christian tells me that can be a hazard of Hellboy comics.  I'm ok with the questions I have--so far, they are the sign that I want to keep reading.  There does seem to be an awful lot of yelling in this issue.  I was starting to wonder if this is a trademark of the writer because there are at least three separate instances of serious yelling.  The issue even ends with yelling.  And, of course, the yelling leads to questions that aren't answered.

The art is dark and creepy at all the right moments.  Whatever happened to that hobo's arm is totally cringe-inducing.  It also pays attention to the right details--when Devon's head drops after she is questioned on Abe Sapien's well-being, we know she's hurting.  Her body language in that entire sequence is spot on.

At this point, we know very little about what is going on with Abe Sapien himself.  He's in hiding, obviously, but why?  I have no idea.  I'll be waiting for the next issue to answer that.

On to Fables, Volume 8.  It's been months since I read Volume 7 and I finally picked up Volume 8 today.  I'm going to be honest.  I cried.  Happy tears though.  Bigby Wolf and Snow White get married!!  This is probably my favorite volume out of all of them so far.  I'm planning to read this again.  Mostly for the obvious reasons--Christian and I getting married in three months, for one.  Christian totally looking like Bigby Wolf, for another.

When Snow White and Bigby reunite, they begin to walk off and Snow exclaims, "Hold on, I need to go back and get my cane."  Bigby replies, "No, you won't need it.  You can lean on me from now on."

I couldn't see the panels until three pages later, I was so teary-eyed.  I'm such a softy.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My iPhone and my laptop are mortal enemies

I know, I know.  I promised a new episode of our podcast today, but apparently my laptop and my iPhone fucking hate each other and every time I plug my iPhone into my Acer it shrieks at me "Dear God what is that!?!  Take it out, take it out!"

So yeah, there won't be a new episode of our podcast today, and until I can figure out how to transfer audio reliably from my phone to my PC, I don't know what our future episode schedule is going to be like.

Sorry to those of you who've been waiting for the second episode.  We talked about Batgirl #18, Avengers Arena #6, Uncanny X-Men #3, and I talked briefly about Archer & Armstrong #8 and Bloodshot #9.  Courtney and I liked Batgirl but thought the death of Damian was mishandled in the issue.  Uncanny X-Men is getting better.  Courtney likes it but I'm still not sold on the book.  Avengers Arena is awesome and if you're not reading it "because teh modern comics are all about killing off characters" then you need to take your rattle and your lolly and crawl back to your crib.  Archer & Armstrong was awesome.  I hope that new Geomancer doesn't die from that arrow to the throat.  Ouch. Bloodshot was also great and Gamma finally got what was coming to her.  That was basically our episode in a nutshell.  I wish my Acer wasn't such an obstinate asshole and that you could all hear it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New podcast episode coming later this week!

Whoa! We've passed 10'000 views on our blog, thanks in no small part to everyone who listened to the first episode of our new podcast.  You guys and gals rock!

A new episode of the Comic Lovers Podcast will be posted on the blog later this week.  Check back on Friday night or sometime on Saturday for that.  We'll be taking a look at some new releases this week from Valiant, Marvel and DC, as well as some of the other recent reads we've been enjoying since our last episode was recorded.

If you're having a light week and are looking for a recommendation: look no further than Bloodshot #9 by Duane Swierczynski and Manuel Garcia.  This is the finale of "The Rise and Fall" story arc that has been ongoing since Bloodshot #5, and leads in directly to the hotly anticipated Harbinger Wars miniseries that will crossover with Harbinger this summer.

This is an event that you seriously don't want to miss, and it all begins here with Bloodshot #9. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Preview: H.A.R.D. Corps to Return in Harbinger Wars

The upcoming Harbinger Wars mini-series is already my most-anticipated comics event of the summer, but my enthusiasm has just reached a fever pitch with Valiant's announcement today that the H.A.R.D. Corps will be debuting in the new Valiant Universe in Harbinger Wars #3.

I was just reading the original, chromium cover H.A.R.D. Corps #1 this weekend, and was reminded just how great of a concept this series had, and how well it could do in the present Valiant Universe if executed properly by the right creative team.

The Harbinger Active Resistance Division (or H.A.R.D. Corps) are a mercenary outfit employed by Omen Industries, a corporation with an opposing interest to those of Toyo Harada and the Harbinger Foundation.  The H.A.R.D. Corps themselves are comprised of ex-military vets who have been awakened from comatose states, and given the option to live again and work for the H.A.R.D. Corps.  They're granted Harbinger powers from a computer network named Softcore, and can use any number of powers, one at a time.  The catch is that each member of the H.A.R.D. Corps is implanted with a kill switch, that will cause their heads to explode if they are caught or go rogue.

With the war between Project Rising Spirit and the Harbinger Foundation bringing the corporate espionage of the Valiant Universe to the forefront in this crossover, it'll be very interesting to see how the H.A.R.D. Corps are going to affect this dynamic, or what role they will play.

In short, F.U.C.K. Yes, H.A.R.D. Corps!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Comic Lovers Podcast Ep 1: Our Very First Episode!

Well that was fast, eh?  Yesterday I teased the possibility of an upcoming podcast and tonight I'm posting our very first one.  Okay, this is a very ROUGH cut with decent audio but no audio mixing or intro music.  This is some bare bones, raw stuff here people.

We decided that we were through talking about "maybe" recording a podcast, and just decided to give it a shot.  Practice makes perfect, or in our case, somewhere between bad and not half-bad.  Either way, I don't have the energy to write a lot of reviews these days but I always have time to talk about comics.  Especially with Courtney (okay, anyone who'll listen, really).

I'd like post one of these every week.  We're going to be reading these books and then talking about them later anyways, so the very least we can do is record our thoughts on them.  Eventually I plan on adding some intro music, but before that can happen I need to a) find some decent (free) audio editing software, and b) find a band willing to lend me some of their music to use in our opening.

In this episode Courtney and I talk about Uncanny X-Men #2 and FF#4.  She comments on the size of She-Hulk's boobs and I defend what might be Emma Frost's least-revealing outfit ever.

You can download the full episode at the Internet Archive here.

Since this is very much a test run, please let us know if there are any issues with streaming, problems with audio quality, etc.  I will be adding these to iTunes at some point in the future, but only once we've recorded a few, ironed out some of the kinks, and have added some intro and outro music.

We hope you like it.

UPDATE:  I've re-uploaded the episode with the new intro and outro music.  The song featured is "New World" by The Dyeing Merchants.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coming Soon: The Comic Book Couple presents Comic Lovers Podcast

First of all, I'd like to apologize to those who keep checking our site each week wondering if something is actually going to be posted on Wednesday or not.

I know I sound like a broken record here, but between our thesis work, full-time jobs, and wedding planning, neither Courtney nor I have a lot of spare time during the week to sit down and write reviews (especially because writing is what we both do for a living and for school).

Therefore, I have some potentially exciting news:  we will be revamping the website in the Spring and, in the next month or so, working on a format for a weekly or bi-weekly podcast that Courtney, myself and maybe a few guests will be recording.

This is definitely going to be podcasting on a budget, but it was always my intention for these reviews to be more of a conversation starter or part of an ongoing dialogue than just random posts sent out to die in internet oblivion, so I'm looking forward to creating something that encourages Courtney and I to talk about the books we're reading and hopefully hear from you (who we hope will be listening).

Thanks again for reading The Comic Book Couple everyone.  We hope to have more content for you very soon.