5 Ways Veil Kicks Rape Culture Right in the Crotch

Categories: Comics

I picked up Greg Rucka's debut book for his new comic series Veil for my monthly comic round-up, and having read through it about six times now I am convinced that it is the greatest antidote to rape culture I've ever seen in a comic in addition to just being a fascinating and original story. Rucka has been sitting on the character of Veil for 20 years, never really able to may it come out the way he wanted. I say the reason is because Rucka is clearly so ahead of mainstream culture that there was simply no place ready for such a work.

Here's five reasons why.

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The Best Comics in March Part 2: Loki is Awesome and Buffy Doesn't Suck Anymore

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Click here for Part 1.

American Vampire: Second Cycle #1: If there's any genre harder to make a mark in these days than zombie fiction it's vampires. Trust Scott Snyder to accomplish it. His first run with American Vampire was a refreshing bit of new blood in the genre, and now he's back.

We're still dueling between the vampires Skinner (Unrepentant and murderous) and Pearl (Still trying to live the daywalker dream). If you missed the first go-round then there's a handy primer at the back of the first issue, but really the story draws you right in. Pearl runs a sort of Underground Railroad for refugee vampires, and opens her home to a young vampire girl who heralds the coming of an impossibly powerful supernatural force that will require Pearl to seek out Skinner for help.

The fractured timeline nature of the narrative is still a bit hard to follow, but the overall it's still one of the best comic vampire stories ever told.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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The Best Comics in March Part 1: Garth Ennis Does Homeward Bound

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

Veil #1: Whenever I see a Greg Rucka title I always feel like I'm in line for a roller coaster I am probably not tall enough to ride on safely. The man is a master of strange exhilarations, and Veil is already on its way to being one of his best.

The story follows a young woman who wakes up naked in the subway able to talk, but stuck speaking in compulsive rhymes and unable to identify herself. Walking out nude into the streets of New York gets her exactly the sort of attention you'd expect, but once a man named Dante realizes that the woman who calls herself Veil is actually confused and unable to care for herself he takes her home to help her. Unfortunately, his friends take offense at what they consider him denying them their rape, and it's in a bloody confrontation in a tenement hall that Veil reveals that she has a gruesome and deadly power.

It's storytelling at its finest, and you'll be hooked from the very first page. This promises to be that roller coaster ride I mentioned. Hold on tight.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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Frozen Proves We Can Have a Female Superhero Movie

The superhero movie has come of age, and I think we can all agree it's a glorious age. Sure, it would be nice to have Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four in the Marvel Studio pen rather than being executed with varying degrees of success by other studios that understand comic movies are big now but not exactly why, but I can live with that if it nets me Winter Soldier and Rocket Freakin' Racoon on the big screen. I'm even excited about Ant-Man, and that sentence has probably never been typed before.

But look at that amazing line up of films stretching back to Iron Man and Batman Begins and you'll notice a pattern. I'll give you a hint; it's the parts that do not involve flying mammals or alloys. Superpowered females in any form are almost non-existent in the modern cinematic universe, and yet we've all just seen the best example that this is an error in movie studio judgment in the fact that Disney's biggest hit in years is for all intents and purposes a superhero movie.

Think about it... first off, Elsa has a superpower, the only Disney princess to do so that doesn't involve talking to the animals. Rapunzel has that healing hair trick and some of the rest are capable fighters, but Elsa has cryokinesis. That puts her in the big leagues as far as powers go. Iceman was classified as an omega level mutant, the highest level of genetic potential, for basically the same power. She is a magic-based meta-human. No argument.

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The Best Comics in February: Russian Space Mystery and Lara Croft

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review.

The Fuse #1
Easily the best book in February is Antony Johnson's epic new sci fi mystery series. The story follows a new detective on a Russian space station who immediately finds himself embroiled in strange murder involving the homeless population that lives among the wiring. Detective Dietrich is a no-nonsense cop with an iron moral code who finds himself paired with the more capricious Klem. The veteran is still getting over the retirement of her old partner, and finds Dietrich's supercop routine extremely amusing up on the perversely understaffed Midway City Police Department.

Right off the bat the book grabs you with a great mystery and perfect timing between the two police officers. The space settings lends a new layer to a pretty old pulp story story of murder on the beat, bu it's Johnston's dialogue that is the most potent ingredient in gripping a reader. Justin Greenwood's art can take a little getting used to, but it's pretty clear Klem is his favorite character as she is lovingly rendered as a cross between Baba Yega, David Bowie, and the Ninth Doctor. Combined with the amazing characterization of Johnston and she's a gift of a hero.

Rating: 9 of 10

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Review: The Last of Us: American Dreams

Categories: Comics, Gaming

In just a few days we're getting new downloadable content for The Last of Us, which was easily the best game of 2013. The expansion, Left Behind, is set to follow Ellie in the time before she began her journey across the country with Joel and features her young friend Riley as a main character as well.

In order to prepare for revisiting the hellish, zombie-infested world of the game, Naughty Dog was kind enough to send me the trade paperback of the tie-in comic American Dreams. Written by the game's director, Neil Druckmann, with art by Faith Erin Hicks, the book is a must-read if you plan to explore Ellie's early life in the brutal military quarantine zone where The Last of Us initially begins the main game.

There were a lot of great things about the title, but what made it stand out most from an artistic perspective is how the gameplay explored not only the behavior of the fungal zombies, but the way that war against them can turn humans into living instead of undead monsters. It's the same thing that makes Night of the Living Dead the masterpiece that it is.

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Has the Kiddification of Comics Gone Too Far?

Categories: Comics

In my regular monthly round-up of the best comic titles I always make it a point to include all-ages releases. Just as video games have, comics seem to have "grown up" with my generation, and finding fare for the ten-and-under reader is increasingly difficult. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for all the dark, cynical, and deep stories from the likes of Matt Fraction, Gail Simone, and Scott Snyder, but won't someone think of the children?

Well, Art Baltazar did. I first picked up a few volumes of his Tiny Titans about a year ago to share with my young daughter, and that went swimmingly. Baltazar offered comic strip-level stories with ultra-cute versions of the Teen Titans doing things like going to class to show off their pets and making friends. How more adorable can you get?

The success of Tiny Titans helped start a wave of these Comic Babies titles, and at first I thought it was a brilliant way to ease kids into comics. Now, I'm starting to think the whole thing has gotten out of hand,

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The Best Comics in January Part 2: Harley and Ivy, Together at Last

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 1 here.

All-New X-Men #22: One day I hope there's a huge trade paperback collection of all these Brian Michael Bendis stories because they are wonderful, huge, and frankly a little hard to love in single issue format. Still coming off a time when the original five X-Men were brought to show their future selves just how far they had wandered from their origins, the five teenaged mutants are now trapped in the present and joined by X-23.

What they had gone through was more or less a huge recap of the fall of Scott Summers into a man who could essentially be called a terrorist, not to mention Jean Grey witnessing her own death. That's going to leave anyone shook up, and the emotional aftermath is portrayed with real poignancy by Bendis.

Now the Shi'ar have come to Earth to claim the younger Grey and make her stand trial for the crimes of the Dark Phoenix, even though she hasn't actually committed them yet. Help arrives, sort of, in the form of the Guardians of the Galaxy. There has never been a comic that couldn't be improved by more Rocket Raccoon, though I am not a fan at all of the way Stuart Immonen has taken to drawing Kitty Pryde.

The consummate professor and veteran X-Men has way too many scenes where she's drawn helpless in men's arms when she's arguably the most badass person currently on the team. It doesn't ruin the book or anything, but it is a little annoying at this stage in the game.

Rating: 6 out of 10

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The Best Comics in January Part 1: Deadpool at His Deadpooliest

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Look for Part 2 tomorrow.

Hawkeye #16: don't know why I don't follow Hawkeye more closely. I have literally never read an issue I didn't think was absolute genius. Part of that is Matt Fraction, who is easily one of the top ten comic writers working writer now, and a big part of it is that non-powered heroes always try harder.

Kate Bishop has taken the mantle of Hawkeye out to Los Angeles to try for a career as a private eye. She manages to land somewhere between Nancy Drew and Buffy Summers on the scale of detective effectiveness, and somehow that makes her all the more sincere and endearing.

This case finds her helping out a member of a Beach Boys-esque '60s group who is pretty obviously a fill-in for Brian Wilson. For almost half a century he's been working through mental illness to complete a mysterious masterpiece that now finds itself leaked onto the Internet. Bishop takes the case, befriending the old hippie and learning a great deal about the entertainment world and the magic of music. It's short on action, but extremely long on good vibrations. If some aspiring short film maker was looking to make a first class Hawkeye story, I'd nominate this one.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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The Best Comics in November Part 2: Stalin Gets a Superwoman...That's Not Good News

Categories: Comics

Each month the staff at 8th Dimension Comics picks out the best book to review. Yesterday we gave you Part 1

Uber #8: Kieron Gillen is proving to be a fairly amazing storyteller, both helming the new Wolverine Origins series and this interesting historical take on the second World War. It's brutal and bloody, but that's war for you,

In the waning days of the war Hitler's scientists developed a process that turned men into supermen. Like real ones, not just good-looking blond people. Unfortunately (For Hitler, yay for us), it comes too late to do more than prolong the struggle because only one out of every 5,000 people is eligible for the process. Everyone else dies a very bad death.

The secret of the process is smuggled out of Germany and sold to various other world powers. Now here's a fun question; of all the world leaders besides Adolf Hitler you would most not want to give a secret weapon to, who would it be? Joseph Stalin, of course. One out of every 5,000? Stalin likes those numbers just fine and begins forcibly applying the formula to prisoners and conscripts. He's perfectly willing to kill more than 400,000 of his own people to claim 84 new unstoppable soldiers. It's a terrifying vision of one of history's most dangerous and murderous men retold through a superhero lens with uncomfortable genius.

Rating; 9 out of 10

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