Spinner Rack: Angel & Faith 4, Princeless 2, Star Trek/LSH 1

Princeless #2

Princeless #2 cover

story by Jeremy Whitley
art by M. Goodwin
Action Lab Entertainment, $3.99 US

Out tomorrow is the second issue of Princeless, a fresh take on fairy tale ideas. Unfortunately, this issue makes us wait to see what Princess Adrienne is up to in her self-rescue. Instead, we meet Devin, her twin brother, who is busy being berated by their overbearing father. Dad’s child-rearing methods leave a lot to be desired; he’s either locking his daughters away in towers to be rescued because “a woman’s place is to be ruled” or trying to make his son tougher by telling him he’s worthless. (Makes me wonder what King Dad’s childhood was liked; is this like fraternity hazing, where he perpetuates it because he had to live through it?)

I know this issue is trying to set things up for the second half of the story, where Adrienne and Devin seek their younger sister Appalonia, and the siblings learn to value their skills regardless of their gender, but I missed seeing Adrienne have a more proactive role. This is really Devin’s issue, and I wanted more of the girl hero, although we do learn more about how she ended up in the tower in issue #1.

The art is great, with plenty of action and emotion, particularly well-suited to the flashback sections. There are a couple of panels where too many balloons make it difficult to know which way to follow the conversation, and as I said, it would be nice to see Adrienne making more choices instead of simply reacting, but this is only one chapter in the tale. I’m still looking forward to issue #3 (even if the series isn’t going to be the solo girl fantasy story I hoped for, instead becoming more of a family affair). It’s a good lesson in patience, and not getting too caught up in your expectations, because a comic might surprise you in the different direction it takes.

I posted a short preview of issue #1 in case you’d like to see more.

Angel & Faith #4

Angel & Faith #4 cover

script by Christos Gage
art by Rebekah Isaacs
Dark Horse Comics, $2.99 US

The first storyline, “Live Through This”, comes to a close with this issue.

I’m not a fan of crazy vampire villain siblings Pearl and Nash, and I think featuring them on the cover with Angel and Faith nowhere in sight is a poor choice. They remind me too much of Spike and Drusilla, and they apparently have history with Angel I’m unfamiliar with (since I started again with Dark Horse’s Buffy universe with this series). However, you need some kind of big action to conclude this part of the story, and for beating up, they serve well enough. Their albino-ish looks are definitely distinctive visually.

There’s even more creepy coming, and that’s one of the things I like best about this series — it’s able to keep surprising me in both the character depth it reveals and the imaginative concepts it spins. Part of that is due to the setting, after “the end of magic”. That makes for a fresh take on things and brings new readers and long-time devoted fans closer together, since neither knows exactly how things work in this new fictional world.

There’s even a meaningful message, in keeping with the symbolism that drew me to the Buffy universe in the first place: be careful what you wish for, because too much of a good thing can be hell. And I’m really enjoying the relationship building between the two title characters. Faith’s a little older, but still that entertaining living-on-the-edge girl — only she’s got better reasons now for what she does. Angel is tortured and driven, but in the service of something I wish for, too: Giles’ return. Even though it shouldn’t happen. I’m curious to see when and how Angel realizes that, too.

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1

Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1 cover

written by Chris Roberson
pencils by Jeffrey Moy
inks by Philip Moy
IDW Publishing, $3.99 US

I admit, I had nostalgic flashbacks when I saw the Keith Giffen alternate cover (shown here). That grungy look for the adult heroes reminded me of when I first started reading the Legion, and all the changes they (and I) have been through since.

Unfortunately, this is much more a Star Trek story than a Legion one, and a slow-paced one at that. While I simply adore seeing the Moy Brothers’ work again — and they do a terrific job on all the likenesses — not enough happens for me to want to keep up between months with the dribs and drabs of what’s going on. Especially when I know that there will be a friendly collected edition soon enough, where I can read the whole thing at once.

I do wish we’d seen more Legionnaires, too, since that’s the thing that makes the concept so special. Here, they picked the three founders — Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, the obvious choices — and three that looked like aliens — Brainiac 5, Shadow Lass (in her sexy halter top bathing suit outfit), and Chameleon Boy. And yes, that is how they’re identified, even though they’re drawn as adults.

The two teams have certain elements in common, such as their unwillingness to affect the course of events, for one. And I would love to see Brainy and Spock face off, as suggested by the indicia page. But this issue takes too many pages to simply get the two teams to an alternate Earth where they get attacked. By the end of this installment, they haven’t even met yet! How is that a crossover? (It gets worse — a flip-through of issue #2 shows that by the end of that issue, they STILL haven’t met each other, although they’re about to.)

(The publishers provided review copies of these comics.)

12 Responses to “Spinner Rack: Angel & Faith 4, Princeless 2, Star Trek/LSH 1”

  1. Jeremy Whitley Says:

    Hey Johanna, thanks for the Princeless love, even if it is tempered. I promise issues three and four will be unadulterated girl heroics.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Cool! I hope it’s clear that I was disappointed more because of my expectations (that turned out to be wrong) than because of the book itself.

  3. Jeremy Whitley Says:

    Yeah, that’s cool. It actually made me a little happy because I just finished reading and article about how The Walking Dead has been so successful because it never does what you think it’s going to. Anyway, I personally think you’ll enjoy issue 3 and look forward to getting it to you.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Yay! I look forward to seeing it.

  5. Brian Saner Lamken Says:

    if the series isn’t going to be the solo girl fantasy story I hoped for, instead becoming more of a family affair

    That’s a shame to hear. Not because the creators don’t have a right to tell that story — just because there are so few comics out there with empowerment stories for young girls and especially young girls of color.

    I haven’t been to the shop yet this week to see #2 for myself, but I’ll still be picking it up. And I’m glad to hear from Mr. Whitley that later issues put the spotlight back on “unadulterated girl heroics”. 8^) I’m always looking for comics for my nieces, who love superheroes as well as princesses (which is why Wonder Woman is, like, the best); they’re as hooked as I am on Tiny Titans, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and the brilliant, can’t-believe-there’s-no-sequel Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, as well as Archie stuff and the superb Magic Trixie.

    The manager of my local shop is great at recommendations — my nieces and their cousin are both asking when there’ll be another book of The Courageous Princess — so not long after we were racking our brains to come up with something for a biracial (“Like the President!”) 6-year-old in my family he handed me Princeless #1, the only thing that came to his mind the time (unfortunately not out by her birthday, although it’ll make a fine stocking stuffer). While the coloring’s a bit dark, the printing’s a bit muddy, and the balloon order’s occasionally a bit unclear as you said, Johanna, there’s humor, attractive art, and appreciated heart in this series. Unless there’s a serious drop-off in quality in later issues, Princeless will be getting repeat business from me.

  6. Johanna Says:

    I’m glad to hear your shop is so good at helping your nieces find comics for them. Have they read Rapunzel’s Revenge?

  7. Jim Perreault Says:

    I’m enjoying Star Trek/Legion of Super Heroes (although in my case it is from a love of Star Trek). I agree, the pacing is way too slow. Having two issues without the teams meeting is just wrong.

    Anyways, you forgot to mention my favorite thing about the series: the blending of the two Universes with cameos of classic DC space characters like Tommy Tomorrow. Nice touch.


  8. Johanna Says:

    How could *I* remember what *your* favorite thing is? :) Glad you’re liking it. If I liked Star Trek more, I might too.

  9. Brian Saner Lamken Says:

    I’m glad to hear your shop is so good at helping your nieces find comics for them. Have they read Rapunzel’s Revenge?

    No… Uncle Brian was not aware of it, but he’ll definitely check it out. Thanks! And just to plug the shop properly: If anyone reading this is visiting the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia, they should visit Showcase Comics on Lancaster Ave. in Bryn Mawr; there’s also a store in the Granite Run Mall on Baltimore Pike in Media. Greater Philadelphia is a, well, great place for comics shops.

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