This weekend, Luke, Niel, Arielle and Jon sat down to discuss the second round of MonkeyBrain Books.
Luke: Welcome to Nerdcenaries MonkeyBrain Comics Round 2. On the panel we have Jon, Niel and Arielle. How are you guys doing?
Niel: I’m alright.
L: So let’s start with Wander then by friend of Nerdcenaries, Kevin Church.
N: I really liked that one.
A: Well, there you go.
J: It was nice.
A: I think the pacing was a little awkward, but the characters were enough to keep it going.
L: I didn’t have an issue with the pacing personally.
A: I just felt a little flip flopped with the flashbacks. The exposition was probably a small part of that too.
N: It was pretty much everything I wanted out of that Guilded Age thing I reviewed a while back, and I really liked the little glitches that made it more vague what exactly that Ninth Kingdom thing was. Also liked that ad at the end.
L: Yeah. It was a lot funnier, it moved faster and – yeah I agree with you Niel, though Guilded Age moves into some other territory later on.
J: I liked the premise, but the continued complaining about not having coffee may turn me off eventually.
A: A+ with all of Olive’s reactions to everything. I like that they made her a brat.
L: I think it was more realistic complaining than some of the other comics.
N: What was that thing her boss found in her backpack? I kind of thought it was a pen, but it wasn’t really clear.
L: It was a pen.
A: A pen, her boss is a jerk.
N: Yeah, I thought so.
J: That was hilarious. Because it’s real.
A: That was a good scene, it really showed why Olive is the way that she is.
L: I had a boss who did the same thing.
A: That’s actually terrible.
L: Yeah. And then the went out of business!
A: Small wonder.
J: Did everyone have a panel that was wonk?
A: In what way?
J: Patches missing, kind of scrambled
L: Oh yeah, that was on purpose.
N: Oh, the glitched out one, that was one of my favorite parts.
L: Also I really liked the side characters.
N: Yeah, those side characters.
A: I liked the interaction with the lizard guy probably the best.
L: I’d eat his babies. I finally had frog and it was pretty good.
A: I dunno, seems like it’d be scaly.
J: Is Pendant Publishing where Elaine used to work on Seinfeld?
L: It apparently is.
A: Is that where Olive works or something?
L: Nah, it is the company that made the book advertised at the end that is in universe.
A: Well, I totally missed that.
J: I’m wondering how they’re going to go with this. Is it going to be a mystery or is it a finite series?
L: No idea.
A: So far it’s asking some pretty straightforward plot questions, like, where is Olive and what.
L: But it is more enjoyable that the other ones we had to deal with. So on a scale of Aquaman to Batman, where does Wander stand?
A: Wonder Woman?
J: That scale makes no sense.
A: I wouldn’t compare it to most of the other ones we’re dealing with.
L: Jon, this is like Who’s Line. The points don’t mean a thing.
J: Now they’re points?
Consensus: Martian Manhunter
L: Slowing us down man. Onto Masks and Mobsters!
J: I’m into noir stuff and 40’s superheroes, so this was one of my favorites.
N: I liked it, but didn’t love it all that much. I did like that their hero is so very Golden Age, like I could see him hanging with the Justice Society.
J: The art could be better.
A: Main character was pretty much a jackass though.
N: Yeah, the art isn’t perfect.
L: I liked the art all right but I am interested in seeing how the anthology aspect works. After reading Zenith I think the black and white in M&M was really clear which I appreciated.
A: I liked the art a lot.
J: Main problem I have, though, is if it was that easy to kill a superhero, how are they a problem?
A: Maybe that guy just really sucked? But it’s a valid point.
L: What happens if you kill a superhero – you get all of the other ones after you. That was always my reasoning for not killing them. Otherwise the Justice League would be dead.
J: But you can just shoot them too.
A: Presumably the other ones are more threatening. And bulletproof.
L: Or it might be just the razzle dazzle of using a bright stick for distractions.
N: I kind of assumed that he was just a guy with some technology, like Ted Knight.
L: Yeah – he reminded me of the Golden Age Starman.
J: It’ll be interesting to see where it goes, but if it’s just an exercise in killing mystery men, I’m dropping it.
L: It is an anthology so I think it will be better than just killing a hero each issue.
A: By anthology, does that mean we won’t see more of the doof main character? I thought he was pretty entertaining. Didn’t quite make the gritty mark, but he was a good idiot.
J: You’re way more optimistic than I am.
L: I am always the optimistic one – unless I am not. So on the scale of A to Z, where does Masks and Mobsters stand for you?
A: Oh dear.
A: I just wish they’d get a letterer.
L: The message was horrible.
A: The message wasn’t even clear!
L: “If someone is a dick, don’t trust or help them!”
A: “If someone is potentially a dick, definitely treat them like a dick”?
N: I actually like the lettering, but yeah, that message. Oof.
L: Superman would have issues.
A: There are actual fables like that.
L: I found it easier to read though.
A: Like the scorpion and the frog, who work together to cross the river, then kill each other because it’s “their nature.”
J: Are they using real fables or just making them up?
A: Or was it a fish… I think they’re drawing from real fables.
L: I still think they are making it up.
A: But they’re rehashes.
J: The scorpion kills the frog.
A: That’s it.
L: Still, they totally castigate the owl for no reason.
J: They both die because he does it before they make it across.
A: I sided with the owl. Those small woodland creatures are dicks.
L: Yeah And if God chose the animals, would he let on dicks?
N: The art was nice, but yeah, all the animals on this boat are dicks. But there were some hints that the owl may have eaten the chickadee’s mate.
A: Yeah, but that was gossip from the dick animals.
N: Good point.
A: They proved themselves untrustworthy with their catty, passive aggressive story.
J: Some of those fables seem to think people can’t make wildly different choices for their own reasons.
L: Aesop’s Ark 3: The Owl Kills Everyone – The Lesson: Don’t Mess With Owls.
A: I would read that.
L: Owl Spinoff.
A: And well, they are fables. Super simplified.
L: Still, this didn’t sit well with me.
A: It muddled its message.
N: Yeah, I gotta agree.
A: It can look as pretty as it wants, but it has one mission statement, FABLES, and it screwed that up.
L: On the scale of Sinister Six from Vulture to Doc Ock, where does this sit for you guys?
N: Vulture, I guess.
L: And the final one is Amelia Cole #2. I liked this one a bit more but it is still slower than I’d like.
A: Yeah, I hear that.
J: I should’ve picked it up.
A: Also Amelia could stand to talk to herself less, out loud and in thought boxes.
That said, I love how self-righteous she is.
N: Yeah, it was alright, but in a boring kind of way.
L: She doesn’t think things out but I liked the golem.
A: The golem was cute!!
N: Yeah, the golem was cool.
A: I look forward to more golem.
L: The helicopter scene was also well done.
And they had Han Solo in a background panel.
N: I hadn’t noticed that.
A: I like Amelia’s audacity– she wanders into an unfamiliar world and basically tells the law to go fuck itself.
L: I’d paused reading and when I came back I was like – Oh dang, Han Solo.
I had issues with Amelia doing that but I am a very white dude.
A: I thought it was sorta funny.
And it cast her in a new light. More than just vigilante, she’s kind of reckless.
Granted, her aunt(?) just died and she lost everything she ever had.
L: and she is in a different world and is unsure of what to do.
I liked it more than #1 though so it is getting better.
A: With the magic and non-magic people, is anyone else sensing a class difference?
N: Yeah, kind of.
L: I’m not sensing an overly stereotypical one.
N: I’d like to see them go into that more.
A: I think that’s where they’re going.
Types of magic seem important to Amelia’s new world.
L: And Amelia’s amplified magic ability is interesting.
A: She’s trouble, that girl.
L: So on the scale of Chakras, where is Amelia Cole for you?
L: Solar Plexus Chakras for me.
J: That one Xena used.
A: I’ll take that one too, I guess
J: Honestly, the first one didn’t interest me all that much, so I didn’t feel like getting the second.
N: I give it a 4.5 out of 7.
Consensus: Nobody wanted to Wikipedia Chakras.
L: Well, there are more series and out of the three comics I got this week, Aesop and Amelia cost less than the third comic – the quite enjoyable Godzilla: The Half Century War.
N: That one was pretty great.
J: So they really don’t have a set schedule?
It just comes out whenever?
L: As they get done.
A: That’s pretty relaxed.
J: I will lose interest fast.
L: Well then Jon, I guess this roundtable is done.