Archive for the Comics Category

Avengers Arena not worth it after all

Posted in Comics, Superhero, Young adult with tags , on July 5, 2014 by Cara Marie

I didn’t read Avengers Arena when it first came out, because I objected to someone taking characters I love and sticking them in a battle royale-type situation. (Even if I do love Battle Royale the movie.) Then after the series was finished, I’d read enough that was positive about the series (and also really enjoyed the author’s run on Cable and X-Force) that I decided I would give it a go. And it wasn’t as bad or sensationalist as I had feared. But it wasn’t that worthwhile either.

Avengers Arena isn’t the series Hopeless originally pitched – that was a ‘straight teen drama set in a superhero school’. In the afterword to the trades, he says:

‘[The editors] pointed to a couple sentences near the end of the pitched that outlines what would have been our third arc. It was something about our kids competing in a tournament with other Marvel Universe schools that turns into a death match when a super villain takes control. The Triwizard Tournament meets The Hunger Games. Tom and Axel pointed to those two sentences and said, “There’s your story. Just do that.”

I never told this part of the story before, but I hated the idea. Instead of my dream project, they wanted me to do a Battle Royale homage. Were they serious?’

Later, Hopeless says he’s grateful for it. ‘They knew the story we needed to tell, long before I did. I’ll never thank them enough for pointing it out or Bill for talking me into giving it a shot.’

Thing is, I can imagine the concept working as an arc in an existing series – you’ve had time to build up to it, it can bring together themes you’ve been hinting at throughout the whole thing. (You won’t be pissing off the fans of existing characters by starting a new series devoted to those characters being compelled to kill one another!) But as it stands, I think Avengers Arena is a weak story. It’s not thematically coherent the way other teens-forced-to-kill stories are.

The basic idea is, I think, to highlight that adult superheroes are already letting these kids become killers. The closing pages of the comic show a couple of reporters discussing the kidnapping of the teenagers involved (before they or anyone else has let slip what happened in Murder World). One of the reporters says, ‘There’s a lot of blame to pass around here … most of which obviously belongs to whoever did this horrible thing. But from there I think you can head straight over to the adult super heroes. The men and women who trained these kids. Who failed these kids. These heroes of ours …’ – and we see Arcade, the mastermind of the whole thing, clicking ‘upload’ on a video –‘they should be ashamed of themselves.’

But this is not a theme that has been pushed through the series as a whole. It would have worked if this had been the end point of a series about training young superheroes – but that’s not what this is. This is a stand-alone story. Sure, half the kids are from Avengers Academy, and I could understand the arc in that context – but others are from Runaways, or other series that don’t involve kids actually being trained as superheroes. The original characters in the series are a UK superhero school, but this needed to come across of much more of a training facility than it did.

Also, Arcade’s motive for pitting the kids against one another is personal – partly him trying to prove his own worth as a supervillain, and partly just for entertainment. It is not political, the way the Hunger Games are political, or Battle Royale is political.

Arcade says to the participants, ‘Got the idea from a couple of kids’ books I read in the pen.’ Which is to *nudge wink* to the reader, yes, we know this is like The Hunger Games – but later, it comes out that book Arcade mostly has in mind is ‘the one about the kids on the island’, that is, Lord of the Flies.

But Lord of the Flies is about ‘human beings are [mostly] bad or at least morally weak people who form bad societies’, not about ‘bad societies force [mostly] not-bad people to do bad things’. Bringing up Lord of the Flies doesn’t strengthen the themes in Avengers Arena, it only confuses them.

And I think that’s what the issue is with the series as a whole – it is confused, and it tries to make an argument at the last minute that it hasn’t been building towards.

On the other hand, I did enjoy a lot of the characters – mostly the ones I wasn’t familiar with. Cammi I really liked, and would be keen to track down her other stories, and Death Locket and Apex in particular of the original characters. Also Arcade’s contractor, Miss Coriander, who was supremely competent and happy to work for Arcade whilst not buying into any of his bullshit.

I was more disappointed with the role of the characters I knew coming in. There was plenty of Hazmat being nihilistic, which is always good, but other than that … Reptil didn’t really get to do anything, Mettle got to die almost straight away … (Also, I was annoyed because there’s a line in there that made it so that Mettle was not Polynesian. Not that it was ever stated that Mettle’s dad was native Hawaiian, but it was a reasonable thing to assume, and it’s not like there are a whole lot of Polynesian characters in comics.)

I think Hopeless would have been better off with all-original characters, because he really did seem more interested in them. Which may be an artifact of this not being the series he originally pitched.

Cable and X-Force (and Hope)

Posted in Comics, Superhero with tags , , on April 6, 2014 by Cara Marie

So I finished reading Cable and X-Force (I got seriously behind on my comic subscriptions for a while) and damn, this was a good series. It strikes a good balance between action, silliness and pathos.

The final arc is a crossover with Uncanny X-Force, and apparently I will read crossovers if they involve only two series. I still find them kind of awkward – often I prefer one of the writers to the other, and I don’t always have any idea who the other characters are. But the crossover was centred around Hope (who is in Cable and X-Force), so that was okay.

Hope, and her dad, and her dad’s clone, and her own personal bogeyman. Read more »

Overthinking TV pilot blurbs

Posted in Comics, Crime, Fantasy, TV with tags on February 1, 2014 by Cara Marie

iZombie, from Warner Bros TV and Rob Thomas Prods, is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With the help of her medical examiner boss and a police detective, she solves homicide cases in order to quiet the disturbing voices in her head.
Deadline

I’m not sure what to make of this. Asides from the zombie-who-has-to-solve-crimes aspect, it doesn’t seem like it has that much in common with the comic. If I were going to write that kind of summary for the comic, it would go more like this …

iZombie, the comic, is a supernatural apocalyptic adventure story that centres on an art student-turned-zombie who takes a job as a gravedigger to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. With the help of her ghost friend and werewolf friend, she deals with the deads’ unfinished business – and on the way discovers that the end of the world is nigh, and she may be the only one who can stop it.

The fact that the impending apocalypse isn’t mentioned in the TV summary makes me think that they’ve scrapped that element. Sure, in the earliest issues of iZombie, it’s not obvious that’s where things are going, and it does seem as if the series might just be episodic – but it’s not. It gets apocalyptic fast, and it’s always been going there.

Based simply on the summary, it sounds to me like they’re not adapting the comic at all, only using it as inspiration. Like they just needed a quirky new premise for the procedural they were going to make anyway. Which is a huge disappointment to me, because I love the comic series, and the route it takes.

When the story doesn’t end

Posted in Books, Comics, TV with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by Cara Marie

The article Better Bite-sized appeared on Stuff today, inspired by the author David Haglund’s recent viewing of the TV mini-series The Top of the Lake. Noting that the series was imported, he asks ‘Why aren’t there more great American mini-series?’ (This confused me momentarily, until I remembered reading a New Zealand news site is no assurance of reading local content.)

I can understand his frustration with series that go on to long, or end up padded so that they can reach the requisite 22 episodes. I am all for series being allowed to reach their natural conclusions. I don’t agree that ‘the mini-series is probably the ideal form for creating great television art.’

It’s the ‘ideal form’ part that I take issue with. Just because longer series often outstay their welcome doesn’t mean that they have less potential for greatness. Haglund compares TV series to novels:

[Cable shows like The Sopranos] are often called novelistic, but even the serial novels of the Victorian era generally traced one central story from beginning to end in a way that The Sopranos and Mad Men don’t quite do.

He forgets that not all novels stand alone – he’d get a better equivalency with series than with serialised novels. Consider JD Robb’s In Death series, which is basically a procedural in novel form. Each book is its own arc and, with only a few exceptions, you could happily read them all as stand-alones. If you’re going to read them all though, it’s more satisfying to do it in order, just like it’s more satisfying to watch a TV show like Castle in order. The relationships and characters develop over the course of the series (Robb lets her characters get together more quickly though), but the basic structure is episodic.

This is not an uncommon structure for a novel series, especially in genres like crime and urban fantasy. But then, maybe Haglund would argue that genre series are never ‘great art’ …

Novels wouldn’t be my go-to comparison for TV narrative structures though. I’d go for another medium which is primarily delivered serially, and which is happy to embrace that. I’d go for comics.

You can have a fantastic, single-volume-narrative comic book. You can bundle that up as a ‘graphic novel’ and then the literati may even accept that a comic can be ‘great art’, because the structure is more like something they recognise, a novel or a mini-series.

You can just as easily have a fantastic comic book that runs past twenty volumes. Those twenty volumes may tell a complete, self-contained story. Or they may not!

Haglund seems to think this is a problem.

Characters interesting enough to serve as engaging companions week after week for years are wonderful creations, but their stories lack the meaningful shape found in the best novels and movies and plays. We may get glorious moments, and terrific episodes, and occasionally excellent multi-episode arcs. But the need to leave the door open, to keep the story going a little bit longer, and then a little bit longer, is an artistic impediment.

Sure, it’s frustrating when something that has a natural ending gets stretched out and padded and maybe never gets to end at all. But that’s when people are forcing their story into a different shape. It’s not because the shape of a long-form serial is less ‘meaningful’. It’s different, sure; it’s not less valuable.

Incidentally, this relates to why I don’t like ‘graphic novel’ as a synonym for ‘comic’ (asides from the cultural cringe). I don’t like the implication that a comic should be structured like a novel. It can be, but it’s not the only option, just like the novel isn’t the only option for telling a story in prose.

Call Blankets a graphic novel, fine. But something like Sandman doesn’t resemble a graphic novel just because it has an overall arc and an ending. It’s not trying to; it uses all the opportunities for side-stories, for multiple self-contained arcs that initially seem unconnected, that being a serial gives you (and that something like Blankets doesn’t.

(Which isn’t to say novels can’t use those things too. They just generally don’t. Or if you want to read the side-stories, you have to hunt down a bunch of random anthologies – you don’t get them as part of the core experience.)

And am I forbidden from calling Hellblazer a great comic, just because it doesn’t have an overriding arc? (I say, assuming Milligan didn’t pull one out his hat at the last minute.) Even though I’ve been attached to it for the last ten years? Even though it has great ‘mini-series’ arcs, and great single issue-length arcs, and great runs where several self-contained arcs build upon each other to a conclusion that is thrilling and inevitable? And then keeps on going?

Am I allowed to even though parts of it aren’t great, because hey, it’s a series, Azzarello’s arc doesn’t negate the brilliance of Delano’s? Am I allowed to even though it doesn’t stick with a single genre, and some parts are horror while others are only dark fantasy?

Is the serial aspect an ‘artistic impediment’? Or is it an opportunity for hundreds of issues of storytelling, by a variety of storytellers, that never would have happened if John Constantine had never been let out the pages of Swamp Thing?

Up till very recently, the Hellblazer door had been left open. That’s not an impediment, that’s opportunity.

John Ney Rieber ended his run on The Books of Magic after 50 issues. Because he’d reached the end of the stories he could tell there. And that’s valid. And maybe more TV series would be better if their show-runners could say, right, that’s it, we’ve reached the end of this story and that’s it.

But they don’t have to. Maybe one story isn’t all the stories they want to tell. Or maybe they can pass the batton on to someone else, like Rieber did – someone who does still have stories to tell.

A sequel isn’t always a cash-grab. Nor is an open-ended serial. And great art doesn’t have to be short and self-contained.

This week in comics /27 Oct

Posted in Comics, Fantasy, Superhero with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Cara Marie

So I am not going to talk about Journey into Mystery in this post. Because it really deserves its own. But, in other comics I am following:

Batwoman #13, JH Williams III + W Haden Blackman

If I didn’t have this on standing order in print, I wouldn’t be making the effort to read it anymore, and I’m thinking I should just drop it altogether. Issue #12 was a mess; this is a bit better, because at least I know Wonder Woman’s meant to be there … but I am struggling to care about any of it. Even JH Williams’ art seems less wonderous than it usually does.

Justice League Dark #13, Jeff Lemire + Mikel Janin, Vic Drujiniu, Ulises Arreola

Okay, maybe reading this on account of Tim Hunter was not such a good idea.

The things that make me sad about Justice League Dark:

  • not actually using Tim Hunter
  • undermining Zatanna – in this issue, she gets kidnapped voluntarily sacrifices herself by going off with an old ex enemy who John Contantine stole her from … look, it really just seems like this turn of events is more about John than it is about Zatanna! And I’m as fond of John as anyone, but please, not at her expense.

The Flash #13, Francis Manapul +  Brian Buccellato

Panel where the Flash has used his super-speed to tie up a bunch of gorillas. Glider is skating in the air and says, 'Well done, Red. If you ever wanna take off your goody two-shows, we could use a guy like you.' Flash says, 'You wish.'

Luckily The Flash is here to keep me cheerful. There are gorillas in Central City! Flash’s enemies are forced into teaming up with him! It’s all very exciting, and the art is charming as always. I think the lesson is that I should only read DC comics if they’re child-friendly.

Captain Marvel #5, Kelly Sue DeConnick + Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire

I really really want to love this comic but sadly I do not. It’s not that there’s anything in it that bugs me, or that it’s not written decently. It’s just that it’s not to my tastes. On the other hand, the preview is pretty interesting, so hopefully it will pick up. Maybe it’s just my innate loathing of time travel pulling things down.

Or it may just be that DeConnick is interested in different aspects of Carol than I am – always a risk with a new writer.

Or it could just be that the first arc in a new series is always the least interesting one. (That’s what I thought about Brian Reed’s Ms Marvel, at least.)

Anyway. Maybe next month I will love you, Captain Marvel.

Gambit #4, James Asmus + Leonard Kirk, Clay Mann, Seth Mann

This issue went by very fast. It’s pretty much the boss battle for the plot arc we’ve been following so far – so it’s not especially satisfying in itself, but it will work just fine once I reread the series. Plus, lookatthesedragons!

Full-page panel featuring some really stunning Eastern-type dragons.

Also, there is a lot of gratuitous shirtlessness.

A series of panels where Gambit has had his shirt torn to shreds. He uses what's left on the shirt to make himself a face-mask so he can go through some weird portal. What actually happens isn't really relevant, it's just the shirtlessness we're interested in.

Gambit is just a really fun series. It has gorgeous art and slinky, morally dubious attractive people. I have no idea what’s going to happen next and I really don’t care. In the good way :)

This week in comics

Posted in Comics, Fantasy, Superhero with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2012 by Cara Marie

Panel showing Kara looking distressed, while Tycho stands behind her, saying, ‘Our daughter? You mean Mom shot Dad?! And Dad was experimenting on you?! That is rough!’ ‘No,’ Kara says. ‘No, this can’t ... this can’t be true!’

Super-Girl #13, Michael Johnson + Sami Basri

In this issue, Kara has a confrontation with a villain from earlier in the series, as well as an epiphany about her past. Tycho is dispatched with rather easily, but the angst, I suspect, will remain.

The more exciting part of this issue was that Kara gets an awesome undersea fortress, and calls her girlfriend new BFF Siobhan when she gets lonely. I was worried we wouldn’t see Siobhan again after Kara’s little ‘I’m putting you in danger’ meltdown, so I was pleased to see her here.

The artist for this issue was Sami Basri. His style is quite different from Mahmud Asrar’s. It reminds me a bit of Jamie McKelvie with Matt Wilson on colours. I liked it. It’s maybe not quite as charming as the felt-tip look, but definitely has its own appeal.

The Mighty Thor #21, Matt Fraction + Alan Davis, Mark Farmer, Javier Rodriguez

Over in The Mighty Thor, the finale of ’Everything Burns’ happened. I was underwhelmed. Which was a shame – it should have ended the arc with a bang. Instead it lacked the gut-punch of the previous issues, didn’t read smoothly, and, while I am not opposed to Leah and Loki having a snog, I felt Leah was way too nice in this issue.

I know it was a stressful situation, but she’s always been sharper before. I’m not sure if this is meant to be development, or if story!Leah is different in this way from handmaiden!Leah … it just felt a little off.

Oh well. Next for Loki: the final issue of Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery. I’m preparing to have my heart ripped out.

Hawkeye #3, Matt Fraction + David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth

Hawkeye was also a bit confusing (also by Fraction!), because it jumped around in time some … but it’s so stylish I can’t hold such a small thing against it. I cannot even describe how much I love the art for this comic. I’ll just have to stick in a bunch of scans instead.

Panel showing Clint leaping out of bed in the nud! With a strategically placed Hawkeye-icon over the interesting bits.

 I enjoy Clint’s POV a lot too. He’s impossible not to like – a good guy, a little scattered in a very human way, a hero still with his enthusiasm intact. Also, he properly appreciates how awesome my girl Kate is. (So awesome. He’d be lost without her, natch.)

Panel showing Clint with a gun pointed at him – and Kate with an arrow pointed right back at the gunman.

I’m also intrigued by the redhead! Hopefully more will be revealed next issue …

Series of panels showing Clint talking to the redhead. ‘See?’ he says. ‘Look at how great you are. Why on earth would anybody want to kill you?’ She answers, ‘Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. ‘Okay,’ Clint says, ‘now I want to kind of kill you a little bit.’

My eternal favourites

Posted in Comics, Fantasy with tags , , , , , on September 30, 2012 by Cara Marie

So, I just found out that Tim Hunter had made an appearance in Jeff Lemire’s Justice League Dark. Not the same Tim Hunter I followed for some hundred issues as a teenager; still, Tim Hunter. And the following felt very him:

A young Tim Hunter narrates that he'd had enough of magic. 'So I performed my last and greatest spell,' he says. 'I culled every bit of magic I'd acquired, and I gave it a form, a shape. I made it tangible. And then I exorcised it from me.'

Justice League Dark, issue 12. Writing by Jeff Lemire, art by Mikal Janin.

 

By which I mean, really incredibly stupid. There’s no way it could ever turn out badly :D

I’d always intended to check out Justice League Dark once it came out in trade, but it looks like I might have to follow it more closely than that. It’s funny, because Tim was often the least interesting thing in The Books of Magic, but I really am very attached to him.

So that happened. AND THEN I decided I couldn’t wait  for my copy of Journey into Mystery to arrive this Wednesday and I’d have to read it online first. (It was a pragmatic decision. I might not be able to resist looking at spoilers another three days.)

LEAH. LOKI.

God, my heart. I am so overwhelmed right now.

Comics by women: some recs for a friend

Posted in Comics, Fantasy, Manga, Science fiction, Young adult with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2012 by Cara Marie

These are some recs for my friend Sarah, who has gone back to Sweden. I’d lent her some comics while she was home, and the night before she left, she commented on how all these Vertigo comics were written and drawn by men, and edited by women.

And that it was all very well that they had good female characters, but she’d like to see more women written by women.

Flatmate and I kind of laughed (it’s like self-defence).

But here are some comics recs for Sarah. I have no idea how easy they would be to get hold of in Sweden, of course!

Ōoku, by Yoshinaga Fumi

Alt-universe historical Japan: a plague has decimated the male population. Full of interesting what-if, the way things change, the way they don’t. Most of it is told from the point of view of men in the shogun’s harem, but it is a very expansive narrative – covering a huge period of time, and a variety of stories.

My favourite arc is in volumes 2 and 3. I have so much love for Iemitsu, the first female shogun. How her cruelty hides her hurt, how that hurt has shaped her, how it shapes the world. And how the male protagonist’s perspective on her changes, once he sees through her games.

It’s like ‘The Queen and the Soldier’ except (somewhat) less heartbreaking.

It’s an interesting comic intellectually, there’s a lot to chew on, but it’s also very emotionally gripping. And gorgeously drawn.

There’s a fabulous series of thinky posts on the first few volumes at The Lobster Dance – very spoilery, of course! But well worth reading.

Mystic, by G. Willow Wilson

Secondary-world fantasy, two best friends who dream of becoming magic users are torn apart when one of them is inadvertantly picked as a royal apprentice, and the other is not.

I’ve reviewed the first issue before, with pictures etc, and I found the whole thing to be very satisfying – except that I wanted more!

It’s very much a comic pre-teen Tamora Pierce fan me would have loved … and I haven’t changed that much.

Eternal Sabbath, by Soryo Fuyumi

A woman who feels disjarred from normal human relationships, who is a brilliant scientist but who is awful at social cues, gets involved with a man who can pass perfectly well in human society … but is really something else.

It’s a sci-fi thriller choc-ful of ethical dilemmas, and some of the most sparse and striking artwork I have seen. But also I can just relate a lot to Mine – knowing you’re not getting things right, but not being able to do differently; dissecting emotion, using it, and feeling like a cheat.

I could also hope to be as brave and forthright as she is.

Ceres: Celestial Legend, by Watase Yuu

I started reading this back when manga was still released issue by issue. Sarah read it then too, but I don’t think she ever got to finish it – I didn’t get all the trades for years, long after they stopped releasing the single issues.

Ceres is the story of Aya, a teenage girl who discovers the true legacy of her family: that they are descended from ‘celestial maidens’ (like selkies), and that some girls in the family are able to manifest as their foremother, Ceres.

Naturally, this means they have to die. Aya included.

The series is like, a billion doomed love stories, and the happiness you grab while you can, and not hiding from your feelings. About sacrifice, for the people who are your friends and your found family, and about the will to survive.

It has a lot about gender, not all of which I agree with, but it always feels very honest.

Also it’s just plain addictive shoujo manga, and the kind of comfort reading where you don’t mind you’ll be bawling by the end of it.

Off in the DCU

Posted in Comics, Manga, Middle fiction, Superhero with tags , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by Cara Marie

I always feel like Supergirl is way shorter than any of the other comics I read. Even though I’ve counted and it’s not. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I am all for more panels showing less time, but it does make it rather frustrating to read issue by issue.

Last issue introduced Siobhan, whose super magic learning abilities meant she could actually talk to Kara … and thus that she immediately adopted her. It was adorable. I was rooting for bff-ery and epic hi-jinks, and would’ve been quite happy if that was all the issue had given us.

But then: reveal! Siobhan is actually heir to a magic power she doesn’t want, and her evil father has shown up and she has to fight them. Which was at the end of the last issue, which made me feel tired. It’s like back when I was reading Sailor Moon for the first time, and the senshi would just have defeated the big bad and I would be like, yay, time for hang-outs and Usagi getting some downtime!

Which would never actually happen – there would always be a new league of villains popping up to make life difficult for the senshi.

I suppose I did get nearly one entire issue that wasn’t plot-plot-plot, but I guess I was hoping for Siobhan to be a companion on Kara’s adventures, not a plot point.

But hey, maybe Siobhan will survive the next issue and not get overwritten by her own magic and Kara can have a friend.

I’m not very hopeful, though. That doesn’t sound like something that would provide Kara with much angst, and I suspect it’s the angst they’re going for.

I had a similar feeling of wanting the plot to slow down in the latest Flash. I don’t think giving your characters time to breath between enemies is going to stop people reading the next one! We don’t need a hook at the end of every issue!

Or maybe people do? It just feels too hectic, like they don’t have faith that we’ll want to keep reading next month if they don’t keep throwing plot! at us. (It’s not even like I’m not a narrative-driven reader.)

But I’ll forgive Flash because it’s so pretty. The splash pages especially are such a thing of joy, I’d probably buy it just for them. (It’s not that I don’t like the stories! Just that the rapid-fire of arcs is overwhelming.)

Less respectable but more fun Norse-inspired comics

Posted in Comics, Fantasy, Superhero with tags , on April 28, 2012 by Cara Marie

I bought a bunch of random trades at our recent sci-fi convention, including The Trials of Loki by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Which is great – way better than Robert Rodi’s Loki miniseries which is a bit too ‘no-one understands me’ for my taste, also not always so easy to follow. Also far better than the DeConnick oneshot that covers some of the same material, like the shaving of Sif’s hair. The story gets more time to breathe.

Basically, this is the binding of Loki and that which lead to it, retold in the Marvel-verse. It feels cozily familiar. And unlike some Marvel stuff, the places this story does depart from the myths don’t feel egrigeous. And have as much to do with the differences in established canon as anything.

I also found it actually made me feel sympathetic to Balder, moreso than the myths ever have – I guess that’s the difference between telling and showing, there.

One change that did make me sad was to not have Sigyn there in the binding scene (not that I know anything about her in the Marvel-verse). And not having the whole one-son-tearing-out-the-other’s-entrails-to-bind-him thing. Which I’m fond of, awful as it is.

But this was a really solid miniseries. I especially liked the fight scene between Thor and Loki, where Loki’s using his shapeshifting to make it an even fight. (I was a little annoyed in the Avengers when Loki was holding his own against Thor in a close range fight. Without magic. This was more believable and more satisfying.)

Also, when we saw Loki engineering Balder’s death, I liked the sense that it wasn’t so much a malicious act, but a curious one. Gods don’t die much, so what happens once you start that ball rolling? When one death becomes three becomes now you have something to get revenge for, even what was your own fault.

I thought it was a really interesting portrayal of Loki, without making him not a villain, or playing up the angst. And I would recommend it.