Trade Pile Part 1: Lumberjanes, Gotham Academy, Mockingbird, Batman & The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Well, I guess I’ve been at it again. Even though I spent a good deal of my last vacation burning through the first few books of Alan Moore’s amazing Swamp Thing run, I’ve also taken time out to plow through another pile of trades, most of which come from my local library.. I thought about separating them out into various themes and writing a bunch of different posts, but don’t want to forget too much and have decided to do a good, old fashioned quick-shot pair of pile posts! You know you want to hear what I thought about these books, so hit the jump!

Starting at the top, I had a delightful time reading Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy by Chynna Clugston Flores, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Kelly Matthews and Nichole Matthews. I’m for more familiar with the DC side of this crossover than the BOOM! side having read and greatly enjoyed Gotham Academy, but was still excited to see how my favorite mystery solving teens in comics would handle the camp-bound ‘Janes.

This one revolves around a super strange house in the woods where a woman who should be in her s remains a teenager constantly reliving the lead-up to her disasterous sweet 16 party thanks in part to the efforts of wraiths with magical powers and animal skull heads. It’s a lot of fun seeing these contemporary characters bounce around the tropes and conventions of my favorite era of horror films, so this one gets a big thumb’s up. It also shared a vibe and even some visuals with last year’s excellent Dead Of Summer, which more people should have watched in my humble opinion.

Next, I checked out Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Ibrahim Moustafa and Joelle Jone’s Mockingbird: Volume 1 – I Can Explain. A few of my friends noted that this Marvel book was a sleeper favorite and so I made it a priority to check out via the library.

This one’s all about former Avenger Bobbi Chase as she goes about her business as a super scientist spy for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the seemingly routine check-ups that go along with that gig. It’s a little hard getting into this story because it’s got a circular nature and would definitely benefit from multiple readings, but I really enjoyed how Cain took a character who I don’t really know much about and made her super compelling and complicated. I will admit that I’m still not sure I got the whole deal with the end reveal in the last issue, but as I mentioned before, I was drawn in enough to not only read it again down the line. I also can’t wait to see what happens in the next volume!

Sticking with the spy theme, I also tackled Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by Jeff Parker, David Hahn and company. I’ve read a few of these Batman ’66 books and really enjoy the way Parker and his fellow writers have mixed the classic characters with newer ones. That appreciation continues into this book as the 60s spy show characters of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin enter the action (even though I only know them from the underrated big screen remake from a few years back).

Our heroes must join forces in this story to stop Bat-baddies Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Sersi, Sandman, Poison Ivy and Egghead (a favorite because Vincent Price portrayed him) from wreaking all kinds of havoc as agents of the evil T.H.R.U.S.H. Even if you’re like me and know next to nothing about the U.N.C.L.E. crew, you get plenty of information as the story plugs away to feel caught up. Finally, I like that this is a crossover that, theoretically could have happened on the small screen, much like that time the Green Hornet appeared on Batman!

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