Tag Archives: DC Comics

The Flash: Hocus Pocus

Author: Barry Lyga

The Flash (Media Tie-In Novels), vol. 1

My rating: 3.5 of 5

Flashpoint never happened, and Barry and his friends go on about their lives saving the people of Central City, never knowing the heartache of different choices in a different timeline. But in this timeline, there’s plenty of trouble to go around. Central City finds its citizens at the beck and call of a street magician styling himself “Hocus Pocus”–and really, the nerve of him, going and naming himself before Cisco gets a chance to! Although Hocus Pocus’s magic tricks are nothing impressive, his ability to control people and events around him–from getting people for blocks around to applaud to making trees move at his will–certainly seems almost like magic. But Barry is not about to accept something so implausible as the solution; there has to be a reasonable explanation of this magician’s powers. The crew at Star Labs had better be finding out a solution quickly though, because Hocus Pocus has managed to gain power over The Flash, and there’s no telling how much trouble he could cause with a speedster in his control.

I’m a big fan of The CW’s version of The Flash, which features a fabulous cast, a great sense of humor, and an excellent balance of action and drama. Plus, I’ve enjoyed the writing of Barry Lyga in the past. So I was pretty thrilled to find that Lyga had written the first volume of a media tie-in series for the show. And generally speaking, I was quite pleased with Hocus Pocus. It reads very much like an episode of the show, both with the arrival and subsequent handling of the villain and with the family drama that tends to go on at Star Labs. And of course, the element of angst that arises when things get complicated–can’t have a proper Flash story without a touch of angst. The characters are well done and keep in character nicely. Sure, there weren’t any moments where (like in a good fanfic) I was just like “ooh, that’s so such-and-such” and got all full of feels or anything. But on the other hand, there weren’t any grating moments where I had to wonder if the author had ever even watched the show, either. There was just generally a stronger focus in this particular story on the action, the plot, than on the feels . . . which is fine, although the feels are kind of my favorite part. I found it very interesting that they chose to put this in an AU/alternate timeline in which Flashpoint didn’t happen. My guess would be that this is to allow the tie-in series an element of autonomy and perhaps its own larger-scale plot, since its being an alternate timeline didn’t really affect much of anything that happened in this volume. I’m curious to see what happens with that in future volumes. I did enjoy where this story was placed chronologically in the lives of the characters–for one thing, having H. R. as part of the cast just makes everything more fun. Recommended for fans of the CW series . . . not sure how well it would hold up for fans of The Flash as a general media franchise, although Lyga is reputed to have been a fan of the comics since he was a kid, so. . . .

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EXPIRED | Deal Alert: DC Comics Humble Audiobook Bundle

So . . . personally, I still have something of a love/hate thing going with DC comics, but I know a lot of people really love them. And I don’t know about you, but I’m a total sucker for full-cast audio dramas. And the idea of superhero comics produced as audio dramas is pretty intriguing, I must admit. So yeah, right now Humble Bundle is offering a number of DC comics (looks like mostly pretty classic ones, not that I’m familiar enough with the publisher to say for sure) in full-cast audio drama format. If you’re interested, you can find out more here.

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Welcome to Gotham Academy

Written by Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher/Art by Karl KersclWelcome to Gotham Academy

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Something strange happened to Olive this past summer, but she can’t remember what . . . or maybe she just doesn’t want to remember. Whatever the case, she’s not sure Kyle’s her boyfriend anymore, nor does she want to talk to him to get the official word. And bats bother her now, even the ever-present bat signal in the sky over Gotham City. Not that she has a lot of time to reflect on all that. Her second year at Gotham Academy promises to be a busy one, especially since she’s in charge of helping Kyle’s little sister, Maps, get settled in for her first year at the school. And there are those students who are determined to make the year challenging for Olive just because. Oh and of course there are all sorts of unexplained creepy phenomena popping up around the campus as well, and she can’t just let that go uninvestigated. Yes, it should be quite an interesting year indeed.

I really enjoyed reading Welcome to Gotham Academy, way more than I expected to, actually. It doesn’t have the same feel that most of DC Comic’s stories seem to. Sure it’s set in Gotham, and Batman even shows up at times, but it’s really a school story. The feel is more of Harry Potter-meets-manga sort of vibe. Which, as you can imagine, I loved. The characters are great; Maps and Olive in particular I became quite fond of. And may I just say, Maps is very funny to read–she’s so super-energetic about everything, and she relates life strongly to her RPG group (think D&D, but Gotham world version). The amount of tension is balanced well, and there’s a nice flow of resolution and increased tension and action throughout. Plus, the authors brought together an unexpected group of people in a way that was plausible and that emphasized their individual characters effectively. You end up with a neat little “Scooby Gang” at the end that I’m figuring will be the main cast for future volumes (and I am looking forward to future volumes!). Have I mentioned the art? It’s this great almost manga style, with a very nice color palette–nothing like your usual comic book. Especially nice since that’s the absolute number one thing that bugs me about most comics. I would highly recommend Welcome to Gotham Academy, even if you don’t normally like comics–and especially if you like Harry Potter or paranormal school manga (like Negima!).

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