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Showing posts from July, 2006

Manga Monday 2

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This week for Manga Monday I'll be taking a look at two really good books put out by Digital Manga Publishing...

Desire
Maki Kazumi & Yukine Honami
My first yaoi manga! I wasn't really sure what to expect from this. Yaoi manga is basically manga written by women, about gay men, for women. I'm not sure if such a market really exists yet in America, but in light of Brokeback Mountain...maybe? Either way, as a gay man, I found this to be a really exceptional book. It's kind of sexy, with a lot of interesting relationships in the book, including the one between the third member (Takashi) of a three-man group of close friends and his interactions with the other two men, whom this book focuses on. He's the one character that both Toru and Ryoji can talk to about their feelings. We see the entire story through the eyes of Toru, beginning with his reaction to Ryoji's blunt confession on the very first page of the book: "I wonder why...when I look at you, I get...…

Jack of Fables #1

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Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges & Tony Akins

I went into this book expecting not to like it too much, given that I thought the "Jack in Hollywood" arc of Fables was one of the worst of the entire book's run. But once it gets past the flashback sequences, Jack gets into trouble, as per usual, and the book takes a really interesting turn. The art by Tony Akins is pretty similar to Fables' Buckingham art, and James Jean is covering this spin-off as well, so it's not too far a departure from the original series - it just doesn't take place in Fabletown and it's creating its own cast of Fable characters. Speaking of other Fables, there are some fun guest appearances in the background, and one really shocking return that I wasn't expecting at the end of the book that pretty much sealed the deal for me to pick up the next issue. Anyone unfamiliar to Fables lore need not worry since the brief explanations get readers up to speed quickly enough (and really…

Double Dragon

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Two tales from Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon have hit the shelves of comic shops this week, both following up on events from earlier in the series. The first story goes much further back in the comic's history, dealing with events that took place prior to the first issue, while the latter stars a supporting character in light of events from the title's more recent past.

Savage Dragon #0
Erik Larsen
The origin behind the long-running comic's title character is revealed at long last! From the outset, the green-skinned Dragon was found in a burning field naked with no memories of a past life. For Image Comic's tenth anniversary, Erik Larsen decided to finally reveal the finheaded hero's origin in the Image Tenth Anniversary Hardcover, where other launch titles saw their original creators come back to the books. Since Larsen never left, he upped the ante on his title with this story. And it was an epic tale involving an alien race, a chosen one, sacrifice and betrayal. …

In Passing...X-Men to Blue Beetle

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X-Men #189
Mike Carey & Chris Bachalo
We got a glimpse of a few of the new villains of the series in the previous issue of the "Supernovas" storyline and now we're treated to a whole team of them. And they're pretty cool and interesting, something that I don't think's been done in one of the secondary X-titles for years. Aurora and Northstar finally make their appearance in the book and there was a short interlude scene from Shi'ar space that I really enjoyed. B

Blue Beetle #5
Keith Giffen, John Rogers & Duncan Rouleau
Not a fan of Duncan Rouleau's guest pencils. It was really hard to understand what was going on in some action panels and...well, I just think it's kind of ugly. But I'm dropping Blue Beetle after this issue for more than that. The story just isn't compelling me to keep reading. It's all getting very stale and uninteresting. D

New Avengers #22
Brian Michael Bendis & Leinil Yu
This issue of the Civil War crossover…

Batman #655

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Issue #655 of Batman sees Grant Morrison taking over writing chores, with Andy Kubert on pencils. You'd probably expect something a little out there from the writer behind Seven Soldiers, We3 and The Invisibles. Or at least some really wild new concepts thrown in there ala New X-Men. But in the end, Grant Morrison didn't provide much of a departure from the previous incarnations of the series. It's all pretty straight-forward. There are some interesting things involved in the story, including the character of Bruce Wayne and the new role that that puts Alfred in, as well as the situation surrounding the first story arc, which the title isn't shy about relating: "Batman & Son." I'm really not too keen on Andy Kubert's pencils. They get the job done, but it's nothing special to look at. There was a cool scene at the beginning of the issue where a laughing-gas-poisoned Jim Gordan and visiting Batman both chuckle over the same twisted joke ab…

Previews: October 2006

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This is going to be one exciting month for comics! The highlights...

Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics:
Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery GN - A teenage detective solving mysteries in her haunted town. Beautiful cover.

Archaia Studios Press:
The Killer #1 (of 10) - A tale of a cold, methodical assassin in a brutal noir story. If ASP's track record's any indicator, this should be awesome!

Robotika HC - Alex Sheikman's strange four issue mini-series is collected in a deserving hardcover volume.

DC Comics:
DC solicitations were examined separately.

Drawn & Quarterly:
Acme Novelty Library Volume 17 HC - I wasn't expecting to see this already! Chris Ware brings us the second part of his introduction to Rusty Brown!

Fanfare/Ponent Mon:
The Ice Wanderer GN - The new graphic novel from Jiro Taniguchi (The Walking Man) collects six shorts of "men confronted with a savage nature."

Fantagraphics Books:
The Complete Peanuts 1961-1962 - Sally starts kindergarten! Linus introduces …

In Stores 7/26

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It's another fairly big week in comics. Here are the highlights...

30 Days of Night: Three Tales TP - IDW collects three stories from the 30 Days of Night universe in one paperback: the 30 Days of Night 2005 Annual, the three issue mini-series 30 Days of Night: Dead Space, and 30 Days of Night: Picking Up the Pieces, a story originally published in Tales of Terror.

Batman #655 - Grant Morrison takes over writing duties! Should be super-cool!

Castle Waiting (Volume 2) #1 - In wake of the Castle Waiting collection recently published by Fantagraphics, Linda Medley begins turning out new stories from her magical universe.

Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways #1 (of 4) - I love the Runaways and am just a tad annoyed that they're teamed up with the Young Avengers in this book, mostly because I haven't read Young Avengers and intend to (and am likely to get spoiled in some fashion with this mini-series). Ah, well. It should be fun to see these young teams butt heads.

Museum of Terro…

Manga Monday!!

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Welcome to the very first Manga Monday post! This feature will appear weekly on Comics-and-More!

Domu: A Child's Dream
Katsuhiro Otomo
The acclaimed creator of Akira provides his readers with a tale of a haunted apartment complex. People often die of homocides or strange accidents or simply jump off of the rooftop (when the door to the roof is locked!). And each of the victims are missing items, from a pen to a hat to a teddy bear. It's a mystery that has the police baffled and the residents of the complex quaking with fear. Otomo introduces us to several eccentric residents with this tale, including a college student who's failed his entrance exams three years straight by neglecting his homework in favor of constructing model airplanes, and a woman who pushes around a stroller despite having lost her child during a late-term miscarriage. Things at the complex change one day when a little girl moves in, gifted with mental powers, who sees exactly what is going on. The art on …

In Passing...Eternals to Civil War

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Eternals #2 (of 6) - The second issue of Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr's mini-series on the Eternals kicks things into highgear. Sersi throws her first professional party where some unexpected things happen, as Mark Curry deals with the consequences of his actions from the previous issue and...strange things happen to him too. Well, he's at Sersi's party, so he's involved in all of the strangeness. Anyways...the series becomes much more interesting as the Eternals slowly meet and are put in the face of danger. I haven't been impressed with much of Neil Gaiman's comics work recently, so it's nice to be surprised with a really great issue. And I really like that Rick Berry cover. A

Manhunter #24 - The "Can't Get You Outta My Head" storyline comes to a conclusion this week amid chaos. Dr. Psycho gets loose in the courtroom, so it's him versus Kate Spencer in a spectacular fight. Superhero books don't get much better than this. A

Uncanny X…

The Red Star: Sword of Lies

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The Red Star makes its return this week in a new series: The Red Star: Sword of Lies. The debut issue gives fans plenty of what they're used to from the title: great art blending traditional pencils with 3-D computer art and digital painting. I was a little disappointed with the opening prologue of the story, which was mythology-heavy and delved into the story of Imbohl the sorceror (the series' main antagonist) after a bloody battle that saw nearly all of his troops dead (and him half-dead himself). Several panels recycled art a few times, which kind of bugs me and takes me out of the story a bit, and the narration felt rather forced. Thankfully once the series oriented itself in present-time (or future-time really), the series found its footing and the story unfolded in its complicated universe with Maya taking center-stage as she had previously. Maya begins with a tip to the fans and their long wait for the series to continue with "Is it just me...or have we been w…

Runaways: Parental Guidance

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*** Contains Spoilers ***
The five-issue story arc "Parental Guidance" came to a conclusion this week in Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona's Runaways. One of the best superhero books out there right now, boasting a great premise and a strong cast of characters, this book has gotten a lot of attention recently for this particular storyline. Before "Parental Guidance" even made its debut, it was hyped as "The Return of the Pride," the evil supergroup consisting of each runaways' parents. Then by the end of the story, it was that one of the runaways would die. Both happened (well, the first one sort of happened), but Vaughan certainly played up those aspects of the story by providing fans with a few cyke-outs, most notably the parting shot of issue 17, where Nico was shot through the stomach. Of course, it was all part of the runaways' plan to rescue Molly (and Nico was really replaced by a shape shifter at the time) and pretty soon Chase had a …

New Weekly Feature!

Since I'm reading more and more manga every month, it's time for a new regular feature on Comics-and-More: Manga Monday! Every Monday, you can be sure to find something related to manga, most likely in the form of reviews or links to news or other items of interest. This coming Monday you can look forward to reviews of...

- Domu: A Child's Dream by Katsuhiro Otomo

- Dragon Head (Volume 3) by Minetaro Mochizuki

- Octopus Girl (Volume 2) by Toru Yamazaki

- Planetes (Volumes 1 & 2) by Makoto Yukimura

- Shojo Beat: August 2006

Just don't expect me to pack so much in every week...

Marvel Solicits: October '06

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Get the full list of Marvel's books at Comic Book Resources. Here are the highlights...

Hellstorm: Son of Satan #1 (of 5) - Novelist Alexander Irvine brings Daimon Hellstorm back to the Marvel Universe in a new MAX mini-series with art by Russel Braun and Klaus Janson.

Ultimate Power #1 (of 9) - Brian Michael Bendis gives us a new Ultimate mini with art and covers by Greg Land. Here, the Fantastic Four punch a hole through to the Supremeverse.

Amazing Spider-Girl #0 - In case you missed the 100-issue run of Tom DeFalco's Spider-Girl, here's the cliffnotes version. The full story of May "Mayday" Parker retold to get you up-to-date for the relaunch.

Amazing Spider-Girl #1 - And here's the debut issue of the relaunch...

The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 - A new (ongoing?) series by Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester featuring, as the solicit says "the world's worst superhero."

Doctor Strange: The Oath #1 (of 5) - Brian K. Vaughan writes a five-issue Dr. Strange mi…

DC Solicits: October '06

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Here we are again. I'll highlight the stuff from DC you should give a second thought to...you can sift through the rest at Newsarama.

Seven Soldiers #1 - Yes. The maxi-series from Grant Morrison comes to a head - a little late, but better now than never. I'm sure it'll be worth the wait anyhow, given the artist is J.H. Williams III and all of the series involved have been pretty damn awesome. 48 pages of Grant Morrison goodness for only $3.99.

Showcase Presents: The Unknown Soldier (Volume 1) TP - Another obscure Showcase collecting Star-Spangled War Stories #151-190. This is an advance solicitation, so it won't actually be available until November 22nd.

The Authority #1 - Grant Morrison must be getting a cramp in his hand by now. He's doing All-Star Superman, Wildcats, 52, Batman, and finishing up his Seven Soldiers saga. And now this too. At least it's bi-monthly to give the poor guy a rest. And hey - Gene Ha is going to be providing the art. Yay!

Planetary #26 -…

In Stores 7/19

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It's a great week for comics, aside from the usual stuff...

Sloth HC - Gilbert Hernandez' original graphic novel for Vertigo/DC finally sees the light of day. It's been years since this was first announced. But anything by a Hernandez Brother is worth the wait.

Halo Graphic Novel HC - And then there's Marvel's big hardcover of the week. Not exactly something I've been holding my breath for, but it could still be cool.

Excalibur Classic (Volume 2): Two-Edged Sword TP - I loved loved loved the first volume of Excalibur Classic, from Chris Claremont (when he was still turning out good material) and Alan Davis. I highly recommend checking out this original Excalibur series.

Civil War: X-Men #1 (of 4) - In case you can't get enough of Civil War, you can see what the merry mutants are up to amid the chaos...

Red Star: Sword of Lies - Red Star makes its triumphant return! The Eisner Award-winning series follows up on the Prison of Souls story to bring us a 40-page tal…

Wasteland #1

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Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten's new post-apocalyptic series Wasteland debuted this past week from Oni Press. The events of the story take place one hundred years after "The Big Wet" where the world has kind of devolved into an old west, where trading isn't uncommon and the word "sand" seems to permeate all of the slang. Several individuals of the time have developed strange gifts, such as telekinesis or the ability to heal wounds very quickly, and the land is stalked by savage sharp-toothed Sandeaters, a sort of wild humanoid creature. Much of the double-sized first issue is set-up. Readers are introduced to the world at large and a small group of characters, including Michael, an enigmatic scavenger on his way to the city of Newbegin, and Abi, the sheriff of a small town who takes a liking to the gruff stranger who appears in town. All-in-all, there was nothing particularly interesting about this book. The characters fit quite snuggly into roles w…

Snakewoman #1

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Hot on the heels of last week's Virgin debut title Devi, Snakewoman rears its head, boasting the talent of Zeb Wells and Michael Gaydos. The concept behind this comic came from director Shekhar Kapur, as did Devi, but this comic is far superior. In this issue, we are introduced to the world of Jessica Peterson, a fairly conservative girl (at least in contrast to her flippant, irresponsible roommate Jin) who waits tables with her roommate at the bar Bad Karma. Some strange things happen to her after a new boy moves in across the hall in their apartment complex, ending in a fatal encounter. Now, I love Michael Gaydos. His art on Alias was perfect, especially given the tone of the book. This book, not surprisingly, harbors that same noir atmosphere as that series, minus the incessant cussing. Indeed, the main character of the book sometimes even looks like Jessica Jones with a streak of green hair. I'm sure this is going to draw many comparisons to Alias, but really, this is a di…

X-Men #188

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Following the new creative team launch of last week's Uncanny X-Men, Mike Carey tries his hand at reinvigorating another one of the secondary X-books, X-Men, with help from Chris Bachalo. X-Men #188 begins with Sabertooth on the run from a pair of mysterious villains. Despite being vaguely disoriented by the art, I do actually like Bachalo on this book, particularly in a scene where Rogue disarms a group of soldiers. In the same scene, Mike Carey takes advantages of the mutants assembled to use their powers in unique ways. He also establishes the purpose of the new team of heroes, which include Rogue, Iceman, Mystique and Cannonball (with Sabertooth and one or two others on the way), who are to be part of a rapid response unit to react to situations like the one dealt with at the beginning of this issue. Carey already makes use of the relationships between several characters who appear here, including some really neat scenes with Professor Xavier, Rogue and Scott. Overall, it'…

In Passing...Fables to Ms. Marvel

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Some really exciting debuts this week - Mike Carey on X-Men, Oni Press' new title Wasteland and Michael Gaydos on Virgin Comics' Snakewoman. But for now, all the other stuff...

Fables #51 - Cinderella is front and center in this issue as she deals with a delicate diplomatic situation for Fabletown, making both allies and enemies, setting up some dominos to fall in later issues while introducing us to some new corners of Fabledom. Another great James Jean cover. C+

Ultimate Spider-Man #97 - Following the lame, rushed "Morbius" arc, Ultimate Spider-Man gets damn good again with some great Bagley art as Peter battles the Scorpion and gets into it with both Kitty AND MJ. Oi. B+

Ms. Marvel #5 - The latest arc of Ms. Marvel comes to an end, guest-starring Dr. Strange, as they battle a fairly lame villain. But still, it was a really good superhero fight, although the conclusion was a little anticlimactic. B-

Idle Time

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A little boredom and surfing on Amazon produced some nice surprises coming from Marvel...

- Essential Horror TP (which collects The Son of Satan) (Listed as coming out November 1st)

- Essential Man-Thing TP (Listed as coming out November 22nd)

- Essential Defenders (Volume 2) TP (Listed as coming out December 20th)

- Jack Kirby's Captain America (Volume 3) TP (Listed as coming out November 29th)

In Stores 7/12

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Here we go again - a look at some books shipping to comic shops this Wednesday...

The Escapists #1 (of 6) - Brian K. Vaughan joins artists Philip Bond and Eduardo Barreto for a mini-series based on Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, something completely endorsed by the original author, and a debut issue available for a mere dollar!

Mouse Guard #1 (Third Printing) - In case you still haven't jumped on the bandwagon, buy this comic! Mouse Guard'sdebut issue gets another printing. A series well-deserving of its success.

Wasteland #1 - The new post-apocalyptic comic by Antony Johnston and Chris Mitten looks like a lot of fun, and Oni Press has been producing a lot of good stuff lately.

Snakewoman #1 - A new take of India's naga (snake) myth, a quiet waitress from the Midwest becomes overwhelmed by a reptilian power within her.

Ghost Rider #1 - If you're really excited about the new Marvel movie coming out soon, this'll probably wet your appeti…

Uncanny X-Men #475

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A new creative team takes the helm of Uncanny X-Men with issue 475: Ed Brubaker and Billy Tan. The first issue of their run is the beginning of a bold 12-part story, The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire, a title that promises a tale of epic proportions. Included in the new lineup of characters is Professor Xavier, Nightcrawler, Marvel Girl, Havok, Warpath and Polaris. Now, there have been some changes to the cast involved that have occurred prior to this story, the biggie being that Professor Xavier can walk again, but no longer has his powers of telepathy. I'm assuming this "trade-off" is something that occurred in Brubaker's follow-up to House of M, Deadly Genesis. I guess Polaris also lost her powers with House of M, but has acquired them again, most likely from the whole Horsemen of Apocalypse storyline since she makes reference to Apocalypse's people doing something to her, resulting in her powers being different now: wild and dangerous (man, can you g…

Devi #1

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Devi is one of two launch series from the mind of Virgin Comics' Chief Visionary Shekhar Kapur, a man best known in America for the Oscar-nominated film Elizabeth. Kapur actually grew up in India, where he released a film that still has a strong following fifteen years later called Mr. India. Growing up in India, Kapur was exposed to comics in a different way than Americans (and was indeed, influenced by them). There, comics were hugely popular and were quite often based on Indian mythology. While they didn't stay popular, just like American comics, Kapur believes that Indian comics have huge potential.

Shekhar Kapur, from the back of Devi #1:
"The success of the Indian Comic Book and it's related offshoots will come not from copying manga, but from using the base of existing Indian Mythology and Art Form, and creating a unique product that has international appeal. Just like Manga did. I know of no other culture so rich and diverse in Mythology as India."

So, with …

Beyond!

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A new Marvel mini-series debuted this past week from Dwayne McDuffie and Scott Kolins called Beyond! It's a really fun premise: an ecclectic group of superheroes and supervillains are thrown together to try to survive a galactic experience which pits them against each other. Included in this group are Spider-Man, Medusa, Hank Pym, Wasp, Gravity, Firebird, The Hood, Kraven the Hunter, and Venom. A voice commands them to fight their enemies to receive whatever their heart desires, and of course, immediately, one of the villains attempts to indulge the voice. Then another villain decides he wishes to kill his enemy like the voice said anyway and causes trouble which causes another hero to join the fray...it's like watching dominos fall. Unfortunately, the entire first issue is like watching dominos fall. Nothing interesting or surprising really happens (especially the fake-out ending which no reader can believe to hold any weight). It's really like watching everything happ…

Love Roma

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I had the chance to read the first volume of Love Roma this week, by first-time manga creator Minoru Toyoda. It's been on my bookshelves for awhile now, and I was in the mood for a manga since Patrick began reading Death Note and got me all excited about it again.

Love Roma is a romantic comedy that doesn't really look like other manga. It has its own unique look about it, one that Patrick described as "video-gameish." It's kind of stiff-looking, but probably intentionally so. It makes for a different sort of experience if anything. Since it is a comedy, I find that I may not enjoy it as much as other people, just because I have such a weird, narrow taste in what I find funny. But it is a charming book nonetheless. It's pretty silly, what with the entire classroom following the blossoming relationship between Negishi and Hoshino, since Hoshino is blunt and always announcing his intentions and feelings to the classroom at large, who applaud and laugh in respo…

In Stores 7/6

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Comics ship on Thursday this week because of Independence Day. And it's quite a week. Here are the highlights...

Epileptic TP - Pantheon releases the critically-acclaimed Epileptic from David B. in a nice affordable softcover edition.

Devi #1 - The first issue of Devi, from the brand-new company Virgin Comics, follows a warrior goddess and the unseen war she fights.

Flight (Volume 3) TP - While it's been in bookstores for a few weeks now, the latest Flight anthology makes its comic shop debut.

Death Note (Volume 6) TP - Also making its first comic store appearance after several weeks of being on the shelves of the local Barnes & Noble, is the latest great installment of Death Note.

Beyond #1 (of 6) - The newest Marvel mini-series follows a group of several heroes (and villains) thrown together via strange circumstances, from Firestar to Kraven the Hunter. Expect to see a lot of Spidey on the covers of this book starring mostly C-List characters.

Fables (Volume 7) Arabian Nigh…

Polly & the Pirates

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Ted Naifeh, the writer/artist behind the phenomenal Courtney Crumrin series, has created another spectacular character in Polly Pringle, making such a feat seem much easier than it could ever be. I think the character design of Polly is his best yet, even in comparison to the monsters and strange creatures that have graced his pages. She moves between two worlds, one where she is a studious young woman attending a prestigious school, and another when she is shanghaid by pirates and steps into a role that seems to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. There's a nice panel in the sixth and last issue of the mini-series where Polly lets her hair down from their tight buns to let them hang in pigtails, in typical girly fashion, a transformation that allows Polly to return to the academic world we found her in at the beginning of the series. The scene not only showcased the two very different looks of the character, but her diverse nature - a nature you can see in both the exemplary…