Wednesday, August 15, 2018

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up and the comics shop today:

- ARCHIE MEETS BATMAN 66 #2 - The crossover continues!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #4 - Interplanetary power trip!

- INFINITY WARS #2 (OF 6) - The Universe hangs in the balance!

- TONY STARK IRON MAN #3 - Character assassination!

- MAGE HERO DENIED #11 (OF 15) - Searching for his family!

- THOR #4 - The war for hell!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #5 (OF 7) THE HIDDEN - What is the secret that could topple the Shogunate?

- What is Project Thunderbook?

  And I received these review copies:

- GIRL WHO DANCED WITH DEATH MILL SAGA #1 (OF 3) - Hacking into deadly danger!

- MINKY WOODCOCK GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI HC - A female detective who stops at nothing to solve a mystery.

- NINJA-K #10 - The future of espionage!

- NU WAY #2 - Time for an upgrade - but at what price?

- RIVERS OF LONDON WATER WEED #3 - Some unique smugglers at work.


- Based on the animated adult show!

   And that's it!

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins

   For lack of a better term, The Adventure Zone is a family business.

   Sort of.

   It all started with the McElroy brothers - Justin, Travis and Griffin - who started up a comedy advice podcast called My Brother, My Brother and Me.

   It was a huge success, and soon they were performing live shows in front of sold-out crowds around the country - but they wanted to come up with a project that could include their father, Clint, a lifelong professional radio announcer.

   So they started a podcast that would involve the four of them playing Dungeons and Dragons - and they called it The Adventure Zone!

   The result was another comedy hit, as Clint, Justin and Travis created characters and tried to survive the trials devised by Griffin, the Dungeon Master.

   They managed to craft an amazing story of heroics, friendship and lots and lots (and lots) of jokes - and the show became a hit!

   Now you can hold it in your hands, as the McElroys have adapted the first several episodes of the podcast into a 250-page graphic novel titled Here There Be Gerblins! (And it's just the first of many planned volumes.)

   It drops you right in the middle of the action, as human warrior Magnus Burnsides (Travis), elf wizard Taako (Justin) and dwarf cleric Merle Highchurch (Clint) tackle a series of missions, guided by Griffin, who often pops into the proceedings, breaking the Fourth Wall.

   What follows is great mix of action, story twists and a wealth of very funny moments! (But fair warning - this isn't a book for young readers. There are quite a few four-letter words in evidence here.)

   The art is by Carey Pietsch, and the style is cartoonish, in a high-energy and fast-paced fashion. It's a heck of a lot of fun and matches up well to the humorous tone and exotic locales and even-more-exotic creatures that populate the story.

   Do I need to recommend it? The book is already on the New York Times Best Seller list, it's hugely popular and selling like crazy!

   What the heck, I'll recommend it anyway! It's mighty entertaining, and any fan of fantasy - or humor - or the Family McElroy (which is all good-hearted people everywhere) - are sure to love it!

Grade: A+


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #2

   As Doctor Who fans anxiously wait for the premiere of the new season starring the newest version of everyone's favorite Time Lord, Titan Comics helps us all prepare for the event with a mini-series titled The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor.

    Each issue checks in with the predecessors of the newest Doctor, starting with the Tenth Doctor - which means this issue, the second in the series, stars the Eleventh Doctor.

   Are you still with me?

   The adventure brings The Doctor and his companion Alice Obiefune to San Francisco in 1896, where they make a surprising discovery: the city's population includes a large number of humanoid robots!

   How they survive when faced with an army of killer robots - and how the menace might return to threaten the next version of The Doctor - is all part of the fun!

   It's short but entertaining, and always great to see the Matt Smith version of the character back in action!

Grade: B+


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Superman #2

   After this big buildup, the confrontation between Superman and Rogol Zaar, the alien who (presumably) destroyed Krypton, ended rather suddenly last issue.

   That menace was exiled to the Phantom Zone, which is (or was) sort of a dimensional prison for evil Kryptonians.

   But now, somehow, the entire planet Earth has been transported to the Phantom Zone - which threatens the stability of the planet and everyone on it!

   It's another powerful issue from writer Brian Michael Bendis, with amazing, over-the-top artwork by Ivan Reis.

   This issue is largely setting up the challenge facing Superman and his allies (plus we get a tiny bit more backstory for Zaar) - presumably next issue, all heck will break loose.

Grade: A-


Friday, August 10, 2018

The Sandman Universe #1

   The return of Neil Gaiman's Sandman would be a good reason to celebrate - but that's not exactly when we're getting here.

   Instead, The Sandman Universe takes us back to that Vertigo-based series - but the actual Sandman only makes a brief appearance.

   This issue is, basically, a trailer for the four comic books that are going to be based in the Gaiman-verse.

   But at least it's based on a story by Gaiman! It takes us into the Dreaming, where bad things are happening - and it falls to the flinty raven named Matthew to track down the absent lord of the realm. 

   That leads him to contact with the characters who will populate the aforementioned books. 

   Which will include:

   - The Dreaming, which is firmly set in the Sandman Universe and the characters who inhabit the land of dream.

   - Book of Magic, which stars Tim Hunter, created by Gaiman just before Harry Potter appeared and cornered the "young male magician who wears glasses and is fated to be pivotal in big moments" market.

   - Lucifer, which focuses on a quest by you-know-who.

   - and House of Whispers, a new addition to DC's mythology that has its foundation planted in the world of voodoo.

   So this issue gives us a taste, and it's a promising start. The first two comics are definitely on my "must buy" list, and the second two are on the "we'll see" list. 

   But it's great to see this mythology back in action again!

Grade: A-


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Fantastic Four #1

   I'm tempted to just write, "It's about time," and leave it at that.

   But I'm so happy to see the Fantastic Four finally back in print, I have to say more about it.

   The title is my all-time favorite, so it's been tough going without it for so long (and shame on Marvel for letting that happen in the first place - it was disrespectful to the fans, frankly).

   The new series has a strong creative force in writer Dan Slott, who has a great grip on the beating heart of the team and gives each character just the right voice.

   He's joined by artist Sara Pichelli, with Elisabetta D'Amico and color artist Marte Gracia, who bring a nice sense of design and character to the issue.

   The story brings us up to date on The Thing and the Human Torch, the half of the team still operating on Earth - and offers some clues about the disappearance of Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Woman and their children, Franklin and Valeria.

   It's wonderful and touching to see the story unfold - but that's one of the two problems with the issue. There's a lot of ground to cover and explanations to provide, so we don't really get to the heart of the matter until the end of the issue - and we only see the team together in flashbacks.

   The other problem, surprisingly, is with the art. Pichelli has given a somewhat new look to Ben and Johnny - and it really doesn't work for me. Ben's face is almost goofy in places, and the new design for Johnny's flame seems... well, bland. 

   All of which is surprising, because I really liked Pichelli's art on Spider-Man

    None of these picky complaints will stop me from buying each issue - I'm thrilled to see the FF back in action, and I'm anxious to see where it goes next.

   Thanks, Marvel, for bringing back "The World's Greatest Comics Magazine." Hopefully, very soon, it'll be worthy of that title again. But not quite yet.

Grade: B+


   (Let me also add how much I like the tribute to Steve Ditko that filled the first three pages of this comic - very classy.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New Comics Day

     Here are the comics I picked up today at the comics shop:

- CHAMPIONS #23 - Two steps forward, one step back.

- DAREDEVIL #606 - What's up with Wolverine?

- FANTASTIC FOUR #1 - Back at last! 

- HAWKMAN #3 - A visit to Dinosaur Island!

- MAESTROS #7 - Something stirs in the dark.

- SANDMAN UNIVERSE #1 - Return to the Gaiman-verse!

- SUPERMAN #2 - Escape from the Phantom Zone!

     And I received these review copies:

- BLACK BETTY VOL. 1 - Tracking down monsters!

- BLOODSHOT SALVATION #12 - End of the road!

- DOCTOR WHO ROAD TO 13TH DR #2 11TH - Robots in the 19th Century?

- HER INFERNAL DESCENT #4 - Inferno continues to change!

- KONUNGAR WAR OF CROWNS #3 - Epic fantasy!

- MOORCOCK LIBRARY CORUM VOL. 2 QUEEN OF SWORDS - Collecting the adventures of Moorcock's hero!

- RELAY #2 - The science fiction epic continues!

- ROBOTECH ARCHIVES MACROSS SAGA TP VOL 02 (OF 3) - Reprinting the classic comics! 


     And that's it!