Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Comics Day

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

- Archie #10 - Political season!

- All New All Different Avengers #12 - Tag team against Annihilus!
- Captain America #3 - Fighting for the Red Skull?
- Civil War II #4 - Drawing the lines in the sand.
- Elfquest Final Quest #15 - At death's door!
- Flash #3 - So many speedsters.
- Future Quest #3 - Biiiiiiirdman! And the Herculoids!
- Hal Jordan and the GL Corps #1 - Back to basics!
- Totally Awesome Hulk #9 - Civil War comes calling!
- Mighty Thor #9 - vs. the Silver Samurai.
- Titans #1 - Rebuilding a lost life.
- Wonder Woman #3 - Need answers? Ask the Cheetah.

And I received review copies of:

- 4001AD #3
- Asassin's Creed #4
- Dark Souls #3
- Divinity #4
- Doctor Who 11th Year Two #11
- X-O Manowar #48

And that's it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Faith #1

   I would never have predicted that Faith would be one of the breakout hits for Valiant Comics - but here she is, back again in a new series.

    She doesn't look like the typical superheroine - she's no waif with legs down to there and breasts out to here, carefully posing to thrust her... assets... at the viewer.

   Instead, she's a bit overweight, and a nerd. She is a psiot (which apparently means she has telekinetic powers - she can fly and move things with her mind).

   Her superhero name is Zephyr, and she has moved to Los Angeles, where she has a double identity - by day, she works as a writer for an entertainment webzine, and in her spare time she fights the bad guys.

   Her adventures are firmly set in the real world (well, mostly), as she struggles with work duties and friends, and she finds herself getting caught up in the culture of celebrity in L.A.

   She's smart, optimistic, upbeat - and very likable! The script by Jody Houser is very good, and the art by Pere Perez, Marguerite Sauvage and Colleen Duran is fresh, bright and lots of fun.

   Heroes should be diverse - and Faith is certainly a step in the right direction!

Grade: B+



Monday, July 25, 2016

Batman #3

   Batman has picked up a couple of super-hero sidekicks along with his recent Rebirth.

   They go by the names Gotham and Gotham Girl (no, really!), and this issue gives us a look at Batman's investigations into their recently-acquired powers.

   The issue starts with a clever (if rather annoying) crime sequences, and then gives us some more tantalizing examples of this new team learning how to be proper super-heroes.

   We also get another glimpse of the upcoming big bad - who just happens to be one of my favorites.

   So, two things: the story is dragging its feet, building to an eventual confrontation (a common complaint, I know). This doesn't bother me much.

   The second - and here I haul out my old man credentials - is the causal use of a word that, until recently, would have been considered profanity. The word is "piss," and it appears five times in the first six pages. It's silly to complain - the word is common on television, I know - but it's just another example of allowing vulgar words to invade modern culture - and I still dream of comics that appeal to all ages, not just adults.

   I just find that sort of thing irritating. Sorry - end of rant.

   All that aside, this is a good series, with terrific artwork. But three issues in - four if we count "Rebirth" - and we haven't made much progress. Faster, please - and with cleaner language.


Grade: B+


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Green Arrow #3

   I don't buy everything out there, so I check in with friends to see what comics I should be picking up (assuming I'm not already).

   Green Arrow, they all told me. It's really good, they said. It's the biggest surprise, they added.

   "They"... were right!

   I tracked down the Rebirth issues, and apparently the focus is on bringing the series in line with the ongoing Arrow TV show - and that's not a bad idea at all.

   It's also good to see the supporting cast growing, and longtime fans will be happy to see the Black Canary back as a romantic (ish) figure in GA's life.

   On the action side, Oliver's in the fight of his life - he was nearly killed, he's been discredited, his company stolen, his money taken away, his friends are turning on him, there's an international conspiracy, powerful enemies targeting him  - what better for a hero than to have his back against the wall?

   It's a terrific script by Benjamin Percy and outstanding artwork by Juan Ferreyra, and a strong start to this "reborn" series.

    Thanks to everyone who pointed me at this series - heed their wisdom, readers!

Grade: A


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 (of 4)

   It's always a delight to see Groo back in print (after a brief hiatus), and Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier turn in the first chapter in a four-part mini-series.

   Surprisingly enough, the series tackles a subject that most comics wouldn't touch - religion! (The Fray of the Gods title gives it away.)

   Granted, this is the religion of Groo's timeless world, which means they're an odd mix of races, make-up and configurations. And we also get to see the birth of a god (no, it's not Groo).

   Our hero, of course, is aware of none of these higher functions - he's busy tackling his usual pursuits: eating, fighting against impossible odds, and being incredibly dim.

   But while Groo may be dim, his adventures are often very smart and subtle - and this one may well tread on a few toes before it's done.

   Bring it on!

Grade: A-



Friday, July 22, 2016

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1

   As a fan of the Birds of Prey, I'm glad to see the team making a comeback, this time with Batgirl headlining.

   Of course, most of Barbara Gordon's involvement with that team was in a supporting role as the computer wizard Oracle, back when she was partially paralyzed (she, uh, got better).

   This Rebirth issue brings back Black Canary (who's busy these days, as she also guest stars in Green Arrow) and introduces a new Huntress (well, she's new to me).

   This version of the character is different from the Earth-2 version - Helena Wayne, who crossed over with Power Girl and co-starred in the most recent version of World's Finest.

   The new one is very much a throwback to the original version of the character - a tough as nails vigilante.

   The question is: is this version a hero?

   The team is gathered by a new menace with a familiar name and a new mystery - just who is playing the part of Oracle now?

   So, lots of questions to be answered as the new series starts up. It's a promising (if somewhat dark) start for the new series.

Grade: B+


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Betty & Veronica #1

   As much as I've been enjoying the new Archie series, I haven't been following most of the other "new" comics based on the Riverdale cast (it's one of Chuck's Rule of Comics: "You Can't Buy Everything").

   I decided at the last second to pick up this first issue of Betty & Veronica, mostly because of the Adam Hughes cover (it's one of, apparently, 100 or so alternate covers).

   And here's where my lack of research into each week's new comics occasionally bites me - I had no idea who the creative team on the issue was.

   Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I realized that the interiors were also by Hughes!

   A terrific artist and a solid writer, we just don't get enough in the way of regular comics from Hughes. He (apparently) tends to work slowly, and that makes it difficult for him to do a monthly book, with its never-ending stream of deadlines.

   But here he is, one of the industry's best "Good Girl" artists, drawing two of its most famous beauties (although only one might fit the term "good girl").

   But don't expect an overload of cheesecake art (one page aside) - the focus here is on characters, settings and humor.

   The plot could be lifted from any other Archie comic - Pop's Ice Cream Shop is closing, unless Pops can come up with $60,000! What can the world's most famous teens do about that?

   I enjoyed this issue a lot - the art is terrific (natch), the humor is off the wall (wait'll you see who narrates the comic) and Hughes has a great grip on the personalities involved.

   I worry, though, that the series may have to be retitled - it's looking more like Betty vs. Veronica!

Grade: A-