Monday, June 18, 2018

Konungar #1


   This issue of Konungar kicks off a hefty fantasy epic (this introductory story is 50 pages long) that follows the civil war that erupts between two brothers - Sigvald and Rildrig - who each hope to become king of their people.

   They live in a brutal Viking culture, but also face a number of mystical enemies - the biggest threat coming from an army of Centaurs.

   The issue features amazing, lush artwork by Juzhen. Each page is loaded with stunning images, great characters and lush environments.

   The story by Sylvain Runerg is epic in scale, but may have lost a little something in the translation from the original French. It jumps around in time as it provides backstory, and that can be a little bit confusing at times.

   Minor quibbles aside, this is a powerful book and well worth checking out for any fan of fantasy.

Grade: A-

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Awaken Skies #0


   The mathematician in me really wishes the comics industry would abandon the idea of issue #0. How about issue #1/2, or 3/4, or 7/8? 

   Maybe it's just me.

   At any rate, Aspen previews its new series Awaken Skies with this issue #0 (sigh).

   Previews are all well and good, but this one doesn't give us much to work with.

   We meet a computer hacker (I think) who has downloaded some important information (apparently) and who tries to escape with it - but he's pursued by... well, let's just say a really unusual group.

   We also meet a lovely high school student whose dad is apparently hiding a secret about her - but we don't know what.

   And that's really all you get this time around.

   Hopefully once the series starts this will make some sense, but for now they're not giving us much of a reason to stick around, other than a striking cover.

Grade: B-

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Plastic Man #1 (of 6)


   Plastic Man is apparently a really difficult character to "get right."

   I say that because they keep trotting that stretching hero out with new creative teams - and it never lasts.

   This mini-series has a talented creative team in writer Gail Simone and artist Adriana Melo - but this issue is made ups of parts that don't quite fit.

   Is it a comedy? Well, there are funny parts - and also horrific ones. Is it a mystery? Well, there's an important question Plastic Man is trying to answer - but the answer is very unsatisfying. It's an adventure - but Plas isn't very heroic, and there's quite a bit of graphic brutality and death in evidence.

    Some concepts don't take easily to modernizing, and Plastic Man (like the original Captain Marvel) seems to be one.

   Someday, someone will find the right kind of story for Plas (I hope, because I love the character), but while this is a valiant effort, we're not there yet.

Grade: B-

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Hawkman #1


   I've been a fan of Hawkman for a long, long time.

   I'm not old enough to have read the Golden Age adventures of the hero, but I was just the right age to enjoy the Silver Age version of Katar Hol, the policeman from the planet Thanagar who came to Earth with his wife and partner Shayera to learn from Earth police methods, all while fighting menaces in their Hawk-gear.

   After that the story gets a bit muddled by the various Crisis and reboots, but eventually Hawkman became Carter Hall, a hero from Earth who has been reincarnated along with his lover Shayera through many incarnations.

   We'll skip over the "New 52's" Savage Hawkman, who was "killed" by Despero in a recent mini-series (which was something of a mercy), and now Carter (the archeologist and superhero) is back for new adventures in a new series.

     Happily, writer Robert Venditti has taken the character back to his Golden Age roots, has incorporated the best aspects of his modern incarnation, and thrown in some really interesting hints around his ties to other worlds. 

   The art is by Bryan Hitch and Andrew Currie, with color art by Alex Sinclair, and it's terrific. Hitch has given the hero's wings a new, natural look, making them behave more like actual wings, instead of the traditional, stiff look that's been the norm.

   Hitch, of course, is the master of Cinemascope splash pages, and you get those here in spades. But we also get a very human Carter, who has friends (gasp!) and acts like a good person (although he's a bit cavalier about the destruction of ancient objects).

   There are still lots of questions to be answered (like where is Hawkwoman?), but this is a very promising start to the series.

   The comic has made this long-time fan happy about a Hawkman comic for the first time in a long time.

Grade: A

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thor #1


   Finally, Thor has his name and his comic book back (which is pretty amazing, considering the high-profile success the character has enjoyed in the Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity Wars movies).

   The story by Jason Aaron has the Thunder God cleaning up the mess left behind by the destruction of Asgardia at the hands of Mangog - so he's tracking down lost items of power.

   That brings him in conflict with one of Marvel's most powerful villains - and Thor isn't quite back up to full power, because another item lost was his hammer, Mjolnir - so he's looking for a replacement.

   The issue keeps things rolling along, bringing us back up to speed on the War Between the Realms, which threatens to spill over onto Earth.

   The art is by Mike Del Mundo with color assists by Marco D'Alfonso, and I have to admit - I've conflicted on it. 

   Del Mundo's painted style is really lovely - soft and striking, and I like it a lot - but it doesn't feel like a good match for Thor's adventures, which should be big and bold and dynamic. 

   The issue also includes a backup story set in the far future with ancient Thor and his daughters facing a galactic threat.

   Thor has always been one of my favorite characters, and I'm very happy to have him back in action - but this series is still carrying a lot of baggage from the previous series (did he ever stop being "unworthy?"). 

   Hopefully they can wrap those threads up quickly and move on to something fresh.

Grade: B

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS MY AINSEL #4 - Off to San Francisco!

- HAWKMAN #1 - Back from the dead (again)!

- MAGE HERO DENIED #9 (OF 15) - Disaster strikes!

- MAN OF STEEL #3 (OF 6) - A killer arrives on Earth!

- MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE ANNUAL #1 - Unravelling the secrets of the Secret Wars!

- MISTER MIRACLE #9 (OF 12) - The war is over (again)!

- PLASTIC MAN #1 (OF 6) - Back from the dead (also)!

- SHIELD BY HICKMAN AND WEAVER #6 (OF 6) - The conclusion (at last)!

- THOR #1 - Back in action (at last)!


     And I received these review copies:

- AWAKEN SKIES #0 - A new world of flight!

- BLOODSHOT SALVATION #10 - Starting a new story arc!

- JIRNI Vol. 3 #4 - More action more often!

- KONUNGAR WAR OF CROWNS #1 - Epic fantasy adventure!

- SEA OF THIEVES #4 (OF 4) - Wrapping up the first mini-series!

- SEASON OF THE SNAKE #3 (OF 3) - Sci-Fi and Fantasy collide!


   And that's it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dumbo - Movie Trailer


   Disney had had a lot of success adapting their animated catalog into live action films, and here's the latest addition: Dumbo, the story of an elephant with big ears and a surprising talent.

   (The original also features one of the most heartbreaking songs of all time.) 

   It's directed by Tim Burton, so I'm expecting lots of goodness here - and some updates to bring it in line with modern sensibilities.