Wednesday, September 28, 2016

New Comics Day

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

- Astro City #39 - Return of the Hanged Man!

- Captain America Steve Rogers #5 - The Civil War comes calling.
- Doctor Strange Annual #1 - Clea pays a visit.

- Elfquest Final Quest #16 - An old evil rises.

- Flash #7 - Fighting Godspeed.

- Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #5 - Getting ready for war.

- Totally Awesome Hulk #10 - The Black Panther attacks!

- Saga #38 - Death comes calling.

- Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes #1 (of 5) - It was just a matter of time.

- Teen Titans Rebirth #1 - Putting the team together.

- Titans #3 - The fight with Kadabra continues.

- Wonder Woman #7 - Welcome to the jungle!

   And I received review copies of:

- Aspen Universe Revelations #3
- Assassin's Creed Locus #1
- Bloodshot Reborn #17
- Dishonored #3
- Doctor Who 11th Year Two #13
- Doctor Who 12th Year Two #9
- Doctor Who 4th #5
- Generation Zero #2
- Kim and Kim #3
- Penny Dreadful #4
- Tank Girl Gold #1
- Vikings Uprising #1
- X-O Manowar #50

   And that's it!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Mighty Thor #11

   It's a bit shocking to see Thor swiping a schtick from old Superman comics.

   In a bit of comedy during the ongoing chaos of conflict between three insanely powerful corporate executives (no kidding), two SHIELD agents decided to expose Thor's secret identity - Dr. Jane Foster.

   So imagine their surprise when Thor is wounded, and Jane shows up to save her!

   But since Thor really is Jane, how can that be? It's a trick worthy of Superman, who always found a way to fool Lois - and it makes about as much sense as those silly Silver Age stories.

   I won't give away the secret, of course, but it may be mighty hard for the reader to accept.

   The issue's an over-the-top, frantic collision of battles, dubious events and the most impractical rescue this month.

   But even if it's a bit on the silly side, I have to admit that I enjoyed the issue a lot!

   Go figure!

Grade: A-

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Britannia #1

   It's great to see companies trying something different from the usual superhero product.

   Britannia certainly fills the bill, as it offers a cross between a history lesson and a fantasy adventure.

   Set in 60 A.D., it tells the story of the collision between the powerful Roman Empire and the mystic forces that dwell in the northern country known as Britannia.

   Written by comics veteran Peter Milligan, it's a terrific mix of politics and power struggles as the mysterious Vestal Virgins use their arcane knowledge to influence events.

   And then there are the strange events that are claiming the lives of Roman soldiers, and a Centurion named Antonius is the one man who may be faced with unraveling the secrets - if he can survive the experience.

   The art is by Juan Jose Ryp, and he create a lush, adult world that feels earthy and real.

   This is not a comic for kids, by the way, with lots of adult situations and a surplus of bloodshed.

   This is definitely a unique series, and if you have any interest in history at all, you'll find great rewards here.

 Grade: A

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy #12

   Well, this issue is certainly different.

   I can't remember a comic book I've ever read that spent the first four pages hectoring the human race in general for being a colossal bunch of losers.

   (This is not the sort of thing that endears a comic to readers.)

   It happens during a discussion between Rocket Raccoon (who's pointing out the numerous failures of the pitiful human race) and Star-Lord, all as the Guardians of the Galaxy approach the Earth.

   They're popping in for a visit to inject themselves in the whole hero vs. hero thing cooking away in the Civil War II mini-series.

   (Why? Who can say?)

   As for the rest of the issue, well, it's a lot of setup and a little bit of action - though one event in the conflict may have a major impact on the future of the series.

   Oh, and that awesome cover by Art Adams? Nothing like that happens in the issue. Maybe next issue.

   Pehaps Rocket will learn to like Earthlings now that he's here for a visit.

Grade: B

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Trinity #1

   Apparently there's a new movement in comics.

   Most comics try to end each issue on a cliffhanger, to keep the reader coming back next issue.

   But the idea now seems to be: make the final page of the issue a complete mystery, so the reader will come back to find out what the heck just happened. (Both DC and Marvel have been guilty of this lately - I'm looking at you, Civil War II.)

   I have to tell you, that doesn't work with me.

   Case in point: the new series Trinity, which features Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

   But don't buy this issue expecting some kind of action-packed adventure. Instead, it features those three powerful figures getting together... for dinner.

   (You heard me.)

   There's a lot of nice art on display here - Francis Manapul is one of the most creative artists working in the business today, and if you like double-page spreads of each hero in a poster-style pose, you'll get that here.

   But the story, also by Manapul, is mighty thin. And I have no idea what's going on in that final page.

   So will I be back for the next issue? (Shakes Magic 8-Ball. It reads: "Probably Not.")

Grade: B-

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Justice League #5

   This issue mercifully brings an end to the storyline, "The Extinction Machine."

   I say mercifully because I've seen each issue in the series and I'm still not sure what was going on here.

   Maybe the problem is me. Stories like this make me think, "Maybe I'm not smart enough to appreciate this one."

   (Then I think, "Nah, that's not it.")

   It follows the Justice League as they confront numerous menaces to the world - including several deep below the surface of the Earth, zooming in from deep space, stealing powers from heroes, and (for some reason) Aquaman is placing crystals at different locations.

   It all involves some kind of threat that promises to destroy the world. But it the menace from outside our world - from within - or on the surface?

   If you spot the answer in this issue, let me know, because it's all very vague and science-fictiony but it never manages to tell the story in a clear fashion.

   Here's hoping the next storyline makes sense.

Grade: B-

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Civil War II #5 (of 8)

   So finally we get down to the no-holds-barred, "big ol' pile of superheroes fighting another big ol' pile of superheroes" part of our program.

   Which is pretty much what you'd expect from Civil War II.

   And this issue delivers in spades as the heroes who support Iron Man get into a fight with the ones who support Captain Marvel.

   But there are things about the groupings that make no sense. Don't the mutants (like the X-Men) hate the Inhumans for what the Terrigen Mist has done? So why are some of them fighting on the same side?

   And the Guardians of the Galaxy have been friends / allies with both IM and CM - so why would they choose a side and jump into the fight?

   Actually, that's the thing about this series that I can't shake - the sense that writer Brian Michael Bendis is using this as a platform to promote the various series that he writes (Iron Man, Guardians, Spider-Man) instead of crafting an expansive story using everyone in the Marvel universe.

   But the art by David Marquez is terrific and there's plenty of "Holy cow" moments - even if they don't always make much sense, and we still don't understand what is happening with the Inhuman Ulysses and his powers.

   But if you're looking for lots of action, this issue checks that box!

Grade: A-

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New Comics Day

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

- Archie #12 - Farewell to Veronica?

- Civil War II #5 (of 8) - All-out combat!

- Guardians of the Galaxy #12 - Joining the Civil War.

- Justice League #5 - The end at last?

- Karnak #5 - A philosophical duel.

- Superman #7 - A trip to the fair.

- Mighty Thor #11 - Thor meets Jane Foster?

- Trinity #1 - The big three sit down... for dinner.

   And I received a review copy of:

- Britannia #1 - The glory of Rome meets the terror of Britannia!

And that's it!