Thursday, December 8, 2016

Spider-Man: Homecoming Trailer

   In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the new trailer. Worth it just for the chills you'll get on the last shot (the rest of it looks pretty amazing, too):

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

New Comics Day

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

- Avengers #2 - How do you fight a time traveler?

- Champions #3 - If you want to make a difference, go to a trouble spot. Hope you survive the experience!

- Death of Hawkman #3 - Th
e return of Despero.                                                                                                                                                                                  

- Justice League #10 - An army of opponents!

- Nova #1 - The return of the real Nova. Maybe.

- Unworthy Thor #2 - Searching for a new hammer.

   And I received review copies of:

- A&A #10

- Assassin's Creed Templars #8

- Chimera Brigade #3 

- Doctor Who 12th Year Two #12

- Faith #6

- Hard Case Crime Triggerman #3

- Ninjak #22

- Norman The First Slash #1 

And that's it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Classics - Strange Tales #135

    This issue was a real shock when I picked it up at the local newsstand.

   Gone was the Human Torch, who had been starring in Strange Tales for three year - and in his place was a modern-day Nick Fury!

   Keep in mind, this was 1965, and the idea of a super-spy was red-hot, thanks to the popularity of James Bond. Anagrams were also popular, thanks to the TV version of Bond, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

   Always quick to jump on a trend, Marvel decided to create its own spy series.

   Fury was a natural leader (he had recently appeared in an issue of Fantastic Four for a modern-day check-in), so they gave him an eyepatch (presumably to differentiate him from his World War II persona appearing in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos) and made him the head of the newly-created S.H.I.E.L.D.

   And what an amazing first appearance! In a short 12 pages, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with Dick Ayers inks) introduce S.H.I.E.L.D., Life Model Decoys, Hydra, flying cars and the Heli-Carrier! (And throws in a guest appearance by Tony Stark, too!)

   It's a crackling start to the new series, with concepts that continue to be a big part of the Marvel Universe and Marvel Films!

   And that's just the first half of the issue!

   This issue also includes a terrific Doctor Strange story, as Lee and Steve Ditko embark on a quest story for Strange. He's being pursued (like the TV series The Fugitive) by a powered-up Baron Mordo, who is backed by Dormammu.

    Strange is trying to find a source of power that can save him - but can he find the secret of Eternity?

   In this 10-page gem, Strange must make use of all his skills and weapons to stay one step ahead of Mordo and the powerful allies at his disposal.

   The art is stunning - dark, mysterious and bursting with imagination. Ditko was building an amazing body of work on this series - sad that he would only stick around for another year.

   Next week, we'll look at his amazing final issue.

Grade: A+



Monday, December 5, 2016

Black Widow #8

   I've been raving about the new Black Widow series ever since it started, but I have to admit, this issue was a bit of a stumble for me (though most readers may have a different reaction).

   That's because - as a general rule - I don't like stories about children in peril.

   And we see lots of that here, as Natasha faces a difficult task - young girls who are actually trained killers are being set loose in America to take out high-profile targets - and she must find (and stop) the girls and protect their targets.

    As always, the story by Chris Shamnee and Mark Waid is sharp and expertly crafted, and Samnee's art is just amazing - the action leaps off the page, and the characters are real people, not just lines on the page.

   But I don't like seeing children in danger (or threatening danger, for that matter), and the body count here is too high.

   Also, the cover doesn't really fit this issue. Next issue, yes.

   Still, it's a tremendous series and - if you aren't already - you should be reading it.

Grade: A-


Sunday, December 4, 2016

No Angel #1

   Hard-edged policewomen are in good supply in comics (and every other entertainment medium), but you don't see many like Hannah Gregory, the central character in No Angel.

   Let's just say she lives up to the title - although she's not a bad person.

   She's a woman who's had a rough life and a dysfunctional family - and it doesn't get any easier when she's called home from Chicago for a family funeral.

   Someone brutally killed her father and brother, and even though, as a family member, she's not allowed to work the case - she's still doing her best to find the killer.

   But this is not a typical police procedure story. There are mysterious forces at work here, but are they supernatural in nature - or just the imaginings of someone who's insane?

   It's a cracking good start to the story by Eric Palicki and Adrianne Palicki, illustrated strongly by Ari Syahrazad, whose style isn't photo realistic, but effectively conveys a gritty real-world setting.

   It's a strong start for a new series that'a unlike any other. Recommended!

Grade: A-


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Totally Awesome Hulk #12

   As Marvel continues to go through its "all your favorite heroes are now completely different" phase (perhaps someday someone will explain why this was a good idea), one of the better efforts along those lines can be found in the pages of The Totally Awesome Hulk.

   That's because the new, young Hulk is already a terrific character - Amadeus Cho, a teen genius - and the writer who created him, Greg Pak, is guiding his new adventures.

   I'm happy to report that, so far, his stories have been a lot of fun.

   And that's no easy task, considering that the Civil War II mini-series has thrown a shadow over the proceedings.

   The deadly events in that series have left Cho upset and looking for a confrontation with Hawkeye, who's at the heart of one of those deadly moments.

   First the Hulk has to deal with a foe who may be unbeatable - and victory may come with a much higher price than Cho expected.

   Nice to see the Black Panther making an appearance, too - he's used to good effect (but that cover would have fit last issue better).

   The art by Mahmud Asrar is excellent, brimming with action, animation, energy and emotion.

   It looks like Cho is going to keep on being green for a while, so here's hoping we can get past the "event books" and focus more on the fun.

Grade: B+


Friday, December 2, 2016

Savage #1

   You have to admire a comic that lives up to its title.

   And Savage is certainly that.

   The new series from Valiant starts brutally with a seven-page silent battle between a feral young man and a dinosaur.

   It's brutal, raw and just a little improbable - but certainly intense.

   The book then changes style (and artists) and takes us into the past, as we learn about the backstory behind the young savage.

   It's a pretty obvious modern take on the legend of Tarzan - but still makes for a cracking good story, as writer B. Clay Moore crafts some interesting characters and draws us in expertly.

   The art chores are divided by Lewis Larosa and Clayton Henry, with the former covering the present day battle, and the latter dealing with the flashback sequences - both featuring terrific color art by Brian Reber.

   As a fan of Tarzan, Ka-Zar, Wolverine and most "raised by wolves" stories, I enjoyed this issue a lot - I'm looking forward to future installments!

Grade: A-