Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1

   Here's a comic that could be sold by the title alone: Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye.

 But I didn't buy it for the title - I picked it up because Cave Carson was the star of the first "hero" comic I remember reading (a story I told in this post).

   Cave's adventures were limited back in the '60s, but just seeing the title of this new series jabbed me right in my nostalgia zone (and that tickles, I can tell you).

   This issue is set under the Young Animal imprint DC has started under Gerard Way's guidance, and so far, so good.

    This is an odd issue, with moments of "normal DC" events (as Cave checks in with the company that uses his "Mighty Mole Machine" technology to seek out rare elements) - and then there are the "weird DC" events, as we discover Cave's malfunctioning eye, and he's confronted by a strange figure from his past.

   There's a tragic element throughout, as Cave learns to deal with loss and tries to connect with his grown daughter.

   There are also a couple of terrific cameos that will delight long-time readers.

   It's all strange and odd and not much at all like that first adventure in 1960 - but it's also mysterious and fascinating and I'm totally hooked.

   Can't wait for the next issue!

Grade: A-



New Comics Day

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

- Archie #13 - Welcome Cheryl Blossom!

- Astro City #40 - The trial of a lifetime!

- Black Widow #7 - No more secrets!

- Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 - A new take on a classic hero.

- Dark Knight III Master Race #6 (of 8) - War in Gotham!

- Death of X #2 (of 4) - The Inhumans are killing the mutants. Or are they?

- Doctor Strange #13 - Lost and found?

- Justice League #7 - Fight the fear.

- Powers #7 - Flashback time!

- Mighty Thor #12 - The secret origin of Mjolnir!

- Usagi Yojimbo #158 - A strange journey.

- All New X-Men #14 - Game on!

   And I received review copies of:

Assassins Creed Locus #2 (OF 4) 

Dishonored #4 (OF 4) 

Doctor Who 10TH YEAR TWO

- Doctor Who 12TH YEAR TWO

- Doctor Who 3RD #2 (OF 5) 

- Doctor Who Supremacy of the Cybermen #4 (OF 5)

Faith #4

- Ninjak #20

- Norman #5

Penny Dreadful #5 (OF 5) 

Samurai Brothers in Arms #2 (OF 6) 

Sherlock A Study in Pink #5 (OF 6) 

Torchwood #2 

   And that's it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Peepland #1

   This is the first of the line of Hard Case Crime comics I've seen, but if Peepland is any indication, they're definitely angling for stories about the grimy underbelly of society.

   Set in 1986, this series, which is definitely just for adults, follows a stripper / sex worker named Roxy who is working in a Peep Show (performing salacious acts while the customer watches).

   A slimy acquaintance named Dirty Dick (I am not making this up) is being pursued by some toughs, and his escape attempt leads him through the Peep Show, where he hides a VHS tape.

   The secret hidden on the tape throws Roxy and her friends into a mystery - a deadly one.

   The story is written by Christa Faust and Gary Philips, and it evokes a grim hardboiled crime story - one that's all too realistic and unsavory.

   I like the art by Andrea Camerini - it's vivid and real, with a surprising use of depth and great characters.

   It's well crafted but not for the faint of heart - and certainly not for kids.

Grade: B+


Monday, October 17, 2016

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #12

   In this series, the Eternal Warrior has gone to Hell.


   (It's no wonder he's feeling so much wrath.)

   As recent issues have disclosed, despite his title it is possible for Gilad Anni-Padda to die.

   When he does, he finds himself in "heaven" (sorta kinda), reunited with his wife and children. Why would he ever leave?

   But his sense of duty leads him to return to the land of the living, but it's not an easy thing to manage - because first he must fight his way past an army of demons in Hell, including the mountainous monster named Humongous.

   But for the first time, the parameters of the battle have changed, making it a fight Gilad can't win.

   That's because his oldest son Kalam has followed Gilad and been captured by the demons, who use him as a bargaining chip.

   So for Gilad, apparently surrender the only option.

   This series has been a bit on the grim and gritty side, but it also has heart, courage and a smart hero. Add in sharp scripts by Robert Venditti and excellent, vivid (and often epic) artwork by Robert Gill, and you have a powerful story to enjoy.

Grade: A-


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron #1 (of 4)

   I know almost nothing about Warhammer 40,000.

   Here's what I know: it's a really popular game, it's science fiction-based, and the visuals are stunning.

   I probably wouldn't know anything about it if not for a young man I interviewed many years ago who was a salesman for the company that marketed the game, and he had a case filled with amazing figures (statues?) from the series that were exquisitely painted and loaded with amazing detail.

   So like I said: I know nothing.

   So I approach this series (subtitled Will of Iron) as a blank slate - and while I obviously have a steep learning curve ahead of me, I have to admit I enjoyed this issue.

   As near as I can tell, the story follows a conflict between at least three different factions fighting over a newly-revealed planet.

   The attack gives new meaning to "shock and awe," as they launch giant machines that crash to the planet's surface, covered in flames. There they spit out armored legions that attack the strange animal-like creatures that live there.

   Why is all this happening? Well, I haven't sorted that out yet - but the visuals are stunning and I trust that the reasons behind the conflict will become more clear as the story rolls along.

   The art by Tazio Bettin is terrific - powerful and detailed, with impressive alien vistas and character designs.

   The story by George Mann covers a lot of ground and throws quite a bit of info at the reader, but keeps things relatively clear for those new, clueless readers.

   Like me.

Grade: A-



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Chimera Brigade #1

   If you're mourning the fact that stories featuring the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are only published sporadically, this series might be a good way to scratch that itch.

   The Chimera Brigade is set in 1938 (though storylines stretch back into World War I). It's a different version of that time, as familiar (though renamed) charters populate the story.

   Some are historical in nature (including Marie Curie's daughter), other are pulp-based (Doc Savage and the Shadow), and some are horror derived (including a bug-based character) and some are right out of comic books (look for a Man who looks like he might be made of Steel).

   The comic by writers Serge Lehmen and Fabrice Colin and artist  Gess is actually a reprint of a foreign edition (originally published as La Brigade Chimerique).

   It's a lot of fun (if a bit obtuse in places - or maybe I'm the obtuse one), and it sets up a fast-approaching conflict by powered individuals on a continental stage.

   I enjoyed this issue, a pseudo-historical adventure crossed with a small army of fictional characters. It works as a story and as a collection of Easter Eggs.

Grade: A-


Friday, October 14, 2016

All-Star Batman #3

   It took me three issues, but I finally figured out why the All-Star Batman series by Scott Snyder and John Romita, Jr., works so well.

   It's because it's a Marvel Comic.

   Well, it says "DC" on the cover, but it's a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride from start to finish.

   (The traditional idea is that DC is all about plot and story twists, while Marvel is about action, humor and character. I realize this isn't always the case.)

   The story (such as it is) has Batman trying to escort Two-Face out of Gotham City - but that villain has blackmailed the entire city to stop the Dark Knight, meaning he must fight every step of the way against some of his most deadly villains.

   So it's all about the action, and certainly that's something that Romita (and inker Danny Miki) do extremely well.

   The idea behind the story is a little shaky, and the series is a bit on the brutal side, but it's a heck of a lot of fun - highly recommended!

Grade: A-



Thursday, October 13, 2016

Doom Patrol #2

   The Doom Patrol is back as part of DC's new Young Animal line, and it's a tall challenge for any writer.

   That's because the team has two key periods that are imprinted with long-time readers, and the new series has to measure up against those.

    The first series in the original run appeared in 1963, and the surprisingly dark adventure series was expertly crafted by writer Arnold Drake and artist Bruno Premiani.

   In 1989 Grant Morrison re-imagined the team with artist Richard Case, and it was a brilliant crazy-quilt of abstract concepts and surreal threats.

   So against that we have the new version of the team by writer Gerard Way and artist Nick Derington - and it's managing to walk that tightrope between the two.

   We're seeing elements of the original series (as that Mike Allred cover illustrates) and characters from the Morrison version. 

   The characters and events also seem to have a tenuous connection with reality, and the reader may wonder what is real and what isn't.

   (And how I love the one-page bits with the Chief, Niles Caulder.)

   So far, I'm enjoying this a lot - it's a great mix of terrific characters, humor and mystery, and I can't wait to see where it goes next.

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A