Friday, June 23, 2017

Invincible Iron Man #8

   If Marvel wonders why its sales are falling, consider this: yesterday I reviewed The Might Thor, which featured three characters named Thor - but the "real" Thor was not called by name in the comic.

   Today we're looking at the latest issue of Invincible Iron Man, which features not a panel of actual Iron Man (or the real Tony Stark) in evidence.

   This issue isn't a complete loss, though, as it continues to examine the character Ironheart - the young Riri Williams, a young genius who has created her own version of the Iron Man armor (with Stark's blessing).

   She's learning what it means to be a hero - and what it means to be a genius. The story also allows writer Brian Michael Bendis to deal with some great concepts, including a technological terrorist threat and SHIELD.

   So we get a lot of smart dialogue and a fun action sequence between Riri and a surprise female villain.

   The art by Stefano Casselli is terrific - both dynamic and heartfelt.

   This series works because Riri is such a well-rounded character - intelligent, funny and determined to do the right thing.

   You know. A hero. (There's always room for more of that.)

   I'd still like to see Tony Stark in his own comic, but Riri is a fine replacement - for now.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Mighty Thor #20

   Now that's what Marvel needed: another Thor.

   It was inevitable, I suppose, since they had an extra magic hammer laying around.

   In the recent Unworthy Thor mini-series (which starred the real Thor), the Odinson (you know, Thor) discovers the hammer of the Ultimate Thor, which somehow survived the Secret War (although the Ultimate Thor did not).

   You might expect Odinson to take up that hammer - or perhaps the Mighty Thor (Jane Foster) to take it and return Mjolnir to its previous owner.

   But that would all be too predictable, so instead we have a new figure claiming the massive new hammer (for reasons that are terribly tragic and out of character) - but at least we know who he is up front, so there's no secret identity to wrestle with.

   I understand the urge to duplicate popular characters - the fan love them, so let's give them more of the same.

   But it's also possible to have too much of a good thing, as the Superman titles of the '60s and the modern-day Spider-Man Family of spinoffs clearly indicates. But as those earlier efforts show, too much duplication waters down the original - and in this series, the real Thor is just a shadow of his former self.

   Here's hoping this new Thor has a brief run.

Grade: B

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today (in addition to the Spider-Man Digest I missed last week):

- ARCHIE #21 - A deadly turn of events!

- CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #18 - Tangling with Namor.

- CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #9 - Stop that eye!

- DAREDEVIL #22 - Under oath!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #22 - A "Secret Empire" tie-in.

- INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #8 - Fighting for the right cause.

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #23 - Fighting terrorists.

- MAN-THING #5 (OF 5) - The finale!

- NICK FURY #3 - Off the rails!

- SILVER SURFER #12 - What is "the only secret in the universe?"

- MIGHTY THOR #20 - The all-new Ultimate Thor!

- WILD STORM #5 - A new phase for an ancient war.


And I received review copies of:

- ALL NEW SOULFIRE #4 - What new horrors await?

- ANNO DRACULA #4 (OF 5) - When Dracula ruled England.

- BRITANNIA WE WHO #3 - The women rebel!

- BUBBLEGUN VOL 2 #2 - The dangers of working in the Black Market!

- DOCTOR WHO 10TH YEAR THREE #6 - A new story begins!

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #4 - A small town with a deadly secret.

- FOREVER WAR #5 (OF 6) - The fight continues!

- RAPTURE #2 - The evil forces of the Deadside rise.

- SPENCER AND LOCKE #3 (OF 4) - Left for dead.

- TANK GIRL WORLD WAR TANK GIRL #3 (OF 4)

- VAMPBLADE SEASON TWO #4 - It's the comic con of the dead!

And that's it!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Marsvel Comics Digest #1

   When this issue was sold on June 7, Kyle write in to ask, "Hey Chuck, if you take requests, would like to see a review of the Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) Digest... Heard these will be making their way to grocery stores too... Is it reprints? New stories? All ages I would assume?"

   We try to do requests here at Chuck's Comic of the Day - even if we're a couple of weeks late because we just now tracked down a copy (thanks to my local comics shop), so let's check it out.

   I have to admit, I'm a sucker for these digests - they're fun and you get a lot of comics for your money - 11 issues in all, by my count.

   It is all reprints (the cover looks new), and includes one of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's last stories on the series ("Just a Guy Named Joe!"), several issues from the excellent Len Wein / Ross Andru run on the series, and more modern stories, including "Marvel Age" Spidey, "Marvel Adventures" Spidey, Ultimate Spider-Man and a "Web Warriors" adventure.

   So, it's a good mix of classic and modern, great for readers of all ages (though I have to admit some of the print is on the edge of being too small for my not-as-young-as-they-used-to-be eyes).

   Still, I think this is a great idea (though it's odd to see Archie Comics printing these collections), and hopefully it'll help lure in a new generation of readers to the wonders of comic books!

 You could do a lot worse than having the Amazing Spider-Man as a guide!

Grade: A-

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Rai: The History of the Valiant Universe #1

   For those who came in late (as they say in the Phantom comic strip), here's a handy overview of the Valiant Universe.

   We join the warrior Rai in the distant future as the Eternal Warrior and the Geomancer retrieve the Book of the Geomancer, which recounts the key events in history.

   It begins at the beginning of civilization with the immortal brothers who will spend their long lives fighting for humanity.

   Most of the focus is on the "present," as we learn about heroes such as Ninjak, X-O Manowar, the team called Unity and the deadly plans of Toyo Harada and Master Darque (among others).

   The issue (which I assume is a one-shot) is written by Rofer Roberts with powerful artwork by Francis Portela.

   It's a helpful reference work for both those readers who have just discovered Valiant Comics - and a fun recap for longtime fans.

Grade: B+

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Normandy Gold #1

   Sex, crime and revenge are a classic combination, and you get a healthy dollop of all three in the series Normandy Gold.

   It's part of the Hard Case Crime series from Titan Comics, and it's the comics equivalent of a terrific "B" movie.

   The story introduces us to Normandy, a beautiful and tough-as-nails law enforcement officer who travels to Washington, DC, to investigate the murder of a family member - and finds a shocking "hive of scum and villainy" - so the question is, how far will she go to track down the murderer?

   (If you've seen a good revenge flick, you may already know the answer.)

   This is not a comic for young readers - it's raw, brutal and free with female nudity.

   It's a cracking good story by Megan Abbott and Allison Gaylkin, with terrific, sexy and dynamic art by Steve Scott.

   It's a great start to the series and highly recommended for the grownups out there!

Grade: A

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Betty & Veronica #3

   Whenever artist Adam Hughes takes on a series, attention must be paid.

   Naturally, we had to be patient - it took 11 months to craft three issues - but it's beautiful work.

   Hughes also wrote the story, which pits the kind-hearted Betty against the conniving Veronica.

   It's a fierce battle as Betty tries to save the iconic Pop's, which is about to close.

   Veronica's father is buying out the shop to open a coffee shop, and she's backing her father's efforts.

   The battle has split the town, and Betty's only hope is to hold a special fundraiser at the school to try to raise $60,000 to save Pop's.

   The issue is packed with Easter eggs, from figures out of Little Nemo to references to Stephen King's "It" and the return of the original version of the Archie gang, to name just a few.

   It goes without saying that the art is stunning, and surprisingly Hughes manages to (mostly) resist the urge to lay on the cheesecake.

   This has been a fun trilogy - and hopefully not the last time we'll see Hughes showing off his fine comic chops.

Grade: A

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