Saturday, May 4, 2013

Free Comic Book Day 2013

   Happy Free Comic Book Day!

   Our favorite holiday continues to grow - this year there are (by one count) 52 free comics being offered out there.

   I'm just one guy, so there's no way I can review 'em all - but I'll try to hit some highlights here with some pocket reviews.

   Special thanks to my pal John at my local comics shop for sliding my comics to me a couple of days early this year.

   If you picked up any comics I missed (and there are many), feel free to let us know what you thought - you can comment at the link at the bottom of this post or email your thoughts to us at and I'll add it to the list here.

   Now, review time:

Infinity (Marvel)

   Marvel has two comics being offered this year, with the best of the bunch being Infinity, a preview of a mini-series that hits this fall.

   It features Thanos (natch) as he prepares for an attack on Earth.  It's a chilling look at what's sure to be a strong story - especially since it's going to be written by Jonathan Hickman.

Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (Marvel) 

   Marvel's other comic is actually promoting two new cartoons that premiere this year.

   The art seems to be taken from the actual animation for the shows.

   Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. features an odd mix of the Hulk Family, including Red Hulk, She-Hulk and Skaar, fighting an assortment of monsters.  

   The issue also features a preview of the new Avengers Assemble cartoon (which is a relief, because the most recent Avengers cartoon was quite good - here's hoping for more of the same).

Superman (DC)

   DC also has two free comics - the first one promises a preview of the upcoming Scott Snyder / Jim Lee Superman series, but it's actually a reprint of a (quite good) story by Geoff Johns, Richard Donner (the director of the Christopher Reeve Superman movie) and Adam Kubert, with a short interview at the back with the new creative team.

Beware the Batman / Go Teen Titans (DC)

   DC's other free comic also promotes two animation-style  stories, including a new and different look for Batman (collect 'em all) and a story based on the animated version of Teen Titans, which is being revived to replace the much-missed Young Justice and Green Lantern.

   Recommended for fans of this style - I have to admit that neither one does much for me.

The Walking Dead (Image)

      I should probably admit that I'm the holdout - the one guy who doesn't watch the Walking Dead TV show or read the comic book (except for the 100th issue, which I reviewed on this blog).

   I'm apparently missing out, since everyone seems to love both. At any rate, this seems to be a new story offering some backstory for several of the main characters.

   It's grim and grisly and pretty riveting - no doubt a must-have for fans of the phenomenon.

Worlds of Aspen (Aspen)

Aspen offers a flip book (those are always fun), with one half offering a leisurely recap of Fathom's history (while also setting up the upcoming "Elite Saga" storyline), and the other providing a series of ads / pinups of the assortment of beautiful women / warriors who will be starring in upcoming series (and mini-series).

   That list includes Legend of the Shadow Clan, Shrugged 2, Bubble Gun and Trish: Out of Water (among others).

Star Wars / Capt. Midnight / Avatar (Dark Horse)

Dark Horse also offers two free comics, each one with multiple stories.

    This one includes an excellent story about an assassination attempt on Darth Vader (with a guest appearance by Boba Fett), a pulpish story with Captain Midnight, and an animation-style story with Avatar: The Last Airbender.

   Worth it just for the Star Wars story (what better day to read it than Star Wars Day? May the Fourth be with you).

R.I.P.D. / Killjoys / Mass Effect (Dark Horse)

   The other Dark Horse offering includes R.I.P.D.,  a story about a couple of dead cops tracking down unruly spooks (the movie looks like a lot of fun), The True Lies of the Fabulous Killjoys (an interesting oddity), and Mass Effect (a tale from happier days).

   I liked this one.

The Strangers (Oni)

   I enjoyed The Strangers quite a bit - it's a quirky mix of Mission Impossible, the Man from UNCLE and the X-Men, all rolled into a fun spy / mystical adventure story.

   The idea is to promote the new series, and it worked on me - I'll be checking this out.

Valiant 2013 (Valiant)

   Valiant also offers two free comics (it's almost the standard this year), but there's no complete story in this issue - it's a series of short previews for the upcoming Harbinger Wars (which seems to involve quite a bit of death and destruction).

   There are also teasers for new series coming up down the road, including a new version of Unity.

Valiant Masters (Valiant)

   This issue is promoting several promised volumes that will collect the stories from the original Valiant Universe, including The Eternal Warrior, Shadowman, Ninjak and Rai.

    The excerpts include some outstanding art by Barry Windsor-Smith and Joe Quesada.

World of Archie Digest (Archie)

   Archie Comics offers two comics, natch, and the first one is a heck of a deal - it's a World of Archie Digest comic with almost 100 pages of classic Archie stories, gags and fashions.

   That makes this one of the best bargains in terms of getting the most for your (unspent) money.

    Lots of fun and a heck of a bargain!

Sonic / Mega Man (Archie)

   This comic previews an upcoming crossover between the two videogame stars, Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog.

   It seems like an odd mix, but the short stories included here are loaded with energy and animation, so fans of the characters (or their games) should get a kick out of this.


   So of the ones I read, on the basis of being entertaining, I'd recommend Infinity, The Walking Dead, Star Wars, The Strangers and the World of Archie Digest.

    And that's it for my reading - if you have other issues to include, drop us a note and we'll pass along your recommendations.

   Enjoy your holiday!



El Vox said...

I can get a little Scrooge-like with Free Comic Book Day. On one hand it is a time to recognize a hobby I enjoy even though at times I hardly know if the hobby, due to prices, can sustain itself. (I do not think it is poor storytelling and art that has caused so many books to have fallen in circulation.) My misgivings about the whole affair ever since it began are: Even if you are a decent customer, perhaps you don't drop $50 a week on comics, but you come in and spend some dough on a couple of books, the store owner saves the "hot" free titles: TWD or whatever for the high dollar customers that does drop $50. a week on comics. I can understand this scenario, I like eating too, and I might do the same if I were a store owner. The other is more nepotism or favoritism towards their kewl buds. I generally don't figure in this group as I just come in, look, buy, and yeah, probably don't know the store owner very well, but being older and newish to the town, I'm probably exempt there as well. I wish the comic publisher would just allow you to read them online, however, I know the deal is to get you into the store--create new readers, create an atmosphere of hey look we've changed, increase sales, etc. Still it lacks a bit of something... I think reading them online would have just about as good an effect. You read a new Superman or Batman or whatever title and think, that's pretty good, I'd forgotten how good some of this stuff was, and then go to a store to look around. It also allows anyone interested a chance to read the books too.

Chuck said...

Vox, All good points - it is a shame that we don't see huge crowds every Wednesday at the comics shop, as opposed to those who just show up to mooch a free comic.

But the event obviously works well as a promotion - if nothing else, to remind people that comic books do still exist. And it's always great to see young kids at these events. So I'd expect to see this annual event continue - as long as there are comic books around to be promoted.

Bobby Nash said...

Several stores make an event out of it. I attended a couple today and posted photos from them on my website,

I too wish we had bigger crowds all year long, but I look on FCBD as a time for comic fans to congregate and enjoy themselves. That's what I did today.


Chuck said...

Bobby, thanks for sharing the photos - Supergirl gets my vote for best costume!

Glen Davis said...

I got 10 titles. The Archie digest is the best value, but I really enjoyed the Buck Rogers and Prince Valiant books.

Bobby Nash said...

Yes. Supergirl was awesome.