Wednesday, October 18, 2017

New Comics Day

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

- ASTRO CITY #48 - The fate of G-Dog!

- CHAMPIONS #13 - Crossover with the Avengers!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #26 - A final house call?

- FUTURE QUEST PRESENTS #3 - The secret of Metallus revealed!

- INCREDIBLE HULK #709 - Return to Planet Hulk.

- INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #593 - The search for Tony Stark.

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 - The end of everything!

- MAGE HERO DENIED #3 (OF 15) - Hunt for the Fisher King!

- MAESTROS #1 - Death stalks the Royal Family!


- MIGHTY THOR #700 - Death of the Mighty Thor!

- SECRET WARRIORS #7 - Quake vs. Deadpool!

- WILD STORM #8 - Jacob Marlowe's secret revealed!


     And I received these comics to review:

- ACTIONVERSE ONGOING #2 STRAY - Remembering that first mission!

- ASSASSINS CREED UPRISING #8 - One final story.

- DOCTOR WHO 10TH YEAR THREE #10 - The truth about Gabby!

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #8 - The Ice Warriors return!

- DOLLFACE #10 - Meeting a good witch.

- FAITH AND THE FUTURE FORCE #4 - The final countdown!

- HERCULES WRATH of the HEAVENS #3 - Facing his own demons!

- NORMANDY GOLD #4 - Seeking revenge!

- TORCHWOOD THE CULLING #1 (OF 4) - Written by John Barrowman!

- WAR MOTHER #3 - Into the badlands.

     And that's it!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Black Panther - Movie Trailer

   Marvel unveiled the newest Black Panther movie trailer today, and it looks mighty impressive.

   Check it out:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dan Dare #1

   I have to admit that I've never read any of Dan Dare's adventures.

   Which might not sound surprising, since this is issue #1 - but of course, the hero has been a huge favorite in Great Britain for generations, and has inspired armies of writers and artists.

    The new series from Titan Comics is not a reboot - it makes use of the classic characters, including Dan's right-hand man, Digby, his right-hand woman, Peabody, his pilot Hank, and his deadliest enemy, The Mekon.

   The issue sets up the world of the future, how the Space Fleet ended the menace of The Mekon (or did they?) and what happened next.

   Written by Peter Mulligan and drawn by Alberto Foche, the issue has to cover the basics, and does so with a surprisingly laid-back pace - but by the end of the issue, things start crackling.

   The good news is, you don't have to have any previous knowledge of the series - it brings you up to speed quickly - and you can see why the series is beloved.

   It plays it straight, but there's also a playful sense about it - it's a fun series, with lots of potential.

   No doubt that's one reason why Dan Dare is a classic!

Grade: A-

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fighting American #1

   It's not always easy to love Fighting American.

   The character was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as (sort of) a way to reclaim their most famous creation, Captain America, which they were forced to leave behind when they left Timely Comics (which later became Marvel Comics).

   But instead of playing it straight, in the original version they decided to camp it up and have fun with the concept, pitting the hero and his sidekick Speedboy against assorted comical "Commie" threats to the U.S.A.

   It's all good fun, but it didn't last long (though it survives on in some nice reprint editions). An attempt or two have been made to bring the character back over the years, but they've fallen short - at least until now.

   This new version from Titan Comics, published in time to be part of the Jack Kirby's 100th birthday celebration, is written by Gordon Rennie with art by Duke Mighten, and it actually manages to capture the feel of the original while bringing it up to date.

   It accomplishes this by that beloved vehicle, the time machine, and F.A. and S.B. chase one of their most dastardly villains into the present - and what follows is a fun collision of cultures, managing a great balance between humor and action.

   I wasn't expecting much from this series - too many creators just lean on the powerful original concept and don't bring much to the table. That's not the case here.

   Somewhat to my surprise, I enjoyed it. A lot!

   Go figure.

Grade: A

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Wynonna Earp Season Zero #4

   The latest Wynonna Earp mini-series (Season Zero) is really swinging for the fences, and it brings with it a Wild Bunch / Seven Samurai / World War II threshold of violence and action.

   Written by Earp creator Beau Smith and Tim Rozon, who plays Doc Holliday on the TV series, it gives us a meeting of Wynonna's two families - the paramilitary biker gang she ran with, and her new family depicted on the TV series.

   They're facing a deadly fight against a more powerful opponent - the sinister Keegan.

   What follows is one of the most intense battles I've ever seen depicted in a comic book! Lives are lost, battles are fought on scales both large and small, family pulls together and revenge is served up in large doses.

   The art by Angel Hernandez is terrific, with no punches pulled in the depiction of the violence of war.

   It's a terrific series, one any action fan is bound to love. It's a home run!

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dark Nights Metal #3

   I was planning to skip this Dark Nights Metal mini-series.

   The whole "Dark Multiverse" / Heavy Metal thing just looked too dark for my (admittedly middle-of-the-road) tastes.

   But curiosity got the best of me, so I picked it up - and now I regret it.

   That's because it's become exactly what I expected: dark, depressing, placing the DC Universe in the throes of a terrible, dystopian existence that promises lots of death and destruction along the way.

   This issue actually focuses on Superman, so you'd think it would be a bit more uplifting - but no, it never really rises out of the muck.

   The art and story are skillful and disturbing, and if you like this sort of thing more than I do, here it is.

Grade: C+

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Comics Day

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

- DAREDEVIL #27 - The Land of the Blind!

- DARK NIGHTS METAL #3 (OF 6) - Invasion from the Dark Multiverse!

- DEFENDERS #6 - Kingpins of New York!

- FLASH #32 - An attack on STAR Labs!

- GROO PLAY OF GODS #4 - Can the gods survive when Groo's around?

- MISTER MIRACLE #3 (OF 12) - The ultimate trap: war!

- WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #4 (OF 5) - Wynonna's allies to the rescue!


    And here are the review copies I received:

- ASPEN UNIVERSE DECIMATION #1 - The time for revelations is over!

- BEST OF CROCK - A Hardcover collection of the comic strip's greatest hits!

- DAN DARE #1 - Return of the classic British SF hero!

- DANGER DOLL SQUAD #1 - Crossover time!

- DOCTOR WHO LOST DIMENSION SPECIAL #1 - Tying into the event!

- EVIL WITHIN #2 - The survival horror series continues!

- FIGHTING AMERICAN #1 - The return of the classic Simon and Kirby character!

- HARBINGER RENEGADE #8 - Massacre!

- LOST FLEET CORSAIR #4 (OF 4) - The SF novel adaptation concludes!

- MEDISIN #5 - Facing the deadly Malady!

- PENNY DREADFUL #6 - Spinning off from the TV series.

- SHINOBI NINJA PRINCESS LIGHTNING ONI #2 - The mystery behind a deadly attack.

- WARHAMMER 40000 DAWN OF WAR III #3 (OF 4) - Based on the classic strategy game!

- WOLFENSTEIN #2 (OF 2) - Based on the classic videogame!

    And that's it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Shadowman Rae Sremmurd #1

    I may know a  bit about comic books, but as a geezer I know squat about hip hop music.

   So I had no idea who or what Rae Sremmurd might be, and how they / it was connected to Shadowman.

   Turns out that they're real-life musicians, made up of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi.

   According to this story, they gained success thanks to an agreement they signed with the Devil - which explains their quick success - but then the Devil shows up to claim their souls.

   The issue features a cameo by Dr. Mirage and takes us to the Deadside, where Shadowman lives and works to undo the curse.

   The story by Eliot Rahal is pretty straightforward - your typical "deal with the devil" kinda thing - but the art by Renato Guedes is tremendous, with a painted, realistic approach to the action and characters.

   Fans of the group will enjoy their appearance here - and even if you don't know anything about the group (like some people I could name), it's still a fun tale.

Grade: B+

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Monday, October 9, 2017

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" - Movie Trailer

   The new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was rolled out this evening, and it certainly looks impressive. Check it out:

  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Justice League #30

   The Justice League under writer (and occasional artist) Bryan Hitch has been all about playing out stories on a VERY BIG STAGE - and this issue, the latest chapter in the Legacy story, follows that pattern.

   Unlike some of the previous epics, this story actually has an emotional connection as a somewhat-mysterious group of young adults appear, claiming to be the children of members of the League.

   They're here to stop a terrible menace that destroyed the future - but it has followed them through time and promises more of the same.

   It's a story that can be  bit of a struggle to keep up with, as there are a lot of elements in play: who is Sovereign? What happened to change Aquaman in the future? Why is the Darkness attacking Wonder Woman? What is the real mission of the heroes from the future?

   It can be a bit much, but it's compelling and well worth sorting out.

   Throw in some terrific, Hitch-like art by Fernando Pasarin, inked by Andy Owens, Mick Gray, Batt and Scott Hanna, colors by Brad Anderson, and you have a heckuva story unfolding here.

   Recommended!

Grade: A-

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Paper Girls #16

   If you're looking for a unique time traveling, science fiction story that stars four girls, look no further - Paper Girls is back from its regularly-scheduled, thankfully brief hiatus.

   We've followed the four - Erin, Mac, Tiffany and KJ - as they've traveled into the distant past, and now to their own future in the year 2000, as the Y2K virus takes effect (you may remember events differently).

   They became separated because of the events that led to their return to the present (about which we'll say no more, lest we spoil the fun), and they find lots of changes - and a menace that starts at the local Applebees, spills across the city, and has ties in the future and a devastated present day (whatever that is).

   It's a terrific series, and it's well worth tracking down the trade reprints of earlier issues so you can hit the ground running here.

Grade: A-

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Friday, October 6, 2017

The Archies #1

   When I visited the comics shop this week, I didn't plan to pick up this issue.

   But when I walked up to the checkout, my comics shop owner held out the first issue of The Archies and said, "You wanted this one, right?"

    I was torn - I usually just buy the Archie title, but I do try to give new series a shot.

   I asked, "Did you order it just for me?" He replied, "Yes - didn't you ask me to get a copy for you?"

    I had to think about that one. Had I requested one? I was pretty sure I hadn't - but I know fate when I see it, so I bought it.

    And the issue is... ok. Not great, but ok.

   It follows the newly-created band that includes Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and - surprisingly enough - Reggie. But like any band that ever was, there are problems - agreeing on songs, getting to rehearsal, and what to do when they start enjoying some success.

   It's a solid effort, with a good script and fun, vivacious artwork - but it's not an easy fit, placing these characters into a band and making it work.

   And will they ever play their biggest hit in the real world: "Sugar, Sugar?"

   Future issues will tell the tale!

Grade: B

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Avengers #672

   Happy to see the return of the original numbering to The Avengers!

   The issue also does something I usually don't like - namely, cross over with a different comic (in this case, The Champions).

   That's ok, because: 1) I read both titles; 2) It's limited to just those titles; and 3) Mark Waid writes both books.

   The story touches on a classic concept - Counter-Earth!

   Created by the High Evolutionary as a duplicate of our Earth - but orbiting on the opposite side of the sun - it's been a while since it was used, but here it provides the springboard for a menace that will require two teams of heroes!

   This is a traditional super-hero team-up comic, which makes it, in my book, a lot of fun. It includes a deadly menace to the planet, heroes working together in new and interesting mini-teams and combinations, and a lot of humor.

   With terrific art by Jesus Saiz, this is a great start to the series of crossovers. Recommended!

Grade: A-

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

New Comics Day

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

- AVENGERS #672 - Worlds Collide!

- BANE CONQUEST #6 (OF 12) - When Kobra strikes!

- HAWKEYE #11 - Showdown with Madam Masque!

- JESSICA JONES #13 - Return of the Purple Man.

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 - The Great Darkness is growing.

- PAPER GIRLS #16 - A new story begins!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #162 - Finding a killer!


(I'd hoped to pick up CHARLTON ARROW #1 - but my shop didn't have a copy, so it's on backorder.)


   And I received review copies of these comics:

- AMERIKARATE #7 - A new cyborg in town.

- BEAUTIFUL CANVAS #4 - The end - and the beginning.

- BUBBLEGUN VOL 2 #5 - The high tech finale!

- HERO CATS #19 - Winter is here.

- KIM AND KIM LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD #3 - A bounty and a giant robot.

- MILLENNIUM GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE #2 (OF 2) - On the run!

- MIRACULOUS ADVENTURES LADYBUG CAT NOIR #3 - The trash Krakken!

- QUAKE CHAMPIONS #2 (OF 4) - Based on the classic game!

- SHADOWMAN / RAE SREMMURD #1 - A crossover event!

- SHERLOCK THE GREAT GAME #3 (OF 6) - Continuing the Manga adaptations of the BBC TV series.

- TOYETICA #3 - Secrets are revealed!

And that's it!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marvel Legacy #1

   This is a crazy quilt issue, written by one writer - Jason Aaron - and drawn by a small army of artists (15 are credited) - and it's tackling a big job.

   Marvel Legacy is the first step as the House of Ideas tries to right its ship and get things back under control.

    The issue starts in the distant past as some characters with links to modern-day heroes tackle a cosmic challenge - and it's a world-shaking menace that will affect the modern-day Marvel heroes.

   The comic checks in with virtually every major hero - where they are, what they're dealing with - and there are a few surprise appearances, and the book teases the long-overdue return of more than one character.

   It's hard to give this issue high marks because it's all over the place - but it's really just an introduction to "what comes next."

   It does that job well, and it certainly offers some hope for better things ahead, and (hopefully) a return to greatness for some of Marvel's top characters.

   It's too soon to tell if the Legacy story will actually get Marvel back on track, but it's at least a solid start on that road. Fans across the globe are hoping for the best!

Grade: B+

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Monday, October 2, 2017

The Gifted - TV Review


   In a season with a smattering of new super-hero-based TV shows, The Gifted shines bright.

   The Fox series is set firmly in the X-Men cinematic universe, although we don't see any of that team (but at least we get an explanation of why - sort of).

   The show follows a traditional Marvel Comics-style story as we see young mutants on the run from law enforcement and a team of experienced mutants doing their best to rescue those mutants and move them to a safe refuge.

   We're introduced to some new and some familiar characters (at least to those of us who've been reading the X-Men comics for a long time), including Lorna Dane, Blink, and John Proudstar.

   The focus is on the Strucker family, as their teenage son and daughter reveal that they are mutants - which is a shock to their father, who's a prosecuting attorney dealing with captured mutants. (No mention of Baron Strucker so far.)

   The big bad in the series is Sentinels Services, a government agency out to track down mutants (and that's my only beef with the series - it seems a bit lazy to make the big bad government the villain). So that paramilitary force is on the hunt, and they have some impressive weapons in their arsenal.

   The effects are very good and the characters are an interesting mix - and there are several surprises along the way.

   I'm not sure where the story goes from here, and that's a good thing! So far, I'm impressed - I've added the show to my DVR "pull list." As long as they stay close to the original comics concepts, I think the show will do well.

   Recommended!

Grade: A

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

All New Soulfire #7 (of 8)

   Stories of magic can be a bit much to sort out sometimes, with lots of characters with strange names, stranger powers and mysterious motivations.

   All New Soulfire suffers a bit from all that, and can be a challenge for a new reader - but this issue manages to overcome those problems by serving up an intense, emotional story that promises big changes for the series.

   Death has arrived for a central character, and the event has a devastating effect on those left behind - and that's just the beginning of the story, as revelations about the nature of reality - and the path for the future - shake up everyone's existence.

   It's a powerful tale, and it sets up an explosive finale.

   I don't always "click" with this series, but this issue stands above previous attempts, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Grade: A-

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter #1

   This series is a delight (in the classic horror movie sense)!

   It's based on the adventures of Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter, who seeks revenge on the undead.

   Based on the '70s Hammer Horror Films hero, his adventures are brought to vivid life by writer Dan Abnett and artist Tom Mandrake.

   The hero works alongside the aged but able hunter named Grost and the beautiful and deadly Carla, fighting horrific monsters and helping those threatened by evil forces.

   This feels - in the best sense of the concept - like a classic Marvel horror comic.

   A lot of that is because of the excellent art by Mandrake, one of the few comic artists who work in the cinematic style of Gene Colan, and he creates a wonderful, atmospheric world here, and populates it with striking characters.

   The story rockets along at top speed, carrying us from a deadly battle to a besieged village - and a mysterious enemy.

   It captures the charm and thrills of those classic Hammer films - and promises lots of deadly battles to come!

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Friday, September 29, 2017

War Mother #2

   There sure is a lot of stabbing in the future.

   At least that's the case with War Mother, which is set in the future of the Valiant Universe - in the year 4001 AD, to be exact.

   The world has seen better days, but War Mother is doing her best to find a safe home for her people after the destructive fall of New Japan, which had been orbiting the Earth (until it crashed).

   But just when she thinks she's found a safe haven, she's attacked and taken prisoner - and her only ally may not be on her side any more!

   We also get a glimpse of plots unfolding as dark elements arise in her tribe.

   There's quite a bit of violence in evidence here (mostly involving knives, as previously mentioned), and still a bit of explaining needed for new readers, but the art is excellent and there's lots of potential building here.

   I can't recommend it for younger readers, but there's a lot of potential here for those old enough to handle the violent aspects.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Beautiful Death #1

   Dystopian futures are the only kind we see in comics these days.

   (Am I wrong? I honestly can't think of a utopian comics series out there, but surely there must be at least one.)

   A great example of one is The Beautiful Death, a Titan Comics translation of the Ankama Edition.

   It gives us a world where humanity has failed and very few are left alive.

   It's astonishingly bleak and vivid as we follow a few of the survivors through a major city that has been trashed by an apocalyptic event.

   We're not entirely sure what has gone wrong, but it apparently has something to do with the insects (no doubt future issues will bring along more information).

   The series is credited to Mathieu Bablet, and it's remarkable work - showing some Mobius influences, but with an original look and characters.

   I'm not a huge fan of dystopian tales (there are so many!), but I was captivated by this - it manages to incorporate both the human tragedy of the event along with the desperation to stay alive.

   Excellent work - I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

Grade: A-

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New Comics Day

   OK, I didn't make it to the comics shop today (life gets in the way sometimes0.

   Here’s what I plan to pick up at the comics shop this week:

- ARCHIE #24 - Who has become a pariah in Riverdale?

- BATMAN THE SHADOW #6 (OF 6) - Will Batman embrace his destiny?

- FLASH #31 - A brutal fight with Bloodwork!

- INFAMOUS IRON MAN #12 - Doom fights for his own future!

- KAMANDI CHALLENGE #9 (OF 12) - Kevin Eastman does the art!

- MARVEL LEGACY #1 - A new beginning!

- MIGHTY THOR #23 - Thor against Thor!

- NICK FURY #6 - Return to Ravenlock Castle!

- SAGA #47 - What will happen to The Will?


   And I received these review copies:

- ALL NEW SOULFIRE #7 - The action adventure fantasy series continues!

- CAPTAIN KRONOS (HAMMER) #1 - The vampire hunter strikes!

- DISHONORED PEERESS AND THE PRICE #1 - Set in the world of the videogame Dishonored!

- DOCTOR WHO 11TH YEAR THREE #10 - An impossible universe!

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #7 - Return of the Ice Warriors!

- DOLLFACE #9 - Looking for answers.

- FAITH AND THE FUTURE FORCE #3 - Can the team defeat time itself?

- MEDISIN #4 - Paying the ultimate price!

- ROBOTECH #3 - Surprises abound!

- THE BEAUTIFUL DEATH #1 (OF 5)  - The age of humanity is at an end!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON TWO #7 - The Danger Doll Squad fights on! 

- WAR MOTHER #2 - A new legend in 4001AD! 

- WARHAMMER 40000 FALLEN #1 (OF 4) -  A new story arc begins! 

- X-O MANOWAR #7 - An alien world bows to X-O!


   And that’s it!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Miraculous #15

   As lighthearted fare for young readers, you can't go wrong with Miraculous!

   The series, based on the cartoon series, features the heroes known as Ladybug and Cat Noir as they face an animal invasion of sorts.

   One of their friends is under attack by a Black Panther (but not THE Black Panther) that's being controlled by the evil Hawk Moth.

   As if that wasn't difficult enough, the Panther is intelligent and can change its form into almost any animal.

   Can the two heroes stop the possessed creature and round up all the other zoo animals that are endangering the public?

   Read and find out!

   Obviously this series isn't aimed at a geezer like me, but for fans of the cartoon - or young readers looking for a good starting point to get into comics, this is the place to be!

Grade: B

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Bloodshot Salvation #1

   The deadly killer Bloodshot has been resurrected in a new role: a family man!

   Well, at least for part of this issue.

   That nanite-filled character hoped to change his life, so he took on a normal appearance, fell in love with a woman named Magic, and together they had a child, a girl named Jessie.

   But a happy life isn't in the cards for the family, and the modern-day part of the story finds Magic and Jessie running for their lives from a terrible threat - and coming up against a surprising menace.

   It's a hard-hitting and emotional story from writer Jeff Lemire, and the art by Lewis LaRosa and Mica Suayan, with color art by Brian Reber, is stunning - it gives a painted, real-world look to the adventure.

    It's a strong start for this new series (though be warned, it's a bit on the bloody side), and well worth checking out.

Grade: A-

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

All New Fathom #8

  This issue of All New Fathom wraps up the latest storyline - and it's a twisty one.

   Titanic monsters are destroying ships on oceans around the world, and the villain named Cannon has somehow managed to fool people into thinking that he's the only one who can stop the danger.

   (Three guesses as to who is actually behind the attacks.)

   As the king of the undersea race known as The Blue, he offers to fight Aspen Matthews in an arena - though of course the fight is hardly fair. And more than a few surprises are revealed.

    In the meantime, Aspen's earth-bound allies have uncovered the secret behind Cannon's plan, and their only hope is to try something with a military jet that will leave anyone who knows anything about jets scratching their heads.

   So it's all kind of silly and preachy - but plans are already underway for the next series (or mini-series, as the case may be), so hopefully the next story will make a bit more sense.

 Grade: C+

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Secret Weapons #4 (of 4)

    Most comics take a “bigger is better” approach to the idea of team comics, but Secret Weapons, thankfully, is taking a different tact.

   It features a group of young people with powers who join together as a team because they can’t hope to survive alone. 

   Their powers are - well, let’s say they’re different. 

   A girl who can talk to birds. A guy who can turn to unbreakable stone. A guy who can apparently work magic - but he can’t control it. A woman who controls electronics.

   Together they must face a powerhouse who has taken out much more experienced heroes - and seeing how they do it, and what they learn about themselves along the way, is very entertaining.

   It’s a comic that’s different from the norm, but there’s nothing wrong with that. 

   Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Secret Weapons (and the issue promises more soon).

Grade: A-


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Friday, September 22, 2017

Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #6 (of 6)

   The series has been a great shot of nostalgia for fans of the original Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter and the Bionic Woman starring Lyndsey Wagner.

  The creative team - writer Andy Mangels and artist Judit Tondora - have spared no effort to weave a story that brings together the two TV stars and incorporates a vast number of the supporting cast / actors - both friends and foes (including Wonder Girl) - and the art does a good job of capturing their likenesses.

   I watched both series faithfully, and I admit that I don’t remember everyone included here.

  The story revolves around an attempt to use Fembots to take control of Paradise Island - and exposes the mystic secrets of the island to the world.

   It’s a fun clash of the titans, and great to see the return of these classic characters!

Grade: A-

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Avengers #11

    Ah, this issue feels like a cool breeze after a hot summer day.

   Which is to say, it's nice to see the cast of The Avengers, having survived the events of the odious Secret Empire event, actually getting along and taking the time for some heart-to-heart conversations.

   Finding the team without a headquarters and uncertain of their next move, they follow the classic strategy that goes back to the earliest issues of team comics everywhere: they break up into small teams!

   Well, actually, they pair off to talk things over - so we have the Falcon talking about a big decision with the Mighty Thor; Hercules explaining the burdens and blessings of his existence to the Vision; and Spider-Man teaming up with the Wasp in an effort to... well, to get her to stop hating him.

   It's a great mix of humor, revelations, insights and action, all managed like a master class in how to write a team comic by Mark Waid, with lovely, evocative art by Mike del Mundo.

   This issue marks something of a new start for the team, and it's a great jumping-on point - and a darned good comic.

   (And I have to say, it's a delight to actually laugh out out at Spider-Man's dialogue again.)

Grade: A

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New Comics Day

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

- AVENGERS #11 - Secret Empire aftermath!

- BUG THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER #4 (OF 6) - Look out for robot Deadman!

- CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #12 - The secret of the eye!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #25 - Anniversary issue!

- FUTURE QUEST PRESENTS #2 - Space Ghost! The Herculoids! Mettalus! Take my money!

- INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #11 - An international incident!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #29 - What are the JL's future children hiding?

- WILD STORM #7 - What is John Colt's secret?


   And here are the review copies I received:

- ALL NEW FATHOM #8 - The finale!

- BLOODSHOT SALVATION #1 - Building a family.

- KID SHERLOCK #4 - Terror stalks the school!

- MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN FRED FREDERICKS DAILIES VOL. 1 - A classic collection!

- MIRACULOUS #15 - A deadly new foe!

- MISBEGOTTEN RUNAWAY NUN #1 - Who can save the holy clone?

- SECRET WEAPONS #4 (OF 4) - A robotic killer unleashed!

- TOYETICA #2 - Winning over a new student.

- WONDER WOMAN 77 BIONIC WOMAN #6 (OF 6) - The fate of the free world hangs in the balance!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #39 - Fighting her closest ally!


   And that's it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Tomb Raider" and "Punisher" Trailers

   A couple of comic book-related trailers have been released recently (both are violent, so be warned) - including this one starring Lara Croft, from the video game (and later comic book series) Tomb Raider. 

   It's obviously based on the more recent video game version, who is a bit more (shall we say) realistic in her personality and personal dimensions (they are, by the way, very good games):



   And we also have the newest Netflix series, a brutal version of Marvel's killer vigilante, The Punisher.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Generations: Captain Marvel & Captain Mar-Vell #1

   Well, I had high hopes for this issue of Generations, because I was a big fan of Captain Marvel - or, as he's named here, Captain Mar-Vell.

   The Kree warrior was sent to Earth on a secret mission and found he liked the people there - so he became a defender of Earth.

   His career followed a strange path, finally settling down as the first regular series written and drawn by Jim Starlin - and he became the first hero to defeat Thanos.

   This issue reunites that character with the hero who carries his name in the modern Marvel Universe - Carol Danvers.

   Sadly, this story doesn't give any of them much to do, as they find themselves fighting to defend an alien race of pacifists.

   But so many things don't make sense here, including the location of the story, the speech pattern of Mar-Vell, and the fact that he doesn't recognize Carol. Granted that she wasn't a superhero when they met, but only her hairstyle is different.

   She doesn't get to do much except be temperamental. There was so much potential here - why not meet the Mar-Vell who was cosmically aware? ("Hi, Carol. How's life in the future?") Or the green-and-white costumed version, who was new to the Earth and trying to figure out human customs?

   Appearances by Mar-Vell are so rare, but this one was squandered. Too bad.

Grade: C+

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ninjak #0

   If it's Ninjak #0, then it must be time to give readers a fresh start to this classic super spy / martial artist / superhero from Valiant Comics.

   And that's what you get here - a solid recap of the high (and low) points of Colin King's life and career, including a grim childhood and a life of learning extraordinary fighting skills.

   It's all a setup for the newest series and a fresh start for the enduring hero.

   A sharp script by Matt Kind that bounces between flashbacks and present-day mayhem, and exciting visuals by artist Francis Portela make this a strong start to the latest reboot.

Grade: A

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Runaways #1

   As a fan of the original series (which you really should read if you haven't already), I'm glad to see the return of the Runaways.

   It was a unique concept that teamed up a group of super-powered kids / friends who had to run away from some powerful enemies.

   The series was loaded with great stories and unexpected twists, but sadly, it didn't last.

   With word of an upcoming TV series, it's back, but the first story has a surprisingly narrow focus.

   It sets out to fix one of the mistakes (well, I thought it was a mistake) from an earlier series - namely, the death of a key character.

   I don't object to the resurrection as much as I question the decision to base the first issue around the effort. It's unexpected, but readers who aren't familiar with the characters might be lost, trying to figure out the characters and their relationships.

   The reason most teams focus their first issue on "getting the team together" is because it's an efficient method for bring the readers into the fold - and giving them several characters to be interested in - hopefully they'll lock in on one or more and want to follow along.

   But this may just be a minor quibble. The writer, Rainbow Rowell, is a pro at Young Adult novels, so we trust she knows what she's doing here, and we expect bigger and better things from future issues.  

Grade: B

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Mister Miracle #2 (of 12)

   I struggled with the first issue of this series, but apparently I should have been more patient with Mister Miracle.

   The second issue also includes some disturbing imagery, and almost seems to be making fun of (or perhaps it's having fun with) the original Kirby concept - but it also gives us a glimpse of the unexpected turns it promises.

   The focus here is on Scott Free the warrior, fighting alongside his wife, the warrior Big Barda, in defense of New Genesis and Highfather (though you might be surprised by that character's face).

   Reality seems to be in flux here, and it's a brutal existence.

   Writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads are taking a unique, adult approach to the series, which is loaded with mystery and meaning.

   It's not for everyone, and it's a long way from the original series - but Mister Miracle is shaping up to be a story to watch out for.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dark Nights: Metal #2

   Dark Nights: Metal is doing a good job of setting up a mysterious new menace, and certainly benefits from some terrific, dynamic artwork by Greg Capullo, but there's a problem here.

   The story by Scott Snyder leans hard on similar stories from that team's run on Batman, especially the story that had Batman fighting the entire Justice League.

   The members of the League are trying to stop Batman, who has obtained a terribly dangerous weapon (though it seems to me that the mysterious weapon doesn't fit into current DC continuity - but it's all such a jumble, I could easily be wrong).

   Like the previous story, we see scene after scene of Bruce outwitting and outmaneuvering the world's most powerful heroes, all in an attempt to stop a danger that threatens the world.

   I'm not sure which is more annoying - that Bruce can outwit his team so easily, or that the members of the League wield godlike powers, so (for example) Superman can hear anyone's heartbeat in the world.

   The story may be a bit derivative, but it is a well-crafted comic and manages to end on a heck of a cliffhanger.

   So there's that.

Grade: A-

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Comics Day

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

NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS SHADOWS #7 - A new direction for Shadow.

DARK NIGHTS METAL #2 (OF 6) - Searching for a missing ally.

DEFENDERS #5 - The Punisher strikes!

FLASH #30 - Barry is having a bad day - and it gets worse.

GENERATIONS CAPT MARVEL & CAPT MAR-VELL #1 - Oh Captain my Captain!

GROO PLAY OF GODS #3 - Speaking of making a bad day worse, that's Groo's specialty!

MAGE HERO DENIED #2 (OF 15) - A powerful threat emerges.

MISTER MIRACLE #2 (OF 12)  - Off to war!

RUNAWAYS #1 - On the run again.

SECRET WARRIORS #6 - Facing Deadpool!

SPIRIT #4 (of 5) - The Corpse Makers!

WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #3 (OF 5) - Bringing the fight to the enemy!


   And here are the review copies I received:

AMERIKARATE #6 - A robot crime wave!

ASSASSINS CREED UPRISING #7 

BEST OF HAGAR - Nothing horrible about the classic comic strip!

BLOOD BOWL MORE GUTS MORE GLORY #4 (OF 4) - The final showdown!

DOCTOR WHO 10TH YEAR THREE #9 - Investigating a mysterious Black Hole in space!

EVIL WITHIN #1 - Survivor horror game series continues!

HERCULES WRATH O/T HEAVENS #2 - Hercules faces his greatest enemy!

HERO CATS TP VOL 6 - Bandit meets the Hero Cats!

LOLA XOXO VOL 2 #3

MIRACULOUS #13 - Facing Princess Fragrance!

NINJAK #0 - His past and future revealed!

RIVERS OF LONDON DETECTIVE STORIES #4 (OF 4)

SHINOBI NINJA PRINCESS LIGHTNING ONI #1 - Nanjas vs. Monsters!

TORCHWOOD CLASSICS TP VOL 02

TOTAL TANK GIRL OMNIBUS 

WOLFENSTEIN #1 (OF 2) - A new comic based on the classic game.

   And that's it! Whew!