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



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!


- 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+


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


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


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-


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-


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.


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!


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!


MIRACULOUS #13 - Facing Princess Fragrance!

NINJAK #0 - His past and future revealed!





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

   And that's it! Whew!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Classics - Giant-Size X-Men #1

   With the passing this week of writer / editor Len Wein, the thoughts of comics fans all over the world turned to some of his amazing, ground-breaking work - and I'd argue that his most lasting impact came from this issue: Giant-Size X-Men.

   As a huge fan of the original series in the '60s, which featured amazing work by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams, I was stunned when it was canceled. The team (Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl) continued to appear in reprints for five years - until this issue appeared in 1975.

   Written and edited by Wein and drawn by Dave Cockrum (who also inked the cover by Gil Kane), the issue focused on a different group of mutants, as Professor Xavier traveled around the world, recruiting new members for his team - but why?

   It gave the team an international cast, as he gathered Storm in Africa, Colossus in Russia, Nightcrawler in Germany, Thunderbird from America, and Wolverine from Canada.

   They joined forces with Cyclops (wearing a new costume), and set out to rescue the original team from a towering menace.

   The fresh new approach to the team, combined with amazing, dynamic artwork by the endlessly inventive Cockrum, created an exciting new comic that quickly became Marvel's most popular title - a ranking it would hold for decades.

    Many fans consider this issue to be the point at which a comics age turned - from Silver to Bronze. (Others place it earlier, at the first issue of Conan the Barbarian, while some point to Kirby's move to DC Comics.)

   Whatever the case, the issue paved the way for Marvel's long-time dominance of the comics market, and forced every title to up its game in an attempt to keep up with the exciting stories being told.

   Others would carry the title to even greater heights, but it all started here - and it's just one of hundreds of great comics created by Wein.

Grade: A+


Monday, September 11, 2017

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #5 (of 5)

   This story has demanded patience from its audience - it's taken 15 months to turn out five issues - but finally, with this issue, those kids walk into that bank.

   What writer Matthew Rosenberg has built is a heist story, as the kids - Berger, Pat, Walter and Paige - finally put their complex plan in motion to rob a bank.

   This story manages a surprising balance between real-world sensibilities and flights of fantasy - and it cleverly keeps you guessing as to which is which - and the very real world implications of their actions.

   The art and design are by Tyler Boss, and it features original character designs and a unique style that's compelling and evoke real life without being photorealistic.

   Courtney Menard is credited with wallpaper designs and Clare Dezutti with flatting (and I must admit - I'm not sure what that means). 

   Even though the story focuses on the kids, it's not a book for children - it features adult language and violence. 

   But for those old enough to cope with it, it's a powerful tale and impossible to predict (which is always a good thing).


Grade: A-


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Happy Anniversary to Us!

   Hey, I almost forgot - today marks the 9th Anniversary of this humble blog!

   I have to admit, Chuck's Comic of the Day started as an experiment - could I actually manage to post every day about comics? Would I be able to sustain my interest? Would comics still exist nine years in the future?

   Turns out the answers were: almost, yes, and yes!

   Thanks to you, gentle reader, for visiting this site, and thanks to our many guest reviewers who have pitched in to help keep that daily deadline at bay!

   Special gratitude to all those who have used our Amazon links while putting in their orders - it sends a small amount of money into Chuck's coffers (which he then uses to buy more comics), and makes this site possible.

   I've missed a few days here and there along the way, but our success rate is high, and I'm certainly having fun - so here's to another year (or more) of blogging!

   Onward and upward!

In Memory of Len Wein

   Sad to note the passing today of Len Wein, one of the giants of the modern age of comics.

   A former fan turned pro, he was influential as a writer, editor and creator for both Marvel and DC Comics.

   How influential? Well, as a co-creator he invented Wolverine (during Wein's great run on The Incredible Hulk), Swamp Thing, the Human Target and the New X-Men (including Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Thunderbird). 

   As a writer he breathed fresh life into some classic characters, turning in terrific stories on the Phantom Stranger, Batman, Thor, the Justice League, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, Green Lantern, Blue Beetle and Star Trek.

   As an editor he guided the classic Watchmen and Camelot 3000 mini-series, and worked a stint as Editor-in-Chief at Marvel.

   Best of all, he was one of those rare writers who always turned in excellent work - you knew if he was involved, you were holding an entertaining comic.

   I only met him briefly back in the late '80s, and he struck me as both smart and kind, willing to share his time to talk to the fans - and I think, right up to the end, he was a fan, too.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Champions #12

   There are few comics characters who have been more badly treated in recent years than Cyclops.

   The one-time leader of the original and new X-Men has been depicted in the past as a terrific, Captain America-level leader, a true hero and a powerhouse mutant.

   Until they decided to turn him into a villain and kill him off. (Don't get me started on how dumb this is, and how disrespectful to a great character.)

   Thankfully, we have the original Cyclops back again, time-traveling with his team to the present - and now he's also a member of The Champions.

   He's the focus of this issue, as we (and his team) get some insights on why he's so serious, why he has to be in control, and why his powers are more of a curse than a blessing.

   It's a touching story, built around a running fight with one of Marvel's most cunning and challenging villains.

   It's wonderful to see Cyclops - and the other members of the team - showing their real potential and being shown off to good effect. And there's actual good-natured humor included!

   It's another excellent outing by writer Mark Waid and artists Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba - and thankfully, we're apparently done with the Secret Empire foolishness.

Grade: A-


Friday, September 8, 2017

Astro City #47

   Who's a good boy? (Wags tail.) Yes you are!

   I admit that I'm crazy about dogs. I've had four in my lifetime, each one a treasured family member - so this story, loaded with humor and a genuine affection for "Man's Best Friend" makes for a heckuva treat.

   It follows a young man named Andy who's struggling with the bad decisions in his life - but then he adopts Hank, a Welsh Corgi, and he life begins to change.

   The changes are both small and large, as he finds (through a mystic mishap) that he's able to merge with Hank, so they becomes a small but powerful super-hero.

   It's a sweet story from Kurt Busiek as we see how a friend - even a tiny one - can change a life.

   The guest artist is Mike Norton, and he was born to craft this kind of down-to-Earth, street-level tale of adventure and affection.

   I just kept smiling through the whole story - so of course I wasn't prepared at all for that final page, which any dog owner can relate to.

   What a fun issue - one of the year's best! Highly recommended!

Grade: A+


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Star Wars Adventures #1

   This is a fun idea.

   IDW has created a modern version of the old "split" comic - one that includes two features (one 15 pages long, the other 7 pages, plus some pinups), all drawn in a kid-friendly style and focusing on different members (and different eras) from the Star Wars universe.

   The main story focuses on Rey, the hero from The Force Awakens in her days as a scavenger before the events in the film.

   When her "business associate" (the creature that buys the items she finds) is kidnapped, only Rey is willing and able to attempt a rescue - and what mysterious secret does a damaged robot hold?

   The second story introduces a few new characters - and features an appearance by Obi-Wan Kenobi.

   The stories are pretty thin, but this is a comic that's perfect for the young reader just discovering the Star Wars universe and, perhaps, not quite ready for the more grim side of the action.

Grade: B+


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

New Comics Day

    Lots of comics on the stack this week! Here's what I picked up today:

- ASTRO CITY #47 - Who's a good dog?

- BANE CONQUEST #5 (OF 12) - A rematch with Catwoman!

- CHAMPIONS #12 - Secret Empire aftermath!

- DAREDEVIL #26 - In the land of the blind!

- DOOM PATROL #8 - Hey, don't eat that!

- GREEN HORNET 66 MEETS SPIRIT #3 (OF 5) - The threat of Armageddon!

- HAWKEYE #10 - She aims to be troublesome.

- IRON FIST #7 - Shang-Chi attacks! 

- JESSICA JONES #12 - Dark secrets revealed!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #28 - Attack by a former friend from the future!

- STAR WARS ADVENTURES #1 - Adventures for all ages!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #161 - A murder mystery!

     And I received review copies of:

- 4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK #5 - They finally arrive at the bank!

- ACTIONVERSE ONGOING #1 STRAY - On the brink of civil war!

- BEAUTIFUL CANVAS #3 - Who will save the city?

- DARK SOULS ARTIST EDITION - Stunning art inspired by the series.

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH HC VOL 07 - Danger by the sea!

- DOCTOR WHO 9TH DOCTOR YEAR TWO #1 - An unknown force strikes from space!

- DOLLFACE VOL 02 - Adventures in sunny California!

- EVIL WITHIN #1 - The sequel to the survivor / horror game.

- HARBINGER RENEGADE #7 - Off the grid and on the move!

- HERO CATS MIDNIGHT OVER STELLAR CITY VOL 2 #3 - An all-out assault on the city!

- INFINITE SEVEN #7 - The secret history of their greatest enemy!

- MILLENNIUM GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE #1 (OF 2) - The second chapter in the series begins!

- NO WORLD #5 - A dimension threatens to swallow the Earth!

- PENNY DREADFUL #5 - Lucifer has risen!

- SHERLOCK THE GREAT GAME #2 (OF 6) - Continuing the TV adaptation.

- TEKKEN #4 (OF 4) - The final showdown!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ORIGINS #3 - Wrapping up the reprint of the original mini-series!


And that's it!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension: Part 1

   I have to admit that I'm a fan of both Doctor Who and the stories that bring together more than one Doctor.

   And you get that in this story - in spades!

   The focus is on the most recent incarnations - Doctors 9, 10, 11 and 12 - but there are plenty of other guest stars in this fun, fast-paced story that left me with a smile on my face throughout.

   Written by George Mann and Cavan Scott, it gives us a massive, universe-destroying threat that brings together some well-known Time Lords.

   The art is by Rachael Stott with five other artists also credited, and we get some very good depictions of the Doctors and lots of entertaining antics and environments.

   It's all part of a big, rollicking story that's going to weave in and out of several issues. It's an eight-part saga, and it'll continue into the books that star Doctors 9, 10, 11 and 12 (plus lots of guest stars), and then back into the "Lost Dimension" mini-series!

   Lots of fun, and highly recommended to any fans of the Doctor!

Grade: A-





Monday, September 4, 2017

Faith and the Future Force #2

   Time travel stories can be very powerful - and very dicey to manage.

   It's at the heart of the story unfolding in Faith and the Future Force,  as a mysterious, seeming indestructible robot threatens to  damage space and time itself, so the time-traveling Neela Timewalker (no Doctor Who references, please) recruits Faith to destroy the mechanism.

   But last issue, that plan didn't exactly work out - so they're going to try again this time around, only with more firepower.

   It's a classic time-travel adventure theme to repeat the same story over and over, with minor changes, trying to find the path to victory, and it's a theme put to good use here as the danger continues to escalate.

   As with all such stories, it doesn't pay to think too hard about the proceedings (lest the whole story unravel), but so far it's building nicely into a big (but self-contained) event - and it's a lot of fun, too!

Grade: A-


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Generations Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1

   With the Generations mini-series Marvel Comics is leaning terribly close to creating a Silver Age DC Comic (that's not entirely intended as a criticism).

   I say that because the entire concept of "modern" versions of heroes going back in time to meet a more classic edition of the hero they were based on seems all too convenient - a "gift" from the Cosmic Cube in the wake of Secret Empire.

   Why the gift? Who knows?

   But that being said, this issue focuses on the two Hawkeyes - the original, Clint Barton, and the young woman with the same hero name, the funny and personable Kate Bishop.

   They find themselves on an island taking part in a deadly competition between some of the world's greatest marksmen, trying to prove which one is the best.

   What makes the issue is the interaction between the two heroes - they're witty and smart and have a lot of fun with the whole "dangers of saying too much and revealing the future" element of time travel.

   It's a fun fast-paced adventure by writer Kelly Thompson, and the art by Stefano Raffael is outstanding, adding lots of spirit and energy to the competition.

   They may duplicate each other's schtick, but these are two heroes who are better together.

   But preferably in the modern day.

Grade: A-


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Secret Empire #10 (of 10)

   Finally, our long national nightmare is over, as Marvel crawls across the finish line with the final issue of Secret Empire, the most annoying event in recent memory.

   You know the story: Captain America (Steve Rogers) had his history altered so, instead of being Marvel's greatest hero, he's actually an agent of Hydra! (Gasp!)

   And he somehow managed to lead Hydra in a takeover of the United States! (How? Don't ask pesky questions.)

   And he took control of a space shield that protected the Earth but blocked out all the alien races, although none of them were willing to help Earth's heroes because they'd completely forgotten how we saved the universe during the Infinity series. (Selective memory, no doubt.)

   And he trapped all of New York's heroes behind a dark dome that was nothing like that Stephen King novel.

   Anyway, this issue brings us the final showdown, as Evil Cap (powered by the Cosmic Cube) manages to destroy... well, that would be telling. We do get the final battle that is confusing but does its best to give us back the real Cap.

   So we've had a two-year series that has worked hard at tearing the reputation of Captain America into shreds. Wonder how long it'll take them to restore his good name - if ever?

   Marvel, as a long-time fan, here's my request: no more stories like this, I beg you. Comic book "reality" is already tenuous enough. When you start rewriting it willy-nilly, it all threatens to fall down.

   Of course, the good news is: it's over! (I know, there are still an "Aftermath" issue. I'll be ignoring it.)

Grade: D



Friday, September 1, 2017

Darkseid Special #1

   Of all the characters Jack Kirby created during his run at DC during the early '70s, none has had more of a lasting impact than the villain Darkseid.

   That's because he filled a real void at DC - for a powerful, ruthless villain who was at the same time deep and thoughtful - but still able to go toe-to-toe with any DC hero, including Superman.

   While there were occasional powerhouses in the ranks of the bad guys at DC, they were pretty thin - or had thin reasons for being villains. Most were either criminals (Flash's Rogues, many of Batman's foes), crazy (the Joker) or jealous (Luthor).

   But Darkseid was a god looking for ultimate control through the Anti-Life Equation (whatever that was). While in more recent times he's been portrayed as a towering, Hulk-like giant, I prefer the Kirby version: human-sized but rippling with menace and power.

   This issue, written by former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier and drawn by the talented Scott Kolins, is the slim story of a trio who have escaped from Darkseid's training and threaten his rule in unexpected ways.

   Of all these specials that I've read, this one seems closest to the kind of story that Kirby would have written, with a mix of action and surprising revelations about the title character.

   There's also a nifty backup story featuring one of my favorite Kirby characters, OMAC (the One Man Army Corps) taking on a surprising foe.

   I hesitate to recommend a comic that "stars" a villain, but this one is a treat.

Grade: A-