Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS MY AINSEL #7 - Talking to the dead.

- DAREDEVIL #609 - A final showdown with the Kingpin!

- LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #4 (OF 5) - The night that changed the world!

- THOR #6 - Facing doom in the distant future!

- UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1 - Back by popular demand! 


   And I received these comics for review:

- BLOODBORNE TP VOL. 1 - 
 A nameless hunter awakens in an ancient city where horrific beasts stalk the shadows! 

- DELLEC #2 - Can he 
survive his encounter with The Hands of God’s deadly creatures?

- FATHOM #4 - H
er battle with Killian has far-reaching consequences both below and above the surface of the ocean.
- FOREVER FREE TP - The sequel to the Forever War.

- GIRL WHO DANCED WITH DEATH MILL SAGA #3 (OF 3) - What is the organization known as "Sparta?"

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #10 - What is behind the danger known as the Drowned Earth?

- MIRACULOUS TALES LADYBUG CAT NOIR SEASON 2 TP BUTTERFLY - The second season continues!

- QUANTUM & WOODY #11 - Situation normal (that's not good).

- RIVERS OF LONDON #1 (OF 4) ACTION AT A DISTANCE - The secret history of Nightingale!

- TANK GIRL FULL COLOR CLASSICS 1989-1990 #2 - Back to the beginning!

- WARHAMMER 40000 DEATHWATCH #4 (OF 4) - The best of the best go to war!

     And that's it!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Hawkman #5


   The new Hawkman series is providing what some might call "fan service."

   In other words, it's telling the kind of stories long-time fans have been dreaming of.

   It's a series that promises to explain and/or clear up that hero's convoluted history. (Hoo boy, is it ever convoluted.)

   At the same time it's providing touchstones to past series, including the original Golden Age character, the Silver Age "policeman from an alien planet" series, the Hawkworld reboot - and in this issue, we get a reunion with The Atom, who co-starred during a short run in the '60s when the two titles were merged.

   Best of all, none of this is stopping Robert Venditti from writing a great story, as Hawkman tries to solve the mystery behind his origins.

   The art by Bryan Hitch is, of course, amazing. It's loaded with energy of stunning vistas and powerful moments.

   It's a terrific series that's accessible to new readers, but offers a real treat for long-time fans as it combines the best of the past with a bright promise for the future.

   What a deal!

Grade: A

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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Superman #4


   The Man of Steel continues to flourish with cosmic-sized adventures, tempered with down-to-Earth emotional content.

   This issue of Superman finds the entire planet in a very bad place. 

   The Earth has been transported to the Phantom Zone, and the effects have been catastrophic. 

   Illness is rampant, the atmosphere is breaking down, and its heroes are falling apart.

   And just to amp up the tension, Earth is under attack by an army of Kryptonians, led by Superman's newest and most powerful opponent.

   How can Superman hope to survive? That's what makes it interesting - and it's great to see the source for the idea behind his strategy. 

    So it's another excellent issue from writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Ivan Reis - they have this series cooking on all burners!

Grade: A

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Infinity Wars #4 (of 6)


   I'm almost convinced that comics companies are trying to tell me that it's time to stop reading comics.

   For me, the story is the thing. (I agree with the old theatre adage, "If it ain't on the page, it ain't on the stage.")

   In other words, I can tolerate poor artwork if the story is strong enough. But, as Infinity Wars shows, even terrific art cannot make a bad story entertaining.

   Artist Mike Deodato, Jr. (with color art by Frank Martin) is trying mightily to elevate this comic, and his art is stunning. He combines his amazing, realistic depictions of characters with stunning, otherworldly images, creating top-of-the-line art on this series.

   How sad, then, that the story makes almost no sense at all. Gamora has fused a number of heroes into Amalgam-ish "new" versions. Why? Please don't ask silly questions. (Which is to say, "I have no idea.") (I'm guessing it's to sell those spin-off titles.)

   The heroes are trapped in the Soul Gem, where they are finding all-new Infinity Stones (?) and fighting a huge, Cthulu-ish monster, while back in our reality, Gamora is... well, I can't say because I'm just not sure what she's doing or why.

   So it's lots of sturm and drang and I hope you're all following it better than I am. 

   It's all just interesting enough to keep me hanging around until the end - but after that I may take the hint and just stop reading these "Event Comics" once and for all.

Grade: B-

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Comics Day!

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

- AVENGERS #9 - Namor attacks!

- HAWKMAN #5 - Into the Microverse with the Atom! 

- INFINITY WARS #4 (OF 6) - Reality has been warped!

- SUPERMAN #4 - War in the Phantom Zone!


     And I got these review copies from the publishers:


- ALBERT EINSTEIN TIME MASON #1 - Time traveling adventures!

- ARTIFACT ONE #1 - An explorer makes a shocking discovery!

- BLACK AF WIDOWS & ORPHANS #3 - Breaking up a child trafficking ring.

- DEADLIFE #2 (OF 3) - A zombie epidemic!

- DEVIL WITHIN #1 (OF 4) - What is Samantha's terrifying secret?

- DOLLFACE #16 - Can Emily survive?

- ELRIC WHITE WOLF #2 (OF 2) - Adapting Moorcock's famous anti-hero!

- NEWBURY & HOBBES #2 (OF 4) - Steampunk adventures!

- NINJA-K #12 - Catch me if you can!

- NINJA-K TP VOL 02 THE COALITION - Collecting the series.

- OH S#!T ITS KIM & KIM #3 - The fighting Kims are in trouble!

- ROBOTECH #13 - Welcome to Year Two!

- SHADES OF MAGIC #1 (OF 4) STEEL PRINCE - Magicians navigate alternate Londons.

- SURVIVAL FETISH #4 - One last run!

- WE ARE DANGER #3 - The band climbs the rankings.

- WILDS #5 - Ending a reign of terror.

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #53 - Back from the dead!

     And that's it!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Mighty Mite #1


   Comic books are, for the most part (I'm sorry to say), all too wrapped up in being serious and grim and loaded with death and destruction.

   So when a humor comic rolls along, it's time to celebrate!

   Mighty Mite is a new webcomic by creator / writer / penciler D.C. Johnson, with inks / letters and / colors by Chris Allen.

   It follows the adventures of a hero who - well, he's the clumsiest hero in town. When he succeeds in catching bad guys, it's more often because of luck than skill or derring-do (whatever that is).

   He realizes he's missing something - a secret identity! (Perhaps her was born in that costume?)

   But as he tries to correct that oversight he encounters new dangers, including the receptionist from hell, the strangest boss around, and a brand-new arch-enemy.

   It's all silly and cartoonish and a lot of fun!

Grade: B

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   Mighty Mite is only available as a webcomic - you can find it from Publisher AAM-Markosia at ComiXology at this link.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Dreaming #2


   So there's an inherent problem with stories based in magic.

   Since there are no rules, it's a bit more challenging to create a coherent story - one that doesn't play fast and loose with the structure of the tale.

   We seem to be seeing a lot of that in The Dreaming - but perhaps that's to be expected, since it's set in the realm of dreams.

   The problem is that the master or the realm, Dream (or, if you prefer, the Sandman), has gone missing - we don't know why or where - and the world of dreams (or nightmares) is suffering.

   This issue we see events through the eyes of the pumpkin-headed Mervyn, who's (sort of) the janitor for the land of dream - cleaning up messes, keeping things working smoothly - and he's not taking the problems calmly.

   The series is interesting and involved - but since there's no central character, it's difficult to make an emotional attachment to the characters. And since anything can happen, does anything that does happen have a consequence?

   That's the question The Dreaming needs to answer - so far, it's still pretty squishy about it.

Grade: B+

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Aquaman - Movie Trailer


   This isn't exactly a new trailer for the upcoming Aquaman movie - it's part trailer and parts extended clips, but it's good to see more of the film.

   I'm still not sure if it's going to work. The CGI is lovely, and Jason Momoa is doing his best to crank up the fun quotient - but we get almost no sense about the plot. 

   Is it a quest film? A revenge flick? A superhero battle? All of the above? 

   Check it out and decide for yourself:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- CHAMPIONS #25 - Fighting the good fight!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #6 - Who is the other Doctor Strange?

- DREAMING #2 - Pumpkinhead isn't happy.

- TONY STARK IRON MAN #4 - Tony and Janet, sittin' in a tree.

- PAPER GIRLS #25 - End of the road!


     And I received these comics for review:

- DARK SOULS AGE OF FIRE #4 (OF 4) - Back to the beginning!

- KONUNGAR TP WAR OF THE CROWNS - Collecting the series!


- MIGHTY MITE #1 - Crime doesn't stand a chance!
- RAID #3 (OF 4) - You don't want to run into old enemies when you're in jail!

- TANK GIRL ALL STARS #4 (OF 4) - She doesn't look a day over 30!

- TANK GIRL COLORING BOOK - The ultimate art book!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Lost Fleet: Corsair


   Ah, that's the stuff!

   As a longtime fan of space opera, reading The Lost Fleet: Corsair is like visiting an old friend.

   It's a classic science fiction story that focuses on the human element, rather than strange aliens and fantasy technology.

   The story centers around a war between the worlds of the Alliance (which includes Earth) and the alien Syndicate.

   When a key battle between the two ends in defeat for the Alliance, the crew of the battle cruiser Repulse sacrifice themselves to allow the fleet to escape. Most of the crew is taken prisoner, including Captain Michael Geary.

   When the war finally ends, the prisoners are supposed to be released - but the Syndicate breaks its word. 

   Geary and his crew are given an opportunity to escape when a rebellious group of Syndicate warriors offer to help them - if they can pilot a Syndicate cruiser.

   What follows is a lot of military combat, starship battles and war strategy - and if it all feels a bit like Star Trek, there's nothing wrong with that.

   Writer Jack Campbell creates some terrific characters on both sides of the equation, keeps the story crackling along and gives us plenty of science fiction concepts to chew on.

    The art is by Andre Siregar and Bambang Irawan, with colors by Sebastian Cheng, and it's powerful stuff, balancing a small army of characters and keeping them distinct, crafting amazing environments and space battles.

   It's a lot of fun and a strong chapter in the ongoing Lost Fleet series - recommended for any fan of science fiction (and Trekkers in particular).

Grade: A-

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Farlaine the Goblin Book 7: The Final Land


   With this issue we bid a sad farewell to Farlaine the Goblin, whose search for a home finally reaches its end in this, the final chapter in his story (at least so far).

   This has been a terrific series as the title character visits strange new lands (which reminds me a bit of the classic Hot Stuff comics), he's taken part in adventures that require him to use his plant-growing skills, cleverness and good sense to survive (which reminds me of the great Uncle Scrooge stories), and he's made some amazing friends along the way, all while looking out for his dear friend Ehrenwort (who happens to be a plant) - and over it all rides a positive, upbeat, optimistic spirit, which we don't see enough of in comics today.

   Written and drawn by Pug Grumble, this is a wonderful story for readers of all ages, charged with imagination and a can-do spirit.

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Doomsday Clock #7 (of 12)


   Finally, after a year (or more) of questions and hints and little else, we finally get an appearance here from the omnipotent Dr. Manhattan, the prime mover behind all the events in Doomsday Clock.

   But don't get your hopes too high - the big, buck naked blue guy deals in mysterious pronouncements and glimpses of a future that doesn't necessarily make sense.

   It still feels like an odd mix to mush together the dark and ultra-serious world of the Watchmen with the somewhat more family-friendly environs of the DC Universe.

   Though to be fair, the crossover is pretty minimal - characters meet, clash, and then go their separate ways.

   I really think it's going to be difficult to judge the success or failure of this series until the finale - the art is great, the writing is sharp, and it manages to evoke the spirit (if not the depth) of the original Watchmen series.

   But it remains to be seen if the marriage of these two concepts is one that actually works.

Grade: A-

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Heroes in Crisis #1 (of 9)


   It's time for another Crisis to rock the DC Universe - but instead of a cosmic crisis, this is more of an internal event.

   Like anyone who's dealt with violence or disturbing issues, DC's heroes occasionally need help - counseling, to be exact.

   So - according to this Heroes in Crisis series - they've set up a retreat of some kind, to allow the heroes (and possibly some villains) to get help dealing with their all-too-human responses to the terrible things they've faced.

   But now, something has gone wrong, and apparently quite a few of the heroes who were at the retreat - including some well-loved characters - are apparently dead.

   Because, hey, you can't have an event without killing off a few second-tier (or third-tier) heroes, am I right?

   So the series is setting up a murder mystery - who killed off (names redacted)? And why? 

   My reaction to this series so far is, I'm sorry to say, very cynical. It's difficult to transpose real-world issues on the fantasy realm of super-heroes, and while this issue is handled skillfully, I'm not sure it actually works.

   Future issues may bring it into better focus, so we'll hope for more clarity as we sort out this death-filled series.

   (By the way, is Harley Quinn a hero now or what?)

Grade: B

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dark Phoenix - Movie Trailer


   They released the trailer to the next X-Men movie (finally) - it's titled Dark Phoenix, and it focuses on Jean Grey's apparent transformation into a cosmic force. 

   It's based on the famous X-Men storyline from the comics - but I'm not sure how well it's going to translate. 

   I hope the movie is better than the trailer.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- ACTION COMICS #1003 - A threat to Metropolis from a surprising source!

- ARCHIE MEETS BATMAN 66 #3 - The villains have taken over Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe!

- BEASTS OF BURDEN WISE DOGS AND ELDRITCH MEN #2 (OF 4) - Who or what is behind the occult activity?

- DOOMSDAY CLOCK #7 (OF 12) - What is Dr. Manhattan doing?

- HEROES IN CRISIS #1 (OF 7) - Can super-heroes handle super-stress?

- MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #10 - The conclusion!

- TERRIFICS #8 - Facing a cosmic threat - and Tom Strong!


     And I received these review copies:

- DEADLIFE #3 (OF 3) - Dead men walking!

- DISSENSION WAR ETERNAL #3 - A new player enters the game!

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH #0 - A preview of Doctor #13!

- EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IRIS #5 - An all-out assault!

- FAITH DREAMSIDE #1 (OF 4) - An unseen realm!

- FARLAINE THE GOBLIN #7 (of 7) - Will Farlaine find a new home - and will he survive the search process?

- HARBINGER WARS 2 AFTERMATH #1 - Who won the war - and who lost?

- MIKE HAMMER #4 - The bullet-riddled finale!

- QUANTUM & WOODY #10 - What followed the team back from the other side?

- SEASON OF THE SNAKE TP - Collects the series!

- X-O MANOWAR #19 - Invasion!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Nu Way #3


   The first rule of Fight Club is... well, in the case of Nu Way, it's that no one walks away from the job.

   So when the cyborg fighter Zihao escapes from the arena - with the surprising help of his trainer Harper - he finds that escaping isn't going to be easy, especially in a futuristic world that has cameras everywhere - and an army of cyborgs ready to track him down and drag him back.

   The series continues to combine a fast-paced story by J.T. Krul with sharp, imaginative art by Alex Konat and Mark Roslan, with colors by John Starr, and provides an action-packed story about a future world that seems mighty familiar in places.

   The series is off to a cracking good start!

Grade: A-

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #0


   As we draw nearer to the premiere of the newest series starring the newest Doctor Who, Titan Comics prepares us for the fun with an issue #0 starring (well, sorta kinda) the Thirteenth Doctor.

   Writer Richard Dinnick works with a small army of talented artists to provide a primer of sorts, checking in with the past incarnations of The Doctor in short vignettes.

   They are (by their very nature) a bit of a mixed bag, but they form a delightful patchwork, with each short story capturing well the different versions of The Doctor and his Companions.

   I'm generally not a fan of issues #0 (only for math reasons), but this is certainly a fun issue and it does give us our first glimpse of the new Doctor (and yet it doesn't, thanks to a clever bit of literary lifting).

   If you're a fan of this series, don't miss this one. 

   It's bound to make you smile.

Grade: A-

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mister Miracle #11 (of 12)


   For 11 months (or so) now we've been puzzling over the events in this Mister Miracle mini-series from Tom King and Mitch Gerads.

   It's equal parts harsh war story, humdrum real-life experiences, garish super-hero adventures and surreal mystery.

   In other words, I'm not sure what to make of it. 

   This issue finally brings us face to face with Darkseid, who has offered to end the war between Apokolips and New Genesis - a war that has already cost the lives of Highfather and Orion - but he demands a high price.

   He wants Mister Miracle and Big Barda to hand over their son. 

   But what are we to make of a terrifying Darkseid... who's sampling a veggie tray?

   We do finally get some hints about the forces behind this story - and the final solution promises to be a mind-bender.

   It's a crazy, compelling story that plays hob with the notion of gods, war and reality.

   I often wonder what Miracle's creator, Jack Kirby, would think of this. I suspect he'd enjoy the creativity in evidence (and he'd probably love the royalties), but he might be dubious about where it's all going from here. 

   We'll find out next month. (Hopefully!)

Grade: A

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Avengers #8


    Bigger! Bolder!  Brasher!

   That seems to be the goal with this new version of The Avengers.

   Having survived the Earth-shaking attack of the Celestials, the team is setting up a really unusual new headquarters, choosing its new leadership, resolving some old issues and generally establishing the new lineup.

   My only problem with it is that it seems to be removing the team far from the humanity they're out to protect - the same mistake the Justice League made decades back in setting up a satellite headquarters.

   The Avengers have typically been located in the heart of New York, so someone looking for help could walk to the front door. I'm not sure the new team could receive a text at their location.

   Still, it's good to see the team amping up its power levels. Now they need to pump up their humanity.

Grade: B+

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- AVENGERS #8 - Going on a world tour.

- DOCTOR STRANGE #5 - Is Doc out of his league?

- LIFE OF CAPTAIN MARVEL #3 (OF 5) - Her biography continues.

- MISTER MIRACLE #11 (OF 12) - Making a deal with Darkseid.

- THOR #5 - Who is the future Phoenix?

- USAGI YOJIMBO #6 (OF 7) THE HIDDEN - What is the secret that could destroy the Shogunate?

- WEST COAST AVENGERS #2 - Meet the giant-size Tigra!

- WILD STORM #17 - Facing death.


     And I received these review copies:

- BLOODBORNE #5 - Mystery and horror continue!

- BRITANNIA LOST EAGLES OF ROME #3 (OF 4) - Where have the eagles landed?

- CHARLESGATE CONFIDENTIAL HC - Time-hopping adventures!

- DOCTOR WHO LOST DIMENSION VOL. 1 - A meeting of Doctors!

- FATHOM KIANI TP VOL. 3 BLADE OF VENGEANCE - The return of Kiani!

- GIRL WHO DANCED WITH DEATH MILL SAGA #2 (OF 3) - Lisbeth Salander returns!

- NU WAY #3 - Hiding in the shadows!

- OH S#!T ITS KIM & KIM #2 - Off to the Orbital Death Platform!

- QUANTUM & WOODY #10 - Invaders from another universe!

- REX ROYD SC - Meet the Renaissance Man of Madness!

- RIVERS OF LONDON WATER WEED #4 - Sorcery meets Pulp Fiction!

- SEA OF THIEVES TP - Pirates run amuck!

- SHADOWMAN #7 - The secrets revealed!

- SOULFIRE #3 - More magic and wonder!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ORIGINS HC - Collecting the first two volumes of ZT's adventures!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Movie Trailer: Captain Marvel


   Finally, we get our first look at the next Marvel Studios movie, and the first one to star a woman in a solo adventure: Captain Marvel.

   And, it should be no surprise: it looks amazing!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Movie Trailer: Mary Poppins Returns


   OK, it's not exactly comic book related (though there was a comic book adaptation of the original movie, I believe), but this new trailer for the movie Mary Poppins Returns is just delightful.

   Check it out and have a smile:

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Journey Into Mystery: The Birth of Krakoa #1 (One-shot)


   This oddity from Marvel should have easily earned my affection - but alas, it was not to be.

   They've revived the classic title Journey Into Mystery and shoehorned in a horror /  adventure set during World War II featuring Krakoa, the living island (which was the first opponent for the New X-Men in the 1970s), and starring Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos.

   I'm always happy to see the real Nick Fury in action, since he's the one I grew up reading. (No offense intended to the Samuel Jackson version, which is also a lot of fun.)

   But the story has to jump through lots of hoops to get anywhere,  and the Howlers and Nick never actually do much other than suffer at the hands of this strange, newborn island / mutant.

   And since when can Fury fly an airplane?

   Anyway - nice art, a decent enough horror story - but the total doesn't really live up to the potential of its parts.

Grade: C+

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Superman #3


   Heroes are often their best when their backs are up against the wall - and this issue delivers that in spades.

   The Earth has been transported into the Phantom Zone (and we finally get a hint about how that happened) and Superman and the heroes of Earth are faced with trying to hold things together - and trying to survive the changes ravaging the planet.

   Even worse, armies of Krypton's worst villains - and Superman's newest, most deadly enemy - are also in the Phantom Zone, and that just amps up the menace even more.

   The story is building nicely and the tension escalates quickly. 

   What fun!

Grade: A-

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Infinity Wars #3 (of 6)


   I think it's official: I'm burned out on "Events."

   At least I assume that's why, three issues in, I still can't work up any enthusiasm for Infinity Wars.

   The problem is: the series makes (almost) no sense at all. 

   It follows the basic conceit that everyone want to possess all the Infinity Stones, which grant amazing power separately and god-like power when they're all together.

   Gamora wanted the Soul Gem for a good reason: she wanted to be reunited with the part of her soul still captive inside the gem. But something has gone wrong with the gem, and she was refused access.

   So of course she goes crazy, disguises herself for a few pages of story, goes on a killing spree, gathers all the stones and then uses them to fulfill Thanos' scheme of wiping out half of the universe (though she does it in a completely different way that will hopefully entice you into buying a bunch of one-shot spinoff comics).

   Why does she do all this? Who cares? Look at that great art by the amazing Mike Deodato, Jr.! Now she's listening to Loki. Why? Who cares? Look at that story move!

   It just all feels crass and out of character and pointless. Will anything be changed when this is all done? Who will be next to scoop up the stones? 

   Wake me when it's over.

Grade: C

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fantastic Four #2


   I'm very happy to see the Fantastic Four back on the stands where they belong!

   But I have to admit... as much as I wish otherwise... I'm not really enjoying the opening story, which must deal with explaining the reason why Reed, Sue and the extended family have been missing from the Marvel Universe for a while.

   The explanation for why the family has been missing is just way too much to accept (their "pastime" feels like something you'd read in a Silver Age DC comic - it's all fantasy and no science fiction). 

   And then they encounter a menace that stumps Reed. And Valerie! And the solution is... well, out of character.

   I want to love this comic! (The art is certainly lovely.) But so far, my reaction is just... Eh.

   Come on, Marvel!

Grade: B-

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- NEIL GAIMAN AMERICAN GODS MY AINSEL #6 - On the run!

- CHAMPIONS #24 - The unbeatable foe!

- DAREDEVIL #608 - Meet Mike Murdock!

- FANTASTIC FOUR #2 - Wish you were here!

- HAWKMAN #4 - Hawkman on Hawkworld!

- INFINITY WARS #3 (OF 6) - Who are the Infinity Warps?


- JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #1 - Sgt. Fury in the fight of his life!

- MAGE HERO DENIED #12 (OF 15) - Fight for the life of his family!

- SUPERMAN #3 - Trapped in the Phantom Zone!


     And I received these comics for review:

- ABERRANT #4 - Power struggle

- DELLEC #1 - The series returns for a second volume!

- DOCTOR WHO ROAD TO 13TH DR #3 12TH - The last steps on the road to #13!

- DOUBLE JUMPERS FULL CIRCLE JERKS #2 (OF 4) - A videogame villain in the real world!

- FIGHTING AMERICAN TIES THAT BIND TP - Collecting the second mini-series.

- GUNCATS #2 - Tracking a dangerous beast!

- HELM VOL. 1 HARBINGER - An industrial revolution in a fantasy world!

- LEGEND TANK GIRL HC - Collecting her exploits!

- NEWBURY & HOBBES #1 - New steampunk adventures!

- NINJA-K #11 - Fighting to save Gilad!

- VAMPLETS BEWARE BITMARES ONE SHOT - Who's releasing Bitemares?

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #52 - What happened to Janey?

     And that's it!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The First Decade of Reviews!


   It's a big day for us at Chuck's Comic of the Day! (And a time for some changes.)

   It's difficult to believe, but 10 years ago today this blog first appeared - the result of a crazy idea on my part.

   I wanted to start a comics review blog - but how to make it different? My first thought was to take a comedic approach and write it as though I hated everything - but I quickly realized I couldn't maintain that level of negativity, even as a joke. (And it wouldn't be fair to all those talented folks out there who work hard to create those comics.)

   So my next thought was to post a review every day. I figured I'd crank them out all at once one day a week, and post them daily over the next week.

   That didn't work out either (I do have a full-time job, after all) - so I typically write one (or two) a day and schedule them accordingly.

   What started as an offshoot of my hobby and a writing challenge has turned into a fun pastime - and a good test of my determination.

   I've had lots of help along the way (especially when I took a long holiday for a trip to Europe several years back), and many thanks to all our guest reviewers who have helped keep the flame burning over the years!

   I still enjoy the blog and it's rewarding to get comments from readers and see the impressive number of readers we get from all over the world (it's amazing to realize we have readers everywhere).

   I also want to send out thanks to all the comics companies who generously provide review copies! Hats off to Aspen, Valiant, Titan Comics, Black Mask, Action Lab Entertainment and all the other companies who support us. I wish I could review everything!

   So, let's talk about the road ahead. After 10 years, I think it is time to step away from the "a post a day or bust" mentality. I'll still be posting as often as possible - at the least, several times a week, and at the most, daily. But if I miss a day, I'm going to take a breath, let it pass and move on.

   So do I need to change the name of the blog? That would be very difficult, so instead I'm just going to use my best weasel words and say there will be a review here every day - but it may be the same review as yesterday.

   Many thanks to all of you who take the time to read this blog, and I hope you'll continue to check in so we can continue to celebrate the art and stories that make up this entertaining medium.

   Onward and upward!

   Comics forever!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Batman #54


   Like a blast of fresh air, this issue of Batman is a love letter to fans of the Batman and Robin team.

   It's a "done in one" issue by writer Tom King and guest artist Matt Wagner, and it offers a fresh look at the two heroes and what they mean to each other.

   We see glimpses of Dick Grayson's earliest days at Wayne Manor, struggling to adjust to a new way of life.

   We also see some modern interaction between the now-grown Nightwing and a much more surly Dark Knight.

   It's a nice glimpse into happier days, and has some fun with the Dynamic Duo's rogues gallery as well (or at least its fringe elements).

    An entertaining issue that's a nice counterpoint to the usual grim doings here. Recommended!

Grade: A

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Friday, September 7, 2018

The Avengers #7


   This issue of The Avengers, it should be noted, has no actual  Avengers content.

   Instead, it offers an origin story for the prehistoric version of the Ghost Rider, a character who first appeared a few months ago as a member of the ancient version of the team, which included Odin, Phoenix and a few others.

   This isn't a bad story at all, though it's mighty grim - there are lots of evil characters on the prowl in the Earth of a million years ago, but not much evidence of the forces of good.

   And I may be wrong, but the ancient Ghost Rider gets his power from a different source than the modern-day version.

   At any rate, hopefully future issues will contain more adventures starring the team whose name is up there on the top of the cover.

Grade: B

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Dreaming #1


   A hearty "welcome back" to the Sandman Universe, after a few decades lurking on the edge of the DC Universe - and here's the first issue in the new line from Vertigo.

   The Dreaming in set firmly in the realm of Dream, where the inhabitants are facing a crisis: Dream has disappeared (or at least gone missing).

   As a result, barriers are down, things are coming unhinged (and they were already very much... not hinged), and threats are arising.

   This series is not written by Sandman creator Neil Gaiman, though he's apparently involved in some mysterious fashion - the credit reads "Curated for THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE by Neil Gaiman."

   It is written by Simon Spurrier with art by Bilquis Everly and colors by Mat Lopes. 

   The art is striking and tells the story well, creating a lot of strange images and delivering concepts that "make sense."

   It's a bit early to render final judgment on the issue, which suffers a bit from "origin-itis" - there's a lot to explain and set up here. 

   I'm not sure this is accessible to those not familiar with Sandman, and I'm not even sure the supporting characters are up to the task of carrying a series - but it's all off to a very interesting start.

Grade: B+

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

New Comics Day


   I picked up a few more comics this week at the comics shop (last week, just one new comic):


- ANT-MAN AND THE WASP #5 (OF 5) - Back to Earth! Maybe.

- AVENGERS #7 - The first Ghost Rider?

- BATMAN #54 - A flashback with Matt Wagner art!

- DREAMING #1 - Dream is missing!

- PAPER GIRLS #24 - Trapped in a deadly future!


     And I received these review copies:

- ASSASSINS CREED CONSPIRACIES #2 (OF 2)
- Set in World War II!

- ATHENA VOLTAIRE #6 - Off to Shanghai!

- BREATHLESS #4 - A final dose of healthcare horror!

- COME INTO ME #3 - When someone else controls your body, where do you go?

- ELRIC WHITE WOLF #1 (OF 2) - Adaptation of Moorcock's story!

- FATHOM #3 - Can Aspen escape?

- GUNCATS #1 - Facing the galaxy's deadliest bounty hunters!

- HELM #5 - The conclusion to Book 1!

- RAID #2 (OF 4) - Trapped in prison!

- RELAY #3 - The creator of the Relay is found!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON 3 #5 - Back to the real world!

- YRAGAEL URM THE MADMAN HC - Something for Lovecraft fans!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

X-O Manowar #18


   When an event like Harbinger Wars 2 has your hero tied up, what to do in his regular title?

   How about a flashback story? (That trick always works!)

   And it's an easy fix for X-O Manowar, since his time-traveling backstory extends back to his battles against Ancient Rome.

   And that's exactly where this story goes, starting with a gladiator battle in the Roman Coliseum (which highlights some of the surprising features of that structure) and following Aric as he sets out on a rescue operation that leads to some surprising revelations.

   With strong art and an interesting story, this is a solid outing - especially since it's mostly marking time until the event wraps up (which it did this week).

   It's one of the strengths of this series - one month X-O is Iron Man, the next he's Conan.

Grade: B

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Tank Girl All Stars #3

   
   When you read a Tank Girl comic, several descriptive words  come to mind.

   Rude. Violent. Funny. Zany. Explosive. Naughty. Did I say violent already?

   Of course, it's all in the service of humor and anarchy. 

   The opening story follows TG and her pals as they make their way to a friend's wedding and get sidetracked in a plot blatently stolen from the movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (How many time is "Mad" in the title? Wait, let me look. Four times, according to IMDb. Fixed it.)

   The art is almost surreal, but I'm a sucker for that movie, which I watch every time I fall across it, so I was "all in" on this story. 

   The second story borrows from the (inexplicably) popular zombie trend.  It's fast, it's fun, it features surprise guest stars and a cliffhanger ending.

   What more could you want? 

   Lots of violence? Covered.

Grade: B

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Harbinger Wars II #4 (of 4)


  In the attempt to create world-shaking event books, sometimes the story goes a bit too far.

   Comics by nature have to tell powerful stories that also maintain the status quo - because when you change the fundamentals, you threaten the structure of that particular comics universe.

   And that's the threat left behind after this issue's wrap-up of Harbinger Wars II - can the world continue to exist when powerful governments are threatening the lives of super-powered Psiots

   (It's a question the characters ask more than once in the story.)

   But to get to the conclusion, we get to enjoy a huge rescue operation and a massive battle between the surprisingly powerful Livewire and the always powerful X-O Manowar.

   Kudos to the creative team for a daring - if over-the-top - conclusion to this event. 

   Now we must see if the Valiant Universe can survive.

Grade: B+

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Marvel 2-In-One #9


   I'm not a big fan of stories about super-heroes who are suddenly not "super" anymore (there have been good stories with that premise before, I admit it - but they are rare).

   Still, that's the territory we find ourselves in with the latest issue of Marvel 2-In-One, which returns the Thing and the Human Torch to their unpowered human selves (no torch), and has them stranded on a parallel Earth that's loaded with all kinds of dangers.

   But the biggest threat comes from their own home planet, as a certain long-time Fantastic Four foe turns up with some home-grown villains - and a familiar team name.

   It's not a bad story at all, but the series - which I've enjoyed a lot up to this point - just feels like it's marking time while the regular FF continuity gets sorted out in the pages of the new FF comic.

   After eight great issues, the creative team is entitled to a slight stumble here - but I look forward to a return to greatness with the next issue. 

   Hopefully.

Grade: B

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Friday, August 31, 2018

The Beatles: Yellow Submarine


   The Yellow Submarine is such a wonderful artifact from the 1960s - an animated film that combined the music of The Beatles with a mad, pop art explosion of strange worlds, bizarre creatures, wonderful music and clever wordplay. 

   Astonishingly enough for those of us who were around when it was released, it's been 50 years since the film was first unleashed on an unsuspecting audience.

   To celebrate the occasion, writer / artist Bill Morrison has adapted the film into this delightful explosion of a graphic novel from Titan Comics.

   It's no small trick to adapt a musical into the silent format of comics, and wisely Morrison has avoided copying lyrics directly into the body of the story - but he captures the gleeful, nearly insane energy of the original.

   The story follows an attack by an army of Blue Meanies (and assorted monsters) on the peaceful, music-loving people of Pepperland. Only one man manages to escape in a (ahem) Yellow Submarine. He tracks down John, Paul, George and Ringo and they travel back to that land to try to find a way to break the hold of the Meanies.

   It's all very strange, but the script is sharp and manages to work in an astonishing number of song references along the way. 

   The visuals, modeled on the original film, are stunning and mad as a hatter.

   There's a long tradition of comic adaptations of movies (a tradition that's largely disappeared in this age of Blu-Rays and Netflix), but this is one of the best of that breed of comics. 

   If you're a fan of the Beatles and the original film (as all right-thinking people are), you'll enjoy the warm nostalgic breeze from this work of art. Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

In Memory: Russ Heath, Marie Severin & Gary Friedrich


   It's been a rough week for comics fans, as the industry lost three titans whose work was such a big part of the Silver Age of comics - and their work stretched long after that, as well.

   Last week we lost artist Russ Heath, one of the finest craftsmen in the history of the industry. 

   Best known for his artwork on DC's war comics (especially The Haunted Tank), Heath's work was amazing for its realistic depiction of people, machinery and environments.

   I first discovered his work in the amazing Sea Devils comic, which followed the adventures of a team of undersea explorers who kept running into strange mythological monsters.

   His covers were stunning works of art, standing out from the crowd. Sadly, his work was also swiped by a certain famous artist (he who should not be named) who made a killing copying Heath's work and selling it for huge sums at art galleries. 

   Heath was always magnanimous about that theft, which says a lot about what a terrific guy he was - but he deserved better.

   --------------

   This week we lost the woman who managed to win a spot in the (virtually) all-male Marvel Bullpen. 

   Marie Severin started as a colorist at EC Comics but eventually found her way to Marvel, sometimes working with her brother John (who had lured her into the business). 

   Best known for her comical work, such as for the classic Not Brand Echh series, Marie also turned in terrific work (to name just a few) on Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, the Hulk and Kull the Conqueror (her work on that series with her brother John inking was one of the high points in Marvel's considerable sword-and-sorcery output).

   Blessed with a tremendous sense of humor and a kind spirit, Marie was a favorite of the fans - and of all those who love comics.

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    I first encountered Gary Friedrich in the late 1960s in the pages of Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos - which must have been a odd fit for the young writer during that time, since the Vietnam War (and the anti-war movement) was raging.

   But his stories we terrific and he went on to a solid career through the '60s and '70s, creating the modern-day (Johnny Blaze) Ghost Rider, the Son of Satan and crafting hundreds of stories for most of Marvel's line, including X-Men, the Hulk, Daredevil and Nick Fury.

   While he never reached the top tier of writers, his work was always entertaining and often compelling. He helped make Marvel the powerhouse it is today, and created its most lasting supernatural character.

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    It's a sad farewell to these wonderful creators - all three of them were a cherished part of my early years of reading comics!

   

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

New Comics Day


   It's the fifth week of the month, so pickings are a bit slim. How slim? Well, the only comic I picked up today was:

- MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #9 - The return of the FF!


     And I got these review copies:

- 2021 TP VOL 01 - A cross between "Escape from New York" and "X-Men!"

- BEATLES YELLOW SUBMARINE TP - "In the town where I was born, lived a man who sailed to sea..."

- DISSENSION WAR ETERNAL #2 - War in the not-so-distant future.

- DOCTOR WHO 9TH TP VOL. 4 SIN EATERS - The adventures of the 9th Doctor continue!

- FACTORY TP - The future is a nightmare!

- HARBINGER WARS 2 #4 (OF 4) - The final battle!

- PENNY DREADFUL #11 - The TV show continues!

- TANK GIRL ALL STARS #3 (OF 4) - The birthday celebration continues!

- WONDERFUL WORLD OF TANK GIRL HC - Collecting the new series!

- X-O MANOWAR #18 - The executioner's blade!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #51 - Is the title character still alive?

     And that's it!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Artifact One #0


   Like any proper issued numbered "0" (don't get me started on that tradition), Artifact One is a little preview for the upcoming series from Aspen.

   Emphasis on the "little."

   That's because we just get a quick, tantalizing glimpse of what to expect from the series to come.

   It centers around a strange alien world and a young woman named Remi. She's something of a cross between a scavenger and an archaeologist as she looks for precious items and hidden artifacts.

   But she lives in a difficult world to follow those pursuits. Life is ruled by a religious sect that demands blind obedience to their rules - and among those rules is the importance of not being curious about the past.

   It quickly becomes obvious that Remi and her father are on a collision course with the powers that be.

   The art for this issue is by Romina Moranelli, and it's a lovely, exotic world of pastel colors and vivid creatures.

   For $1.50, this is a low-cost way to check out this series. so far  it's an interesting science fiction tale that's being crafted - and there's lots of potential in the mix.

Grade: B+

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