Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Comics Day

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

AQUAMAN #32 - Facing King Shark!

AVENGERS #676 - Who stole the Earth?

CHAMPIONS #16 - Champion for a day!

DOCTOR STRANGE #384 - Loki is the Sorcerer Supreme?

ICE CREAM MAN #1 - A flavor for every misery.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #37 - Facing the ultimate fan!

MAGE HERO DENIED #5 (OF 15) - On the run from his own power!

MIGHTY THOR #703 - Who can stand up to Mangog?


   And I received these comics for review:

ASPEN UNIVERSE DECIMATION #4 - The final battle!

FORCE #3 - A career-ending injury?

JUPITER JET #2 - A teen hero in the race of her life!

MIRACULOUS #19 - A cooking competition unlike any other!

MIRACULOUS #20 - A giant robot on the loose!

MIRACULOUS #21 - The class picture curse!

PRINCELESS RAVEN YEAR 2 #3 LOVE AND REVENGE  - Fight for your life!

PUPPET MASTER CURTAIN CALL #3 - End of the line!

RIVERS OF LONDON CRY FOX #3 - A new adventure!

ROBOTECH #6 - The ongoing adventures of the SDF-1!

UNDER #2 (OF 2) - Here there be monsters!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fighting American #4

   I have to admit that I wasn't expecting much with this series - for some reason, as much as it's beloved by long-time fans, Fighting American never really clicked for me.

   The humor always seemed a bit too heavy-handed, too rooted in its time.

   That's still the case with this new series devoted to the character, but the twist is that the heroes - FA and his kid sidekick, Speedboy - are transported to the present, pursuing their Communist enemies.

   That drops them in a strange new world, while the mastermind behind it all has a foot in each era - and our hero may be trapped in the present.

   It's wild, wacky and full of over-the-top action, some twists and lots of humor. And in the new setting, the humor works perfectly!

   What can I say? I was wrong - Fighting American is a lot of fun!

Grade: B+

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #1

   This is an interesting project.

   Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe is, surprisingly, not set in the Valiant Universe.

   Well, not exactly.

   It's designed to be a link between the comics universe and the film version of Valiant, which is in the works.

   So they wisely focus in on Ninjak, the closest thing Valiant has to a "street level" hero - and they set up a story that promises to bring him in conflict with the other heroes.

   As part of the spy game he's put in a compromising position - one that puts him on the opposite side of the fence from his hero allies - and he's going to have to fight for his life!

   It's a time-honored technique and promises to be a treat (especially since anything can happen).

   A good start!

Grade: A-

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Atlas & Axis #1

   Here's another wonderful import from Titan Comics - Pau's Atlas & Axis, which gives us a medieval world populated by intelligent animals - but there's no silly business going on here.

   Created, written and drawn by Pau, it centers around two friends in the world of Pangea. They return home after a search for a rare document and find disaster waiting.

   Savage raiders from the North (the Vikings) have attacked their village and stolen Atlas's sister.

   Atlas and Axis are both dogs, by the way. Their world is filled with intelligent animals. They still retain some of their natural habits (and most of the humor derives from that), but this isn't a funny-animal story.

    There are grim moments, and even love and sex (sorta) are part of the tale. So this isn't really a tale for young ones.

   I enjoyed it! This is just the beginning of the story, but with striking art and a quest with lots of twists and turns along the way, I'm anxious to see where it goes from here.

Grade: A-

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

X-Men Gold Annual #1

   As a fan of the original Excalibur comic book (featuring classic Chris Claremont / Alan Davis adventures set in Great Britain), I had to break my "avoid modern-day annuals" rule and pick up this X-Men Gold Annual, which features a reunion of the team to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first issue.

   And guess what? It's... ok.

   Not great. Just... ok.

   It features a happy announcement - Brian (Captain Britain) Braddock and his wife Meggan have had a baby! They invite their former teammates to see the new addition to the family, so traveling to their old haunts are Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler and Rachel Summers Grey, the former Phoenix who's now going by the name Prestige. (Really? That's, uh, not a great hero name, is it?)

   Anyway, they have a nice reunion, discover the baby is surprisingly exceptional, and run into an old enemy who's out for revenge (although on the wrong former Phoenix).

   It manages to channel the somewhat offbeat feel of those original Excalibur stories, though that's about the best I can say about it. The art by Alitha E. Martinez and Craig Yeung is quite good.

   The issue also features a nice (if improbable) back-up story featuring Storm that manages to be sweet and touching without being cloying.

   So, not a bad annual - but not as special as it should be. But it is nice to see Excalibur back in action.

Grade: B-

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Mister Miracle #6 (of 12)

   You'd be hard pressed to find a stranger comic than this version of  Mister Miracle.

   It's a really odd but clever mix of superheroics, Jack Kirby's unique cosmic carnage, and real-world concerns.

   Written by Tom King and drawn by Mitch Gerads, the issue follows Scott Free and his wife, Big Barda, as they invade New Genesis, facing assorted death traps and dealing harshly with those who oppose them.

   But while the battle for life-and-death is going on, the two are carrying on an amazingly mundane discussion, as though they're sitting at home, not fighting for their lives.

    It's an odd juxtaposition, and as with previous issues, leaves the reader wondering: just what is going on?

   The good news is: you'll get a glimpse of the answer. Maybe.

   This isn't a comic for everyone - it's sometimes brutal and often mysterious. You'll spend time scratching your head.

   But the visuals are wonderful and the glimpses of the story running below the surface are tantalizing.

   It's not for everyone - but it's loaded with promise.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Avengers #675

   Let's face it - you can have too much of a good thing.

   For example, there are too many Avengers titles, including Uncanny Avengers, U.S. Avengers, Occupy Avengers and (of course) The Avengers.

   In "Chuck's Perfect World of Comics," there is a single monthly Avengers title with a top creative team guiding the adventures of that group. that formula worked for decades and ensured quality over quantity.

   But in the real world, Marvel needs to generate as much money as possible.

   Now there's a new series running under The Avengers title - a weekly event titled "No Surrender." It promises to change the team forever. (By trimming it down to a manageable size, we can only hope.)

   The series wastes no time surging out of the blocks, as a mysterious celestial event causes massive natural disasters around the Earth - and every member of all those Avengers teams are called into action.

   The story is by Mark Waid, Al Ewing and Jim Zub, and the art is by Pepe Larraz. The art is very impressive, with powerful vistas of disasters and heroics.

   The story is a bit heavy on the mystery side - we don't know what's caused the disaster or what causes the mysterious condition that strikes down some of the heroes - and we're not sure what's going on with that last page.

   But it's a very entertaining mystery (the best kind!), and I'm in for the long haul.

Grade: A-

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Comics Day


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

- ARCHIE #27 - Archie at the crossroads!

- AVENGERS #675 - Part one of "No Surrender!"

- DAREDEVIL #597 - Dealing with Mayor Fisk!

- MIGHTY CRUSADERS #2 - New blood!

- MISTER MIRACLE #6 (OF 12) - The end of the first story arc, as the war takes a bloody turn!

- PHOENIX RESURRECTION RETURN JEAN GREY #3 (OF 5) - An unwelcome light in the darkness?

- X-MEN GOLD ANNUAL #1 - An Excalibur reunion!


     And I received these review copies:

- ATLAS AND AXIS #1 (OF 4) - Home from the war - but where are their families?

- BLOODSHOT SALVATION #5 - What's happening to baby Jessie?

- DOCTOR WHO 11TH YEAR THREE #13 - A fiery conclusion!

- FIGHTING AMERICAN #4 - Fight for the future!

- LOLA XOXO VOL 2 #6 - The conclusion!

- LOST FLEET CORSAIR #5 - The adaption of the science fiction novel continues!

- MILLENNIUM GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST #2 - Lisbeth is in critical condition and wanted for murder!

- NINJAK VS VALIANT UNIVERSE #1 (OF 4) - The fight of the century!

- NORMANDY GOLD #5 - Into the world of prostitution.

SHRUGGED VOL 2 #5 (OF 6) - The long-awaited return!


     And that's it!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Secret Weapons #0

   Secret Weapons was a mini-series that delivered a strong story about some young psiots (superhumans) who had unusual powers - but managed to team up and defeat a deadly opponent.

   Valiant is following up that with a series of "prequel" stories, with the origins (more or less) of the characters involved.

   This issue focuses on Nikki, a lovely teenager who is lured to Harada's institute, leaving behind her typical teenager upbringing - but what follows is anything but typical.

   Her odd powers seem minor on the face of it - but they help her save her own life, and make a difference in the lives of others.

   Writer Eric Heisserer has crafted a sharp, real-life story (well, mostly) about a not-so-typical teenager and her extraordinary life.

   The art by Adam Pollina with color art by David Baron is wonderful - crafting a life story with skill and lovely depictions of characters and environments.

   This is a striking "done in one" story that tells a terrific story on its own - but it does work better if you've read the original series.

Grade: A

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter #4

   This issue wraps up the first story arc for Captain Kronos, and it's been a fun ride.

   The story revolves around his battle against a small army of vampires, with only the help of his fellow Vampire Hunters, the beautiful and deadly Carla and the cunning Grost.

   It brings the Captain face-to-face with the monstrous Slake, who commands vampires that show (almost) no typical weaknesses (sunlight, crosses, etc).

   But what seems like a straightforward story has a few surprises to share, and lots of action and adventure along the way.

   With a terrific script by Dan Abnett and powerful, moody artwork by Tom Mandrake (skillfully channelling Gene Colan here), this series has been a blast to read.

   It manages to channel the best elements of comics horror in the '70s and '80s into an edge-of-your-seat adventure.

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Captain America #697

   How great is this comic?

   Well... this issue of Captain America takes a classic (but usually underrated) villain, adds in an incredibly well-worn plot (see: "The Most Dangerous Game," a story written by Richard Connell in 1924), and turns in an amazing adventure, loaded with shocks and surprises.

   It's a credit to writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee that they can walk such well-trod ground and craft a story that delights at every turn.

   And even more amazing - we discover the one thing (perhaps the only thing) that Cap fears!

   If you're a comics fan, you should be reading this series. It's wonderful!

Grade: A

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Guest Review - Batman '66 #2

   Stepping in with a Guest Review today is our pal Rusty Keele, who learned to read by pouring through Richie Rich and Casper comics during the 1970s.  These days he reviews comic books, from Golden to Modern Age, on his blog: The Comic Prospector.

   Here's his take on a classic Batman tale:

   Recently I've been watching the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold with my son.  It is really cool seeing Batman team up with several different DC heroes, and it has made one point very clear: Batman stories can be great fun!  

   Of course, not every Batman story can, or should be, so light-hearted and fun - but one comic series that definitely falls in the "fun" camp is Batman '66!  

   Chuck did a review of the first issue a few years ago, so I thought I would take a look at the second issue and see how it held up.

   This issue contains two stories. In the first one, "Emperor Penguin," the Penguin and his goons, along with Mister Freeze, have commandeered an iceberg, which they are using to block Gotham harbor.  

   Law enforcement have their hands tied because the iceberg has been declared an autonomous country!  But they Dynamic Duo use their wits and several Bat-gadgets to foil the Penguin's plans.
  • Story: The writing by Jeff Parker was above par, but not outstanding. The story premise itself was kind of goofy, but the charming and endearing dialogue made for a fun read!
  • Art: The art, by Batman: Gotham Adventures writer Ty Templeton, was crisp, clean and a joy to behold!  Classic characters rendered to look like their counterparts from the TV series was a super fun way to experience this story.
  • Fun Factor: The art and dialogue made this story really fun to read - regardless of the run-of-the-mill storyline.
   In the backup story, "Chandell's Chanteuse," Bruce Wayne finally goes on a date! But when a nightclub singer uses her musical powers to force the male audience members to do her evil bidding, Batman struggles to figure out how to escape the enchantment of her dreamy lyrics!
  • Story: This story, also by Jeff Parker, was a cut above the first one. It still had the campy dialogue, but the story premise was way more exciting and fun to read.
  • Art: The art by Jonathan Case was great, and since he didn't do the colors also (like in the first issue) they weren't as visually assaulting as they were there.
  • Fun Factor: This was a very fun story with witty dialogue and great art - which made for a super read!

Grade: A-

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Phoenix Resurrection #2 (of 5)

   Give credit to this mini-series that's (apparently) bringing (or has brought) Jean Grey back to life - it's taking a unique approach.

   Of course, when it comes to Phoenix Resurrection, the rules go out the window.

   So we're seeing two different realities - one in which a beautiful red-haired woman named Jean is working as a waitress in a diner, where she keeps running into people who are familiar to us, if not to her.

   In the other reality, we find the (amazingly vast) team of X-Men looking for Phoenix - but handicapped because all the psychics on the team have been injured - or are missing!

   What follows is a deadly encounter with one of the team's oldest foes - but it's not a typical battle by any means.

   The art for this issue is by Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Fonteriz, and it's terrific work, with striking layouts and powerful character designs.

    So what's going on here? Where does it go next? Is Jean really back? I have no idea!

   (And that, of course, is a good thing.)

Grade: A-

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy #150

   I've drifted away from the Guardians of the Galaxy comic in the last year or so, but I had to jump back in with this issue because it features the return of one of my all-time favorite Marvel characters - Adam Warlock.

   This issue drops us in the middle of a space battle that involves the Nova Corps - and for some reason the Guardians are all wearing Nova uniforms. And hey, Ant-Man is on the team now?

   Warlock doesn't exactly interact with the GotG - but instead is on a mystical / mental journey that will bring him back to the Marvel universe.

   To which I can only say, it's about time!

   Admittedly, I'd be happier if his adventures were being handled by writer / artist Jim Starlin, who crafted some legendary stories with the character - but I'm just happy to see Warlock's return, and to see him headlining an Infinity Stones-related event.

   So along with Jean Grey / Phoenix and Hawkman, Warlock makes the third character to return from the dead in a week. That may be a record of some kind!

   While I'm not a big fan of resurrections, it's easy to make exceptions when it happens with characters you like. And so far, I'm three for three!

   It also doesn't hurt that all three are famous for returning from the dead.

Grade: B

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Comics Day!

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

- CAPTAIN AMERICA #697 - Home of the brave!

- GUARDIANS OF GALAXY  #150 - The return of Adam Warlock!

- HAWKEYE #14 - That cover is deceiving.

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #36 - Congress investigates the team?

- PAPER GIRLS #19 - The battle of the ages begins!

- PHOENIX RESURRECTION RETURN JEAN GREY #2 (OF 5)  - A light in the darkness.


    And I received these review copies:


- CAPTAIN KRONOS #4 - Fighting a town filled with vampires!

- DAN DARE #4 - A threat to the universe!

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #11 - The Doctor and Bill are trapped between two forces!

- HERO CATS #20 - Can the Hero Bots save the future?

- MILLENNIUM GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE TP - Adapted from the novel.

- MINKY WOODCOCK GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI #2 - Working with Houdini!

- PENNY DREADFUL #8 - The story continues!

- QUARRY'S WAR #2 - Adapting the novel.

- SECRET WEAPONS #0 - Before the fall of the Harbinger Foundation.

- SHERLOCK GREAT GAME #6 (OF 6)  - Wrapping up the adaptation of the BBC episode!

- SHINOBI NINJA PRINCESS LIGHTNING ONI #4 - Turra is in command!

   And that's it!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Jessica Jones #15

   The most terrifying foe for Jessica Jones is the Purple Man.

   It was true in the original Alias comic, it was true in the Netflix TV series, and it's true again in the latest storyline in this comic.

   He makes a great villain because his powers are almost unstoppable - he can control the will of anyone close enough to hear his voice.

   So when he forces a face-to-face meeting with Jessica, it brings with it a sense of terror - and to make matters worse, he has new powers to demonstrate.

   What follows is an intense discussion, with the life of Jessica's child hanging in the balance.

   It's a story loaded with surprises and tension.

    As always, we get amazing dialogue from Brian Michael Bendis and terrific, intense artwork by Michael Gaydos and striking colors by Matt Hollingsworth.

   The issue brings up another fear, as we worry about what will happen to this comic after the upcoming departure of Bendis? That's all we need - something else to be concerned about!

Grade: A-

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Monday, January 1, 2018

X-O Manowar #10

   This is an entertaining issue, which is a bit surprising because it has almost no actual X-O Manowar content.

   Instead the issue is all about assembling a team - but not a team of heroes.

   Instead, the mysterious Rawn (that's him on the cover) sets up a series of clever but absolutely merciless jailbreaks to gather the kind of expertise and power he needs for a particularly challenging job (and you won't have much difficulty working out what that might be).

   It's certainly a different issue - all set in deep space and plumbing the depths of these unique creatures.

   The story is by Matt Kindt and the art by Renato Guedes, who provides amazing alien landscapes in a lush painted style.

   This might be a tough issue for new readers to jump on with, but for fans of the series, this is an interesting setup for the upcoming storyline.

Grade: B

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