Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Comics Day

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

- AVENGERS #682 - "No Surrender" continues!

- CHAMPIONS #17 - Who will be a Champion for the day?

- DOCTOR STRANGE #386 - A "Damnation" tie-in.

- ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #24 - The finale!

- INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #597 - Still searching for Tony.

- JESSICA JONES #17 - The return of the Purple Man.

- SAGA #49 - Beginning a new story arc!


     And I received these review copies:

- ALISIK FALL #1 (OF 2) - Living like a ghost!

- BEAUTIFUL CANVAS VOL. 1 - She's a hit woman and a Mom!

- CALEXIT #2 - California Uber Alles.

- HERCULES WRATH of the HEAVENS TP - Facing his own demons!

- LONE SLOANE GAIL HC - Masterwork by Phillippe Druillet!

- NUTMEG TP VOL 04 LATE WINTER COVEN CLEANER - New alliances are formed!

- SHRUGGED PRIMER (ONE SHOT) - Celebrating Aspen's 15th Anniversary!

- SHRUGGED VOL. 3 #1 (OF 6) - Vol. 3 begins!

- WILDS #1 - Life as a runner!

- X-O MANOWAR #12 - Earth's last Visigoth!


     And that's it!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe #2

   This is an odd event book, because even though it pits Ninjak against almost all the heroes in the Valiant Universe, it has no effect on Valiant's continuity.

   That's because the story is actually set outside the Valiant Universe.

   It's based on an upcoming live action web series, and it definitely has a real world feeling to it.

   Ninjak has been blackmailed into stealing an incredibly valuable (and powerful) artifact - and the lives of his loved ones depend on him delivering that object.

   But his employers aren't ready to give it away - so they assemble some powerful heroes to track down Ninjak.

   Can a ninja defend himself against the biggest powerhouses in Valiant's stables?

   It's a good question - and you get the answer here (sort of).

   With strong art by Joe Bennett and Belardino Brabo, and a solid script by Eliot Rahal (based on a screenplay by a small army of writers), this is a fun oddity - an event that stands alone.

Grade: B+

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Sami the Samurai Squirrel: Welcome to Woodbriar

   It's always nice to see a comic aimed at young readers - it's all too rare these days.

   That's what Sami the Samurai Squirrel: Welcome to Woodbriar is all about.

   It focuses on a young squirrel named Sami who lost her homeland, but has found a new home in the village of Woodbriar, where she takes on the role of protector.

   I should warn that Sami doesn't make much of a pretense of being a real samurai or following that lifestyle - at one point she uses her katana like an axe, cutting wood for home construction.

   So don't expect a documentary from writer / artist Scoot McMahon.

   But it is a lot of fun in a lighthearted, action-packed, doesn't-always-make-sense-but-who-cares kind of way.

   Sami and her friends face off against a variety of threats, including a Yeti cyborg, a ghostly foe, an army of robots and a gang of pirates!

   The art is presented in a no frills, animated, kid-friendly style, and the stories are breezy and fun.

   This is a great book for young readers - and, of course, readers who still embrace their internal child.

Grade: B+

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Charlton Arrow #3

   The recently-revived Charlton Arrow is a love letter to the classic adventure comics created by that (sadly defunct) company.

   It's packaged to revive classic characters (like E-Man, the humorous creation of Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton) and brand new characters, like the vivid Mr. Mixit (created by Roger McKenzie and Stephen Butler), who evokes an assortment of classic Steve Ditko characters without actually being a ripoff.

   The stories are straightforward, lots of fun and easy to pick up, even if you're missing the earlier, not-always-easy-to-find issues (I'm still trying to track down issue #2).

    The issue also evokes the classic "split" comics like Marvel's '60-era Tales of Suspense or Tales to Astonish, where each hero gets a brief page count - anywhere from 12 or 10 pages to eight or six pages.

   It makes for a mighty entertaining package for this old fan, aided by the fact that these stories are created by industry professionals who know their craft.

   The issue includes: Edison Corliss, a Doc Savage-style science hero who has a run-in with a beautiful FBI Agent; a horrific fighter known as Deathwatch who faces an indestructible foe; and the crime drama starring the mysterious Blank.

   My favorite, I must admit, it the wacky Mr. Fixit. which follows young Barry Baxter, who gains super-powers (and a bizarre costume) through mysterious means - but doesn't have much time to learn about his abilities, as he's attacked by a demonic creature! The art is terrific and the story has enough of a Silver Age feel to give it lots of energy.

   I realize this series is aimed at me, as a boomer with fond memories of Charlton's comics (and others from the '60s and '70s), and it hits the mark.

   Hopefully the series will continue to grow and thrive as fans catch on to this great new series!

Grade: A-

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Avengers #681

   I'm not a big fan of weekly comics, for reasons we've discussed before.

   But the "No Surrender" series has - so far - been a success, as it combines stories about all the disparate Avengers teams working together against a world-class threat.

   The story works because it takes a classic villain - the Grandmaster - adds in a new Challenger to his title - and pits two separate teams of bad guys: the new version of the Lethal Legion, and the Black Order, a deadly crew of aliens who usually work for Thanos.

    The story could easily have been just a slugfest, but there are added layers of mystery adding to the fun, including the puzzling history of Valerie Vector, whose origin we see here.

   The art has been a bit uneven through the series (the biggest disadvantage to a weekly comic), but the story has been a blast so far, with a non-stop series of events designed to keep the reader - and the heroes - on their toes.

   Recommended!

Grade: A-

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Friday, February 23, 2018

The Defenders #10

   This has been a fun series and - sadly - this issue apparently marks the end of it (for now).

   The Defenders has been a playground for writer Brian Michael Bendis, who's moving over to DC, so he's wrapping up the story in the dozens of Marvel's books that he writes (only a slight exaggeration).

   This series has been focused on establishing the new Kingpin of crime in New York (since the actual Kingpin is busy being the Mayor of New York over in Daredevil's comic).

   It all comes to a head in this issue as DD, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones (who gets the best lines as always) face off against the newest and deadliest contender.

   It's a lot of fun throughout, with terrific art by David Marquez and excellent color art by Justin Ponsor.

   Happily, they even manage to sneak in a nice tip o' the hat to the original Defenders team along the way.

   If this series is ending, I'm sorry to see it go - but at least it wraps up on a strong note.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Infinity Countdown Prime #1

   I picked this issue up with some hesitation, because Infinity Countdown Prime looked like an overpriced advertisement for the upcoming Event series.

   And you get a little bit of that vibe, but happily the issue actually serves as a sequel (or a setup) for the series, tackling the weighty issue answering the question: where are all those Infinity Stones, anyway?

   The cosmically powerful stones, of course, are at the heart of the upcoming Avengers movie. They last appeared in the Marvel Universe just before the Secret Wars series - and they were apparently destroyed.

   But with the rebirth of reality at the end of that event, the Infinity Stones were also reborn - and you'll be surprised to see who's holding them now.

   It's a powerful story (with lots of surprises) by Gerry Duggan, with amazing, vivid and striking art by Mike Deodato, Jr., and color art by Frank Martin.

   The series is off to an explosive start, and holds lots of promise. And hey, Adam Warlock is back - it's worth buying just for that!

Grade: A-

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Comics Day

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

-  AQUAMAN #33 - Can Mera survive the battle for the crown?

-  AVENGERS #681 - Where did the newest Avenger come from?

-  BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1 - Classic writers return!

- CHARLTON ARROW #3 - An all-star lineup! 

-  COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS COMICS FOR ALL #3 - Manga strikes!

-  DAREDEVIL #599 - Fighting City Hall.

-  DEFENDERS #10 - Who's the new Kingpin? 

-  INCREDIBLE HULK #713 - Visit to Planet Hulk!

-  INFINITY COUNTDOWN PRIME #1 - The saga begins!

-  JUSTICE LEAGUE #39 - The new team leader is put to the test!

-  MAESTROS #5 - On a highway to hell!

  
     And I also received these for review:

- BLOODBORNE #1 (OF 4) 

- CONSULTANT #3 (OF 4) - Who killed Sparrow?

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH TIME TRIALS VOL. 2 WOLVES OF WINTER - The Tardis crashes into a Viking camp!

- HARCOURT LEGACY COLLECTION - The power of magic!

- NINJAK VS VALIANT UNIVERSE #2 (OF 4) - Fighting against all odds!

- PRINCELESS RAVEN YEAR 2 #5 LOVE AND REVENGE - Back on course!

- QUAKE CHAMPIONS #3 (OF 3) - The lead-in to Quake Champions (the game)!

- QUANTUM & WOODY #3 - The goat returns!

- RIVERS OF LONDON CRY FOX #4 (OF 4) - The conclusion!

- SAMI SAMURAI SQUIRREL WELCOME TO WOODBRIAR - Who is the hooded Ghost?

- TOYETICA #6 - Making new friends!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON TWO #12 - All-out war!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

H. P. Lovecraft's The Grave

   No one did - or does - horror better than H. P. Lovecraft.

   The company Quiet Hell Comics brings one of H.P.'s smaller stories to life with the publication of The Grave.

   It's a "small" story that's loaded with chills. It focuses on two men - Nigel Webster and Albert Thompson - who undertake a terrifying mission.

   Nigel opens the concrete covering on a grave in a small rural cemetery - and he goes down the stairway beneath. He insists that it's not actually a grave - but a gateway. Nigel goes in, leaving Albert behind - and that's when the horror begins.

   It's an intelligent, heart-breaking tale of friendship and impossible choices.

   The adaptation is by writer Jason Browne, who captures the classic feel of the story with great skill, and artist Liam Naughton (with colors by Chris O'Halloran) has an expressive style that captures the era nicely.

   This is a terrific comic, and hopefully the company will craft more adaptations of classic horror stories in the future!

Grade: A

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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Chronicles of Corum: The Knight of the Swords Vol. 1

   When I began reading fantasy / adventure stories in the 1960s, I made the usual progression from Robert E. Howard's Conan stories to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and John Carter and finally to Michel Moorcock's Elric.

   The incredibly prolific Moorcock created a number of characters who fall under his concept of the Eternal Champion (a hero with many faces).

   One of those faces is Corum, the Prince of the Scarlet Robe, who is a pacifist - until his people are wiped out by an evil army.

   As you'd expect from Moorcock, this is not a typical story of heroism. Instead, it's an adventure tinged with love, tragedy, dark magic, grim gods and exotic locales.

   It's all brought to life expertly by writer Mike Baron and artist Mike Mignola, with inkers Rick Burchett and Kelly Jones.

   This collection is a reprint of a mini-series from 1987, so this is early work by Mignola - but it's impressive art, loaded with amazing visuals and flights of fancy.

   It's a treat to have this powerful work available again, and great to see the collection of "The Michael Moorcock Library" continue to expand.

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black Panther - Movie Review

   Occasionally a movie comes along that transcends the format and becomes a cultural event.

   We saw it this weekend with the premiere of Black Panther, which is not only a terrific action / adventure film, but also strikes a chord with - and sparks the imagination of - the public.

   Based on the character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, it tells the story of T'Challa, who becomes king of the African kingdom Wakanda when his father T'Chaka is assassinated.

   The world doesn't realize that Wakanda hides a futuristic society, thanks to the influence of a huge Vibranium meteor that struck Earth in ancient times - but its rare properties have made the country wealthy, and the four tribes there are led by a king who takes on the powers of the Panther totem, wears a high tech suit and protects the country as the Black Panther.

   But as T'Challa (played with impressive gravitas, energy and heart by Chadwick Boseman) takes the throne, there are threats to be dealt with, including the machinations of the murderous Ulysses Klaue (played by a manic and vicious Andy Serkis) and the aspirations of the deadly Erik Killmonger (played by a dynamic and magnetic Michael B. Jordan).

   The film features an amazing cast, including powerful women (many of the tribe leaders are women) like Angela Bassett (as Ramonda the Queen Mother), Lupita Nyong'o (as Nakia), Danai Gurira (as Okoye) and Letitia Wright (as Shuri) - they are T'Challa's advisors, his guardians and the inventors of his high tech gear - there's not a shrinking violet in the bunch.

   You'd be mistaken to think that this movie is just another action film - it has heart-wrenching moments and tackles some challenging, thought-provoking topics. Is the safety of the people of Wakanda (read: America) more important than sharing that country's gifts with the needy around the world? Is violence justified in the pursuit of justice? Has the world turned a blind eye to the plight of the people of Africa (and of African descent)?

   There are no easy answers here, and the plot takes several twists and turns along the way. It's a tremendous film, and a real accomplishment by director Ryan Coogler and his production team.

   The film carries a powerful message of both heroism and heritage to audiences all over the world - it's a truly impressive accomplishment, and highly recommended!

Grade: A+

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Avengers #680

   There are several things about this issue of The Avengers I could easily dislike.

   It involves an alien power "stealing" the Earth and relocating it, which is more of a Doctor Who concept than a Marvel Universe event - but I can overlook it (after all, I do like Doctor Who).

   During the "No Surrender" event, the series is being published weekly and written and drawn by committee, which is typically not a great way to tell a cohesive story - but so far, they're managing to keep it together reasonably well.

   The cast is large, ever-shifting and spends a lot of time talking - but they're all in character and there are some nice moments, including a joyful reunion with old friends the Beast and Wonder Man, and the return of one of my all-time favorite (and criminally underused) characters.

   The story follows a battle royal between two alien super-teams and the Avengers, and it continues to build nicely.

   So against the odds - I like it!

   Go figure.

Grade: A-

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Marvel 2-In-One #3

   The Marvel 2-In-One series (or as it should be titled, The Fantastic Two-of-Four) continues to roll along in excellent form, as the Thing and the Human Torch continue to search the multiverse for their missing teammates (Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, natch).

   Of course, there are complications. For example, Johnny's powers are fading, and he doesn't know why. Also, Dr. Doom (in his Infamous Iron Man guise) - and a certain other classic villain - are also looking for Reed Richards, for their own nefarious reasons.

   All of which leads to a search for another hero who suffered similar power issues - and then to a fight with a surprise (and surprised) guest villain.

   With terrific art and solid writing, this series definitely "feels" like a Fantastic Four story - and we're long overdue for more of those.

Grade: A-

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Captain America #698

   The last time Captain America was frozen in ice, World War II was ending - and he woke up in the modern world.

   Given "Marvel time," that was either 20 years (into the mid-'60s), or about seven years ago in comic book time, when flexes with the actual calendar.

   Either way, it's understandable that Cap would be upset by being frozen again.

   This time he wakes up in the future, and one in which the American dream is not faring well.

   The heroes are gone and an aristocracy has taken over, leaving an army to deal death and destruction on the population - until now.

   Once again, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have crafted a gem of a story, which combines action and adventure with an examination of what America is all about - and Cap's role in the world.

   Amazing art, a terrific story - it's the complete package.

   You should be reading this comic. You are, right?

Grade: A

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

New Comics Day

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

-  ARCHIE #28 - Who's dating who?

-  AVENGERS #680 - Can Jarvis be saved?

-  CAPTAIN AMERICA #698  - A man out of time!

-  DOCTOR STRANGE #385  - Loki's still running things.

-  MAGE HERO DENIED #6 (OF 15) - Can Kevin hide from evil?

-  MARVEL 2-IN-ONE #3 - The fate of the Four!


      And I received these review copies:

-  ACTIONVERSE #5 STRAY - The future of the Actionverse is at stake!

-  ATHENA VOLTAIRE #1 - She's looking for an object that once belonged to the Pope!

-  ATLAS AND AXIS #2 (OF 4) - A showdown with the enemy!

-  BABY BADASS #1 - An escaped military experiment gone wrong!

-  BABYLON BERLIN - Set in the 1920s, it's a hardeboiled detective story in Germany.

-  BLACK BETTY #1 - She kills the unkillable.

-  BLOODSHOT SALVATION #6 - The Book of the Dead - Part 1!

-  CHARISMAGIC VOL. 3 #1 (OF 6) - The forces of magic return!

-  DOCTOR WHO 12TH YEAR THREE #12 - They're no angels!

-  JUPITER JET #3 - Can Jupiter escape?

-  MINKY WOODCOCK GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI #3 - The magician's assistant!

-  NINJA-K #4 - A female agent enters the picture!

-  QUANTUM TEENS ARE GO VOL. 1 - Collecting the mini-series.

-  ROBOTECH #7 - Launching into action!

-  TORCHWOOD THE CULLING #4 (OF 4) - The finale!

-  WARHAMMER 40000 DAWN OF WAR III - What can stop the Battle Brothers?

-  ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #44  - Death draws near.

     And that's it!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Classic Comics - Fantastic Four #52

   To celebrate the opening this week of the new Black Panther movie, here's my review of his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52 (the review was originally posted on December 22, 2010).

   I was an instant fan of the new hero - in fact, I dressed up as the Black Panther for Halloween - this in the days before glow-in-the-dark costumes were created. What could be safer than dressing all in black for trick-or-treatring?  

   Here's my review:

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   This issue of The Fantastic Four was smack in the middle of the long run that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby enjoyed on this series.

   And by this point, both creators were at the peak of their powers. They had just wrapped up a long series of connected stories that introduced the Inhumans and brought Galactus and the Silver Surfer to the Earth for the first time. They followed that with one of the all-time best issues in the series (#51) - and then this issue, which introduced a ground-breaking new character, one who earned a spot in the history of comics. It marked the first appearance of the Black Panther.

   Cover dated July 1966, the Panther seems to be the villain in this issue. He lures the Fantastic Four to Wakanda, his kingdom in Africa, where they find themselves in an amazing, futuristic setting. 

   The Panther appears and attacks the team, quickly separating them and defeating the heroes one at a time. Each battle is a pure delight, as the Panther triggers special traps and uses his own skills to overcome Marvel's "First Family." 

   If there's a weakness in this comic, I can't find it. The action is inventive, the story rockets along at top speed, there's plenty of humor (The Thing is one of the few heroes who can be funny even while he's losing a fight), the dialogue is terrific, the characters are memorable, and the ending is a real surprise.

   This story is memorable for another reason - it's the first to feature a black super-hero. I don't remember feeling any kind of surprise about that - it made sense that an African Prince would be black, after all. But it was a ground-breaking event - though of course there were black heroes before, like Gabe Jones, a member of Sgt. Fury's Howling Commandos who was also a black hero, just a non-powered one. 

   It's always a delight when a creative team really starts to click, and Lee and Kirby were on fire by this point in their careers. Lee's wordsmithing was never better, and Kirby was at the peak of his skills (ably assisted here by the great Joe Sinnott on inks - in my opinion, Joe is the all-time best Kirby inker).

   Each issue seemed better than the last - just an amazing achievement in comics. As a 10-year-old, by this point the FF was my favorite comic book of them all - and it would hold the title for years.

Grade: A+

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1

   Armstrong is certainly one of the most unusual heroes around (which is a tribute to his creation).

   He's an immortal (like his brother, the Eternal Warrior), but instead of devoting his long life to heroic pursuits he's more interested in having fun.

   Who could blame him?

   This story takes place in two settings - one, a Biblical event that, according to this issue, didn't exactly go according to scripture.

   Armstrong's role in that pivotal event - and his reason for gathering a group of friends / heroes / good guys - is mostly played for fun, though the story is loaded with lots of improbable events and the most ridiculous security system in recent memory.

   The story is mostly fun, but it's all pretty slim going. It's a one-off, a good laugh with good art - but that's about it.

Grade: B   

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Bane Conquest #9 (of 12)

   It's relatively rare for a comic series to star a villain, and the typical mistake those series make is that they tend to make the villain a more sympathetic character.

   You'll get none of that in Bane Conquest, a series that gives us a central character who's a complete bad-ass.

   Bane is out to carve his own criminal empire, and he decides to take on a big target: the Kobra organization.

   To fight an army, you need an even tougher army - and this issue is all about putting the band together.

   Needless to say, Bane's recruits are a collection of the toughest, most accomplished fighters / criminals (or near-criminals) around, each one at the top of their field.

   The series reunites the Bane creative team of writer Chuck Dixon and artist Graham Nolan, and what a delight to see these consummate pros at work.

   The story continues to build with brutal efficiency - and the fun's just starting!

   I hate to see this series end - it's been a great ride!

Grade: A

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Friday, February 9, 2018

X-Men Red #1

   Well, after a solid mini-series bringing Jean Grey (Marvel Girl / Phoenix) back to life, I had high hopes for X-Men Red.

   Unfortunately, it doesn't deliver.

   If anything, it feels like Marvel turned on the "Automated X-Men Team Generator Machine" and had it churn out a lineup.

   So we have Jean forming a new team (heaven knows the world needs more X-Men teams), with a lineup including Nightcrawler, Wolverine (the female version), Honey Badger (really, there's a hero by that name?) and Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

   The team's goal is to save the world, and Jean has a big plan to make it happen - which would probably be interesting, if it actually worked. Of course, it all goes wrong.

   Oh, and having a headquarters 3,000 feet below the surface of the ocean is a terrible idea - it would take a lot of time to adjust to the pressures, so no rushing to the surface to fight the bad guys (except for Namor, I suppose).

   It's all handled in a heavy-handed, grim and bloody manner - and maybe I'm just running thin on patience with that kind of story (probably because it's the only one in town these days).

   I had expected something more upbeat and hopeful - maybe a reunion of the original team, or at least the New X-Men. Instead we get another attempt to squeeze a few more bucks from the rapidly-thinning herd of X-fans.

   I'd like to follow Jean's adventures, but they're going to have to do better then this.

Grade: C

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Infinity Countdown: Adam Warlock #1

   With the Infinity Stones (and the Infinity Gauntlet) at the heart of the new Avengers movie being released later this year, it only makes sense for Marvel to create an event around those same stones - and it also gives them a good excuse to bring back the singular hero known as Adam Warlock.

   That last part was all I needed to get me to pick up this comic.

   I was there at the start. I picked up the original issues of Fantastic Four about a super science organization that tried to create the ultimate being - only to be destroyed by their creation, who was known only as Him!

   Him returned to fight Thor (you can see why they changed his name), was soundly beaten, and then turned up again in his own series, this one set on Counter-Earth, a duplicate of our planet orbiting on the far side of the sun.

    He was given a new name - Adam Warlock - and after some messianic adventures, he set off to deep space under the guidance of writer / artist Jim Starlin, and became the most cosmic hero of all, facing down despots and madness and Thanos - and the tragic knowledge that the gem on his forehead stole the souls of his opponents. (Later it was revealed to be one of the Infinity Stones.)

   His adventures have been a bit erratic since then, and the character spent a long time being... well, dead. But he got better.

   This issue of Infinity Countdown manages two things: it brings Adam into the action as someone - or something - is seeking out the stones and threatening to destroy reality; and it also gives new readers a recap of his origin, covering a lot of (often confusing) ground with a fast and clever story by Gerry Duggan, with powerful art by Mike Allred (and colors by Laura Allred).

   It's all about setting up the coming conflict and introducing some key players in the event to come. So far, it's very promising - and I'm all for anything that brings Warlock back into play.

   He's a great character, loaded with depth and mystery and potential - and he deserves better than years on the sidelines.

   Hopefully this story wraps up with the announcement that he's getting his own comic (and I'm all for backing up a truckload of money to Jim Starlin's door and seeing what new stories he has for one of his greatest creations).

Grade: A-

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Comics Day

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

- AVENGERS #679 - No Surrender continues!

- BANE CONQUEST #9 (OF 12) - Putting an army together!

- DAREDEVIL #598 - Dealing with Mayor Fisk!

- HAWKEYE #15 - Family reunion!

- INFINITY COUNTDOWN ADAM WARLOCK #1 - Guess who's back?

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #38 - A crisis of confidence!

- PAPER GIRLS #20 - Can they escape the year 2000?

- X-MEN RED #1 - Hey, it's another new X-Men team!


     And these are review copies I received:

- ARMSTRONG & THE VAULT OF SPIRITS #1 - Secrets to explore!

- CONSULTANT #2 (OF 4) - An epic clash for survival!

- DANGER DOLL SQUAD VOL 1 - Collecting the crossover event!

- DEATH TO THE TSAR - A dark political comedy.

- DOCTOR WHO 10TH FACING FATE VOL 1 - BREAKFAST AT TYRANNYS - Who or what is The Scream?

- DOCTOR WHO 12TH VOL 2 - FRACTURES - What are The Fractures?

- DOCTOR WHO LOST DIMENSION VOL 1 - Calling all Doctors!

- DOLLFACE VOL 3 - Seeking help from a witch.

- FORCE VOL 1 - WRIGHT TIME - Getting ready for the Super Bowl.

- HARCOURT LEGACY #3 (OF 3) - Can Violet handle her mystic legacy?

- PORTAL BOUND #0 (OF 5) - Can a teenage soldier princess save two Earths?

- PRINCELESS RAVEN YEAR 2 #4 - LOVE AND REVENGE - The battle is over, but the crew is changed forever.

- QUARRYS WAR #3 - Secrets from the past rise up!

- SHRUGGED VOL 2 #6 (OF 6) - The explosive finale!

- TOYETICA #5 - Facing humans for the first time!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON TWO #11 - An invasion of space vampires!

- WONDERFUL WORLD OF TANK GIRL #3 - A stand alone story!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #43 - Will she become a monster?

     And that's it! Whew!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

"Krypton" Trailer

   Another trailer rolled out for the Super Bowl was for the SyFy network's DC-based TV show, Krypton.

   The show looks promising, but I have to admit I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind doing shows like this and Gotham, which dance around stories using the actual heroes involved.

   I mean, DC has hundreds of great characters - why not give them a show. You know, Batman? Superman? It just makes sense.

   But until they figure it out, Krypton should help get us there:

Monday, February 5, 2018

Trailers for "Solo" and "Avengers: Infinity War"

   Even if you're not a football fan, the Super Bowl is always fun because the commercials usually include new movie trailers - and here are a couple that comics fans will want to check out.

   The first is Solo, the next Star Wars movie. It brings us the early adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca. This one has had fans a little bit worried, what with reshoots, changing directors, and a lack of news about it. I have to say, the trailer looks great:



   The other trailer is a new version of the eagerly-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. Do I have to tell you how great this looks?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Eternal: A Shieldmaiden Ghost Story

   Eternal is a powerful graphic novel that follows a village of Viking shieldmaidens - women left behind after their men go off to war and don't return.

   For these women, that is not acceptable, so they set out to find their men - or avenge their deaths.

   What follows is a story of revenge, a brutal battle for survival, and a surprising mix of magic and raw barbaric determination.

   Kudos to writers Eric Zawadzki and Ryan K. Lindsay for a moving, powerful story.

   Zawadzki also provides the art (with amazing colors by Dee Cunniffe), and it's very impressive - at times vicious, at times almost leisurely, but always in perfect service to the story.

   It's a tale that probably too rough (and sometimes heartbreaking) for young readers, but it's an impressive achievement and well worth tracking down.

Grade: A

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Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Defenders #9

   As writer Brian Michael Bendis wraps up his long career at Marvel, he's apparently having fun and leaving a memorable finale.

   This issue of The Defenders brings us the next-to-the-last issue in his 'Kingpins of New York' story, and it's all about confrontations.

    So we have Luke Cage confronting Diamondback, a team of villains facing Luke's allies, Jennifer Jones confronting... well everyone, some surprise appearances and a twist at the end.

    Add in lots of sharp, funny dialogue and terrific art by David Marquez (with color by Justin Ponsor) and you have a crackling good time.

Grade: A-

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Dark Nights Metal #5 (of 6)

   Congrats to the creative team of Dark Nights Metal for managing to craft a story that's almost completely impenetrable.

   (Perhaps that was the goal, given the title.)

   I admit that I'm reviewing under a bit of a handicap, since I've only been reading the Dark Nights series, and none of the spinoff issues (much to the consternation of my comics shop owner), so I'm no doubt missing important elements along the way.

   The story spooling out here involves DC's big guns - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Green Lantern, along with a few others, all searching for... something. Different exotic metals that are important to saving the Earth from an invasion of evil armor-wearing Batmen.

   It involves the Nth metal, which allowed Hawkman to fly, and apparently that hero and Hawkgirl are involved. Of course, doom is closing in and there's no hope for our heroes to save the day.

   Until next issue.

   Look, this just isn't aimed at me. It's dark, hopeless, grim and gritty, and there are only a few writers who have been able to make that sort of story work - and this one isn't getting it. The art is great, but the story is a brick.

   It just feels like a weak attempt to merge comics with heavy metal music, and it's just a bad fit.

   For me.

Grade: C+

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