Friday, August 17, 2018

Archie Meets Batman '66 #2

   This is definitely a crossover that makes sense.

   The Archie Universe often seems to be stuck in the '60s (at least in terms of the squeaky-clean sensibilities of the cartoonish version of the characters), and the original Batman TV show is certainly a beloved part of 1966's pop culture!

   The story centers around some odd goings-on in Riverdale, as the adults start behaving strangely (which is saying something for Riverdale).

   But who will believe the teenagers? How about Batman, who sends Robin and Batgirl into the town under cover in their civilian identities to solve the mystery.

   (Which begs the question - did Batgirl know the secret identities of Batman and Robin? Because if she didn't, she knows them now.)

   Of course, there are lots of classic Bat-villains along for the ride. 

    The art by Dan Parent and J. Bone is a pure delight. The story by Jeff Parker and Michael Moreci is fast and fun, but the issue doesn't so much end as it runs out of space. (It is continued into the next issue, of course.)

   This is a fun burst of nostalgia and so far the meeting of the two different worlds is an almost seamless affair. Fun!

Grade: B+



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Infinity Wars #2 (of 6)

   The new Infinity Wars series has a split personality.

   On one hand, the art is fantastic! That's because of the incredible work by Mike Deodato, Jr. and color artist Frank Martin. Their work combines stunning designs and layouts with near-photo-realistic characters.

   On the other hand, the story by Gerry Duggan is a bit of a mess. A small army of heroes and villains have gathered to discuss the use of the Infinity Stones - and of course, it all breaks down and a chaotic fight breaks out.

   Characters die, then they don't, then... well, it looks like more characters die, but it's difficult to say for sure. And all at the hands of someone who has no real reason to kill anyone.

   It just all feels like the same old territory being covered, and since the stones are so powerful, anything can happen - which means nothing has any lasting impact, since the stones can easily reverse any incident.

   No consequences, no drama. And that's the problem - so far, this series has had several shocking moments - but no drama at all.

Grade: C+


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

New Comics Day

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

- ARCHIE MEETS BATMAN 66 #2 - The crossover continues!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #4 - Interplanetary power trip!

- INFINITY WARS #2 (OF 6) - The Universe hangs in the balance!

- TONY STARK IRON MAN #3 - Character assassination!

- MAGE HERO DENIED #11 (OF 15) - Searching for his family!

- THOR #4 - The war for hell!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #5 (OF 7) THE HIDDEN - What is the secret that could topple the Shogunate?

- What is Project Thunderbook?

  And I received these review copies:

- GIRL WHO DANCED WITH DEATH MILL SAGA #1 (OF 3) - Hacking into deadly danger!

- MINKY WOODCOCK GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI HC - A female detective who stops at nothing to solve a mystery.

- NINJA-K #10 - The future of espionage!

- NU WAY #2 - Time for an upgrade - but at what price?

- RIVERS OF LONDON WATER WEED #3 - Some unique smugglers at work.


- Based on the animated adult show!

   And that's it!

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins

   For lack of a better term, The Adventure Zone is a family business.

   Sort of.

   It all started with the McElroy brothers - Justin, Travis and Griffin - who started up a comedy advice podcast called My Brother, My Brother and Me.

   It was a huge success, and soon they were performing live shows in front of sold-out crowds around the country - but they wanted to come up with a project that could include their father, Clint, a lifelong professional radio announcer.

   So they started a podcast that would involve the four of them playing Dungeons and Dragons - and they called it The Adventure Zone!

   The result was another comedy hit, as Clint, Justin and Travis created characters and tried to survive the trials devised by Griffin, the Dungeon Master.

   They managed to craft an amazing story of heroics, friendship and lots and lots (and lots) of jokes - and the show became a hit!

   Now you can hold it in your hands, as the McElroys have adapted the first several episodes of the podcast into a 250-page graphic novel titled Here There Be Gerblins! (And it's just the first of many planned volumes.)

   It drops you right in the middle of the action, as human warrior Magnus Burnsides (Travis), elf wizard Taako (Justin) and dwarf cleric Merle Highchurch (Clint) tackle a series of missions, guided by Griffin, who often pops into the proceedings, breaking the Fourth Wall.

   What follows is great mix of action, story twists and a wealth of very funny moments! (But fair warning - this isn't a book for young readers. There are quite a few four-letter words in evidence here.)

   The art is by Carey Pietsch, and the style is cartoonish, in a high-energy and fast-paced fashion. It's a heck of a lot of fun and matches up well to the humorous tone and exotic locales and even-more-exotic creatures that populate the story.

   Do I need to recommend it? The book is already on the New York Times Best Seller list, it's hugely popular and selling like crazy!

   What the heck, I'll recommend it anyway! It's mighty entertaining, and any fan of fantasy - or humor - or the Family McElroy (which is all good-hearted people everywhere) - are sure to love it!

Grade: A+


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Doctor Who: The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor #2

   As Doctor Who fans anxiously wait for the premiere of the new season starring the newest version of everyone's favorite Time Lord, Titan Comics helps us all prepare for the event with a mini-series titled The Road to the Thirteenth Doctor.

    Each issue checks in with the predecessors of the newest Doctor, starting with the Tenth Doctor - which means this issue, the second in the series, stars the Eleventh Doctor.

   Are you still with me?

   The adventure brings The Doctor and his companion Alice Obiefune to San Francisco in 1896, where they make a surprising discovery: the city's population includes a large number of humanoid robots!

   How they survive when faced with an army of killer robots - and how the menace might return to threaten the next version of The Doctor - is all part of the fun!

   It's short but entertaining, and always great to see the Matt Smith version of the character back in action!

Grade: B+


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Superman #2

   After this big buildup, the confrontation between Superman and Rogol Zaar, the alien who (presumably) destroyed Krypton, ended rather suddenly last issue.

   That menace was exiled to the Phantom Zone, which is (or was) sort of a dimensional prison for evil Kryptonians.

   But now, somehow, the entire planet Earth has been transported to the Phantom Zone - which threatens the stability of the planet and everyone on it!

   It's another powerful issue from writer Brian Michael Bendis, with amazing, over-the-top artwork by Ivan Reis.

   This issue is largely setting up the challenge facing Superman and his allies (plus we get a tiny bit more backstory for Zaar) - presumably next issue, all heck will break loose.

Grade: A-


Friday, August 10, 2018

The Sandman Universe #1

   The return of Neil Gaiman's Sandman would be a good reason to celebrate - but that's not exactly when we're getting here.

   Instead, The Sandman Universe takes us back to that Vertigo-based series - but the actual Sandman only makes a brief appearance.

   This issue is, basically, a trailer for the four comic books that are going to be based in the Gaiman-verse.

   But at least it's based on a story by Gaiman! It takes us into the Dreaming, where bad things are happening - and it falls to the flinty raven named Matthew to track down the absent lord of the realm. 

   That leads him to contact with the characters who will populate the aforementioned books. 

   Which will include:

   - The Dreaming, which is firmly set in the Sandman Universe and the characters who inhabit the land of dream.

   - Book of Magic, which stars Tim Hunter, created by Gaiman just before Harry Potter appeared and cornered the "young male magician who wears glasses and is fated to be pivotal in big moments" market.

   - Lucifer, which focuses on a quest by you-know-who.

   - and House of Whispers, a new addition to DC's mythology that has its foundation planted in the world of voodoo.

   So this issue gives us a taste, and it's a promising start. The first two comics are definitely on my "must buy" list, and the second two are on the "we'll see" list. 

   But it's great to see this mythology back in action again!

Grade: A-