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-


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


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-


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-


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


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+


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!


- 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+


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-


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



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-



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Comics Day

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


- 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


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


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+


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:

- 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


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


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+


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. 


Grade: B