Friday, May 31, 2019

Heroes in Crisis #9 (of 9)

   Well, that ended about like I expected.

   With Heroes in Crisis we see an attempt to tell a deep, meaningful story about psychology and post-traumatic stress, but instead we end up with the usual snarky superhero tropes.

   So we have a terrible event that may (or may not) be alleviated by an 11th-hour bit of storytelling chicanery.

   We have some character assassination, as a character beloved by many of us gets the "Hal Jordan / character dragged through the mud and made to behave in ways completely outside any reasonable parameters and oh yeah that character is now a murderer" treatment.

   I stuck with this series even though the first issue made it clear that this story was not aimed at me - or anyone who values the history of the DC Universe. I was hoping they'd prove me wrong and create a story of redemption.

   Nope. Just more tearing down of beloved characters (and outright killing off of others). 

   Can't recommend this one at all.

Grade: D


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- DOOMSDAY CLOCK #10 (OF 12) - What is Dr. Manhattan's connection to the DC Universe?

- FANTASTIC FOUR #10 - The War of the Realms checks in.

- GIANT MAN #2 (OF 3) - The land of giants.

- HEROES IN CRISIS #9 (OF 9) - Stick a fork in it.


- WILD STORM #23 - Earth hangs in the balance.

  And I received these review copies:

- BLOODSHOT RISING SPIRIT #7 - True origins!

- COLD BLOOD SAMURAI #3 - A life-changing request!


- DOCTOR WHO 13TH #8 - The conclusion!

- FORGOTTEN QUEEN #4 (OF 4) - Changing the history of the Valiant Universe!

- LIFE IS STRANGE #5 - Now an ongoing series!

- NULL FAERIES #5 - Protecting the secrets!

- PRINCELESS BOOK 8 PRINCESSES #3 - Looking for help!

- PUNK MAMBO #2 (OF 5) - Facing a fiend!

- QUEEN OF BAD DREAMS #2 - Finding the truth about the Chase family!

- SHE SAID DESTROY #1 - Battle of the Gods!

- SPENCER AND LOCKE 2 #2 - The trial begins!


- WASTED SPACE #10 - Where is the Creator?

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #60 - Fighting Zombie Mutants!

     And that's it!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Tony Stark: Iron Man #11

   I sometimes think modern comic book editors have forgotten the purpose of a cover. 

   (It's to lure in the reader by either teasing the story inside or using any of dozens of lures to make the comic attractive to him or her. A mystery to be solved, an impossible predicament, sex appeal - the list goes on and on.)

   When I picked up this issue of Tony Stark: Iron Man at the comics shop, the owner and I looked it over and over - neither one of us could make sense of the cover. Finally I realized that there's a face of sorts on the upper right side - but it looks like Ultron, who is not in this comic.

   I don't know, maybe I'm just an old fogey (guilty as charged) - but I don't think that cover is going to sell many issues for them. 

   The interior art is much easier to follow, thank goodness - but the story inside has gone on way too long. It has Tony's company creating a computer-based reality system / game which it taken over by the Controller and used to wreak havoc around the world (including countless deaths) and Tony is trapped in the system too and I kind of lost track of it at that point.

   It finally wraps up here, thank goodness, but it makes you wonder: what kind of hero is Tony, when so many people are hurt and even killed by his invention? And how can he possibly stay in business (or out of prison) given the inevitable lawsuits?

   I know, it's a comic book - but the insides seem as muddled as the outside.

Grade: B-



Saturday, May 25, 2019

Dial "H" for Hero #3

   So I've been wavering back and forth on the new Dial "H" for Hero series.

   As a fan of the original, I was hoping for something more along those lines - but this is a different beast.

   Instead of focusing on new, original heroes (in the first series, you'd get three different heroes in each adventure), this series is more about individual heroes who represent a particular genre - from the steroid-and-pouch-laden heroes of the grim and gritty era to this issue, which takes aim at one of DC's cherished hallmarks.

   It's all handled with good cheer and some clever bits of business.

   There's still a lot of mystery boiling away here - why does the dial look like a classic "hotline" rotary phone? Who is Mr. Thunderbolt? Who's the voice on the other end of the line? Why is the dial so addictive?

   Those points push the story forward, and along with the two young determined young protagonists, there's a lot to like here. 

   I'm hooked!

Grade: A-



Thursday, May 23, 2019

Avengers #19

   It's typical for an Event series to have an impact on its parent comics - in this case, War of the Realms is spinning out of Thor and the Avengers.

   Usually it's a negative effect - the regular titles go into "running in place" mode while all the action happens in the Event comic.

   We see a little bit of that in this issue - there's a lot of recap action here, as we see what various teams of heroes are busy with while the war continues.

   And the story focuses on a supporting character who promises to have key role in upcoming stories. We also see lots of heroes roaring into action (though we don't see much of that action). 

   As always, the art by Ed McGuinness and Mark Morales is powerful, and the story by Jason Aaron (who's also writing the War of the Realms series) is compelling.

   It's a solid comic that manages to fill the bill for both fans of the Event series - and those who are just reading The Avengers.

Grade: A-


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- ACTION COMICS #1011 - Who or what is Leviathan?

- AVENGERS #19 - Attack on Avengers HQ!

- DIAL H FOR HERO #3 (OF 6) - Secrets revealed in Central City!

- DOCTOR STRANGE #14 - Facing Galactus!

- TONY STARK IRON MAN #11 - Stark realities!

- TERRIFICS #16 - A threat of biblical proportions!

- WAR OF REALMS JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #3 (OF 5) - Go west, young god!

- WAR OF REALMS NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #2 (OF 4) - The newest team of all!

      And I received these review copies:

- FRIENDO TP VOL. 1 - Unhinged and ultraviolent!

- INCURSION #4 (OF 4) - The final fight to save the Earth!

- LIFE IS STRANGE TP - The story conmtinues!

- SECRET LIFE OF PETS #1 - Based on the hit film!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON 4 #1 - A new season, a new artist and a new story arc!

     And that's it!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Superman #11

  I admit it, I was dubious that writer Brian Michael Bendis was going to be able to make Superman "work."

   But those doubts are gone now - he has the series hitting on all cylinders!

   The Man of Steel has been going through a variety of trials, including the disappearance of his wife and son, and the appearance of a powerful new foe who seems unbeatable.

   So we're getting interesting adventures, lots of twists and turns in the plot, great action sequences, and some great "personal" moments among the members of the Kent (or El) family.

   But what I really like is Superman's attitude. He exudes confidence, like there's nothing he can't handle (though he is fallible, and he makes mistakes - but he deals with them).

   It's a refreshing version of the character, and to see how he handles a space battle between different races is a real treat.

   Long may this run continue!

Grade: A


Saturday, May 18, 2019

War of the Realms #4 (of 6)

    There's not much to add about this series that hasn't been discussed before.

   In War of the Realms, the Earth is being attacked by mythological monsters from assorted Asgardian realms - ice giants, fire demons and dark elves - and only the heroes of Earth stand in their way.

   Up until this point, our side has been getting the worst of it - but that turns around a bit with this issue, with the focus on the return of a hero who's been missing in action - and a bit of long-overdue redemption for a certain All-Father.

    I'm only reading a few of the spin-off series (Journey Into Mystery and New Agents of Atlas, to be exact), so I don't know how all this is playing out in other books, but so far this series is holding up reasonably well (for an event book, that is).

   It remains to be seen how well it all ties up at the end - and if a certain dead hero is avenged or forgotten.

Grade: B+


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Comics Day

      Today at the comics shop I picked up:

- GIANT-MAN #1 (OF 3) - Facing the Ice Giants!

- NAOMI #5 - Her secret revealed!

- SUPERMAN #11 - Major changes to the Superman Family!

- WAR OF REALMS #4 (OF 6) - World-wide war!

    And I received this sick of review comics:

- ABERRANT SEASON 2 #2 (OF 5) - Searching for a top secret base!

- ABERRANT VOL. 1 - It's a super-powered conspiracy!

- ATHENA VOLTAIRE GOLDEN DAWN TP - Searching for the Da Vinci Codex!

- BLACK BETTY TP VOL. 2 - Something is wrong in a sleepy town.

- BLOODBORNE #12 - The conclusion to Eileen's story!


- DOUBLE JUMPERS TP VOL. 2 - A video game villain is on the loose!

- FATHOM VOL 8 #1 - The world below the sea is no longer a secret!

- GUNCATS TP VOL. 1 - Bounty hunters on the prowl.

- LIFE & DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #3 (OF 6) - Is Toyo dead already?

- LIVEWIRE #6 - A new foe gets personal.

- PRINCELESS BOOK 8 PRINCESSES #2 - A princess looking for her calling in life.

- SEAFOAM FRIEND FOR MADISON #1 - A girl's kind deed transports her to a world of magic.

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #59 - An army of undead goons.


     And that's it!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hawkman #12

   After years of reboots, retoolings and general monkeying around with his backstory, Hawkman has finally been given a definitive explanation for his past lives and an explanation for why he keeps being reborn.

   It’s not an easy explanation, mind you - but it works.

   It actually expands on the concept, spanning space and time as it resolves issues that have been plaguing Carter Hall throughout his modern-day comic book career.

   The art by Bryan Hitch is, of course, terrific, as he provides his trademark widescreen action and incredible attention to detail.

   This issue wraps up the storyline and mostly manages to wrap things up nicely - and leaves us with a hero who’s ready to get down to the basics: exploration and protection.

   (But it still has to answer a big question: where's Hawkgirl?)

   As a long-time fan, I appreciate the effort that’s gone into this series so far, and I’m happy to see the return of a Hawkman I recognize - and whose adventures I can enjoy.

Grade: A-


Saturday, May 11, 2019

War of Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1

   The Agents of Atlas started life as a reimagining of a team of heroes from the ‘50s, updated for modern-day adventures. 

   Sadly, the concept never caught on - but happily, the team is back, rebooted as a group of characters based in the Pacific, Asia and Korea.

   And guess what? It’s a heck of a lot of fun!

   It starts with Jimmy Woo, former SHIELD agent who became the leader of the Agents of Atlas, and now he has a (mostly) new team assembled and ready to face the latest challenges.

   This series spins out of the War of the Realms event, so when monsters attack Seoul, the team, including Shang-Chi, Silk and Brawn (Amadeus Cho), moves to defend an area they think is without its own super-heroes.

   They’re wrong, of course, as we meet six new and powerful heroes from China, the Philippines and Korea who take on a deadly and powerful opponent.

    It’s a fast-paced and high-energy start to the series - and hopefully it’ll continue to thrive after the “War” is over. 

   A great start!

Grade: A-


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- CONAN THE BARBARIAN #6 - The life of a soldier!

- HAWKMAN #12 - A desperate plan to save Earth!

- SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #5 - Secrets revealed!

- SECTION ZERO #2 (OF 6) - A startling discovery!

- SHAZAM #5 - A visit to Gameland!

- WAR OF REALMS JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #2 (OF 4) - More mayhem with the McElroys!

- WAR OF REALMS NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #1 (OF 4) - The new team in town!

    And I also received these review copies:

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH TP VOL. 1 - Collecting the first comic book stories of the newest Doctor!

- RAID TP - A martial arts movie in a comic!

- SHADES OF MAGIC #5 - The night of knives begins!

- ZOOHUNTERS #4 - Out of this world adventure!

     And that's it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home - Movie Trailer

  The trailer for the next Spider-Man movie dropped the other day, but I've dragged my feet in posting it - mostly because it violates our "no spoilers" rule for this blog.

So consider yourself warned (and the trailer also includes a warning) - it spoils a big moment from the Avengers: Endgame movie.

But it also contains some tasty previews, so if you've ready, check it out:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Free Comic Book Day 2019

    Hey, it’s Free Comic Book Day (and Star Wars Day, too)! Here’s a quick rundown (and even quicker reviews) of the comics I picked up at the comics shop:

- Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics) - New content, with previews for the next storyline that follows War of the Realms, and the just-started-this week Savage Avengers! Surprisingly good, actually. Grade: A-

- Spawn #1 (Image Comics) - A reprint of the first issue of this series which somehow continues to this day. August will see the publication of Spawn #300! Seems impossible, somehowGrade: B

- Firefly & Buffy the Vampire Slayer #1 (Dark Horse Comics) - Welcome to the Whedonverse, and the creator of the two cult hit TV shows presents three short stories with each. The first introduces us to a new tough as nails character who’ll be showing up in an upcoming issue, and the second and third give us brief (if fierce) stories about the slayer. Good stuff! Grade: A-

- Stranger Things and Black Hammer #1 (Dark Horse Comics) -  The first story shows the attempt by a family to deal with the aftermath of facing down monsters - and death! The Black Hammer story is a fun and spooky teaser about heroics in World War II - and more recent super-heroics (sorta). Grade: A-

- Bloodshot and Fallen World #1 (Valiant Comics) - The focus here is on two brutal worlds (and teasing two new series starting up). Bloodshot is back in action mode, rescuing a young woman from a paramilitary group on the run. This is all action, all the time. FW gives us a distant future where faith and science collide - and it ain’t pretty. Previewing the upcoming series with Rai. Grade: A-

- Star Wars Adventures (Solo & Tales from Vader’s Castle) #1 (IDW) - A short “quest” story featuring Han and Chewbacca as they go on the easiest scavenger hunt ever, looking for pirate treasure. A fun bit of business. Grade: B

- Riverdale #1 (Archie Comics) - Here we get a quick 10-page teaser for the upcoming story (so much angst about the yearbook) - and lots of ads for upcoming Archie stuff. At least it’s free! Grade: B-

- Vampirella #1 (Dynamite Comics) - I’ve never been a big fan of the character, though (ahem) there’s no denying her charms. This comic includes a preview for an upcoming series, which finds Vampi dealing with the perils of fame, and a reprint of a Kurt Busiek / Art Adams story from the ‘90s, a grim short story about monsters of all kinds. Grade: A-

- Punchline #1 (Antarctic Press Comics) - The birth of a new hero, handled in a completely different way. Terrific art, too! This is what I’d call “a good start.” Grade: A-

- Animosity Tales #1 (Aftershock Comics) - This is a delightfully odd bit of work. What happens if, suddenly, all the animals in the world were able to think? And talk? It’d be crazy, right? Absolutely. Grade: B

- Hope #1 (Source Point Press) - In a world where “Ultras” are feared and misunderstood, it’s easy to understand why those with powers would keep them a secret. But what happens when the secret gets out? This is an interesting start to a “real world” story. Grade: A-

- Grumble vs. The Goon #1 (Albatross Funnybooks) - Hey, it’s a crossover, as the bulldog Grumble pays a visit to the grim (and wacky) world of the Goon! Much mayhem ensues! And there’s a Hillbilly backup story, too! Silly stuff, but grisly fun. Grade: A-

- Captain Canuck #1 (Chapterhouse Publishing) - This comic gave me that feeling of jumping into the deep end of the pool. It introduces a small army of characters, and the only one I was familiar with was the one whose name is in the title. It’s a deep mythology they’re building here, but it was confusing for me. Grade: C+

- Casper’s Spooksville #1 (American Mythology Productions) - This is a fun collection of new stories with Casper and his friends, drawn by Eric Shanower, and some classic reprints, too. Nice to see the Harvey characters back in action! Grade: A-

- Treasury of British Comics Presents Funny Pages #1 (Rebellion) - Here’s a rare chance to enjoy a collection of (mostly) one or two-page comic strips, very much in the juvenile / MAD Magazine style of zany pranks / crazy characters / offbeat humor. Fun, though the print on some of the pages is a bit small for my aging eyesight! Grade: B

- Witch Hat Atelier #1 (Kodansha Comics) - This issue includes three short previews, including a story about the dangers of magic, the secrets hidden in books and playing cards, and the value of libraries and stories! Wonderful, high-energy art - but you’re just getting a tiny sample of the story here. Grade: B+

    And those are the ones I gathered out of the 50 or so that were available today. Did I miss any good ones?

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Savage Avengers #1

   I have to admit I'm not crazy about incorporating Conan the Barbarian into the mainstream Marvel Universe.

   It's one thing for them to create comics based on the character, and another for him to run into costumed heroes and villains in the modern day.

   But they're certainly rolling out the red carpet. They've created a special team for him to be part of - the Savage Avengers - and assigned Mike Deodato, Jr. to the art chores - he's one of the best in the business.

    The story by Gerry Duggan gets things off to a fast (if brutal) start, as a murderous cult is bringing people to the Savage Land for evil reasons. Luckily enough, that's where Conan has been dropped (after his initial time-traveling adventure with a different Avengers team).

   There he has a vicious encounter with another well-known character (when heroes meet for the first time, they must fight, of course). 

   So we're seeing the gang gather together here, and the story has a nice blend of traditional Conan sword-and-sorcery adventures and the modern day Marvel.

   So I'm still not crazy about Conan in the modern day, but at least this is very well done. Violent, but a strong start.

Grade: A


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

New Comics Day

     Heres what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- BEASTS OF BURDEN PRESENCE OF OTHERS #1 (OF 2) - Where is the Master?

- GREEN LANTERN #7 - Can Hal save another universe?

- MARVEL TEAM-UP #2 - Spidey and Ms. Marvel are all mixed up!

- PAPER GIRLS #28 - The end is near.

- SAVAGE AVENGERS #1 - For the toughest opponents, you know who to call.

- WAR OF REALMS #3 (OF 6) - Fight for your lives!

- YOUNG JUSTICE #5 - Gemworld rips in half!

    And I received these review copies:

- ALBERT EINSTEIN TIME MASON GN VOL. 1 - The mind, the might, the mustache!

- BLACK AF DEVILS DYE #3 (OF 4) - The horrors of the past.

- BLOODBORNE TP VOL. 2 - Stopping a mysterious plague!

- COLD BLOOD SAMURAI #2 - Facing bandits - and a civil war!

- DANGER DOLL SQUAD PRESENTS AMALGAMA LIVES #1 - A new hero, with the power of three others!

- DEVIL WITHIN #4 (OF 4) - Death comes calling.

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH #7 - Fresh adventures in time and space!

- FALLEN WORLD #1 (OF 5) - Can two heroes save the future?


- NEWBURY & HOBBES TP VOL. 1 UNDYING - Collecting the first series!

- NOBODY IS IN CONTROL #1 (OF 4) - An ancient conspiracy revealed!

- NULL FAERIES #4 - Confronting a human!

- PRINCELESS TP VOL. 7 FIND YOURSELF - Lost in the desert!

- ROBOTECH #20 - Everything changes!

- ROBOTECH TP VOL. 4 LISA'S REPORT - Collecting Year Two!

- SNAP FLASH HUSTLE #3 (OF 4) - Can Haley escape her new life of crime?

- SPENCER AND LOCKE 2 #1 - Facing down a dangerous soldier.

- SWEETIE #3 - The chase is on!

- TANK GIRL #4 - The explosive finale!


    And that's it!