Sunday, June 30, 2019

Nobody Is In Control #2

   Ah, who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory?

   If you're in the ranks, then this comic is built for you.

   Nobody Is In Control is a stream-of-consciousness encounter in the woods between (and in the minds of) two men - a mysterious man carrying a briefcase and a former radio talk show host who has retired and lives like a hermit in the middle of nowhere.

   When he encounters the mysterious man on his property, he offers help - but ends up in an extended conversation that covers a wide range of strange theories and possible explanations for them. 

   It's all a bit odd and the sense of reality jumps around a lot - but this series certainly gives you a lot to chew on. 

   The art is rough around the edges but an excellent match for the story, and there are quite a few clever artistic flourishes there.

   The real star of the series is the writing, and the growing sense of dread that all is not as it should be.

   If you're willing to travel to this dark place, you'll be rewarded with lots of food for thought.

Grade: B


Friday, June 28, 2019

Soulfire #1

   It's a series that's always featured great art (Raffaele Forte and Mark Roslan carry on that tradition here with lovely, lush work), but the story behind Soulfire hasn't always been easy to untangle.

   This issue, written by J.T Krul, is a big help as it lays out the basic concept (the powerful Grace has a mission to protect magic, which is largely hidden away from the Earth), the cast of characters (heroes and villains) and the growing conflict between technology and magic in the Earth of the year 2213. 

   When a powerful warlord wielding magical powers (and some gigantic dragons) goes on a destructive tear, a small group of heroes decide to stop him - something the world governments also decide to weigh in on. 

   But when Grace joins the fight, the side she chooses is a surprising one. And then there are complications...

   This is a great starting point for new readers, and a welcome continuation of the ongoing saga.

Grade: B+


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Life Is Strange #6

   For fans of the video game, the comic book Life Is Strange is a real treat, adding depth to the original story.

   For those who haven't played the game, it's a nice personal story of friendship with a science fiction angle.

   Max Caulfield has used her mysterious powers to tamper with the timeline of her friends, and the ramifications have been stunning.

    She's trying to adjust to the new status quo, and her friends (who are going through their own challenges in life) are trying to be supportive and understanding - but then Max starts seeing a mysterious young man in black - but no one else can see him. Is he real or a fantasy?

   With striking, unique artwork by Claudia Leonardi and a strong script by Emma Vieceli, this is a compelling and adult take on relationships and friendship.


Grade: A-


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

New Comics Day!

     Whew! Life has had your pal Chuck on the run this week! In fact, I didn't even make it to the comics shop today - but when I do, here's what I plan to pick up:

ACTION COMICS #1012 - The threat of Leviathan!

AVENGERS #20 - War of the Realms rolls on!

- CONAN THE BARBARIAN #7- Conan the lover?

DOCTOR STRANGE #15 - Dormammu and Galactus - teaming up?

DIAL H FOR HERO #4 (OF 6) - Seeking help from Justice League Detroit?

- FANTASTIC FOUR #11 - A license to Quantum Drive!

TERRIFICS #17 - Playing the God Game!

- THOR #14 - More War, more realms.

WAR OF REALMS #6 (OF 6) - The conclusion!

- WAR OF REALMS NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #4 (OF 4) - Fire and ice!

      And I received these review copies: 

ABERRANT SEASON 2 #4 (OF 5) - All hell breaks loose!

BLOODSHOT RISING SPIRIT #8 - The truth behind his origin!

BREAKNECK TP - In two hours, everyone dies! Unless...

COLD BLOOD SAMURAI #4 - A fortress under siege!


FEARSCAPE TP VOL. 1 - Fighting monsters for the future!

INTERCEPTOR TP VOL. 1 - Fighting a planet of vampires!

LIFE IS STRANGE #6 - Continuing the story of the video game.

NOBODY IS IN CONTROL #2 (OF 4) - A walk on the wild side.

PUNK MAMBO #3 (OF 5) - Meet Uncle Gunnysack!

SHADES OF MAGIC #6 - The Prince is tested!

SOULFIRE #1 - Back in action!

VALIANT UNIVERSE HANDBOOK 2019 - A reference guide.

VAMPBLADE TP VOL. 9 END WORLD AGAIN - In an alternate universe.

WASTED SPACE TP VOL. 2 - The path to galactic peace runs into problems.

     And that's it! 

Friday, June 21, 2019

Lab Raider #1

   Some comics star heroes, some have anti-heroes, and others are a bit harder to pin down.

   I'd place the protagonists of Lab Raider in that last category.

   It's focused on two women - Sarah and Jeanette -who are performing a destructive raid on a laboratory that experiments on animals.

   And you could certainly make a case that they're doing the right thing, even if it includes property damage and vandalism - because they're supporting animals who have no defender.

   But there's a lot more going on here, including flashbacks to an odd sequence where the women confront two brutal hunters, and the tragic results of a trip to New York.

   The comic also manages to include some horror and science fiction elements, too, so you get a lot of bang for your buck here.

   There's still more to be explained as this series rolls on, and hopefully future issues will clear things up - but this is a powerful start to an unorthodox series.

Grade: B


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Superman Year One #1 (of 3)

   Superman's origin story has been well mined over the 80 years he's been around - but when a team this talented takes a crack at it, attention must be paid.

   Frank Miller is writing and John Romita, Jr. and Danny Miki drawing this oversized mini-series.

   It's large in both page count and the dimensions of the publication - I can't decide if this is magazine-sized or a graphic novel without the stiff cover stock.

   It takes a unique angle on Kal-El's departure from Krypton and his arrival on Earth. He's adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent (and there's an interesting angle on that, too), and we follow him from childhood through his high school years.

   Considering how well-worn the tale is, the creative team manages a fresh take, with some clever (and possibly controversial) additions to the legend - and an interesting look at Clark's sense of right and wrong.

   Actually, we haven't arrived at Superman's "Year One" yet - so far, it's all Clark Kent. That's not a bad thing, of course.

   So far, I'm absolutely hooked. This series may seem a bit pricey, but (so far) it's well worth it.

Grade: A



Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New Comics Day

    Today at the comics shop I picked up:

- WAR OF REALMS JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #5 (OF 5) - End of the road!

- SUPERMAN YEAR ONE #1 (OF 3) - Miller and Romita, Jr. team up!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #1 - The players are not who they seem.

     And I received these review copies:

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH #9 - Off on a new adventure!

- FATHOM VOL 8 #2 - The world below is no longer a secret.

- LAB RAIDER #1 (OF 4) - An animal rescue mission takes a horrific turn.

- LIVEWIRE #7 - Secrets revealed!

- PSI-LORDS #1 - Who are these cosmic beings?

- SECRET LIFE OF PETS TP VOL. 1 - What happens while you're away?

- SWEETIE TP VOL. 1 - Can Maggie be the hero she always dreamed of being?

- VAMPBLADE TP VOL. 8 - The road home runs through Hell!

- X-O MANOWAR TP VOL. 7 HERO - What happens when the past catches up?

- ZOMBIE TRAMP TP VOL. 16 DEAD LOVE - Bring back the tramp!

    And that's it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

This Love So Brief

   This comic lured me in with its cover - which, to be fair, is misleading.

   It gives the impression that This Love So Brief is a fantasy-based comic - but it's actually an autobiographical, real-world series of essays by writer and artist Fred Chao. 

   And guess what? It's wonderful!

   It's a "warts and all" recollection from past relationships, friends and family - and struggles with life issues including the artist following his muse to create comics, being able to earn a living, romance and health issues (to name a few).

   His storytelling is heartfelt, touching and laced with some lighthearted moments. (I assume these are true stories from Chao's life. They certainly "feel" real.)

   I love the art style, too - it's light and unique, offering a stylized look at the world and the people who fill out each story. It's a perfect match for the storytelling involved.

   There aren't enough comics like this, and this deserves your support. Recommended!

Grade: A-




Monday, June 17, 2019

Banjax #1

   The grim and gritty genre of comics has a bad name with many fans these days, mostly because it was beaten to death by copycats in the wake of Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen.

   But there's still plenty of room for comics that make good use of the style - and Banjax certainly fills that niche.

   The first issue wastes no time in chronicling the life of the hero who starts life in an abusive family, must survive difficult times (to put it mildly), starts a career as a vigilante, and then... well, we don't want to give it all away.

   Let me emphasize that this is not a comic for young readers. There's brutal violence, adult language and situations - lots of stuff to make one squirm.

   But it's all in service of a strong story by Ryleno Grant, with gritty, hard-hitting art by Fabio Alves, and color art by Edson Ferreira.

   It's a strong and surprising start for a series that promises an unpredictable path!

Grade: A-


Friday, June 14, 2019

Event Leviathan #1 (of 6)

   This is (I believe) the first "Event" comic writer Brian Michael Bendis has created since his move to DC Comics - conveniently, the title of it is Event Leviathan.

   It promises to be the kind of large-scale story such events require.

   A mysterious entity known as Leviathan has violently taken out every covert operation in the DC Universe, including ARGUS, Kobra, Task Force X, D.E.O., and Spyral - all virtually at the same time, using a strange destructive force. 

   The story spins out of Superman's comic, but he's not in this issue - instead, the search for Leviathan's identity falls on several of DC's non-powered heroes, including Batman, Green Arrow, the Question and Lois Lane.

   The art is by Alex Maleev, and it's wonderful, mood-drenched work.

   The mystery is a challenging one, with lots of interesting twists and turns in this issue alone. 

   More than any other Event in recent memory, I'm looking forward to seeing where this one goes!

Grade: A


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- EVENT LEVIATHAN #1 (OF 6) - Who is Leviathan?

- GIANT MAN #3 (OF 3) - The finale!

- HAWKMAN #13 - Whose side is he on?

- SUPERGIRL #31 - The House of El goes to war!

- SUPERMAN #12 - Ditto.

    And I received these review copies:

- ABERRANT SEASON 2 #3 (OF 5) - A crisis of conscience!

- BANJAX #1 - A superhero hopes to end crime before he dies!

- DARK SOULS TP AGE OF FIRE - Collecting the series.

- LIFE & DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #4 (OF 6) - An amazing cliffhanger.

- NULL FAERIES #6 - Is it possible to defeat a wizard?

- PRINCELESS BOOK 8 PRINCESSES #4 - Hitting the road!

- ROBOTECH #21 - Event horizon!

- SEAFOAM FRIEND FOR MADISON #2 - A mystical trip to the beach!

- SECRET LIFE OF PETS #2 - What do pets do when you're not home?

- SNOWPIERCER HC VOL. 1 THE ESCAPE - Humanity survives in a train?

- SPENCER AND LOCKE 2 #3 - Crossing a battlefield!

- SWEETIE #4 - It's time for a duel!

- THIS LOVE SO BRIEF ONE SHOT - Ain't love grand?

- VORACIOUS APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION #2 - Partners face off against each other!

    And that's it!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fallen World #2 (of 5)

   In the ever-growing Valiant Universe, there's room to zip off to the far future (some 1900 years into the future) where New Japan has fallen from orbit, and the former residents are trying to build a new life on the Fallen World.

    The malevolent force that was defeated in space has discovered a surprising ally on Earth and threatens planet-wide conquest - and even Rai, the Eternal Champion and the Geomancer are outmatched.

   It's a fast-paced fight for life, with lots of new players joining the fray. A strong chapter in the story, with terrific art and a sharp script. 


Grade: A-


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Shazam! #6

 And sometimes, a comic just doesn't work.

   I'm a fan of the original Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam), and I usually enjoy Geoff Johns' writing - but for some reason, this new series just isn't working for me.

   Maybe it's the name change (if DC had a sense of humor they'd change his name to Captain Miracle), maybe it's just one reboot too many, maybe it's the silly nature of the different "lands" the Shazam Family are visiting (they owe more to nursery rhymes than to fantasy adventures), but I'm just not enjoying this storyline.

   There's still time to sort it out, of course, but so far it's just been kind of a mess.

Grade: C+


EDIT: Corrected image and title - I accidentally listed this as "Shazam! #5" in the original post.


Saturday, June 8, 2019

Savage Avengers #2

   Sorry for the scarcity of post the past few days, readers - your pal Chuck has been snowed under with real-world stuff. Let's try to get back on track with a couple of quick reviews, starting with Savage Avengers!

   The second issue of this hard-hitting series continues the very slow process of "putting the band together."

   It includes a face-to-face with Conan and a wizard; the silliest first aid attempt ever by Wolverine; lots of tremendous artwork by Mike Deodato; and a pretty absurd ambush by a certain crime-hating soldier.

   Violent and grim, but surprisingly, I don't hate it. So far!

Grade: A-


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- BEASTS OF BURDEN PRESENCE OF OTHERS #2 (OF 2) - Evil grows stronger!

- GREEN LANTERN #8 - The return of Green Arrow!

- MARVEL TEAM-UP #3 - Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel mix their metaphors!

- PAPER GIRLS #29 - The penultimate issue!

- SAVAGE AVENGERS #2 - Summoning a death god!

- SHAZAM #6 - Dr. Sivana and Mr. Mind team up!

- WAR OF REALMS #5 (OF 6) - Earth's last stand!

- WAR OF REALMS JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #4 (OF 5) - It's Vegas, baby!

- WAR OF REALMS NEW AGENTS OF ATLAS #3 (OF 4) - Burn, baby, burn!

- YOUNG JUSTICE #6 - The secret of Gemworld!

    And I received these review copies:

- FAILSAFE TP VOL. 1 - Sleeper agents awaken!

- FALLEN WORLD #2 (OF 5) - Saving the future!

- MAXWELLS DEMONS TP VOL. 1 - The world's greatest mind!

- MINIONS TP VIVA LE BOSS - A trip through history!


- TANK GIRL FULL COLOR CLASSICS #3 1990-91 - Classic adventures!

    And that's it!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

She Said Destroy #1

   Fantasy-based comics are all too rare, and here's an interesting new addition to the genre (and one that has a great title): She Said Destroy.

   It drops us into the final battle between two powerful races of gods - one has been trying to hunt down the other, and it looks like the hunt is almost at an end.

   Before the final conflict, a young goddess named Winona is sent on a mission to seek aid and advice from a powerful goddess - and the answer she receives may mean life or death for her family.

   This is just the first chapter in the story, so there much to be uncovered as writer Joe Corallo guides us through this strange new civilization.

   I like the artwork by Liana Kangas - it's a little rough in spots but is loaded with energy and enthusiasm - it's unique and entertaining!

   For those who don't like fantasy tales, this might not be your cup of tea - but for the rest, this is a lively start to an original tale.

Grade: B+


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Doomsday Clock #10 (of 12)

   This comic has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.

   The highs in Doomsday Clock are easy to spot.

   The art by Gary Frank is terrific, of course. 

   The story by Geoff Johns is thoughtful and complex - clever and challenging.

   It's a bold story, mashing up Watchmen (with special focus this issue on Dr. Manhattan) and the DC Universe - though it's become obvious that this isn't the mainstream DC Universe featured in the company's regular titles.

   The "lows" are a bit trickier to sort out. The series is playing fast and loose with DC continuity - and in fact seems to be unraveling it - or perhaps it's just pointing out the flaws, as though to point out how shallow we are just for following along.

   Maybe I'm reading too much into it - certainly I have a general distaste for "all-powerful" characters, since the only way to defeat them is to trick them into beating themselves.

   This issue is a "high," since it's actually explaining some of the plot points that we've been in the dark about all along.

   There's two issues left, and lots of ground to cover, so we'll see where it all goes from here (and the ultimate impact on DC - if any). 

Grade: A-