Wednesday, October 30, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- CONAN THE BARBARIAN #10 - The death of Conan! (This time for sure!)

- DOCTOR STRANGE ANNUAL #1 - Facing a death trap in his Sanctum!

- EXCALIBUR #1 - A new beginning!

- INVISIBLE WOMAN #4 (OF 5) - On the run in a distant land!

- SAVAGE AVENGERS ANNUAL #1 - Unexpected team-ups!

     And I received these review copies:

- ASSASSINS CREED TP VOL. 1 FALL & CHAIN - Assassins in 19th Century Russia!

- BLOODSHOT #2 - His enemies are closing in!

- MALL #3 - Warfare spreads through the mall!

- NECROMANCERS MAP #3 - Heroes must stand together or fall!

- PLOT #2 - Secrets in the Blaine family!

- QUEEN OF BAD DREAMS #5 (OF 5) - Facing the final nightmare!

- RELICS OF YOUTH #2 - Protecting the last drop of magic.

- ROKU #1 (OF 4) - How many lives will the assassin take?

- SHADES OF MAGIC TP VOL 02 NIGHT OF KNIVES - The exiled Prince enters the Night of Knives!

- TEST #5 - Joining forces with an impossible ally.

    And that's it!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Action Comics #1016

   Let's see... Action Comics scorecard:

   Clever storytelling technique (man on the street interviews) - check!

   Superhero guest stars (a new one - Naomi - and some classics) - check!

   Superman faces an opponent who offers a genuine challenge - check!

   Terrific art - check!

   A great mix of humor and character beats - check!

   Setting up future storylines that are very promising - check!

   So, to sum up, this series continues to flourish under Brian Michael Bendis' creative hand - we have a fresh and exciting take on the Man of Steel and his supporting cast.

    Great news for any comics fan!

Grade: A



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- ACTION COMICS #1016 - Clark Kent under attack!

- AVENGERS #25 - Final challenge of the Ghost Riders!

- DIAL H #8 (OF 12) - Into the Heroverse!

- TERRIFICS #21 - Bizarro has a time machine?

- KING THOR #2 (OF 4) - The final battle!

- VALKYRIE JANE FOSTER #4 - Back on Earth!

  And I received these review copies:

- ALISON HER ROCK AWESOME ROBOT GN - First you build a friend, then you teach it about life!

- BLOODBORNE #16 - Darkness falls and madness reigns!

- DOCTOR MIRAGE #3 (OF 5) - A terrible new foe!

- GOING TO THE CHAPEL #2 (OF 4) - Whose side is the bride on - the police or the crooks?

- MONEY SHOT #1 - Taking a unique interstellar approach to making friends - and money.

- RESONANT #4 - Fight or die!

- SECRET LIFE OF PETS VOL. 2 #1 - When the cat's away...

- SERA & ROYAL STARS #4 - Getting in deep...

- WATCH DOGS TP - Fighting corruption in Brazil!

     And that's it!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Final Trailer

   Well, this looks very promising indeed.

   And oh, that last shot.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Savage Sword of Conan #10

   It's possible, I suppose, that the average comics reader might not know the debt fans of Conan owe to Roy Thomas.

   Back in 1970 (or thereabouts), Roy suggested that Marvel adapt Robert E. Howard's barbarian character into a new comic book series.

   Stan Lee eventually agreed, and Roy (though not initially a huge fan of the character), wrote the first 100-plus issues of the series, working with such artists as Barry Windsor-Smith, Gil Kane, John Buscema and many others.

   He also created the long-running black-and-white magazine series, The Savage Sword of Conan (which is now the size of a regular comic) - so it's great to see him writing again for that series.

   Thomas hasn't lost a step - he jumps right in with a brutal fight which ends with Conan being hired for an unusual mission / quest. 

   It certainly doesn't hurt that the art is provided by the legendary Alan Davis (with Cam Smith's inks). 

   It's a return to greatness for everyone's favorite barbarian - the first chapter in a cracking new adventure, and the best creators in the business are back in business! 

   Thank Crom!

Grade: A




Saturday, October 19, 2019

X-Men #1

   When the news broke that Jonathan Hickman was retooling the X-Men, my big fear was that he'd write the two mini-series that accomplished that - and then he'd leave.

   At least so far, that fear seems unfounded.

   He writes this first issue of the regular series, with terrific art by Leinil Fracis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan, and it picks up right where the mini-series left off.

   The mutant nation has relocated to the island nation known as Krakatoa, so the question was: how will the X-Men interact with the world of humans?

   This issue follows them on a rescue mission, out to save some mutants who are being held prisoner. It also introduces an opposing force (that is a new creation, as far as I can tell). 

   We also see some nice personal moments and even - dare I say it? - some humor on display.

   There's still a lot to unpack here, and the X-Men lineup seems a bit unwieldy (though I'm not sure if the dozen mutants listed at the beginning of the issue are active team members or just the characters being focused on here). Certainly the book has so many potential characters that a scorecard is a handy thing.

   Lots of clever ideas on display here, and lots of room to grow. The future is bright for the team, especially as long as Hickman continues to shine.

Grade: A


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- HISTORY OF MARVEL UNIVERSE #4 (of 6) - Phoenix rising!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #34 - Hypertime is breaking!

- SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #10 - The return of Roy Thomas!

- SPIDER-MAN #2 (of 5) - The future unfolds!

- SUPERMAN YEAR ONE #3 (of 3) - Clark arrives in Metropolis!

- SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN #4 (of 12) - Who is Timmy Olsen?

- X-MEN #1 - The dawn of X!

     And I received these review copies:


- AMALGAMA SPACE ZOMBIE #1 - Shot into space!

- BLADE RUNNER 2019 #4 - Discovering the truth behind a mysterious client!

- CULT CLASSIC CREATURE FEATURE #1 - The monster from the lake!


- ILLUMINATI BALL HC - Based on the theatrical experience!

- KILLERS #4 (OF 5) - When superninjas meet!

- KILLSWITCH #1 - The terrible life of a clairvoyant!

- LIFE & DEATH OF TOYO HARADA TP - Will be build a new world - or destroy it?

- LIFE IS STRANGE #9 - Max, Chloe and Rachel return!

- PSI-LORDS #5 - Space prisoners vs. the jailers!

- ROBOTECH REMIX #1 - Reborn from the ashes of the Event Horizon!

- TANK GIRL #7 - A long-dead friend returns!

    And that's it!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Event Leviathan #5 (of 6)

   This (literal) Event book is building to a powerful conclusion.

   Writer Brian Michael Bendis knows how to keep his readers on edge, and he's been playing us throughout, using traditional mystery tropes and a lot of terrific characters.

   So this series gives us several mysteries: who is Leviathan? What is his (or her) plan? Why has she (or he) apparently destroyed all the secret organizations in the DC Universe, only to replace it with a bigger one? What is the source of his (or her) power? 

   Using false leads, some fancy footwork and a clever story, we (the readers) have been kept delightfully off balance as the story builds to a massive conclusion.

   There's a great cast of characters along for the ride, including DC's top detectives (I still don't know when Plastic Man became a detective, but I'm happy to see the apparently-no-longer-dead Elongated Man included in this series, along with several other criminally-underutilized characters.

   (And by the way, if the Kate Spencer version of Manhunter ends up being behind this, I will not be happy - I love that character!) 

   This issue ends with the secrets about to be revealed, so we'll all suffer for the next 30 days until the final secrets are cleared up.

   In the meantime, what a terrific series! Highly recommended!

Grade: A


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Superman #16

   You certainly get the sense that Brian Michael Bendis is having a lot of fun writing Superman.

   This issue is almost entirely given over to Clark and Lois' son Jon - Superboy - as he tries to decide whether or not to accept a membership offer from the team from the future: the Legion of Super-Heroes.

   In need of advice, he turns to his best friend - Bruce Wayne's son Damian (Robin).

   Their exchanges and discussion are a lot of fun as they adjust to Jon's new, older and taller appearance (Jon was aged during some spacefaring adventures) - but their friendship shines through. It makes for a good-hearted and touching encounter between friends (and sometimes rivals).

   Bendis is setting up lots of future stories here, and clearing the way for Lois and Clark to explore more personal stories. 

   It makes for an important turning point in the lives of all the characters involved, and a fun story.

Grade: A-


Friday, October 11, 2019

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal: Guest Review

   I'm a fan of Genndy Tartakovsky’s work in animation, but I haven't had a chance to catch Primal yet (must set my DVR) - but an old friend who prefers to remain Anonymous sent along this Guest Review. Take it away, Anon!

   In the first four minutes of the first episode of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, the main character is nearly eaten by prehistoric monsters. Twice.

   Known for his shows for kids, Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls, as well as more adult-ish fare like Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars (which are now no longer ‘canon’ after the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm, but they can still be found online), Genndy Tartakovsky has made a bloody and violent look at prehistoric life that is light (perhaps non-existent) on words and heavy on teeth and claws. 

   Primal airs on Cartoon Network at Midnight every day this week, so I’m watching it the following day. Three episodes in, I enjoy the show. While Tartakovsky is showing clearly the fragility of life in this era, he also adds strong emotions, especially with the two main characters. 

   While there’s clearly a large amount of suspension of disbelief given what we know about the intelligence of dinosaurs, Tartakovsky doesn’t let those issues get in the way of an interesting “boy and his dog” take on this story. 

   Primal moves at a brisk pace and has you curious as to what will happen not only in the next episode, but also in the next minute.

   Scheduled for five initial episodes, I imagine we’ll see more Primal in the near future. It’s a fun not-for-kids show that lends itself to Tartakovsky’s style, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea. 

   Unlike Samurai Jack and his other shows, Primal has a more unfinished look, which makes sense given the subject matter.

GRADE: A (thus far)


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

New Comics Day (Oct. 9, 2019)

     It was a light day for comics (relatively speaking). Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- EVENT LEVIATHAN #5 (OF 6) - Who is Leviathan?

- HAWKMAN #17 - Showdown with the Shadow Thief!

- POWERS OF X #6 (OF 6) - The future is here!

- SUPERMAN #16 - Return of the Super-sons!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #5 - Can honor be served?

      And I received these comics for review:

- BLADE RUNNER 2019 #4 - The fiery conclusion!

- LIVEWIRE #11 - Fighting to clear her name!

- THESE SAVAGE SHORES #5 - The war is over!

       And that's it!

Monday, October 7, 2019

House of X #6 (of 6)

   The thing about Jonathan Hickman is: he does the hard work.

   For the final issue of House of X, he manages the not-inconsiderable feats of organizing Marvel's mutant society; establishing a new order and leadership; setting up a multitude of possible storylines; and taking away one of the biggest crutches the series has suffered under: death.

   He has crafted a new mutant society, and that's certainly impressive given the long history of this series.

   The issue introduces the first laws of the mutant nation - the equivalent of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" - and it's one that's going to be a challenge for some (I'm looking at you, Wolverine).

   It's also great to see the X-Men celebrating and happy about the new way of things. 

   This series (and its partner, Power of X) are a real shot in the arm for this series that had been struggling under its own weight. It breathes new life into the concept and makes a perfect jumping-on spot for longtime fans and newbies alike.

   The future is promising!

Grade: A




Sunday, October 6, 2019

Joker: Guest Review

   I haven’t had a chance to see the new Joker movie yet, but my pal Lyle Tucker saw it and sends in this guest review:

(Stars Joaquin Phoenix, Francis Conroy and Robert De Niro)

   As with most movies these days, this one is too long by a good half-hour, if handsomely directed and acted in.  

   Bleak as hell, not quite as cliched as I feared it would be by the ads, very nihilistic, very violent, and quite outside the regular DC universe, with Phoenix giving an extremely solid performance ('tho Ledger remaining as my favorite).

   At the end I was thinking, "Well, that was disturbing, and had some solid acting and cinematography,  but, really wasn't something I needed to see and definitely won't be anything I'll be revisiting."  

   It's an intense character study wanting a better story. Obviously informed by Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, the De Niro sequence, sadly, just doesn't deliver, and the ending was quite weak, I thought.  

   However, Phoenix does a rather incredible job - he definitely out-darkens Ledger's Joker, which is both good and bad.

   The production itself is stellar and the cello soundtrack starkly evocative. I would've liked to have seen this suitably trimmed (it really did become tedious) - I might be able to recommend it more, but as it is I'd say it's a 70 out of 100.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

New Comics Day

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

- DOCTOR STRANGE #20 - A new beginning!

- FANTASTIC FOUR #15 - Point of origin!

- GREEN LANTERN #12 - The end of Green Lantern?

- GRENDEL: DEVIL'S ODYSSEY #1 (of 8): The final story?

- HOUSE OF X #6 (OF 6) - The future arrives!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #33 - Time-traveling heroes!

- LEGION OF SUPER HEROES MILLENNIUM #2 (OF 2) - The history of the world -and the Legion!

- MARVEL COMICS #1001 - What happens next?

- SAVAGE AVENGERS #6 - Off for a long walk.

- YOUNG JUSTICE #9 - The truth behind Teen Lantern!

  And I received these comics for review:

- NECROMANCERS MAP #2 - Looking for a cure for a mysterious ailment!

- POWERS IN ACTION #3 - Who can wield the power of the Amulet?

- SHE SAID DESTROY #5 - The final battle of the gods!

  And that's it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Relics of Youth #1

   It's fun when a series takes chances and tells a story that's out of the ordinary, and that's what you'll find in Relics of Youth.

   Like any team comic, the first issue is all about bringing together the team.

   But here, you don't have a group of super-heroes. It's a gathering of teens and young adults who are compelled to find a strange island in the Bermuda Triangle.

   Luckily, one member is from a wealthy family - so they hop aboard his parent's yacht to make the journey.

   What they find... well, that would be telling - but there are mysteries and danger aplenty. 

   The series does owe a bit of a wink and a nod to the TV series Lost - which is not a bad thing at all.

   It's a strong start to the series, with a unique gathering of characters, an unusual quest and lots of trouble on the horizon. 

   I'm anxious to see where it goes from here!

Grade: A-