Wednesday, December 30, 2020

New Comics Day

 

   After knocking off a week for the holidays, today I caught up on two weeks worth of comics. Here's what I picked up at the comics shop:

- Action Comics #1028 - Sorting out some family issues - and an ending.

- Avengers #40 - Who will gain the power of the Phoenix?

- Comic Book History of Animation #2 - Hitting the big time with Disney!

- Norse Mythology #4 - Can Loki save the gods?

- Shang-Chi #4 - Meet the family!

- X-Men #16 - A meeting of the minds. And two giants.


   And I received these comics for review:

Engineward #6 - An ancient ship yields explosive revelations!

Heist or How to Steal a Planet TP Vol. 1 - That's a tall order!

I Walk With Monsters #2 - Is David a monster?

Wasted Space #18 - Billy's purpose may not be what he thinks!


   And that's it!


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Wonder Woman 1984 - A Review

 

   Delayed by COVID, the second Wonder Woman movie - WW84 - has finally been released to the public, both to those theaters now open to the public, and via the HBOMax streaming service. 

    This movie had a lot to live up to - the first film remains the best of the new generation of DC films (though that's not exactly high praise) - hey, I enjoyed it - with some caveats.

   Which brings us to the sequel. Unfortunately, there are lots of caveats this time around.

   Set in 1984, we find an ageless Diana Prince working for the Smithsonian, fighting secretly as a superhero, and living a lonely existence, still mourning Steve Trevor, the love she lost during World War II World War I (thanks, Dwayne!)

   When he somehow returns from the dead, a new menace appears at the same time - a mysteriously powerful tycoon, Max Lord, is causing strange events around the world, and a new colleague of Diana's - Dr. Minerva - is changing, too.

   The biggest flaw in the movie is that, for most of the movie, the stakes are very low. The villain is just a greedy guy in a suit with an ill-defined power (played in a wonderfully hammy style by Pedro Pascal). 

   The story is full of holes that don't quite make sense. How is Steve alive? How can Steve fly a modern jet? How can that jet hold enough fuel to cross the Atlantic? Where are Diana's new abilities coming from? 

   The big problem is in the writing - the script just isn't compelling or coherent enough to justify the 2-and-a-half-hour running time.

   There are lots of positives, of course. Gal Gadot is wonderful in the title role, and it's her charisma along the the star power of Chris Pine that carry the film. Kristen Wiig is also very good as the Cheetah (though it takes a while for her to get into that skin). It's a good-looking film, and the costumes evoke the time period. But the music seems to be the overlooked element that would have added a lot to the time period.

   It's disappointing. The movie needed a stronger, more coherent script, and better opponents for the good guys. 

   Oh, and stick around for a nice mid-credits scene. It's worth waiting for.


Grade: B-

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

New Comics Day (running late)

 

    Whew! It's been a hectic week, and I was late getting to the comics shop (as ever, the real world - and working for a living - gets in the way).

    Here's what I picked up this week:

- Comic Book History of Animation #1 – How it began!

- Norse Mythology #3 – Classic stories from Neil Gaiman!

- Spider-Man #5 – The end is near for Spidey and son.

- Strange Academy #6 – Away from the campus and fighting for dear life!

- Usagi Yojimbo #15 – A new / old teacher - and a terrible price to pay!

 

   And I received review copies of:

 - Giga #2 - It's the return of the Red Giga - and the end of everything?

- The Devil’s Red Bride #3 – Striking a deal with the Devil!

   And that's it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

New Comics Day

 

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

- Fantastic Four: Road Trip #1 - The vacation from heck!

- Fire Power #6 – A shocking turn of events

- Marvel Snapshots: Civil War #1 – What is Maria Hill doing?

- Strange Adventures #7 – Adam Strange is not a superhero.

- Thor #10 - Don Blake is not a happy man.


   And I received these comics for review: 

- Heavy #3 – Bill may be dead, but he has a job to do.

- Robotech Archive: The Masters TP – Collected for the first time!

- Vampire The Masquerade #5 - Survival of the fittest!


   And that's it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

New Comics Day

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

- Action Comics #1027 - The Kent Family goes to war.

- Fantastic Four: Antithesis #4 (of 4) - Reed goes cosmic!

- Legion of Super-Heroes #11 - A major threat returns!

- Power Pack #1 - There kids are back!

- Shang-Chi #3 - Family feud!


    And I received these review copies:

- The Autumnal #3 - Horror in the old home town!

- Bleed Them Dry #5 - Bring the Vampire Hunter to justice!

- I Walk With Monsters #1 - They're everywhere!

- The Plot #7 - An ancient evil returns!

- Wasted Space #17 - This planet is a hellhole!

- X-O Manowar #2 - The ancient warrior in alien armor returns!


   And that's it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

New Comics Day

     This is what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- Avengers: Marvel Snapshot #1 - Heroics from a different angle!

- Fantastic Four #26 - Company is coming to town!

- Usagi Yojimbo #14 - Fighting against impossible odds!


     And I received these comics for review:

- A Dark Interlude #1 - A loathsome sequel. Of sorts.

- Devil's Red Bride #2 - Death walks in the night.

- Doctor Who Comics #1 - Rose Tyler teams up with which Doctor?

- Engineward #5 - Making friends and saving lives!

- Heist #8 - A shocking revelation!

- Life is Strange: Partners in Time #2 - The friendliest gun battle ever!

- Sera and the Royal Stars #9 - Who can wield the blade born of death?

- Shadow Service #4 - Murderous encounters in an uncanny museum!

   And that's it!

Cutting Edge #1

 

    This is one that deserves your undivided attention.

   Cutting Edge is a tremendous new series with amazing art and a powerful, unique story.

   It begins with a gathering of extraordinary people from around the world - artists, scientists, media icons and many more. 

   They are gathered into teams and given a unique challenge - one with world-changing (and world-shaking) potential.

   The story is by Francesco Dimitri, and it shows great skill in balancing a large cast of characters, providing proper introductions and quirks, and creating an intelligent story with big concepts and lots of surprises along the way.

   The art is by Mario Alberti and it's stunning. It reminds me of prime Barry Windsor-Smith, with lush environments and powerful character designs. He's building a world here and it's a pleasure to see.

   It's a very impressive start for a fresh new story. Highly recommended!

Grade: A

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

New Comics Day

 

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


- Green Lantern #9 - Hal loves Carol!

- Hawkman #29 - End of the road!

- Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: The Seven Wives Club - Teaming Mignola and Adam Hughes!

- Iron Man #3 - A very powerful foe returns.

- Strange Academy #5 - Under attack

- Superman #27 - Battle in the Phantom Zone!


      And I received these comics for review:

- Cutting Edge: The Siren's Song #1  - The best of humanity!

- Rai #9 - Dark secrets revealed!


   And that's it!

Friday, November 6, 2020

"Atlas At War!" - Guest Review


   My pal James Cassara delivers a Guest Review about Atlas At War (a book I've been meaning to pick up), which reprints some classic war stories. Here's James:

   Ask most Baby Boomer comic book collectors/historians which company is most closely associated with war comics of the 1950s and I’ll bet the overwhelming majority will say EC.  

   After all, those trendsetting titles, which frequently portrayed the horrors of war in ways few other companies dared, had some of the finest stories and art of any comics before or since.  

   But not so fast. Atlas Comics, the forerunner of the Marvel Age that so many of us grew up with, were more prolific than EC, had a much longer run, and featured many of the same artists and writers. 

    Dr. Mike Vassalo (known affectionately as “Doc. V.”), a Manhattan dentist by trade and passionate comics historian, along with Welsh graphic artist Allan Harvey, have assembled a fantastic collection of Atlas war tales - scanned directly from Doc V’s extensive collection - that show how at their best Atlas War comics often matched EC in quality.  

   In fact many of the same artists (and a few of the writers) who produced work for EC can be found herein. Jack Davis, John Severin, Russ Heath, Bernie Krigstein, and the tandem of Reed Crandall / Al Williamson are all showcased within this book's generous 250 pages. Add the artistic talents of Gene Colan, Joe Maneely, Joe Sinnott, Steve Ditko (his only Atlas war story!), Jack Kirby, Don Heck, Bill Everett, and a slew of perhaps lesser known artists who didn’t so directly contribute to the Marvel Age and you have a book worth relishing over and again.  

   While artist credits are easier to identify, the writers of these stories are  harder to pin down. We do know Stan Lee signed his scripts, and the prolific Hank Chapman is found among these pages, but for the most part the writers are sadly unidentified. 

   Most of the stories involve the Korean War, which was still raging at the time the earliest (1951) of these were created. A few World War II tales are told, including the powerful Nazi death camp story “City Of Slaves," exquisitely rendered by Sam Kweskin, and a handful of Kirby written and illustrated stories produced towards the end of the decade. 

   Other revelations include a series of one page “Atrocity Stories” stunningly drawn by Paul Reinman (if you’ve never seen Reinman’s work from this period prepare to be amazed) and “21 Days” drawn by Syd Shores. Both demonstrate how more well suited these two fine artists were for stories not involving costumed heroes.  

   The general distribution of stories is fine, giving the most prominent artists the most pages, but I would have preferred perhaps one less story by Joe Sinnott (I LOVE Sinnott but six stories seems a bit too much) and the inclusion of a civil war tale by George Woodbridge, a brilliant craftsman who rarely gets his due. But that’s a very minor quibble - more a matter of taste - that in no way detracts from this welcome and wonderful book.  

   At $65 it’s the price of about 16 modern day comic books and I cannot imagine any 16 comics providing this much entertainment and information. Doc V’s introduction sets the stage but the stories speak for themselves. 

Grade A+

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Thursday, November 5, 2020

New Comics Day (One Day Late)

   I've been on the run and didn't post this week's score! Here's what I picked up at the comics shop:

- Avengers #38 - New danger from an old enemy!

- Fire Power #5 - Showdown!

- Norse Mythology #2 - Tall tales!

- Thor #9 - The doctor is in.

- Young Justice #20 - The end of the road.


     And I received these review copies:

- Horizon Zero Dawn #4 - The story of the game continues!

- Money Shot #10 - The final trick.

- Vampire the Masquerade #4 - Horror tales!

   And that's it!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Fantastic Four Antithesis #3 (of 4)

 

   This series has certainly been fun, especially for a fan of Neal Adams (like me).

   I'm also a fan of Mark Waid's writing, so I admit I was predisposed to like this mini-series.

   Happily, Fantastic Four: Antithesis doesn't disappoint.

   It gives us a big ol' cosmic challenge as the FF must find a way to defeat a cosmic monster powerful enough to (nearly) destroy Galactus!

   Adams is really swinging for the wall here (inked by the always excellent Mark Farmer with color art by Laura Martin and Andrew Crossley), loading in his usual amazing amount of detail and characterization, and Waid gives him lots of big concepts to depict and a chance to do some redesigning on the classic team.

   I'm still struggling with this version of the Thing, who seems just a bit too much off model, but it's a small quibble and doesn't take away from the story at all (artists gotta art, after all). 

   Next issue wraps it up, so we'll see how they stick the landing (especially after that surprise cliffhanger). 

   Can't wait!


Grade: A-

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

New Comics Day

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


- ACTION COMICS #1026 - The Kent family faces death incarnate!

- FANTASTIC FOUR: ANTITHESIS #3 - More powerful than Galactus?

- LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #10 - First kiss!

- SHANG-CHI #2 - Family feud!

- STRANGE ACADEMY #4 - That's one crazy library!


  And I received these comics for review:


- ADLER #5 - A battle in the sky!

- THE AUTUMNAL #2 - That is one creepy hometown!

- GIGA #1 - What happens to giant robots when they die?

- HEAVY #2 - Ready to team up with the person you hate the most?

- WASTED SPACE #16 - A god is born!


   And that's it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

New Comics Day


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


- Fantastic Four #25 - A turning point for the team!


- Iron Man #2 - Has Tony Stark really changed?


     And I received these comics for review:

- Blade Runner 2019 #11 - Back home after a trip off-world.

- Engineward #4 - The truth about the Terran Seed!

- Heist #7 - Everything goes wrong.

- Rai #8 - Welcome to Utopia!

- Sera and the Royal Stars #8 - The history of the daughters is revealed!

- Shadow Service #3 - Gina's ally is working for the demonic forces?

- Vagrant Queen: A Planet Called Doom #5 - The planet runs out of time.


   And that's it!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Superman #26


    It's the small details that get under the skin.

   I've really been enjoying Brian Michael Bendis' take on Superman - but the beginning of this issue shows one of his weaknesses. 

   The story opens with Superman fighting a  powerful alien in front of the Daily Planet - and in the fight we see his "civilian" clothes being burned off, revealing his costume beneath.

   But later in the issue, when he fights the alien he's already removed his civvies. 

   I'll admit that's a minor point, and the rest of the issue is very good.

   We get more about Superman's "regular" life now that he's revealed his secret identity, we see some unexpected ways in which Superman protects his friends (and the world in general), and we see what happens when he encounters a truly alien opponent.

   So, the issue isn't perfect - but it is a lot of fun.


Grade: A-

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

New Comics Day

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

- Avengers #37  - Wrapping up the Moon Knight monstrosity.

- Batman's Grave #11 (of 12) - War in the streets!

- Green Lantern #8 - Into the Antimatter universe!

- Hawkman #28 - Death comes calling!

- Strange Adventures #6 (of 12) - Alanna and Mr. Terrific take a walk.

- Superman #26 - Alien assault!

- Usagi Yojimbo #13 - A village under assault!


    And I received these comics for review:

- Bleed Them Dry #4 - The city demands blood.

- Bloodshot #9 - Can he stop hell on Earth?

- Carmine #1 - A new soul bearer!

- Devil's Red Bride #1  - Can the warlord's daughter save the clan?

- Doctor Who 13th TP Vol. 4 Tale of Two Time Lords - Teaming up to deal with the Weeping Angels and the Autons!

- Life is Strange: Partners in Time #1 - A new era!

-  Loan Slone HC Chaos - The next chapter in Druillet's saga!

- Miranda in Maelstrom #1 - A supernatural storm!

- Vampire the Masquerade #3 - A new breed of enemy!


   And that's it!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Norse Mythology #1


    This was a happy surprise! I had read and enjoyed Neil Gaiman's adaptation of the original myths that make up his book Norse Mythology, and now those stories are being adapted into comic book form, guided by P. Craig Russell.

   These are the original tales as sorted by Gaiman, who brings numerous Norse myths and adventures together is a package for modern audiences, while retaining that raucous fun and cosmic carryings-on from the original myth-makers.

   Russell provides the layouts and the artwork for the opening story, which outlines the structure of the three worlds connected by the World Tree, Yggdrasil.

   The second story's art is by Mike Mignola, and it explains how Odin gained wisdom.

   The third story, which is continued into the next issue, has art by the wonderful Jerry Ordway and tells the story about one of Loki's biggest pranks - and how an angry Thor forced him to scramble to set things right.

   Just an amazing comic, based on a terrific book, with some of the top creators in comics at the peak of their game.

   Highly recommended!


Grade: A

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Thursday, October 8, 2020

New Comics Day (Plus one)

    My schedule kept me from dropping by the comics shop for my usual Wednesday visit - but here's what I picked up today:


- ADVENTUREMAN #4 - The new team arises!

- FIRE POWER #4 - A night out becomes a nightmare!

- NORSE MYTHOLOGY #1 - Gaiman and Russell, together again!

- THOR #8 - Why is Thor giving away his hammer?

- YOUNG JUSTICE #19 - The power of Zeus!


 And I received these review copies:


- ADLER #4 - The game's afoot!

- DOCTOR WHO TIME LORD VICTORIOUS #2 - The Daleks are scared!

- HORIZON ZERO DAWN #3 - Based on the award-winning game.

- MONEY SHOT #9 - Pursed by the Space Knights!

- NO ONE'S ROSE #3 - The future is crumbling!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON 4 #10 - The Danger Doll Squad is back!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP #74 - Meet Mummy Tramp!


  And that's it!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Shang-Chi #1


    As a fan of the character since his first appearance, I'm glad to see Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu, back in his own title again

   The character's genesis was tied into the Kung Fu craze of the early '70s, though those comics eventually moved in different directions - but the character's core decency and incredible fighting skills were always at the center.

    Happily, that seems to be continuing in this series, as it embraces some traditional martial arts movie tropes.

   Here we learn some background on Shang-Chi's father - it was Fu Manchu in the original comics, but licensing rights have lapsed, so his father is now referred to by his Chinese name.

    This issue finds Shang-Chi (well known as a hero and an Avenger) working in a small restaurant, where he happily tries to sort out his life - and then danger comes calling in the form of a cult with ties to his father - and other twists along the way.

   It's a great start to the new series, mixing terrific artwork, martial arts action, an actual dragon, and both new and familiar faces.

   So far, I like it a lot!


Grade: A-

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

New Comics Day

 

   Slim pickings this week! Here's what I picked up at ye olde comics shop:

- Avengers #36 - The Black Panther vs. Moon Knight!

- Fantastic Four #24 - An icy blast from the past!

- Legion of Super-Heroes #9 - Who's kissing who?

- Shang-Chi #1 - Return of the Master of Kung Fu!

- Strange Academy #3 - Dark secrets!


   And I received for review:


- SHERLOCK SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA TP - Collecting the adaptation of the TV show!


    And that's it!


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Autumnal #1


    Perfectly timed to the season, The Autumnal weaves an amazing tale about a mother and daughter and their sudden move from Chicago to a rural setting. 

   It may sound like a setup for a Hallmark movie, but instead it's a personal story with hints of darkness, of sadness - and horror.

   Kat Somerville has led a rough and rowdy life, and she struggles to raise her misbehaving young daughter Sybil. When Kat is told that her long-estranged mother has died, she travels home to the rural town named Comfort Notch.

   There she finds eccentric residents, a possible new home, and a haunting mystery.

   It's a sharp and clever story by Daniel Kraus with stunning, evocative art by Chris Shehan and color art by Jason Wordie.

   The first issue has this series off to a strong start - recommended!


Grade: A-

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

New Comics Day

 

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


- ACTION COMICS #1025 - The House of Kent continues!

- FANTASTIC FOUR: ANTITHESIS #2 (OF 4) - Who can threaten Galactus?

- SHAZAM #15 - Who doesn't like superheroes?

- SPIDER-MAN #4 (OF 5) - Secrets revealed!

- TRUE BELIEVERS X-MEN SATURNYNE #1 - Captain Britain's early days!


     And I received these comics for review:

- AUTUMNAL #1 - Escaping to New Hampshire!

- BLADE RUNNER #10 - A terrifying conspiracy!

- ENGINEWARD #3 - Terror in the ruins!

- RAI #7 - Into the wild frontier!

- SHADOW SERVICE #2 - Supernatural Secret Agents!

- SWEET HEART TP VOL. 1 - Collecting the horror story!


   And that's it!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Iron Man #1


    Hey, Iron Man is back! Again!

    From time to time, comics that I've read for decades chase me away - and Iron Man has been on that list for a while (along with Spider-Man, Captain America and Daredevil).

   It usually happens when a series wanders too far away from its roots - and when the story started winding around Tony Stark being a clone and not the actual son of Howard Stark, I finally walked away.

   But here we are, a new start and a new creative team - and some stunning covers by Alex Ross - so I'm back to give the series another chance.

   The issue starts fresh, with Tony trying to figure out his new path in life (and discovering that social media sucks). It allows closure on several past plot points and sets up a new and at least slightly different approach to the character.

    It doesn't hurt that an old friend stops by to join in on an adventure - a lighthearted character who's one of my favorites (and I won't name that hero to keep from spoiling the fun).

   The waters are still a bit muddy, as Tony deals with some issues - but it feels like a really strong start, with a solid story and terrific art. (And I really like the new / old armor design.)

   Glad to see one of my favorite characters back in form again! More like this, please!


Grade: A-

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

New Comics Day

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


- Batman's Grave #10 (of 12) - The enemy revealed! 

- Fearless Dawn Meets Hellboy #1 - Pulp adventure!

- Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1 - Can Storm save herself?

- Iron Man #1 - Back to the basics!

- Thor #7 - What is wrong with Mjolnir?

- X-Men #12 - It's time for the Summoning!

- X-Men: Marvel Snapshots #1 - Cyclops before he became an X-Man!


     And I received these comics for review:


- Adler #4 - The mystery deepens!

- Blade Runner 2019 TP Vol. 2 Off World - Collecting the series!

- Bleed Them Day #3 - How to stop a vampire slayer?

- Bloodshot #8 - Monsters are unleashing hell on Earth!

- Finger Guns #5 - The ones we love cause the most pain.

- Heavy #1 - He may be dead, but he still has a job to do.

- Hundred Wolves #1 - The terror of the Steppes!

- Money Shot #8 - A planet of pleasure!

- Rai TP Vol. 1 - Welcome to the 41st Century!


   And that's it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Mandalorian Trailer for Season 2

    Happy to see the release today of the first trailer for the new season of The Mandalorian starting next month on Disney Plus

   Looks like it's picking right up where the first season left off!




Saturday, September 12, 2020

Superman #25


    The news this week is that Brian Michael Bendis is stepping down as a writer of Superman and Action Comics in December.

    That's a real shame, because I think he's done outstanding work breathing new life and energy into this series.

   Heck, I added both books to my pull list, and they haven't been there for years.

   Of course, I haven't been a fan of everything he's done. Ending Clark Kent's secret identity was a step too far, and this issue, which is an interesting attempt at introducing a new threat and new characters, kind of falls flat.

   It's clever and the art is terrific - but in its attempt to create a new and different alien race - one with links to Krypton - it never quite comes together into a clear storyline.

   There's a nice side story with Clark and Lana Lang talking over old times, and there are some thoughtful moments there - but it's an odd clash with the rest of the issue (which is the idea, of course).

   Despite a slight stumble, I'm anxious to see where it all goes and what Bendis does in the few months he has left on the series.

   What can I say - I'm a fan!


Grade: B

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

New Comics Day

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


- EMPYRE FALLOUT: FANTASTIC FOUR #1 - What will Reed decide?

- GREEN LANTERN #7 - Hal faces the ultimate battle!

- HAWKMAN #27 - Back where they belong - in the Justice Society?

- SUPERMAN #25 - Introducing Synmar!


   And I received these comics for review:


- HEATHEN TP VOL. 3 - Confronting Odin!

- NOBODY IS IN CONTROL TP - An ancient conspiracy!

- SURVIVAL FETISH TP VOL. 1 - Running through sniper's alley!

- SWEET HEART #5 (OF 5) - Can Maggie save her family?

- VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE #2 - A twisted tour of vampire night life!

- WASTED SPACE TP VOL. 3 - An existential space opera!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #73 - What is the Mummy Tramp?


   And that's it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious #1

 


   The comic books based on the beloved Doctor Who series have a couple of advantages: unlimited special effects budgets and any incarnation of The Doctor is always on call. 


   For this story, the focus starts out with the 10th Doctor (David Tennant), traveling solo through time - but wherever he goes, a contingent of The Daleks is waiting for him.


   (The Daleks, for those who came in late, are the pillbox-like race that is determined to “Exterminate”… well, everyone.)


   It seems that something - or someone - actually scares the Daleks more than The Doctor.


   It’s a clever idea and there are lots of fun bits of business that play out as we start to unravel the mystery (and at the same time The Doctor is trying to unravel another paradox of his own - one that involves the 13th Doctor).


   The art by Roberta Ingranata is wonderful - fresh and lively, it captures Tennant’s look nicely and provides lots of lovely scenery (and lots and lots of Daleks).


    The story is by James Goss and writer Jody Houser (is that the same as plotter and scripter?), and while it wanders a tad in places, it does a wonderful job of capturing the style of both the actor and the show.


   So, this one’s off to a good start - I’m looking forward to the next chapter!



Grade: A-


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Friday, September 4, 2020

Empyre #6 (of 6)



   It’s difficult to do a proper review of an “event” book until the final issue - and Empyre is a good example of that. 


   The series was a bit of a victim of COVID-19, and as the series was finally rolled out (after many of the lockdowns were lifted) the event was truncated a bit and rolled out on a (nearly) weekly basis.


   The series featured good art and involved nearly everyone in the Marvel universe, but the story stumbled badly several times over.


   The basic idea promised a new Kree / Skrull War - but instead we got the unification of the Kree and Skrull races, who came to Earth to fight a universal menace - the previously peace-loving plant-based race known as the Cotati.

 

   All that required was changing the entire concept of that race, and the character Quoi, the son of Mantis and the Swordsman, who was to be the Celestial Messiah. Instead, he’s just another crazed super-villain. 


   The series is full of twists that make no sense. The She-Hulk is killed, turned into a plant monster, then revived and altered with no explanation. An alien device about to destroy the sun? Just teleport a bunch of heroes to the sun (no spacecraft needed) to fix the problem - somehow? The Black Panther dies - or does he? Mr. Fantastic wears Iron Man’s armor - but it can stretch? 


   After a while, I just gave up and rolled on to the end. 


   Big ideas, but it was just a bit too much and spun badly out of control (which is actually a pretty good analysis of Marvel in general these days). 


   Stories don’t all have to be cosmic armageddon, folks. Let’s add some character moments, a little humor, focus more on story and internal logic - it would go a long way toward getting Marvel where it should be.


Grade: C


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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

New Comics Day

 

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


- EMPYRE #6 (OF 6) - Who will rule it all?

- FANTASTIC FOUR #23 - The weapon to end a war!

- FIRE POWER #3 - The past won't go away!

- SHAZAM #14 - The return of Superboy Prime!

- STRANGE ADVENTURES #5 - The heat is on for Adam Strange!

- USAGI YOJIMBO #12 - Home again!

- YOUNG JUSTICE #18 -  Romance is in the air!


     And I received these comics for review:


- BREATHLESS TP - The enemy is Big Pharma.

- DOCTOR WHO TIME LORD VICTORIOUS #1 - The 10th Doctor wonders: what can scare the Daleks?

- GRAVETRANCERS TP - What are the grave robbers planning?

- HORIZON ZERO DAWN #2 - A new story set after the game!

- SHADES OF MAGIC STEEL PRINCE REBEL ARMY TP - War is on the horizon!

    And that's it!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #8


    In a move usually reserved for anniversary issues or "special" nu
mbers (50, 100, 150, etc.), the newest issue of Legion of Super-Heroes gets the all-star treatment to celebrate issue number... 8.

   What makes its special is the lineup of artistic talent, most of them turning in a single page in this issue that combines "how (member's name here) joined the team" with a big battle between the Legion and warriors from Rimbor - including Ultra Boy's father!

   So it's fun, it's fast and it's busy as hell, with dozens of characters running around, revealing secrets and hidden origins (including a surprising one for one of my all-time favorites, Mon-El).

   Despite the clutter and chaos, I have to say that I'm really enjoying this series. Learning about the future through the eyes of Jon (Superboy) Kent is a great way to bring those of us from the 21st Century up to speed. 

   By its nature, the art in this issue is something of a crazy quilt, but it's great to see so many great talents kicking in, and it really is a special treat - and only eight issues in so far!


Grade: A-

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1

 


 When a living legend shows up drawing one of my all-time favorite super-teams, attention must be paid - especially when he’s working with one of the best writers in the business.


   So I was certainly happy to hear that Neal Adams was going to draw a Fantastic Four mini-series with Mark Waid.


   I’ve been a fan of Adams’ art since he teamed up with Roy Thomas on the original X-Men


   (Funny story: I hadn’t seen Adams’ DC work, so when he first appeared on the X-Men comic, my first thought was: “Why is Steranko signing the book with the name Neal Adams?” I soon had it sorted.)


   I have always liked Adams’ style, with a wonderful exaggerated realism throughout. His writing, I must admit, is a bit hit-and-miss for me - so I’m happy to see Waid working with him (his writing is rarely a miss).


    And this is very much a “Classic FF” story, jumping right out of the gate with a battle in New York with a long-time FF villain, and moving right to the family setting that makes the team’s interaction so much fun.


   As you’d expect, Adams gives his own spin to the visual style of the team. His version of the Thing make take a little getting used to - his face is more rubbery and expressive than usual (this is not a bad, uh, thing). And his version of the Invisible Woman has tremendous sex appeal!


   With a cosmic menace cooking up and some familiar faces dropping in, this promises to be a fun ride throughout. It’s off to a great start!


Grade: A-


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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Chadwick Boseman: An Obituary

 


   Sad to note the passing of Chadwick Boseman, a fine actor who portrayed the Black Panther on screen, along with other excellent performances as Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and James Brown (among many others).

   He died Friday at the far-too-young age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer - a battle he apparently waged privately.

   Such a shame - so much talent, and decades of great performances in his future. Bless him and his family, and hold them in your prayers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

New Comics Day

 

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


- ACTION COMICS #1024 - The invisible mafia attacks!

- FANTASTIC FOUR: ANTITHESIS #1 (OF 4) - Neal Adams on Marvel's First Family!

- LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #8 - The trial of the Legion!

- X-MEN #11 - The trees are killing the children!


    And I received these comics for review:


- AMALGAMA SPACE ZOMBIE MOST WANTED #1 - Who's the bounty hunter and who's the huntee?

- BLADE RUNNER #9 - A conspiracy that threatens Los Angeles!

- DEVIL WITHIN TP - Is it demonic possession or madness?

- DOCTOR TOMORROW #5 (OF 5) - Facing his greatest foe - himself!

- ENGINEWARD #2 - The ghoulem's secrets revealed!

- PLOT #6 - Flood waters are rising!

- SWEET HEART #4 (OF 5) - Can Maddie save a child's life?


   And that's it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Adler #3

 

   If you're mourning the ending of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, this series should help tide you over.

   Adler follows the exploits of Irene, the one woman capable enough to impress Sherlock Holmes, with the emphasis on action and adventure.

   The series is a "Who's Who" of famous females from history and fiction around the end of the 1800's (and a male or two), including the Amazon Queen Ayesha, scientist Madam Curie and - well, discovering is half the fun. 

   The story isn't quite as much a deep dive as LOEG, but it has lots of fun with the time period and keeps the story by Lavie Tidhar moving briskly.

   The art by Paul McCaffrey is excellent, with strong character designs and clean storytelling - and it's no easy task to bring the London of the past to life!

   I'm glad to see this series back on its post-COVID feet - it's off and running! Recommended!


Grade: A-

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Rai #6

 

  As Rai starts on a new story arc (while continuing the character's ongoing quest to stop "Father"), we enter into a post-apocalyptic world that is, for lack of a better analogy, like a modern version of Kamandi.

   A pocket of humanity in the northeastern part of what was once North America has taken on the traditions of the Roman Legion, as they try to fight back against attacks by strange human / animal hybrids.

   Rai has had dealings with both humans and the hybrids, but getting involved in the battle could threaten his own mission. 

   The story is mostly a setup for the story as it begins to spool out, but the real selling point for this issue is the stunning art by Juan Jose Ryp and colorist Andrew Dothouse. Terrific characters designs and lush environments, presented in the comics version of high-def! Very impressive!

   Rai's always an entertaining, surprising book, and this issue adds to that reputation. Recommended!


Grade: A-

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