Thursday, January 30, 2020

New Comics Day

    Whoops! Got swamped yesterday and didn't get a chance to post my weekly acquisitions! After several weeks of just picking up a few comics each Wednesday, this week was, as the kids say, off the hook:

- ACTION COMICS #1019 - Fighting the Legion of Doom!

- AVENGERS #30 - Who will wear the Star Brand?

- CONAN THE BARBARIAN #12 - Will Conan die?

- DIAL H FOR HERO #11 (OF 12) - Call the hero!

- DR STRANGE #2 - Facing the Wrecker!

- GREEN LANTERN #3 - The Darkstar mini-series continues!

- JUSTICE LEAGUE #39 - The end of the Justice / Doom War!

- NEW MUTANTS #6 - Innocent lives on the line!

- TAROT #2 (OF 4) - Enter Diablo!

- TERRIFICS #24 - It's Bizarro time!

- THOR #2 - Into the void!

- X-MEN #5 - The return of an old foe!

  And I received these review copies:

- BLACK STARS ABOVE #3 - Seeking shelter from the storm!

- CULT CLASSIC CREATURE FEATURE #4 - Facing an army of undead skeleton monsters!

- KI-6 KILLERS TP VOL. 1 - Five deadly assassins!

- MALL #5 - The conspiracy revealed!


- QUANTUM & WOODY #1 (OF 4) - Earth's last hope!

- VAGRANT QUEEN PLANET CALLED DOOM #1 - The end of her happy life!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #66 - Building an army!

     And that's it!

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Batman's Grave #4 (of 12)

   How did I miss this one?

   Two weeks ago at the comics shop I glanced at an issue of The Batman's Grave, a limited series from DC that I wasn't buying. (In my defense, there are lots of comics featuring the Dark Knight).

   Here was a comic written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Bryan Hitch, two creators whose work I always buy. How did I not know about this?

   So my comic shop gathered up the issues I'd missed and I read them in short order. 

   What a treat! Amazing artwork by the master of "widescreen" adventure (perhaps calling it the comics equivalent of Blu-Ray would be more accurate), and a smart script and dialogue by a great writer (who's also a comics veteran).

   The story is largely self-contained as we see the sometimes-snarky and contentious relationship between Bruce and Alfred, and we get some insight into the unique methods Batman uses to solve crimes and confront criminals. 

    There are massive action sequences and (gasp) actual moments of humor!

    An absolute treat from start to finish - this series is highly recommended!

Grade: A


Saturday, January 25, 2020

Fantastic Four #19

   It's generally a bad idea to attempt a revamp (or retcon, if you prefer) on a superhero origin story.

   Ever since Alan Moore tried it (with great success) in Swamp Thing), many other writers have taken their own shot at it.

   There have been a few successes, but it usually just takes away from the origin - and sometimes, it's an outright disaster (see Mopee in the Silver Age Flash).

   We're seeing an attempt at such a retcon in the ongoing "Point of Origin" story in the Fantastic Four - and it's not really working. 

   One problem is that so much of the origin had to be tweaked for this story (Reed and company were planning to visit a faraway planet in their prototype rocket, not just taking a trip into orbit).

   The whole story just feels rickety, with justifications for actions not quite making sense - both on the parts of members of the FF (why is Ben feeling murderous suddenly?) and the aliens (they created monsters for what reason?).

   It was a game effort, but the pieces don't quite fit - and the art by three different artists doesn't help in pulling it together.

   I keep hoping for big things from this series, but so far, it's hasn't lived up to its "greatest comic" legacy - it's good, but that's all.

Grade: B



Friday, January 24, 2020

Superman #19

   Here we have a "decompression" issue for Superman.

   He's revealed his secret identity to the world (I maintain this is a terrible idea), and here were see some of the more personal repercussions of that choice.

   How do his co-workers - and his boss, Perry White - feel about this news? How about the residents of Metropolis?

   Does Clark Kent even exist anymore?

   The issue does include some deep-space battles, too - but overall, it's more about some crisp, character-building dialogue by writer Brian Michael Bendis, alongside the usual exceptional art by Ivan Reis (and a small army of inkers).

   So, a solid issue, but almost a filler along the route for the latest story.

Grade: B+


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

New Comics Day

    Here's what I picked up at the comic shop today (it's short list):

- FANTASTIC FOUR #18 - Point of Origin continues!

- SHAZAM #10 - Can they stop the Monster Society?

- SUPERMAN #19 - The President of Steel?

    And I received these comics for review:

- HEIST HOW TO STEAL A PLANET #3 - Facing trained assassins!


- MOORCOCK LIB HAWKMOON HC VOL. 02 HISTORY O/T RUNESTAFF - The conclusion to the Hawkmoon Chronicles!

- NECROMANCERS MAP TP COMPLETE - Off to find the Covenant!

- RESONANT TP VOL. 1 - A world in chaos!

- ROKU #4 (OF 4) - Facing the Minister of Blades!

- SERA & ROYAL STARS TP VOL. 1 - Civil War in the Empire!

- VISITOR #2 (OF 6) - Targeting the world's leaders!

- WASTED SPACE #13 - Off on a quest!

      And that's it!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Crisis on Infinite Earths Giant #1

   Ah, you got me, DC, with the old bait-and-switch (wherein the buyer thinks he is buying one thing, only to find he has bought something else, usually something of lesser value).

   I picked up this Crisis on Infinite Earths Giant after reading that it contained a new story along with some reprints from the original 1985 maxi-series.

    And the original writer, Mark Wolfman, was co-writing with Marc Guggenheim, so I thought, "That's interesting - new stories based on the original story."

   Wrong! I should have looked more closely at the cover, because if features characters from the CW TV shows, which recently wrapped its own version of Crisis. (I still have the last two episodes to watch, don't spoil it for me - oh wait, Facebook already spoiled it. Never mind.)

   So the new story focuses (mostly) on the TV versions of these heroes, who - as far as I know - don't appear in any other comic book in existence.

   Look, I get it - the TV shows are popular, the big crossover event was a great way to bring more viewers in, and a comics tie-in makes sense - but it still feels like an attempt to separate the readers from their cash through chicanery.

   And this isn't even a "one and done" story - it's continued into (I assume) another Giant issue.

   I'll be passing on that one.

Grade: B-


Friday, January 17, 2020

Legion of Super-Heroes #3

   Writing the future is a trick, because it never turns out like you'd expect.

    So writers and artists do their best - and usually fail.

   The trick I always hate is when they try to invent clever slang words - "Here in the future, 'pyramid' means something is amazing" - that sort of thing.

   Thankfully, the new Legion of Super-Heroes doesn't go that route (at least not so far). Instead, writer and artist are in sync to create a new vision for the world 1,000 years in the future.

   The do that by making everything seem a bit off. Not a lot - just enough to keep you off balance. Some of that has to do with the amazing environment designs by artists Ryan Sook, Travis Moore and Wade Von Grawbadger, and a lot of it has to do with the story, which is deliberately just giving us peeks at how the world works. As Superboy learns, so do we - and there's a lot to take in.

    This issue takes a surprising turn as Superboy brings his best friend, Damian (Robin) Wayne, to the future - with unexpected results (natch). 

   The series continues to be fast-moving, unpredictable and loaded with amazing art. 

   You should be reading this book!

Grade: A-


Wednesday, January 15, 2020

New Comics Day

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

- AVENGERS #29 - Rise of the War Widow!

- CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS GIANT #1 - Featuring reprints and a new story!

- HELLBOY WINTER SPECIAL 2019 - Happy belated holidays!

- LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #3 - Welcome to the future, Damian Wayne!

- SUPERMANS PAL JIMMY OLSEN #7 (OF 12) - A tale of five Jimmys!

- UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY #3 - A rescue mission!

- VALKYRIE JANE FOSTER #7 - Dying time!

  And I received these for review:


- BLOODSHOT #5 - His most personal mission!

- LIFE IS STRANGE #12 - The finale of the third story arc!

- NUTMEG TP VOL. 5 SPRING GOOD DINE YOUNG - A few final surprises!

- PRINCELESS TP VOL. 9 LOVE YOURSELF - One sister left to save!

- RAI #3 - Trapped in cyberspace!

- SHERLOCK: SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA #2 - The Manga adaptation of the TV series!

- SOLO BY OSCAR MARTIN - Mad Max meets Mighty Mouse?

  And that's it!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Plot #4

   Hey, what was that noise in the house? 

   That shadow in the lake?

   That squeak on the floor?

   The Plot is very effective is dredging up the kind of horror that's easy to relate to, and adds in a mix of madness and an undercurrent of terror.

   The focus is on the mystery below the surface of a lake - and the strange sounds in the attic of an old estate. 

   With powerful, moody art by Joshua Hixson and a moody, menace-filled story by Tim Daniel and Michael Moreci, this is a series built for horror fans.


Grade: B+


Monday, January 13, 2020

Morbius - Movie Trailer

   The trailer for the film Morbius was released today. The film from Sony Pictures features the vampire-like hero/villain who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man (I believe it was issue #101).

   Looks like a solid adventure / horror film - and fans are especially shocked by the last shot. Take a look:

Saturday, January 11, 2020

New Mutants #5

    If you're looking for some classic New Mutants storytelling, this issue is your huckleberry.

   It finds the recently reunited team on a mission in deep space, bringing Deathbird back to the Shi'ar homeworld.

   But there's trouble waiting, as a squad of Shi'ar Death Commandos stands in the way, loaded to the teeth with murderous monsters and unbeatable aliens.

   When the two teams meet - well, there's your classic mutant confrontation.

   It's a heck of a lot of fun, and writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Rod Reis seem to be having a great time, too.

   Terrific work and highly recommended!

Grade: A




Thursday, January 9, 2020

Young Justice #12

   You know that scene in the movie Avengers: Endgame when all the heroes gather together?

   This issue of Young Justice is sorta the equivalent of that (for DC, natch) - except there's very little actual fighting on display here.

   What you get is a gathering of almost all the young heroes who made up the original team, the new team members, and guest appearances by all the other young heroes featured in the Wonder Comics line of DC Comics.

   It's fun, and gives writer Brian Michael Bendis lots of opportunities for entertaining dialogue (which is his beat, after all).

   But on the other hand, not much actually happens - the issue is packed with guest appearances, 'meet cute' scenes and a surprising new place for Superboy to visit, and one of my all-time favorite characters - sadly absent for far too long - makes a return appearance.

   So I really enjoyed this issue, even if you need a scorecard to keep everyone straight. It's fun!

Grade: A-


Wednesday, January 8, 2020

New Comics Day

   It was a lean week! Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

- HAWKMAN #20 - Will his evil side prevail?

- NEW MUTANTS #5 - Meanwhile, on the other side of the universe...

- YOUNG JUSTICE #12 - Secrets revealed!

  And I received these for review:

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH SEASON TWO #1 - Facing a familiar foe!

- PLOT #4 - Reaching into the "now."

- PSI-LORDS #8 - Who will face a terrible fate?

- RELICS OF YOUTH #4 - The final assault.

- RIVERS OF LONDON FEY & THE FURIOUS #3 - A real-life fairyland!

- ROBOTECH REMIX #4 - A strange new mech!

- TANK GIRL FULL COLOR CLASSICS 1993-1994 - In living color!

     And that's it!

Monday, January 6, 2020

X-Men #4

   Well, I didn't expect to see that in an X-Men comic.

    No, I'm not talking about shocking deaths or plot twists - this issue just has a brief burst of action and a whole lot of sitting around a table and talking.

   The story follows the three central movers in the new island nation of Krakoa - Professor X, Magneto and Apocalypse.

   They arrive at a meeting with United Nation representatives - and this is the shocking part - and they have an adult conversation about world economics.

   I know, it doesn't sound too exciting - but it's so shockingly rare to see this kind of thoughtful conversation in a comic.

   What a tremendous series - there's no way to predict what happens next, and that's the highest praise any comic could receive!

Grade: A


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Thor #1

   As the God of Thunder, Thor is always in danger of falling into the "Superman syndrome" - when a comic book character becomes too powerful (as Supes did in the Silver Age).

   As a new creative team takes over here (with the ubiquitous issue #1, natch), we find our hero the new King of Asgard - so with the Odin Power, he's one of the mot powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.

   Which means the trick will be finding worthy opponents - and they certainly succeed with this issue (though I won't spoil it for you).

   It's a new look, a new writer - Donny Cates - and a new artist - Nic Klein. This is a strong start for the new team, but they have a tall order ahead of them.

    Should be fun to see where it goes from here.

Grade: B+


Friday, January 3, 2020

Tarot #1

   This is one of those comics that almost got lost in the swarm of comics on sale this week - and that would be a shame, because it's terrific!

   Tarot is a story told in different times, featuring three of Marvel's greatest teams!

   We start with a World War II adventure with The Invaders (Captain America, Namor, the Human Torch), and that leads to a more 'modern' adventure with the '70s lineup for both The Avengers (Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Vision and the Scarlet Witch) and the much-missed original Defenders (Doctor Strange, Namor, Hulk, Valkyrie and Silver Surfer).

   The story is written by Alan Davis - he's most famous for his amazing art, but he's also a tremendous writer, as this issue demonstrates. 

   The art is by Paul Renaud, whose style is similar to Davis' - great character designs, energetic page layouts, clear storytelling and vivd environments - it's excellent!

   So, a top creative team handling an all-star cast facing a powerful and mysterious opponent, and a story with some clever twists and turns - a great combination!

   As a fan of all three of those comic teams - and especially glad to see the return of the original Defenders - I'm "all in" on this series, and anxious to see where it goes from here.

Grade: A



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

New Year's Day - and New Comics Day!

   Welcome to the future and Happy New Year across the world! 

   Full disclosure - I didn't get to the comics shop today, but here's what I plan to pick up tomorrow: 

- ACTION COMICS #1018 - Facing the Legion of Doom!

- DIAL H FOR HERO #10 (OF 12) - Into the Multiverse!

- GRENDEL DEVILS ODYSSEY #3 (OF 8) - On a freezing planet.

- TAROT #1 - Two of Marvel's biggest teams collide!

- TERRIFICS #23 - If we could turn back time.

- THOR #1 - A new beginning!

- X-MEN #4 - The face of real power.

     And that's it!