Friday, February 28, 2020

Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1

   It's always a treat (though a rare one) to pick up an issue of Giant-Size X-Men.

   (That is, of courses, the name used for the first issue of the "New" X-Men that introduced the team made up of new characters such as Colossus, Nightcrawler and Storm.)

   This issue also features Storm, but in a different way. She's found badly injured, unconscious and on the brink of death, and the only ones who can help her are Jean Grey and Emma Frost - two psychic mutants who enter her mind to try to save her.

   This issue is absolutely stunning, with wonderful art by Russell Dauterman and outstanding colors by Matthew Wilson. Each page could be a pinup, as we explore the vivid world of Storm's mind - it's honestly breathtaking.

   Writer Jonathan Hickman (who co-plotted with Dauterman) uses some impressive concepts here (which I won't spoil), which make the issue even more of a joy.

   My general rule with the new X-Men line is: if Hickman wrote it, I'm definitely buying it. This is an unusual addition to the line, but I'm so glad I got it - it's a real work of art in more ways than one.

Grade: A+


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

New Comic Day

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

- ACTION COMICS #1020 - Lex is looking for allies!

- AVENGERS #31 - Where (or when) is Tony Stark?

- DIAL H FOR HERO #12 (OF 12) - Facing his dark side!

- GIANT SIZE X-MEN JEAN GREY & EMMA FROST #1 - Who can rescue Storm?

- LEVIATHAN DAWN #1 - What's next for this deadly new enemy?

- NEW MUTANTS #8 - From deep space to the mutant nation!

- SHAZAM #11 - Facing their greatest foes!

- TAROT #3 (OF 4) - Facing the Unbelieveables!

- X-MEN #7 - Mutants are forever!

- X-MEN / FANTASTIC FOUR #2 (OF 4) - Enter: Doom!

     And I received these review copies:

- BLACK STARS ABOVE #4 - A frozen death stalks the wilderness!

- CULT CLASSIC CREATURE FEATURE #5 - The grisly finale!

- FINGER GUNS #1 - The surprising power of finger guns!

- HEATHEN #9 - When trolls attack!

- QUANTUM & WOODY #2 (OF 4) - New powers?

- TANK GIRL TP VOL. 2 TANK GIRL FOREVER - The punk icon becomes a caped crusader!

- VAGRANT QUEEN PLANET CALLED DOOM #2 - An old enemy pays a visit.

- WASTED SPACE #14 - Molly fights a warlock!

- WE ARE THE DANGER TP VOL. 1 - Building a band - and making friends!

      And that's it!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Fuhrer and the Tramp #1

   Now there's a pairing I wasn't expecting!

   The Fuhrer and the Tramp actually lives up to its promise: Charlie Chaplin (the Little Tramp) actually meets Adolph Hitler! (And a few other famous faces along the way.)

   Set just before World War II, we see Chaplin's encounter with Hitler, and then follow him back to the U.S. and an encounter with some famous stars, including one who was - reportedly - a Nazi sympathizer. 

   This series by writers Sean McArdle and Jon Judy isn't trying to be a documentary of its time - the focus here is on fun, pratfalls and famous faces - but it does manage to sneak in quite of bit of historical fact with the fun.

   The art is by Dexter Wee, who does a great job of capturing likenesses and carrying off the comedic bits as well.

   As a longtime fan of Chaplin's - a true film genius - I'm glad to see him back in the limelight where he belongs. 

   This series is a lot of fun, a neat slice of history, and - to be sure - the strangest team-up comic of all time!

Grade: A-



Monday, February 24, 2020

Doctor Tomorrow #1

    I wouldn't want to hex this comic by calling it "traditional" - but Doctor Tomorrow definitely has the feel of a classic title.

   But it's not told in a traditional style. It starts with a final battle, and then jumps back to provide the backstory of the title character.

   Two normal teens - Bart and Gretchen - are enjoying a typical day in California. They play baseball, get into fights with bullies and encounter a never-before-seen superhero.

   Happens all the time.

   But what's unfolding is a mystery of science, super-heroes and pseudo-science. The characters and the art are fun and fresh, like a cool breeze blowing off the ocean.

   So far, I like it, and I'm curious to see where it goes from here.

Grade: B+


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Legion of Super-heroes #4

   The new adventures (and new version of) the futuristic Legion of Super-heroes continues to be a delight.

   This issue finally gives us an origin (or at least part of one) for the team, as Superboy continues his education about this new world.

   The story by Brian Michael Bendis manages a nice balance between the classic tale and the kind of updating required to maintain the illusion of the distant future (the image of which continues to evolve from generation to generation).

   Lots of great character beats in here, an interesting view of law enforcement (such as it is) and quite a few twists and turns.

   The art by Ryan Sook and Mikel Janin (with inks by Wade Grawbadger and Janin) is tremendous, with fresh character designs and environments on display.

   I've always liked the concept of the Legion, although certainly the book hasn't always been a "must buy" for me. 

   It is now.

Grade: A-


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

New Comics Day

   Apologies for the dearth of posts, Gentle Readers - your pal Chuck ran away for a short vacation to visit his adorable grandkids. We'll get the ol' review machine cranked up again this week, and here's what I'll be picking up at the ol' comics shop today:

- FANTASTIC FOUR #19 - The conclusion of "Point of Origin."

- LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #4 - The secret origin of the Legion revealed!

- NEW MUTANTS #7 - Adventures in Shi'ar space!

- SUPERMANS PAL JIMMY OLSEN #8 (OF 12) - A visit to Gorilla City!

  And I received these comics for review:

- ADVENTURE FINDERS EDGE OF EMPIRE #5 - The name of the game is survival!

- AMALGAMA SPACE ZOMBIE #3 - The latest from the Danger Doll universe!

- ASSASSINS CREED BLOODSTONE HC - The struggle between the Assassins and the Templars hits the Vietnam War!

- BLADE RUNNER 2019 #6 - Low on cash and short on options!

- BLOODSHOT #0 - His true mission revealed!

- DOCTOR TOMORROW #1 (OF 5) - Meet the world's greatest hero!

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH HOLIDAY SPECIAL TP - Can The Doctor save Christmas?

- GOING TO THE CHAPEL TP VOL. 1 - Collecting the mini-series!

- HEIST HOW TO STEAL A PLANET #4 - Timing is everything!

- POWERS IN ACTION TP VOL. 1 - Lynx brings his sister, Ocelot, to join the team!

- SERA & ROYAL STARS #6 - Can Sera rescue her family?

- VAMPBLADE SEASON 4 #7 - Calling in friends from other realities!

- VISITOR #3 (OF 6) - The Visitor's origin revealed?

- X-O MANOWAR DLX HC VOL. 2 - From barbarian to agent to hero!

- ZOMBIE TRAMP TP VOL. 18 - Can she regain her human form?

     And that's it!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Batman's Grave #5 (of 12)

   This series has been a real treat that any fan of the Dark Knight should enjoy.

   The Batman's Grave gives us three terrific creators doing excellent work in service of this classic character.

   Warren Ellis crafts a story that's stocked with twists and turns, great character beats and more than a few smiles along the way.

   Almost every issue manages the difficult feat of standing along while at the same time building on a much bigger story.

   Here we find Batman summoned to Arkham Asylum by Commissioner Gordon for mysterious purposes, and it's almost worth it for Batman's discussion with the Warden at Arkham.

   The art is by Bryan Hitch with some inks by Kevin Nowlan, and it's tremendous, loaded with action and atmosphere.

   I'm really enjoying this series - it's the best book from DC this year! (Well, so far.)

Grade: A


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

New Comic Book Day

    Here’s what I picked up at the comics shop this week:

- BATMAN'S GRAVE #5 (OF 12) - A puzzle at Arkham!

-  DR STRANGE #3 - When tattoos come to life!

- GREEN LANTERN #1 (OF 12) - Searching for the new Guardians!

- HAWKMAN #21 - The end of the world as we know it

- SUPERMAN #20 - Can Mongul destroy the United Planets?

- TERRIFICS #25 - Choose your fate!

- THOR #3 - The battle of two storms!

- X-MEN #6  - What does Mystique want?

    And I received these comics for review:

- BLOODSHOT #6 - Eidolon’s origin is revealed!

- DOCTOR MIRAGE TP VOL. 1 - How do you solve the case of your own death?

- DOCTOR WHO 13TH SEASON TWO #2  - A meeting between the 10th and 13th Doctor!

- LAB RAIDER TP VOL. 1 - An attempt to save lab animals leads to disaster!

- LOUD OGN - Things get wild at the craziest nightclub in town!

- POWERS IN ACTION #4 - Suplex is in a fight to the finish!

- RAI #4 - Enter: the Eternal Warrior!

- SHE SAID DESTROY TP VOL. 1 - The final galactic battle begins!

- STAR TREK VOYAGER 25TH ANN SPECIAL HC - Celebrating the anniversary of the adventures of Capt. Janeway and her crew!

- TANK GIRL FULL COLOR CLASSICS 1994-1995 - The original stories are back in print!

- VAMPBLADE TP VOL. 10 BACK IN BLACK - A new season and a new space-time continuum! 

- ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #67 - Facing an army of undead Roman soldiers!

   And that’s it!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

X-Men + Fantastic Four #1 (of 4)

   It's (almost) always fun when super-powered teams collide and duke it out.

   It's a Marvel tradition, and it's at the heart of this mini-series, X-Men + Fantastic Four.

    At the center of the conflict is Franklin Richards, the son of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, who also happens to be a mutant.

   Since the new X-Men titles have all the world's mutants relocating to the island nation Krakoa, a team of mutants pays a visit to Yancy Street to gather in Franklin.

   Needless to say, this is not an idea the members of the FF are in favor of - so there's a fight. 

   And that's where it all gets a bit wobbly. Would Professor Xavier really want to approach this idea with force? Would Sue Richards really react so violently to a discussion of the issue? 

   The art by Terry and Rachel Dodson is certainly nice, with powerful character designs and dynamic layouts - but the story struggles a bit, with too many characters acting out to generate conflict - even when it's not really in their nature.

   Still, it's a clever concept for a mini-series, and there's time to sort it out. 

Grade: B+


Monday, February 10, 2020

Adler #1

   The only woman to ever impress Sherlock Holmes (at least in any of the stories written by creator Arthur Conan Doyle) was the actress Irene Adler - and now she has her own title from Titan Comics.

   Set in the time period of the original stories, this is almost presented as a "team" comic, as it features several famous females from that time period.

   The cast includes a former nurse named Jane (her last name "rhymes with air"), through whose eyes the story plays out.

   The others - well, to name them would spoil the fun.

    My only minor beef with the series is it seems to want to make Adler into a female copy of Sherlock Holmes, with amazing powers of observation. It's been a long time since I read the original stories, but it seems to me that Irene's strengths were her intelligence and cunning - but either way, it's a minor complaint. 

   The story moves along briskly, setting up the main opponent for Irene and her friends, and establishing her as a woman of great abilities.

   With terrific art and a solid story, this is off to a great start. And happily, it shows respect for its roots and builds on that foundation nicely.

Grade: A-


Friday, February 7, 2020

Young Justice #13

    I have to admit that I rarely care about alternate covers.

    It's become a standard thing in new comics - almost every title is also printed with an alternate cover. 

   I'm not sure if the idea is to generate sales or make new collectibles, but typically I just take whichever cover is the handiest.

   But then, in the previous issue of Young Justice, Superboy found himself transported to the land Skartaris, the mysterious home (at the center of the Earth) of the man called The Warlord.

    As a huge fan of that series, I was quick to buy the alternate cover for this issue drawn by Mike Grell, the writer / artist who created that series in the '70s.

    What a delight to find that the interior includes pages drawn by that master, along with several other artists (including Brian Michael Bendis' longtime ally, Michael Avon Oeming). 

   It's a terrific, crazy-quilt issue that has a lot of fun with its over-the-top concepts and adds in a surprisingly big cast.

   Highly recommended! (And needless to say, I'd love to see Grell return with a new series or mini-series dedicated to his most famous DC creation!)

Grade: A


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

New Comics Day

    It's a light week at the comics shop this week! Today I picked up:

- USAGI YOJIMBO #8 - Going home!

- X-MEN / FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (OF 4) - Will Franklin join the mutants living on Krakoa?

- YOUNG JUSTICE #13 - In the lost world of Skartaris!

    And I received these comics for review:

- ADLER #1 - The adventures of the only woman who eluded Sherlock Holmes.

- BLOODBORNE TP VOL. 4 VEIL TORN ASUNDER - Staying sane in a town of madness!

- GOING TO THE CHAPEL #4 (OF 4) - The decision of the bride!

- MONEY SHOT #4 - Saving a world!

- RIVERS OF LONDON FEY & THE FURIOUS #4 - Escaping a deadly Fairyland!

- SHADES OF MAGIC REBEL ARMY #3 - Cornered and under siege!

- SHERLOCK SCANDAL IN BELGRAVIA #3 - Hey, Irene Adler's in this comic, too!

- VAMPBLADE SEASON 4 #6 - Help from her friends!

    And that's it!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Vagrant Queen #1

   It always comes down to a farmer with a hidden destiny.

   Well, not always - but it's true for the Vagrant Queen.

   Somewhere in space, a battle rages between starships - but one is equipped with a terrible weapon and seems unstoppable.

   Somewhere on a farm, two women work to survive in the harsh alien conditions, urging their crops to grow.

   But one of the women may harbor a surprising secret - one that may finally have brought destruction to her door.

   If any of that sounds familiar, well, that's not unusual for a hero's quest - and that appears to be the name of the game in this series.

   The art is clean and the story is straightforward - and it'll be interesting to see where the stories (both small and galactic) go from here.

Grade: B+


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Action Comics #1019

   This storyline, I must admit, had me confused at first.

   That's because it seemed to be tied in to the ongoing Legion of Doom story playing out over in the Justice League comic - but the continuity wasn't matching up. 

   Turns out, there's no connection - this is a completely different attack by the Legion.

   Instead, writer Brian Michael Bendis is creating a story here about the teaming up of the Legion and Superman's newest foe, Leviathan

   The bad guys launch an all-out attack on Metropolis, which brings the Justice League (and numerous other heroes) into the battle - but the plan is (we learn in this issue) focused on the Man of Steel.

   Bendis is terrific at crafting these kinds of plots within the plot, as the obvious plan ends up being not so obvious, after all. 

   Add in terrific art by John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson, and it's a cracking good tale. 

   Highly recommended!

Grade: A-


Saturday, February 1, 2020

X-Men #5

   I am really enjoying this new incarnation of the X-Men.

   Writer Jonathan Hickman has crafted a smart new structure for the team to function in - one in which you, the reader, never know what to expect next. 

   What could be better?

   This issue finds the team investigating a strange temporal phenomenon, and (Mission Impossible style) they select a team of mutants with the special skills they'll need to face the danger ahead. Maybe.

   It's a smart, twisty story that will challenge your perceptions, paired with excellent art by R.B. Silva and color art by Matte Gracia.

    Can't wait to see where it goes from here!

Grade: A