Category Archives: Comics

All things Comics

Marvel’s Original Sin

Original_Sin_Vol_1_1Original Sin #1 and # 2 (of 8)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colors: Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $4.99

I’ve mentioned more then once that Marvel has produced some quality books over the last few years. Seems like that with each new batch of titles almost all of them will be hits. Moon Knight, Iron Fist, Fantastic Four, All New X-Men and Nightcrawler to only name a few have all been at the top of my read pile from week to week so when the next big Marvel Event finally hit the shelves I snapped it right up.
So what’s the event this time? The Death of the Watcher.

He's Dead Jim

He’s Dead Jim

So this is something new. This is something interesting. This is something that “could” be permanent AND have lasting repercussions on the Marvel Universe.

What would the universe me without the Watcher and what if those secrets he held got out? Now this I could be on board for!

But then I read the book. 3 issues in (issue zero, one and two) and i’m realizing that aside from an awesome idea, this books stinks.

Here are my reasons.

1. The Watcher was killed by a bullet. Granted, a special bullet (we all remember Captain Americas “Time Bullet” don’t we) but a bullet just the same.

2. Hero’s team up to investigate what or who may have done this. The teaming feel like someone tossed darts at a Marvel Universe Handbook and went with the results.

3. Little things like using the Ultimate Nullifier like a handgun to have a Mindless One kill himself is nuts. Its like having an ant use a nuclear warhead to kill itself. It just isn’t done. Past Marvel history has shown that the Ultimate Nullifier would kill EVERYTHING. Thats why it ISN”T used. Now that this writer has established it can be used this way, look out. Expect to see it rolled out more in the coming years.

and finally

FINALLY!  THE WORLD IS MINE!

FINALLY! THE WORLD IS MINE!

4. The Orb. Bringing this lame Ghost Rider villain that, granted, I have fond memories of JUST because I read Ghost Rider back in the day, doesn’t make it cool. He was lame then, he’s lame now. No reason in the world should he be involved in this even as a lackey to some higher evil.

But with all that, i’m still going to read this book because I feel that for an eight issue mini series, maybe i’m being a little too critical of the initial set up. Sure this isn’t the epic storytelling of Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four Run or Infinity storyline but maybe it will pan out and save itself in the long run.

Here’s hoping.

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All New Ghost Rider #1

ghost riderAll New Ghost Rider #1
Writer: Felipe Smith
Artist: Tradd Moore
Colors: Nelson Daniel and Val Staples
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Worst relaunch ever.

Thats what I thought a month ago after seeing the first of Marvels ad campaign for this “All New Ghost Rider”. A Ghost Rider geared towards Gear Heads. Featuring a latino hero based in L.A. and focused on fans of Fast and the Furious and Need for Speed games and films. That with the shock of the stylized art being presented on the book had me not only hating the idea, but being vocal about it as well to any and all within earshot.

Then I read it.

All New Ghost Rider not only presents a solid opening story for a new, youthful character but the art style that I was so against works with the story and stand out as one of the highlights of this weeks new comics.

If you’re a Ghost Rider fan from the past the tune of the book hasn’t changed much from its initial relaunch in the 90’s. Spirits of Vengeance seek a host to bring, well, Vengeance to those who deserve it. Although in this case our Spirit rides in a hot rod as opposed to a motorcycle. What sets it apart from Ghost Riders of the past is exactly what I thought I’d hate, the setting, and the change to a car. Instead of the same old story, Felipe Smith gives us the tale of Robbie Reyes, a guy struggling to survive with his younger special needs brother in a neighborhood determined to keep then down at all costs. Felipe gives us an L.A. that makes Gotham look like a day at Disney. This puts the reader strongly on the side of our hero, hoping that in the end those who deserve vengeance will receive it.

The only weakness of the book is that this first issue is really just all set up. Of course we have an over arching mystery or two. We don’t know anything about this Spirit of Vengeance yet or how its going to use Reyes as a host. I feel like there is something corrupt going on with his employer and we have yet to see what the first story arc’s “big bad”. And since this issue is devoted to showcasing both our main character pre-Ghost Rider along with the setting we’ll have to wait till next month to see what powers and abilities Ghost Rider will have. All these will keep me coming back to the book for now, and with such a slow build, lets just hope it doesn’t loose its steam.

Amazing X-Men

Writer: Jason Aaronnightcrawler-amazing-x-men
Art: Ed McGuinnes
Inks: Dexter Vines
Colors: Marte Gracia
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Once upon a time, Marvel Comics published only one X-book. Yup. let that sink in for just a minute, just one. Nowadays all you need to do is choose an adjective and you’ve got your X-title. Some stand out more then others, and thankfully the newest addition to the X-Books Amazing X-Men is one of those titles.
The X-Men have such a long history of strife, conflict, loss and prejudice its a breath of fresh air to have a title that shows how close these characters are to each other and how those relationships have been strengthened over the years of their being a team. Amazing focuses on bringing back not only all the joy and adventure of the classic Uncanny title but in this first story arc, bringing back a much missed member of the team, Nightcrawer.

Sure over the years we’ve seen team members join, die, and come back in some fashion or another so a returning comic character isn’t that big of deal these days but we’ve waiting far too long for Nightcrawer to come back and writer Jason Aaron does a great job showing us just how missed he was not just to us, but to each member of the X-Men as well.

lets be amazingI suppose if I had anything bad to say about this book, it would have to be the silly origin of the bamfs, the little cartoony versions of Nightcrawer. I’d have rather it just be left a mystery instead of them being some sort of shape-changing demons on either the path of good or evil.

So with the selection of X-titles to choose from nowadays it can be tough deciding which one to read but if your a long time X-fan and loved the original Uncanny title as much as me then you owe it to yourself to try Amazing X-Men. You won’t be disappointed.

The Fantastic and the Sublime

fantastic_four_1_kirk_coverFantastic Four #1
Writer: James Robinson
Art: Leonard Kirk
Inks: Karl Kesel
Colors: Jesus Aburtov
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles

The Fantastic Four is not an easy book to write.  53 years ago (yikes!) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created one of the most imaginative and “fantastic” comics ever since Superman and Batman, using things like super science, monsters, high adventure and the family dynamic to create The Fantastic Four.  Marvel’s First Family was guided by its original creative team for over 100 issues plus various annuals and since then every other creative team has tried, some better then others, to keep the torch lit and the light shining on everything that made this team as great as it is.

March 2014, James Robinson takes the helm in the new Marvel Now.  A new #1 issue hits the shelves and our first family is once again presented to its existing audience and polished up to draw in new readers with this new first issue.  Initial thoughts..on the surface all cosmetic.  First off, new costumes.  Over the years our team has gone from Blue to  Black to White and now Red as their primary costume color.  I didn’t like it…being the grumpy old comic reader set in his ways that i am…but after finishing issue one I can say that the red suits them.  Next was the new title font.  Also didn’t like it and that pretty much stays the same.  Little too plain for my tastes, it would be nice to revisit the original FF Font along with the bold “Worlds Greatest Comic Magazine” standing front and center.  But still, all this is just cosmetic.  As a book, Robinson hit it out of the park with this one.  We have the family back from their long and not to be remembered journey into the whatever verse that Matt Faction forced us to endure last year and back on earth.  Robinson sets up seeds for our future story via Susan writing in her diary, a present day conflict giving us a call back the the “Age of Monsters” in Marvel with the FF taking out Fin Fang Foom (paying careful attention to Foom’s back history I may add) and finally giving each member of the team their due, Reed and Sue happy together, Johnny setting up his career and finally Ben getting back together with his love Alicia.

If anything, James Robinson has shown me again and again that he can take a title and give it all the attention and creative excitement it deserves and I’m certain after this first issue that The Fantastic Four will shine this year under his direction.

 

Starlight #1comics-starlight-1
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Goran Parlov
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Letters: Marko Sunjic
Publisher: Image
Price: $2.99

So begins our first steps into the Millarworld brought to us by the fine folks at Image Comics.  If you happen to be a loyal customer at the shop I work at (That’s Entertainment) then you’ve heard me mention to anyone within ear shot that Image has been on their game for the last few years, publishing very high end books of all genres that are totally worth the look.  So whenever they put on a new issue one I tend to pay attention to it, and with an author like Mark Millar I just had to move this one to the top of my read pile.

Starlight is the story of Duke McQueen, a retired ace pilot and space hero who, forty years ago, lived one of the greatest adventures of his lifetime when his experimental spaceship fell through a wormhole and thrust him into a classic and iconic adventure very much like those of early Flash Gordon serials.  Millar takes the reader on a multi level journey within this tale, presenting us with bits of classic sic fi from the characters past, the importance of his family life and love for his now passed on wile along with the tale of an older man coping with life alone and children that aren’t there any longer.  As i said, this story hits it on so many levels, I can see this title going on for quite a while.  With all the stunning work of the rest of the creative team, you should definitely give Starlight a chance.  You won’t be disappointed.

Gods, Wrestlers and Cops – More comics on review

Apocalypse Al

apocalypse-al-01Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Art: Sid Kotian
Color: Bill Farmer
Letters:Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: 2.99

Her name is Allison Carter, Al for short, Apocalypse Al.  Los angeles PI who’s speciality is stopping the end of the world.  Its sort of a family business thing, her father, grandfather, great grandfather etc etc all had the responsibility of safe guarding us all from any Apocalypse, be it Elder Gods or Demons from Hell.

If your a fan of J.M.S. this should be right down your alley.  Spinning a classic gumshoe noir story featuring all the horrors from behind the veil and the same level of comedy made famous in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  One thing that I thought really stood out in this book is that not only did I get a pretty good story with nice art but following the url advertised in the back of the book took me to StudioJMS and a fully acted audio version of issue one.  Totally reminded me of the old days following the comics enclosed with my Power Records featuring Spiderman and Captain America!   Totally worth my three bucks!

Loki Ragnarok and Roll (limited series)

BOOM_Loki_001_AWriter: Eric M Esquivel
Art: Jerry Gaylord
Colors: Gbriel Cassata
Letters: Ryan Ferrier
Publisher: Boom
Price: 3.99

Everyone Loves Loki!  That should really be the name of this book.  When I saw this on the shelf all I could think of was someone realized it was time to jump on the Loki train along with Marvel after Tom Hiddleston made The Trickster God so dam popular in the movies!  With that, Boom Comics brings us Loki: Ragnarok and Roll.  This book hits all the bases, a misunderstood and unappreciated youth in the form of Loki, family issues with a doof of a brother Thor and Father that play’s favorites and finally the punk rock scene of Earth all roll up to a legendary combo of Rock and Roll Gods like nobodies business.

Jerry Gaylords art really fits the humor and over the top elements of this title along with the little added details of giving the reader a recommend listening list of music to match with the comic makes this mini series a surprise addition to my pull list.  And to think i almost passed this one by.  Grab it if you can.

WW Superstars

WWE01CovD-FrontFinal-910c6Writer: Mick Foley with Shane Riches
Artist: Alitha Martinez
Color: Jay Jay Jackson
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Publisher: Super Genius
Price: 2.99

I’ve never watched wrestling voluntarily for longer then a few minutes so why the hell did I think I’d like a comic about it.  Side note: my first roommate in college proved to me that wrestling was on television EVERY SINGLE NIGHT if you know where to find it, so I understand there is a fan base out there for this kind of thing.  Hell, when I was a kid Hulk Hogan and his gang had a Saturday Morning cartoon (ahhh…saturday morning cartoons.) but even with that I wasn’t a fan.  But I thought I’d try this book out to see what I may be missing so with drink in hand, i sat down to have myself a nice read.  I couldn’t get past the intro written on the inside cover.  Basically its a guy in jail framed for a murder he didn’t commit, another guy on the verge of city wide power and a third guy determined to bring the whole corrupt system down.

yup….put the book down and back away slowly.

Waste of time and money.  Although the homage to classic superhero comic covers were nice.  Just not worth the price of admission.

The Fuse

the-fuse-01webWriter: Antony Johnston
Art: Justin Greenwood
Color: Shari Chankhamma
Letters: Ed Brission
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: 3.50

22,000 miles above Earth in a geostationary orbit lies Midway City, the city in the stars.  If you’re a fan of CSI, buddy cop shows or Homicide then add a dash of hard Sci Fi and Judge Dredd and you get The Fuse.  The book starts out simply enough, cop moves to new city (or in this case star city), new partner issues and instant mystery puts the reader right smack in the middle of it as we take the same ride as the characters, learning about Midway City, its inhabitants and bringing law to a new frontier.

Want a sneak peek of what to expect, check out http://www.fusecomic.com for a free preview.  This ones on my radar for now!

Reviews

 
new warriors

New Warriors
Writer: Christopher Yost
Art: Marcus To
Color: David Curiel
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Created in 1989 by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz, The New Warriors were to be the answer to DC’s Teen Titans featuring new and exiting teen age heroes.  The original series lasted six years and over 75 issues before being cancelled.  Over the years The Warriors have been revisited and re-envisioned from everything from a reality show for Super Teens to the catalyst for the Marvel Civil War.  Well its the Marvel Now and everyone gets a second, third or forth chance at the spotlight.

Our new team has the old stand bys, Vance Asttro as Justice, and Speedball being joined with updated versions of old members Namoria, and Nova along with new members Scarlet Spider, Sun Girl, Hummingbird and a last unnamed hero.

So whats our first issue give us.  Mostly set up for the team to meet.  Each member is in their own place, Colorado, New York, Mexico etc all fighting the same enemy, members of the High Evolutionariy team of genetic cleansing robots.  Its a formula thats worked in the past and if written right these characters could gel into an interesting team.  With so much great material coming out of the Marvel Bullpen these days this book could get easily lost in the shuffle.  If the New Warriors is going to stand out this first arc has to be really great.  Lets hope the New Warriors make their mark in the Marvel Now over the next few months!

Justice-League-28-coverJustice League 28
Forever Evil
Writer – Geoff Johns
Art: Ivan Reis
Finishes: Joe Prado and Scott Hanna

Ever since the New 52 update to the DCU i’ve been one of those angry old man comic fans that can’t handle changes to their favorites.  Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis on Justice League was ok I thought.  Not John’s masterworks from the past but not everyone can hit it out of the park every single time.  I felt the Trinity War storyline and the fact that it directly lead into Forever Evil was just plain awkward but some highlights have come from this storyline.  First off, many of the minor players in the DCU are getting some well deserved story time along with costume revamps.  Cyborg being my primary example here.  Since he joined the Justice League his main job was to just chill at their headquarters and make outbound calls.  A huge waste for one of my favorite characters.  Now with an updated, slim look and powers Cyborg will be the major player in defeating the evil Crime Syndicate with the help of none other then…wait for it.  THE METAL MEN!!

metal men

Yup, the Metal Men.  If your a fan, your a super fan.  If you hate them, you really hate them.  Thats just how it is with the Metal Men.

Now like I said earlier, the New 52 screwed some costume revamps when it launched and my initial response to the new Metal Men design wasn’t all that great.  I wanted my robots to have their trademark pointy noses and body shapes.  I thought with these changes DC was going to throw away everything that made the Metal Men the Metal Men and go another direction but lo and behold..Geoff Johns once again shows his fan boy roots and keeps all their personalities intact.  The way the team interacts with each other and humanity was such a large part of the joy of the book it would have been a shame if it was changed  and it wasn’t.  Sure some of the body designs updated but Mercury was still Mercury, Lead was still Lead, Tin was good ol Tin and so on.  I’m certainly looking forward to how they are used in the fight against the Syndicate and hope whoever takes the creative reigns of these characters afterward keeps as true to their core as Johns has and not tossed to the wayside like the Creature Commandos when Johns revived them.

and speaking of which.

creature commandosDC has finally released a collected volume of all the Creature Commando appearances in Weird War Tales.

Frankenstein, Werewolf, Vampire, Medusa, GI Robot fighting Nazis and dinosaurs.

Priced at 19.99 this book is a no brainer.  Buy it….now.
Go on, I’ll wait.

Kaiju…Gesundheit.

rulers_of_earth___cover_a_by_kaijusamurai-d5y2wwyWhat a month for Giant Monster fans.  Pacific Rim has finally hit the theaters being everything it promised to be and in comic shops, Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #1 hit shelves.  Now chances are if you’re one of us older folk who grew up in the 70’s your Saturday Mornings were a steady diet of cartoons, kung fu and Giant Monster movies.  From Godzilla to Gamara to Ultraman, we had our heroes, our villains and all of these embodied in giant rubber monster suits and awesome Kaiju Wrestling moves.  So many of us on the East Coast have fond memories of Saturday’s Creature Double Feature giving us classic monsters to start but then stepping it up to Godzilla, King of Monsters and his court.  Movies, vinyl import toys, american games based on the toho franchise, we couldn’t get enough of these titans, and with the release of Pacific Rim, a tribute to our childhood has been updated for an entirely new generation.

IDW has had the rights to publish Godzilla titles for a few years now and with a solid number of mini series under their belts its time for an ongoing title for the King of Monsters!  Rulers of Earth written by Chris Mowry and drawn by Matt Frank starts with a solid enough story and the usual trappings of a Toho movie.  Unknown aliens/villains manipulate these giant beasts into battle with creatures of their own in the hopes of using them to control Earth.  In the meantime, Earth scientists and military have entire departments devoted to the study and defense against Kaiju attack.  The big item that this book brings to the table that other Godzilla tales haven’t is the introduction of Zilla in comic format for the first time!  For those of you who don’t know, Zilla is the 1998 americanized version of Godzilla brought to the big screen and staring Matthew Broderick.  While a fun giant monster movie, this version of Godzilla was never really accepted and since then reinvented as an new monster named Zilla and cast as part of the Godzilla gallery of foes, even featured briefly the in 2004 film Godzilla Final Wars.

Personally I’m looking forward to the battle between Godzilla and Zilla in issue 2, and this could be the start of new ongoing rivalry between monsters!  My only negative with this title is that while Matt Frank is amazing at his comic rendition of all things Kaiju or Robotic, his humans have a slightly off appearance.  A sort of hybrid of anime and US cartoon style that isn’t quite there yet but as I mentioned, he makes up for it in spades with his monster work!  Here’s looking forward to the rest of the series, if you’re a giant monster fan like I am give it a try!