Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Mark & Eve & Alex & Scott & Emma Edition

Invincible_118Invincible #118

Robert Kirkman/Ryan Ottley/Jason Howard/Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Image $.25

CHRIS FACT: If you offer a comic that I have the SLIGHTEST interest in for under $1, I will buy it.

Invincible is a book I’ve read for a long time. Like 104 consecutive issues long. It was also a book that got a little too gross for my liking and jumped ship. But for a quarter, I was willing to pick it up and see what Mark and the gang were up to these days. For the record, Invincible 118 is definitely NOT the perfect jumping on point for new readers. There’s a 6 page recap of the series, and that’s HELLA intimidating if your new to the series. But if you’re a lapse reader like myself, it’s pretty good issue to jump back in on and not be too lost.

Robert Kirkman is still going strong on this book, mixing drama with some much needed but slightly juvenile humor, which is needed because this book gets GRIM in the last few pages. TRIGGER WARNING/SPOILERS: There’s a sexual violence discussion that while handled well, kind of comes out of nowhere if you’re not caught up on the book. I applaud Kirkman for taking some story telling risks and actually pulling it off, but I’m not sure if that’s going to win him any new readers.

Ryan Ottley, one of my favorite artists today and one of the things I miss most about the book, has started inking himself, and it’s a bit jarring. His art looks a little looser, and more Erik Larsen-esque. It’s not bad mind you, it’s just took me by surprise. On colors we have  Jean-Francois Beaulieu who uses a brighter palette than John Raunch did, but still isn’t on FC Plascencia level. In his and Raunch’s defense, it could be a printing issue, but without a digital copy of the book, it’s hard to say.

 

Invincible ends on a solid cliffhanger, hoping to keep anyone new to the series on. For me, it’s not enough to get to start buying the title again, but it was a nice to revisit the book. I applaud Invincible for being a super hero book where there’s some consequences for the cast’s actions because there’s no status quo, I just have no desire to stick around.

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_32_TextlessUncanny X-men 32

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

I’m sure Brian Michael Bendis isn’t the type of dude who googles his own name and reads reviews of his comics. Dude has better to do with his time. But man, it really does feel like Uncanny X-men 32 addresses all of my complaints with the book in a single done in one.

The end of AXIS is finally addressed in this book as Cyclops’ brother Havok joins the cast. Bendis’ take on Alex is fun, although you’ve have to be caught up on Rick Remender‘s runs on Uncanny Avengers and AXIS to understand why he’s currently the way he is. Alex acts as the stand in for the reader, and helps us get caught up on what went down at the end of the last issue and the beginning of this one. There’s a bit with Scott and Emma that made me MAD as of fan of those readers, but speaks of Bendis’ talents. He managed to get some strong emotions out of me with this comic, something he hasn’t done with this book in some time. Bendis has a pretty good track record with done and ones on this title, but this is easily one of his stronger issues on this run.

Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers provide to supply this book with some fine art (that cover is especially good), although the 2 different colors and some odd photoshopping when it comes to the background hurts it in places. It doesn’t ruin the book in any way, but it certainly pulled me out of the experience a few times. But when it’s good, it’s good, especially when it comes to that Scott and Emma confrontation. Again, a great scene that hurt me oh so much.

As we approach the end of Bendis’ Uncanny X-men run, it’s nice to see the writer continue to take the X-men in some interesting directions while writing some excellent comics. His run on Uncanny has been a little uneven in place, but issues like these overshadow the weaker issues. Uncanny X-men 32 may be the best yet, setting the up the end of  this volume of  UXM on a interesting foot.

 

 

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colder

Colder and Rex Mundi artist, Juan Ferreyra speaks!

When you have all the time in the world to pore over wall after wall of new comics, you start to take notice of the artists who really stand out. And one pattern that’s really emerged is this – artist, Juan Ferreyra, can draw some #$%ed up $#@!

So after obsessing over books like COLDER, REX MUNDI, PROMETHEUS and more, our own comic jockey, Scott Baker, reached out to Ferreyra to pick his brain and some from whence the madness comes.

FORBIDDEN PLANET: I was surprised to find very little on your personal life on the web. What would you like to tell us about what got you to where you are today?

JUAN FERREYRA: Ok, I’m Juan Ferreyra, 37 years old, I was born In the city of Cordoba in Argentina, and it was a car and some walking too that got me where I am right now, heh!

FP: Who inspired you to pick up drawing as a career?

JF: I was drawing since I can remember, mostly because my dad draws really well. My uncles and cousins draw really well, too, so it runs in the family. My dad used to read comics and they were all over the place in my house and, since I was a little kid, I pictured me working as a grown up as a sequential illustrator. When I read my first American comic book (Action Comics 584, by John Byrne) I realized it was comics that I wanted to do for a living.

FP: Your work contains various intricacies in a single space. Has this ever caused trouble meeting a deadline?

JF: At the beginning of my career (and usually on #1 issues), but I think I’ve met all my deadlines so far… I also sometimes like to make myself some extra trouble by adding pages to the scripts, making one page fight scene into a 3 pager and things like that.

FP: When I see your work, whether it’s in the pages of “Colder” or on the covers of “New Suicide Squad” or “Constantine,” I end up looking at it for an extended period of time. What artists, in comics or otherwise, cause you to stare at their work for extended periods of time?

JF: I love works from guys like Adam Hughes, Travis Charest, Bryan Hitch, Alan Davis, Brian Bolland , Kevin Nowlan, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Frank Quitely, Stuart Immonen, Sean Gordon Murphy, etc!

FP: Do you prefer working on covers or entire story arcs?

JF: Doing Covers is awesome, but what I enjoy the most is entire story arcs, doing the sequential part is the best for me, I have a blast doing it.

FP:  I’m a huge fan of “Colder,” and have dipped my toes into “Rex Mundi.” What can you tell our readers about how your early creative process differs from your current process?

JF: Colder is awesome! I started with an Image comic called Small Gods, and then I started to do pencils, inks and greyscales with the computer.  For Rex Mundi, I switched inks for pencils and coloring with the computer. For Colder, I kept the pencils but tried to loosen up a bit; less clean lines and I added watercolors to some pages and the coloring with the computer.

FP: Have you ever drawn something so bizarre you sat back and thought, “They might lock me away if anybody saw this”?

JF: Maybe in High school where I did a comic that was called The Student Avenger, and it was about one of our friends that was really big and muscular but also very quiet, although you could sense he could snap anytime and crush you. In the comic he transformed into the Student Avenger and punished the bad teachers. I had him kill a lot of teachers in comics. I guess that if the teachers read that they would’ve done something with me.

FP: What do you like to have on while you work? Music? Movies/TV? Deafening silence?

JF: I listen to music or Radio, lately I prefer to listen to radios that have people talking, so I feel more like I have working partners!
FP: You and Paul Tobin make a great team! Who else would you like to illustrate for?

JF: Thanks! Paul is awesome. We worked together on 3 different projects already: Colder, Falling Skies and Prometheus. I would love to illustrate something for Garth Ennis, Brian K Vaughn, Morrison..

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: SEXCASTLE

SexCastleCoverSEXCASTLE

Kyle Starks

Image $15.99

Reviewed by Chris Troy 

“Nurse, this baby was born mean!”

Comics Alliance contributor/upcoming X-men ’92 writer Chris Sims first brought Kyle Starks‘ brilliant SEXCASTLE to my attention via a an article/Kickstartr plug on CA. The panel that sold me on the book is below, edited because language, but the important thing about this page remains unaltered:

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The last panel is arguably the best line of comics dialogue in 2015/the last 10 years/since Ben Grimm declared it was “Clobberin’ Time” for the first time.

Once SEXCASTLE was fully funded, Image Comics, who has also given us comics with sex in the title such as SEX and SEX CRIMINALS, picked up the publishing rights, and unleashed Kyle Starks insanely rad comic on the masses last week. It’s a tribute/parody of classic ’80s/90s action films, which is nothing new to comics, but so over the top it feels fresh. Sexcastle definitely pays homage to the works that inspired it, but it also laughs at them, and encourages others to do so as well.

fistburger006SEXCASTLE is the tale of Shane Sexcastle, once the world’s greatest assassin, now an ex-con who ready to start life over in a small town. Of course that sort of plot doesn’t make for the most action packed action comic, so Shane’s vow to give up violence is short lived, and his legacy of brutality* catches up to him once he messes up some locale. This ends in hella punching several characters that bear resemblance to a lot of action film icons, and all of them dying terrible and hilarious deaths. Oh and an actual bear. Sexcastle isn’t exactly the most serious of comics folks.

What Sexcastle is however, is arguably the most quotable comic in some time. The dialogue is a blend of action movies and Chris Onstad‘s Achewood, meaning a lot of dumb things are said in clever and hilarious ways. There’s jokes everywhere in this book, and all of them stick their landing mostly because they’re played straight, and rarely acknowledged. I’m honestly surprised the book isn’t labeled as an action-comedy, but then again I suppose there’s nothing funny about violence. No, that’s a lie, comics violence can be hilarious, especially when GUNCHUCKS are involved.

Sexcastle01Starks’ artwork is simplistic, and honestly that’s for the best. Like I just said, there’s a ton of graphic violence in this book, and this book would probably turn me off to it a bit if it looked too realistic. The cartoony style works in the comic’s favor, as does having the book being printed in black and white with some gray-scaling. Even the hand penned lettering is often hilarious, featuring sound sound effects like ONG-BAK’D, PANTIED, and a bunch of others words I can’t post here.

SEXCASTLE, while chock full of good morals, is definitely not for the children. BUT it’s arguably the best comic release of the year. Yeah, I know, Scott McCloud released something not too long along, and technically this was first released in 2014, BUT MCCLOUD’S FOR NERDS** AND SEXCASTLE DOESN’T ACKNOWLEDGE SUCH LAME CONCEPTS AS TIME! To paraphrase The Simpsons, BUY SEXCASTLE OR GO TO HELL!

 

 

 

*Shout of to the Misfits!

** Not personal Scott McCloud, but this book owns harder than both The Raids and Dredd combined.

 

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Tom Savini joins FPNYC’s Fangoria Cover to Cover event!

Scream great Tom Savini—one of the terror talents most associated with the long history of FANGORIA—has joined the growing list of horror celebrities who have come onboard the FANGORIA: COVER TO COVER Book Signing at New York City’s Forbidden Planet (832 Broadway near Union Square; [212] 473-1576). The event will take place on Thursday, April 2nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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“Tom Savini has been a presence in the pages of FANGORIA, and in the hearts of horror fans, since the first issue of the magazine,” says former Fango editor Tony Timpone, who edited FANGORIA: COVER TO COVER. “It will be an honor to welcome Savini at our first-ever book store signing on the East Coast. We are thrilled that Tom will be sitting with us and meeting with Fango’s faithful followers.”

Cover-to-Cover-Side-2WEB

Appearing with Savini will be genre all-stars such as: legendary FAMOUS MONSTERS cover artist Basil Gogos; Larry Fessenden (director of THE LAST WINTER, HABIT, WENDIGO); Debbie Rochon (actress, Rondo-nominated Fango columnist and former host of Sirius’ much-missed FANGORIA RADIO); and screenwriter and playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (CARRIE and THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN, SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK and upcoming AMERICAN PSYCHO on Broadway). In addition, staffers Timpone, Thomas DeFeo, Michael Gingold, W.R. Mohalley and Ken Hanley will be on hand to autograph. Copies of FANGORIA: COVER TO COVER book will be available for purchase and signing by all of our guests, and all signatures will be free of charge, like it should be!

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More special guests will be added, so keep checking back. Please come on out and help FANGORIA celebrate its amazing 35-year-old run on April 2nd in NYC at Forbidden Planet, located in the bloody heart of Union Square.

Can’t make it to the event? Pre-order a copy of Fangoria Cover to Cover and we will get it signed for you and have it sent to your house. That way you can tell everyone you came, even though you really didn’t.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: #BatgirlofBurnside Edition

So in case haven’t sold a large  small portion of your humanity to the internet like I have, you may have missed this week’s Batgirl controversy. The Outhouse has a good summary of the insanity if you care to catch up on it, and I agree with DC‘s  decision to recall the cover. Sadly, there’s a loud internet minority that doesn’t agree with me, but I really don’t give a toss about their whacks opinions.

As fate would have it (“or maybe it’s a CONSPIRACY?!” says that one guy on Facebook no one really likes), not only did this month’s issue of Batgirl drop this week, but the Batgirl: Endgame tie-in issue dropped as well. Since Barbara is once again in the spotlight, I’d figured I’d cover both issues in the column, because it makes or better narrative or something.

batgirlendgame1BG40cover-copy_5488f03771edf2.26063680Batgirl: Endgame #1

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Bengal

Batgirl #40

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Babs Tarr/Maris Wicks 

DC $2.99

Batgirl Endgame wasn’t what I expecting, but delightful none the less. Taking place before the events of Batman #40, but after Batgirl #40, the one shot sees Babs helping out with some evacuating while dealing with the ( HERE LIES SPOILERS) The Joker plague that infected Gotham.

The comic is impressive on 2 major levels. It’s a silent issue of sorts, which ever since G.I. Joe #21, is nothing new, but still an hard feet to pull off. What separate this silent issue from past ones is the clear use of Emojis, thus making it the MOST 2015 of comics. The other things that wow me was the art of Bengal, who has the not easy task of being the first artist to draw something related the series since Babs Tarr. This France-based artist delivers some gorgeous and really expressive art, and successfully manages to tell a emotional story without the use of any dialogue.

The story, by series regulars Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart, itself is fairly straight forward, and a tad on the fluff side, but let’s be real, there’s only so much you can do with a editorial mandated tie in. Upside, it’s a simple one-shot (unlike the Death of the Story arc from a few years back), the gets to see Batgirl be a creative and triumphant hero, which is nice when dealing with Joker related stuff. It’s a solid alternative to the pretty grim stuff that’s been going with Batman proper, and shows that Barbara can be triumphant and stay true to her character even in the darkest of situations.

With Batgirl #40 we have a story in a very modern setting with a some retro plot elements. The previous issue gave us the reveal of the first arc’s big bad, and we get it’s origin with this issue. It’s a bit disappointing in my opinion, as SPOILERS a rogue AI based on Batgirl’s brain patterns is something  straight out of Wargames. I do appreciate it being  an analogy for the Batgirl’s ongoing struggle with her identity, but I thought it was a little ham fisted. That being said, I REALLY dug the last few pages of the issue, and I’m hyped to see what June will bring for this title and the upcoming Black Canary title.

 

Even though I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of the book’s plot, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Marius Wicks’ visuals are still gorgeous. Tarr’s facial expressions, beautiful character designs & outfits and brutal yet clean fights scenes combined with Wicks’ crisp colors palette are still the main reason to buy this book. And while Stewart and Brenden Fletcher’s script wasn’t as strong as i’ts been in the past, they do drop some interesting hints about the possible future of some of the cast members.

 

Batgirl #40 is a bit uneven, and Batgirl Endgame is a bit of light read, but I wouldn’t call either comics bad. They’re fun books, with visuals that aren’t afraid to try new things. They both feel fresh, which is appreciated and welcomed, as I rather see comic try and fail then stick to  a proven but tired formula. Batgirl is a book that embraces the changing comic book medium, and that makes it a must read.

 

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Fangoria Cover To Cover Signing April 2nd at FP

Join the Fangoria crew at Forbidden Planet in celebration of the release of Fangoria Cover To Cover, their new over-sized hardcover coffee table book published by Cemetery Dance!

So come down to Forbidden Planet Thursday April 2nd at 6PM for the Fangoria Cover To Cover Singing and get your copy autographed by Thomas DeFeo, Tony Timpone, W.R. Mohalley, Michael Gingold, and Ken Hanley! Plus you never know what surprise celebrity guests the Fango crew will have in tow so keep your eyes glued to both the Forbidden Planet and Fangoria websites and various social media outlets for more announcements.

Cover-to-CoverWEB

Since 1979, Fangoria magazine has been the bible for horror fans worldwide. Combining first-rate writing, reporting with unparalleled expertise on the fright-film genre, and eye-popping color photos, Fango has set a standard and become a name recognized by anyone who knows and loves scary cinema. One of the signature elements of the magazine has always been the eye-catching and controversial covers that have grabbed the attention of readers everywhere for the past three decades.

Fangoria: Cover to Cover is a lavish, oversized, and full color hardcover book that celebrates the magazine’s long history and the genre it reports on, reproducing every one of those terrifying covers in stunning full color and providing a history of modern horror cinema that has been thirty years in the making. This special edition volume collects a wealth of information, trivia, frightening photos, and every legendary cover of this acclaimed magazine, serving as a celebration of horror and a “coffee table” book that readers will turn to time and time again.

A Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive hardcover edition, there are no other editions planned anywhere in the world at this time!

 

Can’t make it to Forbidden Planet’s Fangoria Cover To Cover Event on April 2nd? As usual we’ve made it so you can reap the benefits from the comfort of your couch. Pre-order copies of Fangoria Cover To Cover from www.fpnyc.com and Forbidden Planet will get it signed by all attendees before we ship it (FREE SHIPPING in the USA!) direct to you after our event.

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This Promotional Fly Swatter is Almost as Swell as Jeff Goldblum

This is easily one of the neatest, if not THE neatest, pieces of promotional swag we’ve ever received. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the official Fly Outbreak Fly Swatter from IDW…

Fly Outbreak Swatter

BONUS: We’re giving it away this Friday, 3/20/15! Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for more details.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Duck Puns Edition

howard_the_duck_1_coverHoward The Duck #1

Chip Zdarsky, Joe Quinones, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

I love the fact that we now live in a world where the box office success of Guardians of the Galaxy means Chip Zdarsky gets to write a Howard the Duck book drawn by Joe Quinones.

Howard the Duck is the latest off-beat Marvel book that’s unsurprisingly amazing. Joe Quinones has been drawing a number of beautiful covers for years, so this book looking as good as it does is expected. And Zdarkseid (Mandatory misspelling of Chip’s pen name=GET) has been one of the funniest dudes in comics as of late, so Howard being a laugh riot also isn’t shocking.

What I wasn’t expecting was this creative team to build a narrative that spans from the original Howard the Duck #1 all the way to the GOTG post credit scene. It’s the opposite of the recently relaunched Ant-Man, embracing Howard’s weird history, not to mention the recently concluded She- Hulk series, yet presenting in a way that easy for new reader to pick up. I would say it’s the best Howard I’ve read since creator Steve Gerber’s last run, but I’m sure there was also a mini series where Howard turned into a MODOK, which is also pretty great.

I can’t ever recall wanting a Howard the Duck series, but now that I have one by this specific creative team I kind of love it. It looks great, it’s funny as hell and there’s enough content in the first issue that warrants a re-read. Howard the Duck #1 is not unlike Squirrel girl#1 where Marvel has given us super hero humor book by some top-self creators. Also if anyone at Marvel is reading this, a Zdarsky-penned “Self-loathing Spider-Man” series is something I want now.

 

portrait_incredibleSpider-Gwen #2

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodrigues/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

I’ll be honest, I was willing to trade wait Spider-Gwen even with the first issue being quite superb. But then Scumbag Matt Murdock made an appearance, and suddenly I was $4 poorer.

Spider-Gwen continues the trend of excellent talking animal comics by Marvel this week, as Spider-Ham plays a unexpected, but none the less important role in this issue, which sees both Stacys deal with their respected Spider-Gwen related problems. Having both Stacys take point this issue gives it a unique perspective, as Father/Daughter relationships are rarely explored in super hero comics. We also get to see more of this reimagined Marvel universe characters, and a background Easter egg promising an interesting take on one Felicia Hardy. In a way it hits a lot of the same beats the first issue did, while continuing to develop the characters and move the story forward. This continues to be Jason Latour‘s finest Marvel work to date, especially with the dialogue sounding and flowing as well as it does.

Visually, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi continue to provide stellar art for this book. Each character is boiled down to a specific characteristic (Murdock’s always sleazy, Frank Castle always looks determined, Spider-Ham is VERY much a pig) under Rodriguez’s skillful line work, and the heavy use of pink and green against the darker backgrounds of this book still make it look slick as hell.

Spider-Gwen #2 is pretty much more of the same of what we got from issue 1, which is fine. The first issue was rad, as was this one. Between this and the newly relaunched Spider-Woman, we have two awesome alternatives to Amazing Spider-Man, with each book offering something fresh and fun.

 

 

 

 

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Spider-Verse

2 Spider-Women and a little Silk

With the SPIDER-VERSE story arc over and the dust only beginning to settle, you may have noticed a shift in the shape of Peter Parker’s part of the Marvel Universe.

It’s got *gasp* girl heroes! Three of ‘em, even!

Yes, three new books have made their way out to you Marvel readers, each featuring a female protagonist, two of whom are brand-spankin’ new. But with MS. MARVEL already dominating and SHE-HULK‘s book sadly finished, the obvious question becomes – is their room in the sky for three new, distaff Spider-Man counterparts?

Probably not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it while it lasts. So let’s look at why you should be reading the comics  for each of our gals – SPIDER-WOMAN, SPIDER-GWEN, and SILK!

SILK

So! Elephant in the room – we’ve still got a slew of copies of SILK #1 sitting on the stands right now. Which doesn’t bode well for newcomer, Cindy Moon, nor her creative team, Robbie Thompson, Stacey Lee, et al.

And that’s a shame because the centerpiece for the Spider-Verse story arc has a real solid story already in her own book. Girl out of time, missing family, and a complicated relationship to Peter Parker himself, Cindy’s got all the makings of a relatable super-hero. Plus, she’s one of the scant few Korean characters in the regular Marvel roster right now.

Even though her family is MIA, Cindy Moon is deeply affected by them. We get flashbacks of what her home life was like before she wound up in a lonely bunker, hidden away for a decade. And what we see isn’t so dissimilar from the kind of interactions we see between Kamala Khan and her family.

What it boils down to is this – if you’re looking for a book that marries the web-slinging sensibilities of Spider-Man with the more modern, slice-of-life style from Ms. Marvel, Silk is probably the book you ought to be reading.

SPIDER-WOMAN

If there’s a true dark horse among this three-some it is, unquestionably, Jessica Drew. While Silk may not have sold out, SPIDER-WOMAN #5 is seeing attention for all the wrong reasons.

While the comic-reading world was divided on Milo Manara’s butt-tastic variant cover to Spider-Woman #1, it’s her new costume that’s been universally agreed upon. And that response is “eh”. It’s not terrible, it’s not great, it’s just not particularly… right. That’s the consensus. And that tepid response mixed with kickstarting the new adventures of Jessica Drew at a number five rather than a number one isn’t helping things either.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be reading! Especially if you’ve been longing for something that feels less superhero and more A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Yes, it’s impossible to miss writer Dennis Hopeless’s homage to the Bendis new classic, ALIAS. Spider-Woman’s a detective, and she spends a lot of time being duped and getting it wrong. Throw in a snarky attitude, and the new Jessica Drew is definitely the new Jessica Jones.

And whether or not you’re happy with the costume or the fact that she left the Avengers, there’s no mistaking the potential for a more street-savvy, motorcycle riding, ain’t-afraid-to-fight-dirty Spider-Woman. So if you haven’t given her a shot yet, do. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

SPIDER-GWEN

And if there’s one hero who’s off to the best start it is, undoubtedly, Gwen Stacey. Spidey fans have loved Gwen since time immemorial, so the chance to see her in a new alt. universe where she was the one who got bit by that radioactive spider? Well that’s about as right as it can get.

And while Jessica Drew’s costume hasn’t played well with fans, you’re guaranteed to see multiple Spider-Gwen’s at every convention you go to. Rightly so. The stark-white and black, mixed with purple – and that hood! It’s costume-design perfection.

All that, and the book ain’t bad either. Much like Peter, Gwen’s not exactly beloved in her city either. And while her father tries to help, her reputation is tearing his down more than his is bolstering her’s up.

Yes, it definitely feels like a Spidey book just left of center. Which would explain why it sold out so quickly. Lucky for you the story’s easy to pick up AND SPIDER- GWEN #2 is out this week.

But you tell us next time you’re in the shop – who’s your favorite of the new(ish) Spider-Women?

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A Slice of Pye: John Pye talks Snyder’s Batman

Morning light breaks over the great old city and they’re all out there; clawing at the doors, peering through the windows, begging to get in to satisfy their insatiable need. They’re all calling his name:

BATMAN!

No, it’s not the blood-thirsty, Jokerized victims of Gotham City I’m referring to, but the Bat-Crazed fans who can’t get enough of artist, Greg Capullo, and writer, Scott Snyder’s modern legends of the Dark Knight.

But how did we get here? As Batman puts it in issue 38 of Snyder’s New 52 run, “let’s talk history.”

Along with Batman, we fought our way through a hellish labyrinth set to instill paranoia and despair (Batman Vol. 1 THE COURT OF OWLS  and Vol. 2 THE CITY OF OWLS). The, we faced off against our inner-most fears while a long-kept secret, finally revealed, tore the bonds of family apart (Batman Vol. 3 DEATH OF THE FAMILY). We battled for the soul of a darkened city within the grip of hopelessness and riddled with puzzles (Batman Vol. 4 ZERO YEAR – SECRET CITY and Vol. 5 ZERO YEAR – DARK CITY).

Through Batman’s eyes we’ve done all this, but the fight is still far from over. Bad news for Batman; great news for us.

“Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” Those words once delivered by Jack Nicholson’s Joker 26 years ago would coincidently be a fitting title to the Joker’s goodbye that takes its form in the ENDGAME story arc.

Scott Snyder has often-times compared his Joker to the devil himself. He’s the kind of devil that thrives off our misery as a mirror to the worst in us. He’s the kind of demon that whispers what we fear most into our ears – what we’re afraid to have exposed, to lose, or even to gain through means unforgivable.

It’s been said many times that the Joker is Batman’s mirror. And as Bruce gazes into that mirror, he is forced to come to grips with something he has always feared: uncertainty. Batman has uncertainty over who the Joker truly is and, more importantly, what Batman might have to do to ultimately bring the Clown Prince of Crime down.

Ironically, uncertainty is also what we, the die-hard readers of Batman, face as Snyder and Capullo near their contractual end with DC Comics on. There’s a sense of anxiety knowing that not only may Batman or the Joker be coming to their end, but the creative team may be as well.

It remains uncertain whether Capullo and Snyder will stay on the title beyond issue 50, but I assume that I can speak for everyone (or at least the thousands of us who fought alongside Batman for the last four years) when I say thank you for continuing to inspire us. Thank you for putting Batman through hell for the last four years. It has reminded and reinforced why we love the character as much we all do. We wish you success on whichever road you decide to take. We can only hope you allow your hearts to guide you on that road. We can only hope your hearts lead you back to Gotham.

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Two New Expansions to Two of the Most Popular Board Games on Forbidden Planet’s Shelves

Just in case you missed two of this week’s big gaming releases…

Smash Up Pretty Pretty Expansion

Smash Up Pretty Pretty Expansion

Think only pirates, time travelers, vampires, and bears can smash bases? Well get ready to be taught a lesson… in the nicest way possible! Pretty Pretty Smash Up brings the sweetest factions ever to the vicious fight for victory! Kitty Cats use their incredible cuteness to take control of enemy minions. Princesses ply their royalty, beauty, and even their love to get their way. Fairies` fickle tricks give you options like never before, while the herds of Mythic Horses work together for dominance. These adorable creatures are more than just pretty faces they`re powerful cards that will integrate seamlessly into your existing Smash Up sets.

Pandemic State of EmergencyPandemic State of Emergency Expansion

Saving the World Just Got A Little Tougher! Three new challenges await you in this new expansion for the Pandemic Board Game – The Hinterlands Challenge, in which the diseases are spread from animals to humans! The Emergency Events Challenge that adds unpredictable Events to cause devastating effects on the game…requiring the use “Quarantines” to stop the spread of disease across the board! And The Superbug Challenge, in which a fifth disease that cannot be treated threatens the world! Produce vaccine doses after finding its cure in order to fight off this threat. You must eradicate the superbug disease to win. This expansion is not for the faint of heart!

Both of these are in stock at Forbidden Planet NYC now!

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All of Today’s Daily Deals Are at Least 50% Off

Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Sassy Spies Editions

Yes, yes, I’m well aware Spider-Woman isn’t a spy anymore, but she’s still in Secret Avengers for the next 2 months so it works.

 

635544611181339292-SpiderWoman-coverSpider-Woman #5

Dennis Hopeless/Javier Rodriguez/Alvaro Lopez

Marvel $3.99

NEW STATUS QUO! NEW COSTUME! NEW ARTIST! 5TH ISSUE IN!

Spider-Woman, not unlike Spider-Gwen, is done with Spider-Verse nonsense, done with the Avengers, done with Greg Land, and is hitting the streets with a new mission and a new slick look courtesy of Kris Anka. Writer Dennis Hopeless is now free to tell stories without having to worry about tying into Amazing Spider-Man, and the book’s all the better for it.

 

Land is replaced by former Daredevil colorist/Fill in Artist Javier Rodriguez, who reminds everyone that he can draw and color the hell out of a comic 5 pages into this issue. Rodriquez definitely picked up some tricks coloring Chris Samnee over the years, which explains why is layouts are so good. And of course, the coloring on this book is surreal. The way Rodriquez colors the rain almost make those panels feel 3-D. And man, that new costume looks amazing on Jessica. Inking him is Alvaro Lopez, who knows where to thicken his black lines and where to keep them thin. He’s a fine match for Javier.

 

Hopeless staying aboard on the title is A-O-K with me, as he’s a smart writer with a knack of coming up with unique premises on corporate comic characters. Jessica struggling with going solo is an interesting predicament for a super hero, and it’s a cool challenge for her to overcome. And the addition of Daily Bugle mainstay Phil Urich is neat, and gives Jessica a great character to interact with. Also Hopeless appeals to my loves of the recently completed Superior Foes of Spider-Man and brings in several Z-list Marvel villains for Jessica to harass.

 

Spider-Woman #5 is not unlike the Bab Tarring of Batgirl, which is fine because that was a smart move, and it’s certainly now working for J-Drew.   Between this, Silk and Spider-Gwen, you’d think the comics world would be sick of female Spider-ladies, but not that’s far from the case. Each one of these titles brings something to new to medium, and all of them are good comics.  Spider-Woman #5 is a VERY good comic that should have been a #1. I know the book got a nice sales boost launching and tying into Spider-Verse, but THIS is the debut issue the creators and characters deserve.

 

stk665635Grayson #8

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeromy Cox

DC $2.99

This issue sees the end of season 1 wrapping up, as the book goes on hiatus for 2 months due to DC moving to the west coast and not replacing them with robots like I did (Hence I spell all good like always). In terms of endings, I don’t think this could have been any better.

Issue 8’s cover is pretty spot on, as SPYRAL finds a traitor in it’s ranks, and it’s up to Agent Grayson to save the day. It brings the cast of mostly new characters together in a fun and creative way, and ends on a brutal note. It’s spy comics done right, which has been this creative team’s MO since day 1, so this issue being as great as it is doesn’t come at that much of a surprise. Tom King and Tim Seeley deliver another fine script with some choice dialogue and neat twists, and Mike Janin and Jeromy Cox make the whole thing looks so pretty. Even when things get dark and violent, which says a lot about how I judge beauty.

Issue 8 is an issue that wraps up some plot-lines, starts new ones, and sees one of Dick Grayson’s student name each of his butt cheeks. It’s another great installment of comic that has been a crazy fun ride, and this slight break will make me miss it a ton.

 

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