Category: Comics

Vita’s Last Tuesday Transmission.

On this weeks installment of the Tuesday Transmission we go over a bulk of the new releases, interview Burgess of the Druid Underground Film Festival, and say farewell to the wonderful Vita Ayala.

We will miss you Vita!

Post to Twitter

REVIEW: The Last of Us: American Dreams

22396The Last of Us: American Dreams

Faith Erin Hicks/Neil Druckman/Rachel Rosenberg

Dark Horse #16.99

Instead of eating up the words count here, I tossed a wall of text up on my tumblr regarding PAX East 2014. So follow the link , read the article, and see how many corgi gif sets I reblogged on the regular.  (http://anarchris.tumblr.com/post/82736375965/of-pax-east-and-chris-here-comes-the-walls-of-text . One of the things I did pick up there was the show exclusive The Last of Us: American Dream hardcover, but the soft cover is available everywhere for about 10 bucks less. So I thought I’d shared my thought on it with the lot of you.

 

So yeah, The Last of Us, a game I’m fairly certain most of you heard of. It’s one of the best selling, heavily advertised and critically acclaimed games of 2013! Personally, even after waiting for a $20 off retail sale price, I found it a tad overrated, but you guys don’t want to hear about that (unless you do!). You’re here for comics and/or toys talk (one of these days. Maybe) . So let’s take a look at the Last of Us’ comic book tie-in/prequel story, American Dreams.

((NOTE: While I still have to PLAY the “new” single player DLC, I’m like 90% certain that this book take places before that.))

Last-of-Us-Comic-2I usually tend to avoid video game comic tie ins, mostly because they tend to be awful. However, the Internet has informed me that Dark Horse has been doing some good stuff with their’s, and TLOU: The American Dream is co-written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks( Demonology 101, The War at Ellsmere , The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Friends With Boys), Naughty Dog’s  (The game developers) own Neil Druckman, and colorist Rachel Rosenberg. 

So is the book worth your time? Well yes and no. If you’re going into this comic with little to no idea what the game is about, you might fight yourself a tad disappointed. Aside from a note saying this takes places before the game, there’s nothing that explains why the world our lead Ellie inhabits is the way it is. You’re supposed to know that it’s a post-apocalyptic world devastated by the worst type of fungal/pollen outbreak ever. That’s something kind of crucial to the story.

And again, there really isn’t much of a story to be told. Since it’s a video game tie-in prequel, you’re introduced to a few characters, some who show up in the game, some who are mentioned in it, and that’s it. It sets up the downloadable content which bridges the gap between this comic and the actual game, but again, without any knowledge of the game, you’re going to be disappointed in the narrative.

last-of-us-2But what if you’re a fan of the game and want more from that world. Well then, you’re in luck. Faith Erin Hicks is an EXCELLENT artists, and why her art style is VASTLY different from the game’s, it doesn’t take away from anything. I hate to call it manga-esque, but it kind of it, as in the sense that’s very animated and detailed.  Also hella speedlines, and Ellie is kinda of big-eyed, but it also show you how good Faith Erin Hicks is when it comes to making her characters show any emotions. Hicks does excellent jobs of showing how run down the world (In think thinks takes place in Boston) is, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to showing violence.

lou3p5Dark Horse was wise to pair Hicks’ which Rachel Rosenberg, who I found out colored several X-men books over at Marvel that I really liked. Her colors do an excellent job setting the mood, using light colors for heavily dialogue scenes, bright colors for action sequences,  and darker ones for dramatic ones. It helps set the mood incredibly well.

What this book kind of lacks in narrative certainly makes up for in visuals. The Last of Us: American Dreams, isn’t for anyone, but if you’re a fan of the game and/or of Faith Erin Hicks, it’s definitely worth a read. It definitely reads better as a collection than in single issues, and it does help set the stage for one of the better characters to debut in video game in 2013.

 

Post to Twitter

Poetry in Motion

Here’s a poem about the Portland – Seattle bus trip I’m on right now:

Bolt Bus, you smell like booze
I think someone mistook you for a cruise.
You let us travel with free wi-fi,
But half the time it doesn’t work and I want to cry.
The sun is shining outside your windows,
But here I sit inside you, writing poetry, not prose.
Dude, the girl in front of you doesn’t want to talk,
I’m sorry you can’t take a hint, but you gonna walk.
Thank you, bolt bus, for cheap public transportation,
Are we there yet? I have to pee.

Also, a tip from the weekend:
When people tell you to drink a lot of water at a convention, and then volunteers proceed to hand you free water, don’t turn it down, you moron (me).

The Auteur #2- A new effing Auteur. I won’t lie, this is the comic I wish I had made, if I had ever attempted to make a comic. The art is humorously violent; the dialogue is reminiscent of a mental breakdown (maybe epiphany?) on a rampage; and characters are the best type of messed up, the type that have little redeemable characteristics, which is a rarity in any story. The story thus far: pure pandemonium! Our flop of a producer, Nathan T. Rex….holy shit, I’ve read his name so many times that I just realized his name, ugh I am a moron; anyways….Mr. Rex is trying to get his horror film Presidents Day off the ground, and hiring a real serial killer is sure to bring some realism to the project. Too bad he has to get him out of jail first, and make a mockery of the justice system. God bless America.

Solar Man of the Atom #1- Where Frank Barbiere goes, so I go too. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I die (when my hyperbole’s will never be challenged). Picking up another Gold Key mantel under Dynamite, Barbiere brings back a fansinating superhero, Solar Man of the Atom. A physicist who is transformed into nuclear energy is having some problems with his super power and his estranged daughter might the only one who can save his power. This smartly written number one issue is part origin story, part destruction story, and combines the power of hard science with the flexibility of science fiction. Artist Joe Bennett is highly skilled in bringing superheroes to life with a slew of work under both Marvel and DC, but the homage to ‘60s pulp science, Solar’s beginning, lends itself to this book in everyone’s favor. With a lot of history behind the character from Gold Key, to Jim Shooter’s take with Valiant in the ‘90s, and even bouncing to Dark Horse, Barbiere has a lot of material to mine from. But he’s definitely managed to make his characters and the story brand new again.

 

Sex Criminals TPB Vol 1- This book doesn’t really need my help to sell. Judging by the fact that every single issue goes back to the printers around four times, and even 2nd printings of 4th cover printings. It doesn’t end with these two. Two being Chip Zdarsky and Matt Fraction. These two share a rapport that goes beyond their comics and the internet, and infuses itself in the characters that we as an audience are so rapt to follow to see what sex-capades they get up to in their pursuit of money, acceptance, and maybe a little love. Suzie and Jon are full of wit, and they are ready to hit it…with each other. More than just a funny sex book, these characters are some of the most complex I’ve ever seen on pages, and their special sex-having/time-stopping abilities aren’t their defining characterstics. It’s what creates the story, moves the plot, but there’s a lot of depth under the surface, which is what makes people keep coming back for more. That and brimping. The intense character building and the brimping. (They tell me a detailed explanation of brimping would be inappropriate for publication, so I guess you’ll have to read it to find out)


White Suits #3- Has it been long enough since I last talked about White Suits? If I’m not mentioned this Barbiere and Cypress book on a weekly, nay, daily basis, then I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Mob crime done right. The key to the success in his writing comes from his ability to cut all the stuff that doesn’t matter, and par the story down to the essential scenes that move the story along without page filing fluff. All of the writing necessary to a novel, does not translate into comics, which is why each panel is full of Russian mercenaries, the mysterious White Suits, and our main characters as hostages in Chinatown. Obivously there’s more than happens in between the lines of Toby Cypress’s impressionist and dreamlike work; the action is tightly coiled, and ready to spring at any moment. Cypress and Barbiere perfectly combine the show v. tell conundrum, that can render even the best comic story a humdrum.

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics Late coz of PAX East edition

This review is a little late because I just got back from Boston. Well not just, more like got home, slept for forever, played with my cat and had coffee first, then got to writing. Priorities and such.

PAX East 2014 was awesome by the way, but I’ll get into that when I do my SPECIAL review of a Video Game related comic next around. But for now, comics talks!

REVIEWS:

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #2

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

THE WORST: There was no digital code with this book where there clearly was suppose to be. BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND, FIGHT THE MAN, ETC!

My lack of digital content aside (HAIL HYDRA!), I really dug the 2nd issue of Secret Avengers. The first issue was a lot of fun, establishing this run of the title may be a little more light-hearted than past incarnations of the title. The use of characters like MODOK, Spider-Woman and Phil Coulson are excellent comedic foils to your typical espionage Marvel characters like Black Widow, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. But not in a slap-slick way mind more, they’re just lighter and upbeat characters in a pretty dark sector of the Marvel Universe. Also Hawkeye’s in this book, and if this blog has taught anyone anything, it’s that I like books with Hawkeye in them.

Aside from being heavy on the action and humor, the book is incredibly clever, both visually and dialogue wise. In two issues the team  of Klot, Walsh and Wilson is assembled and their M.O. is established. Which in this age of multi-arc decompressed event books, having a complete story done in 2 chapters is a god send.

Now that Avengers Assemble is over, Secret Avengers is the Avengers book that you want to read if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s easy to get into, and veteran Marvel fans will like it for just being a good fun book. It joins Mighty Avengers as solid alternatives for reader who may be turned off by Johnathan Hickman‘s more complex and event driven Avengers books.

Lumberjanes01Lumberjanes #1

Shannon Watter, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson and Brook Allen

$3.99 Boom!/Boom Box

I was sold on this book the minute it was announced. The press release on Comics Alliance stated that Lumberjanes was to be “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” meets “Gravity Falls” and was co-created by one of my favorite artists on Tumblr. If none of that made sense to you, the translation is that I had very hype hopes for the book going into it.

But, did the book actually live up to my exceptions? Did I dig it even though Noelle Stevenson only co-wrote it and did the cover? HOW SWEET IS THAT COVER BRO?! These are some questions you may be asking right now, and I can only tell you the answers are Yes, very much yes, and so sweet! The first issue of Lumberjanes starts off incredibly strong, tossing you straight into the action, which involves our leading ladies hella punching 3-eyed foxes. If there’s nothing in that last sentence that didn’t appeal to you, it’s time to leave, and never return again.

There’s a LOT thrown at the reader in this first issue, which I’m okay with. Where as too many comics tend to guide the reader’s by the hand with boring scene-chewing dialogue and narration boxes,  Stevenson and co-writer Grace Ellis let the cast and their world’s actions speak louder than words. . The art team of Brooke Allen, Maarta Liaho and Aubrey Aiese is fantastic, as this books looks amazing. It’s very expressive and animated, and there’s a lot of stuff crammed into the panels that warrants re-reads. The ‘Janes body language is amazing, and it helps the reader figure out what kind of characters they’re dealing with here.

While Image is currently owning the mature audience creator scene, it’s nice to see BOOM!/Boom! Box put out something fun for all ages, especially with an all-female team. It’s a slick debut, and I’m hungry for more from this world.

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_25_TextlessAll New X-men #25

Brian Michael Bendis and like 20 something artists

Marvel, $4.99

All New X-men #25 is kind of a weird comic to review. It’s a jam issue, which means a lot of cool artists draw cool things. And that’s no hyperbole, you’re getting artists like Bruce Timm, Art Adams, Skottie Young, Dan Hipp and Jill Thompson contributing to this thing, as well as some new talent like Max Wittert (another familiar face from Tumblr ). But it’s ultimately the issues serves as a giant Eff you to a long time X-man, who’s admittedly had it coming, and less of a monumental 25th issue as advertised.

So it is worth the $5 bucks? Heck yes, it actually is. It’s a solid done in one that touches upon the Battle of Atom event, as well as serves as a slight recap to the series so far. Bendis and company do any excellent job of mixing humor with drama, just like they did early in this series. Only this time around it’s more of an artist showcase. It may not be for everyone, but All New X-men #25 is a step in the right direction, and hopefully will continue to improve now that we’re done with crossovers in this book.

Post to Twitter

REVIEW: ALL HAIL THE RAT QUEENS

rat-queens-vol-01-releasesSo it seems to be confession time once again (It’s only Clobberin Time when Ben Grimm or CM Punk says so). This time, I must come clean and admit that I’m not a big fan of fantasy. Well at least not in the DnD/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones/Dragon Age sense of fantasy. I’ll mess around with a Final Fantasy here or there, or Blizzard’s super addicting Hearthstone, and hell, I even own all 9 issues of Battle Chasers. But traditional fantasy stuff really isn’t my thing, try as I might.

However, I am a fan of comedy, ass-kicking females, and Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ hit comic Saga. So if someone were to take those elements, and blend  them together (on a smoothie kick, sorry) in a Warcraft-esque setting, I’ll pay attention. Especially when the results are as good as the first volume of Rat Queens.

adf293b4c8f7f409df77c1bb9093da52Volume 1 is titled “SASS and SORCERY”, which now is automatically the best sub-genre of fantasy, no one denies this.  Jokes aside, it’s a really clever and funny title, and does a really good job of setting one’s expectations for this book. The 4 female leads are great, despite one of them being a dirty, dirty hipster (more of this later, which will lead to unintentional irony). They’re funny, tough as nails, attractive and most importantly believable, even though 3 of them aren’t even being human. Roc Upchurch, an artist who’s work I wasn’t familiar going into this first trade, is great, and really makes me regret not getting into this series sooner. I see a lot of Fiona Staples and Stjepan Sejic in Upchurch’s style, which if there’s any 2 creators you want to be channeling when drawing beautiful destructive ladies, it’s them. It’s a gorgeous looking book, even when it gets extremely violent (and it does, trust me)  and Upchurch’s work is that much more impressive once you realize he handles to colors as well.

Rat-Queens-004-2014-Digital-Fawkes-Empire-007And while Upchurch was a a new name to me, Kurtis J. Wiebe is not, which was one of the many reasons I was attracted towards this title once the buzz began. I really dug his work on Green Wake a few years ago, and Rat Queens shows how much he’s grown as a writer since. Wisely choosing to skip over old-timey talk, the more modern dialogue talk definitely helped draw me into this fantasy world and it’s cast. The Queens are extremely well-fleshed out, and there are some killer jokes to be had that work even without Upchurch’s  slick visuals. And speaking of jokes, there’s 2 in here that are arguably the funniest things I’ve seen in comics for some time. Props to Wiebe and Upchurch for that.

I’m about 400 words in, so it’s probably best that I explain what the premise is. The Rat Queens are 4 young female adventurers; there’s Dee the sole human who happens to be an atheist mage, my personal favorite Violet, the hipster dwarf warrior ( BEHOLD THE IRONY), Rockabilly Elf-mage Hannah and “Baby” Betty, the drug-fueled Hippy Smidgen Thief. This quartet is extremely good at what they do, which includes such activities as getting drunk and destroying parts of their hometown during their down time.  Someone in the town is less than pleased with this, and decides the best way to deal with the Queens and their peers to have a bunch of assassins kill them. Needless to say, shenanigans ensue. Violent ones at that!

There was some ridiculously awesome books that dropped via Image in 2013, but  Rat Queens may be up there with Sex Criminals in terms of overall quality. If you’re a fan of funny and awesome comics , the $10 for the first volume is more than worth. The series picks up back in May (glad to see another book following the patent Saga format), and you’ll want to be on board with it’s return.

 

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, But With Comics SPRINGGGGGG!

Oh sure, it’s super grey outside at the moment, but spring is finally here! It’s in the 40s, the cat is growling at birds it can’t get at and I get to be mad at the Yankees in real time in 2 days. I’ll gladly take subpar baseball over snow any day.

Before we get into comics, let me state that the first Rat Queens collection dropped this past week, and it is excellent. I usually try to stay on top of new Image debuts, but this one missed my radar somehow. So I dropped the $10 and bought the first trade and am more than pleased with it. I’ll try to do a proper review during the week, but this book is buy on site great.

OTHER BOOKS WHAT SHIPPED THAT YOU MAY LIKE:

Empowered Special #6

Furious #3

Might MGMT #20

Tomb Raider #2

Adventures of Superman #11

Aquaman #29

Sandman Overture #2

Wake #7

Legends of Red Sonja #5

Rocky and Bullwinkle #1

Deadly Class #3

Fatale #21

Sex #12

Walking Dead #124

All New Ghost Rider #12

Amazing X-men #5

Deadpool #26

Superior Spider-Man #30

Bravest Warriors #18

Hacktivist #3

 

REVIEWS

portrait_incredibleAll New X-men 24/Guardian of the Galaxy 13

Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Sara Pichelli/David Marquez

Marvel $3.99

Note- All New X-men 24 shipped 2 weeks ago.

Despite my problems with the earlier chapters of this crossover, the final 2 chapters of “The Trial of Jean Grey” were very much what I wanted from this event. Heavy on the action, some genuinely excellent interactions between the 2 casts and amazing visuals by Immonen, Pichelli and Marquez make this the type of crossover I wanted to read.

That being said, this mini-event still has some problems. The announcement of the new young Cyclops on-going series really spoils the impact of the last 3 pages, which is a shame. Also despite this being a crossover, it really felt more like an X-event guest starring the Guardians. Maybe something from this event will affect this title more down the road, but chances are I won’t be reading GoTG to see it play out. And truth be told, this could have done in 4 issues, opposed to 6.

The Trial of Jean Grey wasn’t the worst thing I read in recent history, but All New X-men really tired from back to back crossovers. There’s been more than enough new ideas and concepts introduced in this book that need to be fleshed out more. Hopefully with the next few issues can get the book back to being as good as it was when it first debuted, otherwise I’m dropping it.

avengers_assemble__25_by_zurdom-d71ie6xAvengers Assemble 25

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Neil Edwards/ Raffaele Ienco

Marvel $3.99

Nothing detracts from one’s enjoyment of a comics more than bad art, which brings us to the final issue of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Avengers Assemble run. It’s a shame, because the script and dialogue written by KSD and Warren Ellis is fun, clever, and puts a nice little bow on this run. Sadly, it’s ruined by 3 different artists, who are very different stylistically. The usually relibale Matteo Buffagni’s pencils look rush and overly-simplistic, as does Neil Edwards, who’s Bryan Hitch-esque art couldn’t be any more different than Matteo’s. Raffaele Ienco‘s art is easily the best, but he only draws the final 2 pages. A shame, as DeConnick and Ellis deserved better for their final issue.

 

1000093043Hawkeye 18

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99

Well that escalated quickly!

Kate Bishop’s California adventure has taken a turn for the worse in issue 18, as we finally learn more about the mysterious cat food man.  It’s a brutal issue, as Annie Wu really steps up her visual game. Her art on this book has been nothing short of great, but Wu really out does herself in this issue, especially in the facial expression area.

Aside from looking great, Hawkguy 18 touches upon some seed planted earlier in the book, as the story arc becomes full circle. Once again, Kate finds herself in scenario that’s entirely on her, which was the type of thing she left NYC to avoid. Seeing her Clint Barton-free life parallel Clint’s  has been really funny so far, but that red in their collected ledgers (GET IT, IT’S AN AVENGERS REFERENCES!) is beginning to cost people their lives. It’s fun to see Matt Fraction bring everything full circle, in what will probably result in one hell of a showdown in a few issues.

Post to Twitter

We got it all on FP Transmissions.

Jeff and Vita rapped about the new releases this week as Javier (of Minimate minute fame) and I slaved over a massive shipment with thousands of awesome comics including Slott’s Silver Surfer and Sandman Overture #2.

Watch us live on our YouTube channel every Tuesday at 4PM, or 4:08, or 4:15 if Google changes the way you log in for the millionth time. You can also join the conversation by following FPTransmissions to your Google+ circles and accepting Hangout invites.

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics : Uncanny Sex Marvels

Once again, I am extremely too proud of that title.

Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:

Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1

Witcher #1

Animal Man #29

Superman Unchained #6

Wonder Woman #29

American Vampire Second Cycle #1

Bad Ass #3

Samurai Jack #6

Fuse #2

Lazarus #7

Rocket Girl #4

Daredevil Vol 4 #1

Iron Man #23.Now

Thor God of Thunder #20

Adventure Time #26

Sixth Gun #39

WWE Superstars #3

Shadowman #15

X-O Manowar #23

REVIEWS!

 

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_19.NOW_TextlessUncanny X-Men 19.NOW

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

FACT: That pet variant is both frightening and terrifying, stay the fresh hell away from it.

It’s UMX Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (part 1), despite the fact that neither group appear on panel together at any given point. THAT BENDIS DECOMPRESSION LYFE Y’ALL!

What we get is the reveal of Dazzler’s fate (it’s super icky!), S.H.I.E.L.D. grilling a former X-man, and Scott’s team versus a whole bunch of new Sentinels! Which is still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but has nothing to do with that cover. Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers are all in fine form, with some really cool Sentinel redesigns, some sick looking spells from Magik, and what is probably an intentional horrible new costume for Goldballs. Yes he’s a thing. Yes, that name is definitely intentionally horrible.

Bendis and company don’t do anything ground-breaking with this issue, but they seem to be setting up a fun little story that will hopefully wrap up several yet to be addressed plot points the book has set up in it’s first year. It’s off to a good start, I just hope it delivers, as this book has been on a hot streak as of late and I’d hate to see it end with this arc.

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-10.09.55-PM-424x400Sex Criminals #5

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50

This issue starts off with a MATURE READERS ONLY recap poem. And with that, I officially forgive Matt and Chip for the delays the book has been facing.

Issue 5 officially wraps up the first volume of Sex Crim, changing the book’s status quo a bit. Nothing too big though, as this book is called Sex Criminals for a reason after all.

Also the whole “pooping in the plant thing” is explained, which I was surprised that it would be at all. Had it pegged as a one-note gag at best, but there’s a deeper meaning behind it. “Deeper” is a relative term by the way.

Something I really like about Sex Crim is that is requires re-reads. These are due to Chip Zdarsky putting a ton of work into his panels, and hiding all sorts of disgusting and awesome jokes everywhere. Do they further the narrative? No. Did I laugh out loud several times reading this issue? Yes. Maus this book ain’t, and it never claimed to be. Issue 5 feels a little slow in terms of development, but it’s definitely a book worth buying. The hiatus until June may kill me (HYPERBOLE!)

portrait_incredible (1)Captain Marvel #2

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

On paper, this opening pages of Ms Marvel sound like a horror book. A mysterious fog blows into Jersey City and a young girl becomes a shape shifting freak as black helicopters circle Manhattan. It’s not until a transformation gag kicks in 4 pages deep does the book remind us this is a spandex affair.

That’s not a bad thing by the way. After an incredibly strong debut issue, Wilson, Alphona and friends deliver a great follow up issue, as Kamala tries to figure out what exactly she’s turned into, and springs into action for the first time. Also family drama. It’s an fun read, with some really clever use of faith interwoven into the narrative. Plus some “be careful for what you wish for” type stuff, going back to my opening statement about how this book feels kind of feels like a horror title in the beginning.

With gorgeous visuals from Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring and some incredibly endearing dialogue from G. Willow Wilson (and a sharp cover by Jamie McKelve), Ms Marvel is shaping up to be a can’t miss title from the House of Ideas.  With Saga on hiatus on May, this may be THE book to be reading in 2014.

 

Post to Twitter

Jeff Zornow Signing!

Jeff-Zornow-SigningWEBForbidden Planet will be hosting a signing with artist Jeff Zornow in celebration of his new comic 68: Rule of War #1 (Image) on the day of its release. Jeff will be on hand from 7:30 to sign and sketch the night away on April 2nd. Blank variant covers of the book will be available, so don’t miss the chance to jump on a great new series and have a personalized cover drawn by the very man who made it. See you then!

Post to Twitter

Hellboy Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Mike Mignola’s signature character this coming Saturday, 3/22/14, is officially Hellboy Day in the comics community and Forbidden Planet NYC will be participating!

Mike Mignola Forbidden Planet

Beginning at 9am we’ll be giving away a few Hellboy themed packages containing comics, posters and other swag as supplies last. We’re also running a sale- 15% OFF all Hellboy/BPRD/Abe Sapien/Lobster Johnson books and comics- through midnight. We’ll also be giving away a copy of Hellboy The First Twenty Years on our Twitter feed.

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toy, but with Comics: So much Marvel (Belated edition)

Without going into details, life happened. Here’s some reviews:

300px-Secret_Avengers_Vol_3_1Secret Avengers #1

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matt Wilson

Marvel, $3.99

Real talk, I had trouble choosing between covers. Tradd Moore’s was awesome, but Katie Cook’s Avengers Ducks was the cutest thing to ever cute, and it had a M.O.D.O.Duck! I would gladly spend $4 a month reading about Secret Avenger Ducks, please take note Marvel.

I picked this book up for 2 reasons. The first one being my wife REALLY like Spider-Woman, and this appears to be the book to read about J-Drew  with Avengers Assemble wrapping up this month. The 2nd being when the preview pages dropped, this incarnation of the book looked VERY much influenced by the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye book, a title we all know I love.

In the letters section, writer Ales Clot says this is “Michael Bay directs an episode of Breaking Bad as it meets Arrested Development. and it’s full of spies and super heroes.”. And it literally is, (I guess makes it Agents of SHIELD meet Archer), as 4 different stories are interwoven into one narrative. And it works. It’s a fun, slighty-violent read illustrated wonderfully by Michael Walsh. Walsh reminds me a lot of David Aja & Michael Lark (Daredevil, Gotham Central), and is a perfect fit for this title.

I was really excited for this book to drop, and after reading it, I’m happy to say it surpassed my expectations. Fans of Agents of SHIELD, Hawkeye, Avengers Assemble and the new Black Widow series need to get on this title sooner rather than later.

hawkeye17cvrHawkeye #17

Matt Fraction, Chris Eliopoulous, David Aja, Jordie Bellaire

Marvel $2.99

After the crazy cliffhanger dropped in issue 15, the belated issue 17 (let’s not forget 16 shipped before 15!) is an holiday issue. In March. I’d complain, but  Chris Eliopoulous, the series letter, steps up on art duties to tell the tale (OR SHOULD I SAY..TAIL? HM HM HMMM!) of the Winter Friends. And you know what? Like every issue it’s fantastic. Eliopoulous is a amazing artist, and this fun little story has get twist to it, so who cares if it’s Christmas in March right? Also holy crap, look at that cover, it is sweet, also tight. Again, you should be reading this book, and if you’re not, it’s your lose. Also I’m judging you. More so than usual.

Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_TextlessCaptain Marvel #1

Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, Lee Loughridge

Marvel, $3.99

Don’t call it a comeback. No seriously, we’ve only been Captain Marvel less since November, and she’s been in a number of Avenger titles since then. It wasn’t that painful y’all.

But the 2nd volume of Captain Marvel makes an impressive debut. By now, no one’s questioning Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ability to craft a great story with Carol Danvers. She’s arguably the best thing to happen to the character since Chris Claremont brushed her off from some questionable decisions back in the 80s.

David Lopez however, is the Captain Marvel artist we deserve. While there was some serious talent involved in volume 1, the final page of this issue is some next level stuff It’s a great looking book, and sets up the new status quo for Cap Marvel quite nicely. It’s a good jumping on point for new readers, and it justifies a new #1 for returning readers. Between this and the newly launched Ms. Marvel , it’s refreshing to see some great female writers produce fantastic comics, and that Marvel is recognizing that there’s an audience for these stories.

portrait_incredibleSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #9

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $2.99

This is the issues where Boomerang and the Shocker both scheme and attempt to improve their lives. But these guys are super villains, so things do not go according to plan If that’s not worth  your $3, I have no idea what to tell you. Marvel’s best book you’re probably not reading continues to be the best book you’re probably not reading, and I really wish you were. There’s some genuine moments of badassery never seen before in this book, as well as some really strong comedy stuff with amazing timing. This team is so in synch it’s not even funny, only okay, the book is hilarious, never mind that.  The first volume is out in trade, so get on it, get caught up, and buy this comic. Unless you hate good comics. If so, let me tell you what’s going on in “Forever Evil“….

Post to Twitter

Oni Press Double Review Feature: Megagogo & Down! Set! Fight!

I’ve been reading a LOT of Marvel and Image books as of late, which comes to the surprise of no one who reads this column on the reg. For good reasons mind you, as both publishers have been doing a great job of putting out books that appeal to me. But even I need a little change of pace every now and then, and Oni Press is usually the publisher that scratches that itch .

I’m going to focus on a pair of recently released graphic novels by some relatively new creators, both published by the fine folks over at Oni. Oni Press has released a number of titles I’ve really enjoyed over the years, such as Scott Pilgrim, Wasteland, Super Pro KO! and the Sixth Gun, just to name a few. I really dug both these books, and hopefully you will too. If not, no worries, I’ll be talking about like 5 new Marvel books come the weekend.

MegaGoGo-V1-1Megagogo by Wook Jin Clark

Recently, I found myself interested in seeing what was up with the Power Rangers, mostly due to various Twitter babble. It’s probably been close to 15 years, if not longer, since I’ve cared about the franchise in an non-Figuarts context. And since most of the various series is available on Netflix, I thought I’d give one of the newer seasons a shot.

SPOILER: I did not like it.

So I gave up on MMPR. Several days later Comics Alliance ran a preview for Megagogo, which was Super-Sentai-esque, only a little more mature, for a lack of a better word. There’s shades of Voltron, Kamen Rider and Pacific Rim in there as well, not nothing that could be considered homage or parody. It was very much WHAT I was looking for out of my Power Rangers-fueled nostalgia journey, so I gladly dropped the $20 it retailed for.

MegaGoGo-V1-11For those not familiar with the book, Megagogo pits a bunch of Giant Robot piloting heroes against monsters and the KKK. Most of this first volume sets up the world (set in  Atlanta, GA), illustrated beautifully by Wook Jin Clark. Clark’s art reminds me a lot of Jeff Smith‘s post-Bone work (Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil, Rasl), with dash of manga flair, with the expert use of grey-scale and black and white. The characters faces are very expressive, which helps sell the dialogue a ton . I also took great delightful in Clark’s use of sound effect, because I’m the type of dude who appreciates a giant OH SNAP written in the background while a Giant Mecha Robot pummels as Kaiju.

Speaking of the ultra-violence, the fight scenes in Megagogo are super fun. Without spoiling things, the final battle in the book is a must-read, and is probably one of the most unique fight scenes to grace comics in some time.

While the narrative is nothing deep, Megagogo is a super fun read, and well worth your time if you’re into books with giant robots punching hella racists. And if you’re not, yo, what’s up with that?

oni-press-down-set-fight-soft-cover-1Down! Set! Fight! by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims Scott Kowalchuk and Josh Krach

As far as Comic Journalists go, I’m a fan of Chris Sims. He’s down a ton of fun stuff for Comics Alliance over the years (as well as Wired, Cracked, With Leather and a few other places), and I’ve had a fun timing chatting with him at Heroescon in the past. And I’m digging what he and Chad Bowers are doing with Erica Henderson are doing with Subatomic Party Girls  (Monkey Brain), so this book wasn’t the hardest sell for me. I mean, it’s not mecha vs racism, butttttt an disgraced ex-football player forced to do combat with a legion of sports mascots is pretty great as well.

 

What did end up taking me by surprise is how good Scott Kowalchuk’s art is. There’s a Chris Samnee vibe to it, with hints of Jazzy John Romita Sr. His colors are pretty great too, capturing the look and feel of the Southern setting perfectly.

2-682x1024In case you somehow skipped the 2nd paragraph, this book definitelu delivers. It feels like some sort of Black Dynamite/Batman ’66 mash-up, with some Looney Tunes level violence. There are a ton of action in this book, all well “choreographed”, and at times, hilarious. Going back to the Looney Tunes comparison, it’s more more pianos-falling-on-coyotes, then say Invincible. And much like Megagogo and Scott Pilgrim before them, there’s some extremely clever uses of sound effects.

Overall, neither of these books are reinventing the wheel, which they never claim to be doing to begin with. But what they are is good looking and fun reads. Which is fine, because I love fun, and you should too. At $20 a pop, both of these books deserve a spot on your book shelves. Big ups to the creators and Oni Press for continuing to fill the racks with something different.

 

-Chris Troy can be found screaming about True Detective on all sorts of social media thiniges @theanarchris

 

Post to Twitter

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: #1 with a Bullet

I’m still waiting to read it, but I thumbed through Moon Knight #1 off the rack this poast week and DAYUMMMMMMM, this is a good looking book. You should buy it just based the art by Declan Shavley & Jordie Bellaire. It’s worth the $4, especially when you factor in  that this book is written by Warren Ellis. So yeah, go get on that y’all.

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Veil #1

Action Comics #29

Green Arrow #29

Trillium #7

Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2

Revival #18

Starlight #1

Velvet #4

Magneto #1

She Hulk #2

Wolverine and the X-men #1

Afterlife with Archie #4

Archer and Armstrong #18

REVIEWS

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_18_TextlessUncanny X-men #18

Brian Michael Bendis/Marco Rudy/ Val Staples

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

THAT is how you do covers y’all. Props to Alexander Lozano on some fine work.

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen J.H Williams III draw comics, cover or interiors. Between him quitting Batwoman and the delays on the new Sandman mini series (#2 was supposed to drop last month BTW), his presence on the comics stands is missed.

Marco Rudy is not quite on J.H. Williams’ level, BUT YO, this is a great looking book! Rudy does some amazing things with the layouts, ranging from using giant Xs to lay out the panel, to using Cyclops’ out of control powers to frame the pages. The end results, heavy on reds, blacks, and whites colors, are breathtaking. I really hope we see more of Rudy on this book when Chris Bachalo needs a break. His ability to mimic other artists style is showcased too, channeling some David Mack & John Byrne at times. There was a lot of GOOD looking books coming out from Marvel this week, and this is one of the best looking ones.

Plot-wise, Brian Michael Bendis and Rudy touches upon a number of various plot elements the team has faced, focusing heavily on Cyclops. The creative team does a great job of having Scott touch upon these events, and is a fitting end to these last few done in ones. It does a great job closing out one chapter and setting up the next “Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.” arc, which I’m very excited for.

 

BurnTheOrphanage_03-1Burn The Orphanage: Born to Lose #3

Daniel Freedman, Sina Grace

Image, $4.99, 41 pages

3 issues in, I thought I had Burn the Orphanage figured out. Thought #3 was going to be the wrap up to the Born to Lose trilogy, a cool arc that introduced the cast, set up their very video game inspired world, and enjoy the most video game reference in a comics since Scott Pilgrim’s heyday.

And then this issue dropped. Oh sure there’s some video game references in it. And yes, it does deal with the fallout with the events of issue 2, placing the lead character Rock on an alien world, frame for a crime he didn’t commit. Which is very much something that makes sense for this series.

What I WASN’T expecting was a in-dept discussion about love and dating between 2 of the Rock’s friends. And it’s very well done, I won’t deny that. BUT it just felt very out of place given the previous themes explored in issue #1 and 2. And I applaud Daniel Freedman and Sina Grace for trying something new with the book, I just wish it was executed a little better.

I also wish the book had an actual ending, and not a cliffhanger that won’t be addressed until May when the series becomes a monthly. Which is great, but again the execution could have been better. Despite my problems though, BTO:BTL #3 is a solid read. A weird one, but a good one none the less.

 

 

 

Post to Twitter