Category: Comics

Troy’s Toys But with Comics: BERFday edition.

Hey today’s my birthday! Totally not relevant to anything we’re going to discuss tonight, except for like 1 gag, but you can wish me a happy birthday in the comments section if you dare!

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #7

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

Deadpool and Hawkeye team-up time is exactly the type of birthday gift I wanted. Thank you team Secret Avengers.

Deadpool is a character that if not handled properly can ruin your story and bringing any momentum to a screeching halt. Luckily, that’s not the case for Secret Avengers #7, where Deadpool’s 4th Wall breaking and straight up insanity makes for a hell of a read. It also helps that Ales Kot’s version of the character is genuinely funny here, using himself to interact with Wade on the page.It’s not the first time we’ve gotten such, but it’s certainly the best execution of it in awile.

Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson & VC’s Clayton Cowles also get in on the fun, providing some hilarious (and sometimes chicken-based) visual gags and sound effects. The book has been plenty funny in the past, but this issue really takes things to the next level all while advancing the plot. Walsh and co also do a lot of experimenting with layouts, using double spreads, pages with 10+ panels and some other interesting choices that I rather not spoil. It’s the title of art that deserves more praise than it’s getting.

Secret Avengers was a great book in a week that saw a lot of strong releases. It’s the type of Marvel Comic that justified the $4 price tag.

portrait_incredible (1)Ms Marvel #7

G. Willow Wilson/ Jacob Wyatt/ Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Jacob Wyatt‘s 2 issue guest stint on Ms Marvel returns this week with a delightful wrap of. Kamala’s team up with Wolverine has the pair fight a giant alligator and deal with a classic death trap while discussing  Ms. Marvel’s new career path. Under lesser creators, this book would risk being preachy, almost a “very special episode” type of book. Luckily for us, the readers, the creative team remains flawless, and the end result is a very good comic.

I’m the type of dude who doesn’t like Wolverine, as I’ve suffering from Wolverine exhaust ever since I got into comics. That being said, Wolverine hanging out with teen lady super heroes is something I like…..oh man, I just re-read that past sentence, I apologize how creepy it sounds. Sorry :/

Creepy-ass commentary is now over. And since G Willow Wilson is pretty much perfect on this issue, which ends on a super fun note, we’ll talk about Jacob Wyatt some more. I really loved his art during this arc, as he was just as expressive and animated as regular artist Adrian Alphona, but very much of his own style. His Khamala is adorable, which….nope, no more creepy as commentary, sorry.

But yeah, another enjoyable Ms Marvel, with some great art, fantastic dialogue and the set up for some really awesome guest stars. All under a highly amusing cover by Jamie McKelvie that dropped right during selfie-month in DC. Forbidden Planet’s best selling series is a best seller for a reason, and the quality seen in this issue is proof of that.

 

tumblr_n5xgrzsXkf1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #3

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles.

Image $3.50

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Much like the first 2 issues, the Wicked + the Divine is a gorgeous books that has some of the best dialogue in comics. It’s also incredible smart, and isn’t afraid to challenge the readers, making you wanting to re-read it several time to pick up on everything.

Also the Stephanie Hans variant is gorgeous and continues my streak of buying variant covers for this series.

And it’s just not Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie doing some career defining stuff. Matthew Wilson (again) color’s are the realness, and Clayton Cowle‘s lettering is the type that you stand up and take notice off. It’s several creators coming together to make a fantastic comic.

Wicked/Divine is one of those books that makes picking out a favorite Image book difficult. While it may initally come across as collections of Gillen’s greatest hits (Music and Gods as themes), it’s definitely taken it’s own form and the results couldn’t be better. It’s an amazing comics, one that stands out among a week of fantastic releases.

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Feel Good Inc.

 

Hell of a week y’all. Talking comics today is a welcome distraction after everything we’ve see go down over the last couple of days

 

STK644079All New X-Men #30

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

 

Call it a breather issue. Much like Chris Claremont before him, Brian Michael Bendis uses this issue of All New to do some character building, with Angel taking X-23 out on the town, Emma Frost beginning Jean Grey’s training and Kitty Pryde taking a holographic phone call from her kinda boyfriend Peter Quill. It’s a very cute script, and it’s something needed to cleanse the palette after all that time travel shenanigans.

 

With the previous issue seeing the departure of series regular artist Stuart Immonen (who’s stick around to handle this book’s cover), Bendis is joined by his former Guardians of the Galaxy artist Sara Pichelli. Immonen is a difficult artist to follow up to, but Pichelli, who has some experience drawing these characters, makes a strong debut. For a mostly taking heads issue, Pichelli’s facial expressions and body language really sells the book, especially with the few pages that are dialogue free. The one area she actually surpasses Immonen in is having this cast look like teenagers, something Stuart struggled with, especially when their older counterparts were also on the page. She’s a welcomed addition to this book, and I’m excited to see her draw more of it.

 

My only real beef with this issue is that the final page’s cliffhanger is tied into the last 2 issues of Uncanny X-men , and will probably play out over there instead of this book. If you’re like me and buy both Bendis X-books this isn’t much of an problem, but those not may be disappointed to have to track down a pair of issue that shipped before this one. Ultimately, I dug the hell out of this comic. It was cute, good looking and chock full of fun moments. These sort of one offs are appreciated, and it’s a nice break before another famous Bendis/Pichelli shows up next month.

 

 

sexcriminals_07Sex Criminals #7

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

The letters section for this issue alone is worth the $3.50. There I just saved you 2 minutes of reading.

Oh you stuck around! Really? Did you not read what I wrote above? Oh you want more reasons? Yeah okay sure, I suppose I can help you there.

Sex Criminals is probably my wife’s favorite comic not called Saga. Which means my wife has great taste in both comics and men. But the opening sequence of this book really impressed her this week, as there’s something that Suzie, our female lead, is suffering from that my wife knew all too well. It’s a testament to both Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, who managed to hit the symptoms of said problem dead on, despite being dudes. It’s also a reason why this book is such a hit.

 

Issue 7 is a return to form for Sex Criminals. Not that issues 5 or 6 were bad, but they were heavier on the serious side. This one is chocked full of humor, including the use of a word that makes me giggle every time I read/hear it because I am 12. There’s even a bit of action and suspense too, making it a nice balanced read.

 

I’ve already sung Fraction’s praises plenty of times in the past between this book and Hawkeye, so I’m gonna talk Chip Zdarsky for a bit. First off, that cover. Extremely sharp and a very cool design. Zdarsky’s always been a bit experimental with the covers, and the results are great. But this is kinda next level for the ol Chipper, and I hope it continues. Then there’s in the interiors. I had to re-read some sections and few times just to catch all the gags hidden in the background. It’s a shame that some of this Easter eggs and gags are sacrificed for word balloons, but it’s nice to see Chip put so much effort into something a lot of people not named Matt Fraction aren’t going to see.

 

Sex Criminals seven is the result of 2 creators having a blast creating a comic. Which is great for the reader, because the ends results are stupendous. Combined with a first-class letters column that’s as insightful and hilarious as the interior, Sex Criminals #7 is another can’t miss comic from Fraction and Zdarsky.

 

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Twitter Giveaway – Signed Tower Chronicles Prints

tower_chronicles_signed_print

We’re giving away FREE Tower Chronicles prints, SIGNED by Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley, to three of our Twitter pals today. Get in on the RT’ing action! Contest ends tonight at 9pm EDT

Also, be sure sure to check out  Tower Chronicles Dreadstalker #1, out today from Legendary Comics!

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Lovable Scamps Edition

Quick Movie Review: I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last week. It was very fun. You should see it too. Unless you hate fun. Then don’t I guess.

::: counts up word total and is upset that doesn’t count up 500 words :::

 

Dammit, I guess I should review some comics then.

3792239-starlord-#2-cover-finalLegendary Star-Lord #2

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/ Juan Vlasco/ David Curiel

Marvel $3.99

Hey look a book starring on the characters from GOTG, check out my synergy! #toyetic

This second issue finds Star Lord pitted against a nasty bounty hunter, with a nasty pet, as well as the commander of the Spartax Royal guard. With Marvel announcing 3 new Star War titles at SDCC, the lack of a Han Solo project makes more sense with the release of Star Lord #2. There’s a monster who’s very much a Sarlacc Pit homage in this issue, although the twist to it is very cool.

And now that we’re living in a post-James Gunn GOTG movie world, we can see that  this Peter Quill is very much a Chris Pratt  (aka Burt Macklin) influenced version of the character.  Sam Humphries drops the word “man” into Star-Lord’s vocabulary a lot, there’s a bit involving his rocket boots and this version of seems a little more sneaky and underhanded than the more heroic version we’ve seen in the DnA and Bendis runs of Guardians of the Galaxy. This is not a complaint by the way, as comics starring dashing space rogues are my jam.

Paco Medina continues to do a solid job of drawing the hell out of this book, and the character designs he’s using are really solid. My only complaint is that the coloring in the print edition pales greatly to the digital version of LSL #2. I’m not sure if it’s a printing error in my copy or just something that’s lost when made a physical copy. Either way, if you don’t mind reading comics digitally, redeem that code ASAP. It does wonders to the work done by  Juan Vlasco & David Curiel.

Overall, Legendary Star Lord #2 is a fun read that will scratch your Peter Quill itch if you’re looking for more of the character after the movie.

portrait_incredibleThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14

Nick Spencer/ Steve Lieber/ Rich Ellis/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

And the best use of a corgi in the Marvel Universe goes to the Superior Foes of Spider-Man! Before we dive into the interior, let me start off by talking about the front of this book. Kris Anka‘s cover may come off as simplistic, but it does an excellent job of capturing the cast’s attitude and the overall Sinister 6 group dynamic. Also the coloring is insane.

Artist Rich Ellis returns to help Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber flesh out the back story of one of the Superior Sinister Six’s member, something this book has excelled at doing. Not all of the villains in the book had established backgrounds coming into this book, and the origins Spencer and friends have been providing them with have been clever, super entertaining, and very satisfying. In addition, the fate of Speed Demon’s corgi puppy is revealed in a heart warming story that consists of 3 wordless pages. It’s a testament to Ellis’ skills, as he manages to blend humorous and heart warming moments perfectly. Rachelle Rosenberg’s color help of course, and she does an amazing job with the crazy last 2 pages.

So yeah, even with adding another artist to the mix for an issue, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man remains flawless. I’m also glad we’re getting more comics where Marvel Hero’s masks are used as censor bars.

 

4008079-grayson01Grayson #2

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeremy Cox

DC $2.99

Yes good, more of this please.

As apprehensive as I was with Grayson when it was first announced, this book continues to impress. 2 months in and King and Seeley have taken several obscure elements from Grant Morrison’s run on Batman Inc, retooled a fan-favorite character, and most importantly focused on what make Dick Grayson one of the BEST characters to grace the page of DC Comics.

I don’t want to discuss the plot of issue two much, mostly because the hook is kinda cool in an incredibly gross sort of way, but it does make for a great read. There’s also some amazing interactions with Dick Grayson and the Batman, and a mention of a certain red head that gives me the Tumblr-type-feels.

And I think that’s why I’m digging Grayson so much. It’s a beautiful looking and smart book that actually strives to get an emotion response from the readers. It takes a lot of stuff from the Bat books from the last few years, add some cool elements together and blends everything together for a great read.  The cast in engaging and intriguing, and the big mystery to this title is super interesting.  The end result spy book than channels some weird 60s Marvel comics, with a lot of heart and pretty pictures. Grayson has done an excellent job of getting me back into buying a DC Comic on a monthly basis, something that hasnt been done since Snyder/Capullo’s Batman started up.

 

 

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Review: Hawkeye #19

HAWKEYE2012017_COVHawkeye #19

Matt Fraction/David Aja Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

WARNING: This review will continue spoilers for previous issues of Hawkeye, as well as this one. Read at your own risk.

So yeah, remember back in 2013 when Hawkeye #11 dropped and everyone one was like “WHELP, here’s an Eisner winner in 2014″? And then that happened? Replace #11 with #19 and the year 2015, because it’s going to happen again.

10527365_10100404509314752_8992801137704805022_n-300x160The last time we saw Clint Barton and his brother Barney(back in like…March? Possibly April, it’s been awhile), they were shot up pretty bad by an assassin. This issue is the fallout of said shooting, and we find that Barney can’t walk and Clint’s deaf. The deaf thing (apologies if that’s offensive by the way, I not exactly sure what the correct terminology is to be honest)  by the way is a nice reference to the character’s history, something older fans would know and newer fans are brought up to speed with via flashback early in the issue. This leads to most of the interactions between Clint and Barney being done through sign language, something not seen in a lot of comics, but makes for some rather interesting results given how comics is kinda a visual heavy medium.  Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth being the creative tour de force they are, consulted with specialist Rachel Coleman and Dr. Larry Thomas to ensure that the signing was correct, which leads to David Aja drawing a lot of signing charts. This sort of dedication to detail is why Aja and Fraction win Eisners people.

It’s also not the first time we’ve seen the team experiment with language in comics. There’s the Tracksuit’s “Bro”-usage, and the award winning Pizza Dog issue, in which the story is told via a Dog’s POV. It’s interesting that Hawkeye of all books is the comic experimenting with language in comics.

 

Hawkeye #19 Page 2Aja’s art is stunning. The way the characters “act” and their body language comes across so genuine and real. The guilt and pain Clint carries in the early part of this issue is clearly expressed on his face, as is the anger Barney shows towards his brother stubbornness. Aja even goes as far as to letter some of his own art, and is so skilled at it I couldn’t tell what he contributed and what series regular letterer Chris Eliopoulos did. It’s damn good, and the end result made the delays for this book well worth the dollar increase in price.

As for the story, it’s the typical act 3 of any Western/Action movie you’ve seen. The hero (Clint) is at a lost, buried in guilt and defeat, despite having plenty of people to turn to for help. Hawkguy’s stubbornness has been a theme for most of this book, and it plays off of the plot of issue 17′s Christmas special. And much like that issue, Clint gets some sense knocked into him (literally) and he gets his stuff together, rallies the troops and goes on the offensive. It may be a bit cliche, but Fraction and Aja handle it so well, you can’t help but find yourself pumped up by the end of the issue.

imagesAnd that’s what ultimately makes Hawkeye as good as it is. The Matts and David make you emotionally invested in these characters, so that when they actually get a win, there’s a genuinely sense of happiness the reader gets from the book. It’s an incredible feeling, and speaks a lot about the talent the creative team posses .

Hawkeye seems to be coming to in a end in a few issues, and I’ll be sad to see it go. Aside from it being my favorite comic from one of my favorite creative teams working in comics today, it’s book I can always rely on to being nothing short of amazing. I’ll be sad to see it go, but excite to see how everything wraps up over the upcoming months.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics-Shorty got Low Low Low (and some other books)!

I could easily talk about the new issue of Hawkeye in 500+ words. But I won’t because this was a damn fine week for comics, and the other books that I pulled are also worth discussing. Plus Hawkeye’s return may warrant a separate review column (spoilers: it will!).

Uncanny-X-Men-24-cover-artUncanny X-men #24

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka

Marvel, $3.99

A few weeks ago, Kris Anka spoke about this very issue of UXM on Pat Loika’s Loikamania podcast. During the podcast, Anka pointed out that there’s a moment that Emma Frost has a reaction that she’s only capable of having that was a delight to draw. I’m not saying that specific moment is worth the $4, but it’s easily the best 2 panels in this issue, so yeah, it really is the best reason to drop $4 on this book.

After what I felt was a phoned in issue from Brian Michael Bendis last time around, he and Anka deliver the goods with issue 24. The script is a vast important, as one of the promised SEKKKKRETTTSSS of Charles Xavier is relieved and it’s a massive one. Bendis actually hinted at it a few months ago over in All New X-men, and this reveal takes away the grossness of that scene, clearing things up nicely. You can tell Bendis has been influenced by the last 2 X-films, and what element from the films he chooses to incorporate should lead to some interesting stories.

The only thing that irks me about UXM #24 is the handling of Dazzler’s new ( and awesome) look. The motivation behind it last issue explains why she’s now all faux-hawked out, but there’s no explanation as to how she got a new costume, and there’s zero reaction from the other X-men she’s been hanging with. Considering it’s the focus of the cover, not addressing it at all is kind of a cop-out in my opinion. That being said, I’m glad to see thing improve all over this issue, and I’m excited for issue #25 and how the big reveal is going to play out.

portrait_incredible (4)Secret Avengers #6

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel, #3.99

Oh look, another Marvel book that double shipped this month, goodbye money.

Coming off of a relatively dark issue #5, issue 6 is a step back in the fun, action direction the earlier issue of Secret Avengers were. This incredibly dense issue sees an awesome Black Widow/Lady Bullseye rematch (and yes, the video game motif returns this time it’s fighting games), Hawkeye step up for Maria Hill, and most importantly, MODOK rocking a monocle.

Another beautiful issue under Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson, writer Ales Kot does some really cool things with the narration boxes and editorial notes. They kinda break the 4th wall a bit, but it all makes sense once the issue wraps. I dug it a bunch, as it’s tricky technique that actually works here, given one of the characters involved.

I really feel bad for the creative team on Secret Avengers. It’s a really smart and fun book that doesn’t get enough hype for whatever reason. I urge anyone who digs Marvel’s quirkier tittles to give this book a chance. If you’re down won over by M.O.D.O.K. discussing sex with one of his minions, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Low_01-1Low #1

Rick Remender/Greg Tocchini

Image $3.99

The last time I read a story by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini, it was a relatively underwhelming arc of Uncanny X-Force from a few years back. I always felt Tocchini was a little mismatched for the spandex world, and this debut issue of Low is proof of that.

Low is a gorgeous looking book that benefits from Tocchini inking and coloring his own art. It reminds me a lot of Sean Murphy on  The Wake in a way, given that their both heavy on the aquatic stuff,  but ultimately it’s a different type of beast all together. Both artists are heavy on the inks, but Tocchini’s style is smoother and cleaner overall. It reminds me a lot the Bioshock video game series in away, which is good, because I love those games.

Despite the relatively grim premise of the book, (Mankind is forced to live under the sea after the Sun goes supernova, and the search for a new planet to live on isn’t going well) our female lead Stel Caine is an eternal optimist determined to work everything out. Upbeat female leads is something Rick Remender hasn’t done at all in his creator owned books, and it’s a nice alternative from the usual grizzled and jaded male character that stars in his creator owned stuff. He’s caught some flack with his handling of female characters as of late, and it’s nice to see address them in the best manor possible: by creating great comics.

Low is off to a great start, continuing Remender’s creator owned hot streak at Image. It’s a beatiful looking book, and I hope this level of quality continues throughout the series.

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toy, but with Comics: Afterlife Saga

LAST WEEK’S LATE REVIEW:

Secret-Avengers-2014-5Secret Avengers #5

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

First and foremost, that cover is dope. Tradd Moore’s covers for this series have pretty top-notch so far, but when you toss in ammo crate in goat form with a Wolverine-fish, you get points in my book.

That being said, this book isn’t as light in tone as the cover suggests. There’s a murder mystery aboard the Helicarrier, and one of the Secret Avengers may be guilty. Also one of them may be getting a new super power while another one of them may be suffering from PTSD. There’s a ton of mistrust amongst the team, and this may not end well for S.H.I.E.L.D. once everything is said and done.

Issue 5 is particularly dark, but also incredibly smart. There’s a conversation between Maria Hill and M.O.D.O.K. that shows that Ales Kot isn’t afraid to draw parallels to the current state of the US Military and some of the ugliness that they can be capable of. It puts some blood on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s hand, making the organization a little more grey and grounded than it’s use to.

So yeah, this issue of Secret Avengers isn’t exactly a feel good issue, but it successfully builds tension and leads to interesting character interactions. Well worth the $4.

saga_21Saga #21

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

Team Saga won a number of Eisners again this past Friday, much to the surprise of no one. Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have yet to disappoint with this title,  and all acclaim given has definitely been earn.

That being said, this new issue of Saga isn’t the most upbeat of issues. There’s a great moment with Hazel, and some sexy times, but for the most part, it’s all building up for some bad stuff. BKV and Staples have been carefully building to an event spoken on the final page of the first chapter of this arc, driving us, the readers insane. The first hints were given last issue, and here they’re expanded up further, making the turning of each page each more dramatic. There’s also a new element tossed in, which is definitely not going to end well for our lead couple.

But like a car wreck on a highway or NASCAR racing event, you can’t help  but watch. It’s done so well, and we already know how it ends, and it’s going to be terrible. But again, BKV and Staples are on top of their games and the end product is craft so well.

Ultimately Saga continues to be great but, but ultimately one that’s going to send me to my grave early, weeeeeeeee!

 

Sabrina02Afterlife with Archie #6

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa/Francesco Francavilla

Archie $2.99

Spoilers: This was not the happiest of weeks for comics

A lot of comics fall into the habit of being cliche and predictable. You can see the outcome early  in an arc, the status quo is maintained, no one ever stays dead, etc.

Afterlife with Archie is not that book. It is the book that plays a zombie outbreak in Riverdale straight and has lead to some amazing moments. This issue is a done in one focused on Sabrina, the teenage witch. Sabrina is partially responsible for this mess, has been exiled from our realm, and wakes up in a nice house with padded walls.

And the final 2 pages of this story is amazing. There’s a huge twist that’s definitely setting up something big down the road in AwA and Francesco Francavilla draws the hell out of it. And the twist itself is brilliant. You can kind of see it coming if you’re familiar with a partial horror writer, but  it doesn’t take away from the final reveal, especially with how good it looks.

There’s also a preview of a Sabrina solo book by Aguirre-Sacasa, which looks neat as well. It’s weird to see a spin off of a book that’s only six issues deep, but it makes sense once you read everything.

Afterlife with Archie continues to impress, and this is arguable the best looking comic of the year so far. Buy volume 1, and the pick up this issue immediately if you want to be caught up with one of the best horror books on the stands.

 

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Review: Seconds

51kMcl9F-rL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Seconds

Bryan Lee O’Malley

Ballantine Books, $25

 

Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds is a difficult book to review. As a dude who gets paid to review comics, it’s sometimes hard to be critical and fair of the material from creators that you really dig. You have to separate the fan from the professional, and all that junk, or risk losing whatever credibility with have.

It’s also difficult to review Seconds because it’s really friggin good, and now I have to stretch that point out for 500 words without the end result sounding like an ad for the book.

Seconds is the Hayao Miyazaki movie for adults that I’ve always wanted. And note, I don’t mean it’s mature in the sense of violence, adult language and sexy time stuffs (although there is some of the cursing and sexy times). It’s very much a story that someone like myself who in his early 30s can appreciate and relate to.

secondsupdateThe story of Seconds is this, and I apologize in advance for some of the brief but potential light spoilers brought up ONLY in this paragraph. Our lead Kate Bish is a talented young chef on the cusp of 30. She has plans to open a new restaurant, but her world and plans are quickly rocked  by several different problems that spring up all at once. Kate’s offered a chance to fix these problems with access to time travel via a strange mushroom offered by a even stranger woman, but is given some rules to follow. Kate also immediately breaks these rules and that’s going to be a problem obviously.

10546680_488378454642240_696561942_nLet’s talk about O’Malley’s art first. Assisted by Jason Fischer and colored by Nathan Fairbairn, O’Malley’s style reminds me of a Super Nintendo era Japanese Role Playing game set in the world of Scott Pilgrim. That’s like several levels of references, I understand that, but honestly that’s the best way to describe it. That being said, the end results are beautiful, especially when O’Malley tries something different and goes full Miyazaki. There’s also some really strong horror manga moments to this book, which really work thanks to Fairbairn’s colors. This is my first time experiencing O’Malley’s interior work in color ( long side note: he’s done some Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie comic covers in color that I’m aware of, but I’m skipping over the colored versions of Scott Pilgrim because $$$) and I’m really digging it. There’s a lot of use of the color red in this book, which I think is intentional and may have some deeper meaning, but I’m still trying to figure that out. Luckily, Seconds is the type of book that encourages re-reads, despite the plot being relatively straight forward and easy to understand.

seconds-preview2In terms of plot and dialogue, Seconds is also pretty great. The story, according to O’Malley on a Nerdist podcast, is heavily influenced by the film Inception, but it definitely stands on it own. The dialogue is also very natural, not unlike Scott Pilgrim before it, and is incredibly charming. Watching Kate development relationships with her cast is as delightful as her time traveling/altering misadventures, and ultimately makes her a more relatable lead.

Seconds is arguably one of the most, if not the most important comics released in 2014, and it’s something you can’t afford to miss. Bryan Lee O’Malley is easily one of the most talented people working in the medium today, and Seconds a fantastic read. I cannot recommend you reading this book soon enough.

 

 

 

 

 

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Holy moly

My brain is on comic book overload. I’ve been packing, shipping, printing and planning for San Diego Comic Con this week. Traveling with a manual credit card slammer isn’t normal, but for SDCC it is. If you’re going, visit me at booth 1718 for Fantagraphics! But if you’re not going, there’s plenty of comics right where you are! And way less crowded.

100th Anniversary Special #1 The Avengers- Holy fing moly. Besides the fact that Marvel decided to speed up time and pretend that they’ve already been around for 100 years, they’ve also decided to that the best way to celebrate one of their most successful series would be to have James Stokoe headline it with words and art. King of gradients, emperor of hyperlines, and owner of a brain that gives us some of the most original worlds we have ever seen and felt. Stokoe is known for original works like Orc Stain, Wonton Soup, and for the IDW Godzilla series (the good one), but picking up the mantle on familiar characters like Dr. Strange, Rogue and Beta Ray Bill, will definitely give you a different perspective on stories you thought you knew. Besides being set in 2061, the acid trip meets Aztecan atmosphere of a Stokoe Avengers world is going to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Artist Edition- If the Steranko Artist Edition book released last week was literally too much to handle, then the slightly smaller, but just as fantastic, Mignola Helboy book should be a perfect match for you and all your little monsters. For over 20 years, Mike Mignola has proven himself to be one of the most consistent and visionary artists with his titular, and fan favorite character, Hellboy. Shown in their oversized and rough stages, this book includes the first five issues of Hellboy in Hell, supplemental material, and work from Nextmen, The Corpse, and more. There’s no better way to follow the process and progress of your favorite artists than through their artist edition pages.

Groo vs. Conan #1- What happens when the ultimate parody goes to battle against the barbarian that spawned his arrival? The Mr. Magoo of the warrior sword clashing comic world, Groo has been one of the most successful original characters, created in early ‘80s by Sergio Aragones. But now he’s bumbled his way into battle against the King of Barbarians, Conan, the mightiest fighter. Will they be friend? Foe? Will Groo’s fate be left in the hands of Conan? The four-part miniseries that’s being written by Aragones, and Mark Evanier, and illustrated by Aragones with assist from Tom Yeates, sets out to settle one of the oldest questions to have ever plagued humankind, who would win a fight?

Zero #9- If you’ve been missing out on this series, this week should give you extra incentive to pick it up. Besides being the first new issue since May, and making it a good jumping on point (though you’re a fool to not pick up the trade), the official word came down last week that Zero is going to get to live on the big screen. Or the small screen. Depends on how big your TV is. There’s a long road from getting signing to production, but it’ll be exciting to see the espionage spy story, that’s really about male rage and the death of the American dream, be played out in a new medium. Ales Kot and his vast team of talents keep readers on their toes by mixing up artists, and dropping in unexpected twists and turns, just like the best spy stories.

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Batman Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

The Caped Crusader is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, and DC Comics has officially declared Wednesday July 23rd 2014 Batman Day!

Batman_75th_Anniversary

 

On  7/23/14, starting at 8am, Forbidden Planet NYC will be giving away complimentary (ie FREE!) copies of DC’s new Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, and FREE Batman anniversary bags. We’ll also have commemorative masks (99 cents per. These are extremely limited and will be sold on a strictly first come, first served basis) and capes for sale ($5.99).

detective_27_special_edition

 

batman75mask

 

batman75thCape

What’s more, we’ll be running a sale(!) throughout the day- 20% OFF all Batman related comics, books, and graphic novels.

Come by Forbidden Planet to celebrate Batman’s 75th on Wednesday the 23rd and save some Bat-dough!

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: The Wicked + Doge

Before I start yakking about comics, I just wanted to say I also picked up Secret Avengers #5 this past week and dug it. But I’m saving the proper review for next week, as Saga’s the only book I’m picking up, and I would like to talk more than just one book.

 

detailMs. Marvel #6

G. Willow Wilson/Jacob Wyatt/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Behold, the first use of the Doge meme in a Marvel Comic.

Jacob Wyatt swings by to lend a hand with the art this arc, where Ms. Marvel takes the fight to her new arch nemesis The Inventor. We get some answers as to WHY the Inventor is exactly is the way he is, and I could not be happier with the answers. Over the top super villains are my jam, and this is VERY much an over the top super villain which an insane origin.

Kamala also has her first big-time team up with a major Marvel hero, and responds in the most adorable fan girlish way possibly. For hints as to who this character is, buy the comic, or IDK, google the cover for issue #7. And without spoiling much, I like the reasons why said hero is here, and the chemistry written between the two of them is perfect. As is the such of said Doge meme, which is the most Reddit comment I could make.

Wyatt and series regulars G. Willow Wilson and Ian Herring continue this book’s hot streak, perfectly blending our heroes’ personal life with PUNCHING EVIL ALLIGATORS. Wyatt’s art is a little different from what we’re used to, but it’s still very expressive, with detailed backgrounds and very animated characters. It’s very much another indie/alt comic vibe that Marvel has been excelling at for the last couple of years. Herring’s color pallet keeps the book looking good as per usual, and Wilson’s script hits all the right notes, being equal parts charming, sincere and action packed.

I’m once again finding myself at a lose of words when it comes to finding new ways to praise Ms. Marvel and it’s creative team. It may end up surpassing Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man as the best book Marvel puts out if it can continue to maintain this level of quality.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverThe Wicked + the Divine #2

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

WEEKLY CONFESSION: I was willing to wait for the first volume of Wic+Div to hit trade, as that’s what I did with Phonograms, but then Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) went and did the variant covers for issue 2, so…..

And I’m glad I did! Issue 2 contains some AMAZING dialogue by Kieron Gillen that can’t help but make you fall in love with the cast. Luci (aka Lucifer) shines the brightest among the cast. There’s a scene in particular that takes place in a prison that contains some hilarious dialogue, and does a great job of fleshing out the character that’s justifies the $3.50. One of the reaosns it works so well is the fantastic art from Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, that’s up there with their Young Avengers stuff. There’s a few pages in the book where McKelive and Wlison experiment with colors and layout that are fresh and amazing looking, and I’m  glad to see them to continue to experiment and innovate with their styles.

But ultimately what wins me move over with this title is how refreshing and honest it is. It’s about people and gods in a terrible world doing things that they didn’t entirely think out, and will have to eventually answer for them. It’s fantastic, and the type of comics I’m not surprised is coming out from Image and this particular creative team.

uncx2013023-dc11-page-001-102321Uncanny X-men #23

Brian Michael Benid/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

This is going to sound harsh and a bit manchildish, but ugh, what a waste of Kris Anka.

Anyone who’s been reading this column for the last year can confirmed that I’m bee quite ‘BOUT Uncanny X-men as of late.  Brian Micahel Bendis and his art team have been  moving the story along quite nicely. But this issue man. Ugh.

And again, I place the blame entirely at Bendis’ feet. Anka’s art was great, especially the bit where Dazzler is having a mental breakdown in a bathroom. But this script is a mess. The cover implies that this is a Original Sin tie-in, and the solicit promises an earth shattering change to the X-men.

And despite Emma Frost actually appearing in the proper Original Sin book, there’s nothing that ties this is issue into it. And there’s no reveal of any sort regarding this will, except for a weak as hell cliffhanger. Instead we get the introduction of a new character complete with a cliche origin story, an extended She Hulk cameo and teasing some other mysteries without any resolve. It’s something that Bendis has been guilty of in the past and I find it quite irksome. I’m not saying the book has to be slavishly devoted to the solicitation, but c’mon, this was nearly a completely book than what we were promised.

So yeah, Uncanny looked better than it read. A shame, and hopefully something that will be fixed next issue.

 

 

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The Eisners X Image Finale: The Manhattan Projects

The Manhattan Projects Volume 1

15736709Johnathan Hickman/Nick Pitarra/Rachelle Rosenberg

Image $9.99

OH CRAP, I NEVER FINISHED THIS THING UP!

Truth be told, the reason why the final was delayed (aside from “life” happening) was because originally I was going to attempt to write about East of West. The problem with that plan is that I’ve re-read volume 1 of said comic like twice and I couldn’t even begin to tell you  what happened there as from “Wild West Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. That’s kinda hard to stretch into 500 words y’all.

64cc8f7583f840a85f0a9306d11aa13f It’s not that Johnathan Hickman writes incoherent comics. Oh no, it’s more like the fact that A) I’m an idiot B) Hickman’s a big picture guy C) Sometimes I don’t get the big picture until the entire thing is available to read and then I can Google the things I don’t understand. But despite Hickman usually painting with broads strokes, I totally dig his OTHER award nominated Image book, The Manhattan Projects, with art by the mega-talented duo of . It’s an alternative history book where the Manhattan Project isn’t just to build an atomic weapon to end World War II. Instead, some of the brightest minds in SCIENCE ™ are brought together by the US government to do all sorts of weird science things, like create A.I. based on dead president, or talk to aliens. One would think this would be awesome, but actually it’s quite terrifying, because some of these famous scientists are EVIL BASTARDS…which admittedly is awesome in it’s own way! “But how Chris, that makes no sense!” you may ask, which is weird, because this is an article and I cannot respond in real time. SO I GUESS YOU’LL JUST HAVE TO READ THE BOOK AND FIND OUT.

The-Manhattan-Projects_vol1_panel2And those answers by the way are insane. Hickman and Pitarra throw many a curve ball when it comes to the plot, especially when it comes to the origins and lives to such important historical figures like Einstein, Oppenheimer, FDR and Truman. In less capable hands, these twists would look offensive and hacky, but these creators certainly make it work. Some of the really, far out and violent (spoilers, this book is hella violent) are played for laughs, because it’s so insane, which is why this book is so compelling.

Also by far out, I MEAN far out. Since this is alternate history, there’s Japanese Psychic Warriors Monks, Aliens, Robots, Alternate Dimensions, Evil Twins, all that good stuff. I’m just scratching the surface.

The-Manhattan-Projects_vol1_panelI’ve also waited entirely too long to talk about the art. This is my first time being exposed to Nick Pitarra‘s art, and it’s like the 2nd coming of Geoff Darrow. Pitarra’s characters are pretty, but then again they shouldn’t be. They’re a bunch of middle age white dudes doing science and secretly plotting against each others. It’s a really unique art style that’s beautiful as is it ugly. And it’s crazy detailed, hence the Darrow comparison, craming the panels with an insane amount of content. And Jordie Belaire‘s colors are super slick, especially when it comes to some of the tech, special effects and the use of red and blue for flash backs.

manhattan_projects_1000Much like East of West, The Manhattan Projects is the type of book that expects more from the reader and actually changes you a bit. It’s just a little easier to get into than some of Hickman’s other creator owned work. But it’s a hilarious,  violent and clever read, worth the praise it’s earn. Image has been promoting itself as one of the more innovative comic companies of the last decade, and it’s books like TMP that back that claim up.

 

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Troy’s Toys: Actually about Toys this time!

Hey look, I’m taking a break from screaming about comics books to scream about comic book toys! How fortunate for all of you, right?

1395362963_HAS23670Marvel Universe Infinite Figures

Wave 1 & 2

Hasbro, $11.99 each

I’d make a snarky comment that a infinite series of figures contains 5 reissues, but I’d like to think that I’m better than that. I’m not, but I enjoy lying to myself.

I’m not exactly sure why the MU  toyline has been rebranded, but I’m okay with this. Since the Legends line is hella expensive/focused on movie-related properties and character for the most part, I need a toy line decided to 616 stuffs. Which despite the numerous and outdated reissues ( Heroic Age Iron Man and  Steve Rogers haven’t appeared in those uniforms for over 2 years at this point in), the NEWER releases are really cool. The Marvel NOW! Hulk is arguably the best Hulk figure to be released in the 3.75″ scale, and it’s cool to see more female figures with good sculpts with the release of Red She Hulk and the Wasp. And if you want obscure comics-only character, Infinite Waves 1 and 2 give up Hyperion, Grim Reaper, Whirlwind and friggin Death’s Head! Kieron Gillen is a far more powerful mage than I thought. There’s also a  Eric Materson version of Thor, which is a cool little throwback to 80s/90s Marvel Comics.

marvel-avengers-universe-infinite-3-75-inch-action-figure-series-2-set-of-7-pre-order-ships-tbd-2014-6The reissues are as following: the aforementioned Cap and Iron Man, another classic Captain America, Beta Ray Bill, and Yellowjacket. 2 Caps being re-released makes sense in this, the year of the Winter Solider, but it’s nice to see Hasbro go a little more obscure with Bill and Yellowjacket. I’m also just happy that it’s just not another Wolverine figure. And most importantly we have Hank Pym and Janet available in the same scale for the first time in FOREVER.

In terms of quality, these 2 waves are really good looking and as possible as you’d expect MU figures to be. The important thing is that the female faces don’t look like total butt, because that’s what I care about when it comes to action figures apparently. And at least half of the figures come with an accessory of some sort, which is neat. Overall, I’m pleased with this selection, and eagerly await for wave 3, because Cyclops.

San-Diego-Comic-Con-2013-First-Look-DC-Comics-Greg-Capullo-Batman-Designer-Series-Action-Figures-Batman-Nightwing-TalonDC Comics Designer Figures Greg Capullo

Wave 1

DC Collectibles, $24.99

 

I’ll be honest, I could not even begin to tell you how many Batman figures are out there on the shelves today. DC, as well as Mattel, Square Enix, Lego and a few Japanese companies all have the rights to make Bat-merch. So as a result, I’ve lost count of what the fresh hell has been going on with these figures sometime back in early 2013.

That being said, I’m WELL aware of Greg Capullo‘s art on the ongoing Batman comic, and know that it is very much the business. So DC Collectibles making toys based on his work is a smart-ass move, because Capullo’s art translates into toy form quite well.

dc-comics-designer-series-1-greg-capullo-riddler-action-figure-pre-order-4The first wave (I believe 3 waves in total have been announced so far) consists of Batman, The Riddler, Talon and Nightwing. While the articulation is SLIGHTLY better than post DCC figures, they look a ton better than anything Mattel or Square’s released recently. Capullo’s a fantastic veteran artist, and this figures looked like they popped up from the pages of the comic. And I REALLY like the choice of packaging, as it looks super sharp and clean.

This is easily the best debut for a new line of DC Collectibles in some time. I’m eager to see more of the Capullo stuff get the plastic treatment, as well as other artists getting the spotlight. Hopefully it will expand past Batman titles at some point too.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: All New, Superior Review Spread (also something about Dick Grayson)

What I want to do this week: Dedicate 500 words on how rad that new Batgirl design is.

What I’m going to do this week: Dedicate those words to reviewing comics. Consider yourselves lucky. :/

tumblr_inline_n7pxrxoy321qbujoxGrayson #1

Time Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin

DC Comics $2.99

I’ll be honest, 2/3rd of that final issue of Nightwing really had me worried about Grayson. The last chapter of that comic was promising, and luckily, that quality carried over to the first issue of this new series, which was an excellent debut.

Dick Grayson’s got a new gig as a spy for Spyral, whom you may remember from Grant Morrison‘s Batman Incorporated run. And if you don’t hey no worries, the organization gets a good introduction, so you really don’t need to read that (which you should) or Forever Evil (Thank God) to get the full story. He’s partnered with Helena Bertinelli (she was the Huntress pre new 52 kids!) and is set to retrieve a Meta Human Bio Weapon from another shady organization because that’s the type of thing you do when you’re a super hero spy I guess.

Like I said above, it’s a great book. Tim Seeley and Tom King‘s script is fun and clever, which is the type of thing you want from a spy book. And Mikel Janin has come a long way from when I last saw him on Justice League Dark, providing some really good looking pencils and ink for the book (colored nicely by Jeromy Cox). It’s a bright, clean and colorful book, which seems to be the polar opposite of most DC titles and their Jim Lee-inspired house style. With my concerns put to bed, I’m quite pleased with this issue and am excited for a DC ongoing for the first time in forever.

3886216-all-new_x-men_29_coverAll New X-men #29

Brian Micahel Bendis/Stuart Immonen/ Wade Von Grawbadger/ Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

80% of this book is really good. It’s fun, good looking, and a nice little ending to this current arc of All New X-men. But man, there’s some things involving time travel and mind control that are a tad hazy, and I’m not sure if it’s on Bendis or Immonen. It’s unfortunate, because there are plenty of cool moments from this comic, and it’s rare to see this creative team not synch up 100% all of time. Overall a great, read, it’s a shame it stumbles a bit towards the end.

Spread-01-cover-kyle-strahm-felipe-sobriero-530x815Spread #1

Justin Jordan/Kyle Strahm/Felipe Sobeiro

Image $3.50

The first issue of Spread does not shy away from it’s influences. Writer Justin Jordan name drops Mad Max on the letter’s page, and you can tell the team also drew influence from the legendary manga Lone Wolf and Cub, fellow Image mega-hit the Walking Dead, and maybe not intentionally, Marvel’s last Cable solo series. That being said it’s a great read that proudly wears it’s influences on it’s sleeve.

Kyle Strahm reminds me a lot of mangaka Tsutomu Nihei (Blame! and the new Netflix anime Knight of Sidonia) in terms of style. The world of blame is disgusting and brutal, and Strahm’s art hammers that point across quite efficiently. The Spread monsters are made of pure nightmares, and there’s several panels/pages that really made me do a double take at what I was looking at.

The Spread isn’t the most original comic on the stands this week, but if you’re in the mood for something fun and horror-related, you could do a lot worst. That may sound like faint praise, but I assure you, I dug the hell out of the book, and this may end up being Justin Jordan’s equivalent to Fear Agent in a few issue.

SMFOES2013013-cov-8ab5aThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #13

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

So by now everyone knows that I like my super hero books to have some humor in them. Grimmdark too-serious comics are not my thing, which is why I favor things like Hawkeye to the bulk of the DC Comics library. So it should go without saying that I loved this issue of SUP FOES.

That’s not to say that Superior Foes of Spider-Man #13 doesn’t have some more serious moments to it. There’s a cool action piece featuring the Shocker, and this issue’s cliffhanger is fairly dramatic. But said action piece is also chocked full of little one liners, ans there’s a bull in chinashop bit earlier in the issue that’s also great.

So yeah, another funny and exceptionally well crafted  issue by Spencer, Lieber, Rosenberg. Also look at that cover, it’s super villains cosplaying other super villains. If that’s not your jam, I don’t even want to know you.

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