Category: Boom! Studios

grasskings1_cover

All Hail Grass Kings #1

A new twist on crime and high stakes at a high court from visionary creator Matt Kindt!

Few people bend the genres of crime, suspense, sci-fi, and can play on the line between drama and comedy quite like Matt Kindt. He has a mind for storytelling that is rare to find in any medium. His escalating espionage saga of Mind Mgmt will go down as one of the more gripping and most unique approaches to the spy story in the last two decades, if not longer. His sci-fi epic in the pages of Rai is a mix of Alan Moore and Phillip K. Dick that is not read nearly enough. Now comes a new take on a classic story: the challenge and potential fall of royalty in Grass Kings #1.

Is the kingdom at risk some great vast historical land? Psh, nothing so overdone. This time, Mr. Kindt and artist Tyler Jenkins, from the critically beloved but criminally under appreciated Peter Panzerfaust, brings forth a land filled with the hopeless and lost, of paupers seeking an opportunity in what they hope is a promised land. It just so happens that this promised land, the fiefdom is a trailer park kingdom. And this kingdom has not one but three rulers, three brothers who lay claim to the throne(s).

It begins with a lonely king and a damsel. Eldest brother Robert is a tragic figure despite his standing. He’s the father to a daughter that was killed in a brutal accident. He’s the husband to a wife that has disappeared and whom he presumes will never return. In the midst of this misfortunate life he encounters an enigmatic young woman named Maria. She’s fleeing from her own troubles and seeking shelter, a place to be safe and secure. Robert makes the fateful decision to take Maria in. No decisions come without risk or consequence though. Will Robert’s act of kindness lead to the ruin of the Kingdom?

Welcome to the pastoral mystery that is sure to intrigue fans of Scalped, Southern Bastards, and The Goddamned. Basically, anything Jason Aaron or “True Detective,” season one (it’s better to forget season two). Pick up this oversized debut in its beautiful prestige format on Wednesday.

Long live the Grass Kings!

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Chris’ Comics: Jonesy #2

Jonesy_002_A_Main-1Jonesy #2

Sam Humphries, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Mickey Quinn

Boom! Box $3.99

If there was any justice in the world, someone at Cartoon Network or Disney would be writing a big ol’ check to Sam Humphries and Caitlin Rose Boyle for the animated series rights for Jonesy. The way the book is structured and reads is perfect for that Bee & Puppycat/Gravity Falls/Steven Universe demograph, and it manages to be in the same vein of those properties while still being its own thing.

Jonesy #2 sees our lead slacking off on the job so that she can indulge her fandoms and hang out with a friend. Obviously there’s some shenanigans as a result of said slacking, which is good, because it would be a fairly boring comic otherwise. We the readers get a comic that seems deceptively simple at first look, but does so many small things right that Jonesy_002_panel-600x661it’s far more impressive than one would think. First off , I can’t remember any comics aside from maybe the new Marvel Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series that features multiple females persons of color as the focus of the story, especially ones aimed at a younger audience. Representation is important, and it’s nice to see the creators be diverse without getting to heavy handed at any given time. It’s also great to see a character admit they have a crush on another character of the same sex without making a big deal out of the fact that they’re queer. It’s something that doesn’t surprise me given that BOOM! Box also publishes the hit LQBT+ friendly comic Lumberjanes, but it’s nice to see none the less.

I love, LOVE, Caitlin Rose Boyle’s art. The Bryan Lee O’ Malley meets Rebecca Sugar style is so expressive and charismatic, it’s hard to not get lost in the book’s art. Aside from her hyper stylized characters, Boyle does a great job of cramming all sorts of things into the background, giving the readers plenty of incentive to study each panel. Mickey Quinn‘s colors continue to amaze, to the point where I want to stop reading this book in print and see how sharp it looks on my iPad screen. And Corey Breen‘s letters definitely deserve some mention, as the various black bold fonts contrast nicely with the bright colors used by Quinn.

Writer Sam Humphries has done some wonderful things with the 2nd issues dialogue. The 2nd issue seems to confirm how the book will play out (1st starts off with Jonesy, declaring Jonesy_002_PRESS-6something sucks, 2 act ends with Jonesy using her powers and making the scenario worst, third part is the resolution), and that’s fine. Again this book needs to appeals to all ages, and Humphries’ jokes, banter and plotting do so in a way that works for most older readers. As I’ve said in the past, it’s definitely not for everyone, but if your over 18 and wants something lighter in tone (especially compared to what Image offers), Jonesy is the book for you.

Jonesy #2 is a deceptively clever book that feels relevant and fun. A shame it’s only going to be a 4 issue mini series, because I would love to see what else these creators could do with more issues. That being said, the book’s nearly flawless as it, so Jonesy may benefit from less sometimes being more.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Jonesy #1 & Gotham Academy #15

Gotham Academy 015-000Jonsey #1

Sam Humphries, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Mickey Quinn

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Sam Humphries is a creator who’s worked I’ve certainly enjoyed these last few years, but I never had him pegged as an all-ages type of creator. Oh sure The Legendary Star-Lord and the other work he’s done for Marvel are comics #TEENS could enjoy, but I can’t say the same for his very adults only Our Love is Real or his current creator owned title Citizen Jack. However, Humphries is out to prove people like me wrong with Jonesy, a BOOM BOX title aimed at young audiences.

First and foremost, I have to admit it’s kind of refreshing to have a lead teenager female character who’s kind of a jerk. In a world full of Ms. Marvels and Gotham Academys, Jonesy being bitter, selfish and self absorbed makes her a little more believable and very enjoyable, especially when compared to some of her peers. She’s very likable none the less, as Humphries does an excellent job making her very 3 dimensional real fast.

Second, I LOVE Caitlin Rose Boyle’s art. It’s very much in the vein of Bryan Lee O’ Mally (who supplied a variant cover for this book.) and is it the perfect fit for this script. It also reminds me off the art style Rebecca Sugar developed for her hit animated series Steven Universe, which makes a ton of sense for a book that’s suppose to appeal to that fan base. Her art is bold, expressive and a tad bit trippy, mixing manga influence with indie-comic sensibilities. While Humphries name got my attention, Boyle’s art, along with Mickey Quinn‘s coloring kept me interested.

Jonesy #1 is a delightful debut to a fun all ages mini-series. Readers who dig other BOOM! BOX titles like Lumberjanes and Giant Days will probably feel at home with Jonesy, as will anyone who dug Scott Pilgrim but want something a little lighter and shorter to enjoy.

Gotham Academy 015-000Gotham Academy #14

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Zac Gorman, Rafael Albuqerque and others.

DC $2.99

The evolution of Gotham Academy from Harry Potter influence Batman comic to weird alt-comics anthology is something I’ve enjoyed with this “Yearbook” arc. This month Fletcher, Archer and Hope are joined by a quartet of guest creators, including the return of Minjue Helen Chen to the titles. She draws and writes the final chapter of this issue, which is a sweet 3 page story that focuses on Ham, who is a dog. Chen plus cute animals is a good time y’all, and her art is gorgeous.

Zac Gorman‘s comic focuses on the facility of Gotham Academy, and the results are hilarious. The 4 page story wears it’s Batman ’66 influences on it’s sleeve, and the humor is a little more “mature” than what we’re use to from this comic. I loved it, and would pay $3 a month for a spin off comic from Gorman that focuses on Bookworm and Egghead.

The biggest tale of the 2 is a 10 page story co-written and drawn by . Their art styles could’t be any more different (Medeiros is the living incarnate of indie comics, Rafael is much more mainstream cape comics friendly), but the 2 collaborate on a tale that suite both of their styles. It’s a very fun story, that plays with an element of Olive and Map’s relationship in a super fun way.

Bridged together by an tale written by Brenden Fletcher with much improved art from Adam Archer and Sandra Hope is another enjoyable issue in this anthology style arc. It’s been a great job of both introducing me to talents I was completely unfamiliar with, as well as seeing creators I do enjoy work on characters I adore.

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Chris’ Comics: What I loved about Comics in 2015

It’s been awhile FPNYC Faithful! Both my wife’s and my parents are divorced and remarried, so that means 4 families in 3 different states over the course of 3-5 days, depending on the year. The upside to that is that I got to see “The Force Awakens” twice, which I enjoyed a bunch. Downside is that my portable keyboard’s “N” and “B” keys don’t working, making writing while traveling virtually impossible, at least if I wanted proper spelling.

2015 was kind of a mix bag for Comics. Between Convergence and Secret Wars, there were WEEKS where I didn’t pull any big 2 comics. Which was fine really, as Dark Horse, Image and Boom put out some fantastic books this year. Which means I’m going to spend today talking about what I loved about comics this year.

Kaptara-coverTHE RISE OF CHIP ZDARSKY: The homie Matt Fraction is probably my favorite dude working in comics, but in terms of books released in 2015, I think I’ve read all of 6 books written by Fraction in 2015. HOWEVER, his chum/Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky had a fantastic year as far as I’m concerned. 2015 saw Chip teamed up with Infinite Kung-Fu creator Kagan McLeod and put out the excellent Kaptara for Image, Joe Quinones on Marvel’s absolutely hilarious Howard the Duck series, and in a move no one saw coming, Archie hired him and Erica Henderson for a Jughead series. Zdarsky and his army of artists released some gorgeous comics packed with sharp and brilliant humor. I’m excited to see what Chip and his friends can do come 2016, which will hopefully include Sex Criminals coming out on a regular schedule.

KIERON GILLEN, JAMIE MCKELVIE AND MATT WILSON PUT OUT PHONOGRAM VOLUME 3, OH AND THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE REMAINS AN EXCELLENT TITLE. 

PhonogramIG_04-1 Warning, this is where things get a little Image heavy for a bit.

For months, WicDiv has been battling it out with Saga for the crown of “Most Emotionally Damaging Image title”. 2015 saw that book hit all sorts of new creative highs, making for a fantastic read.

BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT PHONOGRAM CAME BACK!

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl isn’t the trio’s most accessible work, something I’ve stated several times,  but I don’t care. The music + magic plot point with it’s fascinating cast resonates with me in ways most comics don’t. I’m glad to see it come back, especially with these creators as good as they are now, and it deliver on levels I couldn’t predict. Between this and WicDiv, it’s hard to argue any creative team have had such a banner year more than these two.

PaperGirls_02-1BRIAN K VAUGHAN RELEASES A 2ND ON-GOING, IMAGE GETS ME TO GIVE THEM MORE MONEY. 

I might as well just get the rest of the Image stuff out in a single, dedicated section. In addition to books I was already reading like Rat Queens, Deadly Class, Saga, Sex Crimz, WicDiv & Pretty Deadly, Image decided to let a bunch of talented folk to put out more great books, which is both great for me as reader, and terrible for my savings account. Bitch Planet, Paper Girls, The Goddamned, Island, Montress,  and Tokyo Ghosts are just a few of the incredible offerings coming out from Image, who has had an banner year in 2015. And with creators like Bryan Lee O’ Malley preparing books for Image in 2016, I can’t see the publisher slowing down anytime soon.

SECRET WARS ISN’T TERRIBLE, A TON OF MARVEL BOOKS ARE FUN, THE STAR WARS BOOKS ARE GREAT, AND ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT MARVEL Silk Marvel #1NOW HAS A TON OF POTENTIAL HITS ON THE WAY*!

I have plenty of issues with Marvel 2015, but I can’t deny the company has put out some amazing books over the past 12 months. Secret Wars, even with the delays, may be the new standard of excellent for event books. Marvel added wonderful books like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Spider-Gwen, and Silk to their catalog. Hawkeye, Uncanny X-men and Secret Avengers all ended on high notes, as the Star Wars line kick several types of ass in ways Star Wars comics never had before. 2015 has been another great year for the House of Ideas, and 2016 looks to continue that trend with the new Black Panther, X-Men ’92, Black Widow, Luke Cage/Iron Fist and Captain Marvel titles dropping over the new few months.

*Anything Inhuman related being the exception, unless we count the wonderful Ms. Marvel.

DC….WELL DC TRIED REAL HARD AND THEY DESERVE SOME PROPS FOR AT LEAST MAKING AN ATTEMPT!

DC did not have a banner year, which is a shame. Convergence was a massive flop and it Batgirl_45_coverdid a ton of damage towards the DC You launch this past summer, which was pretty great for the most part. Black Canary, Starfire are excellent companion books to the already established (and wonderful) Batgirl and Harley Quinn titles, and Tom King is doing the Lord’s work over in Omega Men. The creative teams over on the Superman and Bat books are taking some neat risks, and the Justice League books have been pretty solid as a whole. Sadly, the sales haven’t been there, so who knows what’s to become of books like Gotham Academy and Prez come 2015. But with such cutting edge and diverse titles like John Constantine: Hellblazer, Cyborg, Grayson, and Midnighter coming out, hopefully DC’s 2016 will be better without having to sacrifice much.

And that concludes the annual wall of text. A weird but good year for comics IMO, which plenty to look forward next year! Thanks for reading, hope to see you again come 2016!

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Diesel #1

4741654-diesel_001_main_hesseDiesel #1

Tyson Hesse

Boom/Boom! Box, $3.99

Writer/Artist Tyson Hesse is a creator I’m familiar with from his late webcomic Boxer Hockey, but I was sold on this new mini series, Diesel, the minute the preview art hit the internet. Completely missing out on his run on The Amazing World of Gumball, it’s nice to see Hesse’s art improve so much since the last installment of Boxer Hockey. Diesel #1 is a gorgeous book, just one that’s a little light on content.

Diesel tells the tale of Dee Diesel, who’s apparently the heir to a awesome airship that also doubles as a small mobile community. The book reads like a Miyazaki movie, only less whimsical and more sarcastic and comical. The majority of the book introduces us to the cast of the book, and a hint of backstory, but mostly focuses on Dee. Dee is a fun lead, and a lot of the humor associated with her is solid, but she also reads a lot like the cliche bratty lead who’s got a gift but is also kind of a pain due to her over confidence. Diesel wears a lot of it’s influences on it’s sleeves, and while the premise is near and a lot of the jokes land, it also feels very familiar.

That being said, the book looks great. Tyson Hesse, with help from Mariel Cartwight, create a fun world with characters who are very expressive and animated. The character’s “acting” go a long well to help sell the jokes, and the visuals are very clean and fluid. The art really does a lot for this book, making it an entertaining read.

I understand that first issues are difficult to nail, so I hope this promising start improves with it’s next issue. Diesel is a great looking and funny book, it’s just a little light on the story. With the cast now introduced, I expect great things from future installment. It’s a cool all ages book with some charm, and fan of The Legend of Korra and Japanese role playing video games ought to check it out.

Phonogram_vol3_02-1Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #3

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image, $3.99

Jamie McKelvie y’all.

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #2 is the comic Jamie McKelvie drew “for real” this past week and my god, it’s gorgeous. Given arguably the MOST Kieron Gillen script in some time, McKelvie not only draws fantastic looking characters with gorgeous outfits, but also pays homages to 2 iconic music videos in this issue and completely nails it. His character’s acting is flawless, perfectly capturing the look and energy the 2 videos he pays homage to, but also puts his own feels to it. It’s incredibly good looking, and impressive how he can change his style mid book and then go back to his default setting with no problem. And as someone who’s read the previous installment of Phonograns, I’m amused of how we get to see David Kohl aged and become more Gillen-esque in appearance with every passing volume.

Helping Jamie set the mood as per usual is colorist Matthew Wilson, who’s also having an amazing week. If killing it on WicDiv wasn’t enough for Mr Wilson, he also changes up his palettes multiple times in this comic, and it all looks terrific in the end. Same with letter Clayton Cowles, who swaps up the fonts to help differentiate the narrators. This may be Kieron Gillen’s semi-autobiographical story about critics, but the artists are clearly having a blast telling this story, having the freedom to experiment with their styles as they see fit.

Phonograms: TIG isn’t any more accessible than the first issue, but you don’t have to be in the loop to appreciate how good this book it. It’s brilliant even if you don’t get the references without the help of glossary, which I am grateful for. Plus the gorgeous back up illustrated by Jamaica Dyer is worth your time and money. It’s certainly not a book for everyone, the the 2nd issue of The Immaterial Girl is a terrific experience for the target audience.

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Chris Comics: Welcome Back #1

STK678250Welcome Back #1

Christopher Sebela, Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, Carlos Zamudio

Boom $3.99

Sorry for the delay gang, someone had a birthday this week (it was me, I berfed), and a busted modem (also me), so interneting was hard.

Last week was an odd week for me  when it came to buying comics, as none of my usual pulls dropped, and the mountain of trades I have to get through are quite dated (no longer the case by the way, again, due to berf). Not wanting to leave Forbidden Planet NYC stranded on hashtag content, or drop $5 on a Marvel book, I decided to see what the indies had to offer. As luck would have it, the fine folks at Boom! Studios released Welcome Back, the first of 4 issue mini series with some slick twists I will attempt to not spoil in this review.

 

WelcomeBack_001_PRESS-8Welcome Back is written by Christopher Sebela, who’s work I’m not too familiar with outside of co-writing some comics with Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue Deconnick, but his High Crime series from Monkeybrain/Dark Horse is supposed to be really good. I have zero familiarity with artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, but man, his stuff is great. He’s a nice blend of artists like Chris Bachalo, Becky Cloonan and Sean Murphy. His line work is sharp and jagged, and fully of energy like Murphy, with his character designs and layouts very much in the graffiti and manga-influenced styles we get from Chris and Becky. And if Sawyer’s Murray in this scenario, then colorist Carlos Zamudio would be the next generation Matt Hollingsworth. The choices of colors in Welcome Back remind me a lot of Hollingsworth works on books like The Wake and Hawkeye, only not as muted. Welcome Back is easily one of the best looking books I’ve seen from a relatively new creative team in some time.

On the words side of things, I get why Sebela’s gotten a ton of praise for his indie comics. Welcome Back is wordy, but never overcrowded. It’s heavy on the dialogue and narration, but flows effortlessly, with everything coming across relatively natural sounding. Some of the stuff WelcomeBack_001_Interiors-1spoken during the action scene is a little clique and hokey, but aside from that, it’s relatively solid. My only real complaint other than that is the use of block, flat fonts for the sound effect by letter  Shawn Aldridge. It really clashes with the art, and it’s weird to see that sort of thing when the narration boxes and dialgoue balloons are position correctly. But those are only some small things that I’m sure that will improve in time, and don’t take much away from the rest of the book.

Welcome Back was a surprisingly great debut that I wish I could go into more but won’t, because again, there are some great twists that work if you go in blind. That’s what I did for the most part, and I enjoyed the book all the more. If you’re looking for something fresh and different, or just tired of one of your favorite being held up by delays, I can’t recommend giving Welcome Back enough. It’s a cool melting pot of ideas with an relatable lead character, and I’m excited to see how this all plays out.

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What I dug in 2014 finale: Creator Owned Comics

This is me saving the best for last. While both Marvel and DC had solid years creatively (and sales wise I imagine, but I don’t have those numbers at my hands), the number of quality creator owned comics that dropped this past year was astonishing. Today will be the day I focus on those quality books, which is why I’ve titled this article as such.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverImage Comics had arguably it’s bet year to date in 2014. Aside from “older” on-goings like The Walking Dead, Saga, Invincible, Umbral, Rat Queens, and Sex Criminals (as well as the end of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Fatale), we saw the debut of  a number of excellent new comics. Such books like the often discussed The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, Fuse ( Antony Johnston, Justin Greenwood) Shutter ( Joe Keatinge, Leila Del Duca, Owen Gieni, Ed Brisson), Bitch Planet ( Kelly Sue Deconnick, Valentine Del Landro) among a dozen others all debuted within the last 12 months, which is impressive to say the least. Image continues to be the premiere comics company for creator owned books, luring some of the top creators from Marvel and DC (see Scott Snyder, Mark Millar, Rick Remender) to put out some of their best work of their careers without having to use corporate owned IPs. Image put out some of my favorite comics of the past year, all without having to resort to crossovers and $5 gimmick books.

boombox_lumberjanes_002_aBut Image wasn’t the only comic company to have a good year with creator owned comics. BOOM Studios produced some top notched horror comics with James Tylion IV with The Woods and Memetic. Their BOOM BOX! imprint also had the debut of the excellent Lumberjanes comics, arguably one of the best all ages comics on the stands The book by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen and Maarta Laiho was originally announced as a 8 issue mini series, but it’s well deserved popularity got it bumped up to an on-going and is constantly delightful and visually stunning. Oni Press published Charles Soule & Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s sci-fi drama Letter 44, a book that deserves more hype and discussion, and the books Charles Bunn’s put out through the company has been nothing short of great.  And while not exactly creator owned, Valiant Comics continues to impress, with some best under the radar super hero/action books being put out on a monthly basis.

51kMcl9F-rL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_And finally, two of 2014’s biggest releases, creator owned or otherwise, weren’t even from traditional comics publishers. Seconds, by Scott Pilgrim‘s Bryan Lee O Malley, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll saw print this year, and both are must reads in my opinion. While Seconds may  not be made into a movie by Edgar Wright any time soon, it’s a phenomenal comic that feels like a Miyazaki movie meant for the Scott Pilgrim crowd. Through the Woods is by far the creepiest comic I’ve read in years, as Emily Carroll delivers some genuine terror with her work, which blends horror with folk tales. I can’t recommend either enough.

2014 was a terrific year for comic. There may have been some dumb stuff that went down with some professionals and publishers, but the amount of good that came from the industry easily triumphs the bad. I’m eager to see what 2015 offers, what with us being a few short days from Image Expo, the release of Squirrel Girl, and whatever DC has up their sleeves once the company is united in California.

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: ALL HAIL THE HYPNO SLOTH!

Hey FPNYC faithful, before we go into this week’s round of reviews, I just wanted to point out that The Wicked + The Divine #5 also dropped this past Wednesday and it is super great. I’ll probably go back a look at the first five issues as a whole once the trade drops next month, so y’all can look forward to that I guess.

 

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #9

Ales Kot, Micahel Walsh, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

This issue has Hawkeye and Deadpool fight an Eco-Terrorist version of the Ultimate Warrior and an All Star Superman parody featuring MODOK. It’s a Nextwave appearance short of being everything I want from a Marvel comic.

 

Secret Avengers continues to be a weird sci-fi spy comic who’s jokes aren’t afraid to punch up. It takes some weird chances, not giving the reader a dumbed down product, and it’s all the better for it. Weird things happen for a reason, and while the answers to certain questions always doesn’t come immediately, when they are addressed it’s a win for readers. Ales Kot is a smart dude who balances a ton of different type of storytelling elements well, & Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson continue to amaze on visuals, especially with the last few pages, mixing some serious strangeness with some great character work and expressions. Not to mention doing some cool David Aja-esque panel breakdowns revolving around Hawkeye shooting off some arrows.

There’s also no less than 3 pin up pages in this book, something unusual for Secret Avengers. As someone who’s read comics in the 90s, it’s really hard for me to be impressed by that sort of thing, but seeing how they’ve been used so sparingly before in SA, the get the desired effect in issue #9. They’re all bold, mostly dialogue free, and contain really striking imagery. Props to the creative team for doing that sort of thing right.

Secret Avengers is basically more of the same. The same being a smart, engaging, weird and hilarious book that has Tradd Moore  and Wilson  some fantastic work on the covers every month. It’s also worth nothing that the first 6 issues are now available in trade, so if you wanted to jump on the book, now’s the time to do so.

 

 memetic1Memetic #1

James Tynion IV/Eryk Donovan

BOOM! Studios/ $4.99

A few months back, (possibly around San Diego Comic Con time) Boom send out an image of the Good Times Sloth, with little to no context. I remember being excited to find out what the deal was with said GT sloth, and then promptly forgot about it because that is how I roll.

 

However, a recent interview with the creative team on Comics Alliance reminded me of said sloth and learned me good of it’s origins (bad grammar was intentional BTW), and I was instantly hook on it’s origins and the book it would be appearing it. The book is called Memetic, and holy hell, is the a really good horror book.

 

For all of you not in the know, Memetic’s plot is as such: The Good Time Sloth image goes viral on the internet, setting all sorts of records and becomes a global phenomenon. Oh and then drives anyone who looks at it insane, and brings about the apocalypse. The book starts off 3 days into the end of times, and then jumps back to the beginning of the outbreak, just as the meme go viral and shit goes down.

It’s the type of high concept horror that made me a fan of James Tylon IV’s work earlier this year. His work on The Woods, Tylon’s OTHER BOOM horror book, was my proper introduction to his creator owned work, and Memetic’s double sized review is as good, if not better than that book. The concept is unique and fresh, the world building and character development is believable, and the social commentary is smart, but not pandering.

In addition to the a great script, Memetic looks fantastic. Erik Donovan style is sketchy and exaggerated, but considering the story revolves around a meme bringing about the end of the world, it makes sense. It actually reminds me a lot of Axe Cop’s creator Ethan Nicolle’sstyle, just a little bit looser. Adam Guzowski‘s colors are also great, as they can shift from dark to bright with no problem.

This 3 issue mini series does look like it’s going to end well, and I’m thrilled to be able to read it. Between this and Wytches, it’s been a great month for horror comics from non big-2 publishers.

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Troy’s Toys, but With Comics: Rocket Reviews

 

000_4318.jpeg.square-true_maxheight-285_size-285 STK644226Legendary Star Lord/Rocket Raccoon #1

Sam Humphries/Paco Diaz (LSL)/ Skottie Young (RR)

Marvel $3.99 each

In case you somehow missed it, or are still in denial (which yo, I GET), Marvel/Disney has a Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out next month. This usually results in a title reboot, but since the proper GOTG book is only 2 years old, Marvel has decided to go the always questionable spin off route, and give both Peter Quill & Rocket Raccoon books. And given the fact that Rocket Racoon’s preorder numbers were somewhere in the 300k range (100k from Loot Crate), that was an incredible smart move by Marvel.

And what’s the most surprisingly about these titles is how great they are while being so incredibly different. The Legendary Starlord is easily the best Han Solo comic on the market, (sorry not sorry Firefly) until Marvel puts out a proper Han Solo book next year, and Rocket is space adventure under a Chuck Jones filter, (if Daffy Duck was a raccoon that murdered people). Both are great debuts, which is no surprise given the talent involved.

Skottie Young, who’s finally on everyone’s radar thanks to those Young aka Baby Variants that Marvel’s been putting out over the last 2.5 years, is a fantastic fit for Rocket Raccoon. The script is fun, and it’s nice to see Young get a chance to flex his writing muscles for a chance, as the results are very much what I wanted. It’s a super-cartoony looking book, which only proves how diverse and wonderful Marvel’s current crop of artists are, as Rocket #1 ends up being a species swapped Scott Pilgrim of sorts. It’s very loosely tied into the current events of GOTG, making it perfect for new readers not reading Bendis’ book. As far as debuts go,  Rocket’s up there with Ms Marvel with Marvel’s most accessible and fun book launched in 2014.

The Legendary Starlord, by the talented team of Sam Humphries and Paco Diaz, is a little more  rooted in current Marvel continuity, and looks more like a traditional Marvel book, but isn’t any less enjoyable. Humphries’ dialogue is slick, and he balances action, humor and Quill’s tragic past quite nicely. Diaz’s art is slick and clean, making it look a gorgeous looking book. Hopefully Sam and Paco will stick around on this title for awhile, because this take on Starlord is off to a great start.

 

Both Rocket and Starlord are super fun books that are accessible and worth checking out if you’re looking for some fun books to add to your pull list.

 

Woods_003_coverA-620x400The Woods #3

James Tynion IV/ Michael Dialynas

Boom!, $3.99

If case you missed it, I really liked the second issue of the Woods, but found it heavy on the tropes. Luckily, that’s not the case for issue 2.

Issue 3 is very much more in the vein of the 1st issue, which makes for a happy Chris. There’s some horrifying visuals, one involving a weird growth that has more or less confirmed my belief that nature is evil. There’s more character growth that’s shown by actions and not spelled out for the reader which I appreciate. Oh and more Space Bears, which is VERY important to me.

It’s the type of horror comic I want to be reading at the moment, which is a credit to Tynion, Dialynas and BOOM!. The cast is likeable (well most of them at least), the hook is solid, and it looks and reads great. There’s some brutal stuff in it, but nothing that turns me off from reading it. And some really weird things that make sense, given how gonzo the premise is. The Woods is the type of book I expect from Image, but am glad to see a company like BOOM put out. More awesome creator owned books by different publishers is always good for comics.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Superior Trees

Hey Superior Foes of Spider-Man is back this week. Yay, I’m so glad no other Marvel books that I really like are also on hiatus :: breaks out in ugly crying :::

sup foesSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #12

Nick Spence, Steve Lieber, Racelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in on ol’ SUP FOES, due to a month delay and some fill in issues I didn’t care to purchase. But Nick, Steve and Rachel and back, and despite a increase in price, I’m glad to see the once again. Especially with that rocking cover by Ron Wimberly.

Our lead, disgraced former Mets pitcher turned super villain Boomerang, find himself in a bit of trouble rest  of the Sinister Six ( actually Five). Mostly because he lied/double crossed the lot of them, or if you’re the Shocker, tried killing. So their anger is justified. Can Boomerang lie his way out of this scenario? Yeah probably, but you should still read the damn thing.

This issue is incredibly rewarding to people who’ve been reading SUP FOES since day 1. Lieber & Spencer bring back a few old gags like the double page death trap warehouse ( complete with Stalin Mummies!), super deformed version of the Sinister Six, over exaggerated facial expressions. Steve Lieber’s panel count per page is also impressive, fitting up to 12  in some pages, without the final product being over crowded. And his placement of characters for comedic purposes really helps sell the humor. This book continues to showcase how strong of an story telling Lieber is ( and props to colorist Rachelle Rosenberg for really making this book come to life, especially with the action sequence towards the end of the book).

Nick Spencer deserves his fair amount of praise with what he gets accomplished with this issue. Aside from tripling the amount of characters in a certain team of villains ( Bi-Beast is back!), the Shocker & Hammerhead get  decent amount of spotlight with their connected subplots. It’s really wonderful to see everything come together for a super great read.

As our first massive arc ( and possibly series :/) wraps up, I’m really impressed with this issue of Superior Foes of Spider-Man. It’s a well constructed comic that manages to raise the stakes without sacrificing character development.

Woods_002_CoverThe Woods

James Tynion IV, Micahel Dialynas

BOOM!, $3.99

 

The 2nd issue of the Woods is heavy on the troupes. Evil facility member? Check. Adorable monkey-esque pet character? Check. Creepy ass alien bear…alright that’s kind of new and awesome.

 

As familiar as the 2nd issue of  The Woods is, it’s not any less entertaining than the first issue. The team of students that decided to run off into said the woods find themselves not as prepared they thought they were, and the divide between the Student Council and the school’s facility begins to grow. With all this growing conflict, I’m expecting  a heavy body count by the end of this first arc.

The team of Tynion & Dialynas continue to impress with this issue. The art in this book is stellar and the dialogue remains sharp, and the amazingly brutal cover by artist Ramon K. Perez is as great as it is horrifying. My only complaint is that the massive cast is making some elements of the book seem a little crowded, but considering the type of monsters that occupy this weird alien planet or moon, I’m sure that’s not going to be an issue for much longer.

Despite the sense of familiarity this books gives off at certain points, the Woods is definitely a must read horror title. It’s a little than the previous issue, it’s constructed in a way to build the dread and terror the cast faces while adding on the intrigue. It’s a unique type of horror comics, one that smart without talking over the reader’s head. With only 2 issues under the team’s belt, I’m really impressed with the quality of story the team has told so far.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Better never than later

Think I may have messed up that intro title.

 

BELATED REVIEW:

Lumberjanes_002_coverALumberjanes #2

Noelle Stevenson/Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Let me start off this review by congratulating team Lumberjanes, as the series has gone from being an 8 mini series to a on-going! Lumberjanes is a great and important book for a number of reasons, and I’m glad BOOM! is giving the book and it’s fan the support it deserves.

Last week’s second issue is a another stellar comic, this time involving the girls going on a canoeing trip. Obviously things do not go according to plan, and more animals with 3 eyes may or may not show up (spoilers, they do) and the girls stumble upon a good ol’ fashion spooky woods mystery. It’s a ton of fun, and the book looks gorgeous. A lot of the humor, as well as the character building is expressed in the art without much exposition, letting the Brooke Allen‘s pencils do the talking. I’m 100% okay with this, as Allen’s art is super expressive, capturing the girl’s personalities and actions perfectly. Maarta Laiho‘s color art is excellent, and really captures the nature and feel of nature. Noelle Stevenson  & Grace Ellis are fantastic as well, as the dialogue and spoken humor are a hoot.

The all female created, LBGT  and all aged friendly Lumberjanes is arguably one of the most important books out in the market, not to mention one of the strongest. I’m glad it’s found an audience, and I certain hope it grows with each and every issue.

Saga_19-1Saga #19

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

Yay, Saga‘s back. Boo, Saga’s last page is brutal.

Saga continues to be the textbook definition of perfection is comics. From cover to cover, Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan continue to do everything right. It looks greats, the dialogue is fresh and crisp (no one uses profanity like BKV folks, and the plot moves at an impressive rate. It’s mind blowing on how much BKV and Staples can cram into 20 pages, especially when they’re introducing new characters into the cast.

And the last 2 pages. Just….man. Without going into details, Vaughn and Staples change the game on the readers. They managed to completely changed the mood of the book with 10 words, and not by the traditional comics means of death of destruction. It hurts y’all, it’s hurt something fierce.

TLDR: Saga continues to be the best, although sometimes it can be a jerk while doing so.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_21_TextlessUncanny X-men #21

Brian Micahel Bendis, Chris Bachaelo, Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99

The current arc of UXM is titled X-Men vs SHIELD. If’ you’re keeping up on the title, you’re probably expecting things to play out a certain way. 3 issues into this arc, I can safely say that they’re not going to, and the book is stronger for it.

Several plot lines are coming together and the results are interesting. That’s a compliment mind you, as the book has never been better, and a certain X-man needing some redemption in my eyes comes through, while another one makes his triumphant return. Brian Michael Bendis‘ handling of these characters is impressive, and his dialogue and script on this book has never been better.

I’ve spoken highly of Chris Bachalo before in the past, but it’s usually about his art. While it’s great here, his coloring is really impressive this issue. The various uses of reds, greys, and greens are fantastic, and what really won me over was the 3rd last place. The shade of blue Bachalo uses for the sky is beautiful  and it shows off how he’s grown as a colorist.

Uncanny X-men has been stellar for months, and the book is probably the strongest it’s ever been in years. Bendis and Bachalo are an excellent creative team, and I’m really digging the direction the book has taken during their run.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Of Puppycats and X-men

NOTE: In  addition to the books I’m taking a look at this week, I also picked up the second issue of Boom’s Lumberjanes. It’a  great book, but real life hasn’t given me much time to write comics this weekend. Expect a proper review next weekend.

 

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #3

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

 

A “True Detective” reference Secret Avengers? Oh you shouldn’t have (That is a lie, always cater towards my interests please.).

 

Now that our team is assembled, the Secret Avengers are free to begin saving the world (in secret obviously). Not exactly a ground breaking concept I know, but what that actually means is that the team can now make fun of Hawkeye (“The Troubled One” as described by Maria Hill), throw down with Lady Bullseye, and make friends with sentient bombs. Yes, I’m well aware that last part sounds a little crazy, but keep in mind, this is a book with MODOK in it, so it’s not that bizarre if you really think about it.

 

Michael Walsh’s art is an absolute delight in this issue, and one of the reason it works so well is thanks to Matthew Wilson coloring. There’s some panels where only one color is used (the first page of the comic, several panels during the Black Widow/ Lady Bullseye fight), and it’s really striking. Walsh is no slouch either mind you, and the pages inspired by old school video games and really really cool. The art works we’ll with Ales Kot script, which is equally clever and humorous. And Tradd Moore’s cover is perfect, really highlighting the madcap atmosphere of this comic.

 

Secret Avengers continues to be the perfect book for fans eager for books that similar to Hawkeye, as well as ones that maintain the charm of the cinematic Marvel Universe. More comics could benefit with having talking bombs in their cast.

 

 

Bee-and-PuppyCat-Cover-ABee and Puppycat #1

Natasha Allegri/Garret Jackson/Madeleine Flores

KaBoom, $3.99

I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m a little let down by Bee and Puppycat’s comic debut. The animated short from last year was a delight, and the announcement of this mini series had my hopes set high, especially with Natasha Allegri involvement. Allergi’s comics debut with last year’s Fionna and Cake mini-series was excellent, but I found the first issue of Bee and Puppycat suffered from some awkward pacing and a bit of the ol’ decompression.

That being said, the book looks great, and the humor is swell. Bee, our magical girl temp worker, is a hot awkward mess of an adult, and it’s something that Allegri manages to capture perfectly in the comic. Puppycat, her magical dog-cat, is as cute as it’s animated counterpart, but without the audio element of the show in this book (animated Puppycat is voiced by the Japanese Vocaloid synthesizer program, which is super cute), it loses some of its charm. And again why the humor and visuals are great, I found the plot kind of dragging, paling to the narrative of the back up story. The backup story, by Madeline Flores, is excellent, and is a cute follow up to the animated short. Flores’ art is very expressive, and her choice to keep Puppycat silent works well. I’m actually more excited to see how that story wraps up than I am with the main.

Bee and Puppycat isn’t a bad comic but it pales to the recent released Fionna and Cake themed Adventure Time annual, and this week’s issue of Lumberjanes. Fans will find some enjoyment in it, but there’s little to sell people on not familiar with the property aside from the art.

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_27_TextlessAll New X-Men

Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Wade Von Grawbager/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

An incredibly DENSE issue from Bendis and Immonen, this issue of All New X-Men does a lot right.  Two of the underused characters introduced in last year’s Battle of the Atom event are fleshed out in a flashback, there’s another mystery plot line touched upon and a ton of action as the X-men find them under attack. It’s a lot for 20 pages of content, but Bendis paces it well, letting Stuart Immonen’s pencils to the talking when need be, and saving the large chunks of dialogue he’s known for the break from the action. The colors from Marte Gracia, in conjunction with the heavy black inks from Wade Von Grawbadger mix well, and help Immonen’s art give the sense of urgency and chaos this issue needs.

All New X-Men has really found its footing after dragging its heels for a few months. I’m really glad to see it, and hope this kind of quality continues to be present in the series.

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Troy’s toys, but with Comics: Strong Debuts, Conquering Queens

Another strong week for comics, with 2 great debuts. I’m excited to talk to y’all about these books, so let’s get to it!

52fcf9c2867f1Cyclops #1

Greg Rucka/Russell Dauterman/Chris Sotomayer

Marvel $3.99

So, a lot of people have been making the same joke on twitter that Cyclops is a bold new concept for Marvel, as it features a positive (and living) father figure in it. I am the MOST jealous of not being the first to make that joke.

As much as I complained about the announcement of this book spoiling “The Trail of Jean Grey”, I absolutely loved this first issue. It’s a cute premise, as the time traveling young Cyclops (or Fryclops if you’re down with Futurama) gets to hang out with his space pirate dad Corsair and his merry band of space pirates. Does this probably put the time-space continuity as risk? Oh definitely, but it’s fun, and it allows Corsair to hang out with a son he never got to meet until he was older, so who cares (Oh right, “our” Cyclops, that was addressed in last week’s Uncanny. Duh.)

Let’s talk creative team yes? So we all know that Greg Rucka is an amazing writer yes? So it comes as no surprise that the writing in this issue is strong. Rucka draws from his own experience as of father, and the result is a more realistic and earnest script, despite the present of aliens and mutants. It makes for a good read in the end, and I’m glad Rucka is handling it.

Art Wise, I have no prior experience with SPACE ARTIST Russell Dauterman (What, that’s his title on the credits page credits him as), But I dig his stuff. It reminds me a lot of Chris Burnham but a little more controlled. His teenage Cyclops looks like an actual teenager, which is nice, because this book stresses that Scott’s 16 a lot. Also his space pirates are all various degrees of sexy, even Final Fantasy knock off Korvus.

An excellent, endearing, character driven comic, the first issue of Cyclops is delight. I really didn’t expect to end up liking it as much as I did, even with my permi-Scott boner, but I’m certainly glad this book is as good as it is.

TheWoods1cvrThe Woods #1

Jame Tynion IV/Michael Dialynas

Boom! $3.99

This is the 2nd comic I’ve read in the last month where teenagers ( #TEENS) end up in a SPOOKY FOREST that’s been published but Boom. But much like “The Lumberjanes”, this is an excellent debut. Unlike the ‘Janes, this is not an all aged affair.

And much like Cyclops’ artist, I have no experience with the creators involved in “The Woods” what sold me on it was the concept. A Milwaukee high school is teleported (for a lack of better words) to a spooky forest, and things go south from there. I don’t want to say much more than that, but it’s creepy and weird, and I love it.

One of the things I really like about James Tynion IV’s script is the fact that the teenagers (who make up most of the cast) actually sound like teenagers, not small adults. A lot of comics don’t get that right, and it takes me out of the narrative a bit. Here, everyone sounds natural, and it totally works, even when the crazier elements of the plots are introduced.

Michael Dialynas is a great fit for the book. He’s very Faith Erin Hicks/Guy Davis-esque, and can sell both the humor and horror elements. Balancing that sort of thing can be tricky, but Dialynas pulls it off well. Jason Gonzalez’s colors also help a lot too, really helping Tynion and Dialynas set the scene for their tale of cosmic horror. There’s some really cool atmosphere in this book, and the use of purples and blues in the 2nd half of the book is great.

 

“Great” also sums up The Woods debut. It’s a cool premise with a fantastic excecution. I cannot recommend this first issue enough.

 

RatQueens06-CoverA-285071_321x214Rat Queens #6

Kurtis J Wiebe/Roc Upchurch

Image $3.50

I’ll be honest, I initially was going to skip over Rat Queens #6 because I prefer reading this book in trade. However, after flipping through the first few pages at the shop, I was more than impressed with what I saw and decided that I couldn’t wait for trade. I needed it NOW.

Wiebe and Upchurch really stepped up their game with this issue. Now that the cast has been properly introduced and the first arc is over, we’re introduced to 2 big reveals in this issue, and now I’m DYING to see how they’re going to pay off. Especially with Roc Upchurch handling the visuals, because holy hell, this book looks amazing. The first few pages show how wonderful his panel layouts and body language is, and it’s something that’s constantly great throughout the book.  And Kurtis Wiebe‘s dialogue is doing a fine job of fleshing out the Queens, their supporting cast and the world around them. There’s some extremely touching moments, as well as 2 that are absolutely horrific. This book is flawless overall.

Image’s comic game has been strong for awhile, as I’ve said as much in the past, but I’m impressed on how their books continue and continue to improve. Rat Queens is arguably my favorite non-Matt Fraction penned series on the market, and if you give it a chance, I’m sure it will be your’s as well.

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Toys Toys, but with Comics: #Ladies

Getting straight to the reviews this time around. Hope you enjoyed FCBD, I’m still salty there was ZERO Carol Danvers in that Guardians book. >:(

allnewxmen26cvrAll New X-Men

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

Marvel $3.99

I am pleased.

I’ve been on the verge of dropping All New X-Men as of late. As much as I like Stuart Immonen‘s art, the constant crossover left me burnt out, and Uncanny’s recent hot streak wasn’t doing its sister book any favors. However we’re back to basics with issue 26, and that’s a very good thing for fans of the book named Chris Troy, and probably some others I imagine.

This issue is very light on the action and heavy on the drama. Which may turn some people off, because let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the first talking heads Brian Michael Bendis comic. However, soap opera drama has always been a big part of the X-mythos (seriously where have you’ve been, how did you not know this, tsk tsk ), so seeing adult Scott talk to young Jean while X-23 pines for the absent young Scott works for me, despite being a tad creepy. Please note that Cyclops is like one of my top 3 Marvel characters, so this sort of thing is my jam.

There’s only so many ways I can point out how great Stuart Immonen‘s art is (So great, thanks to Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia), so I’ll just continue to point out what else I like about this issue. No wait, I lied, I want to talk about how perfect those first few pages are. There’s a nice Double Spread that kicks this issue off, which shows exactly how effective an artist Immonen can be. It’s haunting (the desire effect I imagine), and the use of colors really helps to sell the scene. From there, continuing to praise there’s some really solid use of darkness and light for the next few panels/pages that really help build tension. There’s also an impressive use of white space when it comes to a snow scene later one, which serves as how sometimes less is more with panel composition. Also man, peep that cover, and tell me the way Jean’s “new” powers is not dope.

With a great intro and a solid cliffhanger for an ending, the current story arc for All New X-Men is off to a great start!

 

 

KABOOM_Adventure_Time_2014_Annual_AAdventure Time 2014 Annual

Frank Gibson/Becky Dreistadt/Ian McGinty

KaBoom $4.99

DID YOU KNOW: I am a fan of people I like working on characters I like! See any discussion I’ve praising Fraction/Aja on Hawkeye, which is akin to a verbal and or written handjob for proof of this.

So when you take Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt of the webcomic Tiny Kitten Teeth , as well as Penny Arcade, and but then on Fionna & Cake, and then make the tiny adorable babies, I will throw money at you. Assuming you are a comics retailer what sell said comic, I don’t earn enough to be throwing money around like that.

Anywho, the 2014 Adventure Time annual is printed horizontally, much like those Marvel-vision annuals of the 2000s. Also quick sidenote, if you’ve never read one of those, make sure it involves Grant Morrison and the X-Men, otherwise you’re wasting your time. The way it’s printed, combinbed with Dreistadt’s beautiful printed art, give the book a Sunday newspaper feel, which is neat. And the story is super cute and super fun, focusing in Baby Fionna and Baby Cake’s first major adventure. The art reminds me a lot of the Paper Mario series of video games, and the writing remains faithful to Fionna and Cake’s established voices. It’s the perfect type of all ages story, and a tremendous example of how great comics as story-telling device can be.

 

Ian McGinty contribute 6 single page stories to the annual which are a hoot. His art is more in style to Adventure Time “house”-style than Dreistadt’s, and very charming. He’s able to tell a quick story in anywhere from 5 panels, to a more impressive 10 panels on a single page, and the use of supporting characters is some solid fan service for fans.

For $5, AT Annual 2014 is worth every penny. It’s a charming and fun read, and it looks great. Perfect for fans of the show, and people who like great comics.

 

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