Category: DC Comics

Chris’ Comics: DC Universe Rebirth #1

366074._SX640_QL80_TTD_DC Universe Rebirth #1

Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Phil Jimenez, Brad Anderson, and others.

DC $2.99

DC Rebirth is here, and everything old is new and incredibly complex again! Also head’s up, mad spoilers for this comic follow.

Writer Geoff Johns and artists Gary Frank, Phil Jimenez, Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver come together to revamp the DC for the the umpteenth time, and try to get lapsed readers to come back to the DCU. While setting up the premises of several books, fans are also treated to the return of (white) Wally West, a few plotlines from John’s Darkseid War arc over in Justice League, and the crazy pants reveal that Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen fame may or may not be responsible for the new 52/Rebirth earth. It’s super ambitious , as I’ve said so earlier in the week, and had it not been leaked onto the internet several days before it was released, I’m sure it would be the book everyone is talking about, instead of being 2nd fiddle to Captain America drama.

But while it’s definitely ambitious, it’s also something that requires you read several other books before hand before tackling. Not caught up on the events on Superman, Justice League, and several other books? Then a lot of this book won’t make sense to you.

As for the inclusion of the Watchmen characters into the DCU proper. I’m not a fan of how the company has treated Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the past, nor am I a fan of when DC attempts to tell stories featuring those characters without those two creators. Having REB_1_1-6them, even if it’s JUST Dr. Manhattan, rubs me in the wrong way, especially when you factor in that he’s a analog for Captain Atom. Johns clearly has a plan, but it feel like it’s scraping the bottom of the barrel for shock value.

So yeah, it’s safe to say it’s something I’m not a fan of, or will be following for the next..2 years? Christ. Also see: the 3 Jokers subplot. 1 Joker is already 1 too many, I don’t need a gathering of Joker-los.

Now that I’m done ranting, let’s get to the good stuff. first and foremost, this book is gorgeous. Frank, Van Sciver, Reis and Jimenez all contribute some great art to this title, which definitely helps is feel like a “important” “epic”. All 4 artists bring a nice George Perez/Neal Adams look to the book, reminding older readers of classic DC, while giving newer readers some great art to admire.

It’s also nice to see DC and Johns embrace their legacy characters again. As someone who grew up with Wally West as the Flash, it’s nice to see a similar version of that character Blue-Beetlesreturn. Same with Ted Kord, who we get hanging out with Jamie Reyes, something Blue Beetle fans have been waiting years for. And the stuff teased for the Aquaman family of characters, the JSA and the Atom all shows promise, as they blend post crisis DC with the new 52 universe nicely.

YMMV when it comes to DC Universe Rebirth #1. There’s a lot of promise to the new status quo, even though I’m not feeling a few plotlines. But again, had I read it without spoilers, I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more. 80 pages for $3 is a great deal, especially with the talent involved, and I recommend it if you want a quick sampling of what DC will be offering for the rest of the year.

 

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Chris’ Comics Special Edition: Making sense of Civil War II and DC Rebirth

This past week saw Civil War II #0 drop, and this upcoming Wednesday sees the release of DC Rebirth #1. Both comics are being marketed as huge event comics with massive repressions, but neither of them are particularly new reader friendly. Also both these event were spoiled on Reddit, because this is 2016, and this is how things work in this day and age.

So let’s pretend you dear reader would like to read one or both of these comics, but haven’t been paying close attention to Marvel or DC as of late. Which given the numerous reboots/relaunches/crossovers, is understandable.

DC Rebirth #1 is the result on the constant slumping sales of DC Comics over the past DC-Comics-Rebirth-Coveryear. As creatively successful the DC You initiative was, the who movement was crippled by the poor selling Convergence event (remember that). And after Superman V Batman: Dawn of Justice under-performing, DC needs a hit. DC Rebirth #1 is the comic that will kick off a company wide series of relaunches and reboots, and is a pretty good value at $2.99 for 80 pages. It’s written by Geoff Johns, one of DC’s top dogs, who’s written such comics as Green Lantern Rebirth, Flash Rebirth, and the Batman Earth One books. Drawing this comic is the team of Gary Frank, Phil Jimenez, & Ethan Van Sciver. As I said earlier, reddit, and then Bleeding Cool, spoiled the hell of this comic, with IGN and Newsarama following suit. It sounds pretty bonkers, but if you’re lapsed DC reader, this may not be you thing. Johns and co pull from Pre New 52 era DC comics, obviously the new 52, and make a BOLD decision to bring in some characters who never really fit into DC Continuity. I applaud DC for trying something, but this also reeks of desperation to a certain extent.

Despite the first issue not dropping until June, there are already 2 chapters of Civil War 2 out. There was a prelude by writer Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Cheung that civil-war-II-cover-96a7edropped on Free Comic Day a few weeks ago, and then this past week saw the release of Chapter 0. Written by Bendis and drawn by Oliver Coipel, this comic takes place before the Free Comic Book Day story, and focuses on She-Hulk and War Machine, both whom had really bad days in that free prelude comic.

The plot for Civil War 2 is strikingly similar to the movie Minority Report, something I’m sure Marvel and Bendis are tired of hearing. Newly hatched Inhuman (ugh) Ulysses apparently has the ability to predict the future.  Captain Marvel wants to use this Inhuman to prevent FUTURE CRIME, whereas Iron Man rather have disasters come about the natural way, despite once being all about the US Government having access to all super hero’s secret identity. And of course since this is cape comics, this debate can only be resolved via PUNCHING. David Marquez will be drawing this book, so at the very least, this will be a GREAT looking comic event.

There’s some cynicism surrounding the whole event, as Marvel hasn’t exactly been gun shy about massive crossovers involving heroes punching each other since the O.G. Civil War. We’re also only a few months removed from Secret Wars, which was well received, and generally agreed upon being the best Marvel crossover event in recent history. It is doesn’t help that it appears to be a bit of a cash grab, as there is that whole Captain America: Civil War movie in theaters as we speaking, making Marvel and Disney “Sick cash”.

So there you have it. 2 different events coming real soon, designed to “CHANGE THINGS FOREVER” and drain your bank accounts. That being said, if you’re up for big name creators taking some chances and throwing some insane ideas at readers, Rebirth and Civil War II are definitely going to do that. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key to be your entryway into Marvel or DC, you’re probably better off with a Squirrel Girl, Batgirl, Ms. Marvel or Gotham Academy.

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Chris’ Comics: Future Quest #1

QuestCover1Future Quest #1

Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve Rude, Jordie Bellaire

DC $3.99

 

We’re living in an age where licensed comics are shaking off the stigma of being terrible, which publishers assemble creative team to tell high quality stories. Jem, the Power Rangers, Adventure Time and Transformers are prime examples of that, and it’s nice to be able to say the same for the debut issue of Hanna Barbara’s Future Quest.

Written, drawn, and colored by the INSANELY TALENTED team of Jeff Parker, Doc Shaner, Steve Rude and Jordie Bellaire, Future Quest #1 ones takes a number of old Hanna Barbara characters and brings them together in a shared universe. Granted that sort of thing may be a tough sell for anyone who didn’t grow up in the 60/70s, or in my case 1990s Cartoon Network, Parker, Shainer and Rude certainly do their damnedest to Future Quest #1_Page_2_573e4dc63d3a48.34454091make this book as accessible, not to mention appealing, to as many people as possible.

Putting Doc Shainer and Steve Rude on this book guarantees is a damn fine looking comic. Both these artists have some Alex Toth influence in their work, and it prevalent on this book. Granted there are a few updates to a few characters, it’s in ways that feel nature, and make sense. Shainer and Rude’s art reminds me a lot of what Chris Samnee is doing over at Marvel, only a little more cleaner and bright. And there’s a certain cinematic flair to their collective styles that really does wonders for this story, making it feel like a big and “important” event comic. And when it comes to colors, there’s very few people on same level of talent as Jordie Bellaire, who’s colors tie this book together in a way very few colorists can. She uses a lot of bright colors that make Rude and Shainer’s art look very similar, even those Rude is a little tighter than the soft, rounder style of Shainer.

Jeff Parker is one of the best dudes working in comics today, and it’s a shame his name hasn’t been attached to more high profile work. He’s great on this comic, which starts off a Space Ghost origin story, and quickly introduces several of the book’s biggest players. Much like the art, Parker’s dialogue rings true to the type of stuff you would here on an Future_Quest_1_1episode of Johnny Quest, but updated for a modern audience. He does a nice job of making this book read like an all age title, without having to “dumb down” anything. The best example of this is the final page of this book, which sees the use of some interesting language. Parker seems to be setting up some sort of Marvel Team-Up type book, with the Quest Family serving as Spider-Man, with the likes of Bird-Man, Space Ghost and several other characters making up the rotating supporting cast.

Being the only book I was excited for once the DC X Hanna Barbara titles were announced, Future Quest #1 succeeds in rewarding my hype. It’s a promising debut, with gorgeous visual, fun dialogue and a lot of foreshadowing that looks to make this book a real interesting read. It’s clear as day that these creators are having a blast on this title from the get go, and I’m quite eager to see where they take this book, and what kind of the stories they tell without having to worry about things like budgets. It’s a very good first issue, which isn’t a surprise given the talent involved.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Fix #2 & Gotham Academy #18

STL004569Gotham Academy #18

Brenden Fletcher, Steve Orlando, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Moritat, Serge La Pointe, Minkyu Jung, Natasha Aletrici, Faith Erin Hicks

DC $2.99

Gotham Academy #18 has a story written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks. If this was a CBR/IGN type site, that’s the sort of thing that would make me give this comic a 10/10.

Issue 18 is not only the final installment of the Yearbook arc, but also the final issue of this volume. The title will be taking a brief hiatus as Rebirth kicks off, and will return with an annual come August, follow by the 2nd volume starting up in September. So what this issue does is wrap up a plot point for season 1, and give this volume a nice cute ending.

Aside from the 2 page Hicks penned and drawn issue that I’ve clearly enjoyed, Brenden Fletcher also wraps up the scrapbook/Damian story arc with Adam Archer and Sandra Hope, plus checks in on another semi-forgotten character with Moritat. The team of Steve Orlando and Minkyu Jung get in on the fun with Maps and another super obscure DC character, and Natasha Aletrici does a cute 6 page story featuring on Pom and her never seen before mother. While these creators all bring their own respected voices to the book, it’s impressive how all these stories fit the tone of Gotham Academy.

With a lot of the weirder, off-bea DC books wrapping up, I’m glad Gotham Academy will be back in a few months. This arc was neat, and it super cool to see so many different creators come together and play in this sandbox. I’m now I’m eager for the original creative team come back and tell more stories with these creators.

 

 

CoverThe Fix #2

Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber, Ryan Hill, Nic J Shaw

Image $3.99

Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber need to be on this book for forever. Also if you want to put that on the trade jacket, y’all more than welcomed to do

Issue #2 of the new crime-comedy comic is just as incredible as the first. Our leads are in a bit of predicament after went down in the first issue, so they hatch up a scheme to deal with their problems. Said scheme involves shooting one of themselves in the hand, and ruining an innocent man’s life. Officers Roy and Brundo are terrible people.

And that’s why this book is so great! Like Superior Foes of Spider-Man, you SHOULD dislike our two dirty cop leads, as they are very bad people, and have yet to do a single thing to change that. But Spencer and Lieber have made a pair of character who are very charismatic, and placed them in a very funny book, so it’s all good. At least that is what I tell myself, truth be damned.

What’s really great about this issue is that everyone is putting 100% into this issue. Artist Steve Lieber not only draws a ludicrous number of panels per page, but Nick Spencer makes sure to fill them full of dialogue. Which means letter Nic J. Shaw has his work cut out for him, and does a excellent job of fitting all that dialogue onto the page without running much interference on the art. And Ryan Hill‘s colors are perfect for Lieber’s are, giving the book a nice warm, California feel.

The Fix #2 is great, simple as that. There’s a reason why this book is flying off the shelves, and it’s because the creators on this title are doing some career defying work. This is not a title you’re not going to want to trade wait for. Buy on sight.

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #51 & Grayson #19

STL001391Batgirl #51

Brenden Fletcher, Elenora Carlini, Minkyu Jung, Roger Robinson, Serge Lapointe

DC $3.99

I applaud what Brenden Fletcher did with this 51st issue of Batgirl. With Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart off the title and more or less done with DC Comics for the foreseeable future, Fletcher has 2 issues of comic to write before the new creative team takes over this summer. It appears he’s using these issues to do a low key crossover, using a plot line from the third Batgirl Annual he worked on to bring together the worlds of Batgirl, Black Canary and Gotham Academy. Aside from the slight fan service, Fletcher also has Barbara Gordon dealing with her new status quo, something he helped set up, which is a fun inverse of the super hero who also has to deal with running a company trope.

Oddly enough, having 3 artists on this book didn’t take away from my enjoyment on this book as much as you’d assume it would. Elenora Carlini & Minkyu Jung’s styles blend well together, channeling the same energy Stewart and Tarr brought to the book’s visuals. Roger Robinson is the odd man out here, with a style that’s less exaggerated and more traditional in a sense. His art isn’t bad per say, but it’s comparatively plain once stacked up against the other artists on the book. Serge Lapointe‘s colors are great as per usual, continuing to do some fantastic stuff on the Bat-books his colors.

Batgirl #51 is a fun read and feels like a cool little mini-event. The lack of Tarr and Stewart is felt, but if you’re a fan of the books Brenden Fletcher worked on during his time at DC, you’ll enjoy this issue.

GRAY-Cv19-6d216-7296dGrayson #19

Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

The highest praise I can pay Grayson #19 is that if you told me that former writers Tim Seeley and Tom King wrote this issue, I would have believed you. Writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly do a superb job and matching the tone set up by those 2 writers, making for an extremely fun read that sees Dick Grayson deal with a massive betrayal. It’s something that’s all too common in spy fiction, but because the creators involved are so talented, it comes off as a complete surprise.

Like the writers, artist Roge Antonio’s really steps up this issue and attempts to pay homage to the creators who came before him, His Dick Grayson may not be the prettiest, but Antonio excels at drawing some really solid action pieces, as well as getting a little trippy with the layouts at times. Having regular Grayson colorist Jeromy Cox color his art definitely helps with the experience, as his contributions really help set the mood and bring the art to life.

With next issue being the last, Grayson #19 ends with an encounter fans have been expecting/dreading. It’s a shame we already know who’s on this new Birds of Prey roster, because it definitely takes some of the suspense away from this encounter. But that’s on editorial/marketing, not the creators, so it’s hard to fault them. Regardless of quasi-spoilers, Grayson #19 is an thrilling comic, one that hopefully will be serviced by a fantastic ending next month.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #17

Gotham_Academy_Vol_1-17_Cover-1_TeaserGotham Academy #17

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Annie Wu, Michael Dialynas,, David Peterson, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

 

One of the best things about the Yearbook arc is the variety in tone and genre the stories in each issue are. I knew nothing about the creators contributing to Gotham Academy #19, originally thinking it was the conclusion of this storyline. This month I was pleasantly surprised to see the issue kick off with a story that more or less crosses over Black Canary for example, another title that Brenden Fletcher writes.

We get a lot of content from issue #19, which see the girls set out to get their scrapbook from returning guest star Robin (Damian Wanye). It acts as the bridge between the other 3 tales, and again, not a bad bit of storytelling, I just get a little irked everything artist Adam Archer draws Olivia and company’s heads too large or too lumpy. I’m also not a fan of 2how it looks like Damian’s costume is too big for him.

The Annie Wu drawn crossover story sees the GA kids run into Heathcliff, who first showed up in this book and then started showing up as a supporting character in Black Canary. This is probably my favorite story of the bunch, as it looks great, and I really like the way Fletcher handles the reunion between Heathcliff and Pomeline. Wu is colored by Serge Lapointe, who’s washed out and neon color palette is perfect for a story involving relationships and music.

From there we get Michael Dialynas, who’s worked on The Woods for Boom Studios, telling the story of that one time Maps and Olivia ran into a demon cat on campus. This 6 page story starts off with a cool horror vibe to it, but then gets a little cuter once we find out who’s responsible for said cat. It’s the story has a Batman: The Animated series vibe to it, and I love how Dialynas can manage to pull off horror and adorable with his art.

By assembling so many different on this title the last few months,Gotham Academy has exposed me to a variety of creators I occasionally have little to no prior experience with. That statement is especially true come the end of this comic, where Mouse Guard creator David Peterson tells a story set in Gotham Academy’s past. He creates a quartet of 4 new GOTHAC_17_3characters, and the story revolves around the oft-mentioned “Sorcery & Spells” game that Maps loves so much. Aside from being absolutely gorgeous to look at, I love how it’s inspired by the 1980s Dungeon and Dragons panic, in which the game was believed to have some sort of Satanic ties. Also, the way Peterson tackled the project is super impressive, and I encourage you all to go visit his site and read up on how he approached this story.

“Yearbook” has been a incredible arc for Gotham Academy, and no issue proves that more than this one. The range of talent involved in every issue is insane, and it’s impressive how much mileage each creator can get from a book that only had a dozen or so issues under it’s belt before this arc started. Brenden Fletcher, along with Karl Keschel and Becky Cloonan have created a fantastic playground for this guest creators, and seeing the character celebrated like this month after month has been great.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Avengers Incoming- Happy 500!

It is a fairly light week in FP’s toy department. There are a few items on their way in to us however and I’ll tell you about them now. It’s also our 500th issue of the Weekly Planet, so I’ll talk about my all-time favorite DC Comics Anniversary Issues. If you want my thoughts on last week’s Arrow debacle, please refer to fpusadailyplanet.com where I have my final say on what they did to Black Canary.

A couple of the stragglers from the Avengers: Age of Ultron Hot Toys series will be making their appearance in-store soon. Fans of the film can look forward to figures of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver and Paul Bettany’s Vision joining their growing cast of movie Avengers. The Hasbro Marvel Legends Civil War Series 2 figures should also be making their way in sometime soon. The hot figure from this assortment is sure to be the Black Panther, who makes his feature film debut in Captain America: Civil War this May, portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman. Black Panther was also recently announced as a Hot Toys figure. There will also be a small Funko restock of various ReAction figures and Star Wars Wacky Wobblers on their way into the store shortly as well. If you still have Star Wars fever, we will be getting the Rey, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and other Wacky Wobblers back in.

So it’s our 500th Weekly Planet issue, I can’t believe it’s already at 500, I remember when I used to shop here(as opposed to working here) and when the newsletter had just started. It was a fun bonus to read with my comic purchases and for a while I had amassed a collection of them, I’ve moved several times since and can’t remember where any of the really early issues could be- maybe at my childhood apartment. I never dreamed that one day I would be writing for it myself.  When I think of Anniversary issues, I think of some of the ones I bought as back issues when I was a kid and since I was always a DC fan, I had a bunch of those.  Batman #400 was one I bought at the newsstand in 1986, I enjoyed the story which had pretty much everyone of importance to Batman involved (with two surprising omissions) and was drawn by several of that era’s finest comic book artists.  The cover itself was striking with the Bill Sienkiewicz artwork, the purple and yellow Batman logo and the Gold DC Bullet and Anniversary Logo. Great story about Batman’s enemies all being sprung from Arkham Asylum in a plot by Ra’s Al Ghul to corrupt the Batman. This was essentially a  done in one “Knightfall” 7 years earlier and to date has not been reprinted.

B400

Another particularly memorable issue for me was 1982’s Justice League of America #200, which I bought as a back issue. I am a massive JLA fan, I have every single one of the now discontinued DC Archives plus a good portion of the issues from the 70s and on. (I even have JLA #75, which is considered the first appearance of one Dinah Laurel Lance) JLA #200 was a pretty much perfect issue, although again, someone prominent was missing from the storyline for some reason. The tale was again illustrated by a bunch of DC’s finest talent of that era and featured the 7 founding  members of the JLA facing off against the new kids- so you had battles between Superman and Hawkman, Aquaman and Red Tornado, Wonder Woman and Zatanna, plus a great Brian Bolland-illustrated Batman Vs. Green Arrow and Black Canary portion amongst other tales. Why are they fighting? I’ll let you read the story. This was reprinted in a now out of print George Perez JLA Hardcover.

Next up is Action Comics #600 from 1988 which I loved as a huge Wonder Woman fan back in the day. This was the issue where the lead story finds Post-Crisis Superman and Wonder Woman trying to figure out if they should pursue a romance, but run afoul of Darkseid and his minions on Olympus during this first date. Great tale by Perez and John Byrne. Speaking of romantic Anniversary issues, Tales of the Teen Titans #50 springs to mind with the nuptials of Donna Troy and Terry Long, attended by Titans past and present as well as some other familiar faces, all mostly out of costume. The Action tale is reprinted in Man of Steel Volume 8, while the Donna Troy(HI JULIA!) story is reprinted in New Teen Titans: Who Is Donna Troy?

There’s many more Anniversary issues out there, but these are the ones that have stuck with me from childhood til today. Hope I jogged some of your nostalgia for some of these old DC tales and I hope you enjoyed this 500th issue of The Weekly Planet! Catch you next time!

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #50

BG_Cv50Batgirl #50

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Roger Robinson, John Timms, Elonora Carlini, James Harvey, Serge Lapointe

DC $4.99

I’ll be blunt, Batgirl #50 is a little bit of a disappointment.

While it’s not entirely the creative team’s fault, this is a $5 comic that feels more like an annual. What was suppose to be the final issue for all 3 members of Team Batgirl (Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher & Babs Tarr,who are off to do creator owned stuff for Image), the comic actually features several additional guest artists, once again making the title feel more like a art jam project.  Babs Tarr does draw the bulk of these pages (20 aka the amount of your average DC/Marvel book), which is where the book really shines. If this was the springboard for the new Birds of Prey book, the additional pages by the guess artists would make a ton of sense. But seeing how none of those character except Batgirl & Black Canary are appearing in that title come this summer, it feels like an excuse to pad the book’s page count. I’m genuinely curious if the decision to make the comic double sized was editorial or the creative teams, because it feels incredibly disjointed.

To be fair to the guest artist, their work is certainly solid. Roger Robinson, John Timms, Elonora Carlini, and James Harvey have all pitched in on art duties before on the character, so they certainly feel familiar on the book. They all manage to ape Tarrs’ sBatgirl-50-11tyle quite well, so the book looks good all throughout the issue. And while I may complain about the presence of multiple guest artists, I really do dig the Street Fighter-influenced Vs. pages that break up the chapters. And it’s cool to see Babs working off of Cameron Stewart’s layouts again, as we can see how much she’s grown since she last worked off of them.

The book is at it’s best when it towards the ending, as you can really see where the team was trying to take Barbara. It’s where the real meat of the story is, and it does some really cool things with Babs and the cast of supporting characters the team has assembled. It’s a shame that there’s not more time spent on that sort of thing, versus the amount of time spent with the guest artists and guest stars dealing with other villains. The book ends up feeling back-loaded, which is a batgril-50-teamshame, because again, while I don’t dislike the artist, but there’s a lot of fat to chew through to get to the good stuff.

Batgirl #50 has some genuinely good moments in it, but this book will test your patience. A shame really, because the team had spent a considerable amount of time taking Babs into her this new and exciting direction. They do ultimately succeed in blazing some new paths with the character, and set things up for the next creative team to do some real interesting things with the character, but I just wish the execution could have been a little better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #5 & Grayson #18

All-New-Hawkeye-5-2016-coverAll-New Hawkeye #5

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

It’s the penultimate issue of All-New Hawkeye! Which is a surprise to me, as I have no clue if this is the last time we’re going to see Clint and Kate in an on-going for a while or not. Yay Marvel Comics stealth cancellations!

All-New Hawkeye issue 5 sees Kate discovering the truth about her father in the past, while Clint makes an attempt to save the Project Communion kids in the present. Why this was solicited as Hawkeye vs Hawkeye (which the cover seems to imply as well) is beyond me. But we’re here to discuss the comic itself, not its marketing.

Ramon Perez & Ian Herring are SO GOOD on this book. As I said last review, I really like how Kate Bishop remains the only defined character in the flashbacks. But this issue sees Herring and Perez do something neat when Clint removes his hearing aid. The book goes from colored to black and white, symbolizing how isolated Hawkeye is without aid. It’s a nice way to show how deafness works, without stating the obvious. Sadly, I’m not feeling the flashback material all that much with issue 5. While the present day stuff definitely works for me, the Kate “origin” stuff seemed to dominate more of the issue, forcing the modern day material to be rushed.

All New Hawkeye #5 isn’t worst issue issue by this creative team, no, not by a long shot. But it’s best? Sadly no again. Wrapping up the series with the next issue may be for the best, and hopefully whoever inherits the Hawkeyes next will be able to tell some stories that don’t stall out as much.

Grayson_Vol_1-18_Cover-1_TeaserGrayson #18

Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Geraldo Borges, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

So apparently 2 issues ago was the final issue of Grayson for the King/Seeley/Janin team. Which means this book is wrapping up with an entirely different creative team, because LOL DC COMICS. Granted Tim Seeley will be returning this summer to write Nightwing, it strikes me as odd to bring in an entirely new creative team to wrap us this book. I personally find it a bit insulting to readers who have become invested in the character because of the creative team, and it feels like DC Comics editorial thinks we as readers will buy the book because of the character/IP, not the talent behind it.

That being said, editors Rebecca Taylor & Mark Doyle usually does a solid enough job of finding guest creators for their books. Taking over writer duties from Seeley and King are  Jackon Lanzing &  Collin Kelly, who’s previous comics works I’m unfamiliar with. They definitely do a solid job of getting the tone of Grayson down, which is impressive given the fact that they have to juggle such a large cast. There’s not much done in terms of character development sadly, as this issue is heavy on the action and reveals. Still it could have been much worse, and the two writers manage to replicate the voices King and Seeley have established quite well.

Sadly, while the art by Roge Antonio & Geraldo Borges isn’t bad per say, it’s definitely not something to praise. I did enjoy the last few pages, which set up a cool new status quo for one of the supporting characters, but aside from that and a solid splash page, there lack of sexy and trippy we usually get from Mikel Janin is noticeable. Colorist Jeromy Cox does an admirable jobs with the colors, but he can only do so much with the art when it’s muddled and rush.

Grayson #18 is a comic that succeeds despite have the odds stacked against it. It’s just a shame I couldn’t go into this comic with the usual confidence I have when reading an issue of Grayson.

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Chris’ Comics: G.I. Joe Deviations #1

GIJoe-Deviations-coverG.I. Joe: Deviations #1

Paul Allor, Corey Lewis, Gilberto Lazcano

IDW $4.99

2015 was the year that I took some time to read some comics about Transformers, specifically Windblade, who is the best. 2016 sees me purchasing G.I. Joe: Deviations #1, a one shot done in the what if style. I assume I’ll finally be given IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series a shot comes 2017.

G.I. Joe: Deviations probably wouldn’t have landed on my radar is it was mentioned on Comics Alliance few times, or if it wasn’t drawn by Corey Lewis, who’s Snark Knife I’ve enjoyed and upcoming Sun Bakery I’m very excited for. It also helps that the premise for this comic and its execution is right up my ally.

The plot for GIJ:D sounds pretty grimmdark at first as the few pages sees Cobra successfully conquer the world and lay waste to their enemy G.I. Joe. But then it flashes forward 5 years later, where we see Cobra Commander at odds with his role of leader of the world and his desire to be a cartoon super villain. Now that he and Cobra have succeeded, he has very little time for inane world conquering plots involving questionable gi_joe_deviations_preview_03technology. He has to focus now on being a bureaucrat, something he does not enjoy doing obviously. “Luckily” for him, 4 Joes remain, and are looking for revenge, which obviously leads to hijinks (who is NOT a existing G.I Joe character surprisingly).

Writer Paul Allor does an excellent job of telling a solid story while making sure there’s some laughs to be had. The original G.I. Joe animated series has not aged well, and Allor is well aware of what the internet has mined from this show for meme purposes. Case in point, this comic starts off with a PSA parody that goes pretty dark real fast, but is also funny in an incredibly cruel way.  This comic is very much an action comedy, as Cobra Commander’s inability to give up his love of causing a ruckus leads to some interesting decisions.

As stated above, Corey Lewis was a key reason why I bought this book, and he does not disappoint. His style is perfect for a book like this, as his stylized, Jim Mahfood-esque art successfully gives the book a animated feel. I love his character designs, which make all sorts of pop culture references, but only if you’re in on the joke, so they don’t really gi_joe_deviations_preview_05distract much. His art really shines when it comes to the book’s action scenes, as his kinetic, manga esque layouts really make for some fun visuals. I’m glad that Lewis inks and colors himself as well, because the finished art really pops, re-imagining the old animated series in the best way possible.

My only complaint is the price tag. Its 5 bucks for 36 pages, but a lot of those pages (14!) is dedicated space for extra content. Had I not been such a fan of the artist, chances are I would have skipped over it to be honest, and it may be a deal breaker for those of you who want a more serious story. That being said, I’m okay with my purchase, especially since it’s a done in one. G.I. Joe Deviations is a fun alternate universe one-shot that I can’t recommend enough if you want a different take on a beloved property. By not being the most serious of affairs, the books works for me in ways other G.I. Joe comics haven’t before. If you’re willing to drop the $5 on it, there’s a lot of fun to be had.

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Val’s Toy Chest- Odds and Ends

She’s here! Actually that phrase applies to a couple of items we have received over the past week and a half. I mentioned in last week’s article that we’d gotten our shipping notice for the Hot Toys’ Scarlet Witch from last summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and she has finally arrived. The likeness to Elizabeth Olson is excellent and the rooted hair doesn’t detract from the figure at all, plus the costuming is gorgeous and the accessories all make sense. A very tempting piece for sure, I know I’m going to want one.

The other “she’s here!” piece I am referring to is the breathtaking Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Tweeterhead statue. Approved by Ms. Craig before she passed away last summer, the folks at Tweeterhead definitely put their best foot forward with this release. The Batgirl Maquette features the costume as seen in the 1960’s Batman TV series as well as a base that features the secret door to access her BatgirlCycle. Definitely one of the best Yvonne Craig likenesses out there and highly recommended if you are a fan of that iteration.

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Back in stock for Star Wars fans out there are the Hasbro Star Wars 6″ Black Series figures of Captain Phasma, The Guavian Enforcer and Poe Dameron have returned to our shelves and new to the store is the 6″ Kylo Ren figure. We also have a few assorted characters from the basic 3 and 3/4″ line still in stock as well as a handful of vehicles for both scales of figures. Speaking of Star Wars, Funko and Diamond Comics have teamed up to bring out their latest exclusive POP vinyl figures. The Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Funko POP three pack features Luke Skywalker, a 6″ Rancor and fan favorite Oola in POP vinyl form. Oola and the Rancor are both first timers for the POP line and this piece should also be a hot one.

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I don’t frequently talk about comics in this column but I thought I’d mention one this week since it is a character dear to my heart written by a person that I also adore. Black Canary #9 hits the stands on Wednesday and instead of the solicited story by regular series writer Brenden Fletcher, will feature a story by former FP employee and writer of last year’s acclaimed We Can Never Go Home, Matthew Rosenberg. Black Canary(the band) is hired to play at the birthday party of a young girl named Julia(possibly named for a fellow FP employee…) and there seems to be more to the gathering than meets the eye. I definitely think this issue will be an underrated gem and highly recommend picking it up as soon as you see it.

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That’s it for me this week, catch you guys next week with more toy and comic news. See you in the store!

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #49

BG_Cv49_564245bb7b22c8.12314744Batgirl #49

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher,  Babs Tarr, Horacio Domingus, Roger Robinson, James Harvey, Minge Doyle, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

Real talk, it is hard to make a comic work when it has multiple artists attached to it. There’s so many things that could easy throw off the flow of the book, resulting in a great comic becoming merely a good one. I’m happy to say that isn’t the case for this month’s issue of Batgirl, which sees 4 different artists join Babs Tarr on art duties and still manages to tell a killer story.

Batgirl #49 can be summed up as Batgirl gets Incepted (insert BRMMMM noise here for dramatic effect). New villain the Fugue has gone and messed up our heroine’s brain meats all bad like, so it’s up to her pals Frankie and Black Canary to save the day.  It’s a dense issue that explains the villain’s origins, while focusing on Frankie as the lead for a change. Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart write a comic that’s heavy on the exposition, but is Screen-Shot-2016-03-03-at-10.58.19-AMalso extremely rewarding. It also doesn’t hurt that the art provided by the guest artists is really strong this month.

While Batgirl’s fill in artists have been pretty hit or miss with me, the team of Babs Tarr, Horacio Domingus, Roger Robinson, James Harvey, and Batgirl Annual artist Ming Doyle really knock it out of the park. Domingus and Robinson do a superb job of drawing in a style similar to Tarr, giving the the first half of the book a cohesive book, with some assistance from colorist Serge Lapointe.  And while Ming Doyle and Jame Harvey’s styles couldn’t be anymore different, they definitely work for this issue, definitely establishing the chaotic tone needed from the script. Between this and the current arc in Gotham Academy, it seems the Bat-office knows how to bring talent together for a art jam comic.

I also really like what Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher bring to this issue. While the idea of Batgirl’s brain being hijack feels incredibly similar to their first arc (which is touched upon, no worries), what they do with Fugue and team Batgirl definitely makes for a deeper and more complex story. While the Fugue reveal doesn’t hit as hard as maybe the creator’s BG-49-pg-12-073f0intended it to, he’s still a cool new villain that has some legs, so I’m hoping he can stick around after this arc. It’s also nice to see the writing team utilizing Frankie and various vigilantes who’ve been hanging around Barbara as of late as well as they do, and it makes me wonder if THIS is going to be the Birds of Prey roster hinted at by the DC Rebirth title teaser list.

Building up to what’s suppose to be a game changing 50th issue, Batgirl #49 is a solid read. It’s a pretty serious issue that doesn’t feel like a chore to get through, and the art is superb. I have no doubt that the team of Tarr, Stewart, Fletcher and Lapointe will stick the landing with the conclusion of this arc, and I’m really curious as to what the status quo of the title will be after it. Batgirl #49 not only set ups some potentially very cool things for the character and her cast, and succeeds at juggling multiple artists, a task very few cape comics have done as of late.

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Chris’ Comics: Grayson #17

tumblr_o17r1mABBV1r2kdz1o1_500Grayson #17

Tim Seeley, Tom King, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Jeromy Cox

DC, $3.99

The previous issue of Grayson teased 2 characters I was very excited to see making an appearance in this title. The homies Tom King and Tim Seeley continue to do me right, as we get to see this pair of characters fight Dick Grayson this month, making for a excited and once again, very much pleased, Chris Troy.

Even with a great premise, Grayson #17 faces the problem of not being drawn by regular series artist Mikel Janin. He’s replace by veteran penciler Carmine Di Giandomenico, which is a artistic choice I’m more than okay with. His style is much Grayson05more suited for a comic that’s heavy on the action, as this is issue is,  and Carmine absolutely delivers on an issue that’s chock full fight scenes. While he doesn’t do sexy or psychedelic as well as Mikel, he manages to capture his ability to meet the writers demand to draw some creepy as hell creatures (Cthulhu Monkeys!) while fists and plot twists are thrown about. Di Giandomenico  manages to capture the brutality one would expect from an all-out spy fight, while drawing some lush and detailed scenery. My only complain is that since it’s the first time he’s working with colorist Jeromy Cox, the art doesn’t pop as much as it did under Janin. Hopefully that will change as the pair get more experience working togther. I believe Carmine is the artist on the title until this DC Rebirth stuff goes down and this book becomes Nightwing again (insert profanity filled rant here), which again, I’m fine with if this is what the book is going to look like for the next few months.

On the narrative end of things, Seeley and King continue to mix humor and drama incredibly well, making for a fun read. The pair do spy drama really well, which is no image-151surprise given King’s history with the C.I.A., so when this month’s plot twist drops, there’s some “Oomph!” to it. And I really dig how much fun they’re having with the title character. Espionage comics often risk being too serious and dry for my liking, but with Grayson, Dick’s an incredibly charming and fun lead, who isn’t afraid to crack wise here and there. It rings incredibly true to the character and his history, which is why I love I love the book so much. It remains a new direction and situation for a decades old character, while respecting and building upon his established history. Also again Dick Grayson vs. Frankenstein’s monster, what’s not to love about that.

Even with a new artist attached to the title, Grayson #17 is another strong issue in the series. The creative team continues to tell and intriguing tale using a number of obscure and forgotten DC characters, giving older DC fans plenty of Easter eggs to appreciate, without losing newer readers by making  too many deep cuts. It’s a spy comic that invites readers to laugh along with the tropes the genre has created, while giving them a incredibly satisfying read.  King, Seeley and Di Giandomenico continue to keep us on the edge of the seat, without ever going too dark, or too slapstick. All in all it’s another great in a series that continues to impress.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest Extra- Photo Edition

Hi guys- got some more photos today at Toy Fair- here’s some of the cool DC stuff coming out sometime this year!

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Mezco’s Shazam!, Reverse Flash, Green Arrow and Flash from their One: 12 Collective Line.

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Funko’s Rock Candy line featuring Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Supergirl.

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DC Collectibles’ Batgirl of Burnside from the DC Icons line. Not depicted: the awesome Batcycle she comes packaged with. Want to know more about this version of Batgirl? I’d recommend the Batgirl of Burnside TP or the second volume, out this week: Family Business.

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Flash and Green Arrow two pack from the current season of each TV series. If you’re interested in either show, there are a couple of trades out including The Flash: Season Zero as well as Arrow Season 2.5.

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Katana statue from the forthcoming Suicide Squad film.

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DCC’s new DC Films Premium Action Figure line’s Wonder Woman as seen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Batman: The Animated Series Zatanna Action Figure- should be in stores soon!

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Batman: The Animated Series Ventriloquist and Scarface– scheduled for later this year.

I have more pictures that I will share next week with some of the cool Marvel stuff I saw and maybe some other surprises! Catch you guys next week!

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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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