The first SEX CRIMINALS TP (collecting issues #1-5) releases this week. Pick up your copy from Forbidden Planet NYC tomorrow (4/16, in-store only) and receive a voucher for a FREE copy of issue #6 when it drops on 6/18/14!
So it seems to be confession time once again (It’s only Clobberin Time when Ben Grimm or CM Punk says so). This time, I must come clean and admit that I’m not a big fan of fantasy. Well at least not in the DnD/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones/Dragon Age sense of fantasy. I’ll mess around with a Final Fantasy here or there, or Blizzard’s super addicting Hearthstone, and hell, I even own all 9 issues of Battle Chasers. But traditional fantasy stuff really isn’t my thing, try as I might.
However, I am a fan of comedy, ass-kicking females, and Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ hit comic Saga. So if someone were to take those elements, and blend them together (on a smoothie kick, sorry) in a Warcraft-esque setting, I’ll pay attention. Especially when the results are as good as the first volume of Rat Queens.
Volume 1 is titled “SASS and SORCERY”, which now is automatically the best sub-genre of fantasy, no one denies this. Jokes aside, it’s a really clever and funny title, and does a really good job of setting one’s expectations for this book. The 4 female leads are great, despite one of them being a dirty, dirty hipster (more of this later, which will lead to unintentional irony). They’re funny, tough as nails, attractive and most importantly believable, even though 3 of them aren’t even being human. Roc Upchurch, an artist who’s work I wasn’t familiar going into this first trade, is great, and really makes me regret not getting into this series sooner. I see a lot of Fiona Staples and Stjepan Sejic in Upchurch’s style, which if there’s any 2 creators you want to be channeling when drawing beautiful destructive ladies, it’s them. It’s a gorgeous looking book, even when it gets extremely violent (and it does, trust me) and Upchurch’s work is that much more impressive once you realize he handles to colors as well.
And while Upchurch was a a new name to me, Kurtis J. Wiebe is not, which was one of the many reasons I was attracted towards this title once the buzz began. I really dug his work on Green Wake a few years ago, and Rat Queens shows how much he’s grown as a writer since. Wisely choosing to skip over old-timey talk, the more modern dialogue talk definitely helped draw me into this fantasy world and it’s cast. The Queens are extremely well-fleshed out, and there are some killer jokes to be had that work even without Upchurch’s slick visuals. And speaking of jokes, there’s 2 in here that are arguably the funniest things I’ve seen in comics for some time. Props to Wiebe and Upchurch for that.
I’m about 400 words in, so it’s probably best that I explain what the premise is. The Rat Queens are 4 young female adventurers; there’s Dee the sole human who happens to be an atheist mage, my personal favorite Violet, the hipster dwarf warrior ( BEHOLD THE IRONY), Rockabilly Elf-mage Hannah and “Baby” Betty, the drug-fueled Hippy Smidgen Thief. This quartet is extremely good at what they do, which includes such activities as getting drunk and destroying parts of their hometown during their down time. Someone in the town is less than pleased with this, and decides the best way to deal with the Queens and their peers to have a bunch of assassins kill them. Needless to say, shenanigans ensue. Violent ones at that!
There was some ridiculously awesome books that dropped via Image in 2013, but Rat Queens may be up there with Sex Criminals in terms of overall quality. If you’re a fan of funny and awesome comics , the $10 for the first volume is more than worth. The series picks up back in May (glad to see another book following the patent Saga format), and you’ll want to be on board with it’s return.
Once again, I am extremely too proud of that title.
Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:
Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1
Animal Man #29
Superman Unchained #6
Wonder Woman #29
American Vampire Second Cycle #1
Bad Ass #3
Samurai Jack #6
Rocket Girl #4
Daredevil Vol 4 #1
Iron Man #23.Now
Thor God of Thunder #20
Adventure Time #26
Sixth Gun #39
WWE Superstars #3
X-O Manowar #23
Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend
FACT: That pet variant is both frightening and terrifying, stay the fresh hell away from it.
It’s UMX Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (part 1), despite the fact that neither group appear on panel together at any given point. THAT BENDIS DECOMPRESSION LYFE Y’ALL!
What we get is the reveal of Dazzler’s fate (it’s super icky!), S.H.I.E.L.D. grilling a former X-man, and Scott’s team versus a whole bunch of new Sentinels! Which is still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but has nothing to do with that cover. Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers are all in fine form, with some really cool Sentinel redesigns, some sick looking spells from Magik, and what is probably an intentional horrible new costume for Goldballs. Yes he’s a thing. Yes, that name is definitely intentionally horrible.
Bendis and company don’t do anything ground-breaking with this issue, but they seem to be setting up a fun little story that will hopefully wrap up several yet to be addressed plot points the book has set up in it’s first year. It’s off to a good start, I just hope it delivers, as this book has been on a hot streak as of late and I’d hate to see it end with this arc.
Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky
This issue starts off with a MATURE READERS ONLY recap poem. And with that, I officially forgive Matt and Chip for the delays the book has been facing.
Issue 5 officially wraps up the first volume of Sex Crim, changing the book’s status quo a bit. Nothing too big though, as this book is called Sex Criminals for a reason after all.
Also the whole “pooping in the plant thing” is explained, which I was surprised that it would be at all. Had it pegged as a one-note gag at best, but there’s a deeper meaning behind it. “Deeper” is a relative term by the way.
Something I really like about Sex Crim is that is requires re-reads. These are due to Chip Zdarsky putting a ton of work into his panels, and hiding all sorts of disgusting and awesome jokes everywhere. Do they further the narrative? No. Did I laugh out loud several times reading this issue? Yes. Maus this book ain’t, and it never claimed to be. Issue 5 feels a little slow in terms of development, but it’s definitely a book worth buying. The hiatus until June may kill me (HYPERBOLE!)
G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring
On paper, this opening pages of Ms Marvel sound like a horror book. A mysterious fog blows into Jersey City and a young girl becomes a shape shifting freak as black helicopters circle Manhattan. It’s not until a transformation gag kicks in 4 pages deep does the book remind us this is a spandex affair.
That’s not a bad thing by the way. After an incredibly strong debut issue, Wilson, Alphona and friends deliver a great follow up issue, as Kamala tries to figure out what exactly she’s turned into, and springs into action for the first time. Also family drama. It’s an fun read, with some really clever use of faith interwoven into the narrative. Plus some “be careful for what you wish for” type stuff, going back to my opening statement about how this book feels kind of feels like a horror title in the beginning.
With gorgeous visuals from Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring and some incredibly endearing dialogue from G. Willow Wilson (and a sharp cover by Jamie McKelve), Ms Marvel is shaping up to be a can’t miss title from the House of Ideas. With Saga on hiatus on May, this may be THE book to be reading in 2014.
Forbidden Planet will be hosting a signing with artist Jeff Zornow in celebration of his new comic 68: Rule of War #1 (Image) on the day of its release. Jeff will be on hand from 7:30 to sign and sketch the night away on April 2nd. Blank variant covers of the book will be available, so don’t miss the chance to jump on a great new series and have a personalized cover drawn by the very man who made it. See you then!
I’m still waiting to read it, but I thumbed through Moon Knight #1 off the rack this poast week and DAYUMMMMMMM, this is a good looking book. You should buy it just based the art by Declan Shavley & Jordie Bellaire. It’s worth the $4, especially when you factor in that this book is written by Warren Ellis. So yeah, go get on that y’all.
PICKS OF THE WEEK:
Action Comics #29
Green Arrow #29
Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2
She Hulk #2
Wolverine and the X-men #1
Afterlife with Archie #4
Archer and Armstrong #18
Brian Michael Bendis/Marco Rudy/ Val Staples
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
THAT is how you do covers y’all. Props to Alexander Lozano on some fine work.
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen J.H Williams III draw comics, cover or interiors. Between him quitting Batwoman and the delays on the new Sandman mini series (#2 was supposed to drop last month BTW), his presence on the comics stands is missed.
Marco Rudy is not quite on J.H. Williams’ level, BUT YO, this is a great looking book! Rudy does some amazing things with the layouts, ranging from using giant Xs to lay out the panel, to using Cyclops’ out of control powers to frame the pages. The end results, heavy on reds, blacks, and whites colors, are breathtaking. I really hope we see more of Rudy on this book when Chris Bachalo needs a break. His ability to mimic other artists style is showcased too, channeling some David Mack & John Byrne at times. There was a lot of GOOD looking books coming out from Marvel this week, and this is one of the best looking ones.
Plot-wise, Brian Michael Bendis and Rudy touches upon a number of various plot elements the team has faced, focusing heavily on Cyclops. The creative team does a great job of having Scott touch upon these events, and is a fitting end to these last few done in ones. It does a great job closing out one chapter and setting up the next “Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.” arc, which I’m very excited for.
Daniel Freedman, Sina Grace
Image, $4.99, 41 pages
3 issues in, I thought I had Burn the Orphanage figured out. Thought #3 was going to be the wrap up to the Born to Lose trilogy, a cool arc that introduced the cast, set up their very video game inspired world, and enjoy the most video game reference in a comics since Scott Pilgrim’s heyday.
And then this issue dropped. Oh sure there’s some video game references in it. And yes, it does deal with the fallout with the events of issue 2, placing the lead character Rock on an alien world, frame for a crime he didn’t commit. Which is very much something that makes sense for this series.
What I WASN’T expecting was a in-dept discussion about love and dating between 2 of the Rock’s friends. And it’s very well done, I won’t deny that. BUT it just felt very out of place given the previous themes explored in issue #1 and 2. And I applaud Daniel Freedman and Sina Grace for trying something new with the book, I just wish it was executed a little better.
I also wish the book had an actual ending, and not a cliffhanger that won’t be addressed until May when the series becomes a monthly. Which is great, but again the execution could have been better. Despite my problems though, BTO:BTL #3 is a solid read. A weird one, but a good one none the less.
I am entirely too proud of that title.
Antony Johnston/Justin Greenwood/Shari Chankhamma/Ed Brisson
Image/$3.50/ 30 pages
Weekly Chris Confession: I had every intention to skip over “The Fuse” this week, figuring I could trade wait it if it was ant good. But then the Twitter buzz for this book hit crazy levels, and I like Antony Johnston’s “Wasteland” series a ton, so I figured there was no harm in picking up the first issue at the very least.
Needless to say, I was very pleased with that decision.
First thing first: That cover. Simplistic, bold and VERY clever once you read the issue and figure out what it signifies. “Smart” is arguably the best way to describe this book; a murder mystery set on a space station is a cool premise, and the actual execution is brilliant. It’s a good book, full of potential, and it reminds me a lot of “Powers” when that first came into the scene. So your typical Image debut issue in a way.
My only beef with this debut is the art. For the most part it’s pretty good, a more animated version of Sean Murphy’s art. It’s intentionally “ugly” which works for a crime book, and a lot of environments and character expressions are good, but it’s disappointing when the scale and anatomy are off, or when things like eyebrows aren’t colored or inked properly or at all. Certain panels and pages look rushed at times, which really took me out of the story when I read it.
If you told me that “The Fuse” was originally published in 2000 AD or something, I would have believed it. Johnston states it’s an influence in the book’s final pages and it shows. My issues with the art aside, it’s a good debut, I’m just been spoiled by a ton of amazing #1s from Image over the last 2 years. Your mileage may vary, and it’s a good read, but I’m going to the trade route with it.
Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Wade Von Grawbadger/Marte Gracia
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
For all of my problems with this crossover, I could deal with Stuart Immonen drawing the Shi’ar-related characters 5-EVER!
Part 3 of this crossover is here, and it’s kinda cliche. Now that our heroes are united, they’re attacked by their common foe, and something that’s been explained to us repeatedly is now explained to Jean Grey. It feels lazy and drawn out, despite it being really good looking. And prop’s to colorist Marte Gracia, the book’s colors look darker than usual, which makes a ton of sense given the fact that it’s in space and all that. It goes really well with the tone and the setting of the book, and it only does the pencil and ink art justice.
And to be book’s credit, the ending tosses in a neat twist (one that was immediately spoiled for me by the announcement of a new book debuting in May). And there are some good humorous bits in it too, but the character’s voices all lack variety. A familiar frustration that comes with Bendis-penned comics as time and feels super decompressed, something that could be resolved in 2 or 3 issues and not five. And like I said, a bunch of questions promised to be resolved at another time or in another book, it only adds insult to injury. We’ve seen better on this book, which is already suffering from crossover fatigue. We deserve better as readers.
Sorry for being a little late this week, holiday weekend and all that. I still have Oni Press’ “Down. Set. Fight” to read, and Toy Fair news to deal with. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on everything later this week though!
-The super behind schedule Chris Troy writes for Forbidden Planet on a weekly basis, and can be found on a variety of social media related thiniges @theanarchris
Upon writing cats on cats I realize that there’s several ways in which that can be taken.
Whelp, Imma keep it, because I hope people’s mind won’t go directly to the gutter (HAH!) and more importantly, I’m lazy. So fingers crossed
With that out of the way, I’m going to change the format up a bit this week, as this is 2014, and that sounds like a thing you should do in a semi-new year. Aside from the 2-4 books I usually review (4 this week!), I’ll name drop/highlight a few other books of note you may want to check out every week because….reasons?
OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES THIS WEEK:
Furious #1, Dredd: Underbelly #1, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1, Adventures of Superman #9, Batman and Robin Annual #2, Fables #137, Bad Ass #1, Black Science #3, Five Weapons #6, Invincible #108, Inhumanity #2, Uncanny Avengers #16, Uber #9, WWE SuperStars #2
Kate Leth/Coleman/Monica Ray/Sloane Leong
KaBOOM Studios/$4.99/30 pages
As someone who’s a big fan of Cartoon Hangover’s Bravest Warrior, as well as the comics coming out of KaBOOM Studios’, the Catbug Annual was a no-brainer for me. The breakout star of the hit Youtube series is very appealing to me(Yes, of course I own a Catbug t-shirt), and seeing a bunch of awesome indie creators craft tales starring Catbug is a good way to me to give someone $5.
Kate Leth, a KaBOOM & Comics Alliance regular, leads the annual off with a cute 8 page story that has said Bug that is also a Cat covering the alpahabet. Sloanne Leong also puts a Catbug twist on a familiar story, and her slightly off-model take on the cast works for me. Coleman Engle‘s story is a tad weak compared to the other stories in the annual, but the art reeks of charm, and the colors are fantastic, so it’s all good. Monica Ray‘s story really captures the feel and the look of the show the best, mixing the type of cute and horror you expect from Bravest Warriors. I dug it a ton.
My only beef with this annual is the price point, as it’s not even a double sized issue for $5. Then again I am old, and remember that $5 use to get you a lot more comic for that price. Regardless of my old man problem, the Catbug Annual is a delight for all age reader/fans of the show, and I urge you to buy the hell out of it.
Brian Micahel Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Justin Ponder
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
As someone who was a big fan of the DnA-era Cosmic Marvel, I’ve accepted that Brian Michael Bendis‘ take on cosmic Marvel is a different beast. And seeing how I’m really digging Bendis’ take on the X-titles he’s writing, I went into the 2nd chapter (the cover says part 1 for some reason) of the Trial of Jean Grey with an open mind.
Sadly, the book is kind of a mess on the narrative side of things. Bendis attempts to play catch up with any potential new readers who’ve come over from the X-neighborhood (S’up), while progressing the story he’s been telling for nearly a year now. Sadly that’s a lot to cover in 20 pages, and it doesn’t mesh as well as it should in the end. Which is a problem with crossovers and event-tie ins, something BOTH titles are coming from.
Luckily for everyone, Sara Pichelli is on art duties, so the book looks fantastic. And with the introduction/catch up done, hopefully the next installment on the GOTG side of things will be an improvement. But if you’re like me and not a completionist/ buying Guardians on the regular, you can skip this issue.
Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffangi/Nolan Woodward
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
I could read snarky Avengers team up forever Marvel, please take note.
Spider-Girl’s quest continues on this month, this time seeing her teamed her up the the omni-present Wolverine. Ol’ Bubsnikt is at his best when he’s cranky and forced to team up with teenagers (See: The last 40 years of X-men comics), and with KSD and Warren Ellis on writing duties, it’s no surprise how much this book is as drenched is banter and snark. It’s a solid and dense read, and Matteo Buffangi & Nolan Woodward do a fine job on art duties (with no assists this month, yay), providing slick, fluid, and bright visuals. It’s a shame that the book is ending in March, as it’s been a delightful read post-Infinity.
Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples
Image, $2.99, 20 pages
Maybe you’re not hip to Tumblr. Maybe the term “Feels” is foreign to you. Allow me to help! “Feels” is shorthand for “Feelings” that you may get from a comic, video game, or overrated niche genre show (#shotsfired). With that being said, I now fully expect everyone to know what I mean when I say Saga #18 had me DROWNING in feels.
The final chapter of what will make up the 3rd volume of Saga is flawless. It’s rare for me to actually choke up in response to the contents of a comic book (Grant Morrison writing Superman aside), but there were several moments in this book that gave me the wibbles. It’s a beatiful book, and THE comic to be ready right now. Several plotlines are resolved, 2 characters fates are revealed, and there are confrontations and answers a plenty. Both Vaughan and Staples are on top of their respective games, and it’s hard to imagine this book being as good as it is with any other creators involved.
The only downside to Saga is that we’re not getting another issue until probably May, which is brutal, given how this book ends. But at least it’s a clean break, and has me excited for the future.
That wraps up this week. Next week, THE most important mainstream comic of 2014 drops, and Steve Lieber returns to Superior Foes of Spider-Man. GET HYPED, ALSO GO HAWKS!
-Chris Troy writes weekly for Forbidden Planet NYC, and can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr @theanarchris
So we’re all on board for killing the winter/the snow yes? Because we need to.
Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth
Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages
Hawkeye‘s back this week! Sorta….David Aja still needed time to finish up issue #15, so we’re jumping ahead to #16 for another Kate Bishop adventure, which I’m of 2 minds about.
Kate’s new status quo in the book leads to another fun done and one, which sees Lady Hawkguy dealing with a pair of aged dueling pop stars.Matt Fraction’s channeling some of his Casanova work here with this premise, only there’s more way more humor and less trans-dimensional jumping, and arguably the best “Champions”-related joke in years. And we get to see more of Kate’s LA supporting cast, which is great is you’re a fan of world building.
My problem with this issue is that it’s very…disjointed at the end. There’s a solid gag or 2, but the pacing feels rushed, so the landing doesn’t stick. Again, far from a bad issue, it’s just stink that the issue kind of falls apart at the end.
What does work is the team of Annie Wu and Matt Hollingsworth. Their Los Angeles is bright, fill with various shades of blues and purples and is a stark contrast from Clint Barton and David Aja’s New York. And Wu’s Kate Bishop is awesome. Very expressive, trendy and fluid. She looks like a believable 18 year old vigilante.
Again, Hawkeye #16 is a good comic. I’m just spoiled by it being a GREAT comic for months.
Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire
Image, 20 pages, #3.50
Damn this book is brutal.
Team Pretty Deadly continues to deliver the most intense fight scenes in comics since the 2nd issue, which doesn’t come as a complete surprise given how talented Emma Rios is. And paired with Jordie Bellaire’s amazing colors, the damage these characters take looks extra vicious, but never too grotesque. It earns it’s M for Mature rating.
Kelly Sue Deconnick and Team Pretty Deadly are crafting quite the tale. After a slow and vague start, this series has really ramped up in terms of progression, fleshing out the characters, building the world and answering questions. There’s still some weirdness to it, but it’s welcomed, as it’s very much the type of weird one would find in Sandman, rather than being weird for weirdness sake.
What started off as something as a revenge-driven narrative has definitely shown that there’s more life in this story, even with the first arc wrapping up next month. Pretty Deadly has been on fire for months, and much like it’s publisher.
Brian Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Wade Von Grawbadger/Marte Gracia
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
Stuart Immonen’s return aside, my expectations for this issue were pretty low. 22.NOW is the lead in for yet another crossover (SIGH), this time with Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy book. It’s worth noting that both of these books have movies coming out this summer, so the writings on the wall as to why, at least from an editorial stand point.
The books starts of with 6 pages of X-drama, and the remainder of the book is all action all the time. Immonen and friends pull no punches with their return on the art , as the book looks great. You’ll be surprised how much detail is crammed into a salad of all things! And Marte Gracia’s are great, as the book really pops on a visual level. Bendis, meanwhile delivers a solid script, and his RUN D.M.C. love is noted.
While I’m still a little fatigued from Battle of the Atom, I’m definitely intrigued by the opening chapter of The Trial of Jean Grey. It only being 6 chapters definitely keeps my hopes up, and the artists attached to it certainly have me excited. Hopefully this one ends as well as it starts.
So the Image Expo 2014 has come and gone and man, screw them. I have a limited budget for comics stuff because living in New York isn’t cheap, and they go and announce like 3 or 4 books I don’t have the budget for, but from creators I REALLY like. So that sucks for my bank account, but great for me…..spiritually I suppose? I dunno, but if you want to get caught up on what went down, go check our friends at Bleeding Cool and Comics Alliance for details, interviews and pictures.
Now that the holidays (and MAGfest 2014, wooo) has passed, comics have began shipping normally once again. Which means no more waxing poetically over books I really liked in 2013, and back to discussing new comics.
Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky
Image, $3.50, 20 pages, plus letters from pervs
Haha, J/K, I’m just going to talk more about Matt Fraction comics to start off the year!
I want to say this is the issue where guff gets real, but this also a comic where Chip Zdarsky draws a pizza vagina in the letters section. Another fine reason as to why this book is Time’s Comic Book of 2013.
But yeah, shit gets real in this surprising dense 4th issue. Fraction and Zdarsky get a lot done in the span of 20 pages, and not all of it are butt sex jokes and funny named pornos. I mean yeah, those are there, but there are also times of serious business too. It’s a lot more like the first issue where tragedy and humor are perfectly mixed, only there’s more drama and action ( like there was any shortage of that in this book, HIYYOOOOOO) this time around. And hey, we even get some questions answered! And no worries, the intro page remains hilarious (good luck trying to read that one out loud), and the letter page….well like I said, pizza vagina, so the same as usual.
Sex Criminals was one of the most refreshing reads of 2013, also known as the year of Luigi, and it starts off 2014 strong. I’m super excited for the conclusion of the first arc next month, and you all can look forward to me suffering from withdrawal as the book goes on a brief hiatus after that.
Also hey, we got that 4th printing cover in stock (pictured above), which I’m still laughing about. There’s also the upcoming 4th printing, but for a 2nd time cover coming in a few weeks, because people are dumb and didn’t pre-order this book the first time around, or just really like odd-photoshopped covers. I’m obviously in the later category.
A lot of people. No serious, a lot of people worked on this comic, look at the credits page, it’s the last page in the book and see how right I am!
Marvel, $5.99, 52 pages
Marvel did one of these last year that I didn’t care much for, with the exception of the Mike Allred Ant-Man story ….written by Matt Fraction (whomp whomp whompppp).
Marvel was definitely aiming for the Tumblr crowd with this book, which is fine, because it’s still good without pandering for “Likes”/”Faves”/”Reblogs”. My personal highlight is the G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona Ms. Marvel story. While the character was announced a few months back, the only appearance she’s made so far was at the end of the the first volume of the current Captain Marvel book. Here we get to see what she’s made of, and it’s a very fun read, as it’s a fresh take on the super powered teenager story, that’s a tad self aware, careful not to cater to stereotypes, and shows some cool uses of the lead’s power set. Additional props to Ian Herring’s colors which really make the story pop.
Allred’s back this year, with Dan Slott with a Silver Surfer story that’s all sorts of great. Mike Allred is at his best when he’s channeling Jack Kirby, so seeing him take to the cosmos is a real delight for me. Also it’s been some time since I’ve seen Dan Slott write something not Spider-Man-related, so seeing him flex those muscles again is fun. And speaking of good looking books, Phil Noto’s Black Widow story is a visual tour de force. Nate Edmondson and Clayton Cowles are great on words and colors, don’t get me wrong, but this story is Noto’s show, and he excels are delivering some fantastic visuals. The Al Ewing/Lee Garbett Loki story that bookends this title is fun and the James Robinson/Steve Pugh All New Invaders story shows potential. The Avengers story wasn’t that bad either, but I’ve seen better from Rags Morale, although Nick Spencer delivers on the script end. . But for $7 bucks, I can’t complain, as the title served it’s purpose. It’s successfully gotten me excited about a bunch of titles Marvel’s publishing, although I’ll probably only be only buying one of them monthly.
Alright I talked about 2 comics for a long time today. I’ll be back to review the first volume of The Wake real soon!
Bob Fingerman will be signing at FP once again on January 8th, 2014. This time around it’s to celebrate the release of Minimum Wage #1 (Image), the first new issue of his classic series in fifteen years.
Wednesday the 8th. We’ll be kicking off at 7pm.
This is the last big release week in 2013, and man, it ended on kind of a downer comics-wise. 4 out of the 5 Marvel books I pulled had more than 1 artist attached to them, and the one with the correctly solicited team still involved a guest artist. Also Saga was kind of brutal. I suppose some explanations are needed.
Mark Waid/Javier Rodriguez/Alvardo Lopez
Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages.
Javier Rodriguez came out swinging this week, which is exactly what Daredevil needed after the less than stellar art from last issue. He was a more than adequate fill-in for regular series artist Chris Samnee last time around, but man, Javier really stepped up his game since then and it leads to some very strong framing sequences and panels in this issue. It’s a very Marcus Martin meets Annie Wu style, especially when it comes to facial expressions and body language. Add strong inks from Alvardo Lopez, with Javier coloring himself, you get a very strong final product. Mark Waid, remains flawless when it comes to dialogue, which surprises no one. This current arc of Daredevil has been impressive, mixing current headlines with obscure Marvel horror, and it’s hard to think who else but Waid could have pulled it off. This was easily the best book Marvel released this week, although it did some strong competition.
Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Paco Diaz/Nolan Woodward
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
You can tell Warren Ellis has come aboard a title when the books starts off with “There are thing of yours I would very much like inside of me.”
That’s not a complaint mind you. Ellis works well with series regular Kelly Sue Deconnick, although the book feels a little more snarky and adult than usual. It’s still a delightful read, as it’s easiest the most fun and humorous Avengers book on the market. This Inhumanity tie-in arc started off on a great foot and the addition of Ellis has only made things better, especially since this story calls back to previous
The only downside to this issue is that Paco Diaz, the other artist attached to this title does not mesh well with Mattero Buffangi. I like Diaz a lot from his work on Daniel Way’s Deadpool, put his pages stick out like a sore thumb, despite Nolan Woodward’s excellent work on the colors. Still not a bad issue, it’s just stinks that some lesser art takes away from the final product. Speaking of which…
Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar,Brandon Peterson, Israel Silva, Marte Gracia
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
See above? Repeat that, but replace the names. Asrar and Peterson are both fine artists, but their styles could not be anymore different. And it doesn’t help that some of Asrar’s pages look extremely rushed, and both artists have their own separate colorists. It’s not a bad comic, but it’s certainly not as good as the book has been. Also ignore that cover, nothing like that even comes close to happening. Again, another good comic ruined by rushed art, something Marvel has excelled at this past week.
::: Also see Longshot saves the Marvel Universe #4 sadly :::
Brian K Vaughn, Fiona Staples
Image, $2.99, 20 pages
This is Saga’s Red Wedding issue. Or it’s Walking Dead midseason finale if that first reference doesn’t make sense to you. It’s the type of issue that has people screaming about their feels on Tumblr, because oh god, it hurts, and chances are it’s not going to get better next issue.
BKV and Staples has been carefully crafting this moment since the 3rd volume began. It’s been pretty light on the action, focusing on building characters and relationships, all while the volume 2 cliffhanger remained mostly ignored, not falling into place until the last 2 issues. And then previous issues’ cliffhanger drops, and it turns out to be a massive swerve and GUH, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD Y’ALL, ALTHOUGH IT’S ALL FOR THE WRONG REASONS, GAH!
So yeah, Saga’s still great, but MANNNNNNN, it hurts y’all. It hurts.
I still need to read Pretty Deadly #3, but what I saw I liked. So it’s fairly safe to seem it’s pull-worthy. And with that, that wraps up my 2013 pulls. The next 2 weeks are extremely light on comics, so I have something else in store. Plus maybe I’ll look at some new toys. Who knows, but happy holidays regardless FPNYC Faithful.
FPNYC Faithful, I have a sore throat and IT IS THE WORST, PLEASE SEND HELP/A NEW THROAT.
Matt Fraction/Oliver Coipel/Leinil Yu, Dustin Weaver/ Mark Morales/Laura Martin
Marvel, $3.99, 40 pages
THIS WEEK IN CONFESSIONS: Aside from a few (4) tie-in issues, I pretty much skipped over Infinity these past few months. HOWEVER, Inhumanity #1 recaps what you need to know quite nicely, so you can enjoy it and still wait for that pricey hardcover to drop in February.
Rumor has it the Inhumans are getting a big push due to FOX having the rights to the X-men movie franchise and Marvel needing something that can be feared and loathed on the big screen for $$$. If that’s the case, Marvel Comics has definitely assembled the right team to get that ball rolling, as Matt Fraction has been on fire for the last year, and his run on the Fantastic Four books has shown that he knows how to write those characters. Pair him with 3 of Marvel strongest artists in the form of Coipel/Yu/Weaver and chances of this book being a hit are good.
And it is! Karnak makes an excellent tragic lead, and Fraction tosses his fan base a nice little bone by throwing in some quality Iron Man and Hawkeye scenes. It’s nice seeing Matt flex some different creative muscles, as this book feels ways different than some of his recent big hits. And Coipel and friends deliver as well, offering some unique visuals and character moments that hit hard. Inhumanity is off to a strong start, and I’m hoping it can keep this level of quality going.
Sina Grace/Daniel Freedman/John Rauch
Image/ $4.99/32 pages
The first issue of BtO:BTL was arguably the best comic of this year that I never asked for. Sina Grace and Daniel Freedman created a nice homage to beat ‘em video games and had they ended the series there I would have been pleased. HOWEVER, issue 2 is a homage/parody to fighting games, specifically Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, and YO, I am quite BOUT that!
Everything about this 2nd issue is a step up from the already impressive debut. Grace’s art is less sketchier this time and feels a lot more finished. The script takes a few unique twists, leading to some great fight pieces, cool locales, and really solid jokes. And the fights this time are a lot more brutal, which says a lot considering the 1st book ended with some dude getting his head kicked off. Except to cringe at least twice when reading this.
However, this 2nd issue drops the ball in two area. $5 for 32 pages seem like a lot, especially since this lacks the free digital copies Marvel and DC usually offer for that price range. And the ending is more abrupt than a cliffhanger. Still a great read though, Burn the Orphanage #2 is worth the cash if you want more good indie comics that pay homage to video games.
Christopher Hastings/Jacopo Camagni/Victor Calderon-Zurita
Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages
With this third issue, Longshot saves has gone in full Dr McNinja territory. The Marvel Universe finds itself at war with various “What-If” variants of themselves, all while the fabric of reality is threatened. Also Senile Magneto may be the character find of the year.
This month’s (or week’s, I have no idea if this mini is monthly or bi-weekly) issue sees Victor Calderon-Zurita help out on pencils, as seen on the cover. Victor’s pencils are very similar to Cagmani’s, although some characters eyes look too big for their skulls are certain times. Still, the book remains a delightful romp, as Chris Hastings knows how to balance action with comedy perfectly. The humor is this book’s strong point, but there’s some moments of badassery too. With an issue left (I think.), it’s been a very fun little mini that I hope sticks it’s landing.
Rick Remender/Matteo Scalera/Dean White
Image, 20 pages, $3.50
Black Science is a book I was a little concern going into it, as it came across as a spiritual successor to Fear Agent. FA is a personal favorite of mine, so there was a high expectation to be met. So did it you may be asking yourself? For the most part yes, as Matteo Scalera is no Tony Moore/Jerome Opena yet, but his pulpish visuals do Remender’s script well. It also helps that the “painted art” is by Dean White, who served Remender well back on Uncanny X-Force, and continues to do so here. There’s some fantastic use of shades of black, purple, orange, and blue in this book, and I definitely feel the “punk rock forbidden science” hook. That being said, there’s a case of Fridging (killing off a female character to only advance the plot) early on that kind of rubbed me in the wrong way, especially with all the internet rage over in Uncanny Avengers, also written by Remender. The ending, while a tad predictable when dealing with sci-fi, had a Tim Truman vibe to it that I really dug. Like something out of Vertigo in it’s prime, Black Science is definitely a book worth keeping an eye on.
Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples
Image, 20 pages, $2.99
Saga, perfect Saga, remains the best. As we come closer to the end of act 3, we finally see things established at the end of act 2 come full circle, making me excited to see how this all wraps up before the brief and painful between volume hiatus. It’s more of the same from BKV and Staples, fleshing out some characters new and old, some world building, and a delightful poke at the spandex books and the folks who read em. And several characters find themselves in odd scenarios, which is all good, surprising no one. Staples continues to be an fantastic artist, and BKV is easily one of the best writers in comics right now. The end product is at it’s worst great, and at it’s best brillant. Either way, the reader are winners in the end.
Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth
Marvel, 20 pages, $2.99
Whelp, time to start looking at book written by the DeFractions clan. This month in Hawkeye, we return to the West Coast to check in on Katie-Kate Bishop and Lucky the Pizza Dog. Joining Fraction for her first full issue s Annie Wu, who’s off to a strong start. Wu comes from an animation background, which shows, as the characters are very expressive in issue #14, something I’m delighted with. Wu also throws Kate in several super-cute outfits, which I am a fan on. Fraction continues to write the hell out of this book, showing how Kate is similar to the OTHER Hawkeye, often for laughs, other times showing why she stuck around with Clint for so long. It’s an incredibly well executed done in one, proving that Kate Bishop could handle her own on-going series (she lets Clint co-star in this one after all). It’s takes a certain caliber of artist to be able to keep up with David Aja, and Wu has the chops and the skill to do so.
Kelly Sue Deconnick/Matteo Buffagni/Nolan Woodard
Marvel, 20 pages, $3.99
The last time KSD and Buffagni worked on an issue of AA, I had some harsh words about the art. Skip ahead a few months, and Buffagni’s stepped up his game, delivering one of the best-looking issues of the series since Kelly Sue came aboard. The animated style is clean, fluid and bright, making it a perfect fit for the script, which is great itself. We have Spider-Girl swinging by for a nice team up with the other Spider-themed lady Avengers, and there’s laughs and action aplenty. Plus KSD brings in a female villain from her awesome Osbourne mini series from a few years back, and throws in some baddies from A.I.M. as well, while tying this all into Inhumanity. It’s a surprisingly dense read, ensuring you get your $4 worth from the comic. I really hope the title can stay crossover free for a bit, because it really shines when KSD is allowed to do what she wants with Spider-Woman and her teammates. And with Warren Ellis coming aboard next month, things are only looking better for this title, especially with the art now as good as it is.
Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire
Image, 20 pages, $3.50
Pretty Deadly, much like Saga, is mature comics done right. Issue 2 shows the reader exactly why this book is titled as such with one of the most bad ass fight scenes this year. Rios and friends deliver an impressive 12 page action piece which is both brutal and beautiful, almost calling out other action comics (no pun intended) out there in a way. Everything from the page layouts to the coloring is fantastic, and it really shows off the strength of this creative team. Not to say KSD doesn’t pull her weight, because she does as she ensures there’s a plethora of quality content crammed in this book from cover to cover. It’s just that this issue is owned by Rios, who does the coolest thing I’ve ever seen with butterflies in a comic. A step up from a impressive debut issue, Pretty Deadly is the type of comic I hope get an oversized hard cover some day, so that I can drool over the art is a slightly nicer format.
Brain Michael Bendis/ Brandon Peterson/ Israel Silva
Marvel, 20 pages, $3.99
My biggest problem with this issue is that Kevin Nowlan is only drawing the cover. It’s also my only problem. Well played Marvel.
Fill-in artist can either make or break a book for me. Sometimes they deliver (Daredevil) and sometimes the artist that swings by has the odds stacked against them and they can’t (again, Daredevil). Brandon Peterson, an artist I was actually kind of dreading filling in, make me a believer real quick with this issue.
Israel Silva, the colorist, is probably the real star of this issue. Kitty, Magik and the O5 X-men are in Miami this issue, and Silva’s colors are definitely faithful to the city. Obviously Peterson gets props as well for capturing the look of Miami with his art, but Silva’s use of neon colors completes the package. It’s a stick looking book, and Bendis’ script plays to strenght of his co-creators. It’s chock full of action too, making up for a relatively slow previous issue, and the last page reveal is great if you don’t pay attention to solicits. It’s another great issue in a strong week for comics.
All heat, no jokes, once again y’all!
Jason Aaron/ Giuseppe Camuncoli/ Andrew Currie
Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages
Chapter 9 of the Battle of Atom crossover is such a pain to review on some level. On the script end of things, it’s a fine book, as Aaron delivers on several fronts. If I was discussing this book on the quality of it’s script alone, I’d say it was fantastic. But visually this art in this issue isn’t very good. The book credits Camuncoli as the penciller, and Currie as the finisher. What that means exactly, I don’t know, but it results in some less than great visuals when all is said and done. The art seems very rushed, which is unfortunate, because this event has been fantastic so far in that department, and it seem odd that Camuncoli, a veteran of the 2x a month shipping Spider-books, couldn’t deliver. Because man, this is an ugly book and it rarely, if ever, matches the standard of Aaron’s script. Hopefully this is more of a mistep than an indication of what the final chapter will be like, because it would suck and blow if the final chapter of this event was as poorly drawn as this one was.
Sex Criminals #2
Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky
Image, $3.50, 20 pages
When the first issue of #SEXCRIMINALS dropped, I thought it was a very good issue, but it was not at all what I expecting given the contents of the creator’s tweets. It was great, but more 16 Candles than the 40 Year Old Virgin, which I did not see coming. Issue #2 is probably the funniest and vulgar comic I’ve read in years, starting from a page to page recap on the first page to a very candid and HILARIOUS letter page, ending with a picture of Fraction getting a nipple pierce in Toronto sex club. This book is not afraid to be an adult comic, and it’s all the better for it. Fraction writes 2 very human leads with a strange and funny power and Chip Zdarsky’s visual gags are gut-busting. His day job as a Canadian magazine/newspaper (I forget) cartoonish is on full display here, and the product is better for it. This was easily the best book I read this week, and I can’t recommend Sex Criminals enough if you’re A) 17 or older B) Not easily offended C) A little bit of a pervert.
Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting
Image, $3.50, 20 pages
Before I discuss my problem with Velvet, let start by saying how GREAT this book looks. Steve Epting’s, with Elizabeth Breitweiser on colors, art is some next level stuff, as Velvet is easily one of the best looking comics in an already strong stable of artists over at Image. That being said, the Brubaker-snob in me feels this script is VERY by the books, especially after reading his other excellent creator owned series Fatale, and his modern-classic run on Captain America. While it’s an original concept, it feels a bit like an unused Black Widow script at times. Of course your enjoyment may vary, because you may not be a Bru-snob like myself. And it’s by no means a bad comic. I’m just a little let down is all, and maybe a little spoiled by Fatale. It’s definitely work a look if you’re a Brubaker/espionage fan though, even with a ton of great Image books already flooding the market.
Mark Waid/ Chris Samnee
Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages
Speaking of books that are hard to review, here’s Daredevil. Is Mark Waid one of the best writer still working in the industry? Yup. Is Chris Samnee somehow doing new things with his art, reaching Bruce Timm’s level of quality in some panels/pages. Hell, even the sound effects are used cleverly (not sure if that’s Samnee or VC’s Joe Carmagna) and are super fun. Again, this is brief, but that’s because this book remains flawless. Unless you hate great comics, y’all need to be reading Daredevil. I’m tired of trying to come up with new ways of trying to say how great this book is.
Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Emma Rios
Image, $3.50, 20 pages
As anyone whose read this column before can tell you, I’ve never had a problem admitting the fact that I’m a HUGE fan of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s writing. AND DAMN, KSD’s creator owned book’s debut comes out swinging, with Emma Rios’ best work to date, making this book a visual tour-de-force. A fantasy-western with a female lead, Pretty Deadly’s debut may not exactly be the most straightforward read, but it’s the one of the best look books to debut this year. Rios’ work is both dynamic and trippy, and it’s fun just to stare at her panel work and layouts in this book without reading any dialogue. Her character designs are pretty great, and it’s a shame that we don’t see our lead until the final page of this issue, because Ginny’s possibly the coolest new character of 2013 I.M.O, at least on a visual level.
KSD’s script is sharp, even if it’s a little abstract at time. Her work here is VERY different from her Captain Marvel scripts, aside from the fact that both books have some kick ass female leads. But it’s still fantastic, making Pretty Deadly a must read, especially with Jordie Bellaire’s colors completely the package, making this one of the best looking takes on the wild west in some time. In a white-male heavy industry, books like Pretty Deadly are rare , but definitely needed and welcomed. Arguably one of most important launches of the fall, and it delivers. Buy on sight, assuming it’s still in stock.
Tune in next time for…THE END OF BATTLE OF ATOM! SAGA! AND BECAUSE WE ALL DEMANDED IT, THE RETURN OF NEIL GAIMAN’S SANDMAN!