Category: Image Comics

Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Late, yet again.

Belated post once again, this time due to NYCC. Con was great, and I saw many a fine folk. Last week was also a really great week for comics too, but I’m only going to highlight 2 of them today, because they are arguably the most important. I’m sure Sex Criminals will be fine.

 

586cfd30a87203654de3e206e1093d7dBatgirl #36

Brenden Fletcher/Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr

DC $2.99

::: Cut and pastes last week’s Gotham Academy review, changes a few names, call it a day :::

So yeah, despite there being no shortage of dope comics released this year, THIS is the book I wanted more than anything after it was announced. Barbara Gordon is my number 1 with a bullet favorite DC character, and I haven’t been excited for the character in quite some time. No offense Gail Simone, you’re still rad.

But man, that Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr new costume effect. Stewart’s drawn many a fine comic in his career, and Tarr has been one of my favorite people since I met her at Heroescon this PAST summer. And that new costume is all sorts of dope, which btw if you’re paying attention DC Collectibles, new Babs figure ASAP. A statue is fine as well.

So yeah, I went into this book a little excited. And much like Gotham Academy before it, it exceeded my expectations. Tarr, Stewart and Brenden Fletcher crafted a comic that felt like the sort of book the new 52 should have been in the first place. It’s refreshingly modern, in both tone and style. Burnisde may be a Gotham-stand in for Portland or North Brooklyn but its the plot that really make this book stand out. Not too many mainstream comics are willing to tackle revenge porn and privacy invasion, but team Batgirl 2k14 do so, and kick it straight in the face.

Batgirl is another example of DC actually getting it. Gotham Academy is a great book, but Batgirl is an A list character that non-comics people are familiar. This is the type of book that should be an entry gate to DC Comics/Comics in general, and it’s off to a damn good start.

 

WYTCHES_webWytches #1

Scott Sndyer/Jock

Image $2.99

(Somehow) it is October, which means SPOOKY comics are a plenty this month. Oh and hilariously named donuts like “Boston Screme”. Both are things that I like, but only the former involves the talents of creators Scott Snyder & Jockat least as far as I know.

The pair released Wytches last week, and the hype for that book was nearly comparable to Barbara Gordon’a new look. Snyder may be sitting on top of the comics world due to Batman ( rightfully so mind you), but Wytches serves as a reminder on how well this dude does horror. The first few pages of this book are horrific, which is something I imagine one would want from a spooky-scary comic.

And then there’s Jock. Easily one of the most interesting and talented artists working in comics today, Jock’s art is phenomenal in this debut. Paired with colorist extraordinar Matt Hollingsworth, the pair set the tone of the book perfectly. The book looks great when the characters are suffering the most, which I know makes me sound like a sociopath, but it’s true. It’s a great looking book featuring terrible things happening to questionable people.

I also really like the hook for Wytches. Said Witches are far from the black hat/cat cauldron troupe, and are hardly the worst thing in the book. I refuse to say more due to fear of spoilers, but Snyder/Jock/Hollingsworth have something special going on in this book. Wytches does for witches what The Wake did for mermaids.

Wytches is off to an impressive start, and has me rethinking my pull list in order for me to buy it monthly. It’s a stellar debut, something Image has become notorious for, and it’s great to see one of the industry’s biggest name flex his horror muscles again with a fantastic art team.

 

 

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Image Comics Event Night at Forbidden Planet NYC 10/7/14

Gif-Image-Comics-Night

Yes, ALL of those folks.

Get ready! Forbidden Planet NYC will have the following stellar bodacious lineup of guests appearing at the shop on Wednesday 10/8 at 6pm:

Frank J. Barbiere (Five Ghosts)
Chris Mooneyham (Five Ghosts)
Joshua Williamson (Nailbiter, Birthright, Ghosted)
Josh Fialkov (Punks, Last of the Greats, Echoes)
Ed Brisson (The Field, Sheltered, Comeback)
Justin Jordan (Spread, Luther Strode)
Declan Shalvey (Injection)
Tim Seeley (Revival, Hack/Slash)
Brandon Montclare (Rocket Girl)
Bob Fingerman (Minimum Wage)
Antony Johnston (Umbral, The Fuse)
See ya there!

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Daily Remender Part 1: Deadly Class volume 1

deadlyDeadly Class Volume 1

Rick Remender/Wes Craig/ Lee Loughridge

Image $9.99

For my birthday this year, my wife (he said in a dated Borat voice) ordered me a bunch of trades off of my Amazon wish list. My TPBs backlog is already about several comics deep and includes an X-men omnibus I should probably get around to reading, but the gifts were welcomed none the less, because comics are GREAT. I had a flight to Atlanta recently, so grabbing a few birthday  trades to read on the flight sounded like a great plan. It was by the way, go team me.

8263bf56731f11c8f22dcbd7a86add62One of the trades was the first volume of Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Wes Craig. I’m a fan of Remender, who’s personally sold me a bunch of creator own series that I really dug in the past. I somehow missed Deadly Class when it dropped initially, probably due to like 500 Image #1s dropping with a ton of hype surrounding them this year alone. All I know was that the early buzz for this series was good, so it ended up on my Amazon wish list.

 

 

 

deadly-class-cliquesAnd now that I’ve read it, I can see why Deadly Class got all that comics internet hype, and can agree that it deserves it. While the concept reminds me a lot of Jimmie Robinson’s Five Weapons ( Both heavily feature schools for assassins ), Deadly Class is a more mature & “realistic” take on the concept,  and one that uses the 1980s as a backdrop. It’a a period piece of sorts, “steeped in the music and pop culture of that time” according to David Lapham in the foreword. The quickest way to summarize the plot is that in 1987 our homeless lead Marcus Lopez is invited to join the Kings Dominion Atelier of the Deadly Arts (takes a breath). It’s a high school that bunch of bad people around the world send their childrens to in order to train them to become assassins. Which is fine for Marcus, as he has his mind set on revenge for the man responsible for the death  of his parents. Oh and his past is coming for him, as he was kinda a dick prior to the beginning of the series and now it’s  back to haunt him. Luckily for Marcus, he makes a bunch of new friends all representing various 80s cliches and stereotypes. I kid, having a multi-racial cast is nice, especially with a lead who’s not another sad white kid.

Deadly-Class-1-Two-PageThe first thing I want to point out about this book is how great it looks. This is (probably) the first time I’ve exposed to Wes Craig‘s art and it reminds me a lot of what David Aja‘s work over on Hawkeye (with shades of Frank Miller and Paul Pope as well) . That probably has something to with colorist Lee Loughridge’s flat colors plaette being so similar to Matt Hollingsworth’s work. Which I’m 1000% okay with. The final product is incredible, thanks to Craig’s non- traditional layouts and simplistic but stylized characters. And the colors do end up adding a lot to it, especially when it comes to a few fights scenes, a flashback and most importantly an acid trip. The choice to use flat colors was wise, and I’m glad to see it being used so well in this book.

Deadly-Class-04-01I also really like how dedicated Remender and Craig are to ensure this book looks and feels era appropriate. From everything from sports and political references, as well as the fashion, the book really captures the looks and sound of the 80s well, without out it being to over the top or cheesey.

And what ultimately sold me on this trade was the type of emotion Remender poured into it. The book definitely has elements of his upbringing in it, but not in an autobiographical sort of way, unless Remender is an assassin with the oddest day job. The book feels more genuine, despite it’s ultra violent premise, and the characters feel incredible fleshed out. It’s like Kick Ass in a way, where it’s the type of thing that could happen, but without being a terrible and offensive comic.

I may be bit biased towards Deadly Class, since I’m genuinely a big fan of Remender’s work. But I had zero exceptions of this book going into it and I ended up loving it. It’s arguably he’s strongest creator owned work since Fear Agent, and I wish I read more of Wes Craig’s work prior to this trade. If you don’t mind some ultra violence and adult language, it’s definitely a book worth your time.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: So many things

Before I start screaming about this month’s issue of Saga, I just wanted to give y’all (all 3 of you) a head’s up with what to expect over the next few weeks. Aside from weekly reviews, expect to see a few advanced reviews, a NYCC preview, and hopefully a toy review or two in the coming weeks. I’m excited to share all of this with you the reader, because I like to talk about some (hopefully) cool shit.

Saga-23-90332Saga #23

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

SPOILER WARNINGS: HEAVY SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW BE WARNED.

First off, I just wanted to say how much I dig the use of yellow on the front, back and interior covers of this book. It looks really sharp and stands out a lot. Aside from being a well crafted comic, Saga is also a brilliantly designed book, something I appreciate bunches.

So if you’re caught up with this book (HERE COME THE SPOILERS Y’ALL), Brain K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have been teasing the split up of our leads for the last few months. Ever since the announcement via narration, they’ve been dropping a ton of hints of how it was going to go down, killing me slowly. Well this is the issue that is goes down, and when it looks something we’ve been expecting to happen to go down…

Vaughan and Staples pull a 360.

The split still happens I’m sad to say. But not in a way you’re (probably) expecting. And it hurts, believe you me, but the bait and switch does leave some hope. It’s brilliant, as we see why Vaughan used certain words in the way he did. And then the ending hits and we’re given something that’s been building since issue one. It’s an awesome ending that sets the stage of this volume’s end next month all to well.

And while BKV delivers top notch dialogue, Fiona Staples continues to show why she’s won a bunch of awards for this book. The body language, page and panel composition, the colors, the facial expressions-EVERYTHING-is done for a reasons and executed flawlessly. It’s fantastic.

It’s no surprise that Saga #23 delivers. Every issue of has Saga has delivered so far, so why would things be any different this month. It’s HOW the book delivers that makes it stand apart from previous installments of the book. Another flawless installment by arguably the only  perfect comic series on the stand today, I cannot stress enough how great this book is.

 

ENDS OF SPOILERS DON’T WORRY YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE COLUMN!

background (1)Secret Avengers #8

Ales Kot/Micahel Walsh/ Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

SHAMELESS PLUG: This book’s writer (Ales Kot) will be signing his new Marvel title (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier) at the store this Wednesday at 6pm. You should probably swing by and tell him how much you love his work and buy a bunch of his comics.

So yeah, in case the cover didn’t tip you off, it’s a MODOK heavy issue of Secret Avengers, one that fills in some gaps between the previous series and this one. It also reveals some answers to questions raised in the first seven issues of this book, reveals some cosmic horror and has some genuinely laugh out loud moments (especially with that last page).

Something I like about this title is how weird it can be at times without pointing it out. Ales Kot, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson (who’s does some amazing things with colors this months) blend espionage with humor and some really gonzo elements of the Marvel Universe that remind you that this is a spy comic that takes place in a world of spandex wearing heroes. It’s not afraid to not take itself seriously at times, and look great while doing so.

Secret Avengers is a book that feels like Warren Ellis and Jim Steranko tackled a Avengers book set in the movie’s continuity but were given free range to do whatever they wanted. The end results are as equally bizarre as they are amazing.

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Spider-Gwen, X-men, and The Wicked + The Divine

4049035-edge_of_spider-verse_2_coverEdge of Spider-Verse #2

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

As someone who got into comics when he was younger due to Spider-Man, it’s funny how very little I actually read about the Wall-Crawler these days. I haven’t bought a physical issue of a Spider-book in some time, and I’m only catching up on Superior Spider-Man now via the Marvel Unlimited app.

That being said, when Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman was first announced, I was more than ready to spend money on this comic. The design by Robbi Rodriguez was hot to death, and the concept of having Gwen get bit instead of Peter really appealed to me. I’m not to interested in Spider-verse all that much, but I figured picking up this one shot couldn’t hurt.

Now that I have the issue in my hand and have read it a few times over, I have to admit I’m a little disappointed by it. I hate to toss shade at writer Jason Latour, but he played it a little too safe this debut issue. There’s a lot of cool stuff introduced and I lot of concepts I like, I’m just bummed out that we may not see any of play out fully in the near future. I know Spider-Gwen is going to be popping up all over the Spider-Verse event and the tie ins, but I want to know more about her world. It’s a good script, and it did a find job of leaving me wanting more, I just wish I was a little more satisfied with what I got to begin with.

That being said, visually the book looks great. Robbi Rodgriguez and Rico Renzi were the perfect artists to handle this one shot, as this story has all the pop and flair you want form a Spider-book. Gwen looks fantastic in action, and her amazing (UGH BAD PUN) costume really stands out. On a visual level I couldn’t be more satisfied with EoSM 2.

But yeah. Edge #2 is a good comic, but I was expecting a great comic. Hopefully Latour, Rodriguez & Reniz will have a chance at Spider-Gwen again sometime in the future.

portrait_incredible (2)Uncanny X-men #26

Brian Michael Bendis.Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

Chris Bachalo‘s cover is easily one of the best UXM has been grace with since this 2013 relaunch. I really like it,(it serves as an excellent looking methaphor for the inner demons Cyclops is battling), so it may sound weird that I’m about to say that I’m glad he didn’t handle the interior art for this issue.

Uncanny X-men #26 addresses the fallout from 25 and how it’s gonna haunt the modern X-men. An uneasy alliance form, and questions and doubts rise in a really emotional issue of Uncanny X-men.

Which is why I’m glad Kris Anka drew this issue. Anka’s the type of artist you want to convey emotion in your comic, and he does a great job of selling Brian Michael Bendis‘ dialogue. He managed to hit the action pieces just as well, and the end result is a finely crafted comic, especially when you factor in how great the coloring is too.

Bendis by the way does an excellent job of writing an side of Bobby Drake we’ve never seen, as well as a Cyclops at his lowest. This was the sort of emotional baggage that should have been addressed sooner, but with Anka and Bendis handling it so well now, I’m okay with the wait.

If you hit the shop this week you may noticed that All New X-men dropped as well. I’m done with the book for this time being opting to go the trade route with it. Uncanny X-men, on the other hand, has become the X-book I don’t want to trade wait for. Between the 2 different art teams and Brian Michael Bendis’ solid scripts, it’s easily the superior X-book on the stands.

tumblr_inline_nc1v0wN2sX1r77eonThe Wicked + The Divine

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

Getting real tired of coming up with ways to praise this book. Part of me just wanted to leave it at “buy this book I already hit 500 words, just trust me”, but that’s kinda half assing things. So instead I’ll do a handy little checklist as you why you should read it if you’re not.

Is Wicked+ Div still a gorgeous looking book thanks to the talents of  Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson? YES

Is Kieron Gillen‘s dialogue still incredibly clever and hilarious? YES

Is Wic+Div still the type of book that asks a little more from it’s reader instead of dumbing it down for mass appeal? YES

Is the murder mystery involving gods still incredibly compelling? Also are said gods also super interesting and insanely well designed? YES, although this issue is heavy on the Tron homage.

So yeah, The Wicked + The Divine is still great, in case I wasn’t clear enough above. It’s American Gods meets Phonograms, which is the type of mash up I live for. It arguably has the most diverse cast in comics outside of Saga or Mighty Avengers, and some of the best character interactions in comics today.

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: BERFday edition.

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

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #7

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

portrait_incredible (1)Ms Marvel #7

G. Willow Wilson/ Jacob Wyatt/ Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

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

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

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

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

 

tumblr_n5xgrzsXkf1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #3

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles.

Image $3.50

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

STK644079All New X-Men #30

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Marte Gracia

Marvel $3.99

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

sexcriminals_07Sex Criminals #7

Matt Fraction/ Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka

Marvel, $3.99

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

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

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

portrait_incredible (4)Secret Avengers #6

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel, #3.99

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

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

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

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

Low_01-1Low #1

Rick Remender/Greg Tocchini

Image $3.99

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toy, but with Comics: Afterlife Saga

LAST WEEK’S LATE REVIEW:

Secret-Avengers-2014-5Secret Avengers #5

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

saga_21Saga #21

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

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

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

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

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

 

Sabrina02Afterlife with Archie #6

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa/Francesco Francavilla

Archie $2.99

Spoilers: This was not the happiest of weeks for comics

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

detailMs. Marvel #6

G. Willow Wilson/Jacob Wyatt/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

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

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

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

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

Brian Michael Benid/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

tumblr_inline_n7pxrxoy321qbujoxGrayson #1

Time Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin

DC Comics $2.99

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel $3.99

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

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

Justin Jordan/Kyle Strahm/Felipe Sobeiro

Image $3.50

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

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

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

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

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics: End O’ May edition

NTW-Cv30-01ba5Nightwing #30

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Javier Garron/Jorge Lucas/Mikel Janin

DC Comics/$3.99

Read this issue to learn the final fate of Dick Grayson (which was revealed like 2 months ago)! Stay for the debut of Helena Bertinelli’s questionable new costume design.

If there was anyone who’s suffered the most from Forever Evil (aside from the people who actually paid for it), it’s been Nightwing. The homie Dick Grayson got the bejesus beat out of him by an evil Justice League and his secret identity exposed to the world, much like Peter Parker did during Civil War several years ago. However, unlike Spidey, Dick has no wife to offer up to Satan to magically retcon away his problems, so now he has to deal with being outed. BUT WAIT, the world thinks he’s dead (well everyone but Batman, Cyborg and several villains), problem solved!

Nightwing 30 is the “final”issue of the series, setting up July’s new Grayson series. In that series’ defense, the regular creative team of Tom King, Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin get to tell a fun prelude in the final chapter of the book  that sets the upcoming series up nicely. What stinks is that it’s that the two other stories leading up to it are not so good.

The first story, featuring art by Javier Garron, shows Dr Leslie Thompson being attacked by a crazy cult of serial killers. Fear not, the good doctor is saved by Helena Bertinelli  in her new Skullgirls cosplay. While the writing in this chapter is relatively solid, the art is kinda ugly, and not in the stylish sort of way. We also get another stereotypical multi-color hair Japanese assassin cliche, which ughhh, tired troupe is tired. The 2nd story deals with Dick and Batman throwing down because of reasons? It’s an ugly and violent story drawn by Jorge Lucas that makes little to no sense with the rest of the book. Batman comes off as a jerk, it’s super-bloody for no apparent reason and there’s some swiped Chris Nolan dialogue which doesn’t fit the scene and is ultimately several shades of dumb. Needless to say, I am not a fan, despite there being a panel where Batman kicks a motorcycle in half.

That being said, that final chapter is great. Once the book is freed of Batman and Forever Evil nonsense, we get our first taste of what’s to come from the Grayson series. It looks greats and feels really fun, even if Dick Grayson is running around in Clint Barton’s hoodie for some reason. And the Helena Bertinelli we get here is a major  visual improvement, looking like a rad Jamie McKelvie redesign opposed to a titillating fighting game character.

It’s kinda hard to recommend Nightwing #30 given the overall quality of the book. Some readers may find some enjoyment in it, but honestly, you can wait for Grayson #1 and see the proper creative shine.

trees1Trees #1

Warren Ellis/Jason Howard

Image $2.99

Warren Ellis doing weird Warren Ellis things is a good way to get me to buy your comic most of the time. I’m generally a fan of Ellis and the bulk  of his creator owned work, and even with some really strong art from Jason Howard, the Trees debut issue didn’t do much for it.

Great visuals aside,  Ellis spends too much time jumping from location to location in this issue, giving us brief glimpses of the cast. I’d be fine with this if these characters were actually interesting, but since we spend so little time with them, it’s hard to actually get attached to any of them.

My issues aside, there’s a chance that this book may read better collected once more issues are out. There’s a ton of potential, and the argument that the world of Tree is a political allegory for modern America can definitely be made. I’m just a little disappointed with this debut issue.

ms-marvel-4Ms. Marvel #4

G Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Ms. Marvel is becoming a book that’s approaching Saga-levels of difficult to review. I say this, because much like the previous 3 issues, it’s comics done right.

Wilson and Alphona are approaching Lee/Dikto levels of perfection when it comes to writing Kamala’s adventures. There’s some action, boy drama, and issues with her family and to an extent, her faith. And it all works, looks great and ultimately makes for a delightful read. Adrian Alphona‘s art (masterfully colored by Ian Herring, who literally makes parts of this book shine) somehow manages to improve with every issue, cramming his pages full of fantastic levels of detail and even some Chip Zdarsky-level sight gags, be it background jokes, facial expressions or a villain wearing a shirt that straight up says his a bad guy.

G. Willow Wilson‘s dialogue, while always good, gives Brain K. Vaughn a run for his money with issue 4. Our new Ms Marvel’s interactions with her mother and BFF Bruno take up most of the book, and really capture what a modern teenager would sound like. It’s great stuff.

With all I mentioned above, as well as another striking cover by Jamie McKelvie, Ms. Marvel remains the break out Marvel comic of 2014. There’s no fear of this book getting cancelled early it seems, and you really owe it to yourself to read it if you’re not already.

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

Think I may have messed up that intro title.

 

BELATED REVIEW:

Lumberjanes_002_coverALumberjanes #2

Noelle Stevenson/Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

BOOM! BOX $3.99

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

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

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

Saga_19-1Saga #19

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

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

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

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

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

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_21_TextlessUncanny X-men #21

Brian Micahel Bendis, Chris Bachaelo, Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99

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

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

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

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

 

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Image X Einsers 3: Pretty Deadly

MARVELCoverTemp copy.indtPretty Deadly

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire/Clayton Cowles

Image, $9.99

 

I’m the type of guy who traditionally does not enjoy westerns. I don’t hate them per say, but I don’t go out of my watch to read, watch, or in the case of Red Dead Redemption, play them. There’s not any one specific reason why, it’s just that they don’t traditionally grab me.

That being said, Kelly Sue Deconnick (Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble) is one of my favorite people working in comics today and Emma Rios is a tremendous artist that I feel no one but David Brothers has been talking about. So when Pretty Deadly was announced, I was more than willing to put my personal biases aside and drop the $3.50 to give it a shot. It kind of hard to pass up the opportunity to read about the story of the daughter of Death, as told by dead bunny to a butterfly (You can thank Kelly Sue’s son Henry Leo for that imagery by the way).

MARVELCoverTemp copy.indtPretty Deadly is a comic that the reader really benefits from when read collected in trade. KSD said it herself ( I think it may have been on a Nerdist’s podcast, or on Tumblr), and after several re-reads, I agree. The first two issues are….vague to say the least. It takes about 2 issues for the majority of the cast to be introduced, and a lot of the key plot elements aren’t brought up until the middle and end of the story. It’s far from a bad comic, especially when you factor in the amount of ass kicking that goes down (Issue 2 is the first example of what a fully unrated Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire fight scene looks likes), but I felt a little more confused than I usually like when reading comics. As I said earlier, it’s a type of comic that benefits from multiple re-reads.

587488848While I had some issues with the narrative, I have to give praise where it’s due in the visual department. Emma Rios, expertly colored by the great Jordie Bellaire, comes out swinging in this series. Her art is nothing short of fantastic, and I encourage anyone who‘s reading this article to Google the cover gallery. The amount of detail in everything from animal’s fur, feathers and wings to the folds in the human characters clothes is breathtaking. The interior art is as equally impressive, with some very fluid and kinetic scenes set in non-traditional panel layouts. The ultra violent fight scenes mentioned earlier, are a great example of this, as they’re very well choreographed, and when an attacked lands/hits, it’s so intense that you can practically feel it. Bellaire’s colors are equally important, helping both sell the more realistic as well as fantasy elements in the book. Both the western landscapes and the spirits worlds seem to have their own special set of colors assigned to them, and the end result is some stunning looking art. And Clayton Cowles‘ lettering is great, and helps tells the tale without interfering with the penciled and colored art.

prettydeadly01_p5Despite it not being my favorite Kelly Sue Deconnick penned book, Pretty Deadly is the type of book worthy of the praise it’s received from other. Deconnick and Rios are not the first pair of creators with a solid supernatural western series to hit the market in recent years (the EXCELLENT Sixth Gun series from Oni comes to mind), but the combined talents of its creative team make it stand on its own and for fans to take notice. It’s always good to have more books out there with female leads by female creators, especially when they’re as good as this. Pretty Deadly is definitely worth your time, and Emma Rios, Kelly Sue Deconnick and Jordie Bellaire’s Eisner nominations are well deserved.

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Eisners X Image part 1: Sex Criminals

The Eisners are kinda like the Academy Awards of comics, but the key difference is that I kind of care about them (Suck it Oscar!) . Image, a company whose output I’ve been loving for the last few years, was nominated for 20 awards, including 4 out of the 5 best on going series noms (that 5th man? Marvel’s Hawkguy, thus proving I am right about everything!)

Since I’ve already recently spoken about Rat Queens in great detail, I figured I’d spend some time over the next few weeks preaching about some other fantastic Eisner nominated series. So if you wanted to pick up East of West, Saga, Sex Criminals or Pretty Deadly but were waiting for the Chris Troy nod of approval, you’re in luck. We’re starting this thing off with a personal favorite of mine, Sex Criminals, nominated for best new series, best continuing series, and a best writer nod for Matt Fraction! So now that I’ve knocked off 150 word, let’s get to the Brimp,.er,…Sex Crim talk, focusing on the recently released first volume of the hit series!

sex-criminals-vol-01-releasesSex Criminals volume 1 

Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky

Image $9.99

+5 to me for not starting this discussion off with “Let’s talk about Sex Criminals baby“. Proud of myself for the restraint shown there, great hustle Chris.

As a dude who reads A LOT of Marvel on a weekly basis, I can confidentially say there’s not a lot of things the publisher offers that aren’t related to dudes in costumes punching each other. And even if we include stuff like the MAX titles, not a lot of their comics, nor DC’s, actually cover topics like sex and dating without tossing in a Wolverine or Deadpool somewhere. Those topics are SEVERELY overlooked in comics, and if they are, it’s usually not in the best or adult manner.

1600d25dc8012d796418a60fd6061011Which is one of the best things about Sex Criminals It’s an earnest and hilarious look at the world of dating and  relationships (as well as sexy times). Sure the main characters freeze time every time they climax to rob banks (hence the title), BUT their relationship is depicted in a super realistic and enjoyable manner  thanks to creators Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.

I’ve spoken highly of Fraction in the past, as I am a big fan of his clever dialogue and his ability to write flawed, all too human characters (see Hawkeye, Iron Man, Casanova). But I honestly feel that Sex Criminals works as well as it does thanks to Chip Zdarsky’s visuals. His cartoonist background (or is that background as a cartoonist? My grammar is shit folks) helps makes Sex Criminals stand out on the shelves, as his characters actually look human.  All different body types inhibit the semi-realistic world Fraction and Zdarsky created, which again, acknowledges the human element of this book that really won me over. And because they’re so human, it only makes them THAT much more easier to relate to, and helps sell the humor with some really well drawn facial expressions and body language. It’s also use of colors and special effects ( or whatever the correct term of lightening is for comics, again I am GREAT at this!) is really interesting, and only helps to improve the visuals.

sDEAqnYThe humor, by the way, is phenomenal. While R-rated sex comedies usually do well in the box office, there was little to no comics alternative prior to Sex Criminals, at least at the scale of recognition  and relevance Image, Fraction and Zdarsky can offer. Some of it is quite vulgar, some of it surprisingly dark, but a lot of it works because it’s sometime we can all relate to. That and the panels are crammed with hidden jokes and easter eggs, like Sexual Gary, who’s due for his own t shirt this summer!

It’s also one of the first comics to offer a musical sans actual music, which is impressive and hilarious. I’ve included a page from it to the left as evidence.

sexcriminals01-21If you’ve chosen to go the trade route over the singles, be warned that you’ll be missing out on some hilarious recaps and an amazing letter’s page, which I believe is being published separately later this year. You do get some extras though, like a collection of variant covers and some content that you have to see for yourself to understand/believe.

In a country where sexual education is lacking at best, Sex Criminals does a lot to be educational as well as sex positive. Again, it’s something so new and refreshing that you have to respect if even if you don’t like it. Easily one of my favorite books out there today, Sex Criminals is a title worthy of the hype. Pick it up immediately and see how right I am about that. #humblebrimp

- Chris Troy doesn’t actually profit from Sex Criminals sales, but he’ll praise it like he does. Find him on twitter @theanarchris

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