Category: Marvel

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Lo, there shall be an ANT-MAN REVIEW

So hey, I was wrong and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl wasn’t the only major Marvel debut last Wednesday. Apparently the dude no-long-directed-by-Edgar-Wright has an all new on-going, written by a guy who’s recent Marvel work I really like. So I dropped the $5 (ugh) on Scott Lang’s solo debut, as he’s a character I really came to like under Matt Fraction & The Allred‘s run on FF!

ant-man-1-cover-mark-brooks-109067jpg-d18f1dAnt-Man #1

Nick Spencer/ Ramon Rosanas/Jordan Boyd

Marvel $4.99

As a dude who’s spoken out against $5 comics plenty of times in the past, I struggled with buying this book a lot. On one hand, it’s a double sized issue with a cool creative team, but on the other, it’s a $5 book that exists solely because a movie is dropping in 7 months. and Marvel wants to cash in on that. Also I had a gift card, so it was free in a way.

Nick Spencer is the given the uneasy task of creating a new reader book in a post AXIS world that succeeds for the most part. Much like Hawkeye before him,  Spencer’s Scott Lang is a lovable every man Avenger who sometime makes poor life choices. Anyone familiar with Spencer’s work on The Superior Foes of Spider-Man  knows he can do humor well, and Ant-Man is proof of that. The difference being it’s not as slapstick-y as SUP FOES was, and that Scott Lang is a pretty likable dude, more so than say Boomerang.

gnny1vxbknhirjh4mo7gQuick side note, a familiar face from SUP FOES makes an appearance in this book, and is just as delightful here as they were in said book.

My problem with the book is that in making it new reader accessible, it strips away a LOT of character development Scott went through in FF!/Fantastic Four. His “lovable loser” shtick is a tad bit out of place with the way he’s been written as of late, and given what’s gone down with Cassie as of late (see Avengers World), having her comes off as his normal teenage daughter is incredibly odd. Not to mention Tony Stark’s behavior is slightly more aggro due to what’s been going down in AXIS/ Superior Iron Man, but there’s not even a footnote explaining it. I understand that this has to appeal to people who are getting into the character because of the movie hype, I just wish it didn’t ignore past continuity so much.  Also where in the hell is Darla Deering (Miss Thing if you’re nasty)?!?

ant-man-1-interiorContinuity beef aside,  Ramon Rosanas & Jordan Boyd kill on the art side of things. The team remind me a lot of Chris Samnee and Javier Rodriguez‘s work on Daredevil, only not as refined as those veteran creators. That being said, Samnee and Rodriguez are also doing some career defining work on that book, so the fact that Rosanes and Boyd are even comparable to begin with says a lot. It’s an incredibly clean looks book that hits all the right emotions notes when it needs to.

All in all, Ant-Man #1 has a lot to offer to new readers. It’s a good comic,  possibly a great one if you’re not as hung up as recent Marvel continuity as I am. It’s a nice introduction to Scott Lang to wider audience, even with the absence of Paul Rudd aka America’s Best Friend.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Here Comes the Squirrel Girl!

Hey remember earlier in the week when I said I was excited to be reading a Squirrel Girl comic in 2015? No? Oh you didn’t read the article? That’s rude. You could have at least lied to me and said yes. R U D E!

Unbeatable-Squirrel-Girl-c9f8dThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

I tend to give Marvel some guff when they drop $5 books and shun the X-books due to movie deal beef, but it’s hard for me to hate them when they green-light a book like this. You know, the type of book that ISN’T tied into an upcoming Marvel movie? The type of book that’s powered by a pair of indie comics darling? The type of book that has a girl that has the proportionate strength of a squirrel. Okay that’s less impressive I guess.

I really haven’t read much Squirrel Girl prior to that one time she yelled at Deadpool a million years ago ( I think 2005? A GLA/Deadpool one shot I believe.), but Ryan North? I love that dude’s run on Adventure Time, as well as the excellent Dinosaurs Comics web comic he’s been doing since forever! Erica Henderson?! I really dug her art on  Monkey Brain’s Subatomic Party Girls, not to mention her Tumblr stuff! Rico Reniz?! I….. ::: googles Rico Renzi:::…okay first time being exposed to his work, but it’s great!

As someone who like funny super hero books, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl gives me everything I want from a humorous spandex book, which sees the title character check into her dorm, thrown down with a classic Marvel villain AND set things up for an insane throw down in the coming issues.  It doesn’t redefine super heroes like Ms Marvel did in 2014, but I wasn’t expecting it to. I wanted a book where Doreen Green dresses up as a squirrel, punches bad bad guys and makes me laugh, and that’s exactly what North, Henderson and Reniz gave me, and them some (see: Doreen’s rad and possibly crazy roommate).

SG-Excuse-meAll the creators involved in this book are in top form with this debut. The script is genuinely hilarious, and features the bottom of the page text North has become famous for (A play on the alt txt gags from his web comic), and Henderon and Reniz’s art is a perfect fit for this book. It’s bright, fluid & expressive, the type of style one who want if this was a Cartoon Network/Disney Channel animated series. It looks great, and is a blast to look at, and Henderson draws some might fine squirrels which is obviously very important for this book. Also shot out to Henderson for a Squirrel Girl that looks like an average person and not another super model. Representation is important y’all.

With the excellent She Hulk and Elektra wrapping up in 2015, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is the perfect book to replace those books. It couldn’t be any more different in terms of tone and style, but it’s still great for all the reasons I just listed above and more.

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Star Wars Day at the Planet – Wednesday January 14th 2015

The eagerly anticipated Star Wars #1, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Marvel, releases this Wednesday and to celebrate we’re offering 20% off EVERY SINGLE Star Wars item in stock!

Star Wars Forbidden Planet Sale Marvel Comics #1

That includes the new issue AND all available variant covers.

May the Force be with you!

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Spies like Us Edition

First and foremost, happy 2015 Forbidden Planet faithful! There were all of 7 comics released this past week,  none of which I pull,  so we’re going to take a look at 2 books that dropped last week instead. Then I’ll finish my “What I like dug” over the next few days, just in time for the first New Comics Wednesday of 2015. Aren’t schedules fun?

GRAYANN_Cv1_540f47df5c1c08.60705222Grayson Annual #1

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Stephen Mooney/Jeremy Cox

DC $4.99

I want to like this comic more than I do.

I’m doing my best to not be an old man and start ranting about how Annuals should be saved for big stories like were in my day. Hell this annual was originally solicited as such, promising us the New 52 origin of Helena Bertinelli. Which we get, sort of, for all of a page.

The rest of the book is dedicated to several new characters, one who’s supposedly really good at what he does, and we get a lot more focus on said new character than we do on Helena, as well as a Irish Folktale. Which is different, but not exactly the most compelling stuff in the world.

While the book isn’t bad ( Tom King and Tim Seeley‘s script is okay, Stephen Mooney‘s art is serviceable, and Jeremy Cox‘s colors remain excellent), it’s not exactly required reading at $5. It does nothing for the over all narrative of the series, even  thought there’s some cool stuff sprinkled throughout the issue.

December was not the best month for Grayson in my option. Between the annual and issue 5, the book feels like it’s stuck in neutral. Hopefully January will see a proper return to form for this book and it’s creative team.

background (1)Secret Avengers #11

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

And once again, Secret Avengers is espionage comics done right.

The final arc of Secret Avengers begins with this issue, and properly raises the stakes. The mysterious world of TLON has began to appear in “our” world, the secret mastermind behind the whole ordeal begins to make his presence known and now it’s up to MODOK and his allies to save to the day. It’s Cosmic Horror meets Archer (wordplay?) at it’s finest.

And speaking of F-I-N-E (#segue) Michael Walsh & Matthew Wilson continue to be at the top of their respected games with this book. Between the storm in Venezuela and the various action pieces on the Hellicarrier, Walsh and Wilson continue to do some interesting and beautiful things with format, design and panel layouts. They do Ales Kot’s script the justice it deserves, being able to convey the emotion needed for the Hawkeye/Coulson confrontation, as well as providing some awesome fight scenes.

Kot also deserves some praise for the way he’s been handling Agent Coulson and his PTSD in this book. Hawkeye, Maria Hill, and Black Widow may be normal human comfortable with some of insanity that goes down on the reg in the 616, Phil Coulson is not, and is affected by it. It’s something that could be handled poorly in the wrong hangs, but Ales Kot writes Phil and his condition properly, which makes for a compelling and a emotionally invested read.

Secret Avengers continues to be one of the strongest offerings from Marvel month after moth. It’s weird, violent and funny, and every so often, it has something smart and endearing to say.

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What I dug into 2014: Marvel Edition

Today I’m going to take a look at what Marvel made me happy with over the past year. The company did an excellent job of maintaining a diverse catalog of super hero books (Although they could work on diversifying their creators), while pushing out a bunch of $5 books I didn’t read.

portrait_incredible (1)First and foremost, 2014 gave us Ms. Marvel, arguably the MOST important cape book on the stands today. A wonderful comic by G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Ian Herring,  Khamala Khan is as relevant to readers and their world as Spider-Man was in the 1960s. It’s a gorgeous book with a message that’s an absolute delight to read. Marvel did a lot with their female characters in 2014 (2015 isn’t looking too shabby either for the record), and Ms Marvel is ultimately the best of the bunch, if not the company’s entire catalog.

 

 

backgroundIn 2014, we saw one of Marvel’s best books end. No not Hawkeye. 2015 for that, maybe. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man ended this year, which saw Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg tell some ridiculous and hilarious stories starring some of Spider-Man more’s C & D list villains. If Khamala Khan wasn’t so  damn compelling, Boomerang would had easily been my Marvel character of the year, which speaks volume on how good this creative team is. Also this book had a Corgi as a reoccurring character, which is how you get the Chris Troy vote.

hawkeye17cvr300px-Secret_Avengers_Vol_3_1So this is the part where I talk about Hawkeye. We all saw this coming. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth and Annie Wu didn’t ship on time at all throughout the year, but when it did, it was amazing. 2014 saw a Christmas Special, Kate Bishop’s California adventure wrap up, and the amazing Sign Language issue, because apparently the Pizza Dog issue wasn’t ground breaking enough. The Hawkeyes had a another great year, between this, the Gerry Duggan penned Hawkeye Vs Deadpool mini series, and Clint’s roll in Secret Avengers.

Secret Avengers (by Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, & Matthew Wilson) is also an amazing book. Incredibly weird, and sometimes morbidly dark, but amazing none the less. Also see the brief but rad Moon Knight run by Warren Ellis, Declan Shevaley &  Jordie Bellaire.Weird? Yes. Violent as hell? Also yes? Incredible visuals and some solid story telling. YUP. This is the best Ellis Marvel book since NEXTWAVE, and Shevaley’s art is incredible. A shame it was so short, because I could have read a year’s worth of stories by this team.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_20Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_TextlessTruth be told, Marvel had a bunch of great books by amazing creative teams drop throughout out the year. Storm, Daredevil, Captain Marvel, Uncanny X-men,  Thor, Captain America, The Mighty Avengers, Magneto, She Hulk and Black Widow spring to mind immediately, and I’m sure I missed a few. Like Legendary Star-Lord for example.

While Marvel event titles were expensive and kind of a mess, the company provided a incredible amount of quality books in 2014. The company took a lot of risks, and a lot of them paid off. I’m eager to see what the company has to offer in 2015, all while avoiding Secret Wars or whatever.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Seeing Purple Edition

Happy Whatever you’re celebrating Forbidden Planet Faithful! Let it be known that I’m writing this article instead of playing several Blizzard video games because I love you (and money).

Hawkeye_vs._Deadpool_Vol_1_3_TextlessHawkeye Vs Deadpool #3

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Jacopo Camangni/Cristiane Peter

Marvel $3.99

If you’ve been reading this blog at any point over the last 2 years, you’ll know that I’m VERY protective of reading the Hawkeyes when not penned by Matt Fraction. Luckily for me, Hawkguy Clint Barton has been handled incredibly well over in the various Avengers books, and Hawkeye Kate Bishop has only appeared in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie‘s excellent Young Avengers run.

Kate is also our narrator in this issue of Hawkeye Vs Deadpool and series writer Gerry Duggan absolutely nails her voice. Duggan balances Kate’s youth plus her relationship with Clint exceptionally well, with some nods to “recent” events over in the Fraction/Aja series. Her interactions with Deadpool are hilarious, and it’s fun to see Katie-Kate interact with the greater Marvel universe.  Duggan’s Deadpool is still a blast to read, and bouncing him off of Hawkeye Kate keeps the book fresh.

Art wise, the duo of Matteo Lolli & Jacopo Camagni remain a great fit for this title. Aside from the amount of teeth in Deadpool’s mouth being inconsistent, their expressive and clean art is perfect for this book’s kooky antics. They also capture modern NYC well, doing the city justice and making the some of the more modern reference work. They’re also great at capturing the humor in Duggan’s script, especially as seen on the final page of the book. Apparently Queen jokes are in fashion in comics this year.

Deadpool Vs Hawkeye continues to show what sort of fun one can have with a Marvel team up. Great visuals, solid jokes and good character work justify this book’s existence, and I would recommend it to anyone with any investment in the Hawkeyes and or Deadpool. AKA me.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_29_TextlessUncanny X-men #29

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ 5 inkers/2 colorists

Marvel $3.99

Ambitious best describes this incredibly dense issue of Uncanny X-men. Brian Michael Bendis is already balancing several plot lines with this current arc, and the addition of a few last minute Macguffins may take this book into a new direction. It’s a bold decision, especially when Bendis is balancing a number of plotlines with a large cast as is, but hopefully he can pull it off. Time will only tell.

Art wise, this book isn’t a mess per say, but having 2 different colorists work on the same penciler is jarring. Chris Bachalo usually looks best when he’s coloring his own work, so Antonio Fabela and Jose Villarrubia aren’t doing his much justice. One of their pallets are too light, maker the book look paler and more retro than it needs to be, while the other is much brighter, but does some weird inkless coloring with several characters hairs and fur. To be fair, that almost may be on one of the several inkers, it’s hard to place blame.

While the art is a bit inconstant, the stakes are certainly raised in the penultimate (I think) chapter of The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier. Hopefully the story will stick it’s landing, because while the creative team has done some good work on this book, there’s still a chance that it’s gotten too bloated for it’s own good.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Young and the Restless edition

This week’s unintentional theme for reviews is #Teens. It would have been #JamieMcKelviecovers, but Kris Anka did the cover to Ms Marvel, also, that hashtag would be crazy long.

STK655085Ms Marvel #10

G Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

After an unexpected hiatus, Ms. Marvel returns to deal with troubled teens and murderous robots via a mad scientist cockatiel. Also yes, I was giggling in delight as I typed those last 3 words, I am an adult.

With issue 9 revealing Ms Marvel’s roots (hint/spoiler: Inhuman), issue 10 is a return to form for the series, using the generational gap in America as a source of inspiration for the issue’s plot. It’s something I haven’t seen done as well since Brian K Vaughn and series artist Adrian Alphona were on Runaways,  mixing actual TEEN issues with comic book super villains. Is it a hoot.

G Willow Wilson was recently signed to an exclusive contract with Marvel, and the dialogue for this issue is all the proof why that was a smart movie. Everything that comes out of Kamala Khan’s mouth sounds genuine for a teenager in the Marvel universe, even when it’s calling for her teleporting pet doggie. Kamala as a  representation of the modern teenager works as well as Hawkeye as the 3o yr old uncomfortable in his own skin, cough cough me.

Alphona and colorist Ian Herring continue to be brilliant on this book. It’s trippy, colorful and so expressive, making it a unique looking book even in Marvel’s wonderfully diverse art styles. Each panel is crammed with details that contain fun little sight gags, Easter eggs or just some funny looking stuff.

Ms Marvel continues to be the best comics to debut from Marvel this year, with the most likable lead to be introduced into the MU in some time. Any and all the success and praise the title has received is warranted, and it’s well worth picking up, as per usual.

wickeddivine_06_2The Wicked + the Divine #6

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

It’s weird to have an Image book go on hiatus for only a month, but it’s certainly welcomed.

I believe in the concept of a multiverse. Somewhere, I’m sure artist Jamie McKelvie didn’t get into comics, but fashion instead, and is brilliant. Luckily we live in the universe where McKelvie draws pretty people who are insanely well-dressed.

The Wicked+The Divine #6 takes place one month after the events of issue 5, and sees our lead still in mourning. I reminds me a lot of the beginning of the recently conclude Legend of Korra season, only with less bending and more…British? Anywho, Laura’s a hot mess, we’re introduced into a rad new character, and the subject of fandoms and conventions are woven into the narrative.

It’s hard to picture a creative team more “With it” then Mckelvie and Kieron Gillen. Despite WickedDivine being urban fantasy, everything feels so realistic and modern, from the dialogue to the use of certain technology. Even Laura’s cracked iphone will make you take notice and give you a sense of familiarity.

Matthew Wilson is arguably my favorite colorist in comics at the moment, and reading his stuff digitally is the best way to experience his talents. His work really makes McKelvie’s art look as good as it does, as his choice in colors ultimately unit McKelvie’s pictures and Gillen words, making for a beautiful package, not to mention a terrific looking book.

This volume of The Wicked + The Divine is off to a smart start, and I’m super curious as to how the subject of fandoms will tie into the story. Their gods murder mystery book is somehow the most human book on the market, and a testament of how talented this team is.

 

 

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Troy’s Troys But With Comics: Lovable Rogues edition

Grayson_Vol_1-5_Cover-1_TeaserGrayson #5

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin/ Jeremy Cox

DC Comics  $2.99

Grayson #5 is arguably the most ambitious issue since the Future’s End one-shot. That being said, while issue 5 looks great, it’s arguably the weakest issue to date.

The premise of this issue is that a mission has gone off the rails, so Dick Grayson, Helena, the Midnighter and a new born child are forced to walk across 200 miles of desert to reach civilization. The purpose of this issue is to show the reader that Dick Grayson never gives up, is pretty much perfect, doesn’t afraid of anything, blah blah blah.

While I dig what Tim Seeley and Tom King are trying to do with this issue, it’s something that we’ve been seeing since issue 1: that Dick Grayson values life and will do whatever to protect it. This issue feels like it spinning it’s wheels a bit, instead of advancing the plot. Helena’s presence feels tacted on, and the ending is kind of a mess.

That being said, it’s still a gorgeous book. Mikel Janin does a excellent job of drawing sexy people in the desert, and I’m sure a ton of people are glad to see shirtless Dick Grayson run around with a 10 day year old beard. He also does a lot of interesting things with his story-telling with double page spreads and multiple panel work, And colorist Jeremy Cox really steps up this issue, showing how brutal the desert setting  is, and making the relatively simplistic backgrounds come to live.

Grayson #5 is a frustrating comic, that looks great but offers new in the narrative. It’s a rare misstep from a solid creative team.

Legendary_Star-Lord_Vol_1_6_TextlessLegendary Star-Lord #6

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/Juan Vlasco/Davis Curiel/

$3.99 Marvel

WACKY DATE ISSUE, WACKY DATE ISSUE!

Legendary Star-Lord  #6 sees Kitty Pryde and Peter Quill go on their first date. Well sorta date, as Kitty is still on Earth, so it’s Kitty via hologram. Oh and there are still a bunch of people trying to kill Peter Quill, so that complicates things a bit, and ensures that this is a wacky date issue.

This is not the first comic that’s tried to do the date with a twist thing. It’s be done to death, and even by attempting it, risks being extremely troupey and cliche. That being said, the team of Sam Humphries and Paco Medina have made their run on Star-Lord incredibly fun, so it’s comes as no surprise that this issue is a hoot.

Humphries and Medina’s handling of Kitty Pryde in this series has been nothing short of excellent, so getting more screen time with her in this issue works in the book’s favor. She works well opposite of Star-Lord, and Humphries draws a lot of the character’s history to make her very compelling co-star. Also he and Paco and like the only dudes in comics that seem to remember Lockeheed exists, so seeing that little purple dragon pop up a bunch is a treat for me.

Speaking of treats, Paco Medina’s art is great. The details on his backgrounds are Jim Lee-esque, and his facial expressions and  character’s body language is superb. Star-Lord is a book that is very high energy and fun and is serviced well by Medina’s art, combined with excellent and clean inks from Juan Vlasco and bright & vivid colors by David Curiel.

Legendary Star-Lord continues to be a fun book with a ton of humor, romance, and action. It’s a nice homage to the space operas inspired by it, but not afraid to add some fun little twists to it. And with a cool mystery revealed and fun, exciting cliff hanger ended, I’m excited to see what the next issue brings.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Mindtrip

Happy Turkey Day weekend. Assuming you weren’t trampled on Friday via stampeding crowds looking for hot dealz.

ODY-C-1-CoverODY-C #1

Matt Fraction/Christian Ward

Image $3.99

OY-C is a comic that….I…um….that is to say…

:: Stares at keyboard for several minutes at a lost for words ::

ODY-C is kind of a weird book y’all. A different type of weird that I’m use to from the writer. In the outro, Matt Fraction describes the book as a retelling of the The Odyssey with a Wonder Woman meets Barbarella filter. Which it definitely achieves, channeling some 4th World Jack Kirby with a dash of Blizzard’s Starcraft designs as well. But to be honest, Fraction’s writing left me a little cold with this debut. There’s hints of his brand of humor and dialogue sprinkled around the comic, but his dedication to the source material rubbed me the wrong way a few times. It’s far from bad, and impressive that Fraction managed to balance new dialogue all while paying homage to the original Odyssey, but I just didn’t connect to this comic like I did previous Fraction written debuts.

Visually, this book looks  like nothing else on the market. Christian Ward‘s visuals are as trippy as they are beautiful,  and his use of colors and the choice of palette is fantastic. My favorite moment comes from a multi-panel fight scene that’s coated primarily in shades of  red, with the only contrasting color being white. It’s an insane visual trick that really makes the art pop out. And Chris Eliopoulos‘ lettering couldn’t be better, doing this epic justice.

In addition to Ward’s gorgeous art, there’s an 8 page double sided fold out that kicks this comic off. There’s an insanely detailed battlefield image by Ward on one side, and the other is map/timeline that was done with help from one Drew Gill. It’s a dense read that sets the stage for the book, almost drowning the reader with information.

I applaud Fraction and Ward for making one of the most visually interesting books on the market with a female heavy cast.  I’m going to give the series another issue to see if it’s pull  worth of if I’m better waiting for trade. Regardless of my buying preference, ODY-C is a different type of comic, something that deserves to be read based on it’s boldness alone.

 

backgroundSecret Avengers #10

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

Speaking of weird looking books that look good, this issue of Secret Avengers is arguably the best the book’s looked all year.

I don’t want to take away from Ales Kot‘s contributions to this book. Kot’s work on this title has been important, managing to combine some genuine humor into a exciting espionage thriller that’s pretty dark and very weird. But ultimately, it’s the team of Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson that made fall hard for this issue.

Allow me to explain why: the final 5 pages of this comic take place Venzuela, amiss of a downpour. Spoilers, if only you didn’t look at this book’s cover, it involves Hawkeye and Agent Coulson having a stare down  and it looks fantastic. Walsh’s body language, facial expressions, panel composition are great, and look amazing thanks to Wilson’s black and grey pallets. And the final page is equally hilarious and dreadful, setting up for the third and final arc of this series. Capped off by another fantastic Tradd Moore, Secret Avengers makes me a happy reader once again.

It’s hard to say if this book is coming to an end because of low sales, or if it had a plan ending from the beginning. Hopefully it’s the later, because it’s easily the best the book’s been since Warren Ellis‘ brief run. Either way, I’m excited to see how this all ends, despite the fact that and another wonderfully weird Marvel book will be over.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17

My pull list last week consisted of 1 whole title. This week was much better, as several great comics dropped, making me happy and my wallet sad. One of those books was the final issue of The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, which I decided warrants an article/review all to itself. BE WARNED, WE’RE GOING TO GET DEEP INTO SPOILERS!

portrait_incredibleThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachel Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

When I reviewed SUP FOES #16, I stated that if that was the final issue of the series, I would have been more than pleased. But now that I’ve read issue 17, I can proudly say that past me was wrong once again, and it was for all the right reasons.

SUP FOES #17 is the issue where Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg show their hand, and all the secrets and twists are revealed. The massive heist and gang wars are all just a distraction for Boomerang, who doesn’t want to the run the city as a crime boss, but as a star pitcher. For the New York Mehs, an excellent visual gag by Lieber that’s also a pretty accurate description of that team. Of course, the other 5 members of the Sinister “6″ weren’t in on that plan, so they’re kinda in a bind/in the middle of a 4 way betrayal, and the sudden appearance a certain gun toting vigilante.

But of course, Boomerang can’t (and shouldn’t) have nice things, and poop hits the fan shortly after his plan is explained. His final fate is purposely vague , a reference to the Sopranoes, which he names drops, and it features a character who’s appearance makes all the sense in the world. Also I called it last month, so it didn’t exactly come as a complete surprise. The other Sinister 5 member also get their just desserts, with 2 of them ending up in better positions that they were in when the book started, where as the other 2 are probably not. We also get an appearance from poor Mach-VII and a certain bar tender who apparently was more than she lead on to be.

 

The humor in Superior Foes is definitely a good reason as to  why this book so great. There’s a number of hilarious panels that really show up the genius of both Spencer and Steve with both visual and spoken jokes, not to mention some really odd and insane references, especially when it comes to a gag involving the Shocker. References can sometimes be really cheap when it comes to jokes (oh look it’s like that other thing I like, haha), but Spencer and Lieber call themselves out on it as well, and it works in their favor.

But it’s ultimately the message of Superior Foes, eulogized by former wrestler/upcoming Thor Annual writer CM Punk,  that explains  why this book is so great. Spencer, Lieber and Rosenberge ultimately told the tale of a bunch of people who had a dream, and went about the easiest and sometimes most illegal ways to achieve it. It’s not a GREAT moral, but it something we can all relate to on one way or another, sometimes even more so than the super-altruistic leads of these cape comics.

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man wasn’t a book that changed the Marvel Universe (for 6 months), sold incredibly well, or had a massive fanbase like the Carol Corp. What it was thought was Nick Spencer delivering some of the funniest and clever scripts in his Marvel career, Steve Lieber drawing the hell out of this book (this particular issue average 8 panels a page, if not more, without a drop in quality), and Rachelle Rosenberg’s coloring adding another dimensional to the the pencil art (see the Boomerang at the bar pages in this issue for some of her finest work), and giving the book a uniform look when there was a fill in artist.  SUP FOES was a book I almost missed out on when it first launched, and I’m glad I was there for the ride now that it’s over.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Solo X-Men

It’s a rare week for me, one where more trades of note dropped than books I buy, thanks to scheduling and delays. So welcome to the article where I dedicate 500 words to a single issues of Uncanny X-men.

 

portrait_incredibleUncanny X-men #28

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

Recently, Newsarama blogger Jim Mclauchlin wrote an article on said site putting comics journalism on blast. One of the things he stated  was that reviewing single issues of comics was unfair to creators, as it’s only focusing on one chapter of a story, which is something you wouldn’t see in a literary review . While there were several points in that article I agreed with, Jim also writes for a site that does Top Ten lists daily, and it’s totally fair to review comics on a issue to issue basis, because that is how they are sold. If Marvel or DC want to do single story graphic novels only, I would be all about that, but since they don’t, Imma do me and review their books as they hit the stands.

 

Which brings us to this month’s installment of Uncanny X-men, which is the latest chapter of the Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier retcon arc. It’s worth starting off that the cover credits Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend on the art side of thing for this issue (obviously Brian Michael Bendis is credited as the writer correctly) , which is incorrect because Kris Anka handles that. The cover also implies a Magneto Vs Cyclops thrown down (again), which is also incorrect because Mags appears for all of one page. What I’m saying is that trusting Marvel is risky business.

Jokes aside, Uncanny X-men 28 is a solid issue. The quick recap is  that Scott Summers, the least pursued #1 terrorist in the Marvel Universe, is  trying to get walking macguffin Matthew Malloy to join his revolution. You know, the revolution that’s really not taken off after 30 issues. It’s a dialgoue heavy issue that sees 3 X-men’s faith in Charles Xavier’s teaching tested, and how differently they react to it. Oh and a lot of close ups of people’s faces, explosions and teleporting.

While the dialogue is pretty much by the numbers, with some cool callbacks to the X-men’s history, Kris Anka’s art work continues to wow me. Thanks to Bendis’ callbacks, we get to see Anka’s interpretations of the X-Men throughout time, ranging from the silver age to the modern age, and most importantly including the beloved Jim Lee designed 1990s roster. Marvel, if you do not publish a X-men’92 book with at least covers by Anka you are leaving money on the table.

Another thing that impressed me is a sequence in which Anka apes several different artists’ styles in a flashback of sorts. It’s not the first time I’ve read a comic where an artist changes his style in reference to another story arc, but it’s still really neat to see Anka channel a wide variety of artists like John Byrne, Joe Madureira, the Kubert bros and Oliver Copiel, among others.

Combine this with Anka’s flat, yet still bold, color pallet, and Uncanny X-men is a beautiful looking book. It’s not the type of book I would recommend to anyone not interested in X-Men comics to, but for those of you already fans of Marvel’s mutants, it’s a good read.

 

 

 

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Daily Deals for Monday November 17th 2014

Better Call Saul, Saul Goodman, Bob Odenkirk

Breaking Bad Saul Goodman Bobble Head… Price? So affordable you can skip the money order made out to “Ice Station Zebra Associates” and pay in cash. ($17) $6.99

Walking Dead All Out War AP Edition HC… Charlie Adlard’s raw pencil work! ($35) $10

New X-Men Ultimate Collection TP Volume 1… You can keep yer Joss Whedon Astonishing run. THIS is the best post-Claremont X-Men stuff ever written. IMO, of course. ($35) $14.99

Pittsburgh 68… Zombie card game!!!! ($25) $9.99

*Forbidden Planet’s DAILY DEALS are updated every morning. Prices are valid in-store til the shop concludes its business day (10pm or 12am, depending on the day) and online for roughly 24 hours. Prices are valid while in-stock supply lasts.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Purple is the new Black

MISSING: Intro. Last scene: When I didn’t have a lot of words about comics to vomit upon my computer.

Hawkeye_vs._Deadpool_Vol_1_2_TextlessHawkeye/Deadpool #2

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Jacopo Camangi

Marvel $3.99

With the Fraction/Aja’s Hawkeye series continuously hit with delays, I’ve had to turn to the wonderful Secret Avengers and this mini series for my Clint Barton and Kate Bishop fix. As luck would have it, I couldn’t have chosen 2 better books to do so, and oddly enough, book both has a healthy amount of Deadpool in them.

Not that I’ve pointed out Marvel’s lack of original content (KIDDING), I should talk about this comic that I have purchased.  This issue, tying into recent events in both  Deadpool and Amazing Spider-Man,  sees our team try to set a trap for the baddies, and it goes as well as one would an except a Hawkguy conceived plan to go. Also the Hawkeyes learn just exactly how weird and complex Deadpool’s life can get, and video games are played. Other things goes down too, but those are spoilers, so it’s probably bess that I don’t discuss them.

Gerry Duggan, who co-writes Deadpool’s monthly series, draws upon both characters histories, bringing up some more obscure elements of their careers for hilarious results. I was not expecting a reference to the beloved Joe Kelly era Deadpool book, nor a discussion about the fate of Hawkeye’s Sky-Cycle. The book also continues to reference a few visual gags from the Hawkeye on-going, and they continue to remain fun little nods to that book.

Matteo Lolli gets some help from Jacopo Camagni on the art side of things, and it’s certainly something I welcomed. I was a fan of Camangi’s work on last year’s Longshot mini series, and he fits the book well. His Kate Bishop looks like a young woman, and his softer, round faces and exaggerated body language help sell a lot of the book’s humor. The two artists’ styles are similar enough to tell a cohesive story, but you can also appreciate what each brings to the book as well without preferring one to another. And the colors complete the package, making this title long for a Hawkeye/Deadpool animated series that we’ll never get.

For a mini I was willing to write off as a cash grab, I’ve been having a blast reading Hawkeye Vs Deadpool. It’s a fun hero team up/fight book that looks great, is good for a few laughs, and helps fans realize how much growth these two popular characters have gone through thanks to their respected creative teams.

 

Batgirl-36Batgirl #36

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Babs Tarr/Maris Wicks

Dc $2.99

Batgirl’s 2014 soft relaunch continues to impress, with a strong follow up issue to the current creative team’s debut. In this issue, Barbara Gordon’s supporting cast continues to grow, with several new characters introduced, as well as a throw down with a pair of cosplayers turn contract killers on stolen high-tech motorcycles. As someone who loves Barbara Gordon as a character, having her throw down with murderous cosplayers isn’t needed for me to buy your comics, but I appreciate you targeting my tastes.

Judging from what I just wrote, it’s safe to assume that I liked this comic. And I don’t mean to take away from writer Brenden Fletcher, who’s contributions to this book are crucial, but a lot of this book worked for me thanks to the talents of  artists Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and colorist Maris Wicks. While Burnside is very much a new part of Gotham, the artists really did an excellent job of fleshing out the city and it’s various locales, making it a very believable place. Tarr using a number of fashion blogs for her character designs also helps sell the city, which definitely looks like part of Brooklyn I’ve been to recently.

Maris Wicks’ colors are fantastic. The book definitely pops out thanks to his bright palette and blends well with Tarr’s kinetic pencils, especially when it comes to the book’s climatic fight scenes. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s the best looking book on the market, but it definitely sticks out on the shelf, and yes,  looks great. And Fletcher’s dialogue is sharp, smart, and manages to tug at the hear at times. It’s a creative team that meshes together well, giving the reader one hell of comics experience

Batgirl continues to be a title I didn’t know I wanted, but glad I now have. It’s been awhile since I’ve been this invested in Barbara Gordon’s life, and this creative team is already batting (not a pun, I swear) .1000 after 2 strong issues. Batgirl is giving my pull list a run for being my current favorite title, which says a lot given how strong comics have been as whole in 2014.

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: MANTY RAID!

portrait_incredibleLegendary Star-Lord #5

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/ Juan Vlasco/David Curiel

Marvel $3.99

Looks like it’s time to get ready for editorial mandated crossover.

I know crossovers are proven money makers for Marvel and DC, but I’m not the type of guy who’s willing to start buying books I’m not already reading to get the complete story. Except with Battle of the Atom. And The Trial of Jean Grey. Okay, sometimes I’m that guy, but most times I’m not, really!

The Black Vortex (coming in February 2015 apparently) is introduced in this issue of Legendary Star Lord, after being teased in previous issues. While I’m less than thrilled that a multi-title crossover is almost upon us, I also really enjoyed this particular issue of Star-Lord.

Issue 5 sees Peter Quill grill a space horse (not Beta Ray Bill. A different type of space horsie unrelated to Thor) for info regarding said crossover inducing MacGuffin, and we’re introduced to a group of Anti-Guardians of the Galaxy in the form of the Slaughter Squad (not to be confused with Slaughter’s Marauders of G.I. Joe fame). We also get a appearance from Kitty Pryde, which I welcomed because I am a sucker for romance and all about this Kitty-Lord pairing. Apologies for me going all Tumblr there.

Despite the plot-twists for this issue coming a mile away, LSL is a really enjoyable comic. Sam Humphries, Paco Medina, and their artistic collaborators have been doing solid mostly done and one stories with an over-arching plot, something I enjoy a lot in comics. Star-Lord is the type of character that works best as being a light-hearted space action book, which is something the creators gets and use to their advantage. Also after GOTG made a hojillion dollars, why wouldn’t you channel Chris Pratt’s take on the character right?

Again, I’m less than thrilled this book is going to be pulled into a multi-series crossover, but I’m enjoying the ride there. Legendary Star Lord #5 is a great comic, and I intend to keep on buying it until I’m forced to pull several other books to get a complete story.

GRAY_Cv4_53ebb7b4b35e55.53061085Grayson #5

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin

DC Comics $2.99

Sidenote: Gotham Academy #2 also dropped this week, was great, I recommend you buy that as well.

As much as I’ve been enjoying Grayson since it’s premiere, the last couple of issues have been pretty dark. Not grimmdark, but still pretty “feels bad man”-type stuff, even though it’s been a great read. Issue 5 does not have this problem, and it’s all sorts of rad.

Grayson is book that is well aware of Dick Grayson’s fans, their tastes, and that they like his booty, they doooooooooo. The words “Manty Raid” are used in this issue, not just as dialogue, but as a plot point, and it’s delightful. And the way our shirtless hero deals with it isn’t just true to the character, it’s also a ton of fun.

And it’s okay a book that’s more than just fan service. Even with Mikel Janin’s art being gorgeous, Tim Seeley and Tom King provide a bounty of interesting subplots and character moments that make this book both incredibly clever, charming and surprisingly tense. It’s arguably the best portrayal of Dick Grayson since Grant Morrison made him Batman several years ago.

DC has been getting a lot of well deserved praised for books like Gotham Academy and Batgirl, and I feel Grayson deserves to be in that group as well. It’s a damn fine book, and super progressive even without a female lead or creators.

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

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

 

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #9

Ales Kot, Micahel Walsh, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

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

 

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

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

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

 

 memetic1Memetic #1

James Tynion IV/Eryk Donovan

BOOM! Studios/ $4.99

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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