Category: Contributors

Chris’ Comics: Saga #31

tumblr_ntarc9gbIX1u6xizko1_1280Saga #31

Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan

Image $2.99


Hello once again Saga, I’ve too have missed you bunches!

While The Wicked + The Divine has been quite excellent at destroying me emotionally as of late, I’ve missed the pain I can only get from Saga, a type of pain I’ve grown to accept and love to an extent. Oh sure, Paper Girls is also a book that gives me some of that sweet sweet Brian K Vaughan cliffhanger love, but neither that or WicDiv have Ghus, the best character whom I’m mentioned several times before. Yes, tiny seal man/men are very important to me when it comes to comics, which I’m sure is a surprise to absolutely no one.

Saga #31 was a comic I was expecting to love from the get go. What I wasn’t expecting was that Hazel, the book’s narrator, and someone who’s gotten plenty of screen time as a plot point, as this issue’s lead. It’s nice to see an issue through the character’s eye off screen and on, as it freshens up the book a bit. Plus she’s cute as a button, which helps the reader overlooks some of the more tragic elements of this story.

Screen-Shot-2015-11-25-at-11.16.43-AMSo obviously this is another great issue of Saga, that goes without saying. But you may be asking yourself “Hey Chris, aside from Kindergarten shenanigans and the amazing creative team of Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan, two of some of the most creative people currently working in comics, why is this book so great?” That being a mouthful aside, let me tell you why dear readers. For starters, we’re 31 issues in and Saga still manages to surprise me in ways that never insults my intelligence, and shocks comes off as earned, not chills thrills. It’s a book where ultimately no one is safe, and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. That being said, there’s also a ton of emotional moments in this issue thanks to BKV and Staples creating some deep and complex characters, so you’re genuinely invested in their story. Unless of course you’re some sort of soulless monsters who hates well crafted comics, which in that case, congrats, you’re the actual worst.

Saga 31 manages to stay fresh and interesting by introducing 2 new characters. Saga’s known for adding in new character every arc, but 31 introduces a character that demands to be noticed, signifying that they’ll be playing a role in this arc soon. And what I find most intriguing is that this new badass is extremely LGBT+ friendly in a way that has not be represented in the book yet. BKV and Staples have a pretty good track record when it comes to handling under represented queer characters, so I’m excited to see what they do with this new character, knowing that they’re being introduced in a way that fits the story, not as cheap heat. And if that’s not enough to at least peak your curiosity, the book ends on a cliffhanger that once again walks the thin line between being terrible and hilarious. Or it’s intended to be terrible, and I’m just a psychopath who find humor in the wrong thing. Can’t rule either out.

tumblr_nye1hbzRBN1ro3xdro1_1280Having Saga back on the shelves is always an exciting time for me as a comics reader, despite knowing it’s going to end in tear and me cursing the creative team names ( I prefer to yelling VAPLESSSSS instead of yelling their individual names for the record). It remains an inventive title that always manages to entertain while causing me great distress. Yrs, I’m well aware I sound like a mascogist, but trist me, Saga #31 is an excellent comic that you should already be purchasing by now. Assuming you’re of age, and do not plan on reading it in public.


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Thanksgiving Eve at Forbidden Planet NYC and, While I’m At It, Thanksgiving 2015

76194133395310101 Frank miller new Batman release Forbidden Planet NYC

It’s Tuesday November 24th and we’re at the shop preparing tomorrow’s new comics, graphic novels and toys, like we do on Tuesdays, with our hands plenty full. 

The hard work’s well-worth it though. Traditionally, Thanksgiving Eve is one of my favorite days of the year to be working at Forbidden Planet. Lots of familiar faces come back in through our doors and it’s a pleasure to catch up with old chums. People need little presents for family members or a board game or something similar to occupy the weekend and from my customer service perspective it’s always a treat to recommend stuff that’s going to be enjoyed in such a manner.

And, oh yeah!, comics publishers and many toy manufacturers usually release a crap-ton of great new reading material and toys the day before Thanksgiving in advance of Black Friday/Cyber Monday. This year’s no different.

Whether you’re braving the horrors of the NJ Transit or the long flight to Walla Walla or the constant chug of the Staten Island Ferry or the bus to Philly or the subway home to your tiny NYC apartment… Wherever you’re off to, here’s some of this week’s highlighted new releases to get you through the trip.

Have fun! We’re closed on Thanksgiving. Mebbe I’ll see ya tomorrow or Friday?

(Dark Knight 3 pictured above and available 11/25/15)

Saga #31 – New Story Arc! Picks up after trade paperback Volume 5. Don’t forget your coupons and receipt (wink, wink) if ya got ‘em!

Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Saga #31, forbidden planet NYC


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Chris’ Comics: Jughead #2

Jughead2-webJughead #2

Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson

Archie $3.99

So aside from Phonogram: TIM and Spider-Woman, I had to choose between picking up Jughead and Ms Marvel this past week. I went with Jughead, as it’s a buck cheaper, I love the creative team, and I now have an excuse to pick up Ms Marvel in trade. It’s a win for everyone involved who’s not my checking account! Also I have bought 2 consecutive issues of an Archie comic in the year of our lord 2015, this is definitely a personal record of sorts! Be proud of me.

The 2nd issue of Jughead was something I found highly enjoyable. Jughead’s Time Police is something I’ve heard about in whispers for some now time, so seeing Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson tackle it in this reboot was certainly intriguing. Much like the previous issue, the issue is broken down by first act, “fantasy”-based second arc, the final act, and then a reprint of a classic Archie strip with an hilarious introduction from Chip. While the older material isn’t my cup of tea, I appreciate the format Zdarsky and Henderson have established, and the extra content certainly justifies the $4 price tag.

Jughead2015_02-11-666x1024The 2nd issue continues the debut issue of Jughead and his pals having to deal with the new over-zealous staff at their high school. First and foremost, I love how much Erica Henderson draws from current fashion for the cast’s looks. I’m already familiar with how expressive her art is from her work on Squirrel Girl , but with Jughead, she’s allowed to draw less super heroes and more every day clothing, which is rad. Of course, the stuff with the Time Police requires to take the book’s visuals in a different direction, which is fine, because Henderson’s experience with TUSG gives her some experience with the fantastic. I’m a fan of her colors, well at least I think I am, because I’m 98% certain half the copy I picked up was a victim of several errors when I was printed. But the stuff I’m positive wasn’t messed up come printing looks great, and looking at panels from the digital copy of the book confirmed that my book is sadly a victim of a printing press error.

Everything Chip Zdarsky contributes to this issue is gold. Obviously the humor is on point, which comes as no surprise, give his…well everything. Like go check his twitter account right now for proof. Okay back? Too bad, I’m continuing without you if you’re not. Anyway, Chip’s dialogue is great, chock full of snark and jokes, making this incarnation of Jughead very Spider-Man-esque with the amount of wisecracks per page. But it’s never Jughead2015_02-7overdone, as Zdarsky knows when to reel it back a bit as to not to interfere with the plot. And despite the teen rating due to a realtively dark twist at the end, the book is a clever read that I feel kids who watch stuff like Adventure Time and Steven Universe would dig.

(( I also want to give props to whoever decided Jughead should come off as asexual, but I’m not sure if that’s Chip or Mark Waid‘s doing. It may not be intention, but it’s cool to see a high school male character who’s not all girl crazy for a change, and has very little interest in smooching. ))

Jughead #2 is another fun installment of this really interesting Archie reboot. I really like the overarching “Jughead vs the man, but is still kinda lazy” plot of this new series, while weaving in some weirder elements of Archie’s publishing history into the narrative. It serves the spirit of classic Archie will, but also gives the franchise a much needed modern make over, resulting in a fun, relatively all ages experience.



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30% 90% off Forbidden Planet items cyber Monday sale
ATTENTION Forbidden Planet mail order customers!

Can’t make it to our Black Friday in-store sale? There’s still a chance for you to save mad $$$ on Monday the 30th when EVERYTHING available in our webstore will be on sale by at least 20%OFF regular retail, with some deeply discounted items marked down to a whopping 90%off.

The sale kicks off at 12:01 a.m. Monday morning and lasts through 11:59 p.m. Monday night. A link to all deeply discounted items will be sent out to those customers on our email list in advance, so if you’re not already receiving regular updates from us I suggest you join ASAP.

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Forbidden Planet Black Friday 2015

This coming Friday, November 27th is BLACK FRIDAY here in the U.S. and we’re once again offering a swell discount to the folks coming by the shop that day. Check this out…
Black Friday 2015 deals Forbidden Planet NYCThat’s 20% OFF everything* we gots in stock on Friday the 27th.

*Please note- this offer does not apply to our regular special offers such as our in-store discount of two t-shirts for $30.

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Chris’ Comics: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

PhonogramIG_04-1Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

Common sense would dictate that you shouldn’t jump into a mini-series when it’s halfway over. “But Chris, the cover is a Scott Pilgrim reference, and I love Scott Pilgrim!” That’s cool, I GET that, I too love Scott Pilgrim. And hey, there’s plenty more of references on the inside. BUTTTTTTTTT, chances are if you didn’t read Phonogram: The Singles Club in addition to Scott Pilgrim, this book will confuse the hell out of you, despite it being a very good comic. To say that it’s required reading is an understatement.

For those of you who actually have both those books and currently reading The Immaterial Girl, you are in for a treat! Issue 4 of this mini series focuses on Lloyd, aka Mr Logos and his love/hate relationship with Laura Black, all while playing homage to Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s massive hit comic. Of course it’s done in the most Kieron Gillen way possibly, which means references to Blondie, with some amazing art. This fun done in one is a bit of side story, focusing on some character that have appeared in past volumes of Phonogram, but does not touch upon the the events of T.I.G. much.

PhonogramIG04_Preview_Page2-932x1415So I want to talk about those lovely Scott Pilgrim homages first. What I really dig about team WicDic Phonogram’s tribute to SP is that it’s entirely done through visual cues in the book’s art. Letterer Clayton Cowles, who’s brilliant, uses several font styles found in SP v1: Precious Little Life (I actually have my copy next to me as I typed it to serve as confirmation, look at me, I’M DOING ACTUAL RESEARCH FOR A REVIEW!). Artist Jamie McKelvie frames the opening page exactly the opening page of said book, and like O’Malley’s art, the majority of this book is in black and white. Colorist Matthew Wilson goes the extra distance, giving McKelvie’s black and white art that manga influenced-zine-esque look, while masterfully coloring the pages that allow for color (And there’s a reason for those pages to be in color this issue, which is a story telling technique I love).They could have easily made a “bread make you fat?” joke (No offense Chip and Joe ) and called it a day, but no, they went the extra mile, because they are a gifted bunch.

As for the non-SP influenced content, I really like how Kieron Gillen writes the relationship between Lloyd and Laura. It’s a interesting love/hate relationship, and it PhonogramIG04_Preview_Page3speaks much of Kieron’s talent that he managed to make it so deep and complex in a span of an issue. Additionally, Gillen excels at having a least ONE brilliant phrase per comic and here we’re treated to two that were so good, I actually stood up and cackled a bit. It also helps that Jamie McKelvie’s art is so expressive, so the book looks as good at it sounds when you’re sitting in your living room reading dialogue to your cat. Yeah I do that some times, what of it?!

Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4 is a done and one that allows the story to breathe a bit, and shines some light on some fun characters. I enjoyed the hell out of it, and am absolutely loving what this return to Phonogram has given me so far.


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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #1

Spider-Woman-1-Cover-8769aSpider-Woman #1

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvard Lopez

Marvel $3.99

When we last saw Spider-Woman, she was running off with Black Widow to go die in Secret Wars #1. Don’t worry, she got better, somehow. Better and apparently pregnant. COMICS, EVERYONE!

In case you somehow missed the hoopla, Jessica Drew is back and with child in this newest volume of Spider-Woman. Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez and Alvard Lopez fully embrace this whole 8 month post Secret Wars gap by putting J-Drew in a scenario no one saw coming. And by doing so, it sets the book off in an entirely new direction, in addition to adding a much beloved character to the cast of supporting characters. As much as I loved having the Porcupine and Phil Urich bounce off Jessica, having Captain Marvel play a larger role in the book give Jessica a chance to interact with her bestie, and makes for a perfect comedic foil to our hero. There’s also a hint that another Spider-lady will be popping up from time to time, but we have to see how this all plays out first.

I really like the way Jessica’s pregnancy is handled in this first issue. She’s upset that she’s being sidelined, but it’s a choice that she ultimately made, not wanting to risk the life of her Jess-and-her-motorcycle-e1447959748798yet to be born child. Seeing Jessica dealing with a maternity leave and an overly-concerned best friend is fun, but never makes the character the butt of the jokes. She’s struggling with the pregnancy, on her own mind you as there doesn’t seem to be an active father figure present, but she never comes off as weak. If anything it’s the opposite, as it shows Jessica rising to  the challenge to meet it head on (with some help from her friends).

Aside from the addition of her blonde BFF and some cameos from a bunch of prominent Marvel characters,  Jessica mostly interacts with Ben Urich,  who helping her adjust to an everyday normal person problem, and the Porcupine, who’s gone full amateur super hero. I really dig Jessica training Roger Cocking to be a better person, as its nice to see a petty crook being rehabilitated successfully. Hopeless and Rodriguez did wonders for the character, and seeing him as a full on hero is a nice path of progression for the character. Hopefully it will stick, because while I’m not expecting a Deadpool-level boost for the character, way too many reformed super villains have gone to the side of the angels, only to be written as a villain down the line with little to no explanation.

29cncyfAnd while a ton of things have changed for Jessica in terms of the status quo, the creators involved remain just as good as they were before the hiatus. I mean, that sort of thing should go without saying, because more writers and artists don’t suddenly regress in skills after a short hiatus. But we get to see a different side of Javier skills when he as to channel his inner Kirby/Byrne towards the end of the book. I absolutely love the way he draws a certain race of Marvel characters, as they look way creepier and in line with their silver age incarnations than the way they’ve been portrayed as of late. Plus being his own colorists give him a chance to do things with skin and lighting most artist don’t get to do with their own work. And I absolutely love Hopeless’ dialogue in this issue. He gets to focus on these heroes more human sides, which leads to a number of wonder scenes and interactions that are very enjoyable, and sound so natural.

This is the Spider-Woman #1 we deserved for the last year. It’s a fantastic soft reboot that does Jessica Drew, a wonderfully complex and compelling character, justice, while dealing with a subject matter that’s often mishandled by cape comics. Hopeless approaches pregnancy with the respect and sincerity it deserves, ensuring his critics that he’s going to do Spider-Woman right. It’s a great comic, and I can’t wait to see this story arc play out.



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Chris’ Comics: The Goddamned #1

TheGoddamned01-Cvr-ab5f6The Goddamned #1

Jason Aaron, r.m. Guera, Giulia Brusco, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $3.99

With Image Comics putting out new hit IP after new hit IP, comparsions to 90s Vertigo Comics have popped up. For all you younger readers, 90s Vertigo was the business, giving us such excellent comics like Preacher, Sandman, The Invisibles, and some hella fine Hellblazer comics. There were some really groundbreaking titles coming out from the DC imprint, which helped launched the careers of a ton of amazing creators, but what really won over TEEN Chris was the profanity, violence and nudity, aka things I wasn’t seeing in whatever Spider-Clone comic I was buying at the time. TEEN Chris did not have the best logic when it came to buy good comics back then folks, the Joe Kelly Deadpool run aside.

The current Image renaissance has given readers a plethora of wonderful comics, but none of their acclaimed titles really scratched that ultra violence Vertigo itch for me. Oh sure a lot of these titles are arguably better made comics (hi Saga), but sometimes you don’t want 169021_764322_4_1a deep, thought provoking comic. Sometimes you just want blood , profanity and a generous helping of profanity.

Thankfully, two creators who have some Vertigo experience under their belts finally published a book through Image that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The Goddamned is the first creator owned worked by superstar writer Jason Aaron and ultra-talented artist r.m. Guera since they wrapped up their acclaim run on Scalped. The Goddamned is a Conan meets The Old Testament type comic, in which Cain, the “man who invented murder” wanders a forsaken planet not unlike Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. It is a concept that is VERY MUCH my jam,and Jason Aaron should get an award of some sorts just for that bit about Cain inventing murder that I quoted.

The Goddamned is a bizarre high concept book that I was sold on immediately when it was announced this past summer at the Image Expo. It’s been some like 1600 or 1700  years since the fall of Eden, and Cain is forced to walk a truly evil earth as an immortal. This first issue gives us the basic premise, introduces Cain as a lone wolf badass, and gives us a TON of brutal fight scenes. While it’s an extremely violent book, Guera’s style never review-image-comics-the-goddamned-1_1really glorifies it, and the brutality never got to me thanks to his over the top, animated style. It’s very much in the spirit of Marvel’s old Conan the Barbarian comic, only with a hard R rating.

Jason Aaron’s dialogue would do Preacher-era Garth Ennis proud. There’s some choice dialogue that may offend any religious folk, but it absolutely delighted me. Aaron does not attempt to go with any sort of period accuracy for this book, which is fine, because this dude is at his best when he’s telling revenge stories with a violent lead. And I like how he doesn’t try to justify Cain’s past actions as any given point, which makes me wonder if the book will actually have a likable protagonist as any given point.

The Goddamned was a book I was very much hyped for, and it delivered on ever level. The art from r.m. Guera and colorist Giulia Brusco is ugly in the best ways, and Jason Aaron’s dialogue is Dirty Harry cranked up to 11. It’s the type of comic I missed reading, and final page is some Brian K Vaughan level of cliffhanger. If you don’t mind your comics on the violent side, pick up the Goddamned immediately.


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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #16

Wicked+Divine16_Digital-1The Wicked and the Divine #16

Kieron Gillen, Leila Del Duca, Mat Lopes

Image $3.99

Up until this issue, the guest artists attached to the last few issues of WicDiv were all relatively new to me. With issue 15, we get a art team I’m very familiar with, thanks to their excellent work on the Image series Shuttered. Having Leila Del Duca and Mat Lopes come on board to work on this comic is pretty exciting for me, especially when it involves 2 of my favorite characters. This month, the Morrigan and Baphomet are the focus of issue 15, giving us an origin issue that’s very much a (NONE MORE) goth romance story. It’s the perfect story for Del Duca and Lopes, who have plenty of experience in working with young adult characters, and it gives writer Kieron Gillen excuse to make references to LARPing and painting miniatures. It’s also home to by far the MOST Kieron Gillen pun to date, so all of you who’ve blocked/unfollowed Gillen on twitter, be warned.

WickedDivine16_PreviewPageMy love for  Shuttered aside, having Leila Del Duca and Mat Lopes draw and color this issue couldn’t haven been any more perfect. Del Duca’s style is softer, more animated than Jamie McKelvie’s, channeling Babs Tarr in a way while giving WicDiv a more grounded look. I love McKelvie’s art a ton, but it also seems that the dude is incapable of drawing unattractive people. Leila manages to make the demigods very human in their pre-awakened state, and gives the book a cool, indie film look. I’m also a fan of what she does with  the Morrigan and her various looks, resulting in some absolutely stunning imagery.  And Lopes’ manages to perfectly re-create the bright, futuristic colors that Matt Wilson established for us for the present day content, while toning it done and giving us more drab and bleak colors for the flashback material. The final product looks nothing like what the duo do for Shuttered, but is an spectacular looking comic none the less.

In terms of tone, this particular issue feels like a mash up of what Gillen did over on Young Avengers with a dash of Phonograms. It also reminds me of the excellent tumblr_nxoniddzFl1qbolnoo1_1280Becky Cloonan and Brian Woods maxi series Demo, which also focused on young lead characters with supernatural abilities. It’s as nerdy as it is clever, and actually way less soul crushing as the previous installments have been. By doing an origins issue, Kieron Gillen gets to show up as side of the Morrigan and Baphomet that we’ve never seen before. The pun dropping Baphomet ( aka the true face of devil Kieron Gillen) is given some much needed development this issue, making him a way more sympathetic character, and hinting that there’s more to been seen regarding his involvement in the murder of a demigod. Seeing him being a crappy youth with the Morrigan is a bit of treat for me, as I’m a fan of slice of life romance tales. Granted it’s a brief look, it’s a nice change of pace from the usual macabre, soul crushing theatrics we’ve seen as late. Also it’s nice to see him sneak another My Chemical Romance reference in one of his books.

The 3rd volume of Wicked Divine continues to be some fantastic comics. The book has benefited immensely from the done in one origin issues, which have fleshed out the cast while carefully moving the story forward. Having an artist like Lana Del Duca swing by and put her spin on these characters was a fantastic choice, and arguably my favorite guest artist on the book to date.


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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #1

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_2_1All New Hawkeye #1

Jef Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99


When I was reviewing the first volume of the Lemire/Perez Hawkeye run, there were several points where I felt bad for the creative team. I like both creators coming into the series, but they had the daunting task of following a run that I can honestly consider to be my favorite comic series to date. While I thought Perez was definitely a worthy successor to David Aja, I often found Jeff Lemire‘s scripts were too “safe”, reading more like fan fiction that then the next volume of one of Marvel‘s most acclaimed books. I know that’s a bit harsh, but I think the book was spinning it’s tires a bit, waiting for the previous incarnation of Hawkeye to wrap up, as well as Secret Wars. Also no, the irony that the later is still going on is not lost on me.

With that being said, the newest arc/volume of All New Hawkeye starts off on a much stronger foot. Making a Hawkeye book that ties-in closer to main Marvel U while maintaining its own identity is exactly what this run needed, as the book finally feels like it has some sort of direction. Granted I’m not exactly thrilled to see Team Hawkeye breaking up again so soon, the reasoning behind it is sound. And (spoilers?) having them reunite 20 years in the future is a neat plot hook, while expanding on the idea of Hawkeye as a legacy and a title.

Splitting the book between the present and the future not only helps the narrative, but it also allows artist Ramon Perez experiment with styles that result in some gorgeous art. The present art was always the strongest part of the visuals in volume 0 ( aka the fifth trade, because Marvel’s numbering system is dumb/complex), and I like how Perez is putting more of his own spin on the look established by Aja before him. And the sketchier, sharper and rougher art for the future scenes are rad as hell, and works better than the often muddled origin sequences in volume 0. Colorist Ian Herring experiments with his colors as well, maintaining a flat and bold look for the present, as well as some faux-70s inspire art for a panel or two. There’s also some really creative use of cover and lack there of to illustrate Clint’s hearing problems in the future  It’s great to see the artists experimenting like this, and it’s the best All New Hawkeye has looked to date.

What also helps the overall quality of this comic is Lemire’s dialgoue. While not quite reaching the heights of Fraction’s Hawkeye, the Clint and Kate interactions here feel much genuine and emotional then what Lemire has attempted before. Watching the Hawkeyes break up was painful in all the right ways, and made both characters feel incredibly sympathetic. I’m also a sucker for possible future story arcs, meaning Lemire’s future Clint and Kate stuff is right up my alley.

I was going to give up on this incarnation of Hawkeye, but after reading this new #1 I’m glad I did not. The creators feels much more confident and at home here, and the results make for a better comic. I’m hope Lemire, Perez and Herring can continue to maintain this level of quality, because this is arguably the most excited I’ve been for their run. If you weren’t feeling the current creative’s team take on the book, I urge you to give this issue a shot.


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Chris’ Comics: Uncanny X-men #600

UNCX2013600COVUncanny X-men #600

Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli, Mahmud Asrar, Stuart Immone, Kris Anka, Chris Bachalo, David Marquez, and Frazer Irving.

Marvel $5.99

If you want to know if Uncanny X-men is worth the $6, but also want a spoiler free review, then I’ll save you some time; it totally is. Granted it’s a tad pricey ( SIX BUCKS!!), the issue is well worth the money  if you are a fan of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ take on the X-men and want some closure from the last 3 years of X-comics.

If you want exact reasons as to why this book is worth your time, then I’ll give them to you, but beware, here lies spoilers.

The conclusion of the  long-running Revolution plot line in Uncanny X-men is brilliantly executed, as 2 long time creators says goodbye to one of Marvel’s most iconic franchises. Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo having Cyclops organizing a non-violent Million Mutant protest in Washington DC was a thing no one probably saw coming, and such an important moment for mainstream comics. Writers like Ryan North have been experimenting with non-violent methods to resolve super hero conflicts as of late, and it’s nice to see creators of this caliber follow suit. l. This may be the last issue of Uncanny X-men I’ll read after buying the book religiously for half a decade, so this relatively sweet moment made for a perfect ending of a run I’ve enjoyed for the most part.

1504366566587496519 That’s not to say the rest of the book isn’t brilliant. No, no, while the Bachalo and Bendis chapter is clearly my favorite, the rest of this comic is just as superb. Sara Pichelli kicks this issue off and tells a story that run  throughout the book, in which the X-men confront Beast about some of the reality-threatening nonsense he’s been pulling as of late. I love how diverse Pichelli’s X-Men look, especially the female characters, giving each X-Man a distinct look that most artists don’t consider that they draw them. It’s mostly talking head stuff, but the amount of emotion she gets from the character’s facial expressions is fantastic, and does and excellent job of selling Bendis’ dialogue. From there we have Kris Anka‘s , who pages are clean and sharp, making him a perfect fit for the comparatively light hearted story of reunion. Stuart Immonen‘s pages aren’t his best work, but it nice to see him come back to the All New X-men kids for a brief visit. which sets up the upcoming soft relaunch of the title. Mahmud Asrar‘s art is a tad uneven, but he manages to deliver on the anticipated Iceman sexuality story, making a a satisfying conclusion to that tale. I like how Bendis deals with Bobby coming out, giving it a bit of realistic edge. It’s far from perfect, uncannyxmen_600_pg15-x750but still really handled well, at least in my opinion. I feel bad about not discussing that segment more, but I feel there’s already enough said by people more qualified to. David Marquez swings by to help with the Beast confrontation and Frazier Irving wraps the issue up with some pages that are perfectly fine. But again, the biggest draw for me is  Bachalo’s final X-Men pages for the time being. Bachalo’s stuff is superb, cramming the pages with an army of mutants that he’s been associated with for the last few years.

Also worth nothing the inclusion of a old, I’m assuming rare solo Iceman story by Mary Jo Duffy and Georgr Perez. I’m not sure if it’s suppose to tie into the previously mentioned above Iceman tale, or just pad out the page count for this comic. Seeing Perez’s art is always welcomed though, and it’s a nice additional to the modern talents represented in this issue.

Uncanny X-Men 600 isn’t my favorite finale published this year, but it’s a strong ending to a pretty solid run of X-Men comics. Bendis gives the future creators plenty to work with, all while wrapping up his plot lines in a satisfying manner. Comics history should he kind to Bendis- he added a bunch of cool new toys to X-Men comics, touched upon some social commentary, and pulled off some Chris Claremont in his prime moments with a brilliant collection of amazing artists. I’ll be sad to see him go, and appreciate everything he’s done for Marvel’s mighty mutants.

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Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #2

PaperGirls_02-1Paper Girls #2

Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Image $2.99

It feels almost pointless to review a book drawn by Cliff Chang, written by Brian K Vaughan, and colored by Matthew Wilson these days. Given the collected works by these 3 creators have product throughout their comics careers, you know the book will be worth your time, and that this trio will bring their A-game to the table. To tell you that Paper Girls is easily worth the $3 should go without saying by now.

What I do want to talk about today is how good this book’s packaging and design is. Letterer Jared K. Fletcher handles the book’s design and it’s quite wonderful. Fletcher kicks the issue off with a phrase in the “alien” language that debuted in the last issue on a page that apparently is also a pull out poster. The book’s back matter, a letters column, and a survey that may or may not get the reader some cool swag and information in the future, is crafted as to match the 80s setting of the book. I love the creative’s team dedication to the single issue format, as if they want the readers to know they’re appreciated for supporting the book on a monthly basis. And I dig the fact that the 3 ads in the back of the issue are for the creator’s others projects, which is a cool way for any new readers to check out some other great comics by the creative team. Team Paper Girls is trying to build a strong community, and I applaud them trying to go about it in such an old school and traditional method.

tumblr_nxaxklv5Gr1s8erfco1_1280Let’s talk about the book’s visuals now. I really like what Cliff Chang and Matt Wilson are doing with the covers. They only use 2-3 colors, but use such an unusual palette that it’s bound to stick out on the shelves. It’s a bold strategy, but effective, and also iconic in a way. The first 2 issues of Paper Girls are designed in such a way that I want to frame them and display them like vinyl record, like some sort of comic book hipster. The interiors are unsurprisingly great. Chang does a fine job of keeping the characters looking period accurate without it ever going too deep into the nostalgia. He and Wilson also absolutely slay when it comes to the weirder elements introduced in this issue, furthering the mystery of what exactly is going on. There’s enough material to make some solid guesses with this small Cleveland suburb, but nothing that’s strong enough to confirm anything yet.

Paper Girls is an incredibly well crafted that can easily double for a celebration of the medium. Vaughan, Chang, Wilson and Fletcher are channeling Steven Spielberg with this book, but in an mature and self aware sort of way. It’s hard to explain, but the book does give off a vibe of 80s cinema, but not in cheesy, lust for the past sort of way. Paper Girls remains a stellar, creator driven comic that is up there with Saga as some of the finest comics being published today. It goes without saying that this book is worth reading immediately, despite the urge to wait for trade. In my opinion, it’s meant to be enjoyed issue by issues, especially with the sort of cliffhangers BKV comics are known for.




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Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 Signing Monday Night

Forbidden Planet fpnyc signing Joe Hill
Forbidden Planet NYC will be hosting a signing event with the editors and contributors of Best American Science Fiction 2015 on Monday November 11th at 7pm.

Joining previously announced guests Joe Hill and John Joseph Adams will be Jess Row, Carmen Maria Machado, and Seanan McGuire. The gig will kick off with a brief presentation/discussion followed by a book signing.

You are welcome to bring a few extra books to get autographed in addition to BASFF2015, but please keep the quantity within respectful limits (say, no more than five pieces at most). We will also have other books by these authors for sale.

UPDATE: 11/9/15 5:00pm EST. Please note that pre-orders for signed copies of this book are now closed. Thanks!

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Chris’ Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

SQGIRL2015B001_CoverThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

DID YOU KNOW: You can prevent me from being disappointed by your book’s lack of CAT THOR by coming up with a food court filled with establishments that have hilarious super-hero related names.?! Keep that in mind all you non- Ryan North and Erica Henderson creators out there!


Now that Secret Wars is over, ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT MARVEL has started, books that were on hiatus are back, and that’s great for anyone who was enjoying Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (AKA me). The book is back, and not much has changed, which is fine, because nothing was broken to begin with. Well that’s not exactly true, as our hero is now an Avenger (see here and here), which means she has a sweet teleporter which I’m sure will lead to hilarious mishaps sooner rather than later.  Oh and North and Henderson have used the editorial mandated 8 month gap to make Doreen Green a 2nd year college student, and move in her cat enthusiast BFF Nancy Whitehead, which is a nice way to please both the powers that be and fans of the book who don’t care about big event comics.

tumblr_nwxjdvM1A31qetjcco1_1280Those changes aside, it’s business as usual, and the business of kicking butts and eating nuts is booming. Ryan North is still writing genius scripts, and this month gives us such gems as a super obscure robots villain, more fun with computer science,  and the introduction of Squirrel Girl’s mom Maureen Green. Maureen (which rhythms with Dorren!) is a super likable character from the get go, and a bit of a rarity; she’s a mother well aware of her daughter’s life, is a fan of her life choices, loves her new bestie,  OH AND IS ACTUALLY ALIVE AND PROBABLY NOT IN DANGER OF GETTING KILLED OFF ANYTIME SOON. All of it is refreshing, and handled with the level of excellence-meet-insanity North has been known for from this series.


Equally as rad is the art team of Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi. While Henderson’s work on this title has always been solid, this issue feels clean and more expressive than previous ones. What she does with her character’s body language is superb, and the range of emotions she can put into the cast’s acting is impressive. Also she’s definitely on North’s level when it comes to making the book funny, as she inserts a number of gags all 4throughout the book. And the new costume she gives Squirrel Girl is super adorable, and I’m excited to see who cosplays it first next year. Colorist Rico Renzi colors are fantastic, starting the issues off with a cool moody intro that plays off the intensity of the flames quite well, and then switches it up for a bright, animated look for the rest of the book. I dig it, as it set the moods from ultra-heroics to slapstick humor well, and pairs well with Henderson’s pencils and inks.

With great cartoon-esque visuals and some really fun and intelligent writing, Unbreakable Squirrel’s second #1 of the year is as great as the one we got back in January. It’s a delightful romp that joins Ms Marvel as a book that truly feels like an all ages book without looking down the young readers. I’m glad it’s stuck around for this long, and kept it’s killer creative team, and I hope they have the chance to continue telling these types of stories.

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