Category: Christopher Troy

Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Mall Rabbit edition

Happy Day Before Left Over Easter Candy Goes on sale, FPNYC Faithful! May you not be struck with the diabetes until you deem your own life meaningless.

Jesus Christ, that was a dark intro.

Anywho, Awesomecon & Wondercon are currently going down in Washington DC and Somewhere, CA, and I’m just tired looking at other people’s photos. I am getting old, and am  possibly still winded from PAX East. I suggest that you never get old dear reader, it is the worst.

Happy Fun Comics Review Time:

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_20Uncanny X-men #20

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Towsend and others.

Marvel, $3.99

Let’s start this discussion by pointing out how sharp that cover it!  Oh sure it’s vaguely reminiscent of 3 Marvel Universe hand guide images overlapping each other, but it’s simplistic enough to work. Good job by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend on it.

The interior is also pretty great. After a false start, the X-Men vs SHEILD throw down we’ve been promised begins, with Scott Summers and friends firing off the first few rounds. The “renegade” X-Men finally begin to live up to their rep, but not in a way that makes them undesirable leads (Unless you’re one of those weirdos who’ve never liked Cyke, shame on you).

And props to Brian Michael Bendis for being able to juggle so many plot lines in this issue without it becoming overbearing.  Seeds planted from earlier arc begins to blossom, and hopefully this is the arc where we finally get some answers.

I was kind of worried that the hot streak that Uncanny X-men has been one would come to an end once a multi-chapter arc started up, but I am happy to report that my concerns were for naught (so far). Chris Bachalo and his team of inkers continue to provide excellent art, much to the surprise of no one. And Bendis’ scripts continue to be the perfect blend of humor, action and drama. Ending this book on a Saga-worthy cliffhanger only makes this issue of Uncanny X-men more of a can’t miss, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Cyclops and the others next month.

 

portrait_incredible (2)Ms. Marvel #3

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel, $2.99

Years of sub par events and multi-chapter storylines have left me burnt out on decompressed comics for the most parts. Especially when it comes to origins stories that could be told in 1 or 2 chapters. But like Bendis, Bagely and Ultimate Spider-Man before them, Team Ms Marvel continues to deliver with the 3rd chapter of this 5 part  origin story.

 

There’s a lot of similar story beats between Spider-Man and Ms Marvel, and I mean that in the best sort of way. G. Willow Wilson and  Adrian Alphona are doing an excellent job building up both Kamala Khan and the world around her. They’ve realized that giving the new Ms. Marvel a good supporting cast and dynamic locale to operate in is crucial to good story telling, and Ian Harring‘s color art make it a vibrant setting . Much like Manhattan and Spidey, Jersey City and Ms Marvel compliment each other, and the comic is stronger because of it.

The incredibly diverse supporting cast consisting of Kamala’s family, friends and peers is not unlike Spidey’s various colleagues, but are very much their own characters. They come across as fresh faces, opposed being the archetype that Stan Lee & Steve Dikto established back when they redefined super hero comics in the early 60s.

With Kelly Sue Deconnick doing wonderful things with Carol Danvers over the last few years, it seemed difficult to think Marvel would be able to strike oil twice with characters titled Ms Marvel. But after 3 issues, it seems that team Ms Marvel are willing to defy everyone’s expectations, possibly surpassing the book it spun out of it. Which is great for both the creators and readers in the end.

 

All-New_Ultimates_1_Nakayama_Cover-600x899All New Ultimates #1

Michel Fiffe, Amilca Pinna, Nolan Woodward

Marvel $3.99

With the ol’ pull list looking a little thin over the new few weeks ( all my Image books are on hiatus, Hawkeye’s been delayed a month), I decided to revisit the Ultimate Universe this week. I haven’t purchased a Ultimate title in forever ( I have been following Miles over in USM via the Marvel Digital Unlimited thingie though), but when I heard Michel Fiffe of COPRA fame was penning an Ultimates relaunch, I was more than willing to give this book a shot.

 

Fefe, along with Amilcar Pinna and Nolan Woodard don’t do anything ground breaking with their debut issue, but there’s a ton of interesting ideas and concepts dropped within 20 pages. For example, there’s exactly 0 white dudes on this team, which says a lot, given how Caucasian heavy the 616 Avengers roster issue is. And the Ultimatization of several more obscure Dwayne McDuffie/Mark Gruenwald -created characters is welcomed, as there’s some potential for cool things to be done with them.

The surprisingly dense script is accompanied by some good visuals. Pinna’s art’s good for the most part, but there’s some off-looking panels here and there (like the 2 pages Kitty Pryde shows up on). Fortunately, Nolan Woodard’s colors are exceptionally strong and do a lot for the penciled and ink art. It’s very neon for a lack of better word, but not in a 80s revival way, and works for the “Warriors meets Taiyo Matsumoto” vibe Fife is going for.

Minor art issues aside, I really dug this book. While I’m not expecting the 2nd coming of COPRA or anything, I have high hopes for this series, and am excited to see what the creators have in store.

 

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics SPRINGGGGGG!

Oh sure, it’s super grey outside at the moment, but spring is finally here! It’s in the 40s, the cat is growling at birds it can’t get at and I get to be mad at the Yankees in real time in 2 days. I’ll gladly take subpar baseball over snow any day.

Before we get into comics, let me state that the first Rat Queens collection dropped this past week, and it is excellent. I usually try to stay on top of new Image debuts, but this one missed my radar somehow. So I dropped the $10 and bought the first trade and am more than pleased with it. I’ll try to do a proper review during the week, but this book is buy on site great.

OTHER BOOKS WHAT SHIPPED THAT YOU MAY LIKE:

Empowered Special #6

Furious #3

Might MGMT #20

Tomb Raider #2

Adventures of Superman #11

Aquaman #29

Sandman Overture #2

Wake #7

Legends of Red Sonja #5

Rocky and Bullwinkle #1

Deadly Class #3

Fatale #21

Sex #12

Walking Dead #124

All New Ghost Rider #12

Amazing X-men #5

Deadpool #26

Superior Spider-Man #30

Bravest Warriors #18

Hacktivist #3

 

REVIEWS

portrait_incredibleAll New X-men 24/Guardian of the Galaxy 13

Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Sara Pichelli/David Marquez

Marvel $3.99

Note- All New X-men 24 shipped 2 weeks ago.

Despite my problems with the earlier chapters of this crossover, the final 2 chapters of “The Trial of Jean Grey” were very much what I wanted from this event. Heavy on the action, some genuinely excellent interactions between the 2 casts and amazing visuals by Immonen, Pichelli and Marquez make this the type of crossover I wanted to read.

That being said, this mini-event still has some problems. The announcement of the new young Cyclops on-going series really spoils the impact of the last 3 pages, which is a shame. Also despite this being a crossover, it really felt more like an X-event guest starring the Guardians. Maybe something from this event will affect this title more down the road, but chances are I won’t be reading GoTG to see it play out. And truth be told, this could have done in 4 issues, opposed to 6.

The Trial of Jean Grey wasn’t the worst thing I read in recent history, but All New X-men really tired from back to back crossovers. There’s been more than enough new ideas and concepts introduced in this book that need to be fleshed out more. Hopefully with the next few issues can get the book back to being as good as it was when it first debuted, otherwise I’m dropping it.

avengers_assemble__25_by_zurdom-d71ie6xAvengers Assemble 25

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Neil Edwards/ Raffaele Ienco

Marvel $3.99

Nothing detracts from one’s enjoyment of a comics more than bad art, which brings us to the final issue of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Avengers Assemble run. It’s a shame, because the script and dialogue written by KSD and Warren Ellis is fun, clever, and puts a nice little bow on this run. Sadly, it’s ruined by 3 different artists, who are very different stylistically. The usually relibale Matteo Buffagni’s pencils look rush and overly-simplistic, as does Neil Edwards, who’s Bryan Hitch-esque art couldn’t be any more different than Matteo’s. Raffaele Ienco‘s art is easily the best, but he only draws the final 2 pages. A shame, as DeConnick and Ellis deserved better for their final issue.

 

1000093043Hawkeye 18

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99

Well that escalated quickly!

Kate Bishop’s California adventure has taken a turn for the worse in issue 18, as we finally learn more about the mysterious cat food man.  It’s a brutal issue, as Annie Wu really steps up her visual game. Her art on this book has been nothing short of great, but Wu really out does herself in this issue, especially in the facial expression area.

Aside from looking great, Hawkguy 18 touches upon some seed planted earlier in the book, as the story arc becomes full circle. Once again, Kate finds herself in scenario that’s entirely on her, which was the type of thing she left NYC to avoid. Seeing her Clint Barton-free life parallel Clint’s  has been really funny so far, but that red in their collected ledgers (GET IT, IT’S AN AVENGERS REFERENCES!) is beginning to cost people their lives. It’s fun to see Matt Fraction bring everything full circle, in what will probably result in one hell of a showdown in a few issues.

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Troy’s Toy, but with Comics: So much Marvel (Belated edition)

Without going into details, life happened. Here’s some reviews:

300px-Secret_Avengers_Vol_3_1Secret Avengers #1

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matt Wilson

Marvel, $3.99

Real talk, I had trouble choosing between covers. Tradd Moore’s was awesome, but Katie Cook’s Avengers Ducks was the cutest thing to ever cute, and it had a M.O.D.O.Duck! I would gladly spend $4 a month reading about Secret Avenger Ducks, please take note Marvel.

I picked this book up for 2 reasons. The first one being my wife REALLY like Spider-Woman, and this appears to be the book to read about J-Drew  with Avengers Assemble wrapping up this month. The 2nd being when the preview pages dropped, this incarnation of the book looked VERY much influenced by the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye book, a title we all know I love.

In the letters section, writer Ales Clot says this is “Michael Bay directs an episode of Breaking Bad as it meets Arrested Development. and it’s full of spies and super heroes.”. And it literally is, (I guess makes it Agents of SHIELD meet Archer), as 4 different stories are interwoven into one narrative. And it works. It’s a fun, slighty-violent read illustrated wonderfully by Michael Walsh. Walsh reminds me a lot of David Aja & Michael Lark (Daredevil, Gotham Central), and is a perfect fit for this title.

I was really excited for this book to drop, and after reading it, I’m happy to say it surpassed my expectations. Fans of Agents of SHIELD, Hawkeye, Avengers Assemble and the new Black Widow series need to get on this title sooner rather than later.

hawkeye17cvrHawkeye #17

Matt Fraction, Chris Eliopoulous, David Aja, Jordie Bellaire

Marvel $2.99

After the crazy cliffhanger dropped in issue 15, the belated issue 17 (let’s not forget 16 shipped before 15!) is an holiday issue. In March. I’d complain, but  Chris Eliopoulous, the series letter, steps up on art duties to tell the tale (OR SHOULD I SAY..TAIL? HM HM HMMM!) of the Winter Friends. And you know what? Like every issue it’s fantastic. Eliopoulous is a amazing artist, and this fun little story has get twist to it, so who cares if it’s Christmas in March right? Also holy crap, look at that cover, it is sweet, also tight. Again, you should be reading this book, and if you’re not, it’s your lose. Also I’m judging you. More so than usual.

Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_TextlessCaptain Marvel #1

Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, Lee Loughridge

Marvel, $3.99

Don’t call it a comeback. No seriously, we’ve only been Captain Marvel less since November, and she’s been in a number of Avenger titles since then. It wasn’t that painful y’all.

But the 2nd volume of Captain Marvel makes an impressive debut. By now, no one’s questioning Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ability to craft a great story with Carol Danvers. She’s arguably the best thing to happen to the character since Chris Claremont brushed her off from some questionable decisions back in the 80s.

David Lopez however, is the Captain Marvel artist we deserve. While there was some serious talent involved in volume 1, the final page of this issue is some next level stuff It’s a great looking book, and sets up the new status quo for Cap Marvel quite nicely. It’s a good jumping on point for new readers, and it justifies a new #1 for returning readers. Between this and the newly launched Ms. Marvel , it’s refreshing to see some great female writers produce fantastic comics, and that Marvel is recognizing that there’s an audience for these stories.

portrait_incredibleSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #9

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $2.99

This is the issues where Boomerang and the Shocker both scheme and attempt to improve their lives. But these guys are super villains, so things do not go according to plan If that’s not worth  your $3, I have no idea what to tell you. Marvel’s best book you’re probably not reading continues to be the best book you’re probably not reading, and I really wish you were. There’s some genuine moments of badassery never seen before in this book, as well as some really strong comedy stuff with amazing timing. This team is so in synch it’s not even funny, only okay, the book is hilarious, never mind that.  The first volume is out in trade, so get on it, get caught up, and buy this comic. Unless you hate good comics. If so, let me tell you what’s going on in “Forever Evil“….

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Shots fired

A few days ago, Image Publisher Eric Stephens more or less called out the greater comics publisher community for reasons I don’t and do agree with. Said speech went down at retailer’s meeting ComicsPRO, and the full details can be seen here.

I agree with Stephens that $5-$8 comics are not the future of the industry. Put those comments regarding licensed books is kind of dickish, especially with the quality of the KaBOOM Cartoon Network books. It’s definitely worth a read though, and again, while I don’t agree with everything Stephens says, he does raise a lot of good points.

QUICK PICKS!

Furious #2

Mind MGMT #19

Tomb Raider #1

Aquaman #28

Lois Lane #1

Wake #6


Black Science #4

Chew #4

Deadly Class #2

Rat Queens #6

Walking Dead #122

Deadpool #24

Mighty Avengers #7

Thunderbolts #22

Uncanny Avengers #17

Wolverine and the X-Men #42

REVIEWS!

 

aa26Avengers Assemble #24

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Warren Ellis/ Matteo Buffangi/ Ruth Redmond

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Matteo Buffangi I want to love you, but you gotta stop drawing Hawkeye with those James Worthy-esque goggles. Or start drawing him riding a snowboard every time he’s on panel. (( Call me Marvel, I have ideas! ))

My nitpicking aside, it’s another fun issue of Spider-Girl teams up with an Avengers. Having Warren Ellis and Kelly Sue Deconnick writing Iron Man is the closest we’ve seen a Robert Downey Jr-esque Iron Man on page for awhile, which I imagine is what a LOT of people want when it comes from the character. And him teaming with Spider-Girl is a fun  follow up to the previous’ issue Wolverine team up. It’s a fun, bright and good looking (sans Hawkgoggles) Avengers book that ramps things up for the book’s end next issue. I’m going to be sad to see it go, as the Ellis/KSD/Buffangi/Redmond team have turned AA into extremely satisfying must-read every month.

JUL130649_mHawkeye #15

Matt Fraction/ David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth/Chris Elliopoulous

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Oh god everything hurts and nothing will be okay ever again.

It’s been entirely way too long since we’ve seen the Matt Fraction/ David Aja team on Hawkeye. So while I’m glad to see them back, the ending of this book has me cureled up in a corner weeping. And it’s not a quality thing. Oh no, far from it.

Why I complained about the delays in the book, it’s easy to see why it takes a little longer to come out, and the end result is worth it. The majority of the pages are crammed with perfectly crafted art, enhanced with Matt Hollingsworth’s colors and Chris Ellipoulos‘ word balloons. There’s even so great used of the white between panels. This book works even without Fraction delightful dialogue, and you can easily follow the story without paying attention to the dialogue.

Also, much like Fuse #1, the cover in so well designed and clever that you’ll appreciate it much more once you read the issue.

It’s a brutal issue of Hawkguy, as the brothers Barton learn what the say about good intentions. And the cliffhanger comes with a price , because I don’t think we’re getting any more of Clint’s story until May at the earliest. So yeah, brb, running into the ocean.

gargal2013012dc11jpg-9dbc3f_960wGuardians of the Galaxy #12

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Picehlli/Stuart Immonen/ Wade Grawadger/Justin Ponsor

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Once again, I find myself torn with this crossover. Bendis’ dialogue is not at it’s best, and why there’s some solid pieces here and there, overall it’s fairly average. But visually. Damn, just damn

Sara Pichelli delivers when it comes to several highly emotional scene in this issue. It’s a dialogue heavy issue, with a few powerful moments that Pichelli draws beautifully. Justin Ponsor‘s color definitely deliver, especially when the book shifts from deep space to the Shi’iar home planet.

And while Pichelli not being able to draw the entire book irks me a tad, having Stuart Immonen pitch in is more than fine. He and Von Grawbadger are handling the art for the X-Men side of things anyway, so it works, especially given how talented they are.

These crossover is getting better, so hopefully the last 2 chapters deliver. Bendis has two amazing art team working with him, so hopefully his scripts will perform as well as Sara and Stuart are.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, only with Comics: Deviants and Devils

sketch1363126429539THIS WEEK IN RANT: I really wish FOX (and to a lesser extent Sony) would stop riding the coattails of Marvel Studios whenever they announced something. I’m sure we’re all excited about that new Guardians of the Galaxy (starring Bert Macklin, Agent of S.P.A.C.E.!) trailer, and man, FOX has no business releasing that Fantastic Four casting announcing (I‘m cool with the new Human Torch BTW, but the rest of that cast? Ehhhh, not so much. Just like the old, also awful, F4 movies! ). Nor did Sony, attempting to get some attention with  revealing the new Harry Osborn Goblin ( Sony’s now 0-2 in the department by the way). At this point, studious need to get on Disney/Marvel’s level , or just the rights go back to them. (Art Source: Dunno, Googled)

BOOKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:

Strain the Fall #8

Animal Man #28

Justice League #28

Wonder Woman #28

Fables #138

Bad Ass #2

Undertow #1

Amazing X-Men #4

Marvel Knights Hulk #3

Adventure Time #25

Quantum & Woody #8

 

REVIEWS:

uxm17Uncanny X-men #17

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

DID YOU KNOW: There are 2 snow-themed covered X-men theme books this week! Both are really neat, and house some really awesome comics instead of them , but I only bought Uncanny X-men, so you’re gonna have to deal with me talking about that today. Unnecessary intro over.

What I like about Uncanny’s  penciler/colorist Chris Bachalo is that he’s always evolving as an artist and not afraid to try something new with his art. This issue of UXM has the majority of the pages of the panel drawn diagonal, occasionally bleeding into the accompanying pages. Aside from looking great (thanks to the help of  3 inkers), it helps express the sense of confusion and panic the X-kids are giving off, which makes a ton of sense with the scenario they’re currently facing.

And props for Bendis, Bachalo and company for setting this book in an relativity new environment seldom used in the Marvel Universe. The plot is nothing new for an X-Men book, but new characters in a newish environment makes it really fresh, and for a fun read, especially for those of us who read the previous volume of Uncanny X-men. Bachalo really goes above and beyond with the background colors of this book, helping to hammer across the alien feel and look of the environment.

A fun read with a new mystery introduced and the possibility of a cast member leaving the book for the foreseeable future, Uncanny has really surpassed All New in terms of quality. It’s another done in one that has me really pleased with the direction this book has taken as of late.

3592047-daredevil_36_coverDaredevil #36

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Page six of the final issue of the third volume of Daredevil may be my favorite page of the year. Oh sure we’re only in February, but Chris Samnee gives me things I didn’t know I wanted, and now am a little sad that I probably won’t be getting again anytime soon.

For the most part, this is another great issue of Daredevil. It looks great, has some clever bits in it, wraps up most of the remaining plot lines of volume 3 and sets things up nicely for the 4th volume of Daredevil (with the same creative team, no worries there.). This status quo is really changed for ol’ Hornhead, and if anyone can pull off what’s in store for DD, it’s Waid, Samnee, and Rodriguez.

I do have a problem with how easily everything was wrapped up with Daredevil’s current opponents though. The 5 page fight scene, while looking great, seems a bit rush from a narrative stand point. I would have preferred the book taking a month off if it meant this book had a few extra pages to work with.

That being said, it’s a solid ending to the 3rd volume of this series. Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodriguez and a few other creative-type folks have been telling some fantastic stories over the past 2 years, and I’m really excited too see what they’ll be doing come volume 4 (even though it’s going to cost a dollar more to do so).

 

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics: Down Set Fuse

I am entirely too proud of that title.

the-fuse-01web-The Fuse

Antony Johnston/Justin Greenwood/Shari Chankhamma/Ed Brisson

Image/$3.50/ 30 pages

Weekly Chris Confession: I had every intention to skip over “The Fuse” this week, figuring I could trade wait it if it was ant good. But then the Twitter buzz for this book hit crazy levels, and I like Antony Johnston’s “Wasteland” series a ton, so I figured there was no harm in picking up the first issue at the very least.

Needless to say, I was very pleased with that decision.

First thing first: That cover. Simplistic, bold and VERY clever once you read the issue and figure out what it signifies. “Smart” is arguably the best way to describe this book;  a murder mystery set on a space station is a cool premise, and the actual execution is brilliant. It’s a good book, full of potential, and it reminds me a lot of “Powers” when that first came into the scene. So your typical Image debut issue in a way.

My only beef with this debut is the art. For the most part it’s pretty good, a more animated version of Sean Murphy’s art. It’s intentionally “ugly” which works for a crime book, and a lot of environments and character expressions are good,  but it’s disappointing when the scale and anatomy are off, or when things like eyebrows aren’t colored or inked properly or at all. Certain panels and pages look rushed at times, which really took me out of the story when I read it.

If you told me that “The Fuse” was originally published in 2000 AD or something, I would have believed it. Johnston states it’s an influence in the book’s final pages and it shows. My issues with the art aside, it’s a good debut, I’m just been spoiled by a ton of amazing #1s from Image over the last 2 years. Your mileage may vary,  and it’s a good read, but I’m going to the trade route with it.

3581036-all_new_x-men_23_keown_variantAll New X-Men

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

For all of my problems with this crossover, I could deal with Stuart Immonen drawing the Shi’ar-related characters 5-EVER!

Part 3 of this crossover is here, and it’s kinda cliche. Now that our heroes are united, they’re attacked by their common foe, and something that’s been explained to us repeatedly is now explained to Jean Grey. It feels lazy and drawn out, despite it being really good looking. And prop’s to colorist Marte Gracia, the book’s colors look darker than usual, which makes a ton of sense given the fact that it’s in space and all that. It goes really well with the tone and the setting of the book, and it only does the pencil and ink art justice.

And to be book’s credit, the ending tosses in a neat twist (one that was immediately spoiled for me by the announcement of a new book debuting in May). And there are some good humorous bits in it too, but the character’s voices all lack variety. A familiar frustration that comes with Bendis-penned comics as time and feels super decompressed, something that could be resolved in 2 or 3 issues and not five. And like I said, a bunch of questions promised to be resolved at another time or in another book, it only adds insult to injury. We’ve seen better on this book, which is already suffering from crossover fatigue. We deserve better as readers.

Sorry for being a little late this week, holiday weekend and all that. I still have Oni Press’ “Down. Set. Fight” to read, and Toy Fair news to deal with. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on everything later this week though!

-The super behind schedule Chris Troy writes for Forbidden Planet on a weekly basis, and can be found on a variety of social media related thiniges @theanarchris

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Rumor has it.

The new hotness in comic book movies journalism is click baiting via casting rumors without any sort of source. Granted it’s nothing really new, late 2013/earl 2014 has already made me sick of it thanks to “OMG THE ROCK SAID SOMETHING ABOUT GREEN LANTERN IN A HASH TAG” or “YEAH MISS MARVEL’S TOTES GONNA BE IN AVENGERS 2, TRUST US, DESPITE US BEING WRONG ABOUT THESE SORT OF THINGS MOST OF THE TIME!”

(( Yes I too find this a tad hypercritical coming from the guy who’s written for Bleeding Cool. But at least that site’s track record is pretty good)).

Back on topic, if it’s not on Variety, Entertainment Weekly or any site of that nature and pedigree, chances are it’s fake. Believe it or not, Batmans-news-movie-geeks.com is probably not your best best for valid movie news, nor is any site, that doesn’t think Marvel’s going to call Carol Danvers Captain Marvel when she makes her debut. //rant over

Here’s some quality picks that dropped this week:

Baltimore Chapter of Bones #2

Lobster Johnson Get the Lobster #1

Action Comics #28

Batman Black and White #6

Trillium #6

Turok Dinosaur Hunter #1

Lazarus #6

Loki Agent of Asgard #1

Punisher #1

Fox #4

Regular Show #9

Archer & Armstrong #0.2014

Reviews:

comics-ms-marvel-1Ms Marvel #1

G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Yeah,  this is very much the comic I was referring to last week when I called it “The most important release by the Big 2 in 2014″

Not to get all SOCIAL JUSTICE BLOGGER on y’all, but while Marvel’s definitely doing better at getting more female lead titles out there, they ( as well as a lot of companies) could be doing better with book by female creators, and with minority leads. So Ms. Marvel fits that demand. Now the question remains, is said comics any good?

Of course it is, don’t be stupid, did you see who’s attached to this title?!

tumblr_n0jho2DAJO1s4k95yo1_500G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona were not the names I was expecting to hear when the book was formerly announced, but I’m glad it’s them. Wilson, who you may remember from Vertigo’sAir“, is a great female comics writer who should have been given a book of this caliber and hype years ago if there was any SOCIAL JUSTICE in this world (#sorrynotsorr). She’s a proven talent, as is Alphona, who you SHOULD know from his amazing run on Marvel’s Runaways with Brain K Vaughn. No it’s no surprise that they deliver with this more-than-solid-debut.

Granted the teenager getting super powers story has been told over and over again, going back to a nerd getting bit by a spider, there’s enough fresh ideas tossed into this story to make it work. Wilson does an excellent fleshing out young Kamala Khan in a debut story that does an excellent job of showing off Muslim Culture without pandering or being too preachy. Alphona’s, with Ian Herring’s colors, art is also great. It’s bright, clean, and while it doesn’t stylistically look like your traditional Marvel book, continues that theme of nontraditional  art in a Marvel Super Hero, like Hawkeye before it.

There’s no reason not to but this book honestly. It’s fun, and it introduces another cool toy in Marvel’s already massive and awesome toy box. It’s also a nice warm up for fan waiting for Carol Danver’s return next month in Captain Marvel volume 2. I wish nothing but the best for the book, and am eagerly looking forward to issue 2 already.

Also rest in peace Rainbow Toots (2014-2014). We hardly knew ye.

 

background (1)Superior Foes of Spider-Man #8

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

I never thought I’d laugh that hard at a “Thanks Obama” joke in 2014 (this is probably a lie btw), but #SUPFOES, has gone and proven me wrong. Also I will now refer to this book as #SUPFOES because that is easier to type than 4 words (Thank you based Nick Spencer).

Steve Lieber returns to  the book after taking an issue off and everything is okay. Well in terms of quality of the book, not so much for the actual members of the Sinister Six.  But Lieber’s panel work is fantastic, especially in the early pages of the issue, crammed with all sort of fun visual gags and great art.

3623026-the+superior+foes+of+spider-man+008+(2014)+(digital)+(darkness-empire)+004Spencer and Lieber have the Six in an odd situation and it’s great. 3 of the members want 1 of the them dead. Said one of is celebrating the biggest success in his recent history, and one of them is dealing with…..well it’s Shocker and hilarious, I’ll leave it at that. The issue is great, and the ending is crazy, especially if you’ve been keeping up what with’s going on in Daredevil.

There’s a rumor (UGH) floating around that #SUPFOES is ending at issue 15 based on an Amazon listing (again, Bleeding Cool so it’s a little more believable). Nick Spencer has stated on Twitter that this book has always skated the thin line between hit and cancelled. Either way, there’s plenty of time to “Save” this book, which you should be reading because IT IS GREAT, which I’ll continue to say until it stops being be. Which is hopefully a few year from now.

 

Chris Troy, local boomerang enthuiast, writes weekly for Forbidden Planet NYC, and can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr @theanarchris

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Cats on Cats Baby

Upon writing cats on cats I realize that there’s several ways in which that can be taken.

Whelp, Imma keep it, because I hope people’s mind won’t go directly to the gutter (HAH!) and more importantly, I’m lazy. So fingers crossed

With that out of the way, I’m going to change the format up a bit this week, as this is 2014, and that sounds like a thing you should do in a semi-new year. Aside from the 2-4 books I usually review (4 this week!), I’ll name drop/highlight a few other books of note you may want to check out every week  because….reasons?

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES THIS WEEK:

Furious #1, Dredd: Underbelly #1, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1, Adventures of Superman #9, Batman and Robin Annual #2, Fables #137, Bad Ass #1, Black Science #3, Five Weapons #6, Invincible #108, Inhumanity #2, Uncanny Avengers #16, Uber #9, WWE SuperStars #2

REVIEWS:

kaboom_bravest_warriors_annual_001_bBravest Warriors: CATBUG 2014 Annual #1

Kate Leth/Coleman/Monica Ray/Sloane Leong

KaBOOM Studios/$4.99/30 pages

 

As someone who’s a big fan of Cartoon Hangover’s Bravest Warrior, as well as the comics coming out of KaBOOM Studios’, the Catbug Annual was a no-brainer for me. The breakout star of the hit Youtube series is very appealing to me(Yes, of course I own a Catbug t-shirt), and seeing a bunch of awesome indie creators craft tales starring Catbug is a good way to me to give someone $5.

Kate Leth, a KaBOOM & Comics Alliance regular, leads the annual off with a cute 8 page 879fa9244676f0e419af12c64dda780estory that has said Bug that is also a Cat covering the alpahabet. Sloanne Leong also puts a Catbug twist on a familiar story, and her slightly off-model take on the cast works for me. Coleman Engle‘s story is a tad weak compared to the other stories in the annual, but the art reeks of charm, and the colors are fantastic, so it’s all good. Monica Ray‘s story really captures the feel and the look of the show the best, mixing the type of cute and horror you expect from Bravest Warriors. I dug it a ton.

My only beef with this annual is the price point, as it’s not even a double sized issue for $5. Then again I am old, and remember that $5 use to get you a lot more comic for that price. Regardless of my old man problem, the Catbug Annual is a delight for all age reader/fans of the show, and I urge you to buy the hell out of it.

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol_3_11.NOW_TextlessGuardian of the Galaxy #11.NOW

Brian Micahel Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Justin Ponder

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

As someone who was a big fan of the DnA-era Cosmic Marvel, I’ve accepted that  Brian Michael Bendis‘ take on cosmic Marvel is a different beast. And seeing how I’m really digging Bendis’ take on the X-titles he’s writing, I went into the 2nd chapter (the cover says part 1 for some reason) of the Trial of Jean Grey with an open mind.

Sadly, the book is kind of a mess on the narrative side of things. Bendis attempts to play catch up with any potential new readers who’ve come over from the X-neighborhood (S’up), while progressing the story he’s been telling for nearly a year now. Sadly that’s a lot to cover in 20 pages, and it doesn’t mesh as well as it should in the end. Which is a problem with crossovers and event-tie ins, something BOTH titles are coming from.

Luckily for everyone, Sara Pichelli is on art duties, so the book looks fantastic. And with the introduction/catch up done, hopefully the next installment on the GOTG side of things will be an improvement. But if you’re like me and not a completionist/ buying Guardians on the regular, you can skip this issue.

marvel-avengers-assemble-issue-23inh Avengers Assemble #23.INH

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffangi/Nolan Woodward

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

I could read snarky Avengers team up forever Marvel, please take note.

Spider-Girl’s quest continues on this month, this time seeing her teamed her up the the omni-present Wolverine. Ol’ Bubsnikt is at his best when he’s cranky and forced to team up with teenagers (See: The last 40 years of X-men comics), and with KSD and Warren Ellis on writing duties, it’s no surprise how much this book is as drenched is banter and snark. It’s a solid and dense read, and Matteo Buffangi & Nolan Woodward do a fine job on art duties (with no assists this month, yay), providing slick, fluid, and bright visuals. It’s a shame that the book is ending in March, as it’s been a delightful read post-Infinity.

Saga-18Saga #18

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

Maybe you’re not hip to Tumblr. Maybe the term “Feels” is foreign to you. Allow me to help! “Feels” is shorthand for “Feelings”  that you may get from a comic, video game, or overrated niche genre show (#shotsfired). With that being said, I now fully expect everyone to know what I mean when I say Saga #18 had me DROWNING in feels.

The final chapter of what will make up the 3rd volume of Saga is flawless. It’s rare for me to actually choke up in response to the contents of a comic book (Grant Morrison writing Superman aside), but there were several moments in this book that gave me the wibbles. It’s a beatiful book, and THE comic to be ready right now. Several plotlines are resolved, 2 characters fates are revealed, and there are confrontations and answers a plenty. Both Vaughan and Staples are on top of their respective games, and it’s hard to imagine this book being as good as it is with any other creators involved.

The only downside to Saga is that we’re not getting another issue until probably May, which is brutal, given how this book ends. But at least it’s a clean break, and has me excited for the future.

That wraps up this week. Next week, THE most important mainstream comic of 2014 drops, and Steve Lieber returns to Superior Foes of Spider-Man. GET HYPED, ALSO GO HAWKS!

-Chris Troy writes weekly for Forbidden Planet NYC, and can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr @theanarchris

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics 1/22/14 edition

So we’re all on board for killing the winter/the snow yes? Because we need to.

hawkeye16658Hawkeye #16

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Hawkeye‘s back this week! Sorta….David Aja still needed time to finish up issue #15, so we’re jumping ahead to #16 for another Kate Bishop adventure, which I’m of 2 minds about.

Kate’s new status quo in the book leads to another fun done and one, which sees Lady Hawkguy dealing with a pair of aged dueling pop stars.Matt Fraction’s channeling some of his Casanova work here with this premise, only there’s more way more humor and less trans-dimensional jumping, and arguably the best “Champions”-related joke in years. And we get to see more of Kate’s LA supporting cast, which is great is you’re a fan of world building.

IMG_00382My problem with this issue is that it’s very…disjointed at the end. There’s a solid gag or 2, but the pacing feels rushed, so the landing doesn’t stick. Again, far from a bad issue, it’s just stink that the issue kind of falls apart at the end.

What does work is the team of Annie Wu and Matt Hollingsworth. Their Los Angeles is bright, fill with various shades of blues and purples and is a stark contrast from Clint Barton and David Aja’s New York. And Wu’s Kate Bishop is awesome. Very expressive, trendy and fluid. She looks like a believable 18 year old vigilante.

Again, Hawkeye #16 is a good comic. I’m just spoiled by it being a GREAT comic for months.

MARVELCoverTemp copy.indtPretty Deadly #4

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire

Image, 20 pages, #3.50

Damn this book is brutal.

Team Pretty Deadly continues to deliver the most intense fight scenes in comics since the 2nd issue, which doesn’t come as a complete surprise given how talented Emma Rios is. And paired with Jordie Bellaire’s amazing colors, the damage these characters take looks extra vicious, but never too grotesque. It earns it’s M for Mature rating.

Kelly Sue Deconnick and Team Pretty Deadly are crafting quite the tale. After a slow and vague start, this series has really ramped up in terms of progression, fleshing out the characters, building the world and answering questions. There’s still some weirdness to it, but it’s welcomed, as it’s very much the type of weird one would find in Sandman, rather than being weird for weirdness sake.

What started off as something as a revenge-driven  narrative  has definitely shown that there’s more life in this story, even with the first arc wrapping up next month. Pretty Deadly has been on fire for months, and much like it’s publisher.

backgroundAll New X-men 22.Now

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Stuart Immonen’s return aside, my expectations for this issue were pretty low. 22.NOW is the lead in for yet another crossover (SIGH), this time with Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy book. It’s worth noting that both of these books have movies coming out this summer, so the writings on the wall as to why, at least from an editorial stand point.

The books starts of with 6 pages of X-drama, and the remainder of the book is all action all the time. Immonen and friends pull no punches with their return on the art , as the book looks great. You’ll be surprised how much detail is crammed into a salad of all things! And Marte Gracia’s are great, as the book really pops on a visual level. Bendis, meanwhile delivers a solid script,  and his RUN D.M.C. love is noted.

While I’m still a little fatigued from Battle of the Atom, I’m definitely intrigued by the opening chapter of The Trial of Jean Grey. It only being 6 chapters definitely keeps my hopes up, and the artists attached to it certainly have me excited. Hopefully this one ends as well as it starts.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: A Return to Form

DID YOU KNOW: Apartment hunting in New York City is THE PITS FPNYC Faithful.

My personal problems aside, it was a really good week for comics! Shall I give you the details of the goodness? I think I shall!

UNCX2013016-71482-1-15891-300x461Uncanny X-men #16

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo. Tim Townsend and others

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Several weeks ago, Marvel announced Magneto would be getting his own on-going series in 2014, which means that first volume will be out in time for Days of Future Past. Snark aside, Cullen Bunn was named as the head writer of said series, meaning Brian Michael Bendis and friends would have to write Erik out of Uncanny somehow.

This is the exit issue, and DAMN, it’s a impressive goodbye. An excellent done in one, we get to see Magneto unleashed, lashing his frustrations out on Madipoor, as Bendis resolves a few plot lines while setting up Magneto’s new series. It’s a lot to juggle, but Bendis manages to balance all of the plot lines and the result is arguably the most bad ass Magneto seen in some time.  This is the bar scene from X-Men First Class spread across 20 pages, and the results are glorious.

magneto-1Uncanny is at it’s best when Chris Bachalo is drawing and coloring it, and this issue is no different, if not the best. Bachalo does some really neat things with the classic Magneto wave, even if Mags is look more Walter White than Jack Kirby these days. And his choice for setting scenes with certain colors that dominant each one is a good look. It’s another great issue for this creative team, who seem flawless with these last few stories.

dd35_bgDaredevil #35

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Speaking of flawless, Chris Samnee returns to Daredevil this month, and he’s brought Elektra with him. Elektra is a character I’ve never really cared for when Frank Miller isn’t around, but Samnee draws her with a certain energy and composure that’s so good, it’s hard to not like her. Samnee’s skill doesn’t stop at her though, as there’s an extraordinary display of how Daredevil’s powers work that I’ve attached to show how powerful of a storyteller Samnee is. And with Javier Rodriguez back on colors, this book remains as beautiful as ever.

bsae-1-16-13-11And with this being the next to last issue of Daredevil volume 3,  Mark Waid goes all out with twists, raising the stakes more than ever. There’s also a HUGE shout out to Brian Bendis/Alex Makeev‘s legendary run, that leads to one hell of a cliffhanger. It sets the stage nicely for the upcoming volume 4, which promises a number of changes for Daredevil, all while proving how good this creative team is together.

 

 

 

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_21_TextlessAll New X-men #21

Brian Michael Bendis/Brandon Peterson/Brent Anderson/Israel Silva

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Here’s some irony for you. Last issue I slammed ANX for throwing in a guest artist who’s style really didn’t mesh the lead artist on this issue. Here this happens again, and this time it’s wonderful.

In my defense, and with no disrespect to said artist, it’s Brent Anderson this time around, adding another chapter to the legendary X-story “God loves, Man kills.” that ties directly to the story Bendis is telling. It’s a neat flashblack, and having Anderson draw it only makes it cooler to long term X-men fans.

Brandon Peterson handles the rest of the book, and it looks great. A tad dark, but it takes place in one of those secret remote evil bases so that makes sense. He works well with the action heavy script, and overall did a good job filling in for Stuart Immonen.

All New was nothing special this month, but it’s still a solid comic. The current arc’s purpose was to introduce X-23 onto the team and it did just that, nothing more, nothing less. It was a fun little arc, and….it’s back to crossovers next week. Whelp.

 

 

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Late to the Party: Chris reads “The Wake: Volume 1″

WKE_Cv1_SOLICIT_DThe Wake Volume 1

Scott Snyder/Sean Murphy/Matt Hollingsworth

Vertigo/DC, Collects issue 1-5

Hey look, I’m starting the year off looking at a DC book not called Sandman, this really is a brave new world!

In my defense, look at this creative team, for it is shiny and very talented!  Back when I was buying New 52 DC, Scott Snyder’s Batman was the only DC  book I bought for over a year on a monthly basis. He’s an insanely talented writer, and seems like a good dude judging by the quality of his tweets (obviously a very important tool in measuring one’s worth). On the art side of things, Sean Murphy is another creator I really dig, being a fan of his since his Hellblazer fill-in days, and following him onto Joe the Barbarian and Punk Rock Jesus. And with Hawkeye’s Matt Hollingsworth coloring the book, even I had to cave in, despite my heavy Marvel/Image bias.

The Wake is arguably one of the best sci-fi-horror comic I’ve read in quite some time. The creators really did their research when it came to this building this world, because a lot of the science involved seems plausible, or at least to my undereducated ass. The plot, which I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers, us marine biologist Lee Archer is offered a once in a lifetime job to go out to the Arctic to do some research on some odd noises the government has stumbled upon….or so she thinks! ( Gasp here please)  Then the HORRIBLE AND SPOOKY truth is revealed, and the more stuff happen and ultimately it leads to into some world altering stuff. Actual world altering, not the for 6 months then everything is back to normal world altering you seen in Marvel event. Also there may be some wackiness that goes down in mankind’s earliest days, and the far future. No more details, but yeah, this books is nuts in the best kind of ways.

The-Wake-001-Interior-Art-01-600x344Snyder and Murphy have a working relationship going back to Snyder’s American Vampire series, and The Wake is a testament of how in-sync these 2 are. There’s some REALLY brutal stuff that goes down in this first volume, and some real nightmare inducing imagery as well. And like I said earlier it’s also incredibly smart, and you can tell Snyder did his research, who I believe does some teaching in addition to comics. The best type of horror is the believeable type, and Snyder does a nice job of tying marine biology and various culture’s folklores together in this story.

Sean Murphy remains one of the best artists out there. His style is rough, sketchy, and heavy on the dark inks, and that’s fine with me. I’m not sure if The Wake would have worked as well with photo realistic art, but it definitely does with Snyder’s rough, jagged art. It’s always super detailed, and characters all look great without looking like super heroes or super models. And again, with Snyder’s help, they’re all very believable, fleshed out, and rarely, if ever a cliche.  And with Hollingsworth’s colors, Snyder scenes look amazing. I prefer black and white Murphy art most of the time, but Hollingsworth’s one of the best colorists in the biz, so his stuff only makes Murphy’s art better in the end.

The first act of this series ends on great cliffhanger, and I’m eager to see what volume 2 brings. The lead for the next volume and their world look super interesting, and I like what I’m reading and hearing from Snyder and Murphy. With Image currently owning the creator owned crowd, it’s nice to see a Vertigo book bring it, especially with the future of the imprint in question these days.

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics- The Sexy Start of the New Year

So the Image Expo 2014 has come and gone and man, screw them. I have a limited budget for comics stuff because living in  New York isn’t cheap, and they go and announce like 3 or 4 books I don’t have the budget for, but from creators I REALLY like. So that sucks for my bank account, but great for me…..spiritually I suppose? I dunno, but if you want to get caught up on what went down, go check our friends at Bleeding Cool and Comics Alliance for details, interviews and pictures.

Now that the holidays (and MAGfest 2014, wooo) has passed, comics have began shipping normally once again. Which means no more waxing poetically over books I really liked in 2013, and back to discussing new comics.

sex-criminals-4-web-72Sex Criminals #4

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50, 20 pages, plus letters from pervs

Haha, J/K, I’m just going to talk more about Matt Fraction comics to start off the year!

I want to say this is the issue where guff gets real, but this also a comic where Chip Zdarsky draws a pizza vagina in the letters section. Another fine reason as to why this book is Time’s Comic Book of 2013.

sex-criminals1-fourth-printingBut yeah, shit gets real in this surprising dense 4th issue. Fraction and Zdarsky get a lot done in the span of 20 pages, and not all of it are butt sex jokes and funny named pornos. I mean yeah, those are there, but there are also times of serious business too. It’s a lot more like the first issue where tragedy and humor are perfectly mixed, only there’s more drama and action ( like there was any shortage of that in this book, HIYYOOOOOO) this time around. And hey, we even get some questions answered! And no worries, the intro page remains hilarious (good luck trying to read that one out loud), and the letter page….well like I said, pizza vagina, so the same as usual.

Sex Criminals was one of the most refreshing reads of 2013, also known as the year of Luigi,  and it starts off 2014 strong. I’m super excited for the conclusion of the first arc next month, and you all can look forward to me suffering from withdrawal as the book goes on a brief hiatus after that.

Also hey, we got that 4th printing cover in stock (pictured above), which I’m still laughing about. There’s also the upcoming 4th printing, but for a 2nd time cover coming in a few weeks, because people are dumb and didn’t pre-order this book the first time around, or just really like odd-photoshopped covers. I’m obviously in the later category.

 

STK629100All New Marvel Now Point One

A lot of people. No serious, a lot of people worked on this comic, look at the credits page, it’s the last page in the book and see how right I am!

Marvel, $5.99, 52 pages

Marvel did one of these last year that I didn’t care much for, with the exception of the Mike Allred Ant-Man story ….written by Matt Fraction (whomp whomp whompppp).

Marvel was definitely aiming for the Tumblr crowd with this book, which is fine, because it’s still good without pandering for “Likes”/”Faves”/”Reblogs”.  My personal highlight is the G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona Ms. Marvel story. While the character was announced a few months back, the only appearance she’s made so far was at the end of the the first volume of the current Captain Marvel book. Here we get to see what she’s made of, and it’s a very fun read, as it’s a fresh take on the super powered teenager story, that’s a tad self aware, careful not to cater to stereotypes, and shows some cool uses of the lead’s power set. Additional props to Ian Herring’s colors which really make the story pop.

Allred’s back this year, with Dan Slott with a Silver Surfer story that’s all sorts of great. Mike Allred is at his best when he’s channeling Jack Kirby, so seeing him take to the cosmos is a real delight for me. Also it’s been some time since I’ve seen Dan Slott write something not Spider-Man-related, so seeing him flex those muscles again is fun. And speaking of good looking books, Phil Noto’s Black Widow story is a visual tour de force. Nate Edmondson and Clayton Cowles are great on words and colors, don’t get me wrong, but this story is Noto’s show, and he excels are delivering some fantastic visuals. The  Al Ewing/Lee Garbett Loki story that bookends this title is fun and the James Robinson/Steve Pugh All New Invaders story shows potential. The Avengers story wasn’t that bad either, but I’ve seen better from Rags Morale, although Nick Spencer delivers on the script end. . But for $7 bucks, I can’t complain, as the title served it’s purpose. It’s successfully gotten me excited about a bunch of titles Marvel’s publishing, although I’ll probably only be only buying one of them monthly.

Alright I talked about 2 comics for a long time today. I’ll be back to review the first volume of The Wake real soon!

 

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Troy’s Toy but with Comics: #1 with a tie!

Well look at that, apparently there’s a tie. And I’m sure it has everything nothing to do with issue 7 of one of these series dropping this past Tuesday.

saga15-cover#1a) Saga

Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

With Hawkguy & Sex Criminals sitting at #2 and #3 respectively, I’m sure this comes to as a surprise to no one. Which means I have nothing to explain and the article is over.

 

::: Checks word count and curses :::

Okay so maybe I should explain some of this. But honestly, what is there left to say? NEWS FLASH: BKV STILL GREAT AT WRITING. FIONA STAPLES: REALLY HAS THIS DRAWING THING DOWN!  THE LYING CAT: STILL PRETTY GREAT, EVEN DURING THIS PAST YEAR, THE YEAR OF THE PIZZA DOG!

lying-cat-and-sophie-2Snark aside, Year 2 of Saga was fantastic. Sure we didn’t have the book every month, but when it dropped, each and every issue was a delight. Okay so giant monster gentitals may not be what some people consider delightful, but you get what I’m saying. It’s a well-crafted comic, and easily the crown jewel in the Image Empire these days. BKV’s dialogue is so natural, and his characters sound very realistic, despite having wings and televisions for heads. And again, Fiona Staples, REALLY good at drawing! The range of visuals she can supply to this book is beyond impressive, ranging from sexy to grotesque.

Also the book can be really funny at times, which I appreciate when it’s not tugging at my heart or toying with my emotions. I still get a little choked up at that Lying Cat conversation scene from above.

Saga was flawless in 2013, and I doubt that will change anytime soon. But like I said earlier, this is a tie.

background#1b) Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber (Marvel)

2013 saw the debut of 3 books with the word “Superior” in their title. First there was “Superior Spider-Man“, which upset many a nerd and sold a butt ton of comics this year. There was also “Superior Carnage“, but I don’t care about that, and chances are you didn’t either. And then finally there was “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man“, a book that wasn’t even on my radar until the first issue dropped and the early buzz called it the next Hawkeye. Intrigued, I picked up #1 and made sure to buy every issue upon release since then.

Superior_Foes_of_Spider-Man_Vol_1_6_TextlessAs I said like a month or so ago, SFoSM is an FX/FXX comedy set in the Marvel Universe. Past Marvel books starring villains usually attempt to rehab them somehow, making them anti-heroes or straight up heroes. Your Deadpools, Venoms and Thunderbolts for example. Superior Foes makes these villains, arguable the weakest version of the Sinister 5 Six, LIKABLE yes, but also remains you that yes, they are the bad guys, and they enjoy doing bad things. It’s surprising refreshing, and a ton of fun.

Superior Foes use of continuity is probably one of the best things about the book if we don’t factor in how friggin hilarious some of the running gags are. One of my many problems with New 52 DC is that they seem to be embarrassed by their legacy, and the work many talented creators have done for them over the year. The past is embraced here, factoring in stories from Marvel’s silver age up to modern classic runs by writer such as Ed Brubaker and Jeff Parker, which results in some powerful and/or hilarious stuff. Issue #7, which dropped this past Tuesday, is proof of this, tying into the origin of the new Beetle quite nicely.

Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber, 2 wonderful veteran creators came out swinging with this title, and I loved every issue to date. This book definitely owes it’s existence to the success of Hawkeye, but it’s very much it’s own monster. It’s violent, but more so Looney Tunes style, hilarious, and surprising modern and refreshing. And all without a single appearance from the sales-boosting Spider-Man so far. It gets my pick as co-book of the year by being a fantastic book with little to no hype and the use some some obscure characters. Big ups to Spencer and Lieber for really coming through in 2013, as well as to the other creators I’ve talked about these last 3 articles.

And with that, the best of 2013 is wrapped up. It’s been a great year for comics, and I’m excited for what 2014 will bring. I’m taking a small break as I’m MagFEST bound this weekend, but I’ll be back later next week to talk about… ::: checks pull list :: SEX CRIMINALS! And maybe a book that’s :: gasps ::: published by DC!

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics Best of 2013 List Part 2

In retrospect, a short title would have been nice. Also happy New Year!

Welcome back to me coasting for cash-money. As I said last time, this is the “Matt Fraction Power Hour” portion of the list. Fraction created some amazing comics this past year, which anyone who’s been reading this blog on the regular is well aware of . So here’s 2 of my favorites, which I imagine come to the surprise of no one.

sex-criminals1-fourth-printing3) Sex Criminals

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

Yes, that is the 4th printing cover for Sex Criminals #1, thanks for asking, it’s available 1/8/2013.

Sex Criminals is the best book I never knew I wanted. A surprisingly touching sex-comedy, Fraction and cartoonist/Applebee’s enthusiast Chip Zdarsky have created something special in the span of 3 issues.

I can’t recall the last time we’d had a tasteful (well at some points) look at sex from the female perspective in comics, if at all.  Which is exactly what the first issue does with it’s lead Suzie. It starts off on a tragic foot, followed by some dark comedy shortly after. It’s easily the strongest debut issue of the year, and gives Fraction the chances to stretch some creative muscles he can’t over at Marvel for obvious content-related reasons. Issue #2 deals with the male lead learning to deal with his own sexuality, which isn’t so touching as it is hilarious.

fa71823a0950587e07ebbe33656c6097And then there’s Chip Zdarsky. Given the content on his twitter feed and tumblr, it’s hard to see where Fraction’s madness begins and Zdarsky’s begins, but Matt could not have a better artist attached to this title. Chip’s art is beautiful to look at, and crammed with a ton of hilarious visual jokes. At times there seems to be some sort of competition going in with him and Fraction as to who can do the grossest thing with this book, and the winners are the fan in the end. Unless you’re offended by porn shop humor. Which if so, stay away.

And speaking of fans, the Sex Criminals letter pages of all things are an absolute delightful to read. Matt and Chip are surprisingly candid about discussing their sex lives, as are their readers. A tad perverted yes, but hey this book is called Sex Criminals, what did you expect? Same goes for the intro recap pages, which are just walls of text.

Despite it’s mature content and only having 3 issues out, Sex Criminals was already named Time Magazine’s comic of the year, and topped several other well known publication best of list. And well deserving mind you, because if there’s one book that’s going to top Hawkeye or Saga as the IT book of 2014, it’s going to be Sex Criminals. Which now gives me a lazy segway into book #2….

 

172778002) Hawkeye

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Annie Wu and others (Marvel)

Don’t call it a comeback. Hawkguy’s been here for a year, rocking his peers….and that’s all I got.

I could easily sum up the decision with the words “The Pizza Dog issue” and chances are most comic book readers would understand that reasoning. While Sex Criminals may have the best debut issue of the year, Hawkeye #11 is easily the best single issue of the year for a number of reasons, both on technical and emotional levels. Insert the David Aja/Chris Ware comparison here.

2974126-hawkeye+009-019And obviously this series is not a one trick pony. Scheduling issues aside (the title was delayed a number of times this year sadly), this book has been flawless, even with Aja needing some help on the penciling side of things. But when you have Annie Wu drawing the Kate Bishop side of things, and guys like Francesco Francavilla stepping in to draw and issue or 2, things are more than okay.

And let’s not forget what the creative team behind the Hurricane Sandy issue managed to accomplish in a matter of weeks.

Name dropping talent aside, it’s important to focus what Fraction and friends have accomplished with this character in barley over a year. Using the hype from last year’s Avengers movie, they’ve turn Clint into a complex character, one who’s heavily flawed despite his best intentions. The stakes are low and personal in Hawkeye, and it’s barely tied into the proper Marvel Universe, outside of the occasional Avengers cast member cameo. We also have Kate Bishop, West Coast Avenger, dealing with her own baggage, and the potential for some amazing stories, and the addition of Clint’s brother Barney to the cast. Editor Stephen Wacker is allowing the team to tell small personal stories in a world of Marvels, and the end results of fantastic.

 

 

So there you have it, 600 words of Matt Fraction flatterly. Which means next time we’ll see #1 right? Right? I think that’s how counting works.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Top 5 for 2013 part 1

Happy post-whatever you celebrated/are celebrating “dear” reader. The Santa-man was pretty good to me this year, which was nice because Christmas is expensive y’all.

So yeah, it’s the final week of 2013, and my video game cup run overfloweth. Which means time to crap out one of those best-of lists. I’ve usually done such for action figures and toys, but it’s been a pretty lackluster year for me and toys. Let’s just say that Armored Red Power Ranger was the best toy to drop, kay?

 

2013 for comics however, was great. Super great in fact. I could have easily made this a top 10 and coasted on a list for like 4 weeks. You should expect a runner’s up list at some point though. Because lazy. Anyways, let’s get show on the road.

 

jul1309615) Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake

by Natasha Allegri (Boom Studios) and a whole bunch of rad people.

Boom Studios is doing all-ages comics right with their Cartoon Network/Cartoon Hangover books, successfully merging indie & webcomics talent with popular properties. And honestly, from a quality standpoint Regular Show, Adventure Time or Bravest Warriors could have taken this spot, but I connected with the Fionna & Cake in ways I haven’t with those titles. And given the success of this book and the popularity of Fionna and Cake, I’m probably not the only one.

7dd7fd82a640bbc00cfddffff5c1efa3It’s all thanks to animator Natasha Allegri, who you may know from her recent and super successful Bee and PuppyCat Kickstarter. Aside from creating the pair, she handles writer/artist duties on the main stories in this mini  and her work is phenomenal. Not unlike Saga, her layouts are more like a children’s storybook than a comic books, and the range of emotion she displays in her characters is fantastic. I know saying “So cute!” may sound like I’m doing this book a huge disservice, but I swear it’s not, despite wanting to hug several of the cast member. Just flip through the book and look at the thing Allegri does with Cake the Cat’s expression and form to be amazed. It’s also legitimately hilarious and sweet, a credit to Allegri’s talent.  That’s not to saying that the the back-up comics aren’t also fantastic, it’s just Natasha is playing on a whole different level here with the main plot, which involves a diminutive flame prince, some boys, and evil ice queen and a prince who is both lumpy and from space . The end result is a fantastic bunch of comics, which is a win for everyone.

A simple thing like changing the gender of the cast usually doesn’t end in results like these, but Natasha is damn good, and does more than just tell stories that are all “THEY’RE GIRLS SO LOL BOYS, FLOWERS AND SHIT”. The source material is very progressive and so is this comic, to the surprise of no one I imagine. Which is just another reason why it’s the BEST mini-series in 2013, at least to me.

all-new-x-men-covers4) All New X-men/Uncanny X-men

Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Chris Bachalo and others (Marvel Comics)

On paper, All New X-men sounds like a hot mess (despite the guarantee that X-books will always sell) . Taking the original Kirby/Lee era X-men and dragging them to the modern Marvel era sounds lazy, and at best maybe good for a few issues before the continuity baggage ways the book down. I had my reservations going into this book, aside from the art because Stuart Immonen and Chris Bachalo always delivers.

And then I was proven wrong. So very wrong, and that’s fine, because that’s okay.

UNCANNYXMEN1Teaser_cropWe don’t get New Avengers-era Bendis/Immonen here. It’s Ultimate Spider-Man level quality here, only thing time set in the 616 with the entire X-universe at it’s disposable. Which means heavy on the Kitty Pryde and the snark, which I am so okay with. It means Stuart Immonen being the best at what he does, which is draw the living hell out of the Marvel Universe.  It also means Brian Michael Bendis has a whole bunch of new toys to play which, some of which are the best that Marvel has to offer. It also means we get Uncanny X-men, which sees Chris Bachalo and Bendis take on Cyclops, his renegade X-men and a whole slew of new mutants, and it’s GREAT.

For the most part, Marvel NOW! was a huge success for Marvel by shaking things up creatively. None have benefitted better than the X-men under Bendis, which is true because Hawkeye and Daredevil weren’t rebooted. These books are giant love letters to the likes of Kirby, Claremont, Cockrum, Byrne and a few dudes who have the last name Lee, without being clever rehashes. They’re loud, funny and over-dramatic, like any good X-book. And under Immonen, Bachalo and the occasional guest artist, they’re some of the best looking books coming out from Marvel. They’re a ton a fun to read, and I’m geniunely excited to see where Bendis and company take their characters next.

 

That wraps up part 1. Expect Part 2, aka “The Matt Fraction Power Hour” to go live within a day or 2.

 

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