Category: Daily Planet

Chad Coleman Signing Copies of Treadwater at Forbidden Planet NYC Saturday 7/25/15

Chad-Coleman-TreadwaterChad Coleman’s new graphic novel TREADWATER releases this week and Forbidden Planet NYC is proud to announce that the star of AMC’s The Walking Dead and and HBO’s The Wire will be here signing copies of the book from 10am-6pm on Saturday July 25th!!!

In addition to your copy of the book*, Chad will also sign any one collectible you want to bring with you, so break out those Tyreese action figures, your Walking Dead poster, a rubber hammer, boxing gloves, that “Cutty’s Gym” tee you screen printed, whatever ya got.

Chad Coleman Forbidden Planet signing Treadwater

Treadwater is a new SF series published created by Morgan Rosenblum and published by Darkrose Studios. Here’s the skinny on it:

In the wake of a global economic meltdown, chaos erupts and the world’s safety is jeopardized by a new wave of crime and terror. A privately funded team of high tech special operatives is assembled, known as TREADWATER, the only force standing between hope and anarchy. As Germany forms it’s aggressive Stance behind a true military German patriot, General Kirklau, it becomes more than evident that the balance of global powers is all but obsolete. Governments and world-wide organizations have their hands tied as one wrong move by any of them could launch an all-out world war. Treadwater is the only organization taking a proactive stance to keep the world afloat, while others helplessly do just that – tread water.

While Chad is super duper awesome and will be sticking around for quite some time on Saturday to accommodate as many fans that come down to our gig, quantities of the book are limited and you’re encouraged to pre-order in advance. Pre-orders may be purchased in-store starting Monday the 20th; your receipt will be accompanied by a ticket to our event.

There will be a very limited number of copies available via mail order, but this allotment is expected to dry up fast and this option will be deactivated when we’re out, so get on it if you’d like a signed copy. Click here for mail order.

See ya Saturday!

*purchase of the Treadwater graphic novel from Forbidden Planet is mandatory to participate in this event.

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #8

STK675909Gotham Academy #8

Becky Cloonan. Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Serge Lapointe ,Michele Assarasakorn

DC $2.99

I’ve been trying to make a “The Black Parade” joke for the last five minutes and nothing has materialized. NO WAIT WRONG GERALD WAY PROJECT, CLEARLY THIS CALLS FOR AN UMBRELLA ACAMEDY JOKE? YOU SEE, CAUSE IT’S CALLED GOTHAM ACADEMY, BUT THERE’S UMBREL-I’ll stop now. Also apologies for talking about this book a week after it dropped, I have internet problems which made posting a tad difficult.

Gotham Academy #8 is out, and it feels like a proper beginning for the 2nd arc for this series. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored last month’s issue, but that felt more like a fun done in one than a proper beginning for the next arc. This issue sees a lot more of the cast return to the book, as well as regular series artist Karl Kerschl. Which, surprising no one, means another great look issue from one of most beautiful DC book currently being put out.

Olive-at-Funeral-e1436861340318Head’s up by the way, this issue a little bit of a bummer compared to last month’s  Maps and Damian Wayne fun timez ©.  For the first time in the series, our lead is Map’s older bro/Prince of Tennis protagonist Kyle, who’s still sweet on Olivia, who really doesn’t want much to do with the boy. On top on dealing with a funeral, our boy Kyle begins to look into the campus’ residential Man Bat, as well and a the new teacher who knows a thing or two about Men who are also Bats.

Writers Becky Cloonan and  Brenden Fletcher goes full CW teen angst and drama which this issue, which has me wondering why a live action Gotham Academy adaption isn’t being actively developed at the moment. It doesn’t get too overbearing, but it’s something unique to this book, and gives it a weird shoujo manga esque edge. We also get a Kyle and Maps team up, which brightens the atmosphere a bit, as Maps is a tiny delightful angel. Olivia also faces a major new development, and it appears that there’s a new g-g-g-host/monster running around the Academy. Again all this, plus #TEENDRAMA crammed into 20 pages is impressive, as the book never feels too crowded. There’s a HUGE advancement with the overall plot for this book, and I’m really curious how it’s going to play out over the next few month.

image9Karl Keschl’s return is also worth celebrating. Granted this book apparently has problem keeping to a single colorist (Michele Assarasakorn would be the 3rd), it still looks incredible. No one draws these characters as well as Keschel, who’s does some fantastic stuff with Maps once she realizes there’s a Man Bat on the campus. Not to dismiss the work done by alternate GA artist Mingjue Helen Chen , but Stewart helped design and define the world of Gotham Academy, and perfectly manages to balance the school stuff with the spooky stuff perfectly. Assarasakorn and senior series colorist Serge Lapointe give Kerschl art a cool, animation cell-esque look and work together so well you can’t tell the two’s styles apart.

Gotham Academy #8 isn’t exactly the happiest comic this creative team has produced, but it’s another solid entry in the series none the less. There’s a new bunch of mysteries to be delve into, and new personal struggles for the kids to overcome, making it equally charming and compelling.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Saga #30

Saga_30-1_300_462Saga #30

Fiona Staples/Brian K Vaughan

Image $2.99

Hope y’all are ready for another 500 words of praise for Saga. It’s gotten to the point where it’s pointless to praise how good Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan is again, because we all know how excellent they are by now. Talking about their talents seems redundant in a way, so I rather talk about what worked for me in this issue, in great detail. Also spoilers. Heavy, heavy spoilers.

Saga volume 5 has been a high stake concept that started off relatively slow. Volume 4 saw Alanna, her mother in law and daughter abducted by a baby-kidnapping terrorist, forcing her husband Marko to forge an alliance with their enemy Prince Robot IV, and adorable seal man Ghus. MEANWHILE. Marko’s ex Gwendolyn, The Brand, Sophie, and the Lying cat have searching for a cure to get lovable scum bag bounty hunter the Will out of a coma, which lead to an incredibly lewd but dangerous adventure. Issue 30 wraps up both of these arcs, but not in the ways anyone was expecting. Or at ways I wasn’t expecting.

Screen-Shot-2015-07-08-at-12.05.44-PMStaples and BKV get a lot done in this issue, but not all of it is quite the happy ending I was hoping for. Issue 29 was insanely brutal, so while issue 30 isn’t as soul crushing, it’s definitely not an uplifting one in the traditional sense either. There’s several reunions, but not all of them are happy ones, and the one we want the most doesn’t happen. But that’s part of the beauty of this book. Nothing is gratuitous or feel cheap, and character moments are earned, not handed to us. It makes the loss all the more painful sure, but when we get a victory here and there, it feels more important.

This is where things are going to get super spoilery, so head’s up. But I want to talk about 3 moments that stood out to me. First, is the return of the Will. On one hand, the moment should be considered a victory as our squad of awesome lady bounty hunters and their pets manage to succeed on their, but not without losing the Will’s sister. Who’s DEFINITELY DEAD, as she was rip into two and partially eaten.  The Will is less than thrilled by this, and refers to one of characters by a nasty four letter word. In the hands of a lesser creative team, this would come off as hacky at best, offensive at worst. But this team still manages to make the Will feel sympathetic. It’s a rough scene to read, but something crafted flawless. It’s hard to see the fan favorite Lying Cat slink away upset, but it helps set the sense of regret and sorrow that these characters are feeling. It’s powerful scene, and the fact that BKV used such a negative word to make it some emotional only speaks of his talents.

 

img_20150710_000550On the lighter side of things, Marko and Alanna are finally reunited. It’s been 7 issues (which factoring the hiatus, nearly a year) since the two have been in the same setting and it’s a bittersweet reunion. Hazel’s still not back with her parents by the time  this issue ends, but the Marko/Alanna is fine enough without it. Staples’ nails the body language and framing perfectly, while BKV’s narration is perfect. It’s a highlight for the series, which says a lot given the overall quality of the past issues.

And then we have the final page. Which sees Hazel in Kindergarten. This absolutely adorable, hilarious given it’s drawn, and raises a bunch of questions since it’s clear some time has passed  between the final scene with the Will and this scene. This is where Saga is at it’s best. You get an insane amount of pay off, and then a great end of chapter cliffhanger that makes the hiatus less painful. It’s something you can appreciate a bunch as someone who reads the book monthly or in trade.

Issue 30 is a powerful read that’s nothing new for this book. But man, the fact that Saga has been this astonishing for this long is why it’s just won a another bunch of Eisners this back weekend at San Diego.

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Chris’ Comics: Starfire #2

 

STARF_Cv2_552d9445eac847_14180805Starfire #2

 

DC $2.99

Starfire #2 is an interesting comic. Writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti are attempting to do something new with the character, which is an admirable task given how bloated the super hero market is, not to mention an alien trying to fit in on earth is ALSO the premise to one of DC’s most iconic characters. Setting the book in a small Florida city gives it a unique hook and a unique look thanks to artist Emanuela Lupacchino. That being said, why I’m a fan of a the concept of this issue, the actual execution wasn’t as good as I was hoping.

Comics-070915---Starfire-02Case in point: Starfire vs. an actual hurricane (Named Betty incase you were wondering) is an interesting premise. Kori isn’t an exactly a Superman level character ( Well neither is Superman these days but ignore that for now), so it actually poses a threat to the character. The downside to this is that all the emotional beats (AKA characters who are actually expendable) are tied to a lot of characters too new to feel any real attachment too. It is nice to see Starfire actually be an actual hero and try to save everyone, so the book has that going for it. And good for the creators involved for putting out 2 issues of a super hero comics that hasn’t resulted in a slugfest yet. It’s an refreshing alternative to the usual fisticuffs, and it’s cool to see Amanda and Jimmy continue to push Starfire closer to her animated counterpart. The cheesecake from the first issue is also turned down significantly which is good, as the events of this issue really don’t allow for it.

But continuing my roll as a Negative Nelly, something else that irked me slightly about this book was the humor. Granted humor is subjective, a the vast majority of the jokes in this issue didn’t work for me, including a few I wasn’t sure if we’re jokes or plot points. But I’m glad the “Starfire doesn’t understand that word or phrase gag with cute visual cue” has been overused yet, as its one of the jokes in this book that works for me still.

sf-2-panelsI also have ZERO complaints about the visuals. HI-FI‘s colors really sell the sense of danger of this hurricane, and the use of black and blue backgrounds work nice against Starfire’s skin. The book still retains its tropical vibe thanks to HI-FI and Lupacchino, which is something that could have been easily overlooked. And Ray McCarthy deserves some praise for some really clean inks, tying the art package together nicely.

Despite some disappointing aspects, the second issue of Starfire is a light, but fun read. The creators are striving to do something with this book, even with a VERY obvious callback to their run on Powergirl. Even though it didn’t succeed on every level, Starfire deserves praise for being a very different type of super hero book, and for that I am grateful to the creators and the editorial staff involved.

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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #12

TheWickedAndDivine_12-1_300_462The Wicked + The Divine #12

Kieron Gillen/ Kate Brown/ Jamie McKelvie/ Matthew Wilson

Image $3.50 

If you recall my past reviews for Wic + Div, I referred to Kieron Gillen as a “Bad bad devil man” or some such. I took this claim to Twitter, when Kieron was “kind” enough to confirm that statement via a fave, which in 2015, is just as good as a 1000 word confessional in my opinion.

And while he’s a devil, he’s a also a clever and talented one. The proof of that claim lies in The Wicked & The Divine #11, which once again sees a mortal investigate the murder of a god. The twist is that instead of our lead Laura, we’re now following Beth, the former intern of series regular Cassandra. It’s a cool twist, as we’re now following a character who was almost a god, versus a girl who wants to become a god. It freshens up the narrative a bit without changing to book too much, and I really can’t much else without spoiling several events from the 2nd volume of bad times. ALSO: I kept this review light on images as this issue is full of spoilers and naughty words.

The change in lead isn’t the only difference. With co-creator Jamie McKelvie off working on the 3rd volume of Phonograms, the book is now drawn and colored by artist Kate Brown. Accordingly to Gillen in the letter pages of this issue, volume 3 will be showing several different artists, letting other creators that the team is a fan of play with their toys. I think it’s quite cool that Gillen and McKelvie are using their book as a showcase for budding creators, and I’m eager to see how this all plays out. It’s also not the first time she’s worked with Kieron, as they’ve also collaborated on the 6th issues of the 3rd volume of Young Avengers over at Marvel.

safe_imageWith Kate Brown having to lead off, she’s stuck with the unfortunate task of having to be the first artist to follow McKelvie on this title. I’m not implying that Brown is a bad artist, she’s not, she’s just a newer talent than Jamie, with a style that’s completely different than his. Her art is way more animated, and her talking head pages aren’t as strong as the ones we’ve gotten from McKelvie. Not to mention some of her faces look a little lumpy.  That being said, when it comes to the action pieces for this issue, her skills shine. It’s like a Dragon Ball Z page set in London, and you can see there’s some real weight behind the punches thrown. The reason why she’s drawing this book is made abundantly clear as the book progresses. In addition to drawing some great action sequences, Brown’s colors are fantastic. Having to follow up to Matt Wilson in addition to McKelvie is an Herculean task, but Brown delivers, with a softer palette that really works for the “recorded scenes”. Brown does some really neat things with color for backgrounds and “special effects”, much like Wilson before her, but in a completely different manner. Wick + Div continues to be a book where color is constantly played/experimented with, which is another reason why this book stand outs from a lot of the other books on the shelf.

“Commercial Suicide” (What the 3rd volume of The Wicked and the Divine is being called) is off to a great start, despite the absence of two of it’s  original creators. The team was wise to start off with Kate Brown, who’s unique style helps kick this arc off with a proper bang. If Brown contributions are any indication what we’re  getting with this next storyline, the book is in fine artistic hands until McKelvie and Wilson’s proper return.

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Chris’ Comics: Nuts about Squirrel Girl edition

Unbeatable_Squirrel_Girl_Vol_1_7_TextlessThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi Marvel $3.99

 

Squirrel Girl #7 is here and judging from the cover, she’s in a bit of trouble. No wait, the book is called The UNBEATABLE Squirrel Girl, she’ll be fine. Also that’s a dope cover. I really like how the excessive amount of negative space forces the reader to focus in on the characters centered in the middle, and how the logo is also used as an environment. It’s nice to see artist Erica Henderson switch up styles, something she’s she been doing a lot of as of late ( See: Issue 4’s Video Game style cover, and issue 5’s interiors where she paid homage to several Marvel artist from various “ages”). Issue seven is an incredible dense issue, which I dig, as I paid $4 for it and I want my money’s worth dangit.   Writer Ryan North, who’s yet to deliver a disappointing issue, crams a lot of subplots, jokes and cute little character moments into this issue, and it’s maddening how he seems to do it with such ease. And on top of quality comics action, 19 of the 20 pages has hilarious “Alt-text” on the bottle of it. I really like how this book does not shy away from the humor and strangest of being in the Marvel Universe, as well as being incredible clever at time. You WILL learn something from this book’s script, and I don’t mean a fun fact from the Deadpool trading cards, who are surprisingly absent this issue.   Back to Erica Henderson. The book looks pretty good this month, which is actually a step down from the usually amazing Henderson. She does a LOT to fill the book with cool backround gags and references, but some of her some of the human characters in this book look rushed. Also when the Avengers appear in the comic, they look a bit off, especially Spider-Man, who’s a bit on the lumpy side of things. It also doesn’t help that colorist Rico Renzi changes Hawkeye’s hair color from blonde to brown in the span of two pages, which is an odd error. That being said, a “weak” looking issue of Squirrel Girl is still a terrific looking comic. Henderson’s face expressions and panel composition are still on point, and really help elevate the overall quality of the book. Same with Renzi, who’s on point with the rest of the issue. It’s just a less awesome than usual Henderson and Renzi is a bit noticeable, and it’s proof that Marvel should adopt Image‘s method of giving the creators time off between arcs so that the book’s quality doesn’t take a hit ( IE the Saga method).   The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 is a fun comic that manages to raise the stakes for our heroine and her fellow animal themed pals quite a bit. It presents the character with a challenge worthy of the unbeatable one, although we know she’s totally going to save the day in the end. It’s the type of book you want more publishers to put out, which requires a creative team on par with North, Henderson and Renzi, which is difficult I imagine. As with every other issue of Squirrel Girl, issue seven is a book that worth buying on sight, unless your a dude who suckkkssssssss!

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Chris’ Comics: Welcome Back Babs (A Batgirl #41 review)

Batgirl_Vol_4-41_Cover-1_TeaserBatgirl #41

Cameron Stewart/Brenden Fletcher/Babs Tarr/Joel Gomez/Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

So Batgirl’s back, and things are a little different this time around . Yes I’m well aware things have been very different since issue #36, but we have a few more changes on our hands. First and foremost, co-writer Cameron Stewart is no longer handling layout duties, as he’s busy drawing a thing I’m not supposed to talk about. What this means is that Babs Tarr is drawing this book by herself, a first for the book and her career, which is immediately noticeable. Her style is more expressive and looser than Stewart’s, giving the book a more over the top manga-style look in terms of character language and layout. It’s a little jarring at first, but it also give the more its own visual identity unlike anything else out there on the stands, and let’s Tarr experiment with her storytelling. With Babs (the artist, not the Batgirl) handling the bulk of the art now, she has Joel Gomez assisting her on backgrounds, something I wouldn’t have noticed with the proper crediting.

batgirl-41-robo-batThe book also has a new colorist in Serge Lapointe, who does a lot of neat things with the color. The book’s color has more of a softer feel to it, sometime giving it that pencils to color look to it depending on the panel. Another cool trick Lapointe does is giving some backgrounds a neat spray paint look, which stands out a bunch when slapped against white canvas-esque negative space. I definitely do miss Stewart’s visual contributions to the book, as well as Wicks coloring, but Tarr, Gomez and Lapointe are so talented it’s hard not to mind the slight changes all that much.

The other big change is the fact that Batgirl is now a little in-line with other non-Fletcher written Batbook’s continuity, which puts Babs (The Batgirl, not the artist) in a difficult position thanks to the events of Endgame. Her dad Jim Gordon is the new Batman (spoilers?), who’s under orders to get rid of the other vigilantes of Gotham .  This is obviously a problem for Batgirl, but for the reader, it’s an interesting story to bear witness too, as it adds a cool twist to the usually stable Jim & Barbara Gordon relationship. In addition to all that Bat-family drama, we get the new 52 premiere of a cult favorite villain, allowing Babs Tarr to get her Bruce Timm on, all while some seeds are planted for another Bat-character to make an appearance down the line.

sdsd-740x431The Brenden Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr team hit their sophomore arc of Batgirl at full speed. While there’s some changes on the visual side, Fletcher and Stewart’s dialogue is just as good as it’s was pre-crossover break. There’s some really cute humor here, as well as some character relations that feel honest and genuine. The book feels fresh and relevant to the times, but never goes overboard with the time-sensitive references. It’s a fun little read that looks fantastic, and you can sense the team is having a blast work on the book.

Batgirl continues to be a book that shows DC is willing to change to ensure it’s brand survives in a world where Marvel dominates the charts and box offices (Jurassic World being the exception.). It’s success is obviously the reason why we even got this DC You initiative to begin with, and I’m happy to say it’s as good of a comic as it is important to the company and the marketplace.

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: First and Last Days Editions

Hey look, it’s  2 books that actually came out recently! Let me review them!

ms-marel-124127Ms. Marvel #16

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Let’s get this review started  by talking about how good Ms. Marvel and it’s creators are. Solicitations for this issue spoiled the last page of Ms Marvel 16 3-4 months ago, depending on what websites you read, especially if you saw what’s on the cover for 17. It’s something we’ve yet to get on this title yet, wanted forever, and have finally gotten a taste of it. Even knowing it was coming didn’t diminish the moment, and if anything, only made me hungry for more.

Ms Marvel 16 is the first issue of the “Last Days” arc, which ties into Secret Wars. G Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring has put Khamala Khan through a lot over these last 16 issues, but how does Ms Marvel stop the end of the world? Knowing what we know from Secret Wars, it seems impossible, even though that Free Comic Book Day let us know that she’ll be fine when all is said and done. Still, Wilson and Alphona make the stakes feel real, without having to sacrifice all of the charm and humor this book is known for.

Then we get to the last two pages. This is comics at it’s finest, and the opposite of the bad feels Kieron Gillen and BKV have given me in the previous weeks. We see our hero doubt herself, but refusing to give up and accept oblivion. It’s inspiring, and it’s hard not to get excited when you reach the previously mentioned final page of this book. It’s a super important moment for the character, and the creative team nail it on every level, from the layout, to the dialogue and choice of colors.

Ms Marvel continues to be stellar, and this issue is no different. It may be the best, which says a lot given the fact it’s a tie-in issue. It super hero comics at it’s finest, fully embracing the legacy set by Jack, Steve and Stan, and taking it to the next level.

 

black-canary-1-promo-121636Black Canary #1

Brenden Fletcher/Annie Wu/Lee Loughridge

DC $2.99

I’ve seen a few comic blogger types refer to this new DC You (#killme) initiative as “The Batgirl effect”, which I think is a fair description. The Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr/Wicks Batgirl got DC attention and praise it hadn’t seen in a while, and it was only a matter of time before would attempt to recapture that magic with some of their other properties. With Black Canary, we see a one of the Batgirl writers teamed with a fan favorite artist, resulting in another strong DC Debut.

Black Canary is a kung-fu rock and roll comic, which is all sorts of my type of premise. Dinah Lance was given a cool new direction in the pages of Batgirl, and now we get to see Black Canary on the road, wrecking venue after venue while keeping her past a secret from her bandmates. However, she’s not the only person in her crew with a secret or two, which leads to violent hitting times  . It’s a fun premise that feels like a natural and much needed  evolution of this incarnation of the character.

I’ve been a fan of artist Annie Wu since her run on the often mentioned Hawkeye. Her take on Black Canary is great, giving her a slick punk rock meets MMA make over. It’s a cool take of the character’s iconic look, giving it a much needed update. Wu’s line work a little harsher and simplistic than her work on Hawkeye, which is fitting for the new status quo. Lee Loughridge‘s colors and Steve Wands letters give the book a cool vibe that can be best described as Sex Pistol ‘Zine meets DC comics. The whole thing feels very Image esque is terms of design, which I’m sure to intentional as to draw in a larger audience. And even if it isn’t, it’s still cool as hell.

On the script side of things, we have Batgirl/Gotham Academy’s Brenden Fletcher, who’s quickly carved out his little corner of the DCU. This is the first exposure to Fletcher’s solo writing duties, and it’s solid. The issue quickly establishes Dinah current M.O. in a cool bit of exposition via a number of new age media. It’s a neat narrative device, and it’s a cool way to catch readers up on Dinah if they haven’t been reading Batgirl. His dialogue is solid, and while there’s nothing that particularly stand out, it’s more than serviceable.

Between this and Starfire, DC “You” is off to a strong start with this new slate of diverse female lead books. Black Canary is another fun and good looking book with a fun premise. DC is finally beginning to fight back after Marvel‘s barrage of great quirky hits from earlier in the year, and I’m curious to see what else the company can produce on this sort of level of quality.

 

 

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(Late) Review: Starfire #1

So yeah, doing 3 shows in 3 consecutive weekends has caught up to me. Flamecon was a wonderful one day show that I’m glad I funded/attended, and Heroescon was rad as always. But it’s taken a hit on my writing time, not to mention drained me physically (and financially). So the reviews are coming, they’ll just be a mixture of new stuff, slightly old stuff, collected stuff and one advance review. Give me 2 weeks and everything will be back to normal. Well as close to normal you can get around these parts. First up, a dated review on a book that I’ve really enjoyed recently.

Starfire-1-CoverStarfire #1

Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti/Emanuela Lupacchino/Ray McCarthy/Hi-Fi

DC $2.99

I’ll start this review off with a confession: I never really cared much for Starfire, even though I’m a pretty big Dick Grayson fan. Ir’s probably because I missed her heyday as a member of the Marv Wolfman/George Perez New Teen Titans. And aside from a few random Teen Titan revivals from the 90s/00s, my biggest exposure to the character was from the animated TT animated series, which I liked enough, but wasn’t super into.

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti however, are 2 creators I’m very much familiar with and dig. Their run on Power Girl was a blast, and I like what I’ve read of their Harley Quinn run. Putting them on a character like Starfire, who was very much in need of some direction after appearing in that ROUGH Red Hood and the Outlaws book, was a smart choice

4619905-starf_1_4Conner and Palmiotti’s Starfire is wisely located in Key West, which makes for an unusual locale for a super hero comic. The most southwestern point in the US, this tropical locale isn’t exactly full of crime and super baddies. But Starfire isn’t exactly a traditional super hero book; it’s more a comedic character exploration piece. Kory is trying to figure out her identity in Key West, not unlike how the writers are trying to find her a play in this relatively new DC. The pair of writers give her a nice cast of characters to work with, giving  the book a delightful sitcom-esque supporting cast. Amanda and Jimmy do some really solid world building in 20 pages, and I’m curious to see what they can do now that the introductions are done.

Starfire-2Emanuela Luppacchino is the penciler on this book, and he’s a perfect fit for the comic. He’s more Ivan Reis than Amanda Conner, and he manages to capture the beauty of the setting and the book’s lead perfectly. His characters are sexy, with hints of cheesecake here and there, but nothing super objectifying. And the humor is done justice with the cute little thought balloons Starfire has whenever she’s unfamiliar with earth terminology. Trever McCarthy‘s ink are clean and straightforward, with Hi-Fi making the book looking bright and vibrant.  Starfire herself is a prime example on how good the art sides of things are,  with her cool hair-flame effect never clashing with her orange skin. It’s a pretty accurate recreation of Key West, right down to the drunk bros.

Starfire #1 is the perfect introduction for people familiar with the character from the character, or didn’t care for her previous handling. It’s a little to sexy for younger reader, so maybe we keep the kids are the Teen Titans Go! audience from it until their older. But for anyone over 13 who wants a more iconic take on that character, or something that’s just fun and great looking, this is the book you want to be reading. If you like Conner/Palmiotti’s past work, or offbeat female lead titles like Squirrel Girl and Rat Queens, this is the book for you.

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Troy’s Toys, But with Comics: Called it Edition

WHAT DID I SAY?!?!

STK674294Saga #29

Fiona Staples/Brian K Vaughan

Image $2.99

IMG_5092

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONE!

BRIAN K VAUGHAN IS A BAD BAD MAN. WORSE THEN KIERON GILLEN, WHO I GUESS IS A LESSER DEVIL NOW? I DON’T KNOW HOW DEVILS WORK AFTER A CERTAIN POINT.

So yeah, this issue of Saga is rough. Really rough actually, to the point where I have to think issue 30 HAS to end on good note for balanced karma. I mean he really owes us that after these last two issues being actual emotional war fare on the readers.

It’s not all violence and tears in this issue by the way. BKV and Fiona Staples, who is not at fault for this issue, inject this comic with some needed drama, action and comedy. There’s an amazing panel that leads into a better double page spread gag that will probably get this book banned from Comixology (again). When this book isn’t destroying me, it’s fantastic, especially when Vaughan’s dialogue is so natural, with a flawless flow.

And yes, Fiona Staples is on point once again. No one is shocked, as she’s always excellent. But her she’s given a lot to do in this in this particular issue, and she flexes her creative muscles and crushes it. Yes I just said crushes it, I’m wearing 3 polo shirts and drinking jaeger and pre-ordering the new Call of Duty as we speak. But it’s completely true, as a lesser artist may have failed at delivering the type of comic Staples has produced. ESPECIALLY  when it comes to the violence, which is not the most graphic thing, but the composition and character placement hits you like a freight train.

It’s been a while since an issue of Saga has been this devastating. Vaughan and Staples have created a comic that always creates Water-Cooler discussion moments, and they always feel earned, rather than relying on shock value. It’s a fantastic read, although an absolutely gut wrenching one. I expect no less from team Saga.

STK672338Gotham Academy #7

Becky Cloonan/Brenden Fletcher/Mingjue Helen Chen/Steve Wands

DC $2.99

Oh look, Gotham Academy is back, I can know what happiness is once again.

Issue 7 kicks off a few days after issue 6 wraps up, and focuses on my personal favorite character Maps. Maps, unlike the usual lead/narrator Olivia, offers a younger perspective, and is all hype and excitement, making for different yet equally enjoyable reading experience. Guest star Damian Wayne wasn’t a character this book necessarily needed to improve, but he’s a welcome sight none the less. The youngest Robin couldn’t be any more different than Maps, which results in some A+ hi-jinks, and some very funny gags.

Mingjue Helen Chen is the artist for this issue, marking the first time she gets to draw an entire issue by herself. Her style is plenty different than series regular artist Karl Keschel, but not any less great. It’s super expressive and whimsical, looking like a Pixar take on Gotham Academy, which makes sense given Chen’s day job working as an Disney animator. It’s looks unlike any other Bat-title out there, and nice to see DC giving such wonderful talent like this a shot on a book that supports such diversity.

Narrative wise, it’s back to business for Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher. They masterfully mix mystery with comedy, throwing little hints of romance in there resulting a fun, modern day Scooby Doo-esque script. My only complaints is that the art and the narration are at odds early in the book, which makes the big mystery reveal a tad confusing at the end. Luckily, it doesn’t take away from the rest of the comic, which is pretty perfect.

Gotham Academy #7 is a delightful done in one for all ages. The creative team is hella charming, thanks to visuals that make the $3 price tag a steal.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Bad Bad Kieron Gillen Edition

WickedDivine_11-325x500Wicked + Divine 11

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Clowes

Image $3.50

I’m really glad this and Saga are shipping within a week of each other, as it ensures 14 straight days of consecutive sadness for my June. The perfect way to kick off the summer!

WicDiv #11 is a well-crafted comic that is the emotional equivalent of the ending to The Empire Strikes Back. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie drop several bombshells on readers with the final issue of this arc, ensuring hundreds of Tumblrs to cry out “OH GOD WHY KIERON, YOU ARE A BAD MAN!” This isn’t much of a surprise, given Kieron’s past comics work and history of being the actual Christian Devil, but it still hurts, given how much these characters have been flesh out over the past year. Granted there’s a good chance some of these tragic events are fake outs, but the ones that aren’t are devastating game changers.

Jamie McKelvie being as good as he is on this book comes as no surprise. He’s the best at what he does, and what he does is draw many beautiful people with beautiful outfits.  McKelvie is on the top of his game on Wicked Divine, making the plot twists all the more painful, and the violence all the more real and horrible The level of detail he puts into his line work is insane, especially when it comes to the more fantasy elements of this book.

Matthew Wilson, McKelvie’s colorist, continues to reinvented himself with every issue. Issue 11 has a 6 page action sequence that isn’t the most impressive in terms of choreography, but thanks to Wilson’s talents, it looks more kinetic and dynamic. Clayton Clowes‘ lettering is also phenomenal, giving several character their own unique fonts that help them find their own voice. This whole creative team is brilliant, but also lesser devils for striking an alliance with Gillen.

Wicked and the Divine #11 is an assault on your feelings and emotions, but also one hell of a comic. This bookwill  feel different during McKelvie’s absence these next few months, but on the upside, his temporary departure is for MORE PHONOGRAMS! Wic Div remains a must read title, but man, expect to be bummed out with this one.

nonplayer_2_cover_web (1)Nonplayer #2

Nate Simpson

Image, $2.99

Here we have Nonplayer #2, the second issue to a comic who has its first issue ship in early 2011. Suddenly, the Hawkeye delays don’t seem so bad.

This past week has seen a bunch of good looking comics being released, but man o man, Nonplayer is something else. Writer/Artist/Colorist Nate Simpson is part Geoff Darrow part Shirow Masamune, resulting  inn insane amount of detailed art set in a wide variety of different environments. It’s a book that literally has content from cover to cover, dealing with a murder mystery in the most popular video game in the world. That premise sounds pretty cliche, but the twist with this case is actually being handled by NPCs, with the assassin in question being a play controlled character. It’s a fresh twist on something that’s been done before, but never this good looking. Simpson’s unique imagination and talents give us a world with all sorts of fantastic character, ranging from battle-worn kings to giant tank robots. And the fact that he’s doing all of this with little to no help shows how crazy talented the dude is.

My only issue with this installment of Nonplayer is that coloring feels a little flat in some areas. Nonplayer works best when it’s set in wide, sprawling areas, so hopefully we’ll be getting more of that. To be fair, the book is a complete 360 of the first issue in terms of feeling and genre, which is very impressive, and the coloring choices may have been intentional. Regardless, it’s a gorgeous comic, overflowing with creativity and hopefully this is the beginning of getting this book out on a more regular schedule.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with comics: Special Edition NYC edition!

IMG_5060

So hey, Special Edition NYC happened over at Pier 94 this past weekend, and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the venue or the panel areas, the show was still pretty good. The quality of guests were solid, the amount of diversity present in the panels were nice, and I saw this adorable Ghus cosplayer when I arrive at the con. It was a fun show if you’re a fan of all comics convetions, as it’s very much in the vein of MoCCa and Heroescon. I fully recommend it if you’re a fan of those shows, or NYCC’s artist alley!

With that mini-convention review done, let’s get to the part where I review the comics I bought last week, yes?

 

4590451-sqgirl2015006_dc11-0The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6

Ryan North/Erica Henderson/Rico Renzi

Marvel, $3.99

I love the Squirrel Girl creative team, but I think writer Ryan North may be a 100% real life crazy person. That’s fine though, as he’s using his powers of crazy for the forces of good on this book, co-creating a title that’s hilarious and fun for all ages, while drowning in words and insanity. So I guess North is also a bit of a genius. That line is extremely blurred.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 sees our heroine deal with other animal-themed heroes named after the animals they can talk to & both of them very familiar to her, for reasons she can’t figure out why. Meanwhile, North claims to quit writing heroes with rhyming names in the text at the bottom of the page. We  also get rampaging animals, and a rampaging animal-turn-human-animals, and North quickly abandoning that claim . This book sounds like a fever dream as I describe it, but it is very good, despite sounding nuts, and…really nuts? That’s what I wrote for real? Now I hate myself for making that (unintentional) pun.

While North may be madness incarnate, but Erica Henderson is a gift. That is the best way to describe her all too important contributions to this book. Squirrel Girl’s visuals may be too cartoonish for some, but those people are dumb and shouldn’t be heard/ allowed to have nice things. TUSQ benefits from having a non-traditional super hero comic look, especially when it’s very much a humor title, and Henderson’s pencils are a perfect fit for North’s constant barrage of jokes. It’s super expressive and exaggerated, helping sell the book’s humor. The coloring from Rico Renzi is crisp and clean, doing Henderson’s art justice and completing the package.

The 2nd major arc for Squirrel Girl is off to a wonderful start. Henderson and North have delivered the best all-ages Marvel title since Thor the Mighty Avenger, and the funniest Marvel comic since Nextwave. This is some career defining stuff for these creators and well worth your time.

 

Spider-Woman-8-Cover-e1433537865998Spider-Woman #8

Dennis Hopeless/Javier Rodriguez/Alvaro Lopez/Muntsa Vicente

Marvel $3.99

Spider-Woman wraps up her first non-crossover arc, and man, the big fight scene is this issue absolutely brutal. While the violence is kept at a Teen + level (which I think means PG??), Javier Rodriguez‘s art make the feel more brutal. As you can tell from the cover, J-Drew fights a woman in a power loader, and it does not go well for her. Rodriguez doesn’t shy away from making Spider-Woman take some solid hits, but she never looks weak or timid. This is an experienced Spider-Woman, who can take some damage and keep fighting the good fight. Rodriguez’s layouts are phenomenal, with scenes bleeding into other panels or taking place in sound effects. Alvaro Lopez‘s inks are also crazy good, using heavy inks in just the right areas to main the wounds look all the more devastating and painful. VC’s Travie Lanham has some of the most creative lettering and sounds effects I’ve seen in some time, and Muntsa Vicente’s colors and bold and bright, helping this book look very stylistic.

While the art is the best reason to pull this book, Dennis Hopeless does a outstanding job on the script. He keep the dialogued limit in the fight scenes, but when the time for exposition and plot is needed, he absolutely nails it. He does a find job of making the book’s big bad incredibly sympathetic, and more importantly he writes and fantastic Spider-Woman.

Spider-Woman #8 ends with the solid new direction for the book that looks to be a fun read. Hopeless, Rodriguez and their friends have created a title that feels like a classic 70s Marvel book in a way, but also refreshingly modern. This take on Spider-Woman has done wonders for this book, and the character, who’s really come into her own there last 4 issues. It’s nice to see a female lead for Marvel who’s more of an experienced ass kicker, and it pairs well with other action oriented female lead Marvel books like Black Widow and Captain Marvel. Buy on sight.

 

 

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Review: Fight Club 2 Issue 1

I know this because I paid $3.99 to know…this? Dang, that almost worked.

4544291-fclub2-1-variant-fc-fnl-b-4x6-e1e1dFight Club 2 #1

Chuck Palahniuk, Cameron Stewart, Dave Stewart, Nate Piekos

Dark Horse $3.99

The original Fight Club film came out during the point in my life where I was very much an angry white boy in his late teens who loved him some nu-metal. Hot Topic was more than happy to sell all sorts of FC merchandise, the DVD had some sweet features, and I was more than happy to drop my disposable income on all of it. It was a movie I was super into for about 6 months, but quickly distanced myself from when I met other fans who were equally, if not as obnoxious about it as I was.  I’m still found of the movie, my tastes of music remains questionable to this date, but I haven’t give much thought to Fight Club until talks of a sequel emerged.

When Fight Club 2 was announced, I was conflicted at first. On one hand, Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart are one hell of a creative team to be working on any comic. On the other hand, was there a need for a Fight Club 2? I never read the novel (I know, I suck), but I thought the movie wrapped up things quite nicely and didn’t need a follow up. I was hesitant to pick it up, but decided to anyway, because I love my reader(s) and I’m not very good with money. Well that and Cameron Stewart has been killing it over on Batgirl and I genuinely like Palhniuk’s work. At the very worst, I would be out of $4, which I would have blown on a beer or something.

fightclubsequel_page1.0Fight Club 2 #1 is a merciless read. It does very little recap, and assumes everyone is more than familiar with the source material. Of course with a the number 2 in a title, I guess assuming everyone is on the same page is to be expected, but you figured someone would throw a bone to the uninitiated (Decompression comics has ruined me). But props to Palhniuk for not caring about if you’re new or not, he’s obviously here to tell a story, not get new readers. Issue one is a very unique comic. Parts of it feel very immature, and the 19 year old me would have loved the “Me against the world, wake up sheeple, pills are killing us” aspect of this comic, completely unaware of it’s satire or not. Present day Chris is rolling his eyes at it at times,  but it possibly being satire makes this comic extremely fascinating, with some crazy over the top twists that genuinely caught me off guard. Fight Club 2 is super clever at times, or so confident in it’s stupidity that it buys into it’s own hype all too well. I can’t actually tell which scenario plays out when, and that itself is strangely wonderful.

fight-club-2-issue-1-03While the quality of Palahniuk’s writing is subjective, the quality of Cameron Stewart’s art is not. Stewart, alongside letter Nate Piekos, really help the readers realize that Sebastian/Tyler Durden is a bit of a hot mess when it comes to his mental health with some really smart placement of panels, word balloons and sound effects. It’s an incredibly well-crafted comic on the art side of things, and it does wonders for the script. Cameron’s stylistic art looks fantastic, especially when colored by Dave Stewart, much how like the movie was full of pretty people doing awful things. It’s easily worth the price of admission just to bear witness to this team drawing a great looking book and tell the story in such a unique way.

Fight Club 2 is ultimately a comic full of terrible people doing various terrible things. It’s definitely not for everyone (there’s some material from 1999 that doesn’t fly in 2015) and at no point within these 20 pages does it justify it’s existence, aside from the art. That being said, it’s either brilliant satire, or a hot outdated mess, which means it’s not good enough for me to buy on a monthly basis, but it’s something I’ll buy collected to find out. It definitely managed to elicited some emotions from me I haven’t felt in awhile, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: All New All Shameless Edition

So hey, before I start my weekly Hawkeye discussion/Comics Review, I wanted to make the FP Faithful aware of a few things

1)The DC Sneak Peeks from this week are pretty great, and if you don’t want to spend your money on Convergence tie ins, are available on Comixology and several other websites. My personal picks are We Are Robins Black Canary and Batgirl, but you should definitely track down the Starfire, Grayson and Gotham Academy ones as well.

2) Speaking of digital offerings, Fresh Romance is available on Comixology too. I kickstarted it, and man, I am glad that I did. It’s a cool return to romance comics featuring some fantastic stories by several rad up and coming creators. It’s 5 bucks for 30 pages, which I know is steep, but it’s a rare occasion where the price is justified by the quality of the content.

3)  June kicks off Summer Convention time, which means if you’re on the East Coast, you get to see me dressed up as a super hero in a crowded environment. I’ll be at Special Edition NYC, FLAMECON and Heroescon next month, and if you want to say hi or track my nonsense on social media, I’m on twitter & instagram @TheAnarCHris .

 

Alright, shameless plug theater is over, Hawk-talk begins now

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_1_3_TextlessAll-New Hawkeye #3

Jeff Lemire/Ramon Perez/Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

When writing one Crapsack Tire Fire (aka Clint Barton), one way to keep my interest in the character is to have equal amounts of one Kate Bishop and one Lucky, the Eisner award winning pizza dog. It took Team Hawkguy 2.0 three issues to realize that, which makes issue 3 the best issue of All-New Hawkeye to date.

This time around, writer Jeff Lemire limits the Flashback/Origin-y stuff to one panel per page. It’s a neat storytelling technique, as most of these story allows artist Ramon Perez tell the story in mostly dialogue free scenes. It also allows the reader to see how these circus bits relate to the story that takes place in the present, which is treated as the A-side story this issue. Clint and Katie Kate has to deal with the fallout of their mission, and end up getting into more trouble as a Hawkeye tends to do.

With a few issues under their belts, Lemire and Perez read and look more comfortable on this title. Lemire’s dialogue flows better, and the Kate and Clint banter is great. Lemire’s Kate Bishop has noticeably improved with every issue, as his Clint. Perez’s art has also improved ten fold with the modern setting, and we’re treated to a double page multi-panel fight scene that is delightful as it is brutal.  Perez’s more traditional art style is a little more loose and animated than it has been in the past, and the book is all the better for it. It’s still relatively minimalist, but so expressive and energetic. And Ian Herring‘s wonderful colors give the book a nice since of depth despite being so flat like Matt Hollingsworth before him. There’s a sense of fun to this comic, something missing from the previous issues

With the rocky start  hopefully behind it, it appears All New Hawkeye has finally found it’s footing and is becoming a solid title.  I imagine those who are trade waiting it may not be as harsh as I have been as they get read the story in a single chunk. But as someone who reads it monthly, it’s nice to see this creative team improved steadily with every issue, and hope the team keeps it up.

 

 

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Review: Batman Volume 6: Graveyard Shift

51hNXab4FEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Batman Volume 6: Graveyard Shift

Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo/ Marguerite Bennett/Andy Kubert/James Tynion IV/Alex Maleev/Andy Clarke/Dustin Nguyen/ Wes Craig/Matteo Scalera/Gerry Duggan

DC Comics, $24.99

With the first 5 volumes of the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo run on Batman, we the reader got a series of cohesive and quite excellent stories by the same team of creators. Those who have been reading the book monthly have had a different experience, as there has been several issues that have interrupted this run with some guest creative teams. Volume 6 is a collection of those issues, which range back to as far back as 2012 and as recent as 2014. Needless to say, this book is a bit disjointed,  with some of the material dated already.

One of the biggest things to occur during the Snyder/Capullo era was the death of Damian Wayne, which occurred over in the Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham Batman Inc. title. With it not happening in Batman proper, trade waiters now finally get to see that event addressed by Snyder and several other creators in a few different stories. The downside of that is that Damian was already revived earlier this year (with an ongoing set to debut soon), so said stories kind of lose their impact. It’s even worse if you’ve only been reading this incarnation in trade, as there’s zero explanation as to how Damian passed. There are also 2 Year Zero-era tales included, which is odd for several reasons. The biggest one being that Year Zero was already collected in Volumes 4 & 5, and would have made more sense being included there than in this volume. Finally, the last story collected is tied into the recently concluded Batman: Eternal, which I feel would have been suited for one of those trades more so than this one.

BM_19_300-005_HD.480x480-75So while this book feels scatterbrained and uneven, it also looks fairly sharp. Greg Capullo is joined by a ton of talented artists. Andy Kubert, Dustin Nguyen, Alex Maleev, Andy Clarke and Matteo Scalera are some of the more notable contributors and while their styles are all wildly different, they all bring their A game. It’s a little jarring to see different artists tackle the Gotham envisioned by Greg Capullo at first, but these veteran artists contributions are great none the less. It helps that Scott Snyder oversees if not straight up writes a lot of the guest stories, so the tone feels consistent throughout the collection.

Joining Snyder on writing duties are two of his former students, James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett. The Snyder penned material is obviously the strongest, and Tylion and Bennet aren’t exactly slouches either. Similar to Snyder, both writers mix horror and action scenes well, although none of their dialogue ever hits as hard as Synder’s does. It’s almost a bit of a unfair comparison, as neither of those two have Greg Capullo to work with. The story written by Gerry Duggan is antiquate: not the best Batman story in this volume, but nothing wrong with it, and it looks great. Matteo Scalera was a perfect fit to draw a Batman story, and his stylistic take on the character is fantastic.

Batman Volume 6: The Graveyard Shift is a weird anthology of sorts. The Snyder/Capullo issues are great, and anyone who’s dug their work in the past won’t be disappointed. The other issues require some knowledge of the going-ons in other DC comics, but are enjoyable none the less. It’s not the best collection of Bat-Material in this run, but it’s a fun little collection of stories that will hold you over until Endgame is reprinted. A shame it’s not as accessible as the past collections have, but that’s not really on the creators as it is on whoever decide to collect the book like this.

 

 

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