Category: Daily Planet

UPSIDEDOWN CROSS DVD RELEASE PARTY

Exploited, Abused, Addicted and Sick… Nadine Survived the Streets, but Can She Survive an Exorcism?

Find out at the Upsidedown Cross DVD release party on Friday February 26th from 7 to 9 at Forbidden Planet NYC!

upsidedown

Once again Forbidden Planet will team up with Alternative Cinema home entertainment to host an in-store event of epic proportions! This time for for the release of Upsidedown Cross, the newest feature film by director William Hellfire (Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, An Erotic Werewolf in London). Celebrate with the stars and crew and get your copy of Upsidedown Cross signed!

About the Film…

Nadine (Erin Russ/Porkchop), a drug addicted young prostitute in the throes of withdrawal, returns to her childhood home and the mother she ran away from. Nadine’s mother, Delilah, is a delusional religious fanatic that believes demons have possessed her daughter. In search of a “cure” for her daughter’s erratic behavior, she finds a rogue preacher (David Yow of The Jesus Lizard) willing to exorcise the demons.  But neither mother nor daughter recognize the true devil until it is too late!

This collector’s edition of Upsidedown Cross – limited to 1,000 copies – includes a 2-sided cover featuring original photography by Jackie Cerniglia, an illustrated Chick Tract comic by notorious underground comic artist Mike Diana, and image galleries featuring photos and original illustrations inspired by UpsideDown Cross.

What: Upsidedown Cross DVD Release Party and signing.
When: Friday February 26th 7 – 9PM
Who: William Hellfire: Duck! The Carbine High Massacre, An Erotic Werewolf in London
Erin Russ: Porkchop, When Black Birds Fly
Tina Krause: Nikos The Impaler, Woodsman: Forest of Pain,
Mike Hunchback: The Long Island Serial Killer, Diary Of A Deadbeat
Rick Savage: Silence of the G.A.M.S., Backdoor Lambada
Jimmy ScreemerClauz: When Blackbirds Fly, Where the Dead Go to Die
Why: Support independent cinema!

Can’t make it to our in-store event with the cast and crew of Upsidedown Cross? Don’t sweat it it, Forbidden Planet has got your back! You can pre-order a copy of Upsidedown Cross now at www.fpnyc.com and we will get it signed for you by all guests in attendance on February 26th. Then after the event we will ship it right to your door. So if you live in another state or are just really lazy you can still get a signed copy of Upsidedown Cross and lie to all your friends about how great a time you had at the Upsidedown Cross in-store event at Forbidden Planet NYC!
Too lazy to even go to our site and use the search engine to find Upsidedown Cross? Well click right HERE to order!

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Val’s Toy Chest- Pre Toy Fair Edition

It’s a relatively light toy week at the Planet, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about some of the forthcoming product that we’ve already seen before Toy Fair reveals the rest of the new goodies we’ll all be drooling for this year. Mezco, DC Collectibles and NECA are the companies I am highlighting in this column, especially since Mezco and NECA have recently unveiled some cool new figures.

Mezco is expanding their One:12 line of poseable cloth-costumed action figures with new figures and licenses. The first two licenses they started with were DC Comics’ The Dark Knight Returns and Judge Dredd. We still have the Judge Dredd in stock in both the regular and Previews Exclusive versions. Mezco had an event a few days ago and announced that they have acquired the license for Marvel Comics characters and will kick off the Marvel segment of their One: 12 line with figures of Captain America, Punisher, and Daredevil in different outfits. Mezco will also see an expansion of their DC line with figures from the movies and the comics including Batman V Superman versions of the two titular characters and comic-based versions of Reverse Flash, Green Arrow and Shazam!  joining the previously revealed comic-style Flash and Superman figures. Classic Star Trek celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and One:12 is also crafting figures based on the original TV show with Spock, Sulu and Kirk all announced and shown in prototype form. Space Ghost and Frankenstein round out the news coming out of Mezco for this particular series.

DC Collectibles continues to bring their staple of characters to life in as many incarnations as possible whether it is the comics, live-action and animated TV, videogames and to an extent- the movies. You’ve seen the DC Icons line of figures in the store already and there are at least two additional series revealed beyond what has been released including first time 6″ figures of Atomica and Static Shock. Toy Fair should hopefully provide some answers to what other characters are on their way for the rest of the year and beyond. The Batman: The Animated Series line has also been a massive hit for DC Collectibles and one of the recently announced pieces unites the original Fox Animated Series Batman and Robin with their sweet ride- the Batmobile. This Deluxe box set will feature the two heroes with cloth capes so they can fit in the Batmobile a little more easily. Future figures include Etrigan, Zatanna, Commissioner Gordon and more. I am personally hoping for the original TAS version of Batgirl in the grey outfit and blue gloves to be revealed at Toy Fair. For the live action TV series, DCC has released characters from the CW shows Arrow and the Flash. Forthcoming figures from that line include my most anticipated figure of the year so far- Katie Cassidy’s Laurel Lance/Black Canary,KCCanaryplus, The Reverse Flash and Malcolm Merlyn, which are all scheduled for release at the end of March. I would love to see Thea as Speedy, Nyssa, Cisco, Katana and the Atom to continue this collection, plus CBS’ Supergirl would be a smart figure to make as well. As far as the videogame based figures go, an Arkham Knight Batgirl/Oracle two-pack has been teased but no prototypes have been unveiled as of yet- hopefully we will see that at Toy Fair too. DCC’s output for the movies will include statues from Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad. The Suicide Squad line has some surprising entries including Katana and Boomerang in addition to proven sellers Harley Quinn and the Joker.

NECA has been doing a number of new things with their retro cloth 8″ action figure line. They’ve done characters from the usual horror films like A Nightmare on Elm Street(although- where’s my Nancy Thompson, NECA?), Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scream, but they’ve also tackled Home Alone, The H8Ful Eight, and Planet of the Apes. Just before I finished this week’s column, NECA announced that they are kicking off a new 8″ line based on legendary parody artist and recent number one album artist: “Weird” Al Yankovic. The line will feature the usual cloth costumes over an articulated body and is expected to delve into Al’s different iconic song parodies- I personally want to see an Al from “Fat.” The first Al figure that NECA revealed features him wearing one of his iconic outfits plus an interchangeable head so you can switch between classic Al and modern Al. Other recent reveals from NECA(through card art) include Chop Top from TCM and tuxedo Freddy from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. As I was going to press, the store received some new NECA product including an upgraded reissue of the 1/4 scale Jungle Hunter Predator, an ultimate 7″ Pacific Rim Jaeger Striker Eureka and a Head Knocker of this week’s latest Marvel movie star: Deadpool.

As far as the few items coming in this week, there are a couple of Diamond Select items including the second Femme Fatales Star Trek piece featuring Counselor Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  This new Troi is neat as it features her in an outfit that has never been made into any kind of figure before which is her “skort” outfit from the pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint.” The other neat piece is a Batmobile piggy bank based on the vehicle as seen in the classic Batman: The Animated Series cartoon. DC Collectibles also has a brand new Wonder Woman bust coming out based on the New 52 look.

Next week: Toy Fair 2016!

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Chris’ Comics: Captain Marvel #2 & Paper Girls #5

portrait_incredible (5)Captain Marvel #2

Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Matt Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

Come for the Captain Marvel meets Aliens premise! Stick around for Sasquatch-related romance drama!

Captain Marvel #2 sees the good Captain and her Alpha Flight pals investigate a seemingly abandon spaceship that bears an all too familiar emblem on it. Meanwhile, Abigal Brand finds herself back in a familiar role of dealing with alien tomfoolery. If you’re a fan of space politics and gross alien stuff, this is a comic for you.

As noted several times in the past,  Kris Anka is really good at drawing pretty people with huge muscles. While that is certainly a thing he does in issue 2, he also tosses some stuff at the reader that can be best described as  “fairly disgusting” and “slimy”. He does it quite well, which is a testament to his skills, but some of the imagery that Anaka and Matthew Wilson manage to create I could have gone without seeing in life. Also props to Wilson, who’s colors help give the early pages of the book a sense of Claustrophobia, really selling the how unnerving the alien ship is.

Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters do a great job of fleshing out some of the supporting cast this issue. Shifting the focus on Alpha Flight as Carol narrates shows just show strong of story tellers these writers are, letting the dialogue explain the character’s motives. They also excel in the Brand related subplot, which sees a few new twists and forces the readers to question some character’s motives. Captain Marvel’s new supporting cast grows on you real fast, and helps the book establish it’s own voice.

Captain Marvel #2 is an immensely enjoyable sci-fi super hero comic. Carol Danvers as a leader is an extremely fun reading experience, especially when the creative team is as good as this. It sits nicely next to Ms Marvel, The Ultimates, Spider-Woman and A-Force, letting readers know the character is in good hands without the guidance of Kelly Sue Deconnick.

PaperGirls_05-1Paper Girls #5

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

Image $2.99

Paper Girl #5 is a lot like Captain Marvel #2 in a lot of ways: Great art. Matthew Wilson on coloring and some grossness that I could have lived without seeing. That being said, this issue didn’t work for me as CM #2 did.

Paper Girls certainly get points for getting a lot of stuff done in a single issue. The creators dump a lot of info and potential new plot beats in this issue, not giving the readers much time to breathe. I applaud the decision by writer Brian K Vaughan and artist Cliff Chiang to make the book a dense read, but it’s definitely a little more than I was ready to handle in a single sitting.

Paper Girls art though, that never fails to please.. Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson both come through on the visuals, supplying the book with gorgeous art and fantastic colors. Chiang is an inventive story teller, so watching him tell this story with his illustrations choices is super fascinating, He’s so good at blending the period accurate material with the sci-fi stuff, giving the reader a lot to marvel at. And I love Wilson’s choices of colors, which feel retro in a way, but also perfect for the tone of this book.

A good, but not great issue of Paper Girls is still an solid read none the less. The visuals are the selling point this month, and hopefully the break will do the book some wonders.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #3

Spider-Woman_Vol_6_3_Textless (1)Spider-Woman #3

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Albardo Lopez, Racehelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

WHAT I EXPECTED GOING INTO THIS ARC: Jessica Drew struggling with pregnancy and being a super hero.

WHAT I GOT INSTEAD: Die Hard, in space, starring a VERY pregnant Jessica Drew.

The first thing I did after reading this issue was to jump on Twitter and scream it’s praises. Writer Dennis Hopeless and artists Javier Rodriguez, Alvardo Lopez and Rachelle Rosenberg have come together to create an amazing story arc which sees a very pregnant Spider-Woman and a squad of fellow moms-to-be stuck in space hospital that’s trapped in Black Hole and crawling with hostile Skrulls.

That is a crazy pants premise that I love so much.

One of the best things about this arc so far is seeing Javier Rodriguez go FULL JACK KIRBY with the art. Most of my experience with his art was seeing him draw street level heroes and heroines, so seeing him go cosmic and start drawing the way King Kirby did when it came to the Skrulls and other cosmic Marvel beings blew my mind. And it’s just tumblr_o1clk5PrD91uxdbsko6_1280not the characters. There’s a bit in this issue where he has to draw Jessica traveling over some weird alien environments, and Javier completely manages to replicate Kirby super detailed, exotic and trippy as all hell style for this scene. All while ensuring his characters maintain the level of detail and expressiveness we’ve come to expect from him, not to mention his experimental layouts and panel placement. Alvaro Lopez and Rachelle Rosenberg bring their A games as usual too, as Lopez manages to ink Rodriguez’s lines perfectly, while adding  heavy blacks to backgrounds when needed. Rosenberg’s colors are superb, helping the final look as good as a comic can look in 2015, giving it a slight advantage over the Silver Age era where Kirby ruled over.

Dennis Hopeless’ Jessica Drew remains wonderful. Anyone worried that the character wasn’t going to be done justice now that she’s pregnant has nothing to fear, as Jessica is just as kick ass as she’s always been, just now slightly more cautious. Hopeless’ Spider-Woman is a lot like Alanna from Saga, only way less foul-mouthed and way more suitable for an teenage audience. Seeing the character take charge and lead a bunch of expecting mothers against tumblr_o1ml4hmjxl1srcsbxo1_1280the Skrulls is definitely an empowering moment for the character, as she manages to keep her cool and do some serious ass kicking. Additionally, his take on Captain Marvel as the concern future godmother helping Jessica through this ordeal puts the character in a new role, without making her any less of a great character. Combined that will the cool new alien characters Hopeless and the artist team creates for this arc, Spider-Woman #3 has a great cast of characters for reader’s to get invested it.

Spider-Woman #3 is an artistic tour de force with some wonderful character moments. It’s EASILY one of the best looking comics to come out during January, and definitely a personal best for this creative team. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to top this one anytime in the near future, but now I’m just going to enjoy what we got.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Saga #33 & The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4

Saga_33-1Saga #33

Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan

Image $2.99

Finally, a issue of Saga that isn’t a ground breaking reinvention of the medium, but one that’s simply good! Granted it’s a little disappointing as a reader, it makes my job as a critic slightly more easier!

Issue 33 sees the return of the reporter and photographer duo of Upsher and Doff (Upsher reminds us that the “Writer gets the first byline”), in a story that acts a bit like a series recap for the first 11 pages. It’s a neat way to get people caught up, but also not exactly the most exciting thing to read. The rest of the book DOES see the return of fan favorite character, which helps pick things up, and end the issue on the high note. I applaud Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples trying something new with the recap, as both the dialogue and art are solid, but it does feel like the first half of the book is spinning it’s wheels. It was nice to check in on a few minor supporting characters, and even get to witness a little sexy time, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen this creative team do before and it’s not even that great of a recap to be honest.

With the potential for more intriguing things to come, Saga #33 was a good issue from a series that usually gives us great issues. It sounds like a nitpick sure, but when your exceptions are set so high for series, anything less does feel a little off. It’s still worth your time as regular reader, but you should lower your expectations a bit going into it.

5013574-sqgirl2015b004_dc11_lr-0The Unbeatable Squirrel Girt #4

Ryan North, Erica Henderon, Rico Renzi, Clayton Cowles

Marvel $3.99

Dear Erica Henderson, I appreciate the hell out of the Katamari Darmancy homage on the cover, great job, your pal Chris.

One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is that the creative team does a fine job of making the threats Squirrel Girl face quite creditable. Granted she’s Unbeatable, Ryan North has constantly forced the characters to overcome their problems mostly through non-punching means, which helps build tension and makes for a more interesting read.

Issue 4 is unique because it’s technically a fight that Squirrel Girl has already lost. Time travel shenanigans has old timey Doctor Doom already triumphant in the present, so Ms. Doreen Green and her pals got to figure out how to stop him the past. The problem is this incarnation of Doctor Doom may be too much for SG in direct combat, so the sophomore CS students got to figure out a way past him.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 gives the reader everything they would expect from this proven creative team. Ryan North gives us smart, engaging dialogue that’s hilarious and reads unlike anything else coming out from Marvel. If Erica Henderson’s art isn’t isn’t you thing, it’s your loss, because her energetic lines and super expressive characters on detail backgrounds are fantastic. Rico Renzi‘s coloring is fantastic as usual, especially  when it comes to portraying energy and heat.

I have zero complaints about the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl once again, because this book is entertaining as hell. North, Henderson and Renzi manage to impress me in new ways with every issue, and I’m glad to see this book survive as long as it has in today’s market.

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Grayson 16

 

Grayson01Grayson #16

Tim Seeley,  Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

This week, Grayson reaches new heights of awesome, some of which resulted in me almost losing my composure in public several times. Please note that I am a adult (legally), and that I will still sometimes react physically to comics when they’re THIS good.

Those of you who have reading this blog for the last year and a half or so know that I’m quite fond of the title. Tom King, Tim Seeley, Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox (as well as the occasionally guest artist) have been kicking all sort of butt on this comic since day one, making it one of the best books coming out of DC, let alone the market in my opinion. While I wasn’t that big of a fan of the book being forced into to a crossover event last month, issue 16 more than makes up for, delivering one hell of an experience.

 

WARNING FROM HERE ON OUT, THERE BE SPOILERS YO!

Team Grayson has done an excellent job of taking obscure Wildstorm  and DCU characters and reintroducing them to the new 52 universe fully fleshed out. We’ve seen them work wonders on the Midnighter, who’s gone on to start in his own wonderful spin-off comic. This issue sees the similar discarded Grifter show up, amongst several other character being introduced for the first time/were starring in a book that got cancelled. As someone who got into WildCATS as a kid and gave his quickly cancelled on-going series a shot, I’m excited to see this team give ol Cole the treatment he deserves. Oh the once-before teased 5021674-gray_16_2Maxwell Lord shows up, which I’m sure won’t result in heartbreak, betrayal or any Blue Beetles getting shot.

This is also the issue where the creative team decided to go full Bond with the references. What does that mean exactly? Well first and foremost, it means Dick taking out a James Bond homage in front of several Bond lady tributes. It also means a montage designed as tribute to the Bond intro, complete with it’s own theme song as perform by Dick Grayson himself. Aside from it being one of the BEST running gags in the book, it looks amazing, as Janin draws Dick and his fellow deflected agent Tiger fighting spies in a variety of exotic locales. Jeromy Cox really shines in this section, giving the 2 double page spread outs some really trippy colors, giving it a 60s mod vibe. The combination of word class colors and line art continue to make Grayson a gorgeous book, well worth the $4 cover price.

And man, I love the banter Tiger and Dick have between themselves in this issue. Seeley and King have been really solid with the humor these last few issues, but the jokes in this particular issue, including said song, are really strong. They’ve done an excellent job of tumblr_o1mh53FBTc1sqep2mo2_1280poking fun of some of the more sexist troupes spy-fiction, and they continue to do so twice in this issue, while balancing a pretty serious plot that advances in an interesting direction. I absolutely adore the direction this book is going, especially when you tease me with a upcoming story called SPY WARS!

Grayson continues to be a delightful read, and this issue is ridiculously good. The creative team gives the reader a comic that delivers a generous amount of action, laughs and fantastic visuals, and it’s something I look forward to reading every month. Grayson #16 isn’t the BEST issue this team has done so far in this fun, but between the humor and what’s to come, it’s damn enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Batgirl #47

4999675-0+bg_cv47_dsBatgirl #47

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Eleonora Carlini, Moritat, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

 I’m a reasonable critic, or I’ve lied to myself enough times to fully believe that I am. I understand that fill in artists are a thing that needs to happen when it comes to super hero comics. Babs Tarr is still relatively new to the business, and it’s hard for most artists, old and new, to hit that 12 issues a year mark. It’s something I’ve grown accustom to, and don’t mind when guys artists like Bengal swing by a draw an issue.

Batgirl #47 has 2 artists assigned to this comic, and while they’re both similar in style, neither Eleonora Carlini or Moritate really give the readers much to talk about. Carilini’s out of costume stuff looks fine enough, almost hitting those Babs Tarr level of 4999685-3+bg_47_3energy to the book, but it falls apart when character in costume show up. Moritat’s backgrounds are nice and detailed but his characters, especially the faces, are weak, and the art looks more like a children’s book than a comic at times. It’s a shame, because Serge Lapointe does some great stuff with the coloring, which does save the art work in some portions of the book, but certainly not others.

I do dig what Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are doing on the narrative end of the title. We get to see Barbara Gordon pal around with the Spoiler, who I adore, and Bluebird, someone I not as familiar with, but dig none the less. It’s a fun team up that sees the trio working with Bab’s roommate Frankie, who also has gotten herself a code name that starts with an O, but isn’t the one that you want. It does makes for a solid running gag, hopefully editorial will let Frankie take up the name we want her to have sooner rather than later. Regardless, it’s fun to see Babs pal around with other female super heroines who are not Black Canary, and I hope to see them stick around.

The 2 writers also manage to balance a number of subplots in the span of 20 issues without things getting out of hand. I like how they manage to keep this book in line with the events of two other Bat books while having Barbara deal with her own set of problems 5010044-bg_47_5with each plot line have enough space to breathe. It’s a shame the art for this title isn’t on par with this writing, because the dialogue is a ton of fun, and the narrative is incredibly strong.

I hate to trash a book, but ultimately Batgirl #47 disappointed me. Again it’s a shame, but I really like what the writers bring to the table, and I enjoyed Batgirl running around with some of the less prominent members of the Bat-Family. On paper it sounds like a fun team up book, but the execution suffers from not so great art. A shame, as the book turns out to be a textbook example of how a weak art can ruin a good comic. It’s super unfortunate, as this issue sets up some important things up for the upcoming 50th issue, so it’s a bit a crucial issue, despite not being the most enjoyable comic.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Captain Marvel #1

Captain_Marvel_Vol_9_1_TextlessCaptain Marvel #1

Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

The record (aka this blog shows that I am a fan of the following things: Carol Danvers, Kris Anka, Matthew Wilson, and the Agent Peggy Carter TV series. Prior to the announcement of this creative team on Cap Marvel, these 4 things did not overlap, but thanks to Marvel editor Sana Amanat, they do now, and the results are good and great.

Captain Marvel #1 is arguably the BEST Captain Marvel debut issue we’ve gotten since Carol got her sweet new costume. Not to speak ill of the previous runs by the wonderful Carol Corps Queen Kelly Sue Deconnick and her artist pals, but pairing Kris Anka with colorist Matthew Wilson makes for some gorgeous visuals that are hard to compete with. This is the first time Anka has been put on book from the beginning, and he does his damnedest to make one hell of a first impression. Kris goes all out all, tweaking Carol’s costume, gives her a dope new air cut, and gives several fan favorite characters some overdue make overs, results in a fantastic looking debut issue. I love how toned and tumblr_o19bwo2f2j1sqep2mo2_1280muscular his Carol is, as she now looks like a powerhouse who’s really into punching things and/or people. I’ve been a fan of Anka’s style for awhile but pairing him with Matthew Wilson’s colors is brilliant move, giving Kris’ art a Mike Allerd-esque style that I really dig. I love how Wilson colors space, and gives the tech in the Alpha Flight Space Station a cool glow, giving the book a cool science fiction vibe. Together, the issue looks very bright, colorful and expressive, giving Captain Marvel a visually style the character’s never had before!

Writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters do a wonderful job on their debut issue. Their experience show-running Peggy Carter definitely carries over here, as their Carol is also a no-nonsense bad ass that enjoys her work. Those afraid it would be a different beast from what Kelly Sue established have nothing to fear, as their characterization is very much in that style. That being said, they definitely have a different direction for the tumblr_o19bb0C6tg1sqep2mo1_500narrative, giving her a new supporting cast from the get go (with some cameos from a few old pals), a new M.O. and a new gig. All of it is pretty refreshing, as it attempts to do a lot of new things with the character without alienating readers who’ve stuck with Carol for awhile. And I love Fazekas and Butter dialogue, which is quirky, and gets to the point quick. Which is fine, as less is sometimes more, and frees up more space for the gorgeous artwork.

Captain Marvel #1 was a superb debut issue for this creative team, and I’m eager to read more from them. Everything was on point from the visuals to the pacing, and I’m glad too see Carol in such capable hands. With any luck, this creative team will be free to tell the type of stories they want to, and I’m really digging the new heavy on the sci-fi  status quo. Also more Brand please and thank you.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6

tumblr_o199gy2Mcg1uxdbsko1_1280Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #6

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles, Tom Humberstone

Image $3.99

The final issue of The Immaterial Girl, which is also the final issue of Phonogram in general, is an extremely satisfying read. Creators Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles and Tom Humberstone come together not only to deliver a fantastical final issue, but to eulogize and pay tribute to a part of Kieron Gillen’s life. It’s an extremely personal story, and that’s part of the appeal of it to me, as we rarely get comics that discuss what it’s like to be in your 30s as in-depth as P:TIM girl does (especially with that B-side drawn by Tom Humberstone).

In past reviews of this mini series, I’ve stated multiple times that this is Gillen at his most Grant Morrison-y here, only instead of weird magics and silver age comics, Kieron pays tribute to pop music from over the last couple of decades. Also there is magic, hence the Morrison comparison. However this final issue, the various references to bands and song lyrics, and very distinct Kieron Gillen dialogue reminds me of another favorite comic creator of mine: Chris Onstead of Achewood fame. At first glance, Achewood and tumblr_inline_o1byuiTjOz1qa75wn_540Phonogram couldn’t any more different (if anything WicDiv and Achewood make the better comparison, given the fact that both properties have cats who don’t wear much clothing in them) , but when you blow off your day job responsibility to really think about it, there’s a lot more in common between then one. More than just that fact that one could easily see Kid-With-A-Knife screaming “BONE! BONE! BONE!, making lewd gestures while David Kohl looks on in disgust/embarrassment.

First and foremost is that both Phonogram and Achewood make some deep music cuts (as well as ones that aren’t as deep, i.e. Emily referencing both Brittany Spears and Lady Gaga in this final issue), without much care if you’re on their level in terms of recognition. But what comics force to do is to learn their specific languages to ensure you fully appreciate them. Morrison does this sort of referencing too, but you can still enjoy a lot of his comics without fully being clued in on what he’s talking to. Not so much with Phonogram and Achewood, which REALLY force their audiences to almost re-learn how the English language works in a way. But once you do, it pays off immediately. Also both Gillen and Onstead do a superb job of creating a wide range of characters with their own distinct personalities. By doing so, it’s really easy for the readers to connect with the casts, even if the represent some less than desirable traits.

Screen-Shot-2016-01-19-at-10.32.07-PMI feel bad spending so much time talking about Kieron Gillen and noted-owner of Airwolf, Ray Smuckles, and not mentioning the art in this issue. Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson are so damn good, as per usual, and always find new ways to blow your mind. They do stuff with blood in this issue that’s so good you’ll want to quit drawing/coloring immediately. And that’s only the tip of the iceburg, as there’s some fantastic page layouts, panel composition, pallet choices…the first 10 pages of this comic are some of the best and inventive use of art I’ve seen since the pair’s work on Young Avengers. Even the quieter stuff towards the end of the issue is great, as you can see what the years of magic-related drama have done to these characters. Also it’s nice to see Jamie draw characters who aren’t model gorgeous all the time, and I feel better about that slight winter gut I got now.

Phonogram will probably never be the breakout hit The Wicked and the Divine is, which is a shame, because I love it just as much. It’s the “3 Cheers for Revenge” and “Killjoys” to WicDic’s “Black Parade”, which makes me love it all the more, because I’m a bit of a snob and prefer the works that don’t get as much love. The Immaterial Girl is a perfect ending to pair of mini series I’ve read dozens of times over the year, and I cannot thank the creators involved enough for this journey.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #14

GOTHAC_Cv14_PREVIEWS_R1_5616b1b7728111.33337671

Gotham Academy #14

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Steve Wands, Katie Cook, Dustin Nguygen, Derek Fridolfs, Hope Larson, Kris Mukai

DC $2.99 

So yeah, I’m still worried about the fate of this title. Karl Kerschl left 2 issues ago, and Becky Cloonan has been M.I.A. since issue that issue. Hopefully this month’s round of solicitations will answer some questions, but I’m assuming the worse for this title but the time is said and done.

That depressing intro now out of the way, let’s focus on the fact that Gotham Academy #14 is wonderful. Here, the original creator standing Brenden Fletcher and the possibly new creative team of  Adam Archer and Sandra Hope are joined by a insanely talent roster for the first part of the “Yearbook” arc. This story seems to be a guest creator jam session, which I’m very cool with, if this issue is any indication of what we’ll be getting.

GOTHAC_14_3The framing sequence by Fletcher, Archer and Hope is solid enough, but Archer is still struggling a bit with character faces. The team is limited to 4 pages, which is good, because the real meat of the story comes from the guest creators. Leading things off is Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen, 2 creators I didn’t know I wanted to tell a Gotham Academy story, but now am glad I  got one. Prank enthusiast and general troublemaker Colton Rivera is the focus of this story, which has our lead deal with one of Kirk Langstrom’s bizarre subjects. It’s fun little chase story that looks amazing thanks to Nguyen’s gorgeous water-colored art. The humor these creator inject into this story is great, really capturing the tone you would expect from Gotham Academy. The final page of this story is AMAZING, and I would definitely assault a hobo with a wiffleball bat to see Nguyen draw these characters again.

From there it’s Katie Cook drawing a Maps and Olive story, which is by far the cutest incarnation of these characters to date. Cook’s style is perfect for a tale that involves mid control via Glee Club, and I believe it’s the first we get a DC Comics story revolving around cat tumblr_o0x790kQfg1rj45a8o1_1280videos.  Cook’s style is absolutely adorable, her sense of humor is fantastic, and this story was an absolutely treat.

Wrapping up the issue is Hope Larson and Kris Mukai focusing on Gotham Academy professor Isla Macherson in her teen years. If you want to see what the 1980s looks liked because you’re a stinking youth or some such, this is the comic to look at. It’s arguably the most well rounded tale of the bunch, mixing fantastic visuals with a really sweet story. It manages to avoid teen drama cliches by embracing the fact that it takes place in a city where Batman is a thing.

An jam issue with multiple creators sounds more like a special or an annual then a proper arc, but it’s hard to hate when the creators involved are this good. Gotham Academy #14 could be accused of staling, but frankly I don’t care. It’s a fun issue that allows a number of talent folk to play in one of the best new sandboxes in the DC Universe. If this is a proper taste of what to expect from this arc, consider me excited.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #3

STK693569All New Hawkeye #3

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

I believe it’s safe to say that I can stop worrying about the future of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Both figuratively and literally, thanks to how this comic plays out.

 All New Hawkeye #3 wraps up the creative team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s 2nd arc, which sounds weird, but try to remember exactly how relaunch-happy Marvel is these days. It’s a great issue that shows how important the Clint and Kate are to each other, even though they’re not on speaking terms with each other for most of the issue. It also wraps up the future Hawkeye story, which was fun alternate future thing filled with a ton of cool ideas and designs.

At first glance, you could accuse Lemire at rehashing a lot of what Matt Fraction had done: ie, broke up and reunite Kate and Clint. It’s a fair complaint, but in Lemire’s defense, he handles it differently, and resolves it quicker. He also shows how much Kate needs Clint, HAWKEYE2015B003-int-LR2-3-4c025which is nice, even though he flat out stats that Clint needs Kate to be a proper Hawkeye. Which is true, as we probably wouldn’t have had nearly 30 issues of Hawkeye comics over the last 4 years if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Kate Bishop. It’s good to see Lemire finally getting more comfortable with the Clint and Kate dynamic, and finally establishing his own take on their relationship. He also does some wonderful things with Clint’s brother Barney, who makes a welcomed return to these pages. It’s a wonderful series of pages, which really works for me more than the Barney/Clint stiff from volume 0. Part of me wants more Barney and Clint bro times from Lemire, but given the character’s current status quo, I’d also be okay with him being left alone with his happy ending for him for the time being.

Ramon Perez has always been great on this book, and I’m impressed that he also manages to improve in some small way with every issue. In issue 3 for example, he draws more sound effects into his panels, and their pretty great. “Bro Hug” was a sound effect that sounds like something that would have shown up in Adventure Time, and its presence is tumblr_o0y1e7HNyt1sqep2mo1_1280welcomed. It’s such a minor thing, but the tiny words give the art an element of comedy that I appreciate. Aside from sound effect, I love his character designs for the future cast of characters, and how Perez composes some of his pages, especially the  Miss America Chavez and Kate Bishop page in which the panels act as mirror images.. All of this, in addition to the fact that he switches up his art style 3 different times in this issue, make him one of the most under appreciated artists at Marvel. Any issue of ANH that take primary in the present is better for it, and issue 3 is proof of that, thanks to Ramon Perez’s visuals, enhanced by Ian Herring’s brilliant choice of colors.

All New Hawkeye #3 puts my fears to rest and helps make this book one of my favorites again. I’m glad the team got their stuff together for this arc, and I’m now genuinely excited for this book in a way I haven’t been for months.

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest

Hello Readers! It is another new week at the Planet and though there isn’t a lot scheduled to come in this week- there’s still product that we’ve either gotten or are getting in within the next few weeks. Some of the new product scheduled to arrive will include Funko POPs as well as some of the new Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice action figures courtesy of Mattel. We’ve also finally gotten in the long-awaited NECA Predator series which feature figures from another Vs. film: Alien Vs. Predator.

The newest NECA wave features the following types of Predators: Celtic, Scar and Chopper. Each figure features more than 30 points of articulation and come with various accessories. This is the 14th series of Predator with more series on the way from NECA. I should be live on the Toy Fair floor in about a month so I will be writing about what’s new from as many of the manufacturers (including NECA) as I can. I will let you know when that gets closer.

Funko has some exciting products in the pipeline including things we should be getting in this week. Our first Funko POP from the Batman V Superman movie will be the Man of Steel himself, Superman. Hopefully the rest of the lineup will be here before too long. Another POP vinyl scheduled to hit is the popular but polarizing Felicity Smoak straight out of the CW’s Arrow TV Series. We will also be getting four of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens POPs which will include Sidon Ithano, Leia OrganaAckbar and Nien Nunb. No ETA on the other figures in this wave, including Han Solo as of yet.

Speaking of Batman V Superman– Mattel who has had the DC master toy license for the past decade or so will be issuing figures from the forthcoming movie in many different styles and sizes. There will be at least two 6″ lines coming out for the film. One will be a basic five points of articulation series akin to the recent Total Heroes series while the other will fall in line with the articulation scheme of the now defunct DC Universe Classics and Movie Masters lines and is called the Multiverse series. We should be getting both styles of figures in by the end of the month if our shipment comes on time but these lines should include the Ben Affleck Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman and the Gal Gadot Wonder Woman. I have personally seen the new Multiverse Wonder Woman figure and she is pretty awesome. She is definitely one to watch out for and was on my list of figures I was looking forward to. Future figures in this series will include comic and TV versions of all of your favorite DC characters including Flash and Arrow.

That’s all for me this week- I will be back next week with more toy news and assorted miscellany. Have a great week!

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Chris’ Comics: Paper Girls #4

PaperGirls_04-1Paper Girls #4

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

Image $2.99

One of these days I want to read and Image book and be disappointed with it. For starters, a review fueled by rage and HOT TAKES would be easier and possibly some fun than thinking of new ways to praise books that deliver month after month. But no, Image gotta Image and release quality comic after quality comic, forcing me to up my game and find new ways to praise their books. Unlike Marvel and DC, who throw me a bone every so often and do something dumb, helping me find new ways for me to toss shade at them.

This month’s issue of Paper Girls is another solid one, as team creative team produces a ton of cool visual and narrative moments once again. Yeah I know, another great comic by Cliff Chang, Brian K Vaughan, Matt Wilson and Jared K Fletcher, big shocker there. But at least they give me plenty to talk about, which I’m grateful for.

First and foremost, and slight spoiler,  I’m intrigued by the decision to make one of the girl slightly homophobic. While their words aren’t as harsh as they were back in issue 1, it’s still not great, just slightly less offensive. To have a lead character act like that is bold cb3c481590c0d42e112bf54a45b914ff._SX640_QL80_TTD_decision, as it could result in some readers dropping the book, despite this sort of behavior not being entirely unheard of in the 80s. And in the creators defense, they make sure that she’s called out on it by the other leads, so it’s not like her actions are condoned, and she’s certainly young enough to change her stances as the book progresses. It’s something worth keeping an eye out, but given Chang and BKV’s track record, it’s safe to say they’ll handle this correctly.

Something less controversial to touch upon is Chang’s art for this issue. There’s a bit where a character has a flashback of sorts, and I how Chang and Wilson go with the 9 panel layouts with black borders for 4 wordless pages, and that those pages are printed horizontally. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a book printed out like that, and it’s jarring in all the right ways, giving the chaotic nature of the scene. Chang is stellar as usual on this issue, giving us more bizarre characters and creatures, but this sort of story telling through visuals only is really something else. Vaughan has shown a tone of restrain in this series, and the results have work in the book’s favor, letting the gorgeous art tell the story instead of going with a ton of scene-chewing exposition.

All joking earlier aside, Paper girls #4 continues to be a quality read, deserving your attention along with BKV’s excellent Saga. It’s a fun sci-fi book with some really clever nods to it’s late 80s setting, and the gorgeous visuals and design make it unlike anything else on the market. The first arc will wrap up next month, and it’s hard to predicate how this whole thing will end, which is exciting in it’s own right. Visually stunning, Paper Girls is a shining example of how good Image Comics is right now, and is worth your attention and money.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Bitch Planet #6

STK674615.jpg.square-true_maxheight-285_size-285Bitch Planet #6

Kelly Sue Deconnick, Taki Soma, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

The Feel Good Book of 2015 returns, with all the smiles, jokes, and sexiness you’ve come to expect from Bitch Planet. No wait, that’s all lies. Bitch Planet #6 is a bit of a downer, and an exceptional comic that covers a variety of topics rarely covered by comics. That’s the Bitch Planet we’ve come to know and appreciate.

Comics with parental advisory ratings slapped on them is nothing new to the medium Bitch Planet #6 however, is the first comic from a major publisher I’m aware of with a trigger warning for sexual assault, which is something I appreciate, even as a Cis White Dude. NOTHING in Bitch Planet is ever glorified, and writer Kelly Sue Deconnick and guest artist Taki Soma definitely put in some thought and consideration before doing what they did in this issue. Which, in case you didn’t pick up on the sarcasm above, makes for a depressing read, especially when you consider how issue 5 ended.

Bitch Planet #6 tells of how and why Meiko Maki landed was incarcerated.  It’s a tale of family, blackmail, casual racism, and revenge, making for a powerful comic that will make you feel 91b79f76075ba039b72f8e44051f9ad9._SX640_QL80_TTD_AWFUL once you’re done with it. Oh sure, Kelly Sue does toss in a few jokes to lighten up the mood, but it’s far from a fun read. Artist Taki Soma’s style is perfect for a flashback comic, as her styles gives off a nostalgic, Mad Men vibe. Her more simplistic, grounded style is perfect, for establishing the tone, and I love clean and minimalistic it is. There’s some excellent use of negative space, and Soma absolutely slays KSD’s violin metaphor. And most important all of her characters are super expressive, which really enhances the dialogue. New series colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick is a perfect fit for Taki, as her retro style color palette really gives the book a cool, exploitation era vibe, and the yellow, ageing look for the pages are a clever way to remind readers this a flashback. Clayton Cowles’ choice of fonts are all too fitting, as you would expect from a master-class Letterer like him. I’m impressed on how good Bitch Planet continues to look with rotating artists, and I hope to see this continue.

Bitch Planet continues to be some of the best work of Deconnick’s career, as she puts so much into every script. What we get in 24 pages of comics is so good, intelligent and fresh it really makes it hard to want to talk about other comics. Even when we get an issue like that that’s super depressing, you can really appreciate the level of craftsmanship involved in it.  And to sweeten the pot, we get some great back matter, including a nice pair of essays and a really important response to a well-meaning but ultimately insulting letter from a reader. For $4, you can do a lot worst.

Bitch Planet has always been one of the more rewarding and thought-provoking comics released in recent history, and issue six is no exception. The creators set out to tell a horrifying story, but make it so if you risk being triggered by it, you can skip over for it and wait for assault-free recap when issue 7 drops. It’s that sort of dedication to the reader/inclusion that I really appreciate, but am not surprised by given how thoughtful of a person Kelly Sue is.

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man & Deadpool #1

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_1_TextlessSpider-Man & Deadpool #1

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, Mark Morales, Jason Keith

Marvel $3.99

Coming into this review, you dear reader may expect some annoyance and snark from me regarding Marvel putting out yet another Deadpool title.  That’s fair assumption, given the books I like can make me come across as a bit of a comic snob. But it’s also totally wrong in this instance, haha, way to blow it nerd . Now let me tell you about why Phonogram is amazing…

No wait, let me actually get back on topic. CHRIS FACT: Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness’ Deadpool book from the late 90s kept me in cape comics. It’s a run that I really enjoyed, was my favorite book for a long time, and having them reunite on a Deadpool book warrants an instabuy from me. The fact that Spider-Man is involved too is nice, as I really enjoyed Joe Kelly’s all too brief run on Amazing Spider-Man, especially since it result in  THE BEST Spider-Man/Deadpool interaction of all time. That is not an opinion by the way, that is fact, how dare you imply otherwise.

spider-man-deadpool-1-interior-590x900Spider-Man and Deadpool #1 is a fantastic read. It’s also the gayest Marvel comic I’ve read since Angela, and that’s something I mean in the best way. Marvel has been not so great with LGBT representation in leading roles as of late, and giving a pan-sexual character like Deadpool another amazing creative team is nice to see, especially when it results in some of the most creative genital jokes I’ve seen in a Marvel comic. It’s also really funny, which is important given these two characters personalities, and looks stunning, thanks to the team of McGuiness, Mark Morales and Jason Keith. It also does a nice job of fitting into the status quo of both these heroes, which props to Joe Kelly and the editorial team, without having to sacrifice much of the charm Kelly brought to Deadpool and Spider-Man way back when.

The visuals created by Ed McGuiness and Mark Morales are top notch, even though I wish Ed would draw Spidey not as jacked as he does. I prefer my Spider-Man/Men drawn sleek, not like he’s dropping passing for the Jets. But that’s a minor nitpick, as his stylistic, Capcom fighting games meets John Romita Sr. style looks fantastic overall, especially in the case of Deadpool. He gets a lot of emotion from these character’s body language, which is very impressive, and his action scenes look great. Mark Morales’ inks are bold and clean, resulting in some crisp art that is colored superbly by Jason Keith. The art team comes together to create beautiful art that really captures the fun tone you would expect from a Spider-Man & Deadpool book.

GreyPouponIt’s been quite some time since Joe Kelly and McGuiness have collaborated on a Marvel book, although you couldn’t tell from Spider-Man and Deadpool #1. Both creators create a comic that feels like they’ve never stopped working together since the mid-90s, making for a great read for old and new readers alike. It’s a super accessible book that looks great and has a number of quality jokes, making it another fine addition to the relatively solid catalog of action/humor titles Marvel has been putting out as of late. The book may not convert any haters into fans, but anyone longing for more Deadpool in the style of one of his greatest runs is in for a real treat, with no fear of sudden cancellation.

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