Category: Reviews

REVIEW: The Last of Us: American Dreams

22396The Last of Us: American Dreams

Faith Erin Hicks/Neil Druckman/Rachel Rosenberg

Dark Horse #16.99

Instead of eating up the words count here, I tossed a wall of text up on my tumblr regarding PAX East 2014. So follow the link , read the article, and see how many corgi gif sets I reblogged on the regular.  (http://anarchris.tumblr.com/post/82736375965/of-pax-east-and-chris-here-comes-the-walls-of-text . One of the things I did pick up there was the show exclusive The Last of Us: American Dream hardcover, but the soft cover is available everywhere for about 10 bucks less. So I thought I’d shared my thought on it with the lot of you.

 

So yeah, The Last of Us, a game I’m fairly certain most of you heard of. It’s one of the best selling, heavily advertised and critically acclaimed games of 2013! Personally, even after waiting for a $20 off retail sale price, I found it a tad overrated, but you guys don’t want to hear about that (unless you do!). You’re here for comics and/or toys talk (one of these days. Maybe) . So let’s take a look at the Last of Us’ comic book tie-in/prequel story, American Dreams.

((NOTE: While I still have to PLAY the “new” single player DLC, I’m like 90% certain that this book take places before that.))

Last-of-Us-Comic-2I usually tend to avoid video game comic tie ins, mostly because they tend to be awful. However, the Internet has informed me that Dark Horse has been doing some good stuff with their’s, and TLOU: The American Dream is co-written and drawn by Faith Erin Hicks( Demonology 101, The War at Ellsmere , The Adventures of Superhero Girl, Friends With Boys), Naughty Dog’s  (The game developers) own Neil Druckman, and colorist Rachel Rosenberg. 

So is the book worth your time? Well yes and no. If you’re going into this comic with little to no idea what the game is about, you might fight yourself a tad disappointed. Aside from a note saying this takes places before the game, there’s nothing that explains why the world our lead Ellie inhabits is the way it is. You’re supposed to know that it’s a post-apocalyptic world devastated by the worst type of fungal/pollen outbreak ever. That’s something kind of crucial to the story.

And again, there really isn’t much of a story to be told. Since it’s a video game tie-in prequel, you’re introduced to a few characters, some who show up in the game, some who are mentioned in it, and that’s it. It sets up the downloadable content which bridges the gap between this comic and the actual game, but again, without any knowledge of the game, you’re going to be disappointed in the narrative.

last-of-us-2But what if you’re a fan of the game and want more from that world. Well then, you’re in luck. Faith Erin Hicks is an EXCELLENT artists, and why her art style is VASTLY different from the game’s, it doesn’t take away from anything. I hate to call it manga-esque, but it kind of it, as in the sense that’s very animated and detailed.  Also hella speedlines, and Ellie is kinda of big-eyed, but it also show you how good Faith Erin Hicks is when it comes to making her characters show any emotions. Hicks does excellent jobs of showing how run down the world (In think thinks takes place in Boston) is, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to showing violence.

lou3p5Dark Horse was wise to pair Hicks’ which Rachel Rosenberg, who I found out colored several X-men books over at Marvel that I really liked. Her colors do an excellent job setting the mood, using light colors for heavily dialogue scenes, bright colors for action sequences,  and darker ones for dramatic ones. It helps set the mood incredibly well.

What this book kind of lacks in narrative certainly makes up for in visuals. The Last of Us: American Dreams, isn’t for anyone, but if you’re a fan of the game and/or of Faith Erin Hicks, it’s definitely worth a read. It definitely reads better as a collection than in single issues, and it does help set the stage for one of the better characters to debut in video game in 2013.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics Late coz of PAX East edition

This review is a little late because I just got back from Boston. Well not just, more like got home, slept for forever, played with my cat and had coffee first, then got to writing. Priorities and such.

PAX East 2014 was awesome by the way, but I’ll get into that when I do my SPECIAL review of a Video Game related comic next around. But for now, comics talks!

REVIEWS:

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #2

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

THE WORST: There was no digital code with this book where there clearly was suppose to be. BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND, FIGHT THE MAN, ETC!

My lack of digital content aside (HAIL HYDRA!), I really dug the 2nd issue of Secret Avengers. The first issue was a lot of fun, establishing this run of the title may be a little more light-hearted than past incarnations of the title. The use of characters like MODOK, Spider-Woman and Phil Coulson are excellent comedic foils to your typical espionage Marvel characters like Black Widow, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. But not in a slap-slick way mind more, they’re just lighter and upbeat characters in a pretty dark sector of the Marvel Universe. Also Hawkeye’s in this book, and if this blog has taught anyone anything, it’s that I like books with Hawkeye in them.

Aside from being heavy on the action and humor, the book is incredibly clever, both visually and dialogue wise. In two issues the team  of Klot, Walsh and Wilson is assembled and their M.O. is established. Which in this age of multi-arc decompressed event books, having a complete story done in 2 chapters is a god send.

Now that Avengers Assemble is over, Secret Avengers is the Avengers book that you want to read if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s easy to get into, and veteran Marvel fans will like it for just being a good fun book. It joins Mighty Avengers as solid alternatives for reader who may be turned off by Johnathan Hickman‘s more complex and event driven Avengers books.

Lumberjanes01Lumberjanes #1

Shannon Watter, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson and Brook Allen

$3.99 Boom!/Boom Box

I was sold on this book the minute it was announced. The press release on Comics Alliance stated that Lumberjanes was to be “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” meets “Gravity Falls” and was co-created by one of my favorite artists on Tumblr. If none of that made sense to you, the translation is that I had very hype hopes for the book going into it.

But, did the book actually live up to my exceptions? Did I dig it even though Noelle Stevenson only co-wrote it and did the cover? HOW SWEET IS THAT COVER BRO?! These are some questions you may be asking right now, and I can only tell you the answers are Yes, very much yes, and so sweet! The first issue of Lumberjanes starts off incredibly strong, tossing you straight into the action, which involves our leading ladies hella punching 3-eyed foxes. If there’s nothing in that last sentence that didn’t appeal to you, it’s time to leave, and never return again.

There’s a LOT thrown at the reader in this first issue, which I’m okay with. Where as too many comics tend to guide the reader’s by the hand with boring scene-chewing dialogue and narration boxes,  Stevenson and co-writer Grace Ellis let the cast and their world’s actions speak louder than words. . The art team of Brooke Allen, Maarta Liaho and Aubrey Aiese is fantastic, as this books looks amazing. It’s very expressive and animated, and there’s a lot of stuff crammed into the panels that warrants re-reads. The ‘Janes body language is amazing, and it helps the reader figure out what kind of characters they’re dealing with here.

While Image is currently owning the mature audience creator scene, it’s nice to see BOOM!/Boom! Box put out something fun for all ages, especially with an all-female team. It’s a slick debut, and I’m hungry for more from this world.

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_25_TextlessAll New X-men #25

Brian Michael Bendis and like 20 something artists

Marvel, $4.99

All New X-men #25 is kind of a weird comic to review. It’s a jam issue, which means a lot of cool artists draw cool things. And that’s no hyperbole, you’re getting artists like Bruce Timm, Art Adams, Skottie Young, Dan Hipp and Jill Thompson contributing to this thing, as well as some new talent like Max Wittert (another familiar face from Tumblr ). But it’s ultimately the issues serves as a giant Eff you to a long time X-man, who’s admittedly had it coming, and less of a monumental 25th issue as advertised.

So it is worth the $5 bucks? Heck yes, it actually is. It’s a solid done in one that touches upon the Battle of Atom event, as well as serves as a slight recap to the series so far. Bendis and company do any excellent job of mixing humor with drama, just like they did early in this series. Only this time around it’s more of an artist showcase. It may not be for everyone, but All New X-men #25 is a step in the right direction, and hopefully will continue to improve now that we’re done with crossovers in this book.

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REVIEW: ALL HAIL THE RAT QUEENS

rat-queens-vol-01-releasesSo it seems to be confession time once again (It’s only Clobberin Time when Ben Grimm or CM Punk says so). This time, I must come clean and admit that I’m not a big fan of fantasy. Well at least not in the DnD/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones/Dragon Age sense of fantasy. I’ll mess around with a Final Fantasy here or there, or Blizzard’s super addicting Hearthstone, and hell, I even own all 9 issues of Battle Chasers. But traditional fantasy stuff really isn’t my thing, try as I might.

However, I am a fan of comedy, ass-kicking females, and Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ hit comic Saga. So if someone were to take those elements, and blend  them together (on a smoothie kick, sorry) in a Warcraft-esque setting, I’ll pay attention. Especially when the results are as good as the first volume of Rat Queens.

adf293b4c8f7f409df77c1bb9093da52Volume 1 is titled “SASS and SORCERY”, which now is automatically the best sub-genre of fantasy, no one denies this.  Jokes aside, it’s a really clever and funny title, and does a really good job of setting one’s expectations for this book. The 4 female leads are great, despite one of them being a dirty, dirty hipster (more of this later, which will lead to unintentional irony). They’re funny, tough as nails, attractive and most importantly believable, even though 3 of them aren’t even being human. Roc Upchurch, an artist who’s work I wasn’t familiar going into this first trade, is great, and really makes me regret not getting into this series sooner. I see a lot of Fiona Staples and Stjepan Sejic in Upchurch’s style, which if there’s any 2 creators you want to be channeling when drawing beautiful destructive ladies, it’s them. It’s a gorgeous looking book, even when it gets extremely violent (and it does, trust me)  and Upchurch’s work is that much more impressive once you realize he handles to colors as well.

Rat-Queens-004-2014-Digital-Fawkes-Empire-007And while Upchurch was a a new name to me, Kurtis J. Wiebe is not, which was one of the many reasons I was attracted towards this title once the buzz began. I really dug his work on Green Wake a few years ago, and Rat Queens shows how much he’s grown as a writer since. Wisely choosing to skip over old-timey talk, the more modern dialogue talk definitely helped draw me into this fantasy world and it’s cast. The Queens are extremely well-fleshed out, and there are some killer jokes to be had that work even without Upchurch’s  slick visuals. And speaking of jokes, there’s 2 in here that are arguably the funniest things I’ve seen in comics for some time. Props to Wiebe and Upchurch for that.

I’m about 400 words in, so it’s probably best that I explain what the premise is. The Rat Queens are 4 young female adventurers; there’s Dee the sole human who happens to be an atheist mage, my personal favorite Violet, the hipster dwarf warrior ( BEHOLD THE IRONY), Rockabilly Elf-mage Hannah and “Baby” Betty, the drug-fueled Hippy Smidgen Thief. This quartet is extremely good at what they do, which includes such activities as getting drunk and destroying parts of their hometown during their down time.  Someone in the town is less than pleased with this, and decides the best way to deal with the Queens and their peers to have a bunch of assassins kill them. Needless to say, shenanigans ensue. Violent ones at that!

There was some ridiculously awesome books that dropped via Image in 2013, but  Rat Queens may be up there with Sex Criminals in terms of overall quality. If you’re a fan of funny and awesome comics , the $10 for the first volume is more than worth. The series picks up back in May (glad to see another book following the patent Saga format), and you’ll want to be on board with it’s return.

 

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics SPRINGGGGGG!

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

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

OTHER BOOKS WHAT SHIPPED THAT YOU MAY LIKE:

Empowered Special #6

Furious #3

Might MGMT #20

Tomb Raider #2

Adventures of Superman #11

Aquaman #29

Sandman Overture #2

Wake #7

Legends of Red Sonja #5

Rocky and Bullwinkle #1

Deadly Class #3

Fatale #21

Sex #12

Walking Dead #124

All New Ghost Rider #12

Amazing X-men #5

Deadpool #26

Superior Spider-Man #30

Bravest Warriors #18

Hacktivist #3

 

REVIEWS

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

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

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

avengers_assemble__25_by_zurdom-d71ie6xAvengers Assemble 25

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

Marvel $3.99

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

 

1000093043Hawkeye 18

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99

Well that escalated quickly!

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

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

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics : Uncanny Sex Marvels

Once again, I am extremely too proud of that title.

Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:

Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1

Witcher #1

Animal Man #29

Superman Unchained #6

Wonder Woman #29

American Vampire Second Cycle #1

Bad Ass #3

Samurai Jack #6

Fuse #2

Lazarus #7

Rocket Girl #4

Daredevil Vol 4 #1

Iron Man #23.Now

Thor God of Thunder #20

Adventure Time #26

Sixth Gun #39

WWE Superstars #3

Shadowman #15

X-O Manowar #23

REVIEWS!

 

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_19.NOW_TextlessUncanny X-Men 19.NOW

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

FACT: That pet variant is both frightening and terrifying, stay the fresh hell away from it.

It’s UMX Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. (part 1), despite the fact that neither group appear on panel together at any given point. THAT BENDIS DECOMPRESSION LYFE Y’ALL!

What we get is the reveal of Dazzler’s fate (it’s super icky!), S.H.I.E.L.D. grilling a former X-man, and Scott’s team versus a whole bunch of new Sentinels! Which is still a fun read, don’t get me wrong, but has nothing to do with that cover. Chris Bachalo and his army of inkers are all in fine form, with some really cool Sentinel redesigns, some sick looking spells from Magik, and what is probably an intentional horrible new costume for Goldballs. Yes he’s a thing. Yes, that name is definitely intentionally horrible.

Bendis and company don’t do anything ground-breaking with this issue, but they seem to be setting up a fun little story that will hopefully wrap up several yet to be addressed plot points the book has set up in it’s first year. It’s off to a good start, I just hope it delivers, as this book has been on a hot streak as of late and I’d hate to see it end with this arc.

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-10.09.55-PM-424x400Sex Criminals #5

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50

This issue starts off with a MATURE READERS ONLY recap poem. And with that, I officially forgive Matt and Chip for the delays the book has been facing.

Issue 5 officially wraps up the first volume of Sex Crim, changing the book’s status quo a bit. Nothing too big though, as this book is called Sex Criminals for a reason after all.

Also the whole “pooping in the plant thing” is explained, which I was surprised that it would be at all. Had it pegged as a one-note gag at best, but there’s a deeper meaning behind it. “Deeper” is a relative term by the way.

Something I really like about Sex Crim is that is requires re-reads. These are due to Chip Zdarsky putting a ton of work into his panels, and hiding all sorts of disgusting and awesome jokes everywhere. Do they further the narrative? No. Did I laugh out loud several times reading this issue? Yes. Maus this book ain’t, and it never claimed to be. Issue 5 feels a little slow in terms of development, but it’s definitely a book worth buying. The hiatus until June may kill me (HYPERBOLE!)

portrait_incredible (1)Captain Marvel #2

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

On paper, this opening pages of Ms Marvel sound like a horror book. A mysterious fog blows into Jersey City and a young girl becomes a shape shifting freak as black helicopters circle Manhattan. It’s not until a transformation gag kicks in 4 pages deep does the book remind us this is a spandex affair.

That’s not a bad thing by the way. After an incredibly strong debut issue, Wilson, Alphona and friends deliver a great follow up issue, as Kamala tries to figure out what exactly she’s turned into, and springs into action for the first time. Also family drama. It’s an fun read, with some really clever use of faith interwoven into the narrative. Plus some “be careful for what you wish for” type stuff, going back to my opening statement about how this book feels kind of feels like a horror title in the beginning.

With gorgeous visuals from Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring and some incredibly endearing dialogue from G. Willow Wilson (and a sharp cover by Jamie McKelve), Ms Marvel is shaping up to be a can’t miss title from the House of Ideas.  With Saga on hiatus on May, this may be THE book to be reading in 2014.

 

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

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

300px-Secret_Avengers_Vol_3_1Secret Avengers #1

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matt Wilson

Marvel, $3.99

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

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

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

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

hawkeye17cvrHawkeye #17

Matt Fraction, Chris Eliopoulous, David Aja, Jordie Bellaire

Marvel $2.99

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

Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_TextlessCaptain Marvel #1

Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, Lee Loughridge

Marvel, $3.99

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

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

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

portrait_incredibleSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #9

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $2.99

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

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Oni Press Double Review Feature: Megagogo & Down! Set! Fight!

I’ve been reading a LOT of Marvel and Image books as of late, which comes to the surprise of no one who reads this column on the reg. For good reasons mind you, as both publishers have been doing a great job of putting out books that appeal to me. But even I need a little change of pace every now and then, and Oni Press is usually the publisher that scratches that itch .

I’m going to focus on a pair of recently released graphic novels by some relatively new creators, both published by the fine folks over at Oni. Oni Press has released a number of titles I’ve really enjoyed over the years, such as Scott Pilgrim, Wasteland, Super Pro KO! and the Sixth Gun, just to name a few. I really dug both these books, and hopefully you will too. If not, no worries, I’ll be talking about like 5 new Marvel books come the weekend.

MegaGoGo-V1-1Megagogo by Wook Jin Clark

Recently, I found myself interested in seeing what was up with the Power Rangers, mostly due to various Twitter babble. It’s probably been close to 15 years, if not longer, since I’ve cared about the franchise in an non-Figuarts context. And since most of the various series is available on Netflix, I thought I’d give one of the newer seasons a shot.

SPOILER: I did not like it.

So I gave up on MMPR. Several days later Comics Alliance ran a preview for Megagogo, which was Super-Sentai-esque, only a little more mature, for a lack of a better word. There’s shades of Voltron, Kamen Rider and Pacific Rim in there as well, not nothing that could be considered homage or parody. It was very much WHAT I was looking for out of my Power Rangers-fueled nostalgia journey, so I gladly dropped the $20 it retailed for.

MegaGoGo-V1-11For those not familiar with the book, Megagogo pits a bunch of Giant Robot piloting heroes against monsters and the KKK. Most of this first volume sets up the world (set in  Atlanta, GA), illustrated beautifully by Wook Jin Clark. Clark’s art reminds me a lot of Jeff Smith‘s post-Bone work (Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil, Rasl), with dash of manga flair, with the expert use of grey-scale and black and white. The characters faces are very expressive, which helps sell the dialogue a ton . I also took great delightful in Clark’s use of sound effect, because I’m the type of dude who appreciates a giant OH SNAP written in the background while a Giant Mecha Robot pummels as Kaiju.

Speaking of the ultra-violence, the fight scenes in Megagogo are super fun. Without spoiling things, the final battle in the book is a must-read, and is probably one of the most unique fight scenes to grace comics in some time.

While the narrative is nothing deep, Megagogo is a super fun read, and well worth your time if you’re into books with giant robots punching hella racists. And if you’re not, yo, what’s up with that?

oni-press-down-set-fight-soft-cover-1Down! Set! Fight! by Chad Bowers, Chris Sims Scott Kowalchuk and Josh Krach

As far as Comic Journalists go, I’m a fan of Chris Sims. He’s down a ton of fun stuff for Comics Alliance over the years (as well as Wired, Cracked, With Leather and a few other places), and I’ve had a fun timing chatting with him at Heroescon in the past. And I’m digging what he and Chad Bowers are doing with Erica Henderson are doing with Subatomic Party Girls  (Monkey Brain), so this book wasn’t the hardest sell for me. I mean, it’s not mecha vs racism, butttttt an disgraced ex-football player forced to do combat with a legion of sports mascots is pretty great as well.

 

What did end up taking me by surprise is how good Scott Kowalchuk’s art is. There’s a Chris Samnee vibe to it, with hints of Jazzy John Romita Sr. His colors are pretty great too, capturing the look and feel of the Southern setting perfectly.

2-682x1024In case you somehow skipped the 2nd paragraph, this book definitelu delivers. It feels like some sort of Black Dynamite/Batman ’66 mash-up, with some Looney Tunes level violence. There are a ton of action in this book, all well “choreographed”, and at times, hilarious. Going back to the Looney Tunes comparison, it’s more more pianos-falling-on-coyotes, then say Invincible. And much like Megagogo and Scott Pilgrim before them, there’s some extremely clever uses of sound effects.

Overall, neither of these books are reinventing the wheel, which they never claim to be doing to begin with. But what they are is good looking and fun reads. Which is fine, because I love fun, and you should too. At $20 a pop, both of these books deserve a spot on your book shelves. Big ups to the creators and Oni Press for continuing to fill the racks with something different.

 

-Chris Troy can be found screaming about True Detective on all sorts of social media thiniges @theanarchris

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: #1 with a Bullet

I’m still waiting to read it, but I thumbed through Moon Knight #1 off the rack this poast week and DAYUMMMMMMM, this is a good looking book. You should buy it just based the art by Declan Shavley & Jordie Bellaire. It’s worth the $4, especially when you factor in  that this book is written by Warren Ellis. So yeah, go get on that y’all.

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Veil #1

Action Comics #29

Green Arrow #29

Trillium #7

Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2

Revival #18

Starlight #1

Velvet #4

Magneto #1

She Hulk #2

Wolverine and the X-men #1

Afterlife with Archie #4

Archer and Armstrong #18

REVIEWS

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_18_TextlessUncanny X-men #18

Brian Michael Bendis/Marco Rudy/ Val Staples

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

THAT is how you do covers y’all. Props to Alexander Lozano on some fine work.

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen J.H Williams III draw comics, cover or interiors. Between him quitting Batwoman and the delays on the new Sandman mini series (#2 was supposed to drop last month BTW), his presence on the comics stands is missed.

Marco Rudy is not quite on J.H. Williams’ level, BUT YO, this is a great looking book! Rudy does some amazing things with the layouts, ranging from using giant Xs to lay out the panel, to using Cyclops’ out of control powers to frame the pages. The end results, heavy on reds, blacks, and whites colors, are breathtaking. I really hope we see more of Rudy on this book when Chris Bachalo needs a break. His ability to mimic other artists style is showcased too, channeling some David Mack & John Byrne at times. There was a lot of GOOD looking books coming out from Marvel this week, and this is one of the best looking ones.

Plot-wise, Brian Michael Bendis and Rudy touches upon a number of various plot elements the team has faced, focusing heavily on Cyclops. The creative team does a great job of having Scott touch upon these events, and is a fitting end to these last few done in ones. It does a great job closing out one chapter and setting up the next “Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.” arc, which I’m very excited for.

 

BurnTheOrphanage_03-1Burn The Orphanage: Born to Lose #3

Daniel Freedman, Sina Grace

Image, $4.99, 41 pages

3 issues in, I thought I had Burn the Orphanage figured out. Thought #3 was going to be the wrap up to the Born to Lose trilogy, a cool arc that introduced the cast, set up their very video game inspired world, and enjoy the most video game reference in a comics since Scott Pilgrim’s heyday.

And then this issue dropped. Oh sure there’s some video game references in it. And yes, it does deal with the fallout with the events of issue 2, placing the lead character Rock on an alien world, frame for a crime he didn’t commit. Which is very much something that makes sense for this series.

What I WASN’T expecting was a in-dept discussion about love and dating between 2 of the Rock’s friends. And it’s very well done, I won’t deny that. BUT it just felt very out of place given the previous themes explored in issue #1 and 2. And I applaud Daniel Freedman and Sina Grace for trying something new with the book, I just wish it was executed a little better.

I also wish the book had an actual ending, and not a cliffhanger that won’t be addressed until May when the series becomes a monthly. Which is great, but again the execution could have been better. Despite my problems though, BTO:BTL #3 is a solid read. A weird one, but a good one none the less.

 

 

 

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

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

BOOKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:

Strain the Fall #8

Animal Man #28

Justice League #28

Wonder Woman #28

Fables #138

Bad Ass #2

Undertow #1

Amazing X-Men #4

Marvel Knights Hulk #3

Adventure Time #25

Quantum & Woody #8

 

REVIEWS:

uxm17Uncanny X-men #17

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

3592047-daredevil_36_coverDaredevil #36

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

 

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

I am entirely too proud of that title.

the-fuse-01web-The Fuse

Antony Johnston/Justin Greenwood/Shari Chankhamma/Ed Brisson

Image/$3.50/ 30 pages

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

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

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

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

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

3581036-all_new_x-men_23_keown_variantAll New X-Men

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s some quality picks that dropped this week:

Baltimore Chapter of Bones #2

Lobster Johnson Get the Lobster #1

Action Comics #28

Batman Black and White #6

Trillium #6

Turok Dinosaur Hunter #1

Lazarus #6

Loki Agent of Asgard #1

Punisher #1

Fox #4

Regular Show #9

Archer & Armstrong #0.2014

Reviews:

comics-ms-marvel-1Ms Marvel #1

G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

saga15-cover#1a) Saga

Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

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

 

::: Checks word count and curses :::

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

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

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

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

background#1b) Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber (Marvel)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

jul1309615) Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Troy Toy’s But With Comics: Very fill in. Such Rush. Wow.

This is the last big release week in 2013, and man, it ended on kind of a downer comics-wise. 4 out of the 5 Marvel books I pulled had more than 1 artist attached to them, and the one with the correctly solicited team still involved a guest artist. Also Saga was kind of brutal. I suppose some explanations are needed.

dd34Daredevil #34

Mark Waid/Javier Rodriguez/Alvardo Lopez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages.

Javier Rodriguez came out swinging this week, which is exactly what Daredevil needed after the less than stellar art from last issue. He was a more than adequate fill-in for regular series artist Chris Samnee last time around, but man, Javier really stepped up his game since then  and it leads to some very strong framing sequences and panels in this issue. It’s a very Marcus Martin meets Annie Wu style, especially when it comes to facial expressions and body language. Add strong inks from Alvardo Lopez, with Javier coloring himself, you get a very strong final product. Mark Waid, remains flawless when it comes to dialogue, which surprises no one. This current arc of Daredevil has been impressive, mixing current headlines with obscure Marvel horror, and it’s hard to think who else but Waid could have pulled it off. This was easily the best book Marvel released this week, although it did some strong competition.

marvel-avengers-assemble-issue-22inhAvengers Assemble 22.INH

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Paco Diaz/Nolan Woodward

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

You can tell Warren Ellis has come aboard a title when the books starts off with “There are thing of yours I would very much like inside of me.”

That’s not a complaint mind you. Ellis works well with series regular Kelly Sue Deconnick, although the book feels a little more snarky and adult than usual. It’s still a delightful read, as it’s easiest the most fun and humorous Avengers book on the market. This Inhumanity tie-in arc started off on a great foot and the addition of Ellis has only made things better, especially since this story calls back to previous

The only downside to this issue is that Paco Diaz, the other artist attached to this title does not mesh well with Mattero Buffangi. I like Diaz a lot from his work on Daniel Way’s Deadpool, put his pages stick out like a sore thumb, despite Nolan Woodward’s excellent work on the colors. Still not a bad issue, it’s just stinks that some lesser art takes away from the final product. Speaking of which…

ANXMEN2012020-DC11-LR-e6953_latest_photosAll New X-men #20

Brian Michael Bendis, Mahmud Asrar,Brandon Peterson, Israel Silva, Marte Gracia

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

See above? Repeat that, but replace the names. Asrar and Peterson are both fine artists, but their styles could not be anymore different. And it doesn’t help that some of Asrar’s pages look extremely rushed, and both artists have their own separate colorists. It’s not a bad comic, but it’s certainly not as good as the book has been. Also ignore that cover, nothing like that even comes close to happening. Again, another good comic ruined by rushed art, something Marvel has excelled at this past week.

::: Also see Longshot saves the Marvel Universe #4 sadly :( :::

saga-17-web-72Saga #17

Brian K Vaughn, Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

This is Saga’s Red Wedding issue. Or it’s Walking Dead midseason finale if that first reference doesn’t make sense to you. It’s the type of issue that has people screaming about their feels on Tumblr, because oh god, it hurts, and chances are it’s not going to get better next issue.

BKV and Staples has been carefully crafting this moment since the 3rd volume began. It’s been pretty light on the action, focusing on building characters and relationships, all while the volume 2 cliffhanger remained mostly ignored, not falling into place until the last 2 issues. And then previous issues’ cliffhanger drops, and it turns out to be a massive swerve and GUH, THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD Y’ALL, ALTHOUGH IT’S ALL FOR THE WRONG REASONS, GAH!

So yeah, Saga’s still great, but MANNNNNNN, it hurts y’all. It hurts.

I still need to read Pretty Deadly #3, but what I saw I liked. So it’s fairly safe to seem it’s pull-worthy. And with that, that wraps up my 2013 pulls. The next 2 weeks are extremely light on comics, so I have something else in store. Plus maybe I’ll look at some new toys. Who knows, but happy holidays regardless FPNYC Faithful.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Small Week.

QUICK REC: I’m not sure how much you, the reader, may or may not be interested in WWE wrestling (aka “The Wrestle”), but if you are, you NEED to flip through WWE Superstars‘ debut this week. That book is insane, in the best sorts of ways, and I assure you, it’s good for a few (unintentional) chuckles. People who aren’t into the “sport” should look away, but I believe in the Shield and I was not disappointed with what I got. Now to to comics definitely worth buying.

 

UNCX2013015-DC11-LR-3a1a4Uncanny X-men 15.Inh

Brian Michael Bendis/ Kris Anka

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages.

NOTE THE .INH! DON’T WORRY, IT’S NOT TOO HEAVY ON THE INHUMANITY THINGS, AND IT CAN BE ENJOYED REGARDLESS IF YOU CARED ABOUT INFINITY OR NOT.

Uncanny 15.INH was another solid done-in-one by Bendis and guest artist Kris Anka. Anka reminds me a lot of All New X-Men’s Stuart Immonen, only his character’s facial features seem a little softer. Which is not an insult mind, and is good seeing how this is a very female heavy issue. Anka does a fantastic job on this issue and I hope he comes back from time to time. His body language is great, his fashion sense is superb, and the very expressive art really helps to sell the humor Bendis injects into the script.

Bendis needs to pay extra attention to a name in this issue, as there’s a HUGE easter egg/gag referring to one of his most hated moments from his STILL on-going Ultimate Spider-Man run. And it works, given the X-Men played a role in THAT particular story. Clever nods to his past works aside, the issue is great. Ton of characterization, some really funny moments, a splash of action and a nice use of the greater Marvel universe to tie it all together. These last 2 issues of Uncanny X-Men have been the best the series has seen, which is exactly what this title has needed to even the playing field with it’s sister books.

Superior_Foes_of_Spider-Man_Vol_1_6_TextlessThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #6

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages 

“I wand you to draw Doom…like one of your French Girls.” G.P.O.Y. Y’ALL!

The Superior Foes… is pretty much the Marvel equivalent of an F/X (or is it FXX these days?) comedy. The cast is pretty unlikeable for some reason (or several), but occasionally do some things that makes them enjoyable, and then karma kicks them in the face and we have a good laugh. This issue starts off with a date, which makes you want to cheer for Boomerang at points, but then you remember that he’s kind of a scumbag. And then you find out what exactly his past actions have done to the other members of the Sinister Six, Speaking of endings, man the one for this one is a doozey.

Spencer and Lieber continue to wow me every month with this book. The humor is the best thing about this title, ranging from quick  little throwaway gags to some amazing panels that are laugh out loud funny. You may think a sad, drunk Doctor Doom isn’t canon, but I think it’s great and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does so. And the creators have done an excellent job of making a bunch of B-list villains both enjoyable and likeable, without ignoring the fact that they’re criminals. Which I like, because some bad guys are cool because they’re evil and it sucks when they’re watered down (see 90s Marvel). Superior continues to excel, and I hope this book sticks around, as it’s a complete gem of a title.

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