Category: Stuff We Like

Chris’ Comics: All-New Hawkeye #6 & Captain Marvel #4

2016-04-21-allnewhawkeyeAll-New Hawkeye #6

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Hey it’s the finale issue of All-New Hawkeye! Again!

This ending is FOR REAL though, as it’s apparently the last installment in this series by the team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring. And while I’ve found this run a little uneven at times, issue #6 (which is the 12th issue for this team, but you know, COMICS!) offers the reader a lot, and actually changes things up for Team Hawkeye in a major way.

While I haven’t been the biggest fan of the flashback material Lemire and Perez have been doing throughout this run, this issue completely justifies the use of that narration device. Exploring Kate Bishop’s past was a good call, and the events in this issue does something real fascinating with Kate that I dare not spoil. It clarifies some things that date back to Kate’s earliest appearances in Young Avengers, and  hopefully retcons something extremely outdated & problematic from those stories as well. This carries over to the present day stuff, which I imagine will be used to launch whatever the next incarnation of Hawkeye will be in the coming months.

If there’s been on constant thing about this team throughout the last 12 issues, it’s been Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s work. The two artists have been great time and time again, and this finale really sees them come into their own as story tellers, mixing some cool silver age aesthetics in the flashback material with some lush and vibrant pages for the modern day sections of the book. Perez and Herring really had their work cut out for them coming into this book, and it’s been super enjoyable watching them grow and experiment over the last year.

We don’t know what lies in store for Team Hawkeye in the coming months, but All-New Hawkeye was a interesting exploration of the lives of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Lemire, Perez and Herring didn’t exactly have the critically acclaimed run their predecessors had, but it was a fun story none the less. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see the Hawkeyes in action again.

portrait_incredible (7)Captain Marvel #5

Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Felipe Smith, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

It’s slightly ironic that we’re discussing Captain Marvel, and to a lesser extent Abigail Brand, on 4/26/16, aka Alien Day (#brands). Earlier issues of this arc definitely felt like a homage to the classic Sci-Fi property, and this issue has 2 female character very much getting their Elena Ripley on.

Captain Marvel #5 sees writers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters make Carol Danvers current scenario go from bad to worse, as Alpha Flight’s attempts to deal with this “new” alien threat don’t go so well. Oh and that pesky traitor is still in their ranks, mucking things up. What’s bad for Carol and company is great for readers, and we’re treated to 20 pages of high stakes actions, beautifully depicted by Kris Anka, Felipe Smith and Matthew Wilson. I don’t think I’ve seen two artist who manage to blend their respected styles as well as Anka and Smith, and Wilson’s colors are a sight to behold. I love how Wilson sets such vibrant characters against dark backgrounds, giving the book a refreshingly modern and sharp look.

The Elena Ripley comparison feels spot on with Carol and Abigail never say die attitudes. Both character, despite their VERY comic book genealogy, feel so human, but never weak. It’s inspiring in several ways, and makes for a pair of characters that are easy to root for. I particularly like a very Shonen Manga influenced scene, where Carol’s staff let their leader know they’re with her in this high risk scenario. It’s a nice upbeat moment that gives the reader something to rally behind as the crisis at hand gets worse.

Captain Marvel #5 is the type of penultimate chapter you want from a 6 issue arc. The stakes of raised to the point where it genuinely feels no one is safe. It’s an impressive feet, given how predictable cape comics and can often be, and it’s just another reason why Captain Marvel is one of the best super hero titles coming out from Marvel currently.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #17

Gotham_Academy_Vol_1-17_Cover-1_TeaserGotham Academy #17

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Annie Wu, Michael Dialynas,, David Peterson, Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

 

One of the best things about the Yearbook arc is the variety in tone and genre the stories in each issue are. I knew nothing about the creators contributing to Gotham Academy #19, originally thinking it was the conclusion of this storyline. This month I was pleasantly surprised to see the issue kick off with a story that more or less crosses over Black Canary for example, another title that Brenden Fletcher writes.

We get a lot of content from issue #19, which see the girls set out to get their scrapbook from returning guest star Robin (Damian Wanye). It acts as the bridge between the other 3 tales, and again, not a bad bit of storytelling, I just get a little irked everything artist Adam Archer draws Olivia and company’s heads too large or too lumpy. I’m also not a fan of 2how it looks like Damian’s costume is too big for him.

The Annie Wu drawn crossover story sees the GA kids run into Heathcliff, who first showed up in this book and then started showing up as a supporting character in Black Canary. This is probably my favorite story of the bunch, as it looks great, and I really like the way Fletcher handles the reunion between Heathcliff and Pomeline. Wu is colored by Serge Lapointe, who’s washed out and neon color palette is perfect for a story involving relationships and music.

From there we get Michael Dialynas, who’s worked on The Woods for Boom Studios, telling the story of that one time Maps and Olivia ran into a demon cat on campus. This 6 page story starts off with a cool horror vibe to it, but then gets a little cuter once we find out who’s responsible for said cat. It’s the story has a Batman: The Animated series vibe to it, and I love how Dialynas can manage to pull off horror and adorable with his art.

By assembling so many different on this title the last few months,Gotham Academy has exposed me to a variety of creators I occasionally have little to no prior experience with. That statement is especially true come the end of this comic, where Mouse Guard creator David Peterson tells a story set in Gotham Academy’s past. He creates a quartet of 4 new GOTHAC_17_3characters, and the story revolves around the oft-mentioned “Sorcery & Spells” game that Maps loves so much. Aside from being absolutely gorgeous to look at, I love how it’s inspired by the 1980s Dungeon and Dragons panic, in which the game was believed to have some sort of Satanic ties. Also, the way Peterson tackled the project is super impressive, and I encourage you all to go visit his site and read up on how he approached this story.

“Yearbook” has been a incredible arc for Gotham Academy, and no issue proves that more than this one. The range of talent involved in every issue is insane, and it’s impressive how much mileage each creator can get from a book that only had a dozen or so issues under it’s belt before this arc started. Brenden Fletcher, along with Karl Keschel and Becky Cloonan have created a fantastic playground for this guest creators, and seeing the character celebrated like this month after month has been great.

 

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Chris’ Comics: X-men ’92 #2

5148021-02X-men ’92 #2

Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Alti Firmansyah, Matt Milla

Marel $3.99

As someone who’s read a ton of Chris Sims’ work over the years, I’m actually a little ashamed I didn’t see the final page of this comic coming. Way to make me feel like a real dumb-dumb sir.

X-Men ’92 #2 doesn’t just embrace the fact that they can now tell stories that are TOO HOT FOR (1992) TV this month. Oh no, writers Sims and Chad Bowers rub our faces in it, practically screaming “HEY LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS WE CAN DO NOW, LOOK LOOK, LOOK!”, but in a fun and excited sort of way. Which is fair, because while this book definitely hits some notes that are DARK AND EXTREMEEEEEEEEEEE, it remain a delightful read that’s a bit over the top in all the right ways. If you told me that we’d see a plot point taken from Marvel’s defunct Midnight Sons line in a comic in 2016, I would have called you a liar. In the writer’s defense, they successfully create a narrative in which this relic from the 90s works for the story. And speaking of weird story beats, Bowers and Sims decide to pay tribute to a more recent but weird as all hell X-men story, once again merging the past with a more recent weird X-men story. It’s the best kind of fan service for any devout X-men fan, especially if they dig the odder bits of continuity.

Also Rogue can’t stop hitting bears is a new running gag of sorts that I am 1000% okay with.

Artist Alti Firmansyah really comes into her own this month, cutting back on the references in the art and doing her own thing with the layouts. I’m more than fine with this, as is results in some dynamic storytelling, complete with some very expressive faces, and some extremely well “choreographed” fight scenes. There’s a scene that’s surprisingly violent in this issue, which Firmansyah handles by blacking out the characters involved for a panel, making it X-Men-92-2-4way less graphic, but still coherent enough for readers to figure out what’s going on. Also I love how timeless she can mast her characters look, even though several of them have some rather dated and peculiar character designs. My only real complaint with the art is that Maverick loses his eyes for several panes in this book, although I’m uncertain if that’s on Alti or colorist Matt Milla. That snafu aside,  I love how bright and dynamic the colors are in this book, especially come the final pages of the issue.

X-men ’92 remains a engaging and entertaining read. By being set in it’s own continuity, the creators can pull from so much, and completely surprise readers. Sims and Bowers’ dialogue is very whimsical, and helps to make the stakes feel high, even while being a tad silly. And Firmansyah and Milla do an exceptional job of invoking the styles of the 90s, and updating them in a way that just feels right. As I said time and time again, X-men ’92 is a great book that’s self contained and scratches so many itches while only being 20 pages. It’s the perfect read for someone who only wants to read 1 X-men title a month, and not have to worry about other events in the Marvel Universe interfering with the story.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Captain Marvel 3

portrait_incredible (6)Captain Marvel #3

Michele Fazeka, Tara Butters, Kris Anka, Felipe Smith, Matthew Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

This volume of Captain Marvel never ceases to impress me in different ways with every new issue. This month, Kris Anka is joined by Felipe Smith (Ghost Rider) on art duties, and it was something I didn’t notice until re-reading the credits. I’ve seen Smith’s art before, and it’s amazing how much he changes his style for this issue to look like Anka’s.  I have no clue which pages he drew and which ones Kris did, as there’s art in this comic that looks more like Jamie McKelvie‘s than it does either of them. Of course that may be due to the fact that McKelvie’s usual colorist Matthew Wilson gets a little experimental with the colors in this issue, which is giving me some The Wicked & The Divine flashbacks. And props to letter Joe Caramagna for doing the same with his fonts, really tying the whole package together.

f916ecd5d21b90a9a98f67f314e85417._SX640_QL80_TTD_Wilson, by the way, is the MVP of this issue. Anka and Smith are all sorts of great, but Wilson’s colors do a fantastic job of bringing their art and wonderful designs to life. His choices in background colors are choice, giving the book the proper space/science fiction vibe it deserves, and I really like what he does with the “Flasback” segments of the issue. How Matt Wilson manages to be so inventive when he’s coloring so many books so well is beyond me, but I appreciate his contributions, and will not question that.

If the Kelly Sue Deconnick era was Carol’s Star War phase, the Fazekas/Butters is her Mass Effect era: Large supporting cast, light political intrigue, and some hardcore science fiction. It’s a change that really hasn’t explored Carol’s psyche or drive, but it’s something we don’t necessarily need. Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters have done an excellent job developing Carol’s supporting cast, stripping Carol down to her core self. Which is fine, because I don’t need to know why Carol is a hot headed badass who’s set out to do the right thing. We all know why by now, so just seeing her do it is all I need and want.

In addition to ramping up the mystery surrounding the weird alien ship and dealing with a possible traitor on Alpha Flight, the writers Screen-Shot-2016-03-17-at-1.44.41-PMfocus a little more on Abigail Brand in issue 3. You’ll hear no complaints from me, as these two handle the character as well as such creators like Joss Whedon and Kieron Gillen have in the past. I’m a fan of Brand, and having her be the straight woman to Carol is a genius idea.

Captain Marvel #3 is another exceptional issue from this creative team, one that manages to excel even with some help from a guest creator. From an intriguing plot, to some fun character designs, engaging dialogue and cool action set pieces, Captain Marvel has never been better. It’s definitely worth your time, and a great recommendation for anyone jonesing for the Agent Peggy Carter fix. We’ve entered a new Golden Age for comics featuring Carol Danvers, and Captain Marvel is leading the way by being constantly excellent.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man/Deadpool #3

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_3_TextlessSpider-Man/Deadpool #3

Joe Kelly,Ed McGuinnes, Mark Morales, Jason Keith, Joe Sabino

Marvel $3.99

I’ve been reading Deadpool comics since Fabian Niceza and Joe Madureira were working on them, and it’s interesting to see how the character has developed over the last few decades. Wade Wilson has gone from a one note character to one that could support several books, one in particular that’s chock full of queer subtext, and both geopolitical and white privilege commentary. Fandom is a weird, yet wonderful thing at times, and it really feels like Deadpool as a character under editor Jordan D White is aware of what Tumblr users think of Wade, and have incorporated those elements into the character. It also helps that Joe Kelly, a man who helped make Deadpool a more three dimensional character all those years ago is the one doing this, mixing his take on the character with the incarnation that Gerry Duggan has been writing over the last 4 years.

d18b1878-cbf9-4908-9605-8df72c1ca522Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 is a comic that sounds simple enough (Spider-Man agrees to hang out with Deadpool for a day) but turns out to be a lot deeper read than one would expect. Oh sure there’s a lengthy fight scene involving a ton of forgotten 90s Marvel characters, but there’s also a shocking amount of emotion involved. Also jokes. The humor in this issue is fantastic, ranging from Looney Tune-esque violence you would expect from these characters, to some more mature and smart stuff. Kelly manages to do a lot in this 20 pages, never overloading readers with dialogue, and knowing when to let the art do the heavy lifting. He’s the perfect writer for this book, and nothing against Dan Slott or Duggan, but he’s probably the guy best sorted for these characters, given his history with them both.

I have never not loved Ed McGuiness’ art, and obviously this issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool isn’t going to change that fact. Spidey, Deadpool and his team of mercenaries head overseas for a job in this issue, and McGuiness, along w/ inker Mark Morales and Jason Keith, 54yk9bwproduce some fantastic art. We get to see Ed get to draw a plethora of characters featuring different body times, and it’s just so kinetic and fun. The whole thing looks like highlights from a top tier fighting game tournament, which is referenced at the end of the fight in those most Scott Pilgrim of manners. Which by, props to letterer Joe Sabino, who has to deal with a ton of dialogue due to who’s starring in this book. Also the inker and colorist are a big reason while the final big scene in this comic works, perfectly playing light off of the darkness to help make the emotional impact of Spider-Man meeting a very important person in Pool’s life work as well as it does.

A book like Spider-Man/Deadpool could be a success just by the popularity of the title characters alone. But editors Jordan D White and Nick Lowe really went above & beyond, getting Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness to come back to their most famous collaboration, which is resulting is a phenomenal comic. There’s a layer of depth and emotions one wouldn’t expect from a book starring two of Marvel’s biggest IPs that surprisingly, but not in a way that clashes with the appeal of the characters. It also happens to be a fun super hero book, thanks to Kelly’s wonderful quips and McGuiness’ larger than life art. Spider-Man/Deadpool #3 is a terrific comic, and something Marvel should be extremely proud to be publishing.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Black Widow #1

Black_Widow_1_CoverBlack Widow #1

Chris Samnee, Mark Waid, Matthew Wilson, Joe Caramagna

Marvel $3.99

FACT: Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, & Matthew Wilson have done some great work for Marvel, both individually and as together a creative team.

FACT: In my opinion, Marvel has been pretty good at putting out female lead books over the last few years.

FACT: Black Widow, arguably Marvel’s most recognizable female character currently, needed an A list creative team (no offense Phil Noto) assigned to her series ASAP.

Someone at Marvel has agreed with me on that last fact, because the team who did a GREAT job on Daredevil are now on Black Widow. And the debut is, as I quote a friend texted me about the comic, “UGH, such a good!”

Often when a new creative team is assigned a character, the first issue is stripping down of what works for the character and the establishment of a new status quo. Not with Black Widow, as the team assumes that the reader knows what Natasha Romanov’s deal is. This debut issue for the Samnee, Waid, Wilson team is a 20 page chase scene, in which Natasha BW4has taken a thing from SHIELD, and SHIELD wants the thing back.

I love how quickly things escalate in this comic. The book starts off establishing that Widow is at odds with SHIELD, as she takes out a bunch of agents without much effort.  The scene quickly reminds the reader that Natasha is an unbelievable bad ass, from there, she’s fighting dudes twice her size, jumping out of a Hellicarrier, dodging agents in flying cars; all sorts of crazy action stuff. It’s the comics version of Crank, which is compliment by the way.

I like how Waid keeps the dialogue to the minimum, resulting in Samnee’s art carrying the bulk of the story. Chris Samnee is easily one of the BEST artist’s working in comics todays, and which a few changes, this probably could have worked as a wordless story. I’m grateful it’s not, as  Joe Caramagna does some really good sound effects work, and his choices of tumblr_o3jvjoYypd1uiitobo1_1280font give the book a cool pulp magazine vibe to it. And I love what Matt Wilson brings to the book, drowning the book in reds, which could be read (heh) as something symbolic, given who are lead it. And as I’ve stated, Samnee’s work is amazing, be it drawing an 14 panel single page fight scene, the aforementioned Hellicarrier scene which is gorgeous, or a intense motorcycle chase through the streets of Manhattan. This issue is another chapter in the gospel that is “Chris Samnee is real good at comics”.

Black Widow #1 isn’t a comic who wanted an in-depth look instead the mind of Natasha Romanov. It’s a 20 page action move that celebrates the character and re-establishes how great this creative team is. Fans who enjoyed this team’s run on Daredevil will love this comic, and anyone who wanted a new Black Widow series will surely be pleased. I fall in both categories, and am still blown away at how good this comic was. It’s another must read series from Marvel, which I’m glad to see is becoming more of a thing this year.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Saga #4 & The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5

 

STK696446Saga #34

Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan

Image #34

Ohoho, what is this? A very cute Ghus cover?! 10/10! Next review!

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5

Alright, alright I’ll talk more about Saga. For the most part this arc has been pretty low key and lacking on the soul crushing, the later which I don’t mind at all. But with one more issue left in this arc, the pieces are now being moved to either set the cast up for several victories, or a ton of heartbreak.

Aside from Fiona Staples’ always amazing visuals, I really like how the book jumps around a checks on the vast majority of the big players in this story. Juggling nearly a dozen characters is no easy task for any writer, but Brian K Vaughan manages to do so with minimal effort. At 22 pages of content, the pacing for this book is fantastic, and manages to move the plot in several interesting directions. It’s a nice rebound after an issue that really didn’t work for me, and it’s nice to see the book back being as good as it has been in the past. Plus I really like any time that Fiona gets to draw animal people, even when they’re not named Ghus.

Saga #34 is the penultimate issue of this arc that could go either way for the cast. There’s even chance that we also may not any resolution at all, and that all the good stuff will go down in the next arc. Either way this comics is an enjoyable read, chock full of great and dialogue that’s also too clever, but never goes overboard.

Unbeatable_Squirrel_Girl_Vol_2_5_TextlessThe Unbeatable Squrrel Girl(s) #5

Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Reniz

Marvel $3.99

Prepare for a weird complaint with this review.

While The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 definitely sticks the landing of this 4 issue arc, it’s not exactly the cleanest of landings. This book is a bit overwhelming, as Ryan North doesn’t just go full Grant Morrison, but he manages to make me feel dumber in the process.

While I don’t mind comics trying to make me up my game, or hell being chock full of #content, I feel like this arc could of used another issue. A LOT goes down in this issue, and while it puts a nice little bow on this arc, I couldn’t finish this issue in a single sitting. And it’s only 20 pages. That being said while it’s a bit intimidating, there’s some REALLY good bits of dialogue and jokes that make for fun reading experience.

Visually, I have no complaints as per usual. Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi are a fantastic creative team, and they really go all out this issue. Henderson does some amazing things with her, cramming her pages with multiple panels and not cutting any corners. How she manages to draw this book and Jughead without taking any time off speaks volumes about her talent and dedication towards her craft. Also that cover is striking as hell.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 may be a tricky read, but it’s a great one none the less. North, Henderson and Renzi craft a fun comic that shows off their talents in a multiple of ways. And considering the book is crossing over with Howard A Duck next month, the future is bright for Doreen Green.

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Goddamned #3

TheGoddamned_03-1The Goddamned #3

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

Image $3.99

The Goddamned is a great comic to review because every issue offers something worth examining. After the first 2 issues, both which I’ve enjoyed thoroughly, I was afraid that Kain and Aga were going to go down the cliche route of Savior and Damsel. While some of that still rings true, issue 3 shows some much needed development for both characters, as Jason Aaron and r.m. Guera do some much need character growth in this issue.

While the man who invented murder (again, such a fantastic title) is a fun lead, Kain hasn’t been one we the reader could get behind. It risked the character being a bit 2 dimensional, but this issue steers away from that by looking us several glimpses at Kain’s past. The flashback involving his parents (Adam and Eve in case your Biblical knowledge is rusty or lacking) is great for fleshing out the character, given us a much needed moment of humor and allowing Guera to draw something pleasant for a minute. Eden under r.m and 002goddamned03jpgcolorist Giulia Brusco is gorgeous and by giving us a quick look at paradise, it shows up how far the world has fallen.

And while it may be hard to look at, the look and design of the world of The Goddamned is gorgeous in it’s own twisted way. I’ve compared it to those old timey Prince Valiant/ Sunday Comics strips, but I’m seeing some Dr. Seuss influence in this month’s issue when it comes to the designs of the newly introduced Night Raiders. Maybe it’s a combination of the exaggerated faces with the bright colors of their eyes, but I’m reminded of the ol’ Chuck Jones “Horton Hears a Who!” TV special. Yes, I’m ancient, this has been established. Either way, I love the look of this book, from it’s malformed characters, to detail backgrounds to “exotic” wildlife. Guera and Brusco deserve like 20 Eisners for the art in this book.

Going back to Jason Aaron, I like how restrained he is in this issue. For the most part, he lets the spectacular art tell the story, which is a smart move given the quality. It also makes the dialogue feel all the more important, not to mention informative. There’s a lot of cool bait and switching in this issue, rarely for the greater good, and I dig the hell out of it. Also I love the choice of fonts Jared K. Fletcher uses for the dialogue, which really feel primitive and biblical, for a better lack of proper adjective.

The Goddamned is definitely the most brutal and old school Vertigo-feeling comic out on the shelves today. Issue 3 is a reminder of how this creative first took off, and as a reader, I couldn’t be any more thrilled to have it. The final pages tease at something very interesting, and I’m curious to see how it all plays out given the type of person Kain is. The Goddamned is a comic that I didn’t really mind being a month or so late, because every issue has been a epic in itself.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Grayson #17

tumblr_o17r1mABBV1r2kdz1o1_500Grayson #17

Tim Seeley, Tom King, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Jeromy Cox

DC, $3.99

The previous issue of Grayson teased 2 characters I was very excited to see making an appearance in this title. The homies Tom King and Tim Seeley continue to do me right, as we get to see this pair of characters fight Dick Grayson this month, making for a excited and once again, very much pleased, Chris Troy.

Even with a great premise, Grayson #17 faces the problem of not being drawn by regular series artist Mikel Janin. He’s replace by veteran penciler Carmine Di Giandomenico, which is a artistic choice I’m more than okay with. His style is much Grayson05more suited for a comic that’s heavy on the action, as this is issue is,  and Carmine absolutely delivers on an issue that’s chock full fight scenes. While he doesn’t do sexy or psychedelic as well as Mikel, he manages to capture his ability to meet the writers demand to draw some creepy as hell creatures (Cthulhu Monkeys!) while fists and plot twists are thrown about. Di Giandomenico  manages to capture the brutality one would expect from an all-out spy fight, while drawing some lush and detailed scenery. My only complain is that since it’s the first time he’s working with colorist Jeromy Cox, the art doesn’t pop as much as it did under Janin. Hopefully that will change as the pair get more experience working togther. I believe Carmine is the artist on the title until this DC Rebirth stuff goes down and this book becomes Nightwing again (insert profanity filled rant here), which again, I’m fine with if this is what the book is going to look like for the next few months.

On the narrative end of things, Seeley and King continue to mix humor and drama incredibly well, making for a fun read. The pair do spy drama really well, which is no image-151surprise given King’s history with the C.I.A., so when this month’s plot twist drops, there’s some “Oomph!” to it. And I really dig how much fun they’re having with the title character. Espionage comics often risk being too serious and dry for my liking, but with Grayson, Dick’s an incredibly charming and fun lead, who isn’t afraid to crack wise here and there. It rings incredibly true to the character and his history, which is why I love I love the book so much. It remains a new direction and situation for a decades old character, while respecting and building upon his established history. Also again Dick Grayson vs. Frankenstein’s monster, what’s not to love about that.

Even with a new artist attached to the title, Grayson #17 is another strong issue in the series. The creative team continues to tell and intriguing tale using a number of obscure and forgotten DC characters, giving older DC fans plenty of Easter eggs to appreciate, without losing newer readers by making  too many deep cuts. It’s a spy comic that invites readers to laugh along with the tropes the genre has created, while giving them a incredibly satisfying read.  King, Seeley and Di Giandomenico continue to keep us on the edge of the seat, without ever going too dark, or too slapstick. All in all it’s another great in a series that continues to impress.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Jonesy #1 & Gotham Academy #15

Gotham Academy 015-000Jonsey #1

Sam Humphries, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Mickey Quinn

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Sam Humphries is a creator who’s worked I’ve certainly enjoyed these last few years, but I never had him pegged as an all-ages type of creator. Oh sure The Legendary Star-Lord and the other work he’s done for Marvel are comics #TEENS could enjoy, but I can’t say the same for his very adults only Our Love is Real or his current creator owned title Citizen Jack. However, Humphries is out to prove people like me wrong with Jonesy, a BOOM BOX title aimed at young audiences.

First and foremost, I have to admit it’s kind of refreshing to have a lead teenager female character who’s kind of a jerk. In a world full of Ms. Marvels and Gotham Academys, Jonesy being bitter, selfish and self absorbed makes her a little more believable and very enjoyable, especially when compared to some of her peers. She’s very likable none the less, as Humphries does an excellent job making her very 3 dimensional real fast.

Second, I LOVE Caitlin Rose Boyle’s art. It’s very much in the vein of Bryan Lee O’ Mally (who supplied a variant cover for this book.) and is it the perfect fit for this script. It also reminds me off the art style Rebecca Sugar developed for her hit animated series Steven Universe, which makes a ton of sense for a book that’s suppose to appeal to that fan base. Her art is bold, expressive and a tad bit trippy, mixing manga influence with indie-comic sensibilities. While Humphries name got my attention, Boyle’s art, along with Mickey Quinn‘s coloring kept me interested.

Jonesy #1 is a delightful debut to a fun all ages mini-series. Readers who dig other BOOM! BOX titles like Lumberjanes and Giant Days will probably feel at home with Jonesy, as will anyone who dug Scott Pilgrim but want something a little lighter and shorter to enjoy.

Gotham Academy 015-000Gotham Academy #14

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, Zac Gorman, Rafael Albuqerque and others.

DC $2.99

The evolution of Gotham Academy from Harry Potter influence Batman comic to weird alt-comics anthology is something I’ve enjoyed with this “Yearbook” arc. This month Fletcher, Archer and Hope are joined by a quartet of guest creators, including the return of Minjue Helen Chen to the titles. She draws and writes the final chapter of this issue, which is a sweet 3 page story that focuses on Ham, who is a dog. Chen plus cute animals is a good time y’all, and her art is gorgeous.

Zac Gorman‘s comic focuses on the facility of Gotham Academy, and the results are hilarious. The 4 page story wears it’s Batman ’66 influences on it’s sleeve, and the humor is a little more “mature” than what we’re use to from this comic. I loved it, and would pay $3 a month for a spin off comic from Gorman that focuses on Bookworm and Egghead.

The biggest tale of the 2 is a 10 page story co-written and drawn by . Their art styles could’t be any more different (Medeiros is the living incarnate of indie comics, Rafael is much more mainstream cape comics friendly), but the 2 collaborate on a tale that suite both of their styles. It’s a very fun story, that plays with an element of Olive and Map’s relationship in a super fun way.

Bridged together by an tale written by Brenden Fletcher with much improved art from Adam Archer and Sandra Hope is another enjoyable issue in this anthology style arc. It’s been a great job of both introducing me to talents I was completely unfamiliar with, as well as seeing creators I do enjoy work on characters I adore.

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Man/Deadpool #2

Spider-Man_Deadpool_Vol_1_2_TextlessSpider-Man/Deadpool #2

Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, Mark Morales, Jason Keith

Marvel $3.99

With the new Deadpool movie currently breaking all sorts of box offices records, it would make sense for me to capitalize on that and talk about a Deadpool comic. As fate would have it, Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 dropped this past week, and is an exceptional comics.

The premise for the “Bromance” arc isn’t exactly high concept, but it is a ton of fun. Someone’s put a hit out on Peter Parker, and Deadpool is  the guy they want to do the job. While Wade doesn’t know that Spider-Man is Peter Parker, he’s still torn on the matter as he’s sort of a an Avenger now, and his idol Spider-Man “works” for Peter. Spidey has no idea this is all going down, and his focused on the launch of his new Apple Watch-like device. Obviously this is an issue where a lot of shenanigans go down, especially when you add Miles Morales and a Green Goblin Army to the mix.

As I said in the last review, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve seen the likes of Joe Kelly spider-man-deadpool-2-shirt-ruinedand Ed McGuiness work on a project together for Marvel. But 2 issues into this series and it’s like they never left the characters. Joe Kelly manages to keep on top of the status quo of 2 of Marvel biggest characters and manages to tell a story that is a ridiculous amount  of fun. His Deadpool isn’t as pop culture obsessed or 4th Wall breaking as one would expect, but he’s hilarious none the less. This issue isn’t as dick joke heavy as the last one, but there is one gag I’m amazed Marvel let slide into a comic where Spider-Man shows up. He also manages to put some real depth into the character, which isn’t exactly a surprise as it’s something he’s famous for, but it’s also something incredibly welcomed. While I’m hoping his Spider-Man lightens up soon, I definitely enjoyed the dark turn the book takes in it’s final pages.

Ed McGuinness is so so good on this book. Every character he draws in this comics looks so iconic and timeless, be it the classic silver age villains that show up, to some of the OvLASVunewer characters who’ve only been around for a few years. His Miles Morales is particularity striking, and way more sleek and agile looking than his Peter Parker, which is a nice contrast and visual. I’m constantly impressed with how much detail and expression McGuiness can pack into his panels. Additionally Mark Morales and Jason Keith do a bang up job with the inks and colors, making it one of the few Marvel books that looks are good in print as it does in digital.

Even though we’re only two issues in, it’s easy for me to say that Spider-Man/Deadpool is my favorite book coming out from Marvel. While it may not be as deep or medium defying as some of other books coming out from the publisher, it is hilarious and a ton of fun, which means it goes on top of my pull list. Kelly and McGuinness prove that you can go home again, and the results are fantastic for the fans.

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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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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: Batgirl #48

BG_CV48Batgirl #48

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Rob Haynes, Serge Lapointe, Lee Loughridge

DC $2.99

BABS TARR!! BLACK CANARY!! CO-O-ah dang, I almost had enough things that started with “B”to warrant a “BACKGIRL” gag. ::: is fired immediately for even suggesting that. :::

 

Batgirl #48 sees Babs Tarr return to art duties, which means the book is back to firing on all cylinders. Her pencils (with Rob Haynes helping with breakdowns) are great, and her artistic vision and style help Batgirl bounce back after an issue where I wasn’t really feeling the art. Tarr is the life blood of this book, and it’s nice to see the book look as good and it reads. Also Tarr finally gets to draw Batgirl as a Luchador, which is obviously great, and long overdue in my opinion.

batgirl-48-vid-gamesBabs’ art and holographic pro wrestling aside (again, GREAT!), Batgirl #48 offer readers a lot for their $3. We finally get some answers regarding what’s going on with Babs’ (Gordon) brain,  see her team up with Batwing against the video game themed villains Co-op, said Black Canary team up, and some other things that I don’t want to spoil. My only complaint is that one reveal in this issue was something we all saw coming a mile away, which is a bit anti-climactic, unless there’s a last minute swerve next issue, which would be welcomed.

Also that fight with Co-op had some many terrible puns it felt like I was reading Kieron Gillen’s Twitter feed. Painful if you’re not down with that sort of thing, but also wonderful in a Batman ’66 sort of way.

My beef aside, I also like how the book manages to have 2 colorists work on it and come out relatively fine. Serge Lapointe is joined by Rob Haynes, and while you can tell the differences in style from first glance, the book doesn’t suffer as a result from it. Bab Tarr’s demands colors that pop and are energetic, and both colorists manage to nail that without any issue. I dug how Haynes used darker, bolder colors for his segments, stressing the action/dramatic vibe the book took, where as Lapointe’s palette was lighter. Batgirl uses color extremely well, and it’s great to see colorists not named Matt Wilson kill it in comics.

While there was some fun at their expense earlier, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart really do a superb job on the script. Cringe worthy jokes aside, there’s a healthy mix of batgirl-48-vid-games-2action and drama, resulting in a fun super hero soap opera. In addition to forwarding the plot and character relationship, the book manages to bring reader up to speed as to what Black Canary’s been up in a fun scene that doesn’t read like an forced ad for her book.

Batgirl #48 ends on a great cliffhanger,  really raising up the stakes for this arc. It’s a great read, and proves how important Babs Tarr role in this title is. If there rumored DC relaunch does go through, hopefully this creative team stay intact. They’re created an incarnation of Batgirl that’s delightful, and it’s the most fun I’ve had with the character in years.

 

 

 

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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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