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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Captain America 2 is the Political Commentary War Movie of Our Generation

If any West Coast readers accidentally read this, maybe they’ll accidentally go to a new show that’s popping up in Portland this weekend. It’s called Linework NW, and it’s a free to the public, one-day show that has been currated by some fine fine Portland folks. There’s also a main opening reception to showcase the highlighted works of Jim Woodring and Michael Deforge. So, if you can travel to the cartoonist mecca this weekend, look up Linework NW and stop on by. Fun for the whole family! Fun! Fun! Fun!

Lumberjanes #1- Lumberjanes reminds me of being a kid, growing up and camping in various Washington State Parks with the Girl Scouts and churchy stuff. Hanging out with pals, making lanyards, watching all the cool kids swim. Alright, so Lumberjanes is probably nothing like my awkward tween camping memories because they do awesome stuff like defeat Yetis, monster wolves and solve mysteries. Headed up by the incessantly charming Noelle Stevenson, and Grace Ellis, with art by Brooke Allen, the new Boom! Box imprint is rolling out its second title (behind the fan fav Midas Touch), with captivating characters and stories that keep reminding you how much fun you’re actually having reading these comics.

Shutter #1- Kate Kristopher’s life is mixed with ancient gods of legend, nest-building urban dinosaurs, and demons on coffee dates, and then things get weird. The daughter of a famed explorer left her fantastical days behind her after a terrible tragedy, but ninja phantasms threaten to pull her back into the thick of things. Joe Keatinge’s a busy man lately, but he and artist/co-creator Leila del Duca have managed to carve out a fantasy/adventure hybrid with modern concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Those concerns just happen to include weird family secrets, loneliness, and an energy spewing metal monopoly man. Actually, those sound like concerns of a 27 year old New Yorker. Carry on!

Cosplayers One-Shot- It’s not too often Fantagraphics publishes floppies anymore, so when they do I get pumped. Cartoonist Dash Shaw is known for looking at slices of life with an unusual perspective, one that combines and off-beat humor with growing pains. Cosplayers

cosplayers-600x928examines a culture that is now as tied to comic book culture as….ugh, I can’t think of anything clever enough, you know what I mean. Cosplaying is a really big thing now! And the main characters who are aspiring actors and filmmakers decide to use unsuspecting extras in their quest to achieve top cosplaying levels. But they’re just teens, so nothing will go wrong, right?

 

East of West Vol 2 TP

Reminder to all you trade waiters out there that the second volume of one of the most interesting and compelling comic series is out today. Jonathan Hickman’s fantasy/sci-fi western has the cast splintered, and traversing the dystopian America trying to stop the Chosen from completely destroying the world. If you just can’t stand waiting for the next trade to come out after this one, you’re in luck! Issue #11 also drops today.

 

I feel bad even writing about the next few books, because they really don’t need my help to sell, they’ll probably be the highest selling books of the week, with no help from me. But I’m just so gosh excited that they’re coming out. This week definitely belongs to Marvel:

 

All New Doop #1- We all know it, he’s you’re favorite X-Men, he’s my favorite X-Men, and now the weird little green guy, Doop, is getting in front of the camera. Doop, created by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred, has a weird history. A weird, butt-brain, affair having, sometimes voyeuristically inclined, history. The X-Men have always suspected that this soviet mutant creation is possibly the most powerful among them. In his own series he’s poised to take center stage when he gets involved with Kitty Pryde. Also, this mini series ties into the Battle of the Atom, if you follow that kind of thing. Peter Milligan is writing it again, bringing his surreal qualities to the usually-maintain-but-now-looks-pretty-crazy-in-a-cool-way art of Marvel career artist David Lafuente. With covers by Mike Allred!

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1- You know how things go, old comic gets picked up for TV show, we get new comics! Given the success that Netflix has had lately with producing their own content, I am fully on board with the upcoming Iron Fist series. I’m also fully on board with the new series that comes out this week with art AND words by Kaare Andrews. They’re not going all the way back to rehash his origin story, but people unfamiliar with the kung-fu master and possessor of mystical dragon fists, will get a taste of his past, while Andrews engages the future troubles for the hero. I don’t know how closely they’ll tie the Netflix stuff with the new comic stuff, but I’m hoping for an eventual team up with past partner Luke Cage, another Marvel character getting his own screen time. And I’ll admit, I’ll be kinda bummed if there’s no Power Man.

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Game of Thrones Collectibles available from Forbidden Planet

I’m sure a TON of you out there were waiting for, and have now devoured, last night’s Game of Thrones Season 4 premier episode. Well, now’s as good a time as any to explore the breadth of GoT related product Forbidden Planet NYC has to offer.

Game of Thrones Funko blind box

 

The hottest Thrones related item in the store right now? Funko blind boxes (pictured above).

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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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We got it all on FP Transmissions.

Jeff and Vita rapped about the new releases this week as Javier (of Minimate minute fame) and I slaved over a massive shipment with thousands of awesome comics including Slott’s Silver Surfer and Sandman Overture #2.

Watch us live on our YouTube channel every Tuesday at 4PM, or 4:08, or 4:15 if Google changes the way you log in for the millionth time. You can also join the conversation by following FPTransmissions to your Google+ circles and accepting Hangout invites.

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I Regret Nothing

Regrets and Errors:

  • I regret that a couple weeks ago I accidentally told you that Sandman Overture #2 was coming out. It’s releasing this week. But given its constantly shifting timeline, I won’t believe that it’s out until it’s in my hands. Editorial regrets the error.
  • I also regret how little sleep I’m going to get this next week with Emerald City Comic-Con just on the horizon.
  • Matthew Rosenberg will soon regret how many doughnuts I’ll make him eat this week.

Editorial regrets all of these, and future errors.

If you notice any errors, keep them to yourselves, but I’ll gladly accept all laud and honor through my twitter. (@ApAnnagator)

Metabarons Genesis Castaka- If you’re lucky enough to live in NYC or LA you could potentially have already seen the new documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune”. Whether you’ve seen it or not (and if you haven’t you better be planning on it when it comes to your city or suffer the consequences (or not, listen to your own consciousness ((NO GODS NO MASTERS))). But if you’re looking to get your Jodorowsky fix until that movie, the deluxe hardcover collection of the two French volumes for the Castaka spin-off of the Metabarons series, is now available! The Metabaron’s are the ultimate warriors, renowned throughout the galaxy for their ancient warrior rituals that makes every Metabaron into a cyborg after proving their strength. This prequel explores the world of the Metabaron ancestors, who were anything but the rigid society they became. The Castaka series is illustrated by Das Pastoras, who took over from the original Metabaron artist, Juan Gimenez. Pastoras can have a really gruesome (which I mean in a good way) look to his work, which lends itself very well to the brutal and lawless society that the ancient Metabarons exist in.

Leo Roa- Oh, did you wonder why Juan Gimenez wasn’t working on the Castaka book? Probably because he’s spent the last several years working on his own album (as the French would say), Leo Roa, an intergalactic saga of epic proportions. Journalist Leo Roa finds himself in the middle of an adventure that pits him against aliens, villains, murderers, and time traveling escapades. Gimenez is truly a comic’s master, who blends a Moebius meets Herge style into a sci-fi masterpiece that takes throws satire and humor into a hero’s journey arena. His technical and historical make this book feel familiar, while his attention to detail and creative force turn it into something you’ve never seen before. Recommended for fans of Prophet.

The Undertaking of Lily Chen- (above) Deshi accidentally kills his assholeish, but favored by their parents, older brother. His parents send him on an epic journey to find him a ghost bride, a corpse to bury with his brother’s body so, according to Chinese tradition, he wont have to spend his eternity alone. Set in modern China, Deshi begins his journey to find a recently deceased companion, the best choice is the beautiful Lily Chen, only problem is she’s still quite alive. Author and illustrator, Danica Novgorodoff, paints (literally) an emotional slice of life that’s riddled with complicated family dynamics, selfish desires, and tradition v. modernity. Painted with watercolor on rice paper, and then gone over in ink before being digitally touched up, Novogordoff renders a distinctly unique look to a surreal, but grounded, portrayal of finding meaning on a hopeless journey.

Helheim Vol. 1 TPB- The ultimate Viking fantasy gets its first top-selling collected edition. Take all the Norse mythology you thought you knew from Thor, then make it distinctly darker, witchier, and insanely more evil. Rikard is the undead killing machine that is sewn together with magic and the bodies of the dead, and he’s seeking vengeance against his transgressors. In their own rights, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Joelle Jones are some of the most visceral workers out there, but when you put them together, an unholy union of comic magic is born.

Blackout #1

Frank Barbiere is on fire. All his books are different, but they’re all so.stupid.good. Blackout is distinctly more sci-fi than his other work (Five Ghosts and White Suits), as it explores a dark dimension that protagonist, Scott Travers can only access through a special, and mysterious suit. But what he doesn’t know about the history of the suit will only lead him on a journey to outrun the people who are after the suit, and find answers that will save him. This 4-part series is technically a continuation of the original story Barbiere published in Dark Horse Presents issues #24-26. You can totally pick this story up from the number one, but if you want more of the origin story, you can get them from Dark Horse’s digital comic platform for a pretty good deal. The artist of the original series, Michael Kaneshino will be doing the covers for the new stuff, that’ll be drawn by Colin Lorimer!

Jan's Atomic HeartJan’s Atomic Heart and other Stories- Simon Roy pulls on my shriveled black heart-strings with stories that are obtuse, original, and out there. That kind of description can be a little off putting to some people, and to those people I ask, “Where’s your desire for delving into the unknown? Your passion and curiosity to explore world’s and stories beyond yourself? Where’s the money Lebowski?” This book collects roughly five years worth of the Vancouver artists work that’s shows the evolution between his early stories from his art school days, to the beautifully designed art we see in Prophet. Oh, did I forget to mention that Simon Roy is one of the primary artists on that book with a million other amazing people?  Even if he wasn’t associated with that amazing book, THIS book is amazing, and includes a story for every reader (though the book’s namesake story could have even been published on its own).

All New Ghost Rider #1- Not gonna lie, I really like Tradd Moore, and I will definitely be picking up the first issue of Ghost Rider. I never thought I’d ever write that sentence in my lifetime.

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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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Cheryl M. Gross Signing The Z Factor!

Z-FactorWEB

The multi-talented CHERYL GROSS will be appearing Forbidden Planet NYC on Thursday April 3 at 7pm, signing copies of her new illustrated science fiction novel The Z Factor.

The nineteenth century is coming to a close when Hans Kasper Ivan Karp makes it his life mission to relieve the world of sex and gender. Knowing that his goal will take several generations to achieve, Karp invents a new, dominant chromosome known as the Z factor. But not all are excited about his theoretical creation, called the umon species. Accused of being a lunatic and unable to defend his theory, Karp is shunned. Years later, his son, Ivan, is born-the product of artificial insemination. No one realizes what is in store for the world.

It is 2009 when Ivan Karp-who has been called an umon by his parents for as long as he can remember-receives a knock at his door. With his father long gone and human mutations becoming more prominent around the world, Ivan invites in a woman with many questions about the umon race. As he retells his story up to present day, Ivan reflects on his inner conflicts about his true gender and shares details of his homosexual relationship with Aaron Moses. But through their conversation, Ivan makes two startling discoveries: Katherine is his daughter, and Aaron has somehow achieved Karp’s dream-findings that suddenly thrust all of them in the midst of an umon revolution.

In this science fiction thriller, three generations involved in the creation of a hermaphroditic human species must come together in an attempt to bring the umons the one thing they have always wanted: freedom.

Cheryl is a motion graphics artist, painter, illustrator, and a Professor at Pratt Institute.

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Jeff Zornow Signing!

Jeff-Zornow-SigningWEBForbidden Planet will be hosting a signing with artist Jeff Zornow in celebration of his new comic 68: Rule of War #1 (Image) on the day of its release. Jeff will be on hand from 7:30 to sign and sketch the night away on April 2nd. Blank variant covers of the book will be available, so don’t miss the chance to jump on a great new series and have a personalized cover drawn by the very man who made it. See you then!

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Hellboy Day at Forbidden Planet NYC

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Mike Mignola’s signature character this coming Saturday, 3/22/14, is officially Hellboy Day in the comics community and Forbidden Planet NYC will be participating!

Mike Mignola Forbidden Planet

Beginning at 9am we’ll be giving away a few Hellboy themed packages containing comics, posters and other swag as supplies last. We’re also running a sale- 15% OFF all Hellboy/BPRD/Abe Sapien/Lobster Johnson books and comics- through midnight. We’ll also be giving away a copy of Hellboy The First Twenty Years on our Twitter feed.

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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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Just Hold on. Hold on for one more day.

Happy Irish day/week, nerds. Hope you didn’t break too many face bones on your way home the other night.

Buffy the Vampire Hunter, Season 10 #1- Being hailed as the season that brings Buffy “back the basics”, this new creative team is breathing new life into old blood. The challenge in continuing such a fan favorite show turned comic that needing your content and characters to feel fresh, without alienating the classic features of the people and plot that brought viewers and readers in in the first place. Editor Scott Allie is now promising a reinvigorated Buffy story that gets the Scoobies back to what they do best, hunt vampires! With new rules and new challenges, this comic proves that there’s still a lot for Buffy and the team to learn about their undead fiends, and re-killing them isn’t just a walk through a graveyard. The writer/artist team of Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs have migrated from the much loved “Angle and Faith” series, and will take the reins to steer this pony into familiar territory that will feel like brand new Buffy.

Cannon HC

James Bond can suck it, because John Cannon is the all American military spy/hunk you’ve always wanted. Cannon is hard and fast! I mean, these comics are hard and fast…Released exclusively through the military publication Overseas Weekly, Wally Wood wrote and drew spy missions, naked women, evil commies, and naked women every week for over two years! Now Fantagraphics is collecting the saga of a brainwashed, CIA killing machine in hardcover anthology that’s historical, violent, and sexy. Without the restrictions of American publishing guidelines, Wood was able to be as unbridled as he wanted to be, and his artful and playful genius of the medium shows in every panel of this book. A bunch of bonus material, including some Ditko, and source material, rounds off this collection staple.

American Vampire: Second Cycle- Hooray! American Vampire is back! Continuing this unintentional vampire theme, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque are unearthing the not-too-long-dead series from Vertigo that travels the ages the eyes of fiendish bloodsuckers. Like a (more) evil Forest Gump. Pearl Jones and Skinner Sweet (her sire, for those of you up to date on your vampire lingo) are off on their own; one providing shelter to children, one up to no good. Battles and new baddies loom on the horizon for these protagonists that will eventually bring them back together. This was my introduction to Scott Snyder, and he’s only gotten better as a writer with his other series like The Wake.

 

Basewood HC

Alec Longstreth has been making professional comics and beards since 2002 with his highly acclaimed independent comic, Phase 7. If you’ve ever flipped through one of these beauties, you might have picked up on the adventure story that ran through issues 5-9, Basewood. The adventure tale follows a young man’s journey to rediscover his past with the help of others. Also, wolf dragons! Reprinted in French by L’employé du Moi, Longstreth began an earnest kickstarter to raise funds to print an English version of Basewood as a really nice hardcover that shows off all the detail Longstreth put into his pages. This is kickstarter and comics done right, and this tale of friendship, adventure, and the trials and rewards of growing up have been given a format for all to enjoy.

Image Roundup

There’s a lot of Image favs coming out this week, and I don’t think I could do them all justice if I tried to write about each, (aka I’m lazy busy!) So here are some titles in handy, tidy, vertical listular format:

Five Ghosts #10

Prophet #43

Saga TP Vol 3

Sex Criminals #5

Undertow #2

Zero #6

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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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Get Your FREE Jodorowsky’s Dune Posters

Come on by the shop this Saturday, March 15th, and ask for a FREE “Jodorowsky’s Dune” poster! They’re totally rad and won’t last long. Be sure to get here early- we start distributing them at 9am. Jodorowsky's Dune, poster,ForbiddAlso, be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts that day… we’ll be running a really super dooper nifty keen giveaway contest relating to the film starting Saturday at 9am.  What is Jodorowsky’s Dune? Well, it’s a long story, but the movie’s tagline (“The Greatest Science Fiction Movie Never Made”) is spot on. Here, why don’t you watch this trailer:

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The film opens here in NYC at Film Forum on March 21st.

See ya there.

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