Chris’ Comics: Saga #35

First and foremost, a shameless plug!  I’m putting out a web comic that costs you all of zero dollars to read. It’s titled “In the Name of Thy Mother”, and I’m writing it with art by Ing. It’s exclusively on Tumblr for now, and if you like stuff in the vein of Sailor Moon but wish it was given a bit of a modern horror touch, you’re in luck. Thanks for reading that, let’s get to the review yes?

Saga_35-1Saga #35

Fiona Staples, Brian K Vaughan

Image $2.99

Come for the space hijinks, stay for BKV trying to figure out what to call Ghus fans ( Ghus-steppers is definitely a bad look man)! Also see Forbidden Planet NYC be called a “fine retailer”, which is 100% true, on the ad page for the Limited Edition TALKING Lying Cat plush, which you should totally pre-order right this minute.

Surprising no one, there’s a lot to like in Saga #35, the penultimate issue for this arc (something I was wrong about last month). My Ghus-feels aside, issue 35 offers the usual selection of wonder you would expect from this creative team: exotic locations with new characters (like a Lying Cat dressed as royalty!), sharp dialogue peppered with profanity, and stunning art by Fiona Staples. Which by the way, let’s talk about that cover for a minute. The composition is solid, really drawing you eyes towards the characters, and anyone who’s familiar with what the new tattoo symbolizes Saga35acan have themselves nice cry. Also the gray back ground is a nice choice to offset the more colorful characters.

Seeing these characters interact with each other. Here comes spoilers for anyone not caught up with volumes 4 & 5, but seeing Marko and Alanna bounce off of Prince Robot is hoot. Villains being forced to align with the heroes is nothing new to comics, but the Prince’s history with Marko and Alanna really sets it apart, especially once you consider he’s been in a situation similar to their’s.  It’s a nice bit of character growth, which makes him a little more likely, oppose to the Will, who’s definitely going down a dark path.

I’ve said it before, and I probably won’t stop saying it until the series is over, but I love all the various body types and characters that Fiona Staples creates. It really feels like no character is regulated to just a background role, not unlike the Simpsons. The facial Saga-35-i2-640x600expression she draws in this issue are also particularly striking, especially in the first few pages that involves the most stylish use of drugs I’ve ever seen. The fact that she colors and inks everything as well speaks of how extremely talented she is.

Saga #35 is another gorgeous issue in a series that rarely ever disappoints. Brian K Vaughan‘s dialogue is on point, as we ramp up to a battle that will probably make me feel really bad real quick. It’s business as usual, but in a way that I welcome, and rarely feels repetitive. It’s a another great issue of a great read, and I cannot wait to see how this arc ends next month.

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- The Cat and The Canary

DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO AVOID POTENTIAL ARROW/FLASH/LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SPOILERS.

Hey guys- at the beginning of this season on Arrow, a mysterious death that is supposed to stick was teased on the show to take place sometime during the back half of the season. That mystery looks to be solved in this week’s episode and if all the leaked pictures are to be believed, including shots of SPOILER Dinah Laurel Lance’s SPOILER grave from the Legends of Tomorrow first season finale, Star City is about to have one less vigilante and it is a bone-headed decision. That being said, further spoilers for the penultimate episode of The Flash Season Two seem to show us a completely new iteration (i.e. Earth-2) of said character, portrayed by the same actress appearing to either fight alongside Barry or against. I don’t know what to believe anymore, but I think the CW DC TV shows will go down as a massive joke if they kill an iconic character and one as important to the Green Arrow and Justice League mythos such as the Black Canary without some sort of way out. I will drop Arrow out of protest, though I haven’t watched the past two episodes anyway. I will continue to support Katie Cassidy’s career if she is the one being written off the show and still hold out a brief glimmer of hope that her Flash stint could become permanent. I’ve already dismantled my Arrow toy shelf in anticipation of the big death. If Laurel survives, then I will gladly eat crow.

END SPOILERS

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That bit of news aside, there’s a couple of neat items to discuss this week- both featuring everyone’s favorite feline femme fatale. The first is the Tweeterhead/Sideshow Batman Returns Catwoman piece. Based on Michelle Pfeiffer’s likeness, this statue finds Selina Kyle atop a rooftop base, whip in hand, ready to strike the Batman. 040232300646The other Catwoman piece is a statue from Diamond Select Toys which like its predecessor, Batgirl, is based on the now 50-year-old Adam West Batman 1966 TV series. Catwoman is sculpted to resemble Julie Newmar and comes standing atop a base with the classic Batman TV logo emblazoned upon it.699788813287

Other Catwoman items in-stock now include the Batman 1966 Catwoman bust, also based on Julie Newmar’s likeness, the Cover Girls of the DC Universe Catwoman statue and the Batman: The Animated Series Catwoman bust designed after her look in the 1992-1995 series. If Catwoman isn’t your thing, but you love 1966 Batman, we’ve still got a number of items in stock from that era of Batmania. This includes the Batman, Robin and Batgirl three-pack, the Batmobile with Batman and Robin figures, the To The Batcave set with Bruce Wayne and the Batcomputer and the Tweeterhead Yvonne Craig as Batgirl Maquette. Tweeterhead also released one other awesome piece recently, particularly if you enjoy Batman comics from the 1950s- the Kathy Kane Batwoman maquette recently arrived and she is in all her retro glory.

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As I started working on this column, we received a limited refresh on Batman: The Animated Series figures which probably won’t last too long. Harley Quinn, The Mad Hatter, The Penguin, The Riddler, Robin, The Joker and Man-Bat from the original Animated Series are all back in stock as well as Batgirl, Poison Ivy, Killer Croc, Robin, Bane, Scarecrow, The Creeper and Mr. Freeze from The New Batman Adventures. The Batman and Phantasm two pack completes our restock of animated style action figures.

I got to see Batman V Superman last week and I mostly enjoyed it. It isn’t the best superhero movie in the world, but I had fun watching it. Brief thoughts on the film- it was a little disjointed at times, Batman was a massive jerk, Superman was fine, Wonder Woman is AMAZING! Gal Gadot’s portayal of the Amazon Princess, no matter how brief made the film for me. Whether it was the thrill of finally seeing her on the big screen for the first time or because I just love Wonder Woman, she was a breath of fresh air. If you’re feeling like you need merchandise from the film, we’ve gotten a restock of action figures of the DC Trinity as they appear in the movie back on our shelves. You too can own a Ben Affleck Batman, Henry Cavill Superman, and Gal Gadot Wonder Woman if your heart desires. Each figure from Mattel has a piece to build Batman’s Grapple Gun and are fully articulated so you can pose them for your own adventures. If Barbie dolls are more to your liking, we also just received the Batman and Superman Barbie Brand dolls from the movie. No Diana yet, sadly.

Next week: the 500th issue of the Weekly Planet. Catch you guys then!

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Chris Comics: X-Men ’92 #1

X-Men-92-1-2016X-men ’92 #1

Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, Alti Firmansyah, Matt Milla

Marvel $3.99

I have not read an X-Men comic since Uncanny#600 dropped a few months back. Nothing against the current creative teams (especially the ones working on All New X-Men, who’s first volume I have pre-ordered), but the current direction of those titles is pretty dark. And after several years of bleak X-Men comics, I need something a little different to lighten the mood. Luckily, due to popular demand, the X-men ’92 Secret Wars mini has graduated into an on-going, meaning I can enjoy my favorite* mutants without having to stomach Inhuman related nonsense.

*My actual favorites won’t be showing up again until issue 5, but you get what I’m saying.

Chris Sims and Chad Bowers return to X-Men ’92, free to tell stories without having to worry about Battleword or Doctor Doom, which is something they embrace rather quickly. X-Men-92-9as the book brings in several Russian characters and locales. I applaud the duo for embracing some really obscure 90s X-men characters, although I’m not surprised to see the presence of one that possess a MUTANT DEATH FACTOR. The book continues to be a celebration of the 90s of course, and once again Sims and Bowers pay tribute to the Morrison 2001-era X-characters showing up in some fun cameos. It’s also nice to see the X-men in a proper school environment, something I haven’t seen since Wolverine and the X-men.

The art by Alti Firmansyah and Matt Milla couldn’t be any more different than the art team of the previous volume of this book, but it’s very fitting. Firmansyah’s style is very much softer and animated, similar to the infamous cartoon, but definitely not as dated. It’s very expressive, and he does some great stuff with the character’s body language. What he does do like former X-Men ’92 artist Scott Koblish is reimagining iconic X-men covers and imagery for panels, which is a nice inside joke that I adore. There’s also small several nods to the 90s in the art that really helps sells the setting of this book without overdoing it. Milla’s colors are superb, very bright, and perfectly XM922016001-int3-2-2b0c7capture the feel or the show just as well as the art. It’s the best possible look for a book like this, and I’m eager to see them draw familiar character over the coming months.

The dialogue in this book is also phenomenal. Aside from capturing the feel of these character perfectly, it also manages to invoke the era properly as well, without feeling dated or force. It’s a perfect blend of the Claremont meets Saturday morning characters, especially in the cases of Gambit, Wolverine and Rogue. It’s over the top and cheesey in all the right ways, making it a complete blast.

X-Men ’92 isn’t anything genre defining, but it’s an excellent alternative to the all-too-serious X-books that exist “in-continuity”. It continues to be a bonkers celebration of the X-men during one of their most popular periods in comics, but with a story that’s a little more coherent and free of crossovers with a dozen other X-books. This debut issue was a ton of fun, and I’m glad to have this sort of X-Men book back in my life

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6

portrait_incredibleThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6

Ryan North, Chip Zdarsky, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, Joe Quinoes

Marvel $3.99

I’ve never thought I’d be excited to read a comic featuring Kraven the Hunter, yet here we are.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 sees our heroine reunited with the villain from her very first issue one, which crosses over with this month’s Howard a Duck. I have not been purchasing the current volume of Howard, because I refuse to pay $5 for Gwenpool, so having Howard, his writer Chip Zdarsky and van enthusiast Joe Quinoes pop up in this book is quite welcomed. Issue 6 is part one of two issue crossover, something BOTH creative teams wanted to do something fierce, making it the type of crossover I could get behind.

While Batman and Superman are doing battle for incredibly dumb reasons in the DC Movie Murderverse (shout out to Rob Bricken!), it’s nice to have a team up featuring 2 character who tolerate each other at best. The premise for this issue is simple enough: Howard is a cat racist, accidentally abducts Mew, Squirrel Girl intervenes, and somehow a dope Kraven the Hunter themed van and cosplay are also involved. This is very much the IMG_0121product of Canada writers/madmen Ryan North and (( insert the misspelling of Chip Zdarsky’s name here because that is clever and not at all overdone at all by now, nope)), and could not be any happier. The #JOKES are everywhere, including dual commentary on the bottom of the page, which makes for a very fun read.

The quips and one-liners are non-stop, and range everywhere to Howard’s “relationship” to Disney, Doombot Cosplay, and Squirrel Girl trying to explain similarities in different species to Howard (more on that later).

And while the barrage of jokes is non-stop, the dialogue is super sharp. Chip and Ryan play with the “heroes meets heroes, fight and then team up” trope in an incredibly neat way, and the dynamic between the two leads is fantastic. Howard’s more cynical and bitter outlook clashes perfectly with the Unbeatable one’s more chipper and upbeat personality, which the writers play up in the best possible ways. There’s also a genuine heartfelt IMG_0122moment or two between 2 characters, which is always appreciated and break ups the jokes a bit. What I’m saying is if you’re expecting a super serious hero team up, you’re wasting your time here, also do you not know how these characters work?

Aside from the debut of the best new vehicle in comics, not to mention a guest artist for a very special Deadpool card, the art for this issue is handled by Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi as per usual. And as per usual, it is GREAT! Henderson is a perfect fit for a character like Howard thanks to her very expressive and animated Style. I hope this doesn’t come across as me saying Henderson should only draw funny animal books, but her style definitely lends itself well to a character like Howard. Case in point, the page where Doreen is getting her science on, and Howard is getting more upset in every other panel. She’s also experimenting with layouts more, as seen in a page where it’s structure as SG kicking through panels. Henderson has been fantastic on this book since day one, and I appreciate her experimenting more with her layouts and use of white space. Rico Renzi’s colors remain just as great, and sets the tone for the light heartedness of this comic perfectly.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl  #6 is a hilarious and fun comic in ways so many other books aren’t. And it’s great to see creators actually come together and pitch a crossover like this, as their excitement really shines through. It’s the way crossovers should be done in my opinion, especially if wicked vans are involved.

 

 

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Val’s Toy Chest- Coming Soon…

DC Collectibles has let me down- no new Laurel Lance/Black Canary figure nor any of the other figures that were supposed to ship this week. The next estimated date these have is in June. Hopefully we’ll see her, Malcolm Merlyn, Heat Wave, The Reverse Flash, plus the BTAS Zatanna and Commissioner Gordon sooner rather than later. (i.e. EARLIER THAN JUNE) . With that being said, DC fans sure had a busy week as the Flash and Arrow came back, plus a movie called Batman V Superman released over the weekend. I have yet to see the film but am mostly excited for the role that Wonder Woman plays in it.

And on the topic of Wonder Woman, Hot Toys announced the GORGEOUS Wonder Woman 1:6 Scale Figure from Batman V Superman. Diana joins previously announced figures Batman, Superman and Armored Batman in the lineup.  Diana will feature the likeness of Gal Gadot and is dressed in her signature look including red, gold, and blue armor, her tiara, a lasso, sword and shield. The Wonder Woman Hot Toys figure is due sometime later this year and once I know when we’ll receive her I shall pass on the information.

WWHT

There isn’t too much coming out this week, though we are getting a cool assortment of Muppets figures which includes Gonzo, Kermit, and Scooter, all packed with at least one other character from the Muppet family. The Fozzie/Scooter pack looks like a really good one.  Keeping with the Muppet theme, we’ve also received some of the new Sesame Street POP vinyls including Elmo, Grover, Mr. Snuffleupagus and Big Bird. The latter two are part of the 6″ POP series.

Captain America Civil War Marvel Legends Series 2 Action Figures should be hitting sometime in the near future. The previous set had some awesome figures including Scourge, Mockingbird and Sharon Carter- this set has some of the characters from the new movie as well as some classic characters from Marvel’s pantheon. Figures based on the forthcoming movie include Iron Man, Captain America and The Black Panther while comic-based versions of classic Nick Fury, Nuke and the Red Guardian round out the wave. These should hopefully be in-store sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Shifting gears for a moment to the comic book side of things. DC is back at it again as they are rebranding their line of comics with the Rebirth moniker. That being said, certain titles look extremely promising. Regular readers of this column know my particular penchant for the superheroines of DC’s Universe and though my all-time favorite, Black Canary is losing her solo title yet again, she will feature in at least two titles post-Rebirth. The first of these will be the new Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, the other reunites her with longtime love, Green Arrow as she is set to be a major character in his title. The other huge news is that Greg Rucka is returning to the Wonder Woman title. Rucka hasn’t written her in almost a decade so this should be a treat.

That’s it for me this week! Catch you all again soon!

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #5 & Grayson #18

All-New-Hawkeye-5-2016-coverAll-New Hawkeye #5

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

It’s the penultimate issue of All-New Hawkeye! Which is a surprise to me, as I have no clue if this is the last time we’re going to see Clint and Kate in an on-going for a while or not. Yay Marvel Comics stealth cancellations!

All-New Hawkeye issue 5 sees Kate discovering the truth about her father in the past, while Clint makes an attempt to save the Project Communion kids in the present. Why this was solicited as Hawkeye vs Hawkeye (which the cover seems to imply as well) is beyond me. But we’re here to discuss the comic itself, not its marketing.

Ramon Perez & Ian Herring are SO GOOD on this book. As I said last review, I really like how Kate Bishop remains the only defined character in the flashbacks. But this issue sees Herring and Perez do something neat when Clint removes his hearing aid. The book goes from colored to black and white, symbolizing how isolated Hawkeye is without aid. It’s a nice way to show how deafness works, without stating the obvious. Sadly, I’m not feeling the flashback material all that much with issue 5. While the present day stuff definitely works for me, the Kate “origin” stuff seemed to dominate more of the issue, forcing the modern day material to be rushed.

All New Hawkeye #5 isn’t worst issue issue by this creative team, no, not by a long shot. But it’s best? Sadly no again. Wrapping up the series with the next issue may be for the best, and hopefully whoever inherits the Hawkeyes next will be able to tell some stories that don’t stall out as much.

Grayson_Vol_1-18_Cover-1_TeaserGrayson #18

Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Roge Antonio, Geraldo Borges, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

So apparently 2 issues ago was the final issue of Grayson for the King/Seeley/Janin team. Which means this book is wrapping up with an entirely different creative team, because LOL DC COMICS. Granted Tim Seeley will be returning this summer to write Nightwing, it strikes me as odd to bring in an entirely new creative team to wrap us this book. I personally find it a bit insulting to readers who have become invested in the character because of the creative team, and it feels like DC Comics editorial thinks we as readers will buy the book because of the character/IP, not the talent behind it.

That being said, editors Rebecca Taylor & Mark Doyle usually does a solid enough job of finding guest creators for their books. Taking over writer duties from Seeley and King are  Jackon Lanzing &  Collin Kelly, who’s previous comics works I’m unfamiliar with. They definitely do a solid job of getting the tone of Grayson down, which is impressive given the fact that they have to juggle such a large cast. There’s not much done in terms of character development sadly, as this issue is heavy on the action and reveals. Still it could have been much worse, and the two writers manage to replicate the voices King and Seeley have established quite well.

Sadly, while the art by Roge Antonio & Geraldo Borges isn’t bad per say, it’s definitely not something to praise. I did enjoy the last few pages, which set up a cool new status quo for one of the supporting characters, but aside from that and a solid splash page, there lack of sexy and trippy we usually get from Mikel Janin is noticeable. Colorist Jeromy Cox does an admirable jobs with the colors, but he can only do so much with the art when it’s muddled and rush.

Grayson #18 is a comic that succeeds despite have the odds stacked against it. It’s just a shame I couldn’t go into this comic with the usual confidence I have when reading an issue of Grayson.

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Available 3/30/16 – Paper Girls TP by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang

Paper Girls Brian K. Vaughan Cliff Chiang FPNYC

The first Paper Girls TP of one of our best-selling comics of the last year is releasing on New Comic Book Day 3/30/16.

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA and THE PRIVATE EYE, and CLIFF CHIANG, legendary artist of Wonder Woman, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Collecting PAPER GIRLS #1-5, this book is only $10 and is gonna be huge. Don’t worry though- we’ll have a ton of copies. Be sure to pick yours up at FP.

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Arriving This Week – Muppets Figures From Diamond Select

Yaaaaaaay! Forbidden Planet NYC’s receiving new Muppets toys from Diamond Select this week!

New Muppets toys action figures from Diamond Select

These multi-packs will be on sale Wednesday 3/28/16 in-store and are available to order via mail order through the following links:

Gonzo and Camilla – “If you were a chicken you’d be im-peck-able!”

Scooter and Fozzie

Kermit with Robin and Bean Bunny

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Chris’ Comics: The Totally Awesome Hulk

Totally+Awesome+Hulk+CoverThe Totally Awesome Hulk #4

Greg Pak, Frank Cho, Sonia Oback, Cory Petit

Marvel $3.99

I’ll be honest. as much as I liked Greg Pak‘s past run on the Incredible Hulk/ Incredible Hercules, this new Hulk comic was something that wasn’t on my radar. Nor was it a book I was planning on buying anytime soon if I’m being completely honest, as the Hulk is rarely a character I have much interest in. The only reason why it’s in my possession is because a co-worker bought it strictly for the She-Hulk variant cover, then decided he didn’t want it anymore. I’m not one to say no to free comics, which leads us to this review.

Despite being chapter 4 of a arc which first 3 chapters I didn’t read, I found The Totally Awesome Hulk #4 super accessible. The recap page did a nice job bringing me up to speed, and this happens to be the issue where it’s explained how exactly Amadeus Cho ( whom Pak co-created) became the new Hulk. Why the reasoning behind it is a little hokey, it’s questionable in that fun silver age sort of way, and easy to ignore if you just chalk it to comic book science. There’s also hella monster punching, which is more of my thing.

While I’ve found some of his recent actions in the convention circle sort of immature, I have to admit that Frank Cho’s art in this comic is gorgeous. He’s at home here, as the TOTALLY+AWESOME+HULK+#4+pagescript calls for him to to draw attractive, muscular women thanks to a She-Hulk appearance, as well as a variety of Marvel monsters, something that Cho also excels. His line work is  very clean and iconic, and I love how detailed and expressive it is. There’s a certain bombastic & cinematic flair to Frank’s style, which really help sell the widespread destruction and chaos that one expects in a Hulk comic. Cho is masterfully colored by Sonia Oback, who colors really pop off the page. I can’t recall a Hulk book looking this good in awhile, and it’s a shame that Cho’s off the book after this issue.

Pak’s dialogue isn’t the deepest, but it’s fun as all hell. He manages to channel Hulk troupes such as the struggle between man and monster in fun and creative waves, and the book has a fun, bouncy vibe to it. His dialogue isn’t anything ground-breaking, but it’s certainly delightful, as I have a feeling Pak is holding back a bit to let Cho and Oback’s art take THE-TOTALLY-AWESOME-HULK-#4-4center stage. My only complaint is that Spider-Man Miles Morales’ presence is wasted here, as he hardly has any impact on the story at all. In the writer’s defense, I MAY has missed something that was touched upon in a past issue.

The Totally Awesome Hulk is a fun book with a lot of potential. Part of me wishes that Pak would make the book a little deeper like other legacy heroes such as Sam Wilson, Ms. Marvel or Thor, but I can definitely see the appeal of it being a fun, giant monster book. The cast is super likable, the dialogue is serviceable and the art is great. A pleasant surprise all in all, and while I have no strong desire to start pulling the title, I’ll definitely be checking it out once it’s on Marvel Unlimited.

 

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Chris’ Comics: G.I. Joe Deviations #1

GIJoe-Deviations-coverG.I. Joe: Deviations #1

Paul Allor, Corey Lewis, Gilberto Lazcano

IDW $4.99

2015 was the year that I took some time to read some comics about Transformers, specifically Windblade, who is the best. 2016 sees me purchasing G.I. Joe: Deviations #1, a one shot done in the what if style. I assume I’ll finally be given IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle series a shot comes 2017.

G.I. Joe: Deviations probably wouldn’t have landed on my radar is it was mentioned on Comics Alliance few times, or if it wasn’t drawn by Corey Lewis, who’s Snark Knife I’ve enjoyed and upcoming Sun Bakery I’m very excited for. It also helps that the premise for this comic and its execution is right up my ally.

The plot for GIJ:D sounds pretty grimmdark at first as the few pages sees Cobra successfully conquer the world and lay waste to their enemy G.I. Joe. But then it flashes forward 5 years later, where we see Cobra Commander at odds with his role of leader of the world and his desire to be a cartoon super villain. Now that he and Cobra have succeeded, he has very little time for inane world conquering plots involving questionable gi_joe_deviations_preview_03technology. He has to focus now on being a bureaucrat, something he does not enjoy doing obviously. “Luckily” for him, 4 Joes remain, and are looking for revenge, which obviously leads to hijinks (who is NOT a existing G.I Joe character surprisingly).

Writer Paul Allor does an excellent job of telling a solid story while making sure there’s some laughs to be had. The original G.I. Joe animated series has not aged well, and Allor is well aware of what the internet has mined from this show for meme purposes. Case in point, this comic starts off with a PSA parody that goes pretty dark real fast, but is also funny in an incredibly cruel way.  This comic is very much an action comedy, as Cobra Commander’s inability to give up his love of causing a ruckus leads to some interesting decisions.

As stated above, Corey Lewis was a key reason why I bought this book, and he does not disappoint. His style is perfect for a book like this, as his stylized, Jim Mahfood-esque art successfully gives the book a animated feel. I love his character designs, which make all sorts of pop culture references, but only if you’re in on the joke, so they don’t really gi_joe_deviations_preview_05distract much. His art really shines when it comes to the book’s action scenes, as his kinetic, manga esque layouts really make for some fun visuals. I’m glad that Lewis inks and colors himself as well, because the finished art really pops, re-imagining the old animated series in the best way possible.

My only complaint is the price tag. Its 5 bucks for 36 pages, but a lot of those pages (14!) is dedicated space for extra content. Had I not been such a fan of the artist, chances are I would have skipped over it to be honest, and it may be a deal breaker for those of you who want a more serious story. That being said, I’m okay with my purchase, especially since it’s a done in one. G.I. Joe Deviations is a fun alternate universe one-shot that I can’t recommend enough if you want a different take on a beloved property. By not being the most serious of affairs, the books works for me in ways other G.I. Joe comics haven’t before. If you’re willing to drop the $5 on it, there’s a lot of fun to be had.

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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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Val’s Toy Chest- Civil War 2016

Marvel’s got a massive movie coming out this May which is essentially as close to an Avengers film without actually being one. I am of course talking about Captain America 3: Civil War. Marvel is no stranger to merchandising their current spate of Marvel Cinematic Universe films and this year’s film is full of toyetic characters.  Before I started work on this week’s column, I was inundated with a massive amount of Funko boxes- many of which contained characters from the new movie. What did we get? Let’s take a look.

There are 11 announced figures coming out in Funko’s Civil War POP line and we’ve gotten 7 of those in this week’s shipment. Team Cap and Team Iron Man are both represented with the new POPs of Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr’s. Iron Man. Fans of the female characters have Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and Elizabeth Olson’s Scarlet Witch to collect while Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Chadwick Boseman’s highly anticipated Black Panther round out the male heroes of the film that we’ve received thus far.  I think the Black Panther figure is going to sell out quickly, so jump on that one if you want it ASAP. That isn’t all as we’ve also received Frank Grillo’s Crossbones as a POP vinyl. I anticipate that he will also be a brisk seller since he is a brand new character to the line.

Funko and Vinyl Sugar have teamed up to bring us DORBZ and they’ve also crafted some Civil War collectibles for us. Vision, Black Widow and Iron Man are what we have right now with the others on the way soon. If you prefer to keep your lapels pinned, Funko has a line of Civil War POP pins using the POP style of several characters and those have shown up at the store as well. Characters available are Black Panther, Captain America, Crossbones and Iron Man.

It wasn’t all Civil War,  as more from the 2nd series of Harry Potter POPs have also started to hit our shelves. Luna and Malfoy came today as well as new versions of Harry and Ron. Hot Toys Snowtroopera Snowtrooper Officer and the impressive DeLorean from Back to the Future rounded out my very busy day at work.

Next week- if DC Collectibles’ current schedule holds, should see an awesome array of figures from the Animated Series as well as the current CW series- including my most anticipated figure of the year- Laurel Lance/Black Canary. I’m planning something special in the Weekly Planet for that figure if she comes out next week.  See you then!

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Chris’ Comics: Jonesy #2

Jonesy_002_A_Main-1Jonesy #2

Sam Humphries, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Mickey Quinn

Boom! Box $3.99

If there was any justice in the world, someone at Cartoon Network or Disney would be writing a big ol’ check to Sam Humphries and Caitlin Rose Boyle for the animated series rights for Jonesy. The way the book is structured and reads is perfect for that Bee & Puppycat/Gravity Falls/Steven Universe demograph, and it manages to be in the same vein of those properties while still being its own thing.

Jonesy #2 sees our lead slacking off on the job so that she can indulge her fandoms and hang out with a friend. Obviously there’s some shenanigans as a result of said slacking, which is good, because it would be a fairly boring comic otherwise. We the readers get a comic that seems deceptively simple at first look, but does so many small things right that Jonesy_002_panel-600x661it’s far more impressive than one would think. First off , I can’t remember any comics aside from maybe the new Marvel Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series that features multiple females persons of color as the focus of the story, especially ones aimed at a younger audience. Representation is important, and it’s nice to see the creators be diverse without getting to heavy handed at any given time. It’s also great to see a character admit they have a crush on another character of the same sex without making a big deal out of the fact that they’re queer. It’s something that doesn’t surprise me given that BOOM! Box also publishes the hit LQBT+ friendly comic Lumberjanes, but it’s nice to see none the less.

I love, LOVE, Caitlin Rose Boyle’s art. The Bryan Lee O’ Malley meets Rebecca Sugar style is so expressive and charismatic, it’s hard to not get lost in the book’s art. Aside from her hyper stylized characters, Boyle does a great job of cramming all sorts of things into the background, giving the readers plenty of incentive to study each panel. Mickey Quinn‘s colors continue to amaze, to the point where I want to stop reading this book in print and see how sharp it looks on my iPad screen. And Corey Breen‘s letters definitely deserve some mention, as the various black bold fonts contrast nicely with the bright colors used by Quinn.

Writer Sam Humphries has done some wonderful things with the 2nd issues dialogue. The 2nd issue seems to confirm how the book will play out (1st starts off with Jonesy, declaring Jonesy_002_PRESS-6something sucks, 2 act ends with Jonesy using her powers and making the scenario worst, third part is the resolution), and that’s fine. Again this book needs to appeals to all ages, and Humphries’ jokes, banter and plotting do so in a way that works for most older readers. As I’ve said in the past, it’s definitely not for everyone, but if your over 18 and wants something lighter in tone (especially compared to what Image offers), Jonesy is the book for you.

Jonesy #2 is a deceptively clever book that feels relevant and fun. A shame it’s only going to be a 4 issue mini series, because I would love to see what else these creators could do with more issues. That being said, the book’s nearly flawless as it, so Jonesy may benefit from less sometimes being more.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #5

Spider-Woman_Vol_6_5_TextlessSpider-Woman #5

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

The Business. At the Bomb dot Tumblr dot com. Several profanities strung together, typed out with CAPS LOCK on.

Above is list of ways I would describe this issue of Spider-Woman. Marvel, feel free to us any and all of those for the trades pull quote, it’s cool, I grant you permission to do so. Also in case you can’t tell by now dear reader, I dug the hell out of this fifth issue of a series that has been excellent since this team was assembled.].

The last 3 issues of Spider-Woman were home to one of the DOPEST story arcs to grace a Marvel comic in some time (DIE HARD IN SPACE, BUT JOHN MCCLANE IS PREGANT!), and while issue 5 is a little more grounded, it’s an excellent celebration of Jessica Drew, who is now officially a single mother. While exploring this major change in Jessica’s life, creators Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez reunite Jess with her IMG_7517old supporting cast, and a few guest stars, including her ex who is my favorite Avenger. Oh and some villains from another Marvel book I adored show up for a brief cameo, making this comic the most on-brand Chris Troy comic of 2016 (so far).

Fan service aside, I REALLY enjoyed what the creative team does with Jessica in this issue. The first few pages give a Kill Your Boyfriend/Sex Criminals vibe via Jessica talking directly to the reader, until it’s revealed that she’s talking to a pair of friends and not us. While it’s not exactly the first book to use that narration trick, it’s an excellent way to let the reader’s into Jessica’s head, all while Rodriguez gets to use his artistic skills to once again convey motion.

My favorite scene in this book involves the entire creative team fully in sync, resulting in 3 pages that don’t use emojis & imagery oppose to dialogue to tell the story. Aside from the usual brilliance from Hopless and Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez use of black inks to make some fantastic imagery. Playing off the strong preference of a dark color is colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, who uses flat yeah bright colors to counter the black. It’s an excellent example IMG_7516of how well this team works together to produce one of the best super hero books on the shelves.

I also love Jessica’s journey in this issue, and how she deals with the idea of being both a mother and super hero. Granted while it plays out as you would expect given this being a super hero book, the journey is so spot on, and really making Jessica read and feel like such a full and fleshed out character. It’s hard not to smile when reading those final pages, as the book ends on series of feel good moments.

Next month begins the Spider-Women crossover, which means I’m taking a break from the title until it’s over. I love the character, but I’m not about to add 2 more titles to my pull, especially when the usual art team is on a well-deserved break. That being said, this book was a phenomenal comic, and an excellent portrayal of the title character. Spider-Woman #5 is an excellent done of one which shows how talent this creative team is, and I cannot recommend it enough.

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Chris’ Comics: Gotham Academy #16

5088873-gothac_cv16_dsGotham Academy #16

Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, Sandra Hope, James Tynion IV, Christain Wildgoose, Serge Lapointe,  Ken Nimura

DC $2.99

 

It’s a good week for fans of I Kill Giants, as not only is Joe Kelly killing it on Spider-Man/Deadpool, but co-creator/artist Ken Nimura swings by Gotham Academy for a fun story that he draws/writers/letters by himself.

Before vomiting words of praise for Nimura’s contributions to this little, let’s check in on who else contributes to this issue. James Tynion IV, Christian Wildgoose, and Serge Lapointe tell the other guest story which is good, not great, and not exactly something worth writing home about. It’s cool seeing Maps drawn less stylized and more 5088875-gothac_16_2like an actual human teenager, but it only being 4 pages long give the team much to do. Which is a shame, because it gives Tynion a chance to focus on some less dramatic teen characters than the ones he’s used to in the Eternal books. He’s a good fit for the world of Gotham Academy, and takes to the lighter, more Batman the Animated Series inflenced world quite well. And the art is clean, bold and expressive, which I like, even though it’s a in a more traditional DC  Comics style.  Its delightful fluff, and something that may leave you wanting more from Tyion and Wildgoose.

The bridging story from Brenden Fletcher, Adam Archer, and Sandra Hope moves the story of Maps’ faux yearbook in an interesting direction, and I hope it’s capitalized upon for next month’s finale. I still don’t like how Archer draws a particular character, which I won’t get into due to spoilers, but it’s easy enough to overlook since their time on page is relatively short. His work on the main cast has been steadily improving, which I appreciate, and I hope to see him continue to grow as an artist.

Doing away with the 3 stories and 1 bridging story method for a longer second story, Ken Nimura’s “Boring Sundays” tale is DELIGHTFUL, and a great reason to give DC $3 this Gotham-Academy-16-Panel-2week. While Nimura doesn’t give us the deepest narrative, there’s a ton of charm injected into this tale, mostly via some fantastic art. His style, a mixture of Charles Schutz and manga, makes for an interesting visual take on the Gotham Academy. Also I am now realizing I should have just used  Chris Eliopoulos as a better example of something the art is similar to, as you can see during Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run (take a shot). Nimura really manages to strip down these characters to their esstenials, and manages to tell a adorable story in about 14 pages. It may very well be the best story to appear in the Yearbook arc to date.

Gotham Academy #16 is a fantastic installment of a very creative and fun arc. I love the talent that’s been assemble for this issue, and can’t wait to see who swings by next month for the finale. There hasn’t been a bad story in this storyline yet, and it’s hard to believe that’s going to change next month, especially after a issue as great as this one.

 

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