Tagged: Alvaro Lopez

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: Spider-Woman #4

Spider-Woman_Vol_6_4_TextlessSpider-Woman #4

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvaro Lopez, Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

When it was first announced that Spider-Woman post Secret Wars would feature a pregnant Jessica Drew, there was some skepticism from the comics fandom. Even though Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez had been doing some wonderful work on the title, I can’t blame people for being a little concerned, as child birth and super heroes do not often mix well.

However, now  that we’re 4 issues into the Mama Spider-Woman era, it’s safe to say we have nothing to worry about from this creative team. Spider-Woman #4 is arguably a perfect comic, as Rodriguez and company come together to end their (second) first arc on a massive high note.

Dealing with Skrulls while going into labor is a inventive way of seeing Jessica trying to escape her old life while trying to give her child a normal life. It’s a nice way for the creative team to embrace the roots of the character while trying to do something incredibly tumblr_o2x9uhNDfH1taspq0o4_1280new with the character. And this is the issue that shows that Jessica hasn’t lost a step despite giving birth in this issue, in the most brutal and gorgeous fashion possible thanks to Rodriguez, inker Alvaro Lopez and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg.

I’ve sung Rodriguez’s praises on ton ever since he’s stepped aboard this book, and this issue is another visually impressive on. Aside from the aforementioned brutal double spread, there’s just as impressive 8 panel one, and an incredibly tense 16 panel one that shows that’s there’s NOTHING Javier can’t do. This issue also proves how important it is to have an great inker and colorist attached to book, with a 9 panel Captain Marvel page that REALLY works thanks to the bold clean inks and fantastic colors. If the art team takes off next issue (I know they’re off for the upcoming Spider-Women arc), I have zero complaints, because it’s a rightfully deserved break.

Meanwhile Dennis Hopeless is the Wolverine of writers, because he’s the best at what he does. There’s something to be said about how he GETS Jessica and how he manages to do hell of a job of writing a mother to be while being a heterosexual male. And I cannot get enough of his Captain Marvel, who’s such a badass while being such a heartfelt character. tumblr_o2x9uhNDfH1taspq0o1_1280And the new Skrull prince Dirk is fun, despite being a bit of a a macguffin. Trope aside, Hopeless does so much good in this issue, be it the pacing to the dialogue, it’s easy to overlook a thing or two.

Spider-Woman #4 more than just nails the landing to a character defining arc. It’s a wonderful celebration of a character that really didn’t have too many great solo stories, and could have been easily lost in a sea of Spider-ladies. But this creative team goes above and beyond, crafting a tale that’s ridiculously good and some of the best super heroics being put out by anyone today. It’s a concept that may have stumbled a bit with a less experience creative team, but Hopeless, Rodriguz, Lopez and Rosenberg take an idea that we have all seen before and turn it into a high concept action comic.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with comics: Special Edition NYC edition!

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So hey, Special Edition NYC happened over at Pier 94 this past weekend, and while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the venue or the panel areas, the show was still pretty good. The quality of guests were solid, the amount of diversity present in the panels were nice, and I saw this adorable Ghus cosplayer when I arrive at the con. It was a fun show if you’re a fan of all comics convetions, as it’s very much in the vein of MoCCa and Heroescon. I fully recommend it if you’re a fan of those shows, or NYCC’s artist alley!

With that mini-convention review done, let’s get to the part where I review the comics I bought last week, yes?

 

4590451-sqgirl2015006_dc11-0The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6

Ryan North/Erica Henderson/Rico Renzi

Marvel, $3.99

I love the Squirrel Girl creative team, but I think writer Ryan North may be a 100% real life crazy person. That’s fine though, as he’s using his powers of crazy for the forces of good on this book, co-creating a title that’s hilarious and fun for all ages, while drowning in words and insanity. So I guess North is also a bit of a genius. That line is extremely blurred.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 sees our heroine deal with other animal-themed heroes named after the animals they can talk to & both of them very familiar to her, for reasons she can’t figure out why. Meanwhile, North claims to quit writing heroes with rhyming names in the text at the bottom of the page. We  also get rampaging animals, and a rampaging animal-turn-human-animals, and North quickly abandoning that claim . This book sounds like a fever dream as I describe it, but it is very good, despite sounding nuts, and…really nuts? That’s what I wrote for real? Now I hate myself for making that (unintentional) pun.

While North may be madness incarnate, but Erica Henderson is a gift. That is the best way to describe her all too important contributions to this book. Squirrel Girl’s visuals may be too cartoonish for some, but those people are dumb and shouldn’t be heard/ allowed to have nice things. TUSQ benefits from having a non-traditional super hero comic look, especially when it’s very much a humor title, and Henderson’s pencils are a perfect fit for North’s constant barrage of jokes. It’s super expressive and exaggerated, helping sell the book’s humor. The coloring from Rico Renzi is crisp and clean, doing Henderson’s art justice and completing the package.

The 2nd major arc for Squirrel Girl is off to a wonderful start. Henderson and North have delivered the best all-ages Marvel title since Thor the Mighty Avenger, and the funniest Marvel comic since Nextwave. This is some career defining stuff for these creators and well worth your time.

 

Spider-Woman-8-Cover-e1433537865998Spider-Woman #8

Dennis Hopeless/Javier Rodriguez/Alvaro Lopez/Muntsa Vicente

Marvel $3.99

Spider-Woman wraps up her first non-crossover arc, and man, the big fight scene is this issue absolutely brutal. While the violence is kept at a Teen + level (which I think means PG??), Javier Rodriguez‘s art make the feel more brutal. As you can tell from the cover, J-Drew fights a woman in a power loader, and it does not go well for her. Rodriguez doesn’t shy away from making Spider-Woman take some solid hits, but she never looks weak or timid. This is an experienced Spider-Woman, who can take some damage and keep fighting the good fight. Rodriguez’s layouts are phenomenal, with scenes bleeding into other panels or taking place in sound effects. Alvaro Lopez‘s inks are also crazy good, using heavy inks in just the right areas to main the wounds look all the more devastating and painful. VC’s Travie Lanham has some of the most creative lettering and sounds effects I’ve seen in some time, and Muntsa Vicente’s colors and bold and bright, helping this book look very stylistic.

While the art is the best reason to pull this book, Dennis Hopeless does a outstanding job on the script. He keep the dialogued limit in the fight scenes, but when the time for exposition and plot is needed, he absolutely nails it. He does a find job of making the book’s big bad incredibly sympathetic, and more importantly he writes and fantastic Spider-Woman.

Spider-Woman #8 ends with the solid new direction for the book that looks to be a fun read. Hopeless, Rodriguez and their friends have created a title that feels like a classic 70s Marvel book in a way, but also refreshingly modern. This take on Spider-Woman has done wonders for this book, and the character, who’s really come into her own there last 4 issues. It’s nice to see a female lead for Marvel who’s more of an experienced ass kicker, and it pairs well with other action oriented female lead Marvel books like Black Widow and Captain Marvel. Buy on sight.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Sassy Spies Editions

Yes, yes, I’m well aware Spider-Woman isn’t a spy anymore, but she’s still in Secret Avengers for the next 2 months so it works.

 

635544611181339292-SpiderWoman-coverSpider-Woman #5

Dennis Hopeless/Javier Rodriguez/Alvaro Lopez

Marvel $3.99

NEW STATUS QUO! NEW COSTUME! NEW ARTIST! 5TH ISSUE IN!

Spider-Woman, not unlike Spider-Gwen, is done with Spider-Verse nonsense, done with the Avengers, done with Greg Land, and is hitting the streets with a new mission and a new slick look courtesy of Kris Anka. Writer Dennis Hopeless is now free to tell stories without having to worry about tying into Amazing Spider-Man, and the book’s all the better for it.

 

Land is replaced by former Daredevil colorist/Fill in Artist Javier Rodriguez, who reminds everyone that he can draw and color the hell out of a comic 5 pages into this issue. Rodriquez definitely picked up some tricks coloring Chris Samnee over the years, which explains why is layouts are so good. And of course, the coloring on this book is surreal. The way Rodriquez colors the rain almost make those panels feel 3-D. And man, that new costume looks amazing on Jessica. Inking him is Alvaro Lopez, who knows where to thicken his black lines and where to keep them thin. He’s a fine match for Javier.

 

Hopeless staying aboard on the title is A-O-K with me, as he’s a smart writer with a knack of coming up with unique premises on corporate comic characters. Jessica struggling with going solo is an interesting predicament for a super hero, and it’s a cool challenge for her to overcome. And the addition of Daily Bugle mainstay Phil Urich is neat, and gives Jessica a great character to interact with. Also Hopeless appeals to my loves of the recently completed Superior Foes of Spider-Man and brings in several Z-list Marvel villains for Jessica to harass.

 

Spider-Woman #5 is not unlike the Bab Tarring of Batgirl, which is fine because that was a smart move, and it’s certainly now working for J-Drew.   Between this, Silk and Spider-Gwen, you’d think the comics world would be sick of female Spider-ladies, but not that’s far from the case. Each one of these titles brings something to new to medium, and all of them are good comics.  Spider-Woman #5 is a VERY good comic that should have been a #1. I know the book got a nice sales boost launching and tying into Spider-Verse, but THIS is the debut issue the creators and characters deserve.

 

stk665635Grayson #8

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeromy Cox

DC $2.99

This issue sees the end of season 1 wrapping up, as the book goes on hiatus for 2 months due to DC moving to the west coast and not replacing them with robots like I did (Hence I spell all good like always). In terms of endings, I don’t think this could have been any better.

Issue 8’s cover is pretty spot on, as SPYRAL finds a traitor in it’s ranks, and it’s up to Agent Grayson to save the day. It brings the cast of mostly new characters together in a fun and creative way, and ends on a brutal note. It’s spy comics done right, which has been this creative team’s MO since day 1, so this issue being as great as it is doesn’t come at that much of a surprise. Tom King and Tim Seeley deliver another fine script with some choice dialogue and neat twists, and Mike Janin and Jeromy Cox make the whole thing looks so pretty. Even when things get dark and violent, which says a lot about how I judge beauty.

Issue 8 is an issue that wraps up some plot-lines, starts new ones, and sees one of Dick Grayson’s student name each of his butt cheeks. It’s another great installment of comic that has been a crazy fun ride, and this slight break will make me miss it a ton.

 

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