Tagged: brian michael bendis

Troy’s Toys But With Comics: The Wicked + Doge

Before I start yakking about comics, I just wanted to say I also picked up Secret Avengers #5 this past week and dug it. But I’m saving the proper review for next week, as Saga’s the only book I’m picking up, and I would like to talk more than just one book.

 

detailMs. Marvel #6

G. Willow Wilson/Jacob Wyatt/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Behold, the first use of the Doge meme in a Marvel Comic.

Jacob Wyatt swings by to lend a hand with the art this arc, where Ms. Marvel takes the fight to her new arch nemesis The Inventor. We get some answers as to WHY the Inventor is exactly is the way he is, and I could not be happier with the answers. Over the top super villains are my jam, and this is VERY much an over the top super villain which an insane origin.

Kamala also has her first big-time team up with a major Marvel hero, and responds in the most adorable fan girlish way possibly. For hints as to who this character is, buy the comic, or IDK, google the cover for issue #7. And without spoiling much, I like the reasons why said hero is here, and the chemistry written between the two of them is perfect. As is the such of said Doge meme, which is the most Reddit comment I could make.

Wyatt and series regulars G. Willow Wilson and Ian Herring continue this book’s hot streak, perfectly blending our heroes’ personal life with PUNCHING EVIL ALLIGATORS. Wyatt’s art is a little different from what we’re used to, but it’s still very expressive, with detailed backgrounds and very animated characters. It’s very much another indie/alt comic vibe that Marvel has been excelling at for the last couple of years. Herring’s color pallet keeps the book looking good as per usual, and Wilson’s script hits all the right notes, being equal parts charming, sincere and action packed.

I’m once again finding myself at a lose of words when it comes to finding new ways to praise Ms. Marvel and it’s creative team. It may end up surpassing Hawkeye and Superior Foes of Spider-Man as the best book Marvel puts out if it can continue to maintain this level of quality.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverThe Wicked + the Divine #2

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

WEEKLY CONFESSION: I was willing to wait for the first volume of Wic+Div to hit trade, as that’s what I did with Phonograms, but then Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) went and did the variant covers for issue 2, so…..

And I’m glad I did! Issue 2 contains some AMAZING dialogue by Kieron Gillen that can’t help but make you fall in love with the cast. Luci (aka Lucifer) shines the brightest among the cast. There’s a scene in particular that takes place in a prison that contains some hilarious dialogue, and does a great job of fleshing out the character that’s justifies the $3.50. One of the reaosns it works so well is the fantastic art from Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, that’s up there with their Young Avengers stuff. There’s a few pages in the book where McKelive and Wlison experiment with colors and layout that are fresh and amazing looking, and I’m  glad to see them to continue to experiment and innovate with their styles.

But ultimately what wins me move over with this title is how refreshing and honest it is. It’s about people and gods in a terrible world doing things that they didn’t entirely think out, and will have to eventually answer for them. It’s fantastic, and the type of comics I’m not surprised is coming out from Image and this particular creative team.

uncx2013023-dc11-page-001-102321Uncanny X-men #23

Brian Michael Benid/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

This is going to sound harsh and a bit manchildish, but ugh, what a waste of Kris Anka.

Anyone who’s been reading this column for the last year can confirmed that I’m bee quite ‘BOUT Uncanny X-men as of late.  Brian Micahel Bendis and his art team have been  moving the story along quite nicely. But this issue man. Ugh.

And again, I place the blame entirely at Bendis’ feet. Anka’s art was great, especially the bit where Dazzler is having a mental breakdown in a bathroom. But this script is a mess. The cover implies that this is a Original Sin tie-in, and the solicit promises an earth shattering change to the X-men.

And despite Emma Frost actually appearing in the proper Original Sin book, there’s nothing that ties this is issue into it. And there’s no reveal of any sort regarding this will, except for a weak as hell cliffhanger. Instead we get the introduction of a new character complete with a cliche origin story, an extended She Hulk cameo and teasing some other mysteries without any resolve. It’s something that Bendis has been guilty of in the past and I find it quite irksome. I’m not saying the book has to be slavishly devoted to the solicitation, but c’mon, this was nearly a completely book than what we were promised.

So yeah, Uncanny looked better than it read. A shame, and hopefully something that will be fixed next issue.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics Belated Edition part 2

wicked-and-divine-620x400The Wicked + The Divine #1

 Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson

Image, $3.50

Despite not being familiar with half the bands mentioned in the comic, I REALLY dug Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie’s 2 installments of Phonograms. And now that they’re done with their 14 issue run of Kate Bishop an her cosplay friends ( aka Young Avengers),  the pair have returned to Creator Owned Comics with Wicked + The Divine.

 

W+ t D is the tale of reincarnated gods and pop stars. So yeah it’s A LOT like Phonograms in a way, at least in concept.  Hey even Gillen admits that’s in his letter at the end of the issue, but the actual execution of the material makes all the difference. Unlike the casters that cling to the shadows in Phonograms, these gods are out there in public, letting the world know that they’re out there and operating on another level.

 

Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson are arguably 2 of my favorite artist/colorists working in comics today, and they are absolutely divine (HAR HAR) in this kick off issue. McKelvie’s line work is fabulous, and his facial expressions and the emotion he can get his characters to convey are all top notch, as usual. But it’s Matt Wilson who’s really upped his game here. Between the results of what happens when Luci snaps her fingers and how the character’s makeup and eye liner looks, it’s hard to name a colorist as skilled as Wilson working in comics today.

 

As for writer Kieron Gillen, he’s nothing short than brilliant. His dialogue is sharp, giving each of the characters a distinct voice that makes them stand out a bit. And while the plot is fairly straight forward, it’s incredibly engaging and ends on a solid cliffhanger. This is Gillen at his strongest, and it’s something that readers benefit from.

 

Wicked + The Divine is a stellar debut by one of the best creative teams with a working relationship in comics today. Anyone who loved Phonograms & Young Avengers, or was stupid enough to skip over them, needs to read this book immediately.

 

3898273-sex+criminals+02Sex Criminals #6

 Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

Image $3.50

Sex Crims is back, in what is arguably the most Matt Fraction issue to date. What the means is that there’s a lot of self depreciation,  paranoia and some bleakness to this issue. Not exactly what you’re expecting from a sex comedy, but something that only helps the narrative and help flesh (HAR HAR 2) out the characters.

 

On the joys of Sex Crims that while it’s an extremely lewd funny book, it’s also incredibly honest and smart. This issue really shows that, as Jon, our male lead steps into the spotlight. Despite being a man who poops in plotted plants and freezes time every time he climaxes, he’s also a man suffering from most realistic difficulties, that help make his easier to sympathize with.

 

This issue isn’t all doom and gloom tho. While Chip  Zdarsky can sell the more dramatic bits of comic with the greatest of ease, he’s also a gifted cartoonist who can hide a ton of jokes hidden in the panels. At this weekend at Heroescon, Fraction described the process as MAD magazine esque and there’s no better description of it.The letter column remains something crucial to one’s enjoyment of Sex Criminals. It’s a fascinating look at what kind of community has been built around this book, and is something genuinely enjoyable.

I’m glad to have Sex Criminals back, and I’m curious as to what direction the book is taking with this volume seemingly focusing on Jon.

 

300px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_22Uncanny X-Men #22

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

 

Gah. This issue comes so close to be a perfect end to the X-Men Vs SHIELD arc, but it hampered by a guest colorist who’s style is lighter than what we usually get with Chris Bachalo. It clashes with Bachalo & Tim Townsend’s (and like 4 other dudes) heavy black style, and does not compliment it as well as it should.

 

It’s a real shame, because everything else about this issue is great. We finally get some answers to some long brewing questions, and 2 other characters get a nice return to form. It’s a rewarding book for long time readers, and it definitely sets up the potential for some cool stories for the future.

 

As for the reveal as to who has been sending Sentinels after Cyclops’ renegade X-Men, it works in terms of the actual identity. The execution is a bit lacking, as the motive for said villains is a tad lacking. Of course Brian Michael Bendis could be planning to touch upon that in a future issue, it’s just a little weak at this moment.

 

Overall the X-Men Vs SHIELD story arc was a fun little romp.  Nothing ground breaking, but a fun story that looked great and read well. A shame about the colors in that final issue, but overall a good time.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Better never than later

Think I may have messed up that intro title.

 

BELATED REVIEW:

Lumberjanes_002_coverALumberjanes #2

Noelle Stevenson/Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

BOOM! BOX $3.99

Let me start off this review by congratulating team Lumberjanes, as the series has gone from being an 8 mini series to a on-going! Lumberjanes is a great and important book for a number of reasons, and I’m glad BOOM! is giving the book and it’s fan the support it deserves.

Last week’s second issue is a another stellar comic, this time involving the girls going on a canoeing trip. Obviously things do not go according to plan, and more animals with 3 eyes may or may not show up (spoilers, they do) and the girls stumble upon a good ol’ fashion spooky woods mystery. It’s a ton of fun, and the book looks gorgeous. A lot of the humor, as well as the character building is expressed in the art without much exposition, letting the Brooke Allen‘s pencils do the talking. I’m 100% okay with this, as Allen’s art is super expressive, capturing the girl’s personalities and actions perfectly. Maarta Laiho‘s color art is excellent, and really captures the nature and feel of nature. Noelle Stevenson  & Grace Ellis are fantastic as well, as the dialogue and spoken humor are a hoot.

The all female created, LBGT  and all aged friendly Lumberjanes is arguably one of the most important books out in the market, not to mention one of the strongest. I’m glad it’s found an audience, and I certain hope it grows with each and every issue.

Saga_19-1Saga #19

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

Yay, Saga‘s back. Boo, Saga’s last page is brutal.

Saga continues to be the textbook definition of perfection is comics. From cover to cover, Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan continue to do everything right. It looks greats, the dialogue is fresh and crisp (no one uses profanity like BKV folks, and the plot moves at an impressive rate. It’s mind blowing on how much BKV and Staples can cram into 20 pages, especially when they’re introducing new characters into the cast.

And the last 2 pages. Just….man. Without going into details, Vaughn and Staples change the game on the readers. They managed to completely changed the mood of the book with 10 words, and not by the traditional comics means of death of destruction. It hurts y’all, it’s hurt something fierce.

TLDR: Saga continues to be the best, although sometimes it can be a jerk while doing so.

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_21_TextlessUncanny X-men #21

Brian Micahel Bendis, Chris Bachaelo, Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99

The current arc of UXM is titled X-Men vs SHIELD. If’ you’re keeping up on the title, you’re probably expecting things to play out a certain way. 3 issues into this arc, I can safely say that they’re not going to, and the book is stronger for it.

Several plot lines are coming together and the results are interesting. That’s a compliment mind you, as the book has never been better, and a certain X-man needing some redemption in my eyes comes through, while another one makes his triumphant return. Brian Michael Bendis‘ handling of these characters is impressive, and his dialogue and script on this book has never been better.

I’ve spoken highly of Chris Bachalo before in the past, but it’s usually about his art. While it’s great here, his coloring is really impressive this issue. The various uses of reds, greys, and greens are fantastic, and what really won me over was the 3rd last place. The shade of blue Bachalo uses for the sky is beautiful  and it shows off how he’s grown as a colorist.

Uncanny X-men has been stellar for months, and the book is probably the strongest it’s ever been in years. Bendis and Bachalo are an excellent creative team, and I’m really digging the direction the book has taken during their run.

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Of Puppycats and X-men

NOTE: In  addition to the books I’m taking a look at this week, I also picked up the second issue of Boom’s Lumberjanes. It’a  great book, but real life hasn’t given me much time to write comics this weekend. Expect a proper review next weekend.

 

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #3

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

 

A “True Detective” reference Secret Avengers? Oh you shouldn’t have (That is a lie, always cater towards my interests please.).

 

Now that our team is assembled, the Secret Avengers are free to begin saving the world (in secret obviously). Not exactly a ground breaking concept I know, but what that actually means is that the team can now make fun of Hawkeye (“The Troubled One” as described by Maria Hill), throw down with Lady Bullseye, and make friends with sentient bombs. Yes, I’m well aware that last part sounds a little crazy, but keep in mind, this is a book with MODOK in it, so it’s not that bizarre if you really think about it.

 

Michael Walsh’s art is an absolute delight in this issue, and one of the reason it works so well is thanks to Matthew Wilson coloring. There’s some panels where only one color is used (the first page of the comic, several panels during the Black Widow/ Lady Bullseye fight), and it’s really striking. Walsh is no slouch either mind you, and the pages inspired by old school video games and really really cool. The art works we’ll with Ales Kot script, which is equally clever and humorous. And Tradd Moore’s cover is perfect, really highlighting the madcap atmosphere of this comic.

 

Secret Avengers continues to be the perfect book for fans eager for books that similar to Hawkeye, as well as ones that maintain the charm of the cinematic Marvel Universe. More comics could benefit with having talking bombs in their cast.

 

 

Bee-and-PuppyCat-Cover-ABee and Puppycat #1

Natasha Allegri/Garret Jackson/Madeleine Flores

KaBoom, $3.99

I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m a little let down by Bee and Puppycat’s comic debut. The animated short from last year was a delight, and the announcement of this mini series had my hopes set high, especially with Natasha Allegri involvement. Allergi’s comics debut with last year’s Fionna and Cake mini-series was excellent, but I found the first issue of Bee and Puppycat suffered from some awkward pacing and a bit of the ol’ decompression.

That being said, the book looks great, and the humor is swell. Bee, our magical girl temp worker, is a hot awkward mess of an adult, and it’s something that Allegri manages to capture perfectly in the comic. Puppycat, her magical dog-cat, is as cute as it’s animated counterpart, but without the audio element of the show in this book (animated Puppycat is voiced by the Japanese Vocaloid synthesizer program, which is super cute), it loses some of its charm. And again why the humor and visuals are great, I found the plot kind of dragging, paling to the narrative of the back up story. The backup story, by Madeline Flores, is excellent, and is a cute follow up to the animated short. Flores’ art is very expressive, and her choice to keep Puppycat silent works well. I’m actually more excited to see how that story wraps up than I am with the main.

Bee and Puppycat isn’t a bad comic but it pales to the recent released Fionna and Cake themed Adventure Time annual, and this week’s issue of Lumberjanes. Fans will find some enjoyment in it, but there’s little to sell people on not familiar with the property aside from the art.

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_27_TextlessAll New X-Men

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

Marvel $3.99

An incredibly DENSE issue from Bendis and Immonen, this issue of All New X-Men does a lot right.  Two of the underused characters introduced in last year’s Battle of the Atom event are fleshed out in a flashback, there’s another mystery plot line touched upon and a ton of action as the X-men find them under attack. It’s a lot for 20 pages of content, but Bendis paces it well, letting Stuart Immonen’s pencils to the talking when need be, and saving the large chunks of dialogue he’s known for the break from the action. The colors from Marte Gracia, in conjunction with the heavy black inks from Wade Von Grawbadger mix well, and help Immonen’s art give the sense of urgency and chaos this issue needs.

All New X-Men has really found its footing after dragging its heels for a few months. I’m really glad to see it, and hope this kind of quality continues to be present in the series.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Mall Rabbit edition

Happy Day Before Left Over Easter Candy Goes on sale, FPNYC Faithful! May you not be struck with the diabetes until you deem your own life meaningless.

Jesus Christ, that was a dark intro.

Anywho, Awesomecon & Wondercon are currently going down in Washington DC and Somewhere, CA, and I’m just tired looking at other people’s photos. I am getting old, and am  possibly still winded from PAX East. I suggest that you never get old dear reader, it is the worst.

Happy Fun Comics Review Time:

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_20Uncanny X-men #20

Brian Michael Bendis, Chris Bachalo, Tim Towsend and others.

Marvel, $3.99

Let’s start this discussion by pointing out how sharp that cover it!  Oh sure it’s vaguely reminiscent of 3 Marvel Universe hand guide images overlapping each other, but it’s simplistic enough to work. Good job by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend on it.

The interior is also pretty great. After a false start, the X-Men vs SHEILD throw down we’ve been promised begins, with Scott Summers and friends firing off the first few rounds. The “renegade” X-Men finally begin to live up to their rep, but not in a way that makes them undesirable leads (Unless you’re one of those weirdos who’ve never liked Cyke, shame on you).

And props to Brian Michael Bendis for being able to juggle so many plot lines in this issue without it becoming overbearing.  Seeds planted from earlier arc begins to blossom, and hopefully this is the arc where we finally get some answers.

I was kind of worried that the hot streak that Uncanny X-men has been one would come to an end once a multi-chapter arc started up, but I am happy to report that my concerns were for naught (so far). Chris Bachalo and his team of inkers continue to provide excellent art, much to the surprise of no one. And Bendis’ scripts continue to be the perfect blend of humor, action and drama. Ending this book on a Saga-worthy cliffhanger only makes this issue of Uncanny X-men more of a can’t miss, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Cyclops and the others next month.

 

portrait_incredible (2)Ms. Marvel #3

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel, $2.99

Years of sub par events and multi-chapter storylines have left me burnt out on decompressed comics for the most parts. Especially when it comes to origins stories that could be told in 1 or 2 chapters. But like Bendis, Bagely and Ultimate Spider-Man before them, Team Ms Marvel continues to deliver with the 3rd chapter of this 5 part  origin story.

 

There’s a lot of similar story beats between Spider-Man and Ms Marvel, and I mean that in the best sort of way. G. Willow Wilson and  Adrian Alphona are doing an excellent job building up both Kamala Khan and the world around her. They’ve realized that giving the new Ms. Marvel a good supporting cast and dynamic locale to operate in is crucial to good story telling, and Ian Harring‘s color art make it a vibrant setting . Much like Manhattan and Spidey, Jersey City and Ms Marvel compliment each other, and the comic is stronger because of it.

The incredibly diverse supporting cast consisting of Kamala’s family, friends and peers is not unlike Spidey’s various colleagues, but are very much their own characters. They come across as fresh faces, opposed being the archetype that Stan Lee & Steve Dikto established back when they redefined super hero comics in the early 60s.

With Kelly Sue Deconnick doing wonderful things with Carol Danvers over the last few years, it seemed difficult to think Marvel would be able to strike oil twice with characters titled Ms Marvel. But after 3 issues, it seems that team Ms Marvel are willing to defy everyone’s expectations, possibly surpassing the book it spun out of it. Which is great for both the creators and readers in the end.

 

All-New_Ultimates_1_Nakayama_Cover-600x899All New Ultimates #1

Michel Fiffe, Amilca Pinna, Nolan Woodward

Marvel $3.99

With the ol’ pull list looking a little thin over the new few weeks ( all my Image books are on hiatus, Hawkeye’s been delayed a month), I decided to revisit the Ultimate Universe this week. I haven’t purchased a Ultimate title in forever ( I have been following Miles over in USM via the Marvel Digital Unlimited thingie though), but when I heard Michel Fiffe of COPRA fame was penning an Ultimates relaunch, I was more than willing to give this book a shot.

 

Fefe, along with Amilcar Pinna and Nolan Woodard don’t do anything ground breaking with their debut issue, but there’s a ton of interesting ideas and concepts dropped within 20 pages. For example, there’s exactly 0 white dudes on this team, which says a lot, given how Caucasian heavy the 616 Avengers roster issue is. And the Ultimatization of several more obscure Dwayne McDuffie/Mark Gruenwald -created characters is welcomed, as there’s some potential for cool things to be done with them.

The surprisingly dense script is accompanied by some good visuals. Pinna’s art’s good for the most part, but there’s some off-looking panels here and there (like the 2 pages Kitty Pryde shows up on). Fortunately, Nolan Woodard’s colors are exceptionally strong and do a lot for the penciled and ink art. It’s very neon for a lack of better word, but not in a 80s revival way, and works for the “Warriors meets Taiyo Matsumoto” vibe Fife is going for.

Minor art issues aside, I really dug this book. While I’m not expecting the 2nd coming of COPRA or anything, I have high hopes for this series, and am excited to see what the creators have in store.

 

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

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

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

REVIEWS:

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #2

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

Lumberjanes01Lumberjanes #1

Shannon Watter, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson and Brook Allen

$3.99 Boom!/Boom Box

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

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

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

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

All-New_X-Men_Vol_1_25_TextlessAll New X-men #25

Brian Michael Bendis and like 20 something artists

Marvel, $4.99

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

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

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics SPRINGGGGGG!

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

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

OTHER BOOKS WHAT SHIPPED THAT YOU MAY LIKE:

Empowered Special #6

Furious #3

Might MGMT #20

Tomb Raider #2

Adventures of Superman #11

Aquaman #29

Sandman Overture #2

Wake #7

Legends of Red Sonja #5

Rocky and Bullwinkle #1

Deadly Class #3

Fatale #21

Sex #12

Walking Dead #124

All New Ghost Rider #12

Amazing X-men #5

Deadpool #26

Superior Spider-Man #30

Bravest Warriors #18

Hacktivist #3

 

REVIEWS

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

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

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

avengers_assemble__25_by_zurdom-d71ie6xAvengers Assemble 25

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

Marvel $3.99

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

 

1000093043Hawkeye 18

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99

Well that escalated quickly!

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

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

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

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

Books what shipped this week that you may dig!:

Buffy the Vampire Slays Season 10 #1

Witcher #1

Animal Man #29

Superman Unchained #6

Wonder Woman #29

American Vampire Second Cycle #1

Bad Ass #3

Samurai Jack #6

Fuse #2

Lazarus #7

Rocket Girl #4

Daredevil Vol 4 #1

Iron Man #23.Now

Thor God of Thunder #20

Adventure Time #26

Sixth Gun #39

WWE Superstars #3

Shadowman #15

X-O Manowar #23

REVIEWS!

 

 

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_19.NOW_TextlessUncanny X-Men 19.NOW

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Fraction/Chip Zdarsky

Image, $3.50

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

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

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

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

portrait_incredible (1)Captain Marvel #2

G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

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

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

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

 

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

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

PICKS OF THE WEEK:

Veil #1

Action Comics #29

Green Arrow #29

Trillium #7

Turok Dinosaur Hunter #2

Revival #18

Starlight #1

Velvet #4

Magneto #1

She Hulk #2

Wolverine and the X-men #1

Afterlife with Archie #4

Archer and Armstrong #18

REVIEWS

Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_18_TextlessUncanny X-men #18

Brian Michael Bendis/Marco Rudy/ Val Staples

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

 

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

Daniel Freedman, Sina Grace

Image, $4.99, 41 pages

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Shots fired

A few days ago, Image Publisher Eric Stephens more or less called out the greater comics publisher community for reasons I don’t and do agree with. Said speech went down at retailer’s meeting ComicsPRO, and the full details can be seen here.

I agree with Stephens that $5-$8 comics are not the future of the industry. Put those comments regarding licensed books is kind of dickish, especially with the quality of the KaBOOM Cartoon Network books. It’s definitely worth a read though, and again, while I don’t agree with everything Stephens says, he does raise a lot of good points.

QUICK PICKS!

Furious #2

Mind MGMT #19

Tomb Raider #1

Aquaman #28

Lois Lane #1

Wake #6


Black Science #4

Chew #4

Deadly Class #2

Rat Queens #6

Walking Dead #122

Deadpool #24

Mighty Avengers #7

Thunderbolts #22

Uncanny Avengers #17

Wolverine and the X-Men #42

REVIEWS!

 

aa26Avengers Assemble #24

Kelly Sue Deconnick/ Warren Ellis/ Matteo Buffangi/ Ruth Redmond

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Matteo Buffangi I want to love you, but you gotta stop drawing Hawkeye with those James Worthy-esque goggles. Or start drawing him riding a snowboard every time he’s on panel. (( Call me Marvel, I have ideas! ))

My nitpicking aside, it’s another fun issue of Spider-Girl teams up with an Avengers. Having Warren Ellis and Kelly Sue Deconnick writing Iron Man is the closest we’ve seen a Robert Downey Jr-esque Iron Man on page for awhile, which I imagine is what a LOT of people want when it comes from the character. And him teaming with Spider-Girl is a fun  follow up to the previous’ issue Wolverine team up. It’s a fun, bright and good looking (sans Hawkgoggles) Avengers book that ramps things up for the book’s end next issue. I’m going to be sad to see it go, as the Ellis/KSD/Buffangi/Redmond team have turned AA into extremely satisfying must-read every month.

JUL130649_mHawkeye #15

Matt Fraction/ David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth/Chris Elliopoulous

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Oh god everything hurts and nothing will be okay ever again.

It’s been entirely way too long since we’ve seen the Matt Fraction/ David Aja team on Hawkeye. So while I’m glad to see them back, the ending of this book has me cureled up in a corner weeping. And it’s not a quality thing. Oh no, far from it.

Why I complained about the delays in the book, it’s easy to see why it takes a little longer to come out, and the end result is worth it. The majority of the pages are crammed with perfectly crafted art, enhanced with Matt Hollingsworth’s colors and Chris Ellipoulos‘ word balloons. There’s even so great used of the white between panels. This book works even without Fraction delightful dialogue, and you can easily follow the story without paying attention to the dialogue.

Also, much like Fuse #1, the cover in so well designed and clever that you’ll appreciate it much more once you read the issue.

It’s a brutal issue of Hawkguy, as the brothers Barton learn what the say about good intentions. And the cliffhanger comes with a price , because I don’t think we’re getting any more of Clint’s story until May at the earliest. So yeah, brb, running into the ocean.

gargal2013012dc11jpg-9dbc3f_960wGuardians of the Galaxy #12

Brian Michael Bendis/Sara Picehlli/Stuart Immonen/ Wade Grawadger/Justin Ponsor

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Once again, I find myself torn with this crossover. Bendis’ dialogue is not at it’s best, and why there’s some solid pieces here and there, overall it’s fairly average. But visually. Damn, just damn

Sara Pichelli delivers when it comes to several highly emotional scene in this issue. It’s a dialogue heavy issue, with a few powerful moments that Pichelli draws beautifully. Justin Ponsor‘s color definitely deliver, especially when the book shifts from deep space to the Shi’iar home planet.

And while Pichelli not being able to draw the entire book irks me a tad, having Stuart Immonen pitch in is more than fine. He and Von Grawbadger are handling the art for the X-Men side of things anyway, so it works, especially given how talented they are.

These crossover is getting better, so hopefully the last 2 chapters deliver. Bendis has two amazing art team working with him, so hopefully his scripts will perform as well as Sara and Stuart are.

 

 

 

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

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

BOOKS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN THIS WEEK:

Strain the Fall #8

Animal Man #28

Justice League #28

Wonder Woman #28

Fables #138

Bad Ass #2

Undertow #1

Amazing X-Men #4

Marvel Knights Hulk #3

Adventure Time #25

Quantum & Woody #8

 

REVIEWS:

uxm17Uncanny X-men #17

Brian Michael Bendis/ Chris Bachalo/ Tim Townsend

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

3592047-daredevil_36_coverDaredevil #36

Mark Waid/Chris Samnee/Javier Rodriguez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

 

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

I am entirely too proud of that title.

the-fuse-01web-The Fuse

Antony Johnston/Justin Greenwood/Shari Chankhamma/Ed Brisson

Image/$3.50/ 30 pages

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

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

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

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

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

3581036-all_new_x-men_23_keown_variantAll New X-Men

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

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

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Cats on Cats Baby

Upon writing cats on cats I realize that there’s several ways in which that can be taken.

Whelp, Imma keep it, because I hope people’s mind won’t go directly to the gutter (HAH!) and more importantly, I’m lazy. So fingers crossed

With that out of the way, I’m going to change the format up a bit this week, as this is 2014, and that sounds like a thing you should do in a semi-new year. Aside from the 2-4 books I usually review (4 this week!), I’ll name drop/highlight a few other books of note you may want to check out every week  because….reasons?

OTHER NOTABLE RELEASES THIS WEEK:

Furious #1, Dredd: Underbelly #1, Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1, Adventures of Superman #9, Batman and Robin Annual #2, Fables #137, Bad Ass #1, Black Science #3, Five Weapons #6, Invincible #108, Inhumanity #2, Uncanny Avengers #16, Uber #9, WWE SuperStars #2

REVIEWS:

kaboom_bravest_warriors_annual_001_bBravest Warriors: CATBUG 2014 Annual #1

Kate Leth/Coleman/Monica Ray/Sloane Leong

KaBOOM Studios/$4.99/30 pages

 

As someone who’s a big fan of Cartoon Hangover’s Bravest Warrior, as well as the comics coming out of KaBOOM Studios’, the Catbug Annual was a no-brainer for me. The breakout star of the hit Youtube series is very appealing to me(Yes, of course I own a Catbug t-shirt), and seeing a bunch of awesome indie creators craft tales starring Catbug is a good way to me to give someone $5.

Kate Leth, a KaBOOM & Comics Alliance regular, leads the annual off with a cute 8 page 879fa9244676f0e419af12c64dda780estory that has said Bug that is also a Cat covering the alpahabet. Sloanne Leong also puts a Catbug twist on a familiar story, and her slightly off-model take on the cast works for me. Coleman Engle‘s story is a tad weak compared to the other stories in the annual, but the art reeks of charm, and the colors are fantastic, so it’s all good. Monica Ray‘s story really captures the feel and the look of the show the best, mixing the type of cute and horror you expect from Bravest Warriors. I dug it a ton.

My only beef with this annual is the price point, as it’s not even a double sized issue for $5. Then again I am old, and remember that $5 use to get you a lot more comic for that price. Regardless of my old man problem, the Catbug Annual is a delight for all age reader/fans of the show, and I urge you to buy the hell out of it.

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_Vol_3_11.NOW_TextlessGuardian of the Galaxy #11.NOW

Brian Micahel Bendis/Sara Pichelli/Justin Ponder

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

As someone who was a big fan of the DnA-era Cosmic Marvel, I’ve accepted that  Brian Michael Bendis‘ take on cosmic Marvel is a different beast. And seeing how I’m really digging Bendis’ take on the X-titles he’s writing, I went into the 2nd chapter (the cover says part 1 for some reason) of the Trial of Jean Grey with an open mind.

Sadly, the book is kind of a mess on the narrative side of things. Bendis attempts to play catch up with any potential new readers who’ve come over from the X-neighborhood (S’up), while progressing the story he’s been telling for nearly a year now. Sadly that’s a lot to cover in 20 pages, and it doesn’t mesh as well as it should in the end. Which is a problem with crossovers and event-tie ins, something BOTH titles are coming from.

Luckily for everyone, Sara Pichelli is on art duties, so the book looks fantastic. And with the introduction/catch up done, hopefully the next installment on the GOTG side of things will be an improvement. But if you’re like me and not a completionist/ buying Guardians on the regular, you can skip this issue.

marvel-avengers-assemble-issue-23inh Avengers Assemble #23.INH

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffangi/Nolan Woodward

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

I could read snarky Avengers team up forever Marvel, please take note.

Spider-Girl’s quest continues on this month, this time seeing her teamed her up the the omni-present Wolverine. Ol’ Bubsnikt is at his best when he’s cranky and forced to team up with teenagers (See: The last 40 years of X-men comics), and with KSD and Warren Ellis on writing duties, it’s no surprise how much this book is as drenched is banter and snark. It’s a solid and dense read, and Matteo Buffangi & Nolan Woodward do a fine job on art duties (with no assists this month, yay), providing slick, fluid, and bright visuals. It’s a shame that the book is ending in March, as it’s been a delightful read post-Infinity.

Saga-18Saga #18

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

Maybe you’re not hip to Tumblr. Maybe the term “Feels” is foreign to you. Allow me to help! “Feels” is shorthand for “Feelings”  that you may get from a comic, video game, or overrated niche genre show (#shotsfired). With that being said, I now fully expect everyone to know what I mean when I say Saga #18 had me DROWNING in feels.

The final chapter of what will make up the 3rd volume of Saga is flawless. It’s rare for me to actually choke up in response to the contents of a comic book (Grant Morrison writing Superman aside), but there were several moments in this book that gave me the wibbles. It’s a beatiful book, and THE comic to be ready right now. Several plotlines are resolved, 2 characters fates are revealed, and there are confrontations and answers a plenty. Both Vaughan and Staples are on top of their respective games, and it’s hard to imagine this book being as good as it is with any other creators involved.

The only downside to Saga is that we’re not getting another issue until probably May, which is brutal, given how this book ends. But at least it’s a clean break, and has me excited for the future.

That wraps up this week. Next week, THE most important mainstream comic of 2014 drops, and Steve Lieber returns to Superior Foes of Spider-Man. GET HYPED, ALSO GO HAWKS!

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

jul1309615) Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

dd34Daredevil #34

Mark Waid/Javier Rodriguez/Alvardo Lopez

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages.

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

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

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

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

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

saga-17-web-72Saga #17

Brian K Vaughn, Fiona Staples

Image, $2.99, 20 pages

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

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

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

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

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