Tagged: dennis hopeless

The Phoenix Is Coming For Jean Grey #1

Jean Grey’s Time is Up, Her Time Is Now!

It’s been a difficult life for Jean Grey. Well, it might be if she doesn’t find a way to change her destiny. Trapped in our present, blocked from returning to her past, she’s about to find herself fighting off her future. Jean Grey’s never had her own solo series before. With the spotlight solely on Marvel Girl in this week’s Jean Grey #1 the big question that’s going to be raised is can she avoid becoming the Phoenix, and thus turning into the Dark Phoenix that, you know, murders a planet and almost kills all the X-Men then dies repeatedly? (Yeah, I know it’s a run on sentence, so’s her character history)

Dennis Hopeless is no stranger to Jean Grey, having written young Jean’s adventures in All-New X-Men. He’s a good fit to chronicle her destiny defying mission. With fellow X-Men franchise artist in tow, Victor Ibanez, there’s a lot of possibility for a great coming of age story about denying the inevitable by the will and actions of one person. If the preview pages are to be believed, this Jean Grey is ready to strike out a bit on her own and find her place. Except just when she think she’s found some space for change, she’s set to experience a vision of the Phoenix Force finding her and fulfilling the deadly fate we’ve read for decades. Will Jean Grey only fight the future and bring about her destiny? Can she find a way to avoid all that death and dying? We can find out together this week in Jean Grey #1 and take it from there.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #9 & Green Arrow #2

Spider-Woman_Vol_6_9_TextlessSpider-Woman #9

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvardo Lopez

Marvel $3.99

MOTHER #$@#$%^& WENDIGO!

As I said last week in my Captain Marvel review, Civil War the second is upon us, which means tie-ins issues. And since Carol Danvers has been a supporting character in this title for awhile now, Spider-Woman is getting dragged into this mega-event, like it or not. I feel you J-Drew, lord knows that I feel you.

And while the (gorgeous and simplistic) cover implies hella Civil War action, this issue of Spider-Woman feels like like a tie-in and more like an issue of that delightful Jason Aaron run of Wolverine and the X-men from back in the day. While there’s definitely some Civil War: The Two related stuff in this issue, the bulk of this sees Jessica and friends IMG_0127in Canada dealing with Wendigos! Wendigo is one of my favorite C-list Marvel villains, and I love the way it’s used in this comic, especially when the grizzly twist drops.  As this all goes down, Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman bond, and by bond I mean yell at and insult each other. Good times.

The team of Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, and Alvardo Lopez continue their hot streak on this title, with some hilarious dialogue, paired with gorgeous art. The arguing between Jessica and Carol is super entertaining, and readers new and old can feel the history between the two characters. Rodriguez’s facial expressions, acting and page composition are spectacular. I love how we’re guaranteed at least one impressive double page fight scene per issue Lopez’s inks are out of the world, as he and letterer Travis Lanham continue to excel on this book.

Spider-Woman #9 is a very smart tie-in, one that brings Carol into the larger Marvel universe without betraying its mission statement. It’s nothing new for this great creative team, but you still can’t help but get excited reading this sort of comic.

 

GA_Cv2_ds-e1467817721597Green Arrow #2

Benjamin Percy, Otto Scmidt, Nate Piekos

DC $2.99

This series continues to be great for Oliver Queen, who’s just been betrayed, arrowed, tossed into the ocean and left for dead. Hey wait.

Green Arrow #2 resolves the cliffhanger ending of issue 1 by making things MUCH worse for our lead believe it or not. We also get a name for the creepy, homeless-stealing Draculas, and the reintroduction of a character who originated on the Arrow TV show. And while she gets less screen time this month, Benjamin Percy and Otto Schmidt gives some rad as hell Black Canary moments, complete with narration boxes with fishnets. Nate Piekos is the secret MVP of this book for that move.

There’s a lot to like in this issue of GA, which is heavy on the action. Schmidt’s art is gorgeous, and I love the splash pages where a boat is positioning, and the imagery he creates on another page that shows Ollie descending into hell (figuratively) is spectacular.  IMG_0129The book is pretty light on the action sadly, but it makes up for it with a tone of gorgeous visuals.

In terms of the dialogue. Percy’s stuff is “like a Michael Bay movie, but smart and good.”. So the opposite of a Michael Bay movie really. But it’s solid none the less, as he does some clever stuff that reference’s Dante’s Inferno, which is super symbolic of what Ollie’s going through.  The Dinah stuff is great, but I love how he basically manages to remix several older GA stories and do something new with this book. It’s compelling as hell, even though it’s a real bad day for Oliver Queen.

I know a lot of folk like/liked Oliver Queen in Arrow, but this is the first time I’ve really been able to get behind the character and enjoy him in a starring role. Green Arrow #2 is a RAD comic, and it’s arguably one of the biggest successes coming out of Rebirth so far.

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Chris’ Comics: X-men ’92 #4 & Spider-Woman #8

XM922016004-DC11-4baa6X-men ’92 #5

Chris Sims, Chad Bowers, Alti Firmansyah, Matt Milla

Marvel $3.99

X-men ’92 #5 is a comic that had me cackling early in the issue, only to audible gasp come the book’s final pages. To say it’s a good comic is an understatement.

There’s been some online chatter than this book is too jokey at times. Granted there’s been an abundant amount of humor in this series, writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers are definitely not afraid to get serious at times, which is shown in this issue. And it’s a nice throwback of sorts, as the nature of Storm (phrasing) and Beast’s conflict is something that’s been explored before in Fall of the Mutants/Inferno era of the X-men, and as recent as various X-Force revivals titles. The creative team have done nods like this before, but this is the first time it’s had so much depth to it, and I’m feeling it.

Art wise, Alti Firmansyah is super expressive and animated, and letterer Travis Lanham does something really neat with their choice of fonts during on extended scene. The book has relied on nostalgia for jokes before, and in this particular instance, the lettering really helps sell the humor here. It’s a neat bit that I appreciated a bunch. Matt Milla’s colors are solid, especially when dealing with the Cyberspace craziness.

The second arc of X-men ’92 is a massive improvement over the mini series it followed, and I dug the hell out of that mini. Bower, Sims and the entire art team are given more room to breathe, and don’t have to worry about adhering to the rules of a crossover event. Free to tell their own stories, they turn the extreme up to 11, and gave us an arc that’s absolutely bonkers, yet incredibly enjoyable.

Spider-Woman_Vol_6_8_TextlessSpider-Woman #8

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvardo Lopez

Marvel. $3.99

Hey look, Spider-Woman’s back. Well technically she never left, I just took a break due to Spider-Women crossover times.

Spider-Woman #8 is a done in one that sees Jessica Drew back in action, taking on Tigershark, while the Porcupine watches her son. It’s not unlike issue 5 actually, one this issue is super heavy on the action.

Much like myself, Javier Rodriguez returns to Spider-Woman this month, and absolutely kills it. His colors are gorgeous, giving the book a radiant glow that’s also stunning as the pencil art. Which, by the way, is incredible. The way Rodriguez draws sprawling fight scenes is incredibly, never skimping out on the details. This may be the single best looking Marvel comic I’ll read this year, as no one does layouts and motion like Rodriguez. And props to Alvardo Lopez, who manages to ink this thing with some incredibly thin lines, keeping the line clean and crisp.

Dennis Hopeless is superb. He wonderfully mixes humor with some emotion. His Jessica Drew is so three dimensional, being both a loving mother and a adrenaline junkie who loves help people.  And what he’s done with the Porcupine, changing him from a Z-list villain into someone quite endearing is spectacular.

Spider-Woman #8 is a comic that’s big on hear and big on action. It’s a gorgeous book that’s balances character development and super heroics perfectly. And even with Civil War II around the corner, I’m excited to pick up the next issue, just because of what the creators have done with Carol Danvers in this title. Buy on sight.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All-New X-men Volume 1: Ghosts of Cyclops

61lj1+9Td9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_All-New X-Men Volume 1: Ghosts of Cyclops

Dennis Hopeless, Mark Bagley, Andrew Hennessy, Nolan Woodard

Marvel $15.99

With the exception of the superb and insanely fun X-Men ’92, I’ve more or less stopped buying X-Men comics on a monthly basis. Between the decidedly darker tones of the current books and creative teams that don’t do much for me, not to mention the absence of several character I really like, I thought issue #600 of the previous volume of Uncanny X-Men would be a fine jumping off point.

With that being said, it seems Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley have made a liar out of me,

All-New X-men Volume 1: Ghosts of Cyclops collects the first 6 issues of the Hopeless/Bagley run, which sees the 4 of the 5 time displaced original X-men join forces with the new Wolverine (formerly X-23),  Genesis (aka Kid Apocalypse) and Oya. Traveling around the world in a T.A.R.D.I.S. inspired Winnebago, this trade sees the team reuniting to deal with the threat of a Cyclops-inspired gang of upstart mutants, as well as the classic X-Villain the Blob. These 6 issues also deal with the young Scott Summers dealing with his legacy, as his older, supposedly deceased, counterpart has done something unforgivable. It’s a wonderful blend of action and drama that the X-men are AllNewXMen2Image2known for, which makes it very appealing for someone who has been reading Uncanny X-men for quite some time now.

Dennis Hopeless being the writer for this title definitely got me to come around on this series. Hopeless wrote the excellent X-Men Season One a few years back, and according to an appearance on the X-men focused podcast Jay and Miles X-plain the X-men, this series is a spiritual sequel to that graphic novel. Hopeless is excellent here. Be it making the Blob a complete badass, or having Bobby Drake struggling with coming out with his sexuality, everything Hopeless puts on the page is great. Granted I’m not the biggest fan of Pickels the Bamf, Hopeless does a good job of giving each and every cast member their own narrative. It’s classic Claremont done in 2016, perfectly balancing the melodramatics with action.

Journeyman artist Mark Bagley wouldn’t have been my first pick to draw a book that features teenagers and X-men, but then again I’m an idiot. Bags years on Ultimate Spider-Man serve him well on this title, as he draws an impressive amount of teens punching, snikting and dialoguing at each other. Bagley on this book remind me a lot of like Alan Davis on early Excalibur- not necessarily the flashiest artist in comics, but a strong story telling you can tell a clean and compelling story with his pencils. Inking Bagely is Andrew Hennessy, with Nolan Woodward on colors. I’m none too familiar with 18301925these creators, but they do great things with Bagley’s pencils. It’s a dynamic art duo that keeps the book looking clean, fresh and vibrant,  and the book looks timeless, which is important given the past meets present premise of this book.

All New X-Men is a surprisingly fun book, even with the baggage from it’s sister books and the Inhumans-related nonsense.. Hopeless has proven his ability to write younger characters again and again over the years, and Mark Bagley is a legendary talent. Their run on All New X-Men is a great start, and I highly recommend this book if you want an X-Men title that’s not too dark, but serious enough to make it incredibly compelling.

 

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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: 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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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #3

Spider-Woman_Vol_6_3_Textless (1)Spider-Woman #3

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Albardo Lopez, Racehelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

WHAT I EXPECTED GOING INTO THIS ARC: Jessica Drew struggling with pregnancy and being a super hero.

WHAT I GOT INSTEAD: Die Hard, in space, starring a VERY pregnant Jessica Drew.

The first thing I did after reading this issue was to jump on Twitter and scream it’s praises. Writer Dennis Hopeless and artists Javier Rodriguez, Alvardo Lopez and Rachelle Rosenberg have come together to create an amazing story arc which sees a very pregnant Spider-Woman and a squad of fellow moms-to-be stuck in space hospital that’s trapped in Black Hole and crawling with hostile Skrulls.

That is a crazy pants premise that I love so much.

One of the best things about this arc so far is seeing Javier Rodriguez go FULL JACK KIRBY with the art. Most of my experience with his art was seeing him draw street level heroes and heroines, so seeing him go cosmic and start drawing the way King Kirby did when it came to the Skrulls and other cosmic Marvel beings blew my mind. And it’s just tumblr_o1clk5PrD91uxdbsko6_1280not the characters. There’s a bit in this issue where he has to draw Jessica traveling over some weird alien environments, and Javier completely manages to replicate Kirby super detailed, exotic and trippy as all hell style for this scene. All while ensuring his characters maintain the level of detail and expressiveness we’ve come to expect from him, not to mention his experimental layouts and panel placement. Alvaro Lopez and Rachelle Rosenberg bring their A games as usual too, as Lopez manages to ink Rodriguez’s lines perfectly, while adding  heavy blacks to backgrounds when needed. Rosenberg’s colors are superb, helping the final look as good as a comic can look in 2015, giving it a slight advantage over the Silver Age era where Kirby ruled over.

Dennis Hopeless’ Jessica Drew remains wonderful. Anyone worried that the character wasn’t going to be done justice now that she’s pregnant has nothing to fear, as Jessica is just as kick ass as she’s always been, just now slightly more cautious. Hopeless’ Spider-Woman is a lot like Alanna from Saga, only way less foul-mouthed and way more suitable for an teenage audience. Seeing the character take charge and lead a bunch of expecting mothers against tumblr_o1ml4hmjxl1srcsbxo1_1280the Skrulls is definitely an empowering moment for the character, as she manages to keep her cool and do some serious ass kicking. Additionally, his take on Captain Marvel as the concern future godmother helping Jessica through this ordeal puts the character in a new role, without making her any less of a great character. Combined that will the cool new alien characters Hopeless and the artist team creates for this arc, Spider-Woman #3 has a great cast of characters for reader’s to get invested it.

Spider-Woman #3 is an artistic tour de force with some wonderful character moments. It’s EASILY one of the best looking comics to come out during January, and definitely a personal best for this creative team. I’m not sure if they’ll be able to top this one anytime in the near future, but now I’m just going to enjoy what we got.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #1

Spider-Woman-1-Cover-8769aSpider-Woman #1

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvard Lopez

Marvel $3.99

When we last saw Spider-Woman, she was running off with Black Widow to go die in Secret Wars #1. Don’t worry, she got better, somehow. Better and apparently pregnant. COMICS, EVERYONE!

In case you somehow missed the hoopla, Jessica Drew is back and with child in this newest volume of Spider-Woman. Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez and Alvard Lopez fully embrace this whole 8 month post Secret Wars gap by putting J-Drew in a scenario no one saw coming. And by doing so, it sets the book off in an entirely new direction, in addition to adding a much beloved character to the cast of supporting characters. As much as I loved having the Porcupine and Phil Urich bounce off Jessica, having Captain Marvel play a larger role in the book give Jessica a chance to interact with her bestie, and makes for a perfect comedic foil to our hero. There’s also a hint that another Spider-lady will be popping up from time to time, but we have to see how this all plays out first.

I really like the way Jessica’s pregnancy is handled in this first issue. She’s upset that she’s being sidelined, but it’s a choice that she ultimately made, not wanting to risk the life of her Jess-and-her-motorcycle-e1447959748798yet to be born child. Seeing Jessica dealing with a maternity leave and an overly-concerned best friend is fun, but never makes the character the butt of the jokes. She’s struggling with the pregnancy, on her own mind you as there doesn’t seem to be an active father figure present, but she never comes off as weak. If anything it’s the opposite, as it shows Jessica rising to  the challenge to meet it head on (with some help from her friends).

Aside from the addition of her blonde BFF and some cameos from a bunch of prominent Marvel characters,  Jessica mostly interacts with Ben Urich,  who helping her adjust to an everyday normal person problem, and the Porcupine, who’s gone full amateur super hero. I really dig Jessica training Roger Cocking to be a better person, as its nice to see a petty crook being rehabilitated successfully. Hopeless and Rodriguez did wonders for the character, and seeing him as a full on hero is a nice path of progression for the character. Hopefully it will stick, because while I’m not expecting a Deadpool-level boost for the character, way too many reformed super villains have gone to the side of the angels, only to be written as a villain down the line with little to no explanation.

29cncyfAnd while a ton of things have changed for Jessica in terms of the status quo, the creators involved remain just as good as they were before the hiatus. I mean, that sort of thing should go without saying, because more writers and artists don’t suddenly regress in skills after a short hiatus. But we get to see a different side of Javier skills when he as to channel his inner Kirby/Byrne towards the end of the book. I absolutely love the way he draws a certain race of Marvel characters, as they look way creepier and in line with their silver age incarnations than the way they’ve been portrayed as of late. Plus being his own colorists give him a chance to do things with skin and lighting most artist don’t get to do with their own work. And I absolutely love Hopeless’ dialogue in this issue. He gets to focus on these heroes more human sides, which leads to a number of wonder scenes and interactions that are very enjoyable, and sound so natural.

This is the Spider-Woman #1 we deserved for the last year. It’s a fantastic soft reboot that does Jessica Drew, a wonderfully complex and compelling character, justice, while dealing with a subject matter that’s often mishandled by cape comics. Hopeless approaches pregnancy with the respect and sincerity it deserves, ensuring his critics that he’s going to do Spider-Woman right. It’s a great comic, and I can’t wait to see this story arc play out.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #10 & X-men ’92 #3

Spider-Woman_Vol_5_10Spider-Woman #10

Dennis Hopeless/ Natasha Bustos/Vero Gandini

Marvel $3.99

Going into this issue knowing regular series artist Javier Rodriguez would not be drawing it, I was expecting myself to enjoying this issue of Spider-Woman a little less than usual. Nothing against guest artist Natacha Bustos, but the shadow Rodriguez casts on this book is MASSIVE, and it’s a hard to follow.

However, most of my issues with #10 aren’t with Bustos. She kills it with this issue, channeling Rodriguez while giving the book a softer, more manga-influenced look. Natacha never gives us any crazy, hyperactive layouts we’ve gotten in the past, but she does a fine enough job with the issue. It’s a shame that Vero Gandinis color pallet is so pale, otherwise I would have zero complaints with the art. Sadly, aside from his beautiful night skies,  his use of light colors irk me, making the final product look cheaper. I was willing to chalk it up to a printing error, but after looking at the digital copy, it’s definitely the shade. The day scenes are well lite enough, but it takes away from the night time scene.

CNWcZSSW8AAR1_CMy other issue with this comic was it being forced into being a Secret Wars: Last Days tie-in. 1/4 of the book is spent setting up Jessica’s appearance in Secret War #1, and it feels so forced, with an overly aggressive Black Widow that’s incredibly unlikable. It’s rare to see writer Dennis Hopeless slip up like this, but given how poor the Spider-Verse stuff was handled, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The book is at it’s best when it’s dealing with the A plot, which involves such greatness as HULK CATTLE and the Porcupine going full O.M.A.C. (Happy birthday Jack Kirby!), and could have used five more pages of that then lining up the events of a 4 month old comic.

Spider-Woman #10 is the uneven conclusion to a pretty great run of Spider-Woman comics. The book will be back in November with the Javier Rodriguez, and Natcha Bustos will be off drawing the All New Devil Dinosaur series. I’m excited for both titles, and I hope this next volume of Spider-Woman will be free of crossovers. Hopeless and Jessica are best when they’re left to their own devices, despite the chance of boosted sales thanks to being a major event tie in

X-Men_'92_Vol_1_3_TextlessX-men ’92 #3

Chad Bowers/Chris Sims/ Scott Koblish 

Marvel $4.99

Nothing says 90s X-men like X-Force. The New Mutants went from being the 2nd X-men book to being a sales juggernauts, launching the careers of both Rob Liefield and Greg Capullo, and introducing Marvel icons like Cable and Deadpool. It comes as no surprise that Sims and Bowers decided to use these characters for this title, and the results of pretty great.

X-Men ’92 #3 collects the 5th and 6th installments of the digital version of X-Men ’92, which are both the best and worst chapters of this series so far. The first half of this book sees X-Force off to save the captive X-men, all while Casanova Nova finds herself struggling against the combined might of Cyclops and Jean Grey. The 2nd of the half explains Casanova’s end game, ties the book back to Secret Wars, and is kind of all over the place. You can tell writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims are having a blast with this book when their focusing on the characters, which is where is when the book really shines. It’s an extremely fun fiction of sorts, and I wish these two could continue to have their fun instead of having to wrap this thing up so the 616 X-men can pal around with the Inhumans or whatever.

004085411ce2dfd3afbf59c707e7fe85Sadly the artist Scott Koblish‘s art isn’t as solid this time around. While he manages to draw some ridiculous guns and pouches this issue, some of the pages feel rush, and the art feels less parody and more cheap 90s licensed merchandise at times.

The good more than out weight the bad in X-men ’92 #3. Its an incredibly fun and exciting read that hits a few snags, but is worth the cover price. It’s been a while since we’ve had a light-hearted X-men book on the stands, and hopefully these creators will have a chance to work their magic again after Secret Wars.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Spider-Woman #9

SWOMAN2015009-Cov-c2f18Spider-Woman #9

Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez, Alvardo Lopez

Marvel $3.99

Javier Rodriguez is a beast y’all.

I’ve been a fan of both Spider-Woman and Javier for awhile. Jessica Drew is my wife’s favorite Avenger, and Rodriguez won me over back when he was coloring Daredevil. Putting him on Spider-Woman with that slick Kris Anka designed costume was a gift, and this issue may arguably be his most impressive work to date.  It also helps that he and writer Dennis Hopeless are channeling other quirky creator driven books like Superior Foes of Spider-Man, the aforementioned Daredevil and Hawkeye with this incarnation of Spider-Woman.

4691358-2+swoman2014009_int2-1Issue 9 kicks off the 2nd arc of this team’s run, which sees J-Drew, reporter Phil Urich, and reformed Z-list villain the Porcupine hit the road to help folk across the country deal with the various weirdness one would face as a denizen in the Marvel Universe. This results in the Porcupine not being the most obscure villain to show up in this book, which says a lot. It alsot means Rodriguez is able to draw a number of insane fight scenes, all of which are gorgeous and highly detailed. I also like how he also frames his pages, using photos as panels, and doing a lot of interesting things with the sense motion by drawing multiple Jessicas in a single panel. The book seems excessive to the untrained eye, but once you start reading it, the proper flow of events becomes apparent and it’s all very wonderful. And since he doubles as colorist, he uses lighting to his advantage throughout the book. I’m not saying he uses it for some easy outs, no, his pages are crammed full of content, the coloring just helps to guide the reader’s eyes as to where they should be focusing on. And the quality of the colors are worth mentioning, as it’s the first time the digital editions looks as good as the paper version. A lot of books look a lot crisper on a tablet then on paper (ie any DC book I buy) , but Rodriguez someone manages to avoid it. Inker Alavardo Lopez is as equally talented, providing the art with thin clean lines, showcasing just how detailed the art is. The finish product looks like it’s popping off of the page in several instances, making it one of the more eye catching books coming from Marvel.

tumblr_nryvwpapM11qlmthpo1_1280Dennis Hopeless’ Jessica Drew is a fantastic take on the character. She’s flawed – impatient, short tempered, slightly aggressive, but her heroic nature is never in question. It’s nice to see a veteran like Jessica not fall into the model of the good, but boring, role model, as it makes her a tad more relatable then some of her newer peers. She reads more like a more competent Clint Barton (or and adult Kate Bishop if you will) than a sexy Peter Parker, which makes her stands out a ton from the other Spider-female characters. Hopeless also give Porcupine some character, making the newest addition of the cast slightly more lovable. It will be interesting to see if the character will catch on like the Superior Foes of Spider-Man era Sinister Six Five have, but the potential is certainly there.

Spider-Woman #9 is another fantastic issue by a creative team that’s clearly firing on all cylinders. Jessica Drew is a delightful lead, her supporting cast is fun, and the book’s direction is interesting, until it’s interrupted by Secret Wars and relaunched. I can’t recommend it enough, as it’s arguably one of the best super hero books currently available.

 

 

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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: Walking in the Spider Webs edition.

Spider-Gwen_Vol_1_4_TextlessSpider-Gwen #4

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodriquez/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

Spider-Gwen #4 aka, the issue where writer Jason Latour gets a lot of mileage from a bunch of dead people.

In a relatively quiet installment of Spider-Gwen, as we have our lead hanging out with May and Ben Parker, two characters who’ve played massive parts in Peter’s life but rarely got interact the world around them as a living couple. Here we get to see the two of them bounce off of Gwen in a world where Peter is dead, and even with that in mind, the results are really heart warming. While we’ve seen a similar Peter-less Gwen/May dynamic explored before in Ultimate Spider-Man, but things play out slightly different here. The Ben/Gwen stuff is great, despite it being a quick scene. Latour’s wonderful dialogue and Robbi Rodriquez‘s art really make it a memorable, and I’m excited to see these characters in the book more in the future. We also get some more Captain Jean DeWolffe, a long gone Spider-Man supporting character who’s given a new dynamic thanks to these talented creators.

Half the fun of Spider-Gwen is seeing how different the world she habits is from the 616. And while it hasn’t stopped being charming, it’s nice seeing these characters form deep relationships and bonds in a short amount of time. It continues to be a great looking book that’s equally charming and emotionally, not unlike the classic Lee/Dikito Spider-Man run.

SWOMAN2014007_CovSpider-Woman  #7

Dennis Hopeless/ Javier Rodriguez/Alvardo Lopez/Muntsa Vicente

Marvel $3.99

Speaking of Spider-Woman, here were have the O.G. Spider-lady Jessica Drew. We’re 3 issue into this run (ignore that number seven), and I am still marveling over how much this book has improved now that Javier Rodriguez has taken over artistic duties.

It’s rare to have a comic have something impressive about every page in it, but that’s the only fair description of Rodriguez’s contributions to this comic. We got a hints on how great his panel placement and layouts during his guest stint as a penciler on Daredevil and his work on AXIS: Hobgoblin, but his art is on a whole other level here. It’s equal parts Chris Samnee and Marcos Martin, but still it’s own style. Rodriguez is the next big thing in term of comics art, and Spider-Woman #7 is proof of that.

As good as Javier is, he obviously not the only reason why this book is as good as it is. Alvardo Lopez’s inks are tight and clean, perfectly in sync with Rodriguez’s line art. And Munsta Vincete‘s contributions as colorist are crucial, as he gives the book a clean and bright look with some really bold imagery at times. The art is on POINT, as is Dennis Hopeless‘ writing. Hopeless’s dialogue sounds as good as the book looks, as the arc takes an interesting turn, and introduces a fantastic new locale to the Marvel Universe.

Under a lesser creative team, a book like Spider-Woman would risk being redundant, especially with Spider-Gwen and Silk being as good as they are, especially in the visuals department. But this team has made this book both the heir to the Waid/Samnee Daredevil run as well as the Spencer/Lieber Superior Foes of Spider-Man. It’s visually amazing, hilarious, clever and slowly becoming the book I read first when I buy my comics.

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Here I have bought some comics and NEW YORK COMIC CON WEEK!

In case you’re new here, it’s been established that I have much love for the hometown show known as NYCC. Granted PAX East and Heroescon are probably my favorite shows, NYCC is all the HYPE of SDCC and is only a subway ride away, making it TON more easier to get to than it’s west coast counterpart. More importantly, I’ve always had a great time at NYCC, so I’m excited for Thursday obviously! But we still have 4 days, so let’s take a look at what I dropped cash monies on this week. (Also make sure you swing by the store for the numerous signings and events we’re having over the next 7 days!)

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All New X-men 17

Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen

$3.99, Marvel, 20 pages

One of the biggest joys I’ve gotten out of Battle of the Atom is watching my wife read this event. She’s still new to cape comics/events in the 616, and seeing her lose her collective sh*t over BotA has been great, considering I’m jaded towards these sort of things, even the ones I like. Chapter 6 of BotA plays off of the reveal from Chapter 5, doing some world building for the X-men of the future. Bendis had been hyping up the issue on twitter for a week, and while you can argue it living up to said hype or not, it’s still a fun read. Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Marte Garcia are still doing some of the best work in their careers, as this book continues to be a visual treat. And if you’ve been reading the X-books for a awhile and there’s a nice little homage to Jason Aaron‘s first Wolverine and the X-men story, which I enjoyed . The 2nd month of Battle of the Atom is off to a strong start, and I can’t wait for Chapter 7 to drop on the eve of NYCC.

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 Superior Foes of Spider-Man #4

Nick Spencer, Steve Lieber

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Superior Foes continues to impress, as the Sinister 5 run into the Heroes for Hire, and things do not go well for our leads. Which is good, because they’re villains and they’re not supposed to have good things happen to them, right? I may be confused about that.

Spencer and Lieber are still firings on all cylinders here, and 4 issues in, we can see/enjoy a few fantastic running gags these 2 have established. If you would have told me that Boomerang was going to be one of the breakout characters of 2013 before this book dropped, I would have laughed at you. Now I couldn’t agree that statement anymore, although I do have some love for the female Beetle as well. And if you’re expecting some nods to Luke Cage and Shocker’s run in the Thunderbolts, you’ll get it. And the 2nd half of this book is fantastic, fleshing out Boomerang a ton, only to throw a hilarious black-humor swerve on the final page. Again, if you like Hawkeye and Daredevil or B/C-list villains you need to be reading this. book.

 

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Avengers Arena Volume 2: Game On

Dennis Hopeless, Kev Walker, Jason Gorder and Riccardo Burchielli

Marvel, $15.99, collecting issue #7-12

The 2nd collection of Avengers Arena answers several questions the ultra violent series raised in the first volume, all of which are brilliant in their own ways. But then several more are raised,  delivering a twist that could change how we’ve all looked at the series this far. Hopeless is blessed with 3 different and VERY talented artists for this volume, all who maintain a fairly similar art styles, which is nice if you’re a fan of consistency. And with most 2nd tier/new characters being used, it’s nice that the stakes in this death game still remain high. Marvel’s teasing a 2nd season of this title under a new name (which should be revealed at NYCC this week). Possibly the most violent Marvel title not being published under the MAX label, Avengers Arena remains a delight, assuming you don’t mind a book with high body count.

 

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