Tagged: jordie bellaire

Chris’ Comics: All-Star Batman #1

asbatman1cvrAll-Star Batman #1

Scott Snyder, John Romita Jr, Danny Miki, Dean White, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire

DC, $4.99

Bruce Wayne is having one of those days. You know the ones, where everything is #$%ed and everybody sucks. The type of days that have you packing a chainsaw, to skin some dudes raw. And if Bruce’s day keeps going this wa- okay I’ll stop.

All-Star Batman #1 is the double sized return of Scott Snyder to Batman, paring one of the most acclaimed Batman writers of our time with modern legend John Romita Jr, and current artistic tour-de-force Declan Shalvey. While I’ve stated that I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like paying $5 for single issues, it’s hard to say no to a creative team like this, also my ability to not spend money is questionable at best.

The debut of this new, villain focused All-Star Batman sees Batman and ol Harvey Dent taking a little road trip to try solve Harvey’s Two-Face problem. Two-Face, reimagined as All-Star-Batman-1-pagesome sort of crime boss Snowden, has put quite the bounty on the Bat which means everyone from Firefly to common folk are gunning for Batman. The Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire colored back up has Batman working with former We Are Robin lead/Snyder created character Duke Thomas to investigate a murder that appear to be unrelated to the Two-Face arc. Both tales have some incredible twists to them, ensuring that readers/suckers like me come back to spend $5 again next month.

John Romita Jr is an artist whose work I’ve been exposed to a lot, as I grew up reading hella Spider-Man comics. It does feel odd to see him draw Batman, but that does not at all mean his work on this book is bad, far from it. He’s an excellent fit for the title and this universe, bringing the right amount of bombastic action to a story that’s heavy on fight scenes. His take on Two-Face is terrific, and the last page of his story is possibly the greatest collection of panels assembled in 2016. Inking JRJR is Danny Miki, who is superb, with Dean White providing the book with some gorgeous colors. The Declan All-Star-Batman-1-DC-Comics-Rebirth-Spoilers-1Shalvey & Jordi Bellaire story is a little more contained, slower paced and something you’d expect from a Scott Snyder Batman comic. It’s gorgeous in its own right, offering sleek visuals to a more psycho-analytical story.

I’ve dug a number of past Scott Snyder-penned Batman stories, and All-Star Batman is no different. But this larger page count and multiple artist project allows Snyder to flex his creative muscles and tell the type of cerebral detective story we’re use to with the back-up, with the main story being an over the top action story.  Year Zero certainly hinted at that sort of thing with crossbow wielding dirt bike Batman, but here we get the next level of that with CHAINSAW TRUCKER Batman. It’s a nice counter offer to the more traditional super heroics seen in the Tom King Batman series, as well the more X-Men influenced Detective Comics.

All Star Batman is my favorite thing to come out of Rebirth so far. Given a murder’s row of artists and his own little corner of the Bat universe to play in, Snyder is now allowed to tell his own stories, free of worry of the current status quo, and with some of the most iconic villains in the industry. As much as I’m against five dollars comics, this is definitely the rare exception that is worth every penny.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Kim & Kim #1, Future Quest #2

STL009948Kim & Kim #1

Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre

Black Mask, $3.99

When it comes to reviewing books, I try to keep my personal beliefs/politics from affecting the review….is a lie that I won’t tell you. Comics has a history of doing certain things wrong and treating certain under-served audiences poorly, so when a book does something RIGHT, I want to sing its praises. Which brings us to this review

NOTE: The copy of Kim and Kim #1 I used for this review was purchased straight from the creator in June at Heroescon, and I’ve played no role in the upcoming signing happening in the store.

Kim and Kim #1 is a wonderful comic that reminds me a lot of the criminally underappreciated Dirty Pair comics by Adam Warren. Written by Mags Visaggio, with art by Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre, the book tells the story of two bounty hunters, obviously both named Kim. They’re young, broke, queer, and full of piss and vinegar, making them 2 of the most relatable lead characters in quite some time. I absolutely love Visaggo’s dialogue, which is incredibly over the top at times, but then completely natural sounding in that Brain K Vaughan way at others. But the 2 styles never clash, making for an enjoyable reading experience that ultimately reminds me a lot of Edgar Wright’s work.

As for the visuals, a lot of folk will call Eva Cabrera’s art manga-influence, which it definitely is, but I definitely get more of a Steven Universe vibe from it. Not that either answer is incorrect mind you, as its excellent. Expressive, clean and brightly colored by Aguirre, its looks great, and gives the book a ton of character.

Kim & Kim #1 is another brilliant comic from new kids on the scene Black Mask . I’m glad to see a lot more quality creator owned comics coming from non-Image publishers, especially ones with Queer leads. Buy on sight, it’s a fun read that has me jonesing for more.

FutQue_Cv2_56fc234731d577.65151099Future Quest #2

Jeff Parker, Doc Shaner, Roc Rhandall, Jonathan Case, Jordie Bellaire

DC $3.99 

It’s been a hot minute since Future Quest #1 dropped, but this past week saw the debut of issue #2. This time Doc Shaner is joined by Jonathan Case and Roc Rhandall on art duties, who manage to channel so well I couldn’t tell where one artist begins and the next ends. Jeff Parker is still on scripting duties, which means this series continues to read as good as it looks. And Jordie Bellaire‘s color, especially with what she does with Space Ghost’s translucence cape, are stellar.

Future Quest #2 starts off by explaining why Space Ghost was threatening to DESTROY at the end of issue one. From there we get a great chase scene, a lot of action, and hints towards the arrival of several new characters. This book run entirely is all action, which is fine, as the trio of artist assigned to it couldn’t be more suited for the script.

Also that cover does not lie and does indeed give us a panel in which the various pet sidekicks all interact. Glorious it ain’t but it’s certainly good for a laugh.

Future Quest continues to be the action packed crossover event it was marketed as. You don’t need to completely familiar with all these characters to love this book, as it’s amazing creative team give you plenty of other reasons to. As much as DC Rebirth has been solid, Future Quest may just be the most exciting and innovative title coming out from the publisher.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Future Quest #1

QuestCover1Future Quest #1

Jeff Parker, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve Rude, Jordie Bellaire

DC $3.99

 

We’re living in an age where licensed comics are shaking off the stigma of being terrible, which publishers assemble creative team to tell high quality stories. Jem, the Power Rangers, Adventure Time and Transformers are prime examples of that, and it’s nice to be able to say the same for the debut issue of Hanna Barbara’s Future Quest.

Written, drawn, and colored by the INSANELY TALENTED team of Jeff Parker, Doc Shaner, Steve Rude and Jordie Bellaire, Future Quest #1 ones takes a number of old Hanna Barbara characters and brings them together in a shared universe. Granted that sort of thing may be a tough sell for anyone who didn’t grow up in the 60/70s, or in my case 1990s Cartoon Network, Parker, Shainer and Rude certainly do their damnedest to Future Quest #1_Page_2_573e4dc63d3a48.34454091make this book as accessible, not to mention appealing, to as many people as possible.

Putting Doc Shainer and Steve Rude on this book guarantees is a damn fine looking comic. Both these artists have some Alex Toth influence in their work, and it prevalent on this book. Granted there are a few updates to a few characters, it’s in ways that feel nature, and make sense. Shainer and Rude’s art reminds me a lot of what Chris Samnee is doing over at Marvel, only a little more cleaner and bright. And there’s a certain cinematic flair to their collective styles that really does wonders for this story, making it feel like a big and “important” event comic. And when it comes to colors, there’s very few people on same level of talent as Jordie Bellaire, who’s colors tie this book together in a way very few colorists can. She uses a lot of bright colors that make Rude and Shainer’s art look very similar, even those Rude is a little tighter than the soft, rounder style of Shainer.

Jeff Parker is one of the best dudes working in comics today, and it’s a shame his name hasn’t been attached to more high profile work. He’s great on this comic, which starts off a Space Ghost origin story, and quickly introduces several of the book’s biggest players. Much like the art, Parker’s dialogue rings true to the type of stuff you would here on an Future_Quest_1_1episode of Johnny Quest, but updated for a modern audience. He does a nice job of making this book read like an all age title, without having to “dumb down” anything. The best example of this is the final page of this book, which sees the use of some interesting language. Parker seems to be setting up some sort of Marvel Team-Up type book, with the Quest Family serving as Spider-Man, with the likes of Bird-Man, Space Ghost and several other characters making up the rotating supporting cast.

Being the only book I was excited for once the DC X Hanna Barbara titles were announced, Future Quest #1 succeeds in rewarding my hype. It’s a promising debut, with gorgeous visual, fun dialogue and a lot of foreshadowing that looks to make this book a real interesting read. It’s clear as day that these creators are having a blast on this title from the get go, and I’m quite eager to see where they take this book, and what kind of the stories they tell without having to worry about things like budgets. It’s a very good first issue, which isn’t a surprise given the talent involved.

 

 

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Image X Einsers 3: Pretty Deadly

MARVELCoverTemp copy.indtPretty Deadly

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire/Clayton Cowles

Image, $9.99

 

I’m the type of guy who traditionally does not enjoy westerns. I don’t hate them per say, but I don’t go out of my watch to read, watch, or in the case of Red Dead Redemption, play them. There’s not any one specific reason why, it’s just that they don’t traditionally grab me.

That being said, Kelly Sue Deconnick (Captain Marvel, Avengers Assemble) is one of my favorite people working in comics today and Emma Rios is a tremendous artist that I feel no one but David Brothers has been talking about. So when Pretty Deadly was announced, I was more than willing to put my personal biases aside and drop the $3.50 to give it a shot. It kind of hard to pass up the opportunity to read about the story of the daughter of Death, as told by dead bunny to a butterfly (You can thank Kelly Sue’s son Henry Leo for that imagery by the way).

MARVELCoverTemp copy.indtPretty Deadly is a comic that the reader really benefits from when read collected in trade. KSD said it herself ( I think it may have been on a Nerdist’s podcast, or on Tumblr), and after several re-reads, I agree. The first two issues are….vague to say the least. It takes about 2 issues for the majority of the cast to be introduced, and a lot of the key plot elements aren’t brought up until the middle and end of the story. It’s far from a bad comic, especially when you factor in the amount of ass kicking that goes down (Issue 2 is the first example of what a fully unrated Emma Rios and Jordie Bellaire fight scene looks likes), but I felt a little more confused than I usually like when reading comics. As I said earlier, it’s a type of comic that benefits from multiple re-reads.

587488848While I had some issues with the narrative, I have to give praise where it’s due in the visual department. Emma Rios, expertly colored by the great Jordie Bellaire, comes out swinging in this series. Her art is nothing short of fantastic, and I encourage anyone who‘s reading this article to Google the cover gallery. The amount of detail in everything from animal’s fur, feathers and wings to the folds in the human characters clothes is breathtaking. The interior art is as equally impressive, with some very fluid and kinetic scenes set in non-traditional panel layouts. The ultra violent fight scenes mentioned earlier, are a great example of this, as they’re very well choreographed, and when an attacked lands/hits, it’s so intense that you can practically feel it. Bellaire’s colors are equally important, helping both sell the more realistic as well as fantasy elements in the book. Both the western landscapes and the spirits worlds seem to have their own special set of colors assigned to them, and the end result is some stunning looking art. And Clayton Cowles‘ lettering is great, and helps tells the tale without interfering with the penciled and colored art.

prettydeadly01_p5Despite it not being my favorite Kelly Sue Deconnick penned book, Pretty Deadly is the type of book worthy of the praise it’s received from other. Deconnick and Rios are not the first pair of creators with a solid supernatural western series to hit the market in recent years (the EXCELLENT Sixth Gun series from Oni comes to mind), but the combined talents of its creative team make it stand on its own and for fans to take notice. It’s always good to have more books out there with female leads by female creators, especially when they’re as good as this. Pretty Deadly is definitely worth your time, and Emma Rios, Kelly Sue Deconnick and Jordie Bellaire’s Eisner nominations are well deserved.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: Greenest Wednesday

A butt-ton of books dropped this past week, so let’s get down to business, yes?BlackScience_01_Cover_B

Black Science

Rick Remender/Matteo Scalera/Dean White

Image, 20 pages, $3.50

Black Science is a book I was a little concern going into it, as it came across as a spiritual successor to Fear Agent. FA is a personal favorite of mine, so there was a high expectation to be met. So did it you may be asking yourself? For the most part yes, as Matteo Scalera is no Tony Moore/Jerome Opena yet, but his pulpish visuals do Remender’s script well. It also helps that the “painted art” is by Dean White, who served Remender well back on Uncanny X-Force, and continues to do so here. There’s some fantastic use of shades of black, purple, orange, and blue in this book, and I definitely feel the “punk rock forbidden science” hook. That being said, there’s a case of Fridging (killing off a female character to only advance the plot) early on that kind of rubbed me in the wrong way, especially with all the internet rage over in Uncanny Avengers, also written by Remender. The ending, while a tad predictable when dealing with sci-fi, had a Tim Truman vibe to it that I really dug. Like something out of Vertigo in it’s prime, Black Science is definitely a book worth keeping an eye on.

cache_308_479_0__92_saga16_coverSaga #16

Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples

Image, 20 pages, $2.99

Saga, perfect Saga, remains the best. As we come closer to the end of act 3, we finally see things established at the end of act 2 come full circle, making me excited to see how this all wraps up before the brief and painful between volume hiatus. It’s more of the same from BKV and Staples, fleshing out some characters new and old, some world building, and a delightful poke at the spandex books and the folks who read em. And several characters find themselves in odd scenarios, which is all good, surprising no one. Staples continues to be an fantastic artist, and BKV is easily one of the best writers in comics right now.  The end product is at it’s worst great, and at it’s best brillant. Either way, the reader are winners in the end.

Hawkeye_Vol_4_14_TextlessHawkeye #14

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, 20 pages, $2.99

Whelp, time to start looking at book written by the DeFractions clan. This month in Hawkeye, we return to the West Coast to check in on Katie-Kate Bishop and Lucky the Pizza Dog. Joining Fraction for her first full issue s Annie Wu, who’s off to a strong start. Wu comes from an animation background, which  shows, as the characters are very expressive in issue #14,  something I’m delighted with. Wu also throws Kate in several super-cute outfits, which I am a fan on. Fraction continues to write the hell out of this book, showing how Kate is similar to the OTHER Hawkeye, often for laughs, other times showing why she stuck around with Clint for so long. It’s an incredibly well executed done in one, proving that Kate Bishop could handle her own on-going series (she lets Clint co-star in this one after all). It’s takes a certain caliber of artist to be able to keep up with David Aja, and Wu  has the chops and the skill to do so.

Avengers-Assemble-21-Cover-e1579Avengers Assemble #21

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Matteo Buffagni/Nolan Woodard

Marvel, 20 pages, $3.99

The last time KSD and Buffagni worked on an issue of AA, I had some harsh words about the art. Skip ahead a few months, and Buffagni’s stepped up his game, delivering one of the best-looking issues of the series since Kelly Sue came aboard. The animated style is clean, fluid and bright, making it a perfect fit for the script, which is great itself. We have Spider-Girl swinging by for a nice team up with the other Spider-themed lady Avengers, and there’s laughs and action aplenty. Plus KSD brings in a female villain from her awesome Osbourne mini series from a few years back, and throws in some baddies from A.I.M. as well, while tying this all into Inhumanity. It’s a surprisingly dense read, ensuring you get your $4 worth from the comic. I really hope the title can stay crossover free for a bit, because it really shines when KSD is allowed to do what she wants with Spider-Woman and her teammates. And with Warren Ellis coming aboard next month, things are only looking better for this title, especially with the art now as good as it is.

Pretty-Deadly-2-CoverPretty Deadly

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire

Image, 20 pages, $3.50

Pretty Deadly, much like Saga, is mature comics done right. Issue 2 shows the reader exactly why this book is titled as such with one of the most bad ass fight scenes this year. Rios and friends deliver an impressive 12 page action piece which is both brutal and beautiful, almost calling out other action comics (no pun intended) out there in a way. Everything from the page layouts to the coloring is fantastic, and it really shows off the strength of this creative team. Not to say KSD doesn’t pull her weight, because she does as she ensures there’s a plethora of quality content crammed in this book from cover to cover. It’s just that this issue is owned by Rios, who does the coolest thing I’ve ever seen with butterflies in a comic.  A step up from a impressive debut issue, Pretty Deadly is the type of comic I hope get an oversized hard cover some day, so that I can drool over the art is a slightly nicer format.

portrait_incredible (3)All New X-men

Brain Michael Bendis/ Brandon Peterson/ Israel Silva

Marvel, 20 pages, $3.99

My biggest problem with this issue is that Kevin Nowlan is only drawing the cover. It’s also my only problem. Well played Marvel.

Fill-in artist can either make or break a book for me. Sometimes they deliver (Daredevil) and sometimes the artist that swings by has the odds stacked against them and they can’t (again, Daredevil). Brandon Peterson, an artist I was actually kind of dreading filling in, make me a believer real quick with this issue.

Israel Silva, the colorist, is probably the real star of this issue. Kitty, Magik and the O5 X-men are in Miami this issue, and Silva’s colors are definitely faithful to the city.  Obviously Peterson gets props as well for capturing the look of Miami with his art, but Silva’s use of neon colors completes the package. It’s a stick looking book, and Bendis’ script plays to strenght of his co-creators. It’s chock full of action too, making up for a relatively slow previous issue, and the last page reveal is great if you don’t pay attention to solicits. It’s another great issue in a strong week for comics.

 

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