Tagged: michael walsh

Creative Conversation With Adam Gorham

Adam Gorham is a rising star in comics. Don’t believe me? What else would you call someone who’s being shot straight to the stars by drawing one of Marvel’s highest profile characters with a movie coming out? Plus, the fact it’s a cosmic character with space crime overtones. Adam Gorham’s a model of work ethic and determination, not to mention humility. He gives us a rough outline of his journey thus far, what we can expect from the upcoming Rocket #1 out on May 10th and offers sage advice to artists drawing their own path in the industry.

MK: Adam, thank you so much for having a Creative Conversation with me today. One of the questions I always like to start with is, do you remember the first comic you owned or the first one that made an impression on you?

AG: the pleasure is mine! I’m excited to talk about Rocket with my pal Matt Klein!

MK: Nice rhyme.

AG: Totally unintentional. I amaze myself (laughs). The first comic I owned and really cherished, and has left an impact on me to this day, is Batman: The Cult, the graphic novel. My father got it for me, probably without even looking inside of it. This was when comics were at their height in the 90’s and the local newspaper and cigar shop sold comics. Bernie Wrightson’s work was my first major influence.

MK: I freaking love that book. I mean, Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, it’s a gem. In talking with people in shops that’s an often undiscovered gem. You mentioned Bernie Wrightson as your first major influence, who were some others at different points in your journey to today?

AG: Well, I loved comics as a kid, but rarely read them. I liked them for the art and would draw what I saw. All the mythos and lore I got loosely from 90’s cartoons like [Batman: TAS], Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. so without knowing many names at the time, I was certainly informed by the heavyweights of the 90’s. However, I fell out of comics around ten or so, about the time when kids let go of their “kids stuff”. I didn’t get back into loving comic artwork until eleventh grade, and that was after discovering Alex Ross, particularly Kingdom Come.

MK: So good!

AG: It was a revelation for me. Ross’ work was the first time for me that comic art felt like classic works of art that could be hung somewhere.  When I started getting back into it, I was in love with what Bryan Hitch was doing on The Ultimates. In fact, I really liked Ultimate Marvel at the time. Leinil Yu was another favorite.

MK: There was a ton of top talent working on Marvel’s Ultimate Universe at that point. Do you have a favorite Ultimate Universe run or story?

AG: Well I really liked the Ultimate X-Men stuff for a while. The first arc was epic. I enjoyed most of Return to Weapon X. Ultimates 2 probably stands apart though as the height of those titles.it took FOREVER for it to come out, but in the end it was pretty satisfying

MK: Great art can be worth the wait. How did you come to the decision that working in comics was what you wanted to do?

AG: I drew all my life. That’s not saying much. Most kids love to draw. However, I was always applauded for how well I drew for my age, so I grew up with drawing as “my thing.” And for a long time that was enough. I didn’t have a direct application or career in mind for it, but I excelled at drawing superheroes, so comics seemed an obvious choice. The only thing is, I was a terrible student with no ambition. Drawing comics as a career was an easy thing to talk about, but pursuing it was murky and not always tangible. I did go to art school and flamed out because, as I say, terrible student. Ultimately, after a few years of working one dirty job or another, my partner dragged me to my first comic convention and really opened up my eyes to this world I’d previously only known through Wizard magazines and comic shops. I was working in a grocery warehouse. Things with my significant other were getting serious. We wanted to start a new chapter in our lives and it became clear I needed a new goal in life. Or a goal in life. So when I left the warehouse job, I went for broke and looked for a job illustrating. I found one off Craigslist (laughs).

MK: What was the job?

AG: My first ever gig drawing comics was a 128-page graphic novel, written by a Canadian film director who wanted to adapt his indie vampire movie into a comic. Before that I had drawn a few scant pages for my own ideas. And once I started there was no looking back.

MK: That sounds a bit like you jumped into the deep end with a 128 page project right off the bat!

AG: Totally. It was the first opportunity I found and I seized it. I didn’t know how or where else to find work. In the past I had sent submissions to publishers, back when most publishers still took open submissions. I have a polite and informative rejection letter from Marvel, actually.

MK: That’s freaking awesome though! You talked about going to a convention kind of blew open your mind about comics and the industry. As an artist, how do you like conventions now being on the other side of the table? because I remember that’s how we met and i bugged you for a sketch that i recently proudly showed off to io9.

AG: Going as a fan and going as part of your job are two very different experiences. Pros and cons to each side. When I went as fan all I could think about was getting comics signed and saying, “Hi” to people I admired. I put myself through crazy lines and jumped through hoops to meet creators like Alex Ross, Brian Bolland and so on. It was fun but exhausting. You really invested a part of yourself. As soon as I started tabling, that was out the window. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to regard conventions differently. It’s just that creating a book and taking it to market changes your priorities.

MK: it’s part of your business. you’re a brand now with obligations.

AG: Precisely.

MK: Do you have any memorable requests from fans at conventions? Or any favorite sketches you’ve done?

AG: I’ve never had a bizarre request. Everything I’ve been asked to draw has been pretty fun, although I think I’ve only recently started drawing well at conventions. The past couple years I’ve improved, whereas drawing at a table was an uncomfortable experience. I got the hang of it though. So anything beyond a year or two ago I look back on and cringe. Your Man-Bat is a favorite of mine. I did a Frank Miller Dark Knight at NYCC that was very nice.

Man-Bat sketch by Adam Gorham

MK: if you could go back some years, what advice would you give yourself about being a comic book artist?

AG: With hindsight there’s so much I would impart. My problems starting out was, I thought I knew just how much work was involved with making comics. I would go back and tell myself “Nope. Work harder.” One thing I tell others is not to feel beholden to any one thing they’ve drawn. Draftsmanship is so very important. teaching yourself to draw things over and over, refining, and not being precious about something because you spend an hour on it. Your ideas and skill will always improve with every pass if you put in the effort, so it’s crazy to me to draw something once and thinking, “Well, I can see this is off, this other thing is wonky, but I just spent two hours drawing it, so good enough.” I’ve redrawn entire pages because a better idea struck me while I was driving home or at the store or on a walk.

MK: How many hours a day do you draw?

AG: I draw every day. Working constantly. Some days I work eight hours and others twelve or sixteen. Depends on where I’m at. I have two kids that, once they’re home, I can’t do anything else until they’re in bed. So I don’t always draw as much as I want to in a work day. But I try to make up with time later

MK: That’s incredibly intimidating and inspiring at the same time (laughs). Let’s pivot real quick to your ridiculously exciting new series coming up. So, congratulations on being the artist on the upcoming Rocket #1 with Al Ewing. It seems like a pretty awesome moment to be working on this character with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming out so close to the release of the series. When you got the gig, how was the book described to you?

AG: It was a thrilling experience for me because of the sheer amount of suspense involved.

I was wrapping up The Violent at Image.

MK: Lovely book if i might add.

AG: I was worried what I’d move on to. Like, I had some options, and I had some ideas of what step to take next. I was gutted, to be honest, because i wanted The Violent to carry on. Ed [Brisson] had this great idea for the next chapter and I was ready for it. So, I was sweating it a little. Then later one afternoon while I was at the supermarket Ii got an email from Marvel asking if I was interested in working for them. That alone was very exciting, but it could’ve meant anything from a cover to a tie-in or whatever

MK: Sure.

AG: But naturally I said yes. they told me they’d have some information in a couple days. For two days my mind went WILD with possibilities

MK: Was Rocket Raccoon on that list of possibilities?

AG: Ha! No. I figured since I had just done a street level crime comic, something like Punisher or whatever would be the obvious route. I met with a good friend of mine, Michael Walsh, who was doing Rocket and Groot at the time. We were giddy over what it could be, no matter how small. When Marvel offered me a new #1 ongoing, I was intoxicated. Like, it wasn’t even that it was Rocket. At the time, we were calling it something else. The change of name was also in the cards. But the fact I’d be coming on with such a great opportunity was unreal. Anyway, when we finally got talking about what the book would be, my place as an artist began to make sense.

MK: How so? And this is an interesting pattern here, your first comic is a 128 page book, your first gig at Marvel is an ongoing for one of the most publicly recognized characters! You’re really seizing these opportunities that not everybody gets. It’s inspiring.

AG: I forget who exactly gave me the lowdown, but they said the vision for this book would be Rocket in his element pulling heists in space. In conversation we compared it to Parker graphic novels. Al [Ewing] had this idea to use prose, reinforcing the theme of a hard-boiled thriller. So right away we talked about how pages would be structured to accommodate Al’s prose. and how Rocket’s default outfit in this series would be a suit, open collar, no tie. Parker, even Daniel Ocean make good comparisons, but our Rocket has a broken heart that reminds me more of George Clooney’s Jack Foley from “Out of Sight.”

MK: You just named one of my top 10 favorite films of all time!

AG: IT’S SO GOOD! Fun story about that movie. When I was a kid I was grounded. I forget why, but I know I earned it. My parents left to get groceries one saturday afternoon. While they were out my friends called asking if I’d go to the movies with them. Somehow I thought I could sneak out, see a two hour movie, and bus it home before they ever got home. The only thing playing at the theatre was “Out of Sight” which I had seen ads for but wasn’t the type of movie I was rushing to see at the time. Man, oh man, it was the coolest thing I ever saw at that point.

MK: Uh, yeah! Seriously, anybody reading this who hasn’t seen “Out of Sight” needs to immediately go watch it!

AG: And I felt like such a smooth operator for sneaking out to see this slick flick. I was like, twelve or thirteen at the time. I can’t recall. But I walked out of the theatre like, “Look at me now, world!”

MK: Did you get busted?

AG: Oh, of course! My parents were out of the house for maybe an hour, discovered I took off, and had three hours to sit and plan my punishment. I walked into verbal cannon fire.

MK: That’s epic. Okay, we’re in the home stretch here. If someone’s been living in a bubble for the last few years and has no idea who Rocket is, how would you describe your new series to them?

AG: First off, congratulations on leaving your bubble. Let me introduce you to Rocket: he’s a scruffy outlaw, a lost soul, a space raccoonoid looking for his place in the galaxy when he’s not saving it with the Guardians. That place usually ends up being a dangerous one, where he’s risking it for, surprisingly, a chance at love lost. If that doesn’t work out, then cold revenge.

MK: Who is on your Mount Rushmore of comics?

AG: I forget how many heads are on Rushmore, but let’s say four, and my Rushmore of Comics is comprised of: Frank Quitely, Alex Ross, Bernie Wrightson, and Moebius.

MK: That’s an eclectic looking Mount Rushmore!

AG: Rushmore is really weird, when you think about it.

MK:  Last but not least: If you meet someone that’s never read a comic before, what 5 reads would you tell them to pick up?

AG: For Golden Age adventure, I recommend Prince Valiant. For super heroics I recommend All-Star Superman. For horror I’d suggest Afterlife With Archie. For great crime, if you’ve already read The Violent, be sure to check out Ed Brisson’s Murder Book. For sci-fi, Black Science is pretty neat.

MK: Adam, thank you so much for giving me this time. I really appreciate you, man. I can’t wait to read Rocket #1.

Make sure you pre-order Rocket #1 at Forbidden Planet now and pick it up on Wednesday, May 10th when it arrives in store.

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Secret Avengers #15

Hey gang you know what’s cool? Allergies that lead into in nasal infection. Which really knocks the wind out of your sails. But I’ve over it, and giving you an review that should have been up last week! That’s…something right?

Anway, here’s my final review for Secret Avengers, which will be followed by a Secret Wars review, because Secret is the new Uncanny at Marvel, or it’s not, I dont know, adjectives are confusing.

 

backgroundSecret Avengers #15

Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

Here we have the 3rd final issue of Secret Avengers since 2013. Even in it’s prime, Secret Avengers was never the top selling Avengers book, constantly overshadowed by vanilla and New Avengers, despite seeing some major talent attached to it throughout it’s existence. With Secret Wars coming, and the existence of the Mark Waid’s S.H.I.E.L.D. title, this may be the FINAL Secret Avengers finale for the foreseeable future.

That being said, it’s almost arguably the STRONGEST and consistent run on Secret Avengers to date. Ales Kot, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson (with Tradd Moore on covers and VC’s Clayton Cowles on letters) managed to deliver 15 excellent consecutive issues month after month, something that’s become rarer and rarer in comics. The quality of the title has never dropped, being one of Marvel’s boldest and brilliant titles in recent history.

Secret Avengers #15 is a surprising quiet issue, with the team having already saved the day and dealing with the fallout. After last month’s action filled issues with a dramatic cliffhanger, it was kind of a shock to see the book end without a single punch or explosion, and letting the reader fill in the blanks. The book focuses mostly on Maria Hill and MODOK, fleshing out the SHIELD commander a bit, while continuing the theme of her and MODOK being on the same side of the coin in a number of ways. Kot has never shyed away from Secret Avengers being a metaphor for his views on the US government, with SHIELD as a stand in for the military, so some of the events and conversations that go down in this comic do not come as a surprise. But it’s definitely and upbeat ending mind you, as Kot expertly sprinkles humor and legit joy masterfully throughout this comic, as he touches upon every major character he’s dealt with in this series, even a big name character no longer with us.

The equally talent Michael Walsh draws the hell out of this finale as well. Walsh’s art is best described as a rougher David Aja, and he’s just as bold and experimental as the former Hawkeye artist. His expressive characters are a treat to look at, and it’s amazing how much emotion Walsh can channel from his simplistic, sketchy style. Matthew Wilson compliment his pencils and inks perfectly, with the Eisner nominated colorist uses a flat yet bright palette. It’s adds a nice warm glow to the book, that pairs well with Wilson heavy lines.

Secret Avengers was a book that had a message that it was not afraid to shy away from, and was pretty bold for a Marvel book. And while it wasn’t as good as the modern cult classic Nextwave, it’s definitely somethings fan of that book can enjoy. It was a strange and often overlooked book from the publisher that’s worth reading. It also gave us of cover with Modok in funny hats, which speaks volumes to me.

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: ALL HAIL THE HYPNO SLOTH!

Hey FPNYC faithful, before we go into this week’s round of reviews, I just wanted to point out that The Wicked + The Divine #5 also dropped this past Wednesday and it is super great. I’ll probably go back a look at the first five issues as a whole once the trade drops next month, so y’all can look forward to that I guess.

 

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #9

Ales Kot, Micahel Walsh, Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

This issue has Hawkeye and Deadpool fight an Eco-Terrorist version of the Ultimate Warrior and an All Star Superman parody featuring MODOK. It’s a Nextwave appearance short of being everything I want from a Marvel comic.

 

Secret Avengers continues to be a weird sci-fi spy comic who’s jokes aren’t afraid to punch up. It takes some weird chances, not giving the reader a dumbed down product, and it’s all the better for it. Weird things happen for a reason, and while the answers to certain questions always doesn’t come immediately, when they are addressed it’s a win for readers. Ales Kot is a smart dude who balances a ton of different type of storytelling elements well, & Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson continue to amaze on visuals, especially with the last few pages, mixing some serious strangeness with some great character work and expressions. Not to mention doing some cool David Aja-esque panel breakdowns revolving around Hawkeye shooting off some arrows.

There’s also no less than 3 pin up pages in this book, something unusual for Secret Avengers. As someone who’s read comics in the 90s, it’s really hard for me to be impressed by that sort of thing, but seeing how they’ve been used so sparingly before in SA, the get the desired effect in issue #9. They’re all bold, mostly dialogue free, and contain really striking imagery. Props to the creative team for doing that sort of thing right.

Secret Avengers is basically more of the same. The same being a smart, engaging, weird and hilarious book that has Tradd Moore  and Wilson  some fantastic work on the covers every month. It’s also worth nothing that the first 6 issues are now available in trade, so if you wanted to jump on the book, now’s the time to do so.

 

 memetic1Memetic #1

James Tynion IV/Eryk Donovan

BOOM! Studios/ $4.99

A few months back, (possibly around San Diego Comic Con time) Boom send out an image of the Good Times Sloth, with little to no context. I remember being excited to find out what the deal was with said GT sloth, and then promptly forgot about it because that is how I roll.

 

However, a recent interview with the creative team on Comics Alliance reminded me of said sloth and learned me good of it’s origins (bad grammar was intentional BTW), and I was instantly hook on it’s origins and the book it would be appearing it. The book is called Memetic, and holy hell, is the a really good horror book.

 

For all of you not in the know, Memetic’s plot is as such: The Good Time Sloth image goes viral on the internet, setting all sorts of records and becomes a global phenomenon. Oh and then drives anyone who looks at it insane, and brings about the apocalypse. The book starts off 3 days into the end of times, and then jumps back to the beginning of the outbreak, just as the meme go viral and shit goes down.

It’s the type of high concept horror that made me a fan of James Tylon IV’s work earlier this year. His work on The Woods, Tylon’s OTHER BOOM horror book, was my proper introduction to his creator owned work, and Memetic’s double sized review is as good, if not better than that book. The concept is unique and fresh, the world building and character development is believable, and the social commentary is smart, but not pandering.

In addition to the a great script, Memetic looks fantastic. Erik Donovan style is sketchy and exaggerated, but considering the story revolves around a meme bringing about the end of the world, it makes sense. It actually reminds me a lot of Axe Cop’s creator Ethan Nicolle’sstyle, just a little bit looser. Adam Guzowski‘s colors are also great, as they can shift from dark to bright with no problem.

This 3 issue mini series does look like it’s going to end well, and I’m thrilled to be able to read it. Between this and Wytches, it’s been a great month for horror comics from non big-2 publishers.

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics: So many things

Before I start screaming about this month’s issue of Saga, I just wanted to give y’all (all 3 of you) a head’s up with what to expect over the next few weeks. Aside from weekly reviews, expect to see a few advanced reviews, a NYCC preview, and hopefully a toy review or two in the coming weeks. I’m excited to share all of this with you the reader, because I like to talk about some (hopefully) cool shit.

Saga-23-90332Saga #23

Brian K Vaughan/Fiona Staples

Image $2.99

SPOILER WARNINGS: HEAVY SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW BE WARNED.

First off, I just wanted to say how much I dig the use of yellow on the front, back and interior covers of this book. It looks really sharp and stands out a lot. Aside from being a well crafted comic, Saga is also a brilliantly designed book, something I appreciate bunches.

So if you’re caught up with this book (HERE COME THE SPOILERS Y’ALL), Brain K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have been teasing the split up of our leads for the last few months. Ever since the announcement via narration, they’ve been dropping a ton of hints of how it was going to go down, killing me slowly. Well this is the issue that is goes down, and when it looks something we’ve been expecting to happen to go down…

Vaughan and Staples pull a 360.

The split still happens I’m sad to say. But not in a way you’re (probably) expecting. And it hurts, believe you me, but the bait and switch does leave some hope. It’s brilliant, as we see why Vaughan used certain words in the way he did. And then the ending hits and we’re given something that’s been building since issue one. It’s an awesome ending that sets the stage of this volume’s end next month all to well.

And while BKV delivers top notch dialogue, Fiona Staples continues to show why she’s won a bunch of awards for this book. The body language, page and panel composition, the colors, the facial expressions-EVERYTHING-is done for a reasons and executed flawlessly. It’s fantastic.

It’s no surprise that Saga #23 delivers. Every issue of has Saga has delivered so far, so why would things be any different this month. It’s HOW the book delivers that makes it stand apart from previous installments of the book. Another flawless installment by arguably the only  perfect comic series on the stand today, I cannot stress enough how great this book is.

 

ENDS OF SPOILERS DON’T WORRY YOU CAN READ THE REST OF THE COLUMN!

background (1)Secret Avengers #8

Ales Kot/Micahel Walsh/ Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

SHAMELESS PLUG: This book’s writer (Ales Kot) will be signing his new Marvel title (Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier) at the store this Wednesday at 6pm. You should probably swing by and tell him how much you love his work and buy a bunch of his comics.

So yeah, in case the cover didn’t tip you off, it’s a MODOK heavy issue of Secret Avengers, one that fills in some gaps between the previous series and this one. It also reveals some answers to questions raised in the first seven issues of this book, reveals some cosmic horror and has some genuinely laugh out loud moments (especially with that last page).

Something I like about this title is how weird it can be at times without pointing it out. Ales Kot, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson (who’s does some amazing things with colors this months) blend espionage with humor and some really gonzo elements of the Marvel Universe that remind you that this is a spy comic that takes place in a world of spandex wearing heroes. It’s not afraid to not take itself seriously at times, and look great while doing so.

Secret Avengers is a book that feels like Warren Ellis and Jim Steranko tackled a Avengers book set in the movie’s continuity but were given free range to do whatever they wanted. The end results are as equally bizarre as they are amazing.

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: BERFday edition.

Hey today’s my birthday! Totally not relevant to anything we’re going to discuss tonight, except for like 1 gag, but you can wish me a happy birthday in the comments section if you dare!

portrait_incredibleSecret Avengers #7

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

Deadpool and Hawkeye team-up time is exactly the type of birthday gift I wanted. Thank you team Secret Avengers.

Deadpool is a character that if not handled properly can ruin your story and bringing any momentum to a screeching halt. Luckily, that’s not the case for Secret Avengers #7, where Deadpool’s 4th Wall breaking and straight up insanity makes for a hell of a read. It also helps that Ales Kot’s version of the character is genuinely funny here, using himself to interact with Wade on the page.It’s not the first time we’ve gotten such, but it’s certainly the best execution of it in awile.

Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson & VC’s Clayton Cowles also get in on the fun, providing some hilarious (and sometimes chicken-based) visual gags and sound effects. The book has been plenty funny in the past, but this issue really takes things to the next level all while advancing the plot. Walsh and co also do a lot of experimenting with layouts, using double spreads, pages with 10+ panels and some other interesting choices that I rather not spoil. It’s the title of art that deserves more praise than it’s getting.

Secret Avengers was a great book in a week that saw a lot of strong releases. It’s the type of Marvel Comic that justified the $4 price tag.

portrait_incredible (1)Ms Marvel #7

G. Willow Wilson/ Jacob Wyatt/ Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Jacob Wyatt‘s 2 issue guest stint on Ms Marvel returns this week with a delightful wrap of. Kamala’s team up with Wolverine has the pair fight a giant alligator and deal with a classic death trap while discussing  Ms. Marvel’s new career path. Under lesser creators, this book would risk being preachy, almost a “very special episode” type of book. Luckily for us, the readers, the creative team remains flawless, and the end result is a very good comic.

I’m the type of dude who doesn’t like Wolverine, as I’ve suffering from Wolverine exhaust ever since I got into comics. That being said, Wolverine hanging out with teen lady super heroes is something I like…..oh man, I just re-read that past sentence, I apologize how creepy it sounds. Sorry :/

Creepy-ass commentary is now over. And since G Willow Wilson is pretty much perfect on this issue, which ends on a super fun note, we’ll talk about Jacob Wyatt some more. I really loved his art during this arc, as he was just as expressive and animated as regular artist Adrian Alphona, but very much of his own style. His Khamala is adorable, which….nope, no more creepy as commentary, sorry.

But yeah, another enjoyable Ms Marvel, with some great art, fantastic dialogue and the set up for some really awesome guest stars. All under a highly amusing cover by Jamie McKelvie that dropped right during selfie-month in DC. Forbidden Planet’s best selling series is a best seller for a reason, and the quality seen in this issue is proof of that.

 

tumblr_n5xgrzsXkf1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #3

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles.

Image $3.50

Brilliant, simply brilliant.

Much like the first 2 issues, the Wicked + the Divine is a gorgeous books that has some of the best dialogue in comics. It’s also incredible smart, and isn’t afraid to challenge the readers, making you wanting to re-read it several time to pick up on everything.

Also the Stephanie Hans variant is gorgeous and continues my streak of buying variant covers for this series.

And it’s just not Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie doing some career defining stuff. Matthew Wilson (again) color’s are the realness, and Clayton Cowle‘s lettering is the type that you stand up and take notice off. It’s several creators coming together to make a fantastic comic.

Wicked/Divine is one of those books that makes picking out a favorite Image book difficult. While it may initally come across as collections of Gillen’s greatest hits (Music and Gods as themes), it’s definitely taken it’s own form and the results couldn’t be better. It’s an amazing comics, one that stands out among a week of fantastic releases.

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics-Shorty got Low Low Low (and some other books)!

I could easily talk about the new issue of Hawkeye in 500+ words. But I won’t because this was a damn fine week for comics, and the other books that I pulled are also worth discussing. Plus Hawkeye’s return may warrant a separate review column (spoilers: it will!).

Uncanny-X-Men-24-cover-artUncanny X-men #24

Brian Michael Bendis/Kris Anka

Marvel, $3.99

A few weeks ago, Kris Anka spoke about this very issue of UXM on Pat Loika’s Loikamania podcast. During the podcast, Anka pointed out that there’s a moment that Emma Frost has a reaction that she’s only capable of having that was a delight to draw. I’m not saying that specific moment is worth the $4, but it’s easily the best 2 panels in this issue, so yeah, it really is the best reason to drop $4 on this book.

After what I felt was a phoned in issue from Brian Michael Bendis last time around, he and Anka deliver the goods with issue 24. The script is a vast important, as one of the promised SEKKKKRETTTSSS of Charles Xavier is relieved and it’s a massive one. Bendis actually hinted at it a few months ago over in All New X-men, and this reveal takes away the grossness of that scene, clearing things up nicely. You can tell Bendis has been influenced by the last 2 X-films, and what element from the films he chooses to incorporate should lead to some interesting stories.

The only thing that irks me about UXM #24 is the handling of Dazzler’s new ( and awesome) look. The motivation behind it last issue explains why she’s now all faux-hawked out, but there’s no explanation as to how she got a new costume, and there’s zero reaction from the other X-men she’s been hanging with. Considering it’s the focus of the cover, not addressing it at all is kind of a cop-out in my opinion. That being said, I’m glad to see thing improve all over this issue, and I’m excited for issue #25 and how the big reveal is going to play out.

portrait_incredible (4)Secret Avengers #6

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel, #3.99

Oh look, another Marvel book that double shipped this month, goodbye money.

Coming off of a relatively dark issue #5, issue 6 is a step back in the fun, action direction the earlier issue of Secret Avengers were. This incredibly dense issue sees an awesome Black Widow/Lady Bullseye rematch (and yes, the video game motif returns this time it’s fighting games), Hawkeye step up for Maria Hill, and most importantly, MODOK rocking a monocle.

Another beautiful issue under Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson, writer Ales Kot does some really cool things with the narration boxes and editorial notes. They kinda break the 4th wall a bit, but it all makes sense once the issue wraps. I dug it a bunch, as it’s tricky technique that actually works here, given one of the characters involved.

I really feel bad for the creative team on Secret Avengers. It’s a really smart and fun book that doesn’t get enough hype for whatever reason. I urge anyone who digs Marvel’s quirkier tittles to give this book a chance. If you’re down won over by M.O.D.O.K. discussing sex with one of his minions, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Low_01-1Low #1

Rick Remender/Greg Tocchini

Image $3.99

The last time I read a story by Rick Remender & Greg Tocchini, it was a relatively underwhelming arc of Uncanny X-Force from a few years back. I always felt Tocchini was a little mismatched for the spandex world, and this debut issue of Low is proof of that.

Low is a gorgeous looking book that benefits from Tocchini inking and coloring his own art. It reminds me a lot of Sean Murphy on  The Wake in a way, given that their both heavy on the aquatic stuff,  but ultimately it’s a different type of beast all together. Both artists are heavy on the inks, but Tocchini’s style is smoother and cleaner overall. It reminds me a lot the Bioshock video game series in away, which is good, because I love those games.

Despite the relatively grim premise of the book, (Mankind is forced to live under the sea after the Sun goes supernova, and the search for a new planet to live on isn’t going well) our female lead Stel Caine is an eternal optimist determined to work everything out. Upbeat female leads is something Rick Remender hasn’t done at all in his creator owned books, and it’s a nice alternative from the usual grizzled and jaded male character that stars in his creator owned stuff. He’s caught some flack with his handling of female characters as of late, and it’s nice to see address them in the best manor possible: by creating great comics.

Low is off to a great start, continuing Remender’s creator owned hot streak at Image. It’s a beatiful looking book, and I hope this level of quality continues throughout the series.

 

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, but with Comics Belated edition part 1

Hey gang, sorry for the late of updates since Year Zero, but between Special Edition NYC and Heroescon (and the best BBQ), I haven’t been near a keyboard in awhile. Hopefully I’ll be all caught up with things by Wednesday.

sa4Secret Avengers #4

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

This month: Hawkeye, Nick Fury Jr, and a bunch of disposal SHIELD agents hunt a “The Fury” in a lawless Chinese City that disappeared 20+ years ago. It’s an Alien parody of sorts that’s high concept comics at its finest. Also Fury hunting the Fury sounds like slash fic, no I am not sorry for that joke.

While Ales Kot & Michael Walsh cut back on the comedy for an issue that’s more action-sci-horror, this comic is still entertaining as hell. There’s some laughs thanks to  MODOK mad science team  and the Hawkguy, but for the most part this comic plays it straight to help sell the horror/action aspects of the books. And it succeeds because the final product results in a brutal fight scene that also raises the question of how much Maria Hill and MODOK are the same in some aspects.  In terms of methodology, not so much visually. There’s also some weird stuff in this issue that SHOULD be considered a joke, but is played completely straight, making Secret Avengers that much more of interesting read.

While Kot continues to deliver top notch dialogue and plot, Walsh & colorist Matt Wilson continue to shine on this title. Kot channels some Chris Samnee this issue, and while the action scenes aren’t as dynamic and unique as the previous issue, they’re still strong enough to sell how creepy the Fury is. Wilson’s dark color palate really helps set the ton for this issue, primarily using blue, purples and blacks. Again, Aliens homage y’all.

Tradd Moore supplies another excellent cover to another excellent issue of Secret Avengers. While not as quirky as the last one, the stakes are raised with issue #4, which is another solid comic by this creative team.

 

portrait_incredibleAll New X-Men #28

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

Marvel $3.99 

Nothing says father’s day like the X-Men of the past fighting the Son of Charles Xavier right?

Daddy Issues aside ( J/K, this comic has a ton of them), this chapter continues to give more much needed characterization to the future brotherhood that could have helped improve the overall quality of Battle of the Atom. The Future Brotherhood’s motivations are fleshed out more, and amongst the reveals is how certain characters are alive, and why they’ve been acting the way they are. It’s some really good stuff by Bendis, who really gotten this book back on track as of late.

And while Bendis regains his footing, Stuart Immonen continues to impress. While his art has never really faltered at any point in this run, there is two particular pages, a double spread and the final page reveal that are great, and shows how well this creative team works together. The colors especially, because despite this book primarily drowning in red, are super sharp.

TLDR: Business as usual with this title. Which is good, because business is good comics.

 

 

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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 Toy, but with Comics: So much Marvel (Belated edition)

Without going into details, life happened. Here’s some reviews:

300px-Secret_Avengers_Vol_3_1Secret Avengers #1

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matt Wilson

Marvel, $3.99

Real talk, I had trouble choosing between covers. Tradd Moore’s was awesome, but Katie Cook’s Avengers Ducks was the cutest thing to ever cute, and it had a M.O.D.O.Duck! I would gladly spend $4 a month reading about Secret Avenger Ducks, please take note Marvel.

I picked this book up for 2 reasons. The first one being my wife REALLY like Spider-Woman, and this appears to be the book to read about J-Drew  with Avengers Assemble wrapping up this month. The 2nd being when the preview pages dropped, this incarnation of the book looked VERY much influenced by the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye book, a title we all know I love.

In the letters section, writer Ales Clot says this is “Michael Bay directs an episode of Breaking Bad as it meets Arrested Development. and it’s full of spies and super heroes.”. And it literally is, (I guess makes it Agents of SHIELD meet Archer), as 4 different stories are interwoven into one narrative. And it works. It’s a fun, slighty-violent read illustrated wonderfully by Michael Walsh. Walsh reminds me a lot of David Aja & Michael Lark (Daredevil, Gotham Central), and is a perfect fit for this title.

I was really excited for this book to drop, and after reading it, I’m happy to say it surpassed my expectations. Fans of Agents of SHIELD, Hawkeye, Avengers Assemble and the new Black Widow series need to get on this title sooner rather than later.

hawkeye17cvrHawkeye #17

Matt Fraction, Chris Eliopoulous, David Aja, Jordie Bellaire

Marvel $2.99

After the crazy cliffhanger dropped in issue 15, the belated issue 17 (let’s not forget 16 shipped before 15!) is an holiday issue. In March. I’d complain, but  Chris Eliopoulous, the series letter, steps up on art duties to tell the tale (OR SHOULD I SAY..TAIL? HM HM HMMM!) of the Winter Friends. And you know what? Like every issue it’s fantastic. Eliopoulous is a amazing artist, and this fun little story has get twist to it, so who cares if it’s Christmas in March right? Also holy crap, look at that cover, it is sweet, also tight. Again, you should be reading this book, and if you’re not, it’s your lose. Also I’m judging you. More so than usual.

Captain_Marvel_Vol_8_1_TextlessCaptain Marvel #1

Kelly Sue DeConnick, David Lopez, Lee Loughridge

Marvel, $3.99

Don’t call it a comeback. No seriously, we’ve only been Captain Marvel less since November, and she’s been in a number of Avenger titles since then. It wasn’t that painful y’all.

But the 2nd volume of Captain Marvel makes an impressive debut. By now, no one’s questioning Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ability to craft a great story with Carol Danvers. She’s arguably the best thing to happen to the character since Chris Claremont brushed her off from some questionable decisions back in the 80s.

David Lopez however, is the Captain Marvel artist we deserve. While there was some serious talent involved in volume 1, the final page of this issue is some next level stuff It’s a great looking book, and sets up the new status quo for Cap Marvel quite nicely. It’s a good jumping on point for new readers, and it justifies a new #1 for returning readers. Between this and the newly launched Ms. Marvel , it’s refreshing to see some great female writers produce fantastic comics, and that Marvel is recognizing that there’s an audience for these stories.

portrait_incredibleSuperior Foes of Spider-Man #9

Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $2.99

This is the issues where Boomerang and the Shocker both scheme and attempt to improve their lives. But these guys are super villains, so things do not go according to plan If that’s not worth  your $3, I have no idea what to tell you. Marvel’s best book you’re probably not reading continues to be the best book you’re probably not reading, and I really wish you were. There’s some genuine moments of badassery never seen before in this book, as well as some really strong comedy stuff with amazing timing. This team is so in synch it’s not even funny, only okay, the book is hilarious, never mind that.  The first volume is out in trade, so get on it, get caught up, and buy this comic. Unless you hate good comics. If so, let me tell you what’s going on in “Forever Evil“….

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