Tagged: the wicked + the divine

Get The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of In Black Cloud #1

Every dream has its price, what will you pay?

What would a Wednesday be without Image Comics debuting what looks like a genre-twisting new series? This week looks it looks like readers will be getting quite the delight in Black Cloud #1, a  series where every person’s dream is linked to a different world and everyone’s dreams are for sale if the price is right. Dark and trippy days are coming in this epic noir fantasy featuring an exiled dream who’s trapped in our realm. With a lovely nod, her name is Zelda.

Scribes Jason Latour (Spider-Gwen, Southern Bastards,  Ivan Brandon (Drifter), artist Greg Hinkle (Rattler, Airboy) and colors by Matt Wilson (The Wicked + The Divine) introduce Zelda as someone who was bon in a world of dreams. Hers though were apparently too big and burned too bright than her world could handle. So, she’s been kicked over to our plane of existence but she apparently holds the key to getting back into her world, where dreams go to war, and some lose.

Stuck in our world, Zelda carries with her broken dreams and needs a way to survive. Enter the rich and powerful, who are willing to pay for the pieces if they’re for sale. Dealing in a new black market of make-believe, where everyone’s story is literally magic, Zelda soon is on the run from more than just her own world before long.

The world we know is about to intersect with the worlds we can only imagine. When they collide, who will be safe, will Zelda be able to create safe passage home, and what new dreams will dare to be crafted? The power lies in the dreamer…until the dreams decide they’ve had enough.

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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked & The Divine #22

 

TheWickedAndTheDivine_22-1The Wicked & The Divine #22

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelive, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

The timing of this issue of The Wicked + The Divine couldn’t be better, given the current drama surrounding the Steve Universe fandom.  Toxic Fandoms are something that affect comics on the regular, i.e. anytime a creator gets death threats for taking a book in an unpopular direction, and it’s cool to see WicDiv attempting to have another discussion about that while pushing it’s narrative forward.

The Wicked & The Divine #22 wraps up the current arc, with an ending that can be best described as “THIS IS FINE!” While I won’t be spoiling the ending here, I’m glad to say the finale of this arc isn’t as much as of endgame for the series as I previously imagined. Yes it definitely wraps up this action heavy arc, but how this book ends sets up a few more arcs nicely. The downside is that the potential for disaster for these gods remains YoUChildrenat an all-time high, as someone may have bitten off a little more then they can chew.

Matt Wilson and Jamie McKelvie’s art for this arc has been nothing short of career defining, and this issue is no different. We get the artistic duo’s most graphically violent scene to date, and I say that well aware that this is a book where heads and people explode on a semi-regular basis. There’s also an amazing double spread (accompanied by some choice Kieron Gillen dialogue) and a nice visual callback to another character at the end that will have long time readers worried about the remaining cast members. McKelvie’s lay out and facial expression are top notch as always, but Wilson really takes things to the next level. “Neon ultra violence” is the best way to describe the colorist’s contributions to this book, with blood reds playing off of bright greens, blues, pinks and whites.  Issue 22 is another gorgeous issue, and it’s hard to imagine a better artist/colorist duo working in comics than McKelvie and Wilson.

Writer Kieron Gillen is also doing some amazing stuff with this book’s dialogue. The humor in this book is great, being perfectly self-aware when it needs to be and completely devastating for maximum effect. There’s a bit where a character does something absolutely savage, but the reasoning behind it is all too sound. It’s shades of gray characterization like that make Gillen such a fantastic writer, and makes the book all the more compelling. There’s also a bit of running gag between Amaterasu and the Norns this issue that’s simultaneously funny, but also manages to show wickedandivine26 (1)how immature and naive Ammy is. Again, I adore how complex and layered this cast is, and am fully expecting to feel all sorts of awful once the creative team starts killing them off.

The Wicked + The Divine is a rare book that somehow gets better with every arc. While this issue ends one threat, it unintentionally sets up so many other potential problems, which is both exciting and terrifying to me as a reader. It’s a book that continues to be a fantastic read every issue as well as incredibly topical in an era where some fans have problems accepting actors/actresses based solely on their skin color or sex.

Christopher Troy is a freelance writer/editor/snarky jerk on the internet. He can be found here weekly, on Twitter@TheAnarCHris, and is the co-creator/writer the webcomic “In The Name of Thy Mother”. Please don’t @ him with your scorching hot film TAKES.

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The Wicked + The Divine #21

TheWickedAndTheDivine_21-1The Wicked + The Divine #21

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

While The Wicked + the Divine has definitely had its share of fight scenes in the past, I can’t recall there being an arc that has been this heavy on action. That’s not a critique mind you, as artist/co-creator Jamie McKelvie’s ability to draw pretty people hurting each other, with breathtaking colors from Matt Wilson, is something I enjoy immensely.

WicDiv #21 sees bitty demi-goddess Minerva returned to Ananke and Woden, which is less than great for her, as the duo has some less than great plans for the wee deity. Obviously this does not sit well with Laura/Persephone and her allies, which means fighty time, fighty time, blood blood blood! This is not exactly the deepest issue of WicDiv, but again, McKelvie and Wilson excel at drawing fight scenes, and writer Kieron Gillen does a Wicked+Divine21_01damn fine job with the dialogue that it’s still a super fun read.

“Fun” may be the wrong word to use. Two minor characters meet their untimely fates in this issue, but since they weren’t exactly the most fleshed out nor beloved, their deaths seem to serve no purpose other than a reminder that Ananke isn’t a nice lady. But this more restrained Kieron Gillen thrives with his abrupt, straight to the point, dialogue, Baphomet and Baal have been bitter opponents throughout this arc, but their beef may finally be squashed when Baphomet drops 16 words that completely changes his opponent’s views. Dionysus finally has a break out moment, and it’s a less than 20 word affair. And my personal favorite is an exchange between Ananke and Woden, in which she #micdrops him in 10 words. It’s quick brutal and and a fine example how good Kieron Gillen’s dialogue is. Clayton Cowles also deserves props for his lettering contributions, especially when it comes to font choices and word balloon placement. Letterer’s are often the unsung heroes of the medium, and considering what Cowles brings to this book, creators like him deserve more recognition.

That being said, McKelvie and Wilson’s art is the real selling point of this issue. McKelvie once against manages to draw some brutal fight scenes, mixing what he did with Young Avengers with a heavy manga influence. And Wilson is incredible this issue, from his ability to set scenes with his palette choices, to incorporate some many effects into the art. Wicked+Divine21_03As well choreographed as Dionysus’ scenes are by McKelvie, Wilson’s colors bring those pages to a different level, injecting a level of energy very few colorists are able to. Woden and Dionysus alone are proof of that, but when you factor in the other 4 characters with their own signatures palette and visual effects, it speaks volume about Wilsons talents. Also best nicks and bruises in the business.

The Wicked + The Divine #21 is a VERY good fight comic which some fantastic visuals. It’s the type of comic that really takes advantage of the medium, overloading the reader’s eyes with fantastic and colorful visuals. It also feels like working towards an endgame of sorts, which is odd, because the end of the book hasn’t been announced. It’s the type of comic that will leave you both satisfied with what you got, but will leaving you dying for more.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked + The Divine #20

TheWickedAndTheDivine_20-1The Wicked + The Divine #20

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

Oooh, WicDiv and The Fix both dropped this week. Good job this week, that’s some fine comic booking!

So The Wicked + The Divine #20 is a comic book that explains how Laura/Persephone isn’t a headless corpse who is burnt and dead after the events way back in issue 11.  It involves  a heroic sacrifice, sexy times, and a lovely bit of character exploration that reveals that one of the demigod’s true identity. “But Chris, isn’t that just the character’s names?” is something you may be asking, in which I reply HOW DARE YOU, IT TURNS OUR THAT ONE OF THE GODS IS A BIT OF FIBBER, NOW WHO FEELS DUMB!

But yeah, the bulk of this issue focuses on how Persephone isn’t dead, and what she was up to during the previous arc. It’s a well-crafted comic, that masterfully weaves itself between the events of the Commercial Suicide arc, while tying into the end of issue 18 quite nicely. A lot of this issue is told in flashbacks, in which Matt Wilson and Jamie McKelvie do a fine job of making visually interesting. Instead of coloring the book in a traditional method, Wilson Persephone-c0d75pulls from the dedicated color pallet he uses exclusively for coloring Persephone for the flashback sections. It’s such a cool idea, and when you factor in he does it twice for the different time periods, it serves as testament as to exactly how talented of an colorist he is. As for his pal/the book’s artist Jamie McKelvie, it’s great work as usual. There’s a page in which resident goth badboy Baphomet is posed like a 90s Lobo cover, which I adore, for the simple fact that it’s super ridiculous, but played straight. Not to talk down on Jamie, but this is an issue with some great art, and some REALLY inventive coloring practices that’s super impressive.

As someone who appreciated how meta/”inside baseball” Kieron Gillen got in Phonogram, there’s a page in this issue that channels that feeling while explaining one of the character’s roots. It’s not the deepest cut in any way, especially given the subject matter and the medium, but it’s still an incredibly endearing scene, and shows how much charm he can inject into his scripts when he wants to. I’m not saying that it’s a weakness of Gillen’s mind you, it just seems that the noted devil-man rather twist in tumblr_o8cx2zatBJ1tuoa2wo2_1280the knife in his reader’s then make us say “d’awww”. No, I’m still not bitter over Tara, why do you ask?

Once again, The Wicked + The Divine is a satisfying read, with a creative team that never fails to impress. Issue 20 is an well crafted comic that’s spectacular from both a narrative & craftsmanship stand point, not to mention rewarding from a fan perspective. A perfect blend of action, suspense, comedy and intrigue, The Wicked + The Divine #20 is a perfect example of how great the Gillen, McKelvie, Wilson and Cowles team is, while being a comic that rewards long time readers.

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked & the Divine #19

tumblr_o6mfzkAJHN1tuoa2wo1_1280The Wicked + The Divine #19

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.99

DID YOU KNOW: Marvel isn’t the only comics publisher focusing on a Civil War these days. The cast of The Wicked & The Divine finds itself in the middle of feud, as secrets, murder, and secret murder have several characters at each other’s throats.What this means is that Jamie McKelvie gets to draw a lot of pretty peopling throwing punches at each other’s pretty faces for this arc. A while I love how smart and inventive this title usually is, and it’s commentary on fandoms, having McKelvie drawing big fight scenes again is nice. He did a bang up job on that sort of thing back during Young Avengers, and having him do an action heavy arc is a welcomed change of pace.

The Wicked and the Divine #19 sees Baal and the gods aligned with secret murderer & den mother Ananke go after the newly resurrected Persephone and her allies, as well as the return of party god Dionysus. We also learn about some additional plots involving murder, become holy crap, this is a VERY dark arc! While there’s a some trademark whimsy and snark to this book’s dialogue, for the most part Kieron Gillen’s writing plays it straight, letting the readers know we’re in for serious business. It’s very much in a Wicked+Divine19_01similar vein of what Gillen brings to his Darth Vader book over at Marvel, versus the low stakes, slice of life type stuff he did on Phonograms or the first volume of WicDiv.

Moving back to the subject of art, Matthew Wilson continues to do no wrong.  His work on Black Widow and Captain Marvel impresses me month after month, but what he brings to WicDiv is something entirely else. Issue 19 is a very dark issue in the literal sense, and Wilson’s colors do an excellent job working off a lot of pages where black plays a massive role in the design. Wilson also excels in the brighter panels, doing some fantastic stuff in the chamber where the Parthenon meet, giving it a clean, sterile look. I also dig the way he uses colors to show injury, especially in the case of Baal, enhancing McKelvie’s line art in the process.

Clayton Cowles’ font choices also remain inspired. I’m not going to lecture y’all on the importance of good letting in comics, but Cowles’ work on this book definitely deserves Wicked+Divine19_05some recognition. He’s a gifted letterer and much like Wilson colors, his choice in placement and design are brilliant.

The Wicked and the Divine #19 is a great comic. It gorgeous, dramatic and pushes the narrative in a very interesting direction. While it’s not as though provoking as some issues have been in the past, it being a more action oriented comic definitely livens things up a bit, while raising some fascinating questions. And it appears we’ll be getting some answers next month, which is a neat way to get reader to get excited for the future while thoroughly enjoying the present.

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked + The Divine #18

1The Wicked + The Divine #18

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

Hooray, The Wicked + The Divine is back! Quick, come grab a copy for yourselves immediately, shoving and or trampling anyone who dares get in your way!

DISCLAIMER: It is impossible to discuss this book without mentioning some spoilers, so if you aren’t caught up on WicDiv, skip this review.

The title for The Wicked + the Divine #18 is “Don’t Call it a Comeback”, which is WAY too appropriate. Series lead Laura Wilson returns, reborn as the Goddess Persephone, and she has a score to settle. Writer/co-creator Kieron Gillen made a joke that this arc was the WicDiv equivalent of Civil War (The Marvel version, not the historical one), and that’s a pretty fair description of the event of this issues. This issue also sees the return of Artist/Co-creator Jamie McKelvie, who will remain on art duties for the book until it ends. More details on that over the coming months. Both returns are welcomed, as the artist and colorist Matthew Wilson create one of the most action packed issues in quite some time. It’s McKelvie meets Shonen Manga in the best sort of ways, as Wilson’s bright, Wiced+Divine18_002energetic colors give the book a cool look that also reminds me of the action scenes in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim adaption. The use of pinks, greens and blues are the types of colors usually not associated with action scenes is a nice touch, and really gives the book a distinct look.

Kieron Gillen also said that Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video serve as inspiration for this comic. That much is obvious, given Laura’s dialogue, and the way McKelvie draws her. Before her “death” Laura came off a naive, an excited fangirl walking amongst gods. Now she’s drawn with more confidence and swagger, obviously looking to settle the score with Ananke and her co-conspirators.  I love the way McKelvie handles body language, and the devil may care smile on Laura’s face is fantastic.  Also look how he arranges the panels on the 2 preview pages I posted; you can switch the first two on each page, and the comic still makes sense. And the range of emotions McKelvie can draw is some next level stuff, and I’m thrilled to see his return to this title being nothing short of spectacular.

Kieron Gillen seems oddly restrained in this issue. That’s not so much a critique as it is an observation, which makes sense, as this issue really feel like more of a celebration of the art team. That’s not to say that Gillen doesn’t make any worth contributions to the issue.There’s still plenty of good to be mined from the dialogue, especially the scenes Wiced+Divine18_003involving Baal and Baphomet. Seeing two lovers scorned go out it twice in this comic gives it some really emotional weight. Well more emotional weight, can’t forget Laura’s return and all that. The team also begins to shine some light on X, who’s probably the least developed of Parthenon, and it’s revealed that she’s in a really unique position due to her age.  There’s a lot to enjoy from this issue, which is no surprise, given how good this creative team can build worlds.

I really missed the lack of The Wicked + The Divine in my life, and am over the moon that is came back as strong as it did. It’s a title that’s gone from something I was really digging, to someone that gets read immediately once the newest issue drops. The way Gillen, McKelvie and Wilson choose to explore fandoms and icons makes for an fabulous read, and issue 18 is more proof that they’re one of the most consistent, creative,  and thought-provoking teams working in the industry today.

 

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Chris’ Comics: The Wicked and the Divine #13

tumblr_noly220GkL1tuoa2wo1_500The Wicked + The Divine #13

Kieron Gillen, Tula Lotay, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson

Image $3.50

Here Kieron Gillen returns to bad bad devil 666 man status.

Wick Div #13, drawn by the wonderful Tula Lotay, is a harsh reminder that this book is a tragedy. When the premise for this issue was first announced, I thought to myself “Oh cool, we’re going to have something fun and fanservice-ly, because the F%#$ing Tara running gag will get explained”. NOPE, turns out I was wrong about my initial theory and apparently forget that Gillen is capable of making me feel things that hurt so good.

WicDiv13_Preview_PagePeople who are triggered by harassment, bullying  and behavior related to those things should be warned going into this issue.  Tara, the never seen before goddess, is a beautiful woman who has been sexually harassed since the age of 11, and continues to catch guff from awful people even today. Seeing her face in person will make you adores her, but she’s feels it’s a bit of a cheat, and the love she gets isn’t truly deserved. She’s tired of skating by on looks alone, but any attempt to cover up her face only ends poorly for the character. Tara’s tale is a sad one, and  Gillen/McKelive/Wilson add insult to injury by ending this issue a pretty grim joke. Needless to say, I loved this issue, but it’s a bit of a bummer.

Lotay’s art is gorgeous, and is drawn in a style completely different than anything that comes before her on this book. She’s more traditional comics, channeling Michael Gaydos and Alex Maleev in her art, but also giving us a bright color palette which we’re used to from usual series colorist Matthew Wilson. The art feels dirtier and sketchier than what we’re used to, but it works for this issue, serving as a reflection of the brutality we witness in this issue.

WD13_guitarThere’s 2 things that Kieron Gillen does in this issue that I absolutely adore, despite it also being the worst. First and foremost is the narration style. The issue is narrated by Tara via a letter, and I thought it was a really cool way of telling a story. Kieron’s dialogue is very fresh and natural, and this narration technique made me really sympathetic towards the character. The other thing that I like that’s quite terrible is the use from Twitter harassment in this issue. As someone who witnessed Twitter being awful first hand when Gamergame went live (in before a parade of UM actually), the stuff Kieron writes in this issue is the worst, but rings true. And that stuff of authenticity does wonders for me, even though, again, it’s terrible.

The Wicked + The Divine highlights the tragedy of fame while deepening the mystery surrounding one of the character’s actions. It pulls no punches, and it’s a harsh reminder that fame doesn’t solve all problems. Kieron Gillen and Tula Lotay managed to tell a heart breaking tale for a character we just met, and made it hurt me like she was around the previous 12 issues. It’s a testament to both these creators talents, and it really made me thing on how to interact with people on the internet in the future.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Wicked Academy

WickedDivine_09The Wicked & The Divine #9

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson

Image $3.50

KIERON GILLEN IS A JERK!

He’s not really. I’ve met him several time, if anything he’s the complete opposite. But man, this issue of The Wicked and the Divine ends on a bummer of a cliffhanger.

Gillen’s pacing has been incredible throughout the series. The previous issue of #WicDiv ended on saucy note, and this issue lead up to believe sexy times were instore for everyone. That couldn’t be any farther than the truth, as we’re instead treated to a few reveals, some heartbreak, and some choice dialogue by KG once again.

Surprising no one, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson are still in top form with the art for this book.  McKelvie reminds us just how good he is by giving a trio of familiar supporting characters a new look, and it’s gorgeous. McKelvie excels at designing and redesigning character, so I shouldn’t be surprised the end results are as good as they are, but I’m impressed time after time.  Wilson remains equally important, as his choice in colors for these character really give them a visual style that helps win the reader over.

Wicked and Divine volume 2 continues to be a consistent and stellar read. The WicDiv fandom has come to expect certain things from a Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson project, and they deliver in usual  fashion again with this is, despite its being quite brutal at times.

 

 

 

STK666956Gotham Academy #6

Brenden Fletcher/Becky Cloonan/Karl Kerschl/Mingue Helen Chen/Msassyk/Serge Lapointe

DC $2.99

Guys, I’m not sure if I get this message across in my reviews, but this is the BEST time to be reading comics.

Gotham Academy wraps up its first arc, and it’s delightful. It’s funny that arguably the most light hearted of the Bat-titles, this is the book that has Batman come off as a villian. Obviously he and Croc has a history that says otherwise, but a teenager with mom issues may see the Bat in a different light. Batman’s extended appearance doesn’t detract from the feel and tone of the book though, as it shakes things up a bit and takes the book in some interesting directions. The most  shocking being the tease of the addition of a established Bat-character who’s presence is welcomed and makes a ton of sense.

Karl Keschl gets some help on the art end of things from Mingue Helen Chen and style wise it couldn’t be better. While it’s not as bright & colorful as Keschl’s art, it’s definitely beautiful in its own way, channels the same animation vibe, and fits the narrative quite well. Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher are in top form, writing very believable kids & a very rich and interesting world. In the span of 6 issues, these  5 kids have been given an impressive amount of depth in such a short period of time, and it kills me I’m going to have to wait until June before we re-visit this world again.

Gotham Academy #6 is another great installment of the best Batman book no one’s reading. Hopefully the new addition to the cast will get the book some new readers, because I would hate to see it end after the next arc.

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What I dug in 2014 finale: Creator Owned Comics

This is me saving the best for last. While both Marvel and DC had solid years creatively (and sales wise I imagine, but I don’t have those numbers at my hands), the number of quality creator owned comics that dropped this past year was astonishing. Today will be the day I focus on those quality books, which is why I’ve titled this article as such.

comics-the-wicked-and-the-divine-2-coverImage Comics had arguably it’s bet year to date in 2014. Aside from “older” on-goings like The Walking Dead, Saga, Invincible, Umbral, Rat Queens, and Sex Criminals (as well as the end of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Fatale), we saw the debut of  a number of excellent new comics. Such books like the often discussed The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, Fuse ( Antony Johnston, Justin Greenwood) Shutter ( Joe Keatinge, Leila Del Duca, Owen Gieni, Ed Brisson), Bitch Planet ( Kelly Sue Deconnick, Valentine Del Landro) among a dozen others all debuted within the last 12 months, which is impressive to say the least. Image continues to be the premiere comics company for creator owned books, luring some of the top creators from Marvel and DC (see Scott Snyder, Mark Millar, Rick Remender) to put out some of their best work of their careers without having to use corporate owned IPs. Image put out some of my favorite comics of the past year, all without having to resort to crossovers and $5 gimmick books.

boombox_lumberjanes_002_aBut Image wasn’t the only comic company to have a good year with creator owned comics. BOOM Studios produced some top notched horror comics with James Tylion IV with The Woods and Memetic. Their BOOM BOX! imprint also had the debut of the excellent Lumberjanes comics, arguably one of the best all ages comics on the stands The book by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen and Maarta Laiho was originally announced as a 8 issue mini series, but it’s well deserved popularity got it bumped up to an on-going and is constantly delightful and visually stunning. Oni Press published Charles Soule & Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque’s sci-fi drama Letter 44, a book that deserves more hype and discussion, and the books Charles Bunn’s put out through the company has been nothing short of great.  And while not exactly creator owned, Valiant Comics continues to impress, with some best under the radar super hero/action books being put out on a monthly basis.

51kMcl9F-rL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_And finally, two of 2014’s biggest releases, creator owned or otherwise, weren’t even from traditional comics publishers. Seconds, by Scott Pilgrim‘s Bryan Lee O Malley, Through the Woods by Emily Carroll saw print this year, and both are must reads in my opinion. While Seconds may  not be made into a movie by Edgar Wright any time soon, it’s a phenomenal comic that feels like a Miyazaki movie meant for the Scott Pilgrim crowd. Through the Woods is by far the creepiest comic I’ve read in years, as Emily Carroll delivers some genuine terror with her work, which blends horror with folk tales. I can’t recommend either enough.

2014 was a terrific year for comic. There may have been some dumb stuff that went down with some professionals and publishers, but the amount of good that came from the industry easily triumphs the bad. I’m eager to see what 2015 offers, what with us being a few short days from Image Expo, the release of Squirrel Girl, and whatever DC has up their sleeves once the company is united in California.

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Young and the Restless edition

This week’s unintentional theme for reviews is #Teens. It would have been #JamieMcKelviecovers, but Kris Anka did the cover to Ms Marvel, also, that hashtag would be crazy long.

STK655085Ms Marvel #10

G Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

After an unexpected hiatus, Ms. Marvel returns to deal with troubled teens and murderous robots via a mad scientist cockatiel. Also yes, I was giggling in delight as I typed those last 3 words, I am an adult.

With issue 9 revealing Ms Marvel’s roots (hint/spoiler: Inhuman), issue 10 is a return to form for the series, using the generational gap in America as a source of inspiration for the issue’s plot. It’s something I haven’t seen done as well since Brian K Vaughn and series artist Adrian Alphona were on Runaways,  mixing actual TEEN issues with comic book super villains. Is it a hoot.

G Willow Wilson was recently signed to an exclusive contract with Marvel, and the dialogue for this issue is all the proof why that was a smart movie. Everything that comes out of Kamala Khan’s mouth sounds genuine for a teenager in the Marvel universe, even when it’s calling for her teleporting pet doggie. Kamala as a  representation of the modern teenager works as well as Hawkeye as the 3o yr old uncomfortable in his own skin, cough cough me.

Alphona and colorist Ian Herring continue to be brilliant on this book. It’s trippy, colorful and so expressive, making it a unique looking book even in Marvel’s wonderfully diverse art styles. Each panel is crammed with details that contain fun little sight gags, Easter eggs or just some funny looking stuff.

Ms Marvel continues to be the best comics to debut from Marvel this year, with the most likable lead to be introduced into the MU in some time. Any and all the success and praise the title has received is warranted, and it’s well worth picking up, as per usual.

wickeddivine_06_2The Wicked + the Divine #6

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

It’s weird to have an Image book go on hiatus for only a month, but it’s certainly welcomed.

I believe in the concept of a multiverse. Somewhere, I’m sure artist Jamie McKelvie didn’t get into comics, but fashion instead, and is brilliant. Luckily we live in the universe where McKelvie draws pretty people who are insanely well-dressed.

The Wicked+The Divine #6 takes place one month after the events of issue 5, and sees our lead still in mourning. I reminds me a lot of the beginning of the recently conclude Legend of Korra season, only with less bending and more…British? Anywho, Laura’s a hot mess, we’re introduced into a rad new character, and the subject of fandoms and conventions are woven into the narrative.

It’s hard to picture a creative team more “With it” then Mckelvie and Kieron Gillen. Despite WickedDivine being urban fantasy, everything feels so realistic and modern, from the dialogue to the use of certain technology. Even Laura’s cracked iphone will make you take notice and give you a sense of familiarity.

Matthew Wilson is arguably my favorite colorist in comics at the moment, and reading his stuff digitally is the best way to experience his talents. His work really makes McKelvie’s art look as good as it does, as his choice in colors ultimately unit McKelvie’s pictures and Gillen words, making for a beautiful package, not to mention a terrific looking book.

This volume of The Wicked + The Divine is off to a smart start, and I’m super curious as to how the subject of fandoms will tie into the story. Their gods murder mystery book is somehow the most human book on the market, and a testament of how talented this team is.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Spider-Gwen, X-men, and The Wicked + The Divine

4049035-edge_of_spider-verse_2_coverEdge of Spider-Verse #2

Jason Latour/Robbi Rodriguez/Rico Renzi

Marvel $3.99

As someone who got into comics when he was younger due to Spider-Man, it’s funny how very little I actually read about the Wall-Crawler these days. I haven’t bought a physical issue of a Spider-book in some time, and I’m only catching up on Superior Spider-Man now via the Marvel Unlimited app.

That being said, when Gwen Stacy: Spider-Woman was first announced, I was more than ready to spend money on this comic. The design by Robbi Rodriguez was hot to death, and the concept of having Gwen get bit instead of Peter really appealed to me. I’m not to interested in Spider-verse all that much, but I figured picking up this one shot couldn’t hurt.

Now that I have the issue in my hand and have read it a few times over, I have to admit I’m a little disappointed by it. I hate to toss shade at writer Jason Latour, but he played it a little too safe this debut issue. There’s a lot of cool stuff introduced and I lot of concepts I like, I’m just bummed out that we may not see any of play out fully in the near future. I know Spider-Gwen is going to be popping up all over the Spider-Verse event and the tie ins, but I want to know more about her world. It’s a good script, and it did a find job of leaving me wanting more, I just wish I was a little more satisfied with what I got to begin with.

That being said, visually the book looks great. Robbi Rodgriguez and Rico Renzi were the perfect artists to handle this one shot, as this story has all the pop and flair you want form a Spider-book. Gwen looks fantastic in action, and her amazing (UGH BAD PUN) costume really stands out. On a visual level I couldn’t be more satisfied with EoSM 2.

But yeah. Edge #2 is a good comic, but I was expecting a great comic. Hopefully Latour, Rodriguez & Reniz will have a chance at Spider-Gwen again sometime in the future.

portrait_incredible (2)Uncanny X-men #26

Brian Michael Bendis.Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

Chris Bachalo‘s cover is easily one of the best UXM has been grace with since this 2013 relaunch. I really like it,(it serves as an excellent looking methaphor for the inner demons Cyclops is battling), so it may sound weird that I’m about to say that I’m glad he didn’t handle the interior art for this issue.

Uncanny X-men #26 addresses the fallout from 25 and how it’s gonna haunt the modern X-men. An uneasy alliance form, and questions and doubts rise in a really emotional issue of Uncanny X-men.

Which is why I’m glad Kris Anka drew this issue. Anka’s the type of artist you want to convey emotion in your comic, and he does a great job of selling Brian Michael Bendis‘ dialogue. He managed to hit the action pieces just as well, and the end result is a finely crafted comic, especially when you factor in how great the coloring is too.

Bendis by the way does an excellent job of writing an side of Bobby Drake we’ve never seen, as well as a Cyclops at his lowest. This was the sort of emotional baggage that should have been addressed sooner, but with Anka and Bendis handling it so well now, I’m okay with the wait.

If you hit the shop this week you may noticed that All New X-men dropped as well. I’m done with the book for this time being opting to go the trade route with it. Uncanny X-men, on the other hand, has become the X-book I don’t want to trade wait for. Between the 2 different art teams and Brian Michael Bendis’ solid scripts, it’s easily the superior X-book on the stands.

tumblr_inline_nc1v0wN2sX1r77eonThe Wicked + The Divine

Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie/Matthew Wilson/Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

Getting real tired of coming up with ways to praise this book. Part of me just wanted to leave it at “buy this book I already hit 500 words, just trust me”, but that’s kinda half assing things. So instead I’ll do a handy little checklist as you why you should read it if you’re not.

Is Wicked+ Div still a gorgeous looking book thanks to the talents of  Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson? YES

Is Kieron Gillen‘s dialogue still incredibly clever and hilarious? YES

Is Wic+Div still the type of book that asks a little more from it’s reader instead of dumbing it down for mass appeal? YES

Is the murder mystery involving gods still incredibly compelling? Also are said gods also super interesting and insanely well designed? YES, although this issue is heavy on the Tron homage.

So yeah, The Wicked + The Divine is still great, in case I wasn’t clear enough above. It’s American Gods meets Phonograms, which is the type of mash up I live for. It arguably has the most diverse cast in comics outside of Saga or Mighty Avengers, and some of the best character interactions in comics today.

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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: The Wicked + Doge

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

 

detailMs. Marvel #6

G. Willow Wilson/Jacob Wyatt/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles

Image $3.50

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

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

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

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

Brian Michael Benid/Kris Anka

Marvel $3.99

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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