Tagged: Tom King

Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Spies like Us Edition

First and foremost, happy 2015 Forbidden Planet faithful! There were all of 7 comics released this past week,  none of which I pull,  so we’re going to take a look at 2 books that dropped last week instead. Then I’ll finish my “What I like dug” over the next few days, just in time for the first New Comics Wednesday of 2015. Aren’t schedules fun?

GRAYANN_Cv1_540f47df5c1c08.60705222Grayson Annual #1

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Stephen Mooney/Jeremy Cox

DC $4.99

I want to like this comic more than I do.

I’m doing my best to not be an old man and start ranting about how Annuals should be saved for big stories like were in my day. Hell this annual was originally solicited as such, promising us the New 52 origin of Helena Bertinelli. Which we get, sort of, for all of a page.

The rest of the book is dedicated to several new characters, one who’s supposedly really good at what he does, and we get a lot more focus on said new character than we do on Helena, as well as a Irish Folktale. Which is different, but not exactly the most compelling stuff in the world.

While the book isn’t bad ( Tom King and Tim Seeley‘s script is okay, Stephen Mooney‘s art is serviceable, and Jeremy Cox‘s colors remain excellent), it’s not exactly required reading at $5. It does nothing for the over all narrative of the series, even  thought there’s some cool stuff sprinkled throughout the issue.

December was not the best month for Grayson in my option. Between the annual and issue 5, the book feels like it’s stuck in neutral. Hopefully January will see a proper return to form for this book and it’s creative team.

background (1)Secret Avengers #11

Ales Kot/Michael Walsh/Matthew Wilson

Marvel $3.99

And once again, Secret Avengers is espionage comics done right.

The final arc of Secret Avengers begins with this issue, and properly raises the stakes. The mysterious world of TLON has began to appear in “our” world, the secret mastermind behind the whole ordeal begins to make his presence known and now it’s up to MODOK and his allies to save to the day. It’s Cosmic Horror meets Archer (wordplay?) at it’s finest.

And speaking of F-I-N-E (#segue) Michael Walsh & Matthew Wilson continue to be at the top of their respected games with this book. Between the storm in Venezuela and the various action pieces on the Hellicarrier, Walsh and Wilson continue to do some interesting and beautiful things with format, design and panel layouts. They do Ales Kot’s script the justice it deserves, being able to convey the emotion needed for the Hawkeye/Coulson confrontation, as well as providing some awesome fight scenes.

Kot also deserves some praise for the way he’s been handling Agent Coulson and his PTSD in this book. Hawkeye, Maria Hill, and Black Widow may be normal human comfortable with some of insanity that goes down on the reg in the 616, Phil Coulson is not, and is affected by it. It’s something that could be handled poorly in the wrong hangs, but Ales Kot writes Phil and his condition properly, which makes for a compelling and a emotionally invested read.

Secret Avengers continues to be one of the strongest offerings from Marvel month after moth. It’s weird, violent and funny, and every so often, it has something smart and endearing to say.

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What I dug in 2014: DC Comics edition

It’s the end of 2014, which means it’s time for everyone to drop “Best Of” lists. Truth be told, there’s been a ton of acclaimed comics I didn’t read this year, so me complying one is kind of whack. HOWEVER, I’ve read a bunch of good comics this year, so I’m going to make 3 articles dedicated to some of my favorites from the past year. A solid cop-out if you ask me, #biased.

2012/2013 saw me drop a number of DC Comics titles, mostly due to the lack of interest in the direction DC editorial was heading. 2014 changed that, as  editor Mark Doyle came aboard the Bat-line and shook things up a lot, assigning some top notch creators to old and new titles. It’s resulted in me getting interested back in Dc’s catalog for the first time in a while, with the exception of one book I never really stopped reading.

Batman_Vol_2_31_Textless-1That exception is Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s amazing run on Batman. This book has been constantly excellent since the beginning of the new 52, and this year saw the conclusion to the incredible Year Zero story line, as well as the fantastic Endgame arc. Snyder’s Batman has been a more human take of the character, way different from the Bat-god we’ve seen from Grant Morrison‘s run, and has been the most relatable take on the character in some time. Greg Capullo, inked masterfully by Danny Miki with amazing colors by FCO Plascencia, is doing some next level stuff with this book. His villains are grotesque, his Batman is a mix of iconic and pulp hero, and his Gotham varies from modern metropolis to nightmare-fuel garbagetown depending on the scene.

4008079-grayson01But Snyder and Capullo kicking ass isn’t anything new. What is new is Grayson, the spy thriller that saw Nightwing go from vigilante to spy who refuses to kill. Which is problematic given his new profession. Written by Tim Seeley and former actual spy Tom King, with  Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox, it’s been the most compelling Dick Grayson has been since he was Batman, and is a fun book that incorporates espionage with some weirder elements of the Batverse. While the book suffers the occasional misstep, it’s also incredibly smart and sexy when the book (in a non-insulting/offensive way) delivers. The Future’s End tie-in was easily one of the best editorial mandated tie-in book to an event I don’t read this past year, and would be the best single issue for the series if we didn’t have a surprisingly sweet issue involving a Manty Raid.

STK652755586cfd30a87203654de3e206e1093d7dI also can’t overlook the trio of female lead books set in the Batverse. Gotham Academy, but Brendan Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, Karl Kerschl and and a trio of amazing colorists ( Geyser, Dave McCaig and John Rauch) is Batman meets Harry Potter, and is a slick looking book I didn’t know I wanted, but now am incredibly happy we have. It reminds me of Jason Aaron‘s insanely charming run of Wolverine and the X-men, only with less mutants and more #Teens. Harley Quinn, by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair, has became a massive hit for DC Comics, and while the book is pretty hit or miss to me, it’s hard to overlook it’s importance. It’s the closest DC has an book that truley appeals to the Deadpool audience, and when the book is good, it’s good. And finally there’s Batgirl, DC’s arguably most hyped book of the year. The book, seeing Fletcher joined by Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Maris Wick, set the internet aflame when it was announced, and has delivered ever since they creative team’s debut in October. It’s a much needed book that does some interesting things with Barbara Gordon, and much like Gotham Academy, it’s gorgeous and incredibly fun.

 

So yes, while DC has put out some incredibly bad books this past year (Forever Evil and the current run of Wonder Woman spring to mind), it seems they’ve finally found some books that match some of the gems Marvel has been offering as of late. I’m hoping this trend continues well into 2015.

 

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Troy’s Troys But With Comics: Lovable Rogues edition

Grayson_Vol_1-5_Cover-1_TeaserGrayson #5

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin/ Jeremy Cox

DC Comics  $2.99

Grayson #5 is arguably the most ambitious issue since the Future’s End one-shot. That being said, while issue 5 looks great, it’s arguably the weakest issue to date.

The premise of this issue is that a mission has gone off the rails, so Dick Grayson, Helena, the Midnighter and a new born child are forced to walk across 200 miles of desert to reach civilization. The purpose of this issue is to show the reader that Dick Grayson never gives up, is pretty much perfect, doesn’t afraid of anything, blah blah blah.

While I dig what Tim Seeley and Tom King are trying to do with this issue, it’s something that we’ve been seeing since issue 1: that Dick Grayson values life and will do whatever to protect it. This issue feels like it spinning it’s wheels a bit, instead of advancing the plot. Helena’s presence feels tacted on, and the ending is kind of a mess.

That being said, it’s still a gorgeous book. Mikel Janin does a excellent job of drawing sexy people in the desert, and I’m sure a ton of people are glad to see shirtless Dick Grayson run around with a 10 day year old beard. He also does a lot of interesting things with his story-telling with double page spreads and multiple panel work, And colorist Jeremy Cox really steps up this issue, showing how brutal the desert setting  is, and making the relatively simplistic backgrounds come to live.

Grayson #5 is a frustrating comic, that looks great but offers new in the narrative. It’s a rare misstep from a solid creative team.

Legendary_Star-Lord_Vol_1_6_TextlessLegendary Star-Lord #6

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/Juan Vlasco/Davis Curiel/

$3.99 Marvel

WACKY DATE ISSUE, WACKY DATE ISSUE!

Legendary Star-Lord  #6 sees Kitty Pryde and Peter Quill go on their first date. Well sorta date, as Kitty is still on Earth, so it’s Kitty via hologram. Oh and there are still a bunch of people trying to kill Peter Quill, so that complicates things a bit, and ensures that this is a wacky date issue.

This is not the first comic that’s tried to do the date with a twist thing. It’s be done to death, and even by attempting it, risks being extremely troupey and cliche. That being said, the team of Sam Humphries and Paco Medina have made their run on Star-Lord incredibly fun, so it’s comes as no surprise that this issue is a hoot.

Humphries and Medina’s handling of Kitty Pryde in this series has been nothing short of excellent, so getting more screen time with her in this issue works in the book’s favor. She works well opposite of Star-Lord, and Humphries draws a lot of the character’s history to make her very compelling co-star. Also he and Paco and like the only dudes in comics that seem to remember Lockeheed exists, so seeing that little purple dragon pop up a bunch is a treat for me.

Speaking of treats, Paco Medina’s art is great. The details on his backgrounds are Jim Lee-esque, and his facial expressions and  character’s body language is superb. Star-Lord is a book that is very high energy and fun and is serviced well by Medina’s art, combined with excellent and clean inks from Juan Vlasco and bright & vivid colors by David Curiel.

Legendary Star-Lord continues to be a fun book with a ton of humor, romance, and action. It’s a nice homage to the space operas inspired by it, but not afraid to add some fun little twists to it. And with a cool mystery revealed and fun, exciting cliff hanger ended, I’m excited to see what the next issue brings.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: MANTY RAID!

portrait_incredibleLegendary Star-Lord #5

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/ Juan Vlasco/David Curiel

Marvel $3.99

Looks like it’s time to get ready for editorial mandated crossover.

I know crossovers are proven money makers for Marvel and DC, but I’m not the type of guy who’s willing to start buying books I’m not already reading to get the complete story. Except with Battle of the Atom. And The Trial of Jean Grey. Okay, sometimes I’m that guy, but most times I’m not, really!

The Black Vortex (coming in February 2015 apparently) is introduced in this issue of Legendary Star Lord, after being teased in previous issues. While I’m less than thrilled that a multi-title crossover is almost upon us, I also really enjoyed this particular issue of Star-Lord.

Issue 5 sees Peter Quill grill a space horse (not Beta Ray Bill. A different type of space horsie unrelated to Thor) for info regarding said crossover inducing MacGuffin, and we’re introduced to a group of Anti-Guardians of the Galaxy in the form of the Slaughter Squad (not to be confused with Slaughter’s Marauders of G.I. Joe fame). We also get a appearance from Kitty Pryde, which I welcomed because I am a sucker for romance and all about this Kitty-Lord pairing. Apologies for me going all Tumblr there.

Despite the plot-twists for this issue coming a mile away, LSL is a really enjoyable comic. Sam Humphries, Paco Medina, and their artistic collaborators have been doing solid mostly done and one stories with an over-arching plot, something I enjoy a lot in comics. Star-Lord is the type of character that works best as being a light-hearted space action book, which is something the creators gets and use to their advantage. Also after GOTG made a hojillion dollars, why wouldn’t you channel Chris Pratt’s take on the character right?

Again, I’m less than thrilled this book is going to be pulled into a multi-series crossover, but I’m enjoying the ride there. Legendary Star Lord #5 is a great comic, and I intend to keep on buying it until I’m forced to pull several other books to get a complete story.

GRAY_Cv4_53ebb7b4b35e55.53061085Grayson #5

Tim Seeley/Tom King/Mikel Janin

DC Comics $2.99

Sidenote: Gotham Academy #2 also dropped this week, was great, I recommend you buy that as well.

As much as I’ve been enjoying Grayson since it’s premiere, the last couple of issues have been pretty dark. Not grimmdark, but still pretty “feels bad man”-type stuff, even though it’s been a great read. Issue 5 does not have this problem, and it’s all sorts of rad.

Grayson is book that is well aware of Dick Grayson’s fans, their tastes, and that they like his booty, they doooooooooo. The words “Manty Raid” are used in this issue, not just as dialogue, but as a plot point, and it’s delightful. And the way our shirtless hero deals with it isn’t just true to the character, it’s also a ton of fun.

And it’s okay a book that’s more than just fan service. Even with Mikel Janin’s art being gorgeous, Tim Seeley and Tom King provide a bounty of interesting subplots and character moments that make this book both incredibly clever, charming and surprisingly tense. It’s arguably the best portrayal of Dick Grayson since Grant Morrison made him Batman several years ago.

DC has been getting a lot of well deserved praised for books like Gotham Academy and Batgirl, and I feel Grayson deserves to be in that group as well. It’s a damn fine book, and super progressive even without a female lead or creators.

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: Lovable Scamps Edition

Quick Movie Review: I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last week. It was very fun. You should see it too. Unless you hate fun. Then don’t I guess.

::: counts up word total and is upset that doesn’t count up 500 words :::

 

Dammit, I guess I should review some comics then.

3792239-starlord-#2-cover-finalLegendary Star-Lord #2

Sam Humphries/Paco Medina/ Juan Vlasco/ David Curiel

Marvel $3.99

Hey look a book starring on the characters from GOTG, check out my synergy! #toyetic

This second issue finds Star Lord pitted against a nasty bounty hunter, with a nasty pet, as well as the commander of the Spartax Royal guard. With Marvel announcing 3 new Star War titles at SDCC, the lack of a Han Solo project makes more sense with the release of Star Lord #2. There’s a monster who’s very much a Sarlacc Pit homage in this issue, although the twist to it is very cool.

And now that we’re living in a post-James Gunn GOTG movie world, we can see that  this Peter Quill is very much a Chris Pratt  (aka Burt Macklin) influenced version of the character.  Sam Humphries drops the word “man” into Star-Lord’s vocabulary a lot, there’s a bit involving his rocket boots and this version of seems a little more sneaky and underhanded than the more heroic version we’ve seen in the DnA and Bendis runs of Guardians of the Galaxy. This is not a complaint by the way, as comics starring dashing space rogues are my jam.

Paco Medina continues to do a solid job of drawing the hell out of this book, and the character designs he’s using are really solid. My only complaint is that the coloring in the print edition pales greatly to the digital version of LSL #2. I’m not sure if it’s a printing error in my copy or just something that’s lost when made a physical copy. Either way, if you don’t mind reading comics digitally, redeem that code ASAP. It does wonders to the work done by  Juan Vlasco & David Curiel.

Overall, Legendary Star Lord #2 is a fun read that will scratch your Peter Quill itch if you’re looking for more of the character after the movie.

portrait_incredibleThe Superior Foes of Spider-Man #14

Nick Spencer/ Steve Lieber/ Rich Ellis/ Rachelle Rosenberg

Marvel $3.99

And the best use of a corgi in the Marvel Universe goes to the Superior Foes of Spider-Man! Before we dive into the interior, let me start off by talking about the front of this book. Kris Anka‘s cover may come off as simplistic, but it does an excellent job of capturing the cast’s attitude and the overall Sinister 6 group dynamic. Also the coloring is insane.

Artist Rich Ellis returns to help Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber flesh out the back story of one of the Superior Sinister Six’s member, something this book has excelled at doing. Not all of the villains in the book had established backgrounds coming into this book, and the origins Spencer and friends have been providing them with have been clever, super entertaining, and very satisfying. In addition, the fate of Speed Demon’s corgi puppy is revealed in a heart warming story that consists of 3 wordless pages. It’s a testament to Ellis’ skills, as he manages to blend humorous and heart warming moments perfectly. Rachelle Rosenberg’s color help of course, and she does an amazing job with the crazy last 2 pages.

So yeah, even with adding another artist to the mix for an issue, The Superior Foes of Spider-Man remains flawless. I’m also glad we’re getting more comics where Marvel Hero’s masks are used as censor bars.

 

4008079-grayson01Grayson #2

Tom King/Tim Seeley/Mikel Janin/Jeremy Cox

DC $2.99

Yes good, more of this please.

As apprehensive as I was with Grayson when it was first announced, this book continues to impress. 2 months in and King and Seeley have taken several obscure elements from Grant Morrison’s run on Batman Inc, retooled a fan-favorite character, and most importantly focused on what make Dick Grayson one of the BEST characters to grace the page of DC Comics.

I don’t want to discuss the plot of issue two much, mostly because the hook is kinda cool in an incredibly gross sort of way, but it does make for a great read. There’s also some amazing interactions with Dick Grayson and the Batman, and a mention of a certain red head that gives me the Tumblr-type-feels.

And I think that’s why I’m digging Grayson so much. It’s a beautiful looking and smart book that actually strives to get an emotion response from the readers. It takes a lot of stuff from the Bat books from the last few years, add some cool elements together and blends everything together for a great read.  The cast in engaging and intriguing, and the big mystery to this title is super interesting.  The end result spy book than channels some weird 60s Marvel comics, with a lot of heart and pretty pictures. Grayson has done an excellent job of getting me back into buying a DC Comic on a monthly basis, something that hasnt been done since Snyder/Capullo’s Batman started up.

 

 

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