Tagged: Wade Von Grawbadger

Chris’ Comics: NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. Ultimate collection

51mCJ6NnvVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E., The Ultimate Collection

Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger,  Dave McCraig

Marvel $34.99

It’s rare for me to cover a re-release of material that isn’t too hard to track down, but NEXTWAVE is a rare exception. Originally released in 2005, this 12 issue maxi-series was part parody part…..well okay it was all parody, but even so, it managed to be one of the best super hero books Marvel published around that time, and probably ranks in the top 20 off all time. For a book that Marvel tried sweeping under the rug continuity for a number of reasons, it certainly had it share of influences, as seen as recent as both Secret & Mighty Avengers and helped launched the career of the already talented but underrated at the time Stuart Immonen. Nextwave is arguably my favorite work of writer Warren Ellis, which says a lot, give my love of his massive library of comics material, but there’s some so fun and simple about the book that makes it very appealing to me.

For those of you who sicken me and have not yet read NEXTWAVE, allow me to sell you on the book. NEXTWAVE is the tale of 4 D-list super heroes and the Captain, who was created just for this series, who find out their employers H.A.T.E, is also funded by the same company backing the terrorist group S.I.L.E.N.T. . Our heroes, consisting of Elsa Bloodstone, Machine Man Aaron Stack, Boom-Boom and one time Avengers leader Monica Rambeau, decide to go rogue and put and end to the Beyond corporations doing, only to face some of the weirder elements of the Marvel Universe, both old and original. Their chief antagonist is one Dirk Anger, who’s as you can tell from the name is a Nick Fury stand in with a couple dozen screws loose. He’s kind of the best, but I won’t post any panels featuring him, as I would like any potential new readers to go into this book blind and witness his glory unspoilied.

next-wave-11-001Drawing Nextwave is Stuart Immonen, who would go one to replace Mark Bagley on Ultimate Spider-Man after this, and is now drawing Star Wars. This isn’t Immonen’s finest work, as he’s constantly improving as an artist,  but its the first instance of him getting a little more looser and animated with his style. Immonen’s art is none the less perfect for this book, as he captures the insanity that Ellis’ script demands perfectly, giving us everything from Sentiment Broccoli men to X-men dinosaurs. Nextwave’s semi-cartoony look is perfect for the type of story being told, and still holds up after a decade. Inking Immonen is long time his someone who’s inked most of his work over the last few years, Wade Von Grawbadger, who kept the book looking bold and clean, and managing to keep all tiny  details From Immonen’s pencils in. The book was colored by Dave McCraig, who keeps the book looking bright and fun, despite the horror his collaborators induce..

Nextwave-1Warren Ellis’ writing is unmistakable on this title. Everything from the humor, to the violence to the insanity of some of the concepts are SO Warren, that it’s amazing that Marvel let him get away with what he did. The script and dialogue is a nonstop assault on you eyes, tossing out jokes in nearly every other panel or letting the art’s amazing visuals blow your mind. There’s also some genuinely DARK moments towards the end of the run that will catch you off guard, and are resolved in way that would feel lazy with any other writer, but works given what Ellis has established over the previous issues. While NEXTWAVE isn’t as complex as some of Ellis’ creator owned works, allowing him to play with Marvel’s toys for only 12 issues with some set rules also results in some of his finest work.

Before there was a Hawkeye or even an Immortal Iron Fist, NEXTWAVE was proof that some of Marvel’s best material is a result of just letting creators do their own thing. It’s a book that feels a lot like that fantastic Bruce Timm Justice League animated series, only with no name characters and slightly more mature content. If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend it enough, as you can go with without knowing nothing about the characters, and still enjoy the whole thing. It’s a fantastic read that’s aged, quite well, and definitely one of my favorite comics. #RIPSpecialbear

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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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Toys Toys, but with Comics: #Ladies

Getting straight to the reviews this time around. Hope you enjoyed FCBD, I’m still salty there was ZERO Carol Danvers in that Guardians book. >:(

allnewxmen26cvrAll New X-Men

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

Marvel $3.99

I am pleased.

I’ve been on the verge of dropping All New X-Men as of late. As much as I like Stuart Immonen‘s art, the constant crossover left me burnt out, and Uncanny’s recent hot streak wasn’t doing its sister book any favors. However we’re back to basics with issue 26, and that’s a very good thing for fans of the book named Chris Troy, and probably some others I imagine.

This issue is very light on the action and heavy on the drama. Which may turn some people off, because let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the first talking heads Brian Michael Bendis comic. However, soap opera drama has always been a big part of the X-mythos (seriously where have you’ve been, how did you not know this, tsk tsk ), so seeing adult Scott talk to young Jean while X-23 pines for the absent young Scott works for me, despite being a tad creepy. Please note that Cyclops is like one of my top 3 Marvel characters, so this sort of thing is my jam.

There’s only so many ways I can point out how great Stuart Immonen‘s art is (So great, thanks to Wade Von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia), so I’ll just continue to point out what else I like about this issue. No wait, I lied, I want to talk about how perfect those first few pages are. There’s a nice Double Spread that kicks this issue off, which shows exactly how effective an artist Immonen can be. It’s haunting (the desire effect I imagine), and the use of colors really helps to sell the scene. From there, continuing to praise there’s some really solid use of darkness and light for the next few panels/pages that really help build tension. There’s also an impressive use of white space when it comes to a snow scene later one, which serves as how sometimes less is more with panel composition. Also man, peep that cover, and tell me the way Jean’s “new” powers is not dope.

With a great intro and a solid cliffhanger for an ending, the current story arc for All New X-Men is off to a great start!

 

 

KABOOM_Adventure_Time_2014_Annual_AAdventure Time 2014 Annual

Frank Gibson/Becky Dreistadt/Ian McGinty

KaBoom $4.99

DID YOU KNOW: I am a fan of people I like working on characters I like! See any discussion I’ve praising Fraction/Aja on Hawkeye, which is akin to a verbal and or written handjob for proof of this.

So when you take Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt of the webcomic Tiny Kitten Teeth , as well as Penny Arcade, and but then on Fionna & Cake, and then make the tiny adorable babies, I will throw money at you. Assuming you are a comics retailer what sell said comic, I don’t earn enough to be throwing money around like that.

Anywho, the 2014 Adventure Time annual is printed horizontally, much like those Marvel-vision annuals of the 2000s. Also quick sidenote, if you’ve never read one of those, make sure it involves Grant Morrison and the X-Men, otherwise you’re wasting your time. The way it’s printed, combinbed with Dreistadt’s beautiful printed art, give the book a Sunday newspaper feel, which is neat. And the story is super cute and super fun, focusing in Baby Fionna and Baby Cake’s first major adventure. The art reminds me a lot of the Paper Mario series of video games, and the writing remains faithful to Fionna and Cake’s established voices. It’s the perfect type of all ages story, and a tremendous example of how great comics as story-telling device can be.

 

Ian McGinty contribute 6 single page stories to the annual which are a hoot. His art is more in style to Adventure Time “house”-style than Dreistadt’s, and very charming. He’s able to tell a quick story in anywhere from 5 panels, to a more impressive 10 panels on a single page, and the use of supporting characters is some solid fan service for fans.

For $5, AT Annual 2014 is worth every penny. It’s a charming and fun read, and it looks great. Perfect for fans of the show, and people who like great comics.

 

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics: Down Set Fuse

I am entirely too proud of that title.

the-fuse-01web-The Fuse

Antony Johnston/Justin Greenwood/Shari Chankhamma/Ed Brisson

Image/$3.50/ 30 pages

Weekly Chris Confession: I had every intention to skip over “The Fuse” this week, figuring I could trade wait it if it was ant good. But then the Twitter buzz for this book hit crazy levels, and I like Antony Johnston’s “Wasteland” series a ton, so I figured there was no harm in picking up the first issue at the very least.

Needless to say, I was very pleased with that decision.

First thing first: That cover. Simplistic, bold and VERY clever once you read the issue and figure out what it signifies. “Smart” is arguably the best way to describe this book;  a murder mystery set on a space station is a cool premise, and the actual execution is brilliant. It’s a good book, full of potential, and it reminds me a lot of “Powers” when that first came into the scene. So your typical Image debut issue in a way.

My only beef with this debut is the art. For the most part it’s pretty good, a more animated version of Sean Murphy’s art. It’s intentionally “ugly” which works for a crime book, and a lot of environments and character expressions are good,  but it’s disappointing when the scale and anatomy are off, or when things like eyebrows aren’t colored or inked properly or at all. Certain panels and pages look rushed at times, which really took me out of the story when I read it.

If you told me that “The Fuse” was originally published in 2000 AD or something, I would have believed it. Johnston states it’s an influence in the book’s final pages and it shows. My issues with the art aside, it’s a good debut, I’m just been spoiled by a ton of amazing #1s from Image over the last 2 years. Your mileage may vary,  and it’s a good read, but I’m going to the trade route with it.

3581036-all_new_x-men_23_keown_variantAll New X-Men

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

For all of my problems with this crossover, I could deal with Stuart Immonen drawing the Shi’ar-related characters 5-EVER!

Part 3 of this crossover is here, and it’s kinda cliche. Now that our heroes are united, they’re attacked by their common foe, and something that’s been explained to us repeatedly is now explained to Jean Grey. It feels lazy and drawn out, despite it being really good looking. And prop’s to colorist Marte Gracia, the book’s colors look darker than usual, which makes a ton of sense given the fact that it’s in space and all that. It goes really well with the tone and the setting of the book, and it only does the pencil and ink art justice.

And to be book’s credit, the ending tosses in a neat twist (one that was immediately spoiled for me by the announcement of a new book debuting in May). And there are some good humorous bits in it too, but the character’s voices all lack variety. A familiar frustration that comes with Bendis-penned comics as time and feels super decompressed, something that could be resolved in 2 or 3 issues and not five. And like I said, a bunch of questions promised to be resolved at another time or in another book, it only adds insult to injury. We’ve seen better on this book, which is already suffering from crossover fatigue. We deserve better as readers.

Sorry for being a little late this week, holiday weekend and all that. I still have Oni Press’ “Down. Set. Fight” to read, and Toy Fair news to deal with. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on everything later this week though!

-The super behind schedule Chris Troy writes for Forbidden Planet on a weekly basis, and can be found on a variety of social media related thiniges @theanarchris

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics 1/22/14 edition

So we’re all on board for killing the winter/the snow yes? Because we need to.

hawkeye16658Hawkeye #16

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99, 20 pages

Hawkeye‘s back this week! Sorta….David Aja still needed time to finish up issue #15, so we’re jumping ahead to #16 for another Kate Bishop adventure, which I’m of 2 minds about.

Kate’s new status quo in the book leads to another fun done and one, which sees Lady Hawkguy dealing with a pair of aged dueling pop stars.Matt Fraction’s channeling some of his Casanova work here with this premise, only there’s more way more humor and less trans-dimensional jumping, and arguably the best “Champions”-related joke in years. And we get to see more of Kate’s LA supporting cast, which is great is you’re a fan of world building.

IMG_00382My problem with this issue is that it’s very…disjointed at the end. There’s a solid gag or 2, but the pacing feels rushed, so the landing doesn’t stick. Again, far from a bad issue, it’s just stink that the issue kind of falls apart at the end.

What does work is the team of Annie Wu and Matt Hollingsworth. Their Los Angeles is bright, fill with various shades of blues and purples and is a stark contrast from Clint Barton and David Aja’s New York. And Wu’s Kate Bishop is awesome. Very expressive, trendy and fluid. She looks like a believable 18 year old vigilante.

Again, Hawkeye #16 is a good comic. I’m just spoiled by it being a GREAT comic for months.

MARVELCoverTemp copy.indtPretty Deadly #4

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Emma Rios/Jordie Bellaire

Image, 20 pages, #3.50

Damn this book is brutal.

Team Pretty Deadly continues to deliver the most intense fight scenes in comics since the 2nd issue, which doesn’t come as a complete surprise given how talented Emma Rios is. And paired with Jordie Bellaire’s amazing colors, the damage these characters take looks extra vicious, but never too grotesque. It earns it’s M for Mature rating.

Kelly Sue Deconnick and Team Pretty Deadly are crafting quite the tale. After a slow and vague start, this series has really ramped up in terms of progression, fleshing out the characters, building the world and answering questions. There’s still some weirdness to it, but it’s welcomed, as it’s very much the type of weird one would find in Sandman, rather than being weird for weirdness sake.

What started off as something as a revenge-driven  narrative  has definitely shown that there’s more life in this story, even with the first arc wrapping up next month. Pretty Deadly has been on fire for months, and much like it’s publisher.

backgroundAll New X-men 22.Now

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

Marvel, $3.99, 20 pages

Stuart Immonen’s return aside, my expectations for this issue were pretty low. 22.NOW is the lead in for yet another crossover (SIGH), this time with Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy book. It’s worth noting that both of these books have movies coming out this summer, so the writings on the wall as to why, at least from an editorial stand point.

The books starts of with 6 pages of X-drama, and the remainder of the book is all action all the time. Immonen and friends pull no punches with their return on the art , as the book looks great. You’ll be surprised how much detail is crammed into a salad of all things! And Marte Gracia’s are great, as the book really pops on a visual level. Bendis, meanwhile delivers a solid script,  and his RUN D.M.C. love is noted.

While I’m still a little fatigued from Battle of the Atom, I’m definitely intrigued by the opening chapter of The Trial of Jean Grey. It only being 6 chapters definitely keeps my hopes up, and the artists attached to it certainly have me excited. Hopefully this one ends as well as it starts.

 

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