Comic Book Reviews 04-23-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Elektra #1 – A-

This is dope. The debut of Elektra is good for so many different reasons. Number one, it’s not all action; the dialog and monologs are amazing. Number two, the way the panels flow, and the artistic approach from Michael Del Mundo is very unique. It’s elegant yet edgy and it makes me feel all tingly in my eyeballs. With Elektra coming to fate with who she thinks she is and always be, that assassin mentality is going to come up a lot as the story progresses, and I am looking forward to it. – E

Take that Jennifer Garner! Elektra #1 surpasses all my expectations and engages me throughout the book. As far as the premise of the book goes, there’s a textbook mysterious introduction and a set-up for Elektra’s next contract. Unlike the movie, I feel like this is the right time for an Elektra book, and that she won’t need to ride on the coattails of Daredevil to do so. To me, this is every bit the depth and beauty that we were supposed to see from the Black Widow series, right down to the comparison of gorgeous artwork. Definitely pick this book up! – S

I think the artwork on the first pages where she is dancing as a ballerina that slowly shifts to her killing members of the hand is probably one of the best ways to sum up Elektra as a character. She is a pretty awesome character, but I am left wondering where marvel is going with some of the decisions they’ve made regarding who to give their own series. I’m not saying that she isn’t worthy of her own book but I don’t see how she has enough content to keep a consistently good story going for very long. I would love to be proven wrong and the idea of a ninja chick that has no remorse sounds pretty awesome in theory. I just hope this doesn’t turn out like the movie. – R

Other Reviews:

BOOM! Studios:

Evil Empire #2 – B

You know that knot you get in your stomach when you know something terrible is about to happen? Reading this book is giving me those, but in a good way. I have no idea who is behind the mass chaos going on right now – hell, I’m not sure I want to find out. I really like that the story is staying grounded. Focusing on a singer with a political agenda keeps it tied to the big players, but isn’t too wrapped up in the details that we don’t see what the everyday person is going through. I can’t wait for them to burn it the f*** down! This is an independent book you gotta give a try. – S

Dark Horse Comics:

Tomb Raider #3 – B

It looks like we are headed back to Yamatai to continue the adventure of the video game. I think it will be interesting to see how they decide to depict the island now that Lara is a seasoned adventurer. It should also be interesting to see how the island has changed if at all. I am expecting there to be some sort of hallucinations of people that died during the game or since we are dealing with the supernatural, I expect to see the dead come back to life…… and promptly be killed again. Either way it’s Lara Croft and being the sucker that I am for all things Tomb Raider, I will continue to eat up everything they put out regarding her. – R

Star Wars: Legacy #14 – B

Somebody over at Dark Horse must be reading my reviews because Star Wars: Legacy is finally starting to feel like a true-blue Star Wars story.  As opposed to the first ten or so issues, Bechko (author) is taking time to highlight character qualities.  The main conflict has also shifted to reflect this.  Instead of Ania dealing with a galaxy scale issue, she’s now focused on saving her own skin against some very interesting adversity.  Now that the story’s been tempered I’m excited to keep reading Legacy. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Flash #30 – A-

Flash has gotten kind of a raw deal as a second-tier hero in the New 52, but a new creative team in Van Jensen (w), Norm Rapmund (a) & Brett Booth (a) has given me something to cheer on, for once. If you haven’t read Forever Evil, you might be a little confused by the fallout, but it probably won’t keep you from enjoying this issue. While Barry Allen is psychiatrically evaluating for PTSD, we get a deep look into not just his psyche, but how the entire city is recovering from the devastation the Syndicate wrought upon it. Oh, and the reveal at the end that DC has been teasing for months makes me extremely excited for the series going forward (blue speedster!). – S

Batman: Eternal #3 – B+

Shit is about to go down. With Gordan out of the picture, Carmine Falcone is slowly putting what seems to be years of planning into action. This will all of course lead to all-out war for Batman which I’m sure will lead to a long and awesome plot. I wouldn’t mind if they took a character that has been given a spotlight for a reason and made said person the next Robin. It was bound to happen sooner or later. At least until Damian finds a way to return. Things are starting to heat up for Batman and I am looking forward to seeing where they take this plot line, it has a sort of throwback feel to the time when Batman was just starting out and being chased by the police. – R

Things are getting exciting in Gotham City. With war on the horizon, and more corruption than not, things are going to get crazy. There is so much to this story that still warrants questions. What really happened to Commissioner Gordon? What is going on with Cluemaster and his posse? How can Batman possibly do this all by himself? This comic is exciting, and I can’t wait for the next issues. They should be jam-packed with action and make Gotham City a city from hell. Whooo! – E

If Gotham City were a High School, Eternal serves as it’s reunion party. In just three issues, we’ve seen a crazy plot twist, met a ensemble of villains and still have no idea how we end up at the flash-forward scene at the start of the series. Stephanie Brown (pre-New 52 Batgirl, Robin, Spoiler) makes an appearance and gets way over her head when she comes home to her criminal father, the Cluemaster, discussing schemes with his team of no-gooders. It made me realize just how awkward it would be to come home and find my dad in a mask and cape discussing dastardly deeds. This has quickly shed the label of weekly money-grab series and is becoming one of the best issues out each week. – S

Secret Origins #1 – B-

This entire issue felt like a copy and paste job, it must have been a slow month over at DC. The only reason I rated this so high was because of how much I enjoyed the dual perspectives of Superman’s story. I really felt that it was absolutely amazing. The other two were blatant copy and pastes of multiple panels and the only reason I am so sure is because I recently caught up on those two books in the last month so it is fresh in my mind. I hope they don’t do this with all the issues but I get the feeling that it might come down to that. This would make a great collection or a great way to introduce someone to multiple characters at once. This could make a very cool collector’s edition if they do it right in the future. – R

Superman #30 – C+

Honestly, I’ve been estranged to all the Super-books for almost two years. Without a solid identity behind the character or story arcs to help me get behind (the exception being Superman/Wonder Woman and Superman: Unchained), I really wasn’t sold on his New 52 incarnation. Issue #30 was actually a great jumping on point for me; it gave plenty of background information and alluded to a new, terrifying danger. It won’t sell you or I any harder on the Man of Steel, but it doesn’t make me want to stop reading either. – S

Red Lanterns #30 – C

The Red Lantern Corps have been little more than a gang of misfits in the DC Universe. Since their leader, Atrocitus, was over-thrown earlier in the series, the group that is now headed by ex-Green Lantern Guy Gardner and Supergirl have been floating around with no real direction. Well, that changes this issue when Atrocitus and Dex-Starr (that cat is one bad MF) resurface on a nearby planet. With all the other great books out, I’m not sure I would invest time in this one, but anything with a killer cat Red Lantern on the cover is worth a little investigation. – S

Justice League: United #0 – C-

Eh, I really didn’t find anything special about this comic at all. With the Justice League of Canada set out to solve the mystery of a disappearance, I would think this comic would make me more excited, but it simply didn’t. I can’t really say much about it besides that it has the potential to get better. Now that Hawkman and other characters have entered the mix hopefully this giant mystery will actually become interesting. – E

Allow DC to officially introduce you to the C team. The New 52 introduction to Adam Strange was really lame. Aliens are attacking, or something, and while Animal Man and Stargirl (seriously? She’s still around?) are signing autographs, a mysterious device transports them and Strange to an alien attack, or something. Overall, this prequel issue did nothing to make me want to keep reading anything right of the number line. Of course, there is the fact that Jeff Lemire is writing it, and patience always rewards Lemire readings, so I will give it another shot. – S

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #33 – B

A new issue for the turtles and a brand new story arc! Mateus Santolouco takes the reigns of art again and although I absolutely love the way he draws humans and the environment, his Turtles always seem a little bit off to me when compared to other artists in this series. This issue continues after the events of Northampton with the turtles finally back in New York and training up for the inevitable battle with the foot. This issue doesn’t focus on the turtles much though as we see Casey trying to feel welcome back into the city knowing his dad, Hun is still out being the usual jerk he is. Hun goes to confront Angel and try and find Casey and ends up starting a useless brawl at a bar and finding Angel only to have Casey show up and stop the fight. After the conversation between Casey and his dad, Casey decides to help his friends and Hun leaves crumpling up a picture of him and Casey starting off this new arc by showing that any hope that Hun would become a good dad is gone and the Foot are stronger with him and the turtles are stronger with Casey. – JR

Welcome to New York City! The turtles have regrouped after their retreat in Northampton, but their fight is far from over. Mateus Santolouco returns, as does the gritty New York cityscape. The city is overtaken by the Foot and the Heroes in a Half-shell regain their footing to prepare for the long road ahead of them. There isn’t a whole lot of umph, and I think that is partly because the new appeal of Northampton has worn off as we return to New York, a fairly familiar concept. This would be a great time to start reading Turtles if you haven’t already, but don’t expect it to knock your socks off immediately. – S

Danger Girl: Mayday #1 – B

I have to admit I was a little shocked when I saw this on the list for reading this week. I read Danger Girl as a kid and really liked the video game for the PSone. All I can really remember is that they were kind of Charlie’s Angels wannabes  or something. So many years later and all I can remember was they were animated chicks with big boobs and cleavage, what more was there really to remember as a teenage boy? This issue didn’t do a very good job of explaining anything and it didn’t actually introduce all of the main characters. That being said, the artwork is amazing and follows the original pretty well and If they authors do it right, this could shape up to be a pretty awesome book. – R

Whoa, this comic seems to be running a million miles a minute. I can honestly say there wasn’t a dull point in this comic. With badass pirates or weapons dealers, or whatever they are, and a war island that seems to be on fire, boring won’t be part of the tour. This comic intrigues me. There seems to be so much going on, all surrounding this one girl, who the world seems to fear. But who is she? Why was she in the water? I don’t know, but I do know one thing. If you want a non-stop action-packed book, this is for you. – E

7th Sword #1 – C

Here’s a little bit of information about me.  I live and breathe all things sci-fi.  Also, if I chose any era of history to have lived in it would be Feudal Era Japan so that I could learn the ways of Bushido.  Imagine my excitement when 7th Sword introduced a merging of my two greatest interests.  Imagine my disappointment when issue #1 delivers flat, cliché and boring content.  Maybe my bar was set to high (I’ll blame George Lucas for that one), but for a concept rarely explored in the entertainment realm I found 7th Sword to be completely unoriginal from the get go.  There was action, plot staging, character focus and all the other essentials… but nothing stood out.  Nothing really grabbed me.  I’ve learned it’s hard to judge a series by its first issue, so I’m not writing this series off just yet.  – T

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #126 – C-

The twenty pages to issue 126, the conclusion to the twelve part series All Out War, will either completely bum you out or excite you about future issues. The war is over. Negan has been defeated, Dwight is now leader of The Saviors, and Rick has plans to rebuild society. In a Joe Clark-like speech he pronounces that, “We can remake the world we remember-we can make it better.” His optimism is reassuring, although I’m not sure if that’s why I read a comic titled, The Walking Dead. Spoiler Alert! I think the decision to leave Negan alive benefits the Kingdom as a whole, but leaves Carl and Maggie in limbo as Glen’s brutal murder will go unpunished. Negan as a prisoner will still be a threat, but he may yet serve a purpose to Rick Grimes. Whew, can we have our Zombies back now? – JS

WAR!! HUH!! What is it good for?!?! Absolutely NOTHING!…  That’s pretty much the feeling I have at the conclusion of The Walking Dead: All Out War arch.  Reflecting back on the genesis of Rick & team’s conquest against Negan I struggle in finding how the story has grown.  There were exciting moments, loved ones were lost and lessons were learned.  But ignoring all the events in-between Negan’s intro and issue #126, I can’t say anything pivotal occurred (excluding the death of you know who… sniff, sniff).  From the way I see things, TWD has peaked and is riding a steady plateau downhill.  Short of significant framework changes, I think this series will work its way to the bottom of comic fan’s reading pile.  All that said, I’m still interested to see what’s over the horizon.  The Walking Dead is my most read comic series – from issue #1 to today.  I have a soft spot in my heart for it.  My collection is sure to continue growing for a while. – T

Meh. I was waiting for the plunge, but The Walking Dead stays in the kiddie side of the pool, pissing itself over and over each issue. Playing it safe isn’t really what The Walking Dead is made out of, but I can try to see where the book is going with the move to end All Out War. I’m not angry by the lack of climax, but I suppose I’m just used to the disappointment. – S

Marvel:

Dexter Down Under  #3 – B+

Finally we get a little action outta this story. Things start to heat up for Dexter and its leading to a sort of hunter being the hunted scenario. This is an interesting situation to put Dexter in considering that he is in a foreign country and a foreign environment. I think it will be interesting to see how he is able to get outta this situation and still slab somebody up. Otherwise there isn’t much in the way of plot development, just a bit of filler leading to the major finale that is bound to happen. – R

Daredevil #2 – B

Oh yeah, I knew it wouldn’t take long for Matt Murdock to get his hands dirty again. After revealing his identity to the world and relocating to San Francisco, things are already off to a busy start. I’m really loving the writing; each arch feels like it progresses at its own pace, always fitting whatever length the story needs it to be (as opposed to wrapping the story up to fit the six-issue norm). Daredevil’s newest foe has the same handicap as he, but there’s a twist.  – S

Overall, a decent comic this week for Daredevil. I do like the introduction to the Shroud and how interesting his story already is. Being similar to Matt Murdock in several different ways, he could prove to be a true competitor for him. I’m really interested in learning more about the Shroud and his involvement with the city. It should make for some exciting stuff. – E

Original Sin #0 – B-

I like this comic for the sake that it focuses on two characters we don’t see a lot of, Nova and The Watcher. This comic is a great place to start if you are looking to pick up a new comic. The backstories are provided on both Nova and The Watcher and it is intriguing to see how it has shaped their future. I liked this comic and hope to see more out of it. I don’t know how the series will play out in the long run, but I do have hopes that it can become something great. – E

He/It speaks! Mark Waid (DaredevilIndestructible Hulk) uses one of Marvel’s most innocent superheroes, Nova, to bring a prelude to the next big thing, Original Sin. Nova’s charisma carries the issue and got me legitimately interested in the upcoming event. The Watcher, although very stoic, is well-intentioned, and the reasoning behind him watching over the Marvel U (all of them) seems genuine and not some galactic B.S. like they usually come up with. New readers shouldn’t be intimidated; there is plenty of background and there’s a fair chance it won’t make sense to anybody else, but it will be fun. – S

The prequel to the next big Marvel event is here in Original Sin #0! Not much is set up here in the grand scale of things that you can see other than The Watcher playing a big role in the happenings of the series. This issues shows us Nova and how he has dealt with his dad’s disappearance as well as how fascinated he is with the Watcher. We learn a little bit more of exactly why The Watcher does what he does and never involves himself in the actions of all the things that have happened in the Marvel Universe. After The Watcher shows Nova every possible Marvel Universe and why he watches each one constantly he reveals Nova’s dad is still alive and he fly’s off in excitement. All of this hints that the event that makes The Watcher watch everything is what is or will cause the original sin this series is titled after. – JR

This seems like it has the potential to tell an interesting story but it is definitely too early to tell. The prospect of an African-American Captain America and The Thing as Doctor Doom definitely has the potential to be pretty awesome. I just hope that they don’t go too crazy with the whole alternate universe thing. I’m not really sure where this story is going but if it has Nova in it then I definitely want to keep reading. – R

Guardians of the Galaxy #14 – B

Okay Guardians fans! Even though this issue seemed a little slow, a ton actually happened. Gamora faces her unknown assailant, and this bounty-hunter does not disappoint. His motivation has been sketchy until this point, but he has a reputation to uphold, and the Badoon want their revenge! Dun dun duuun. Star-lord has been taken into custody by his father and they have a Wonder Years parental moment on his prison bed. Peter is declared an enemy of the empire but there is help on the way! But my absolute favorite part of this issue came with Flash Thompson, as Venom, and Drax on an alien world. When entering a bar, Flash is refused service because of his “parasite.” The bartender says,  “I know what that is, I know where it came from.” Drax also hints to knowledge of the symboite’s origin. This information made me go nuts! As a McFarlane fan, anything concerning Venom folk-lore is a prized possession. Let’s hope this new twist is explored. – JS

Venom joins the Guardians in this latest adventure. Similar to the Trial of Jean Grey in All-New X-Men, somebody has paid handsomely to capture each of the Guardians and bring them to justice. Coincidentally, this is also the 100th issue ever printed of Guardians of the Galaxy, so there are two additional stories in the back of the book – one of them a Groot origin story (chock-full of dialog). The Guardians will be glad they picked up Venom and Captain Marvel, because I feel this will be a ridiculously awesome team-up. Unfortunately, the issue just felt a little thrown together and might not resonate with non-fans. – S

Superior Spider-Man Team Up #12 – C

Peter Parker is back in control of his body, and will return to Amazing Spider-Man #1 next week, after a 31 issue run of Otto Octavius at the helm. This final issue of Superior is an ode to Doc Ock and sacrifice to remove himself from the equation as Spider-Man to save the woman he loves. Comic book deaths never last forever, but this was a pretty classy way for Otto to bow out. As far as goodbyes, they lay the emotion on a little thick for an evil genius sociopath that screwed up pretty much every aspect of Peter’s life, but if you can take it at face value, it’s not so bad. – S

Iron Patriot #2 – C

Two issues in and we have somehow managed to already destroy the Iron Patriot armor? What the Hell? And I haven’t followed War Machine throughout the years so if the enemy at the very end of the book is supposed to be familiar in some way, I would have appreciated a name drop or something. I know it’s supposed to be the style, but something about the artwork feels sloppy to me. I’m guessing that being a government agent means he has more than one suit but this could be a cool opportunity to take the old War Machine armor and retool it to become the Iron Patriot. – R

The United States is under siege, the Washington monument is a smoldering heap, there is civil unrest from Dallas to New Orleans and James Rhodes is in danger. Drowning in his armor beneath the ocean’s surface he must find a way to save the country and rescue his kidnapped father and niece. Side note; I enjoy how Lili is written; let’s hope she matures in this title and gets her own book someday. The real threat is revealed to James in the last panel, hopefully the PLOT will be revealed next issue. – JS

ONI Press:

The Bunker #3 – B

This is one of the most exciting independent books on the shelves. A group of friends uncover the secret to their futures, and the part they play in the end of the world. That was just the first issue. Since then, we’ve been chipping away at each character’s past and how they intend to shape the future. What makes this even better is that everybody distrusts one another, and keeps secrets from each other to benefit themselves and/or the world from their friends. Bunker keeps me on my toes consistently, and while it won’t top your all-time list, I implore everybody to read it. – S

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibEvan LoweAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe, Robert Michael, John Soweto and Jacob Robinson

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We are a Fancy-Pants Bunch of Nerds. We have all grown up in the Denver/Aurora area. We love comics, movies, television and being generally nerdy.

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