Comic Book Reviews 08-20-14

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:

Magneto #8

Magneto #8 – A+

This series has been surprisingly great. Magneto himself, although his powers are a fraction of what they once were, is as cold and callous as ever. This isn’t your older brother’s Magneto, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, the story has just kind of crept along, offering enough to justify the insane amount of violence. That changes this issue. Magneto #8 encapsulates everything the Civil Rights era of X-Men was so successful at, and what the X-series of today are failing so hard at. It’s at this moment that Magneto becomes more than a raging badass, and stands for something much more important and complex. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Dark Horse Presents #1 – B

If you’re as die-hard Star Wars as I am, then chances are you’ve probably overlooked many of the other Dark Horse titles printed in the past 20 years.  And as of late SW series have been as stimulating as a napping Hutt – sorry Jabba.  So I picked up Dark Horse Presents #1 as an opportunity for this David, amongst Goliaths, to show me what it was made of.  In large – it did not disappoint!  Compilation issues run the risk of becoming boring and distracting quickly thus losing the attention of the reader.  Pleasingly, I found myself very seldom watching the squirrels engage in squirrel combat outside my window while reading this issue.  I was especially wrapped up the Kabuki, Wrestling with Demons, and Sabertooth Swordsman titles.  Seeing this potential is critical in the midst of Dark Horse losing their bread winning title at the end of the year.  So, while it’s a lot of fun to reminisce and revisit prior greatness, I can’t help but wonder if all Dark Horse has to offer going forward are glory day moments.  I won’t count them out just yet.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the good ol’ days. – Taylor

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4 – C

Darth Maul should have stayed dead (wow… can’t believe I just wrote that).  Let me be clear – Darth Maul will forever remain one of the most bad-ass Sith in all of Star Wars history.  No crappy comic ark will ever change that.  But in this final issue of Son of Dathomir it’s blaringly obvious that Maul is just not as cool as he used to be!  I supposed gettin’ chopped in half can do that to a guy.  His original claim to fame were his merciless methods and crazy-scary hunter/killer instinct.  Both of which were is short demand the entire ark.  “Boss Maul” spent most of the issue throwing tantrums and yelling at his subordinates.  Revisit again the origins of Maul – furious as he was in combat, his demeanor outside the battle field was stoic and mysterious.  Not the whinny, dependent character Jeremy Barlow gives us.  Add to that the fact that this was really a Mother Talzin story (who was also sloppily handled) and out comes another subpar Star Wars series.  As these Dark Horse series wrap up I grow more excited for the Marvel handoff.  The panels in the galaxy far, far away is in need of a fresh start. – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo:

Multiversity #1 – B+

(A) If this review comes off as a little incoherent it’s because I’m hyperventilating while typing.  It’s not necessarily the plot that’s got me huffing and puffing into a paper bag, it’s the idea of the plot.  Huh?!?  Let me start over.  Multi-dimensional travel via the medium of comic book panels is, well… mind blowing.   Multiversity is an adventure within an adventure within an adventure featuring characters that are make believe in one universe, but really-real in another universe, all brought together to fight an inter-dimensional being (group?) that is everywhere and nowhere at once…all the time.  Sound confusing?  Read the issue.  Done?  Still confused?  Yeah.  And that’s okay!  What I took away from this first issue wasn’t that I was supposed to understand what exactly was happening or comprehend where the story was going, only that in the coming issues this “happening” was going to be uniquely epic.  I was introduced to characters I (1) had never heard of and, (2) knew very little about.  Despite this, I was wildly engaged the entire issue.  I’ve already reread it twice.  So while my score may and my synopsis here may not be in the same universe, know that this series is going to present something brilliantly imaginative from Grant Morrison. – Taylor

(B+) I had to read this one a couple times, but, each time I read it I liked it more. Multiversity brings together characters from all over the various DC Universes. It’s great to see all the different interpretations of all our favorite heroes. The premise is that the greatest hero from each universe is being brought together for some unknown reason and our team needs to figure out why they’ve all been brought together. There were a couple moments that I just didn’t like in terms of corniness and was also rather confusing at times, but, I’m really liking it so far. I’m afraid to say I’m even enjoying Superman for the first time ever. – Cody

(B) Ok, you probably read the two reviews above me, but I still had to put my two cents in.  Multiversity is a new series written by Grant Morrison, comic book writing legend, and pencilled by Ivan Reis (whose resume is incredible).  With all of the time traveling, things get really confusing.  At times, I had no idea where we were, what time we were in, or even what some of the dialogue meant.  There were also so many characters, and those same characters transported into different time periods, it seems like a 90’s Batman movie, too much packed in one story.  However, there were two outstanding characters, Superman and Aquawoman.  It should be of no surprise that Aquawoman looks so badass because Ivan Reis was the penciller for Aquaman back in 2011.  And yes, its true, Superman is black in this book.  There is a comment about it by another character in the book, which seemed out of place, but the nice thing is that Superman just ignores it, because really, what does it matter what Superman’s ethnicity is?  I did really like that all this is happening because of a comic book panel being supernatural, or magical, or otherworldly, or something.  It give true comic nerds something to giggle at.  I am looking forward to seeing how the heroes get out of the future…  -Adrian

Batman and Robin #34 – B

Things are finally heating up in Batman and Robin. It feels like we’ve been stuck feeling sorry for Bruce and his dealings with Damian’s death forever now. Well, as Redman so eloquently put, it’s “Time 4 Sum Aksion.” The biggest letdown was the appearance of reuniting the Bat-family for a vacation to Apokolips, but it was all just a big dramatic front – a common pitfall in Batman books. Clichés aside (especially the corny Dick Grayson appearance), the book had a very sci-fi feel to it, and pulls it together quite well, an unusual feat for Batman. It’s about time this book got down to business. – Sherif

 

Dynamite Entertainment:

Justice, Inc. #1 – C+

I’d heard about Justice, Inc., The Avenger, Doc Savage, and The Shadow, but that’s about all I knew about them. Nevertheless, I was excited to see that a new series was starting and that all three of these classic characters were crossing over for the first time. This first issue was a bit slow, but, it had a lot of interesting elements to it. Lots of science talk at the start, which I enjoyed and, we get to see Albert Einstein. Howard Hughes also makes an appearance and H.G. Wells has been mentioned as well, which would make sense as we’re dealing with time travel when a modern day passenger jet is sent back to 1939. I’m definitely looking forward to where this story is going, I do love me some time travel. – Cody

 

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2014B+

(A) Finally, we get the annual issue of TMNT that helps explain the Turtles in Time series going now as well (issue #3 out next week). Although I have waited to learn where the mysterious Renet comes from, this issue did not give us the best idea other than she just randomly shows up at different times.  It does bring in the now infamous Battle Nexus from past TMNT versions, which opens up a whole lot as far as characters and other universes (Maybe and hopefully we will see Usagi Yojimbo show up soon!) Of course, Kevin Eastman’s art is wonderful as well as the writing. The issue was totally different than what I was expecting but in a good way. Definitely pick this up if your store still has any (I was lucky and picked up the last copy at my store) as it is a great new story that references past and present turtles with a modern twist.- Jacob

(B-) I couldn’t find it in my heart to give a Kevin Eastman scripted and drawn book anything less than the grade I gave it, but my enjoyment of this book was limited, and came in waves. The initial few pages were really fun and nostalgic, but Eastman’s writing shows its age in this annual. Conceptually, I enjoyed the Turtles in Time-like plot, but there was just so much dialogue here that I felt quite lulled. Plus, the dull greyscale used to represents the future (like 75% of the book) came off as really boring. At the end of the day, the TMNT co-creator can do whatever wants and I will enjoy it. I just wish the story was of a little more substance. – Sherif

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland –  B+

Little Nemo, written by Eric Shanover, is a remake of the popular weekly comic from the early 1900’s that ran for over 10 years.  Shanover is known for his work in recreating the world of Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz in comic form.  Nemo was known for its fantastical world on the way to Slumberland, where he is chosen to be the Princess’ playmate, but he always wakes up before he can find it.  The new comic is a great homage to the original strip, referring to the Princess, the boy’s new name, and world they both exist in. I really enjoyed it; however, it should be noted that this is a children’s comic.  I do recommend it to emerging readers, but this may not be the book for an adult.  -Adrian

Super Secret Crisis War The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy One-Shot – B+

In the second one-shot for Super Secret Crisis War, we see the characters from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy battling the same evil robots our heroes in the main series and Johnny Bravo and the Squirrel did in the last one-shot. This issue as with the past ones, all feel like they are lost episodes from their respective series. The art is wonderful and mixes all the styles of animation perfectly and on top of the great Billy and Mandy story we also get a prequel story featuring Mojo Jojo and Aku. If you enjoyed any cartoons of the 80’s and 90’s this issue and entire series is for you so make sure and pick it up and fill yourself with nostalgia. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #11 – B

This month, we get a new story arc for Jack and it may be his most dangerous one yet. With Samurai Jack being one of my favorite cartoons and being a huge inspiration artistically for me, this series has been wonderful. This issue the art does get a bit darker and full of shadows more than past issues, which always is a bit distracting to me with most comics trying to be gritty these days. But the story of the issue is definitely good and sets up this arc wonderfully making for quite the adventure for our hero. Definitely start here if you can, as it is sure to be a great story for this great character. – Jacob

X-Files: Year Zero #2 – B-

In this issue we get to see more Mulder and Scully than the previous issue and we figure out what happened from the first X-Files case ever. The series took a turn that may be a bit odd even for X-Files but it has a been a good story up to now despite being a bit confusing and more of a horror genre than most previous issues and television episodes. One of the most redeeming features of this series to me is the art by Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra. It is definitely more stylized than most of IDW’s X-Files series and it doesn’t focus solely on being dark for the sake of making things creepy the whole issue even if Mulder is doing paperwork. This series definitely adds to the mystery and awesomeness of X-Files and will likely be an absolute must have for any fan of the X-Files. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Fade Out #1- B

(B+) I love film noir, so Ed Brubaker’s new series The Fade Out fills a empty space that rarely sees a decent entry. Brubaker has a constant moody “voice over” following the main character, Charlie. The narrator appears to not be from the perspective of anyone you come across in the first issue and that’s intriguing; this adds an extra flavor of mystery to the already involving murder mystery main plot line. The art is done by Sean Phillips, who has worked with Brubaker in the past with FATALE. His art is dark and brooding and when paired up with colors from Elizabeth Breitweiser, who is also familiar with FATALE, the mood of the story is fully realized. I’m hoping to see the rest of cast of character fleshed out more in the upcoming issues, right now, other than Charlie, they are pretty flat. – Scott

(B-) I’m not normally a fan of cop/detective stories but when I saw Ed Brubaker was writing a noir style murder mystery, I was intrigued. Brubaker has accurately captured the style and at times I found myself using those stereotypical film noir voices while reading. The issue follows a screenwriter who wakes up to find the star of his film dead, he wipes the room clean and a mystery unfolds. This was about as good as I thought it was going to be. It was enjoyable and well written, I’m just going to have to get over my own biases towards the genre. Hopefully this mystery doesn’t get cold. – Cody

Marvel:

Deadpool vs X-ForceB+

One of the better Deadpool stories recently, this series follows our favorite Merc With A Mouth as he travels through time wrecking American history although this issue sees him and Cable in China during 1900 at least until Deadpool’s inevitable time jump at the end of the issue. The art of this issue is well done an enjoyable especially with such different settings and time periods having to make Deadpool look at least semi-normal in a confederate army outfit. The story for this so far is very intriguing and hopefully the series will continue to be good as Deadpool is always a hard character to do real well. – Jacob

Storm #2 – B+

This month’s Storm was much better than last month.  Not only that, but last month’s issue was explained in the “Previously On” paragraph than the whole issue did.  In her 2nd book, Storm takes on helping the people of New York again, mainly a girl she sees on a “Missing” poster.  I really like the concept of small “savior” stories with Storm reflecting back on her childhood in Cairo.  We can really see Storm as a well rounded woman, not just mutant, hero, or queen.  There are a few steamy scenes with Logan, and we got our “funny” panel of the week from this issue. While there are mentions for characters like the Morlocks and Calypso, I think Storm may be a good series for new comic book readers to get into. -Adrian

Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #7 – C+

This series started off rather over the top and bad, but as it went on the over the top ridiculousness stayed but the quality got better. Or maybe I just got used to it and started enjoying it for what it was, like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 film. The art is definitely good for this issue and the entire series in general but the writing could have definitely used some help although this issue was one of the more well written in the 7 issue series. Next week we have the first week without a new Deadpool which is pretty surprising, bust rest assured a new weekly series will likely start up soon. – Jacob

Original Sins #5 – C-

This series which has covered certain characters during the Original Sin story line, has at its heart been enjoyable, but the Young Avengers storyline that was in every book was pretty bad and the conclusion was a definitely a facepalm moment for me. This issue also covers “Everyone Else” and has some very minor characters (Frog-Man!!!) confessing their worst sin, although Nick Fury says none of what they say is canon. The art of each story – other than Young Avengers – is top quality and the writing especially for Nick Fury’s story is good. If you have followed Original Sin closely, then this is a great book, but ultimately it can be missed and the Original Sin storyline would still work. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

Storm #2 Panel of the Week

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

starwars

 

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.

 

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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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