Comic Book Reviews 11-12-14

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:

batman 36 potw 11.12.14

Batman #36- A

(A) There needs to be a limit on how much of The Joker Scott Snyder is allowed to write. I cannot remember a version of The Man Who Laughs that terrified me as much as Snyder’s version does (aside from Brian Azzarello’s Joker, yeesh). Endgame is already shaping up to be able to stand next to Court of OwlsZero Year and Death of the Family in terms of quality. The best way I can describe his writing is like a spider; he reels you in, thinking that you have it all figured out, until the story pulls the carpet from under you until you realize that you are trapped. Snyder’s horror background (The Wake, Wytches and American Vampire) makes him a perfect fit for the most terrifying villain in Batman’s history. This is all perfectly complemented by Greg Capullo’s pencil work. Having had the chance to interview Capullo, we know what a craftsman he is; his eery art style that worked so well on Spawn and Court of Owls fits perfectly with the Joker. The use of colors is dire to the issue’s success, as well, with FCO Plascencia really blending the brightly colored Superman scenes with the dreary Arkham moments. We cannot praise this book, this team enough. Right now is your chance to get in on history in the making, so go out and start reading Batman before the party is over. – Sherif

(A) The New52 Batman is absolute genius.  Yeah, it has been going for a few years now, but I feel the need to remind everyone, just in case they forgot.  Endgame Part 2 continued to showcase the exceptional writing of Scott Snyder and mesmerizing art by Greg Capullo.  The first panels of the issue start slowly with Batman talking about a specific sound he hears in his nightmares.  It forces you to read everything about the page and to experience what Batman himself is experiencing. This is a rarity in comic book writing, in my opinion, and should be lauded.  In this world without the rest of the Justice League, Gotham and beyond become scarier and scarier, but there was one panel in particular that terrified me to my core: a close up of The Joker’s deranged eyes.  No one but Capullo could have pulled it off.  If you are behind, or have yet to start in on this story arc, quit reading my review, and go pick it up at your local comic shop now! – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Deep State #1- C-

A government conspiracy between Russia and America when the moon landing really happened – the first thing that jumps out is the opening narration that is void of any comic cliche comic book writing: just describing the action in the panel, and then saying, “My name’s John Johnson, and I am Fly Guy.” It’s really nice and sets up the expectation that what you’re about to read is going to be creatively written, but then all the dialogue reads like this: “For instance, the question you want to know right now is how I could possibly expect you to believe a word I’m saying.” It’s the kind of writing that’s trying really hard to be intriguing, but points too vigorously to itself. The art is OK; it’s like someone simultaneously trying to do Hellboy and anime, which aren’t complimentary. Man, I want to love every comic I read so bad, and this one was right in my wheelhouse (government conspiracies, alien life, ancient astronaut, probably), but the dialogue was so clunky that it made 25 pages seem like infinity. Page 24 is definitely the most interesting to look at. – Cuyler

Dark Horse Comics:

Resurrectionists #1- B+

Resurrectionists was a fragmented story and there was a lot of content that was covered really quickly, but it’s done right. There are well formed characters to start, with some very interesting dynamics between them. The first part leaves you a little intrigued, but you have to hope that comes back around in a way that does it justice. Overall, though, I liked it a lot. It has a bit of everything: intelligence, action, intrigue, and what it does best is the interpersonal dynamics between the characters. I think some of my favorite books and comics always built that as their foundation, so it has me wanting more. I’ll definitely have to grab the next issue. – Zach

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3 – C

This is my first review for the series though I’ve read every issue of it so far. The artwork is beautiful. Last issue had some truly beautiful panoramas of the planet. The biggest problem is the overstuffed staff. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of ten characters, and the story gives each one near-equal screen time, which means I have no idea who to root for. I assume the main character and captain simply because she’s a take-charge woman, and those are the only people to make it out alive in the Aliens/Prometheus universe, but it tries to be tense and mysterious, and hints at some fascinating ideas – monkeys, ants, and giraffe-ish looking animals that all developed as a result of the black goo from the movie, and an android that mutates as a result of exposure to the goo – but never gives anything real screen time. The best Aliens comics have always had some sort of philosophical answer to look for, and the worst were simple run-n-gun stories. I might be the only person on the planet who liked Prometheus, but this is a simple run-n-gun story with way too much trying to be accomplished at any given moment. – Cuyler

DC/Vertigo: 

The Kitchen #1 – B

(B) The Kitchen follows three women whose mobster husbands have been sent to prison.  So basically, it’s Mob Wives, but instead of you feeling bad about watching trashy reality all day instead of organizing your garage, you can now read the same storyline in a comic in 15 minutes!  And honestly, it was better than reality TV.  Set in the 70’s, the story feels a little like Charlie’s Angels, with the blonde, brunette and redhead.  But ya’know if they were in the Mob and didn’t give a single fuck.  The three women must make do with their lives sans husbands, and by the end of the first issue, they have already gotten themselves into a mess. But oddly, I find myself rooting for them.  – Adrian

(B-) I’m usually a big fan of crime books, but The Kitchen just doesn’t quite do it for me. I’m not saying it’s bad, just not really my cup of tea. The story of The Kitchen follows the lives of three mob wives learning how to live after their husbands are put away for five years. The three women handle it their mob lifestyle in different ways. Kathy, the toughest of the three does her best to pick up where he husband left off, even to the point of picking up protection money. The other two are a little more toned-down characters. The art isn’t bad but the lines around the faces of the women are a little too dark and age the characters I think more than they need to be. Perhaps that’s to better convey the hardened lifestyle they live.  The Kitchen is good enough to keep up on it for now, but I hope that it picks up a little more. – Scott

Earth 2: World’s End #6 – C

Well, things are all over the place again, and like before, it’s not bad, it’s just a lot of information to cram into a couple dozen pages. The cliffhanger from the last issue is disappointing and I was definitely hoping that it was going to go in a different direction, but, who knows; things will probably still head to that end, anyway. – Cody

The New 52 – Future’s End #28 – F

I… Don’t… Care…  Those three words perfectly sums up how I felt about this entire issue of Future’s End.  Here’s the thing – the plot is so confusing and mutilated that when an issue drops and it focuses solely on this butchered storyline, all it makes me want to do eat a hamster.  I know that doesn’t make any sense!!!  That’s the point!!!!  This issue COULD have been saved IF the faceoff between Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne would have been as epic as the cover art indicated, but noooo.  All I got was a grappling hook to the foot and a broken window.  Wasted time and effort on this one folks.  Be warned. – Taylor

Dynamite Entertainment:

Django/Zorro #1 – C

This comic was probably my most highly anticipated release for this week.  Django Unchained was my favorite movie of 2012.  As a kid, I used to pretend I was Don Diego himself – swinging rapier like sticks in the backyard, carving “Z”s into the tree trunks.  In fewer words: I was PUMPED!!  Well, with great expectations comes the risk feeling great disappointment.  Risk not adverted.  Before I go further let me disclaim, I did enjoy this issue and I’m looking forward to the follow up issues very much.  What irked me about this first issue was that it was far too much buildup.  I know who Django is and how deadly he is with a pistol, and I’m acutely familiar with Zorro’s unmatched fighting ability and cunning; you don’t have to spend 70% of the issue building up to what we already know!!  I guess the important thing is that these two badass vigilantes are finally together and are planning to stir it up big-time in Arizona.  Not quite the BANG-SLASH intro I was hoping for, but an intro nonetheless. – Taylor

Alice Cooper #3 – C

The story for this series is dark and brooding, as expected, and offers the brand and style Alice Cooper has grown to be known and loved for. That is where the parallels end between the music career and the comic of Alice Cooper. As great as it is to see him in the limelight again, I wish it were in another capacity as these comics definitely leave something to be desired.  The art is actually quite fantastic, but the story just seems rushed with not much focus and it is kind of just gliding by the seats of its pants. Not to say as a fan of Alice that I don’t enjoy it every month but only get this book if you are a big fan of Alice Cooper and his mythology; otherwise, this series offers nothing too incredible to entice you into caring. – Jacob

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #38 – B

Reeling after the surprise death of the last issue, we see the crew still separated, multiple threats appearing, alliances disappearing, Q being the scheming bastard he always is, and new allies and friendships forming. I have thoroughly enjoyed this crossover of every Star Trek property, but this issue it left me wanting a bit more as I felt they really grounded themselves with certain characters and wasted or not even used very good characters from the entire franchise. Instead, they choose to focus on characters that may seem minor to those that only really know TOS and TNG. I would still say that this series is a Star Trek fan’s dream no matter what series and Captain you follow; now, if only we could see Captain Janeway appear, this may have been a grade A issue. – Jacob

Black Dynamite #4 – C+

If you are looking for any sort of cohesive story, keep on keepin’ on; this is not the book for you. Black Dynamite books have been completely random, with no real direction. However, it is good for a laugh. In this issue, Dynamite takes on the shoe industry after a famous basketball player is murdered when attempting an alley-oop from half-court completed by Evel Knievel while jumping over three Ford Pintos – pretty standard stuff here. Either you love Black Dynamite, or you think he’s one of the most ridiculous things on paper. I will say that the writers have found a good medium to keep the book at without going overboard… just in time for this to be the final issue. If you like Black Dynamite, you might enjoy the animated series, which returned to adult swim on Saturday, 10/18. – Sherif

October Faction #2 – C-

(C) The first issue of October Faction started off strong (or maybe I told myself it did because of how much I adore Steve Niles) but sadly issue #2 did not take that momentum and run with it. In all honestly it fell a little flat. The most recent installment focused entirely on building the story, the only problem is that it was still a little too vague at times and not so compelling at others. Overall, it just moved a little slow. They introduced a few new beasts, a werewolf and what I can only assume is a killer robot, which I like because it at least hints that down the road we may get to witness some epic battles and meet some cool characters. The members of the hunting family were building to be interesting but I don’t feel like they are developed enough by this point that they are likable or not, they merely exist. I wish I could say more, I really do, because I am so rooting for this series to take off and be amazing, but for now it really is just kind of fell dead in its tracks. – Keriann

(D+) October Faction’s initial release had me intrigued. It’s first issue had style, timing, and all the hall markers of a good story building into something more. The second issue took all of that build up only to bring you right back down to earth, and not in that nice gentle way that generally comes to mind. Think sky diver without a parachute type of coming to earth. Like a bad second date, I finished reading October Faction’s second issue feeling as if I was staring at a beer in a restaurant, wondering why I even bothered. That’s a harsh review, I know, but this issue is almost all fluff. Filler and family drama that could have just as easily been squeezed from a bad sitcom or a teenage family lifetime movie. It has it’s twists and a new character that could lead to something very interesting down the line, but when it comes to this issue it’s too little too late. So let’s hope this is just a lull proceeding the storm because when it comes to issue #2, October Faction left me wanting in all the worst ways. – Zach

The Bigger Bang – D+

I went into this one intrigued by the idea of a second Big Bang. If you read the Origin Story on inside cover (which I didn’t at first), it explains the idea of a second Big Bang or Bigger Big Bang that destroyed the universe we live in and in the wreckage was left this new multiverse in which the comic takes place. This had so much potential. It’s too bad it was executed so poorly. The two biggest problems I have with this comic is the melodramatic tone and the dialogue. Honestly, it reads like the half-formed idea of a sad teenage boy. I’m TIRED of the atonement-seeking hero and while I understand that *SPOILER* the hero’s whole thing is survivor’s guilt, it doesn’t come across as such. The character has no reason to save the people he does. There’s nothing driving him forward, or at least nothing that is revealed to the reader. The dialogue tells us everything flat out. I know the cliche “show don’t tell” is getting old, but apparently the author of this comic has never heard of it. I didn’t need to be told flat out that Captain Wayne (who is arguably the only redeemable character in the comic) doesn’t understand why she’s being ordered to kill the hero. She doesn’t need to say that. I get it that she’s torn and if I didn’t, there would have been a better way to go about making that clear than saying “but he seems so kind!” The only reason I would recommend this to someone is if they were a studio artist, because the art is actually quite good, even though it seems a bit out of place set in space. – Charlotte

 

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #134 – B+

(A-) There’s finally some conflict and traction in The Walking Dead. After about a half-dozen issues of catching back up with current times, we have quite a situation on our hands. Carl and Sophia are finally the tag team we always knew they would be, and we get a better glimpse of who the heck these guys attacking travelers are. I love the concept of these meat sack guys (that’s what I’m calling them for now), and I cannot wait to see more of their background story. The best part of this issue, hands down, has to be the multiple pages of Adlard’s work that show Jesus going off on the meat sacks. Even though a team of people have had encounters with the meat sacks, I think only a couple of them know what they actually are – and bringing one back to camp is a good way to find out. – Sherif

(B) This series continues to be the best it’s ever been. Whatever these things are, it’s messed up. This issue has a couple big moments but the one that stands out to me the most happens between Carl and Sophia. This issue did a lot in terms of setting up a new B story and finally getting some hope that were going to find out what these things are that are attacking everyone. Seems pretty obvious, but, you never really know with this series. – Cody

Wytches #2 – B

Wytches lost some momentum this week, but overall it still held pretty strong as one of the best horror books out right now. Issue #2 was a little convoluted and it definitely lacked the cold brutality that made the first issue pop so much, but it was still a solid read with a good flow. There was more of a focus this time around on the Rooks family members and how they are each dealing, but there was still a healthy helping of super creepy and what the hell is that moments – especially at the end after Sailor hijacks a school bus and runs out to the woods to escape confront her demons. There was good sprinkling of exciting things are to come, so even though this month’s Wytches may have been a little tame, it was still the best book I read all week and I’m certainly looking forward to the next issue. – Keriann

Drifter #1 – C+

(A-) Drifter is a sci-fi with a little bit of post-apocalyptic flavor. A so far nameless man crash lands on a planet that doesn’t quite have a working society. He wakes up in a Mad Max style outpost town after his crash, and after being shot by the way. So far the characters are nameless, there is the crash landed pilot, a medic, and the man who shot him. One thing I did notice that I didn’t really care for was that some of the conversations don’t seem to make sense. More than once I felt like there were questions being answered before they were asked. What Drifter really has going for it is the art. Nic Klein does an outstanding job. The colors are particularly outstanding. Drifter is definitely one to pick up this week. I’m sure it will worth the read every issue. – Scott

(D) To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this book. It started off kind of choppy and had a very Pitch Black feel to it, but the lead character has less charisma overall than Riddick has in his pinky finger. To be fair, he actually has less charisma than that girl who dressed as boy to be cool that nobody liked. But I’m getting carried away in the wrong direction; it’s just that remembering watching Pitch Black is more interesting to me than this book was. The dialogue is way too fragmented; no one speaks in complete sentences and that’s annoying to read over and over. The characters just use have thought out metaphors and what I think is supposed to be gritty just sounds like bad writing with no real flow to it. So far the plot does not seem well thought out, or at least it comes of that way. Drifter seems to really miss its own point, at least so far. The characters were without depth and they all spoke like Steven Segal, or the villains from his movies. The plot is too choppy and tries to be mysterious without revealing anything to actually give it a hook so why should I care? Short answer: I don’t. Long answer: See above. – Keriann

American Legends #2 – C

American Legends returns with its second issue and this time around I think it might actually be growing on me. I’ve come to accept that this story is basically going to be The Dukes of Hazzard featuring a handful of historic characters and now it’s easier for me to sit back and enjoy the ride. The book isn’t great; the writing is full of camp and, frankly, it’s not that clever or funny, but it is at least kind of enjoyable if you can just take it for what it is. Issue #2 progresses the story a bit more; although, it is still unclear of exactly what point they might be building to. It also introduces a few new historical characters into the mix. Unfortunately, Sacagawea is kind of lackluster considering she should be awesome and there is so much they could have done with her along the lines of historical embellishment intermingled with fantasy. At least the explanation of how the feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s started is kind of funny. Other than that gem, Sally Thunder’s insanely giant boobs that pop out of her shirt in basically every panel and a few nearly unbearable “Duke Boys” moments between Crockett and Fink, American Legends #2 really didn’t have a whole lot to offer. – Keriann

Copperhead #3 – C

(C) The mostly dull sci-fi-western, Copperhead, continued this week.  Being largely unimpressed and barely intrigued after the first two issues, I expected more of the same.  In that regard – I was not let down.  The story is progressing much too slowly to really keep me interested; this is one of the poorer uses of the comic book medium I’ve seen lately.  A few dozen pages isn’t much to work with; it’s important to hit readers hard and fast to keep us interested!  By this point I’m expecting twists, gadgets or anything new and different.  The thing saving this review from a “D” grade is the twist (if you can call it that) revolving around Ishmael, the artificial-human dessert nomad, and his involvement with the mass murder of an alien-hillbilly family.  While floating among pages of lackluster content, I was immediately sucked in at the last two pages of the issue.  I hope issue #4 keeps me drawn in – I don’t know if I can take much more of this boring space adventure (if you can call it that either). – Taylor

(C) This series continues to be good, if not a little one dimensional. Things are panning out just as you’d expect in any cop drama and it’s unfortunate. I’d really like to see some cosmic cowboy justice but it just isn’t happening yet. The one thing that keeps me coming back is the art and how unique everything seems. – Cody

Marvel:

Spider-Verse #1 – A

Spider-Man is quickly becoming my favorite superhero.  Mostly because there are an infinite number of him (and her, and ham).  Even though Spider-Verse #1 did nothing to advance the plot-at-large that is the “Spider-Verse Event,” it did a great job of showcasing the many different ways one can enjoy Spidey.  Comprised of three mini-stories and two even more-mini stories (all with different writers and authors) I found myself really enjoying the wide birth of Spider-Man experiences brought to life on the panel.  My particular favorite was Steampunk Lady Spider!  I don’t even understand Steampunk, but I really dig Lady Reilly and her gizmo-geared-spider-contraption suit!!  At its core, this issue is just flat out fun.  It’s refreshing to be able to take a step back from the epic epic about to take place and just enjoy a comic for the sake of it.  The comic book community is having a lot of fun with this Spider-Verse event.  You should definitely join in if you haven’t already. – Taylor

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5 – A-

This week’s issue pretty much opened up the entire plot for what seems to be the rest of the series. Without spoiling too much, we see many people changing sides, unlikely team-ups, and Apocalypse is here – which is never a sign that thing will go well. So things are not looking so good here after the events of Red Onslaught as he is now free and hiding out somewhere for the time being while all the heroes kind of duke it between one another hoping something will be resolved. The art has been very consistent and enjoyable for this whole series and offers up some great iconic images along the way and the story is definitely the best of the major Marvel events so far this year. – Jacob

Superior Iron Man #1 – B+

I have to admit, I have not been an avid Iron Man reader, ever. In fact, aside from Extremis, this is the first Iron Man-titled book I have ever read. I quite enjoyed this. The Tony Stark we get here is very much a product of his bout with alcoholism, as well as his fatally narcissistic personality from the movies. This time, Stark has created the Extremis 3.0 app, which lets people experience perfection. However, the app was released as a free trial – and the cost to re-up is $100 a day. Superior will try to shed light on people’s addiction to physical flawlessness and technological enhancement – something I don’t doubt will be reflected back onto Stark himself, who insists on playing God to other humans. There is a ton of sarcastic humor in this, which is what makes Iron Man such an enjoyable character. There’s trouble to be had in San Francisco, and I certainly aim to be around when it happens. – Sherif

All-New Captain America #1 – B

Sam Wilson has finally put on the suit, and he looks damn good in it. While the former Falcon attempts a routine mission to save a kid hostage, he’s met by Batroc the Leaper. While the issue itself doesn’t really break any boundaries or set any new standards, it is really fun to read, and the cute comments about Sam getting acclimated to the shield give the issue a whimsical tone. I also loved Batroc’s attacks on American culture and addressing the adversity that Wilson will have to overcome to be respected by Cap’s enemies. It would have been nice to get a little more development out of the issue, but it was a strong start. – Sherif

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7 – B-

What the whaaa…!?!?!? I’m not sure what just happened… But I think it was awesome! I feel a little guilty about it, but I like this issue in spite of itself. There’s plenty of action, zero story, and a little bit of extra something(s) thrown in at the end for good measure. The art is as crisp as I’ve come to expect from this series, yet the action (not to mention the current storyline) is still a bit confusing to follow at times. Maybe this ties into Spider-Verse. Maybe we’re getting the Ultimate version of another mainstream character. Maybe this is all a dream… I don’t know, and I don’t think you will either. I’m thoroughly confused, but I’m still unabashedly along for the ride. – Jumoke

Thor #2 – C

(C+) This issue really didn’t do a whole lot for me and was kind of just filler it seems. I know they are not going to reveal everything right off the bat, but when you are dealing with a very short weekly story to try and entice fans I kind of hope that there is a little character progression past, the thoughts of ”I have the power of Thor now! Cool! I’ll just beat up this guy and this guy and oh, no I am not really Thor. I’m just a woman with his hammer who doesn’t know how to use it yet.” For someone who seems to have spent a lot of time around Thor and his friends and knows an awful lot about them, she should probably know a little more about Mjolnir than she seemed to have. Either way, it is just the intro to the whole grand scheme and intro are always difficult even for the best stories. Despite the little things that bugged me personally, the story and art are both wonderful and offer us something we never thought would happen. So I am sure this will improve in time and it is good to see more badass women in comics, albeit the Thor armor sure got a lot more revealing when a woman picked up the hammer… – Jacob

(C) While this issue of Thor was better than it’s 1st issue, it still feels off.  We were finally able to see the female Thor in action, but the writers are making it very clear that she isn’t actually Thor.  Then why title the book as such?  Just to create controversy? I don’t think that is necessarily the best idea.  This issue put female-Thor (they have yet to give her a name) on Earth to battle Ice Giants who have frozen the Avengers.  While the idea is neat, it seems premature.  We have yet to even know the lady’s name and she is forced to save the biggest names in Marvel.  While some of the dialogue was clever, it was extremely exposition heavy.  I think if Thor has been a favorite of yours, this book is up your alley, but if not, it may have already failed. – Adrian

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #2 – B-

(B) Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! This month’s Hawkeye vs Deadpool was a really enjoyable read. What I love about this comic is how relatable, funny, and well executed the characters are. Both Clint and Kate are awkward as all hell and it makes the comic all the greater. All the characters read not as high-class, 100% serious, “Get-out-of-my-way-I’ve-got-shit-to-do” heroes, but as real people who just happened to save the world frequently. While the comic has its serious parts and there’s a definite urgency to get the precious files on S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into the rightful hands, it is also largely funny. I was constantly laughing at the bickering interactions between Clint and Deadpool and the hilarious one-liners and general quirkiness of Kate. I also love how similar Clint and Kate are and the friendship between them is really enjoyable to read. One thing that I really appreciate in this story arc as a whole, is that they address the fact that Clint is deaf. They joke around with it (without being offensive) in scenes where Clint can’t read Deadpool’s lips because of his mask, which Deadpool comedically takes advantage of when he’s asking Clint for permission to do something but really doesn’t want an answer. This comic is definitely a must read for both Hawkeye and Deadpool fans alike – and if you’re a Kate Bishop fan, you’ll be happy with how present she is in this issue. I’m super-excited for what is to come in this story arc. – Charlotte

(C) From what started off as great chemistry between Hawkeye and Deadpool has turned into a slop of an adventure with no real direction or desire to find an endpoint in two more installments. There are still a lot of cute lines and subtle jokes made throughout the book, but it lacks any of the pop that sold me on the last couple issues. The inclusion of Kate Bishop is pretty helpful, as the banter between her an Deadpool is flat-out adorable, but the issue begins to drag on when all they do is talk about how Kate is better than Hawk guy. Even the twist at the end loses its impact when there is such a lack of cohesion throughout the rest of the book. – Sherif

Captain Marvel #9 – D

The only shred of anything that saved this week’s issue was the vague cliffhanger.  Otherwise, I am so disappointed in how this series is shaping out.  This week, Lila Cheney, mutant rockstar who can teleport, lands on Captain Marvel’s ship and takes Captain Marvel and Tic to a planet that only speaks in rhyme. Yeah, the whole book rhymes.  The point of going to the planet is to stop Lila’s marriage to a boy she made a pact with as a kid. It seems really early to introduce a character like Lila, how has added little to no value to the Marvel Universe in the 30 years she’s been around. It could have waited until issue, I don’t know, never.  It’s almost as if someone at Marvel was like, “Hey it’s cool that you wanted to write a story about Captain Marvel and have her be a bad ass woman and all, but this month, you must insert Lila Cheney, the story line must be inconsequential, and it must all rhyme!”  Bleh. – Adrian

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4 – D

I keep getting my hopes up that the next character covered in this series will have a better story to offer than the last, but yet again that is not the case here. Although, I am trying to read the entire Death of Wolverine series and spin offs, I am finding out that very few of the issues of this event whether the main story line or one of the one-shots offer anything substantial. This particular issue left me rather confused and made me question not only why I read it, but also why it was written in the first place. It does offer a good look into Lady Deathstrike, but by the end I was not sure of her intentions or her true feeling for Wolverine. I would say unless you are already invested in the series, or just a huge Wolverine fan, then this entire series will be a been a let down for what should have been quite a great look into how Wolverine’s closest connections handle his death. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

Black Dynamite #4
Black Dynamite #4

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

spider lady steampunk

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, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

A Science Fictional Year: The Alien Anthology

Alien (1979) • Aliens (1986) • Alien³ (1992) • Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Out of the gate, I’ve never seen Alien. Don’t let that fool you: I love Alien in its various comic book forms. I have two or three graphic novels, as well as both of the Alien Vs. Predator omnibuses published by Dark Horse Comics on my shelf. I love the designs, the brutality, its fearlessness in being ghoulish, but somehow they still say things about the nature of being human, of being a woman, of the absolutely terrifying possibilities hidden within the feminine. Yet, it never wanders into sexism or misogyny (a word I do my hardest to spell correctly the first time, every time, but have to right-click that red squiggly) as far as I can tell. Alien is one of those iconic movies that gets so parodied and commented upon that, at a certain point, you’re not sure if it’s worth carving out the two hours  to see (though I’m sure I’ve ingested more Alien stuff than the average fan of the movies): you’ve heard so much about it that you can relate the movie’s every plot point, and is there anything that can be added to the experience? The few times someone brings the movie up in conversation and someone asks, “Have you seen it?” I feel like Homer from The Simpsons defending the symbolism in his offensive float in “Faith Off,” in that no amount of explaining won’t fix it because the problem isn’t the explanation.

 

From Giphy, from The Simpsons. The internet refuses to acknowledge the scene I’m talking about. This is the closest I could get to his float.

 

But Alien was something special, and I regret not having seen it earlier. The thing that struck me most was how the film nearly perfectly mimics the arc of an anxiety attack. I’m curious if anyone else who has anxiety has experienced this while watching the movie. As far as I’m concerned, you can learn something of what it’s like to have an anxiety attack just by watching this movie. Even in the opening shots of the movie, there’s the implication of unease coming.

Be sure to click page 2 to read more…

Ender’s Game Review

Genre – Scif-fi, Action, Book-to-Movie Adaptation
Director – Gavin Hood
Cast – Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis
Alluring element – Based off the 1984 novel of the same name, Harrison Ford returns to space
Check it out if you liked – District 9, Harry Potter, the book “Ender’s Game”

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Plot – 7
Acting – 8
Representation of Genre – 7  
Cinematography – 8
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 6
Originality/Creativity –  7
Soundtrack/Music – 7
Overall awesomeness – 7

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Ender’s Game directed by Gavid Hood is about a young boy (how young? not really sure) named Ender (Asa Butterfield) who is chosen to go to Battle School by Graff (Harrison freaking Ford) and Anderson (Viola Davis).  The point of Battle School is to train young people to defend the Earth against the Formics, an alien species who attacked Earth 50 years prior.  Ender is bullied on Earth before he is chosen to go, and once he gets to the school in outer space, he continues to be bullied.  He proves his worth to his peers by winning some epic looking no-gravity battles.  He proves his intelligence to the other students and administrators and then is chosen to “graduate” from Command School where he is trained by Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley). He learns the truth of all his teacher’s motives and the movie, much like the book, has a big twist at the end, leaving many viewers lost.

After watching the film adaptation of controversial author Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, I left the theater feeling a little confused.  What was that story really about?  Without getting into the brilliant writing in the book, the plot points that were missing in the movie, or Card’s bigoted remarks in the recent past, the logical consistency and moral of the film were just not obvious to the viewer.  Without reading the book, I’m not sure that the story would make total sense to a noob, but since I have read the book several times, I am a biased viewer and reviewer.  That being said, it is nearly a week later, and I am still wondering what point the director wanted to make.

First and foremost, this is the first time in history that special effects have been advanced enough to be able to make a movie out of the sci-fi book and not be cheesy.  The effects were amazing.  Particularly the scenes in the Battle Room.  There is one Battle Room clip that is so unbelievably bad-ass because Ender, a young kid, is floating up though no gravity sphere, with two guns in his hands and shooting the shit out of all the other little kids.  It’s amazing.  The visuals of outer-space and the simulation video game Ender plays are creepy, but very enjoyable to watch.  So much so in fact, that it isn’t apparent that the plot and logical consistency are not up to par with what other science fiction films are capable of.  The scenes are so fast paced that it is hard to catch everything upon the first viewing, or even the second.  Ender is being played the whole time by adults, particularly Graff (what a mean man you became, Mr. Ford!) but it is so subtle it is almost non-existent.  The best part of the movie were the battle scenes between the kids in the school, but even those scenes were so fast-paced that it was hard to get the true flavor of all the tactics that go into winning those battles.  The book was built on tactics, something that the movie only lightly touches on, eliminating a lot of the connection we could have had to Ender.

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The Battle Room in Ender’s Game. A reality in our future? Some of us can only hope.

On top of that, we are exposed to Ender’s family for only a brief time. His parents seem to have no personality or effect on Ender’s life.  His only relative who has a positive influence on him is his sister Valentine (played by Abigail Breslin).  Valentine also lacks personality in the film, but is mentioned enough by Ender, and is so important the final scenes of the film, that the viewer may be tricked into thinking she was more vital than she really was.  On the flip side of the coin, Ender’s intelligence wasn’t as vital as it could have been.  He seemed to jump to conclusions a lot and the audience got little to no understanding of his thought process.  It was very difficult to grasp his logic because there was little narration of what he was thinking, other than missing Valentine constantly.  By not having enough of a 1st person narration, the audience could not possibly have a full understanding of the last 10 minutes of the movie.

On a positive note, isn’t it great seeing Harrison “Han-Solo” Ford back in space? He plays the over-bearing Graff so well. It’s just unfortunate that he’s not in the movie longer. Asa Butterfield plays an endearing Ender. Although the character in the book grows over the ages of 6-12 during the story, this Ender is portrayed as a gentle-yet-capable young manboy, and aside from a few pre-pubescent squeals, Butterfield plays this role very well. There are a few missteps in the child acting, but not every movie with child actors has to be Beasts of the Southern Wild. I felt charmed by many of Ender’s classmates, Bean specifically, and overall the cast is comprised of very solid acting. Breslin’s performance as Valentine was all it could be with the material she was given.  She did a good job at being pretty, which was the only “depth” she was allowed to have. However, characters like Bonzo, who is a laughable 5’5″ to Butterfield’s 5’10”, plays a serious bully to Ender in the film and can just never quite be taken seriously (especially considering that his main following comes from his role as Rico on Hannah Montana – a fact I had to look up, I promise! I don’t watch Hannah Montana anymore).

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!  Ender suddenly realizes that not only he killed the entire Formic species, but that there is still a queen left, she is just outside of the bunk he has been living in on the planet Command School is, and she is in the cave like structure featured in his video game where Valentine always appears.  END SPOILERS 🙂 This isn’t the last half hour of the movie, but it very well could have been.  In fact, the last 10 minutes should have been expanded into 30. It wouldn’t have seem so stuck on the end to movie without purpose, giving a false sense of a moral.

All great storytelling, whatever the medium, needs to know the balance of show versus tell. If I’m supposed to believe that Ender is put through hell as a launchie and commander, then I need to be shown that he is going through hell – you can’t just tell the audience using a few quick moments of given dialogue. Ender’s Game is a deeply detailed book, and this team may have bit off too much to chew with it. While the visual elements of Ender’s Game were so captivating, many of the important plot points were either removed or glided over. At the end of the day, a film that clocks in at just under 2 hours and has a problem with depth is something that could have been solved by just going deeper – deeper into Valentine & Peter’s story, deeper into Ender’s rise to stardom at Battle School, deeper into the incredibly enthralling battle scenes and political and war commentary that made this book such an amazing story to begin with.  The target audience was (I assume) middle schoolers to the 40 somethings who read the book when they were in high school.  I am certain that audience would have appreciated a longer movie with more depth in the characters and more logical consistency.  It was a sci-fi movie that will most likely be forgotten, which is unfortunate, because the story the book tells is anything but forgettable.  A better moral, a better story and unfortunately, the ugly remarks of Orson Scott Card not ever happening would have made Ender’s Game the film something worth unanimously touting on all angles.

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Don’t let this book make you leave the theater feeling empty or scare you from seeing it altogether. The movie is not a shell of the book it spawned from; no, let it be the foreplay for enjoying one hell of a story. Let it inspire you to read a book about a young boy and his journey. If you are interested in seeing the film, I strongly suggest seeing it in theaters.  The special effects are amazing on the big screen!

written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

Prometheus: Movie Review

Genre: Sci-fi, action/horror
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
What’s special about it: Deep and mysterious outer space; awesome spaceships and futuristic tech; creepy alien lifeforms – what’s not to love?
Check it out if you liked: Aliens, Pandorum, Sunshine, Chronicles of Riddick, Predator, Independence Day, Starship Troopers

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, chances are that you’ve heard something about one of the first blockbusters to hit the silver screen this summer – Prometheus. Hush has the scoop. This space thriller opens with gorgeous shots of what is supposed to be earth before human evolution began. Enter a mysterious alien-like, sentient being on the edge of a gigantic waterfall. He proceeds to pull out an intergalactic thermos with the newest flavor of space Gatorade. As he drinks, a strange reaction begins to occur within. The being is rapidly torn to pieces and plunges into the waterfall, where something amazing happens…LIFE!!! The alien visitor fulfills the role of sacrificial host for the purpose of creating intelligent life on earth – suck it Darwin. From here the main story line develops. A team of archeologists, geologists, biologists and other smart sounding professions are gathered to travel across the universe to explore the potential origin of human life – one that may lie with a sophisticated race of aliens. As it turns out, they’re right!!! Yay for the viewers, boo for the Prometheus (also the name of the ship) team.

Our explorers come across some strange and interesting discoveries in their search. Discoveries that usually result in glorious and entertaining death. The movie does a great job of keeping the viewer wondering, even though we already know the origin of us! The film is packed full of action, with some pretty original sequences. This film loses some points in believability, and yes, I realize how stupid that sounds. What I mean to say is that the protocol for dealing with the first discovery of intelligent life outside of Earth is pretty lax. I don’t know about you, but if I were to find a severed alien head on a foreign planet, my first course of action would NOT be to pump it full of electricity.

Good performances are put on by all the actors and actresses. I especially enjoyed Idris Elba’s (Heimdall in Thor, Moreau in the newest Ghost Rider, Stringer Bell in HBO’s the Wire) portrayal of the smooth and carefree captain Janek as well as Michael Fassbender’s (young Magneto in X-Men First Class, Stelios in 300) spot on performance as the android David. You’ll also recognize Charlize Theron (Aeon Flux, Ravenna – Snow White and the Huntsman), Guy Pearce (Leonard – Momento, Staff Sergeant Matt Thompson – Hurt Locker) and Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander in the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series). On screen technology is up to par with expectations – get ready to see some original and really neat equipment and gear. The end of the movie delivers just as the rest of the film did. I won’t spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, but my absolute favorite part of the film happens in the last 30 seconds so be sure to stay planted in your seats until the credits start to roll.

Hush Comics gives Prometheus an 82 rating. Check this one out before it leaves theaters. You won’t be disappointed.

written by Taylor Lowe