Panel Surfing: Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga

Have you ever been lost in a sea of comic books, looking for something new? Something exciting? Something hidden? Our new feature, “Panel Surfing,” explores the abyss of the comic book industry, giving you a spoiler-free look at books we feel deserve some shine.


There are two types of comic book fans: those who love Saga, and those who just haven’t read it. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have created their own world. It’s part romance novel, part intergalactic sci-fi thriller, and consistently one of the best books on the market. The book follows Alana and Marko, each former militia on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. The story starts simply enough; the two have found true love with each other and made a child, a life which is (whether they like it or not) is the metaphorical olive branch that the higher-ups of their respective sides do not want around.

The story gets deeper, with a cast of well-rounded, complex characters that have the capacity for love, evil, and humor. While Alana and Marko are the true protagonists, they are each capable of poor or selfish choices at any given time – the same way that even the “bad guy” Prince Robot IV is capable of virtuosity. Oh, and yes, there is a Prince Robot. He’s a guy with a television for a head. There are also anthropomorphic spiders and trees, a disemboweled ghost babysitter, and all other types of ill shit.

Saga is drawn by Fiona Staples. That name might sound familiar because of her acclaim from Saga, various variant covers in the industry, or the role of lead artist on the upcoming Archie reboot with Mark Waid. Whatever the reason, she’s worth your devotion. Her art style is both classical and modern, harsh and delicate. It’s perfectly suited for capturing the beauty and exotic nature of Saga, while still being able to show some really gross and violent – especially in some of the more detailed full-page spreads.

There isn’t a specific demographic for Saga because it’s for everybody. If you’re not a fan of sexually crude material, it might not be for you. It’s not that it’s constantly explicit, but there is definitely “adult content” in there. It’s like the comic book fan’s equivalent of those softcore porn romance novels your mom reads, with a cast of characters designed by a really creative high school student and plot points written by Joss Whedon on LSD. If you’re not reading Saga right now, I won’t judge you. You have to let go of your excuses and just dive in.

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Best of 2014: Comic Books

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage for all categories.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Comic Book Series (Monthly On-going)

  • DC Comics – Batman (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Image Comics – Black Science (Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera)
  • Image Comics – Saga (Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples)
  • IDW Comics – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco/Ross Campbell)
  • Image Comics – The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard)

Results here.

Best Story Arc

  • DC Comics – Batman: Zero Year (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • DC Comics – Batman: Endgame (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Marvel Comics – Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • DC Comics – Forever Evil (Geoff Johns & David Finch)
  • DC Comics – Multiversity (Grant Morrison & various artists)

Results here.

Best Creative Team

  • Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • John Layman & Rob Guillory – Chew (Image Comics)
  • Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard – The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco – TMNT (IDW Comics)

Results here.

Best Writer

  • Geoff Johns – Superman (DC Comics), Justice League (DC Comics), Forever Evil (DC Comics)
  • Josh Williamson – NailbiterBirthright (Image Comics), Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Matt Fraction – Hawkeye (Marvel Comics), Sex Criminals, Satellite SamOdy-C (Image Comics)
  • Rick Remender – Black Science, Deadly Class, Low (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Batman, Superman: UnchainedThe WakeAmerican Vampire (DC Comics), Wytches (Image Comics)

Results here.

Best Artist

  • Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Leila del Duca – Shutter (Image Comics)
  • Mateus Santolouco – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW Comics)
  • Mike Henderson – Nailbiter (Image Comics)

Results here.

Best New Comic Book Series

  • Image Comics – Deadly Class (Rick Remender & Wes Craig)
  • Marvel Comics – Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona)
  • Marvel Comics – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Brian Wood & Declan Shalvey/Greg Smallwood)
  • Image Comics – Nailbiter (Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson)
  • Image Comics – Shutter (Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca)

Results here.

Best Comic Book Mini-Series

  • Marvel Comics – Deadpool vs. Carnage (Cullen Bunn & Salva Espin)
  • Marvel Comics – Edge of Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • Marvel Comics – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Gerry Duggan & James Harren)
  • Vertigo Comics – Sandman: Overture (Neil Gaiman & JH Williams III)
  • Dark Horse Comics – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Zach Whedon & Georges Jeanty)

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Movies

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Artist

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Artist

  • Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Leila del Duca – Shutter (Image Comics)
  • Mateus Santolouco – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW Comics)
  • Mike Henderson – Nailbiter (Image Comics)

WINNER – Greg Capullo

This guy right here, he could make anything look good. When we interviewed him in May, he even made us look good and each month, he makes Scott Snyder look good, as well. A fair amount of thanks go to Snyder and his colorist FCO Plascencia, but this self-taught artist gets a lion’s share of the credit for why Batman is the best book in the industry. Thanks to years of pencilling Spawn, Capullo has the terrifying down-pat, but Capullo has also made the panels of Batman undeniably beautiful at times. As a Batfan, I hope he sticks around forever, but if he chooses to leave the series come issue #50, I will follow him wherever he goes. – Sherif

Second Place – Fiona Staples

Saga #19
Saga #19

All I have to say here is go read Saga and you’ll see why Fiona Staples deserves to be the top rated artist from this year. Her slightly sketchy style of lines adds a fantastically whimsical quality to every page. Even when the story line hits overly serious notes Fiona’s artwork adds a hint of magic to what’s happening in the scene. I’m not the only one who thinks she deserves every accolade she receives. With nine award nominations, six of which she won, it’s clear to see she towers above almost all of her peers. On top of doing the art for Saga, she was just picked to do the art for the new Archie comics. To be tapped to draw the next generation of one of the longest running series of comics ever written speaks more than any award. – Scott

Third Place – Mike Henderson

Nailbiter #2
Nailbiter #2

There’s no harder job in a horror story comic book than making it look frightening, yet still keeping the technique so crisp. Sure, you could go the route of Jock, who does the psychotic, manic art on Wytches, but I find so much more substance in Mike Henderson’s Nailbiter art. Nailbiter has just the right amount of terrifying mixed in with beautifully drawn backgrounds and character models. What makes me love Henderson’s art so much is that he doesn’t get in the way of the story to try to boast. There are times that I completely forget I am reading a comic book because I get lost in the flow of the art; it feels like I am watching a horror film. To boot, the guy is a phenomenally diverse artist with a lot of love for other work. I look forward to being scared shitless by Mike Henderson in 2015. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Mateus Santolouco

TMNT #38
TMNT #38

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for nearly 30 years, and with all the different versions that have been released in comic book form, nobody has done as well as Mateus Santolouco has at making me feel the same joy I felt when I first got into the Heroes in a Half-Shell. Not only do the turtles look great, but the slew of other mutants (ugly and beautiful) look perfect, too. It’s as if he studied to see what Kevin Eastman’s work would look like in the future. After kicking butt in last year’s Secret of the Foot Clan and City Fall, Santolouco continues his strong run with the debut of the Mutanimals, leading up to an impending war between Shredder and Krang. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Leila del Duca

leila del duca artist shutter 2 best of 2014

I want to first say: I knew her before she got big, so that makes me better than everyone. I met her at a tiny little event called the Cow Town Comi-Con on the top floor of The Tattered Cover where she was selling original art for a personal project. Instantly, I told her she needed to be working for Marvel or Image or someone. Fast forward just a couple of years, and ta-da: artist on the fantastically popular Shutter. While she wasn’t born in Denver, I feel like Denver gets credit for her since she did live, work, and get her education here. – Cuyler

Next Category: Best New Series

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Creative Team

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Creative Team

  • Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • John Layman & Rob Guillory – Chew (Image Comics)
  • Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard – The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco – TMNT (IDW Comics)

WINNER – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Saga)

Saga is the best comic book series I’ve ever read.  Point blank. Hands down.  No debate.  Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples firmly have my heart in their grasp.  These two brilliantly talented individuals have crafted such an incredibly enchanting, detailed and (most critically) original universe.  The characters are relatable and dynamic – a pretty impressive feat considering the cast is composed entirely of odd alien life forms.  The surroundings and environments are beautiful.  The plot is layered and interesting at every level.  I even love how awkward this team can make me feel!!  Panels of the Fard and Stalk-sex belong in the comic book hall of fame.  In a time of sequels, remakes, and based-on works it’s a breath of fresh air – more like a tank of oxygen at the peak of Mt. Everest – to have Vaughn and Staples teamed up.  These two are unequivocally the most creative comic book duo out there.  Now if only they could get on a regular release schedule! – Taylor

Second Place – Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead)

The Walking Dead #128
The Walking Dead #128

These two creators have worked on over 100 issues of The Walking Dead together for over ten years. They are the Simon and Garfunkel of comic books, and they have one of the best relationships of any book out. Their creative direction syncs so well; minimal exposition means that the story is told through images often-times better than it is through words. It’s been a long journey, and one that does look to be slowing down anytime soon. – Sherif

Third Place – Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo (Batman)

Batman #32
Batman #32

Every month, when I read Batman, I feel so small compared to these geniuses.  They are the real deal, people.  After 37 issues into their book, they know how the other one works to a tee.  Snyder’s storytelling is compelling. Capullo’s art is top notch.  Together, their story is the best in the biz.  Each of them work incredibly hard to get out the quality of book they have, and one without the other would disrupt the whole process.  Gah!  I could gush over these two all day! – Adrian

RUNNER UP – Tom Waltz & Mateus Santolouco (TMNT)

creative team tmnt 39 best of 2014
TMNT #39

 

A lot of people tend to think the TMNT carry themselves and that it is easy to pull them off. With Waltz and Santolouco, however, their own take on the turtles includes additions from just about every incarnation of the turtles, appeasing all generations of fans. It’s not all just a jam-packed love story, though; the consistency of good story-telling has increased my love for TMNT so much more than is was – which was borderline insane in the first place. I find that even though I have enjoyed the issues in the TMNT series not written and drawn by Waltz and Santolouco to be fun and just as engaging at time these two have almost become the staple of this series for this year and have created some of the best stories for these characters I have ever seen, plus I have a soft spot for Herman the Hermit crab which debuted a couple issue ago, whom was designed by Santolouco. – Jacob

 

RUNNER UP – John Layman & Rob Guillory (Chew)

Chew: Volume 8
Chew: Volume 8

Chew is a juggernaut of awesome. Layman and Guillory have put together what is by far one of the most comical series ever created. We find this year that a bit of toe can go a long way. Layman proves his writing chops by not only having one of the most popular creator owned books on the market has recently been seen writing one of the most popular characters of all time, Batman. On top of doing Godzilla, paring up with a major motion picture release, I think we can all recognize John Layman as one of comics current top writers. Rob Guillory has one of the most definitive art styles of any artist currently working. The exaggerated character styles and even the little easter eggs he works into every panel make Chew more visually appealing than the majority of books currently on the market. Combined they become something on the power level of Captain Planet, BUT THERE’S ONLY TWO OF THEM! – Scott

Next Category: Best Comic Book Writer

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Series

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Series (Monthly On-going)

  • DC Comics – Batman (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Image Comics – Black Science (Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera)
  • Image Comics – Saga (Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples)
  • IDW Comics – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco/Ross Campbell)
  • Image Comics – The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard)

WINNER – Batman (Snyder/Capullo)

 

Let’s be honest; this year belonged to the Batman. Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo put out a superior product every month. Not only has Batman been DC’s highest-grossing title every month, but topped the sales charts five months this year (Source: Comichron); the next highest selling on-going series is the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man with two months at the top. In 2014, Batman tackled one of the most mysterious and intimidating parts of the Dark Knight’s lore, the origin, and carved out a place among the Batman legendary tales. Then,  If you are reading this book, you are witnessing history as it is happening. – Sherif

Second Place – Saga (Vaughan/Staples)

Saga Best Book Best of 2014
Saga #22

 

Saga has been a continuing monthly book with one of the most interesting and original story lines ever to have been published. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples continue to dominate the science-fiction realm in comics. Brian K. Vaughn continues to show that he is one of the most creatively functional writers in comics today. There are things in Saga that you are guaranteed to not see in any other book ever. Our favorite fugitive family gets mixed up with a wonderfully eccentric theater troupe and Prince Robot IV has a son of his own. Matched up with Fiona Staples’ artwork, there seems to be no real slowing down for Saga; it’s the most creative, original, and beautiful series of the last two years. – Scott

Third Place – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Waltz/Santolouco)

tmnt 41 cover
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #41

 

This year I have read plenty of different series and there have only bee two that have had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue and the more consistent of the two has been TMNT. This series offers absolutely everything a Turtle fan could want, honestly, as it has dealt with characters and situations from the long history of turtle history, almost like a little bit of a flashback series while also offering something completely new and just as awesome. The main team of Waltz and Santolouco are amazing and of course all the other artists and writers have been just as good making this the most consistently good series of the year to me. But with the Mutanimals coming up in the new year, a giant war against the Krang on the horizon and their crossover adventure with the Ghostbusters not being over yet, I am sure TMNT will continue to be one of my top favorites into 2015. – Jacob

RUNNER UP – The Walking Dead (Kirkman/Adlard)

The Walking Dead #121
The Walking Dead #121

Kirkman’s still got it!!  More than 10 years and going strong!!  The first half of the year was so-so with the conclusion of the All Out War arc.  It was intense that’s for sure, but it was slightly formulaic.  Then came the New Beginning arc, and it blew my face away.  If you can call Kirkman anything, it’s unpredictable!  I buy issue after issue after issue primarily because I NEED to know what happens next!  The undead and the yet-to-be dead have found a happy equilibrium (if you can call it that).  Times are good, but a new foe has reared its head.  And that’s how we know shit is about to do down in a big way.  This constant torrential storm of calm and chaos brings with it an unshakable endearing quality.  I’m a nervous and sweaty wreck in the midst of any conflict or life-threatening situation (which is pretty much all the time) and I’m even more nervous and sweaty when nothing’s happening.  And all I want is more.  Because reading TWD is essentially an addiction now. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Black Science (Remender/Scalera)

Black Science Book Best of 2014
Black Science #5

 

First, have you seen the art in this book? Oh my God, it’s good. It’s like something fell out of the ’60s and into the 2060s, then trickled back down to lowly 2014. Second, the story – on the surface it doesn’t seem like much. In fact, it even seems like it’d be hard to take seriously: a scientist builds a machine to visit alternate worlds, it malfunctions, and his team gets stuck. It seems like yet another variation on a story we’ve read a hundred times before, but like all great stories, character makes it stand out. Layers of intrigue slowly emerge: maybe characters aren’t as noble as they seem. Was the machine sabotaged? Why are his children (not even old enough to drive) with him? Did I mention the art? – JH

Next Category: Best Story Arc

Comic Book Reviews 10-29-14

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:

black science 10 potw

Black Science #10 – A

What’s cooler than a laser beam spitting, flying hippo-dragon cruising into the horizon of multiple setting suns against the backdrop of the most geologically unfathomable mountain range you’ve ever seen?!  If you somehow have an answer for that, you sure as Hell better tell me in the comments section below, because I can’t think of anything!  Thanks again Matteo Scalera for making love to my eyes.  The events in Black Science are building up to something dimension shattering – literally.  Though it appears the formula is repeating itself, I’ve got a feeling that Remender is just leading us on.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in the Dimensionauts’ next jump this crazy adventure gets turned up another notch.  If nothing else, we’ll at least get to see the laser-ninja shaman in action again! – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse:

Alien: Fire & Stone #2 – B

I’m surprised.  The Fire & Stone storyline is already 6 issues deep and in each new release the plot deepens and new elements continue to pop up.  Each issue has left me on the edge of my seat and slack jawed.  I said it last time and I’ll say it this time:  The Fire & Stone story is possibly the best interwoven multi-titled comic arch I’ve ever read.  Each story element is solid in delivery.  The characters are engaging, the intrigue and creepy factor are out of this world, there are twists galore, and… just… everything is great!  There is plenty of this story left to tell and so many questions left to answer.  It makes me so happy to know that this thrill ride isn’t even halfway over. – Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Earth 2: World’s End #4 – B-

This issue finally kind of settled down and focused on two groups of heroes, giving little time to what else is going on. I appreciated this, as this series was starting to get a bit jumbled. We’re introduced to a new character and get to see Apokolips and his crew. I still have no idea why we’re getting Dick Grayson’s story as nothing really seems to be happening there. One thing I have learned in the last week is that the World’s End story is going to have huge implications for the Futures End story happening on normal Earth. I know, I know, I probably should have known this, but, I didn’t…this also explains a lot about why it has been so spastic until now. That being said, this series is definitely more enjoyable than most Futures End stories and hopefully it will bring something fresh to what has become very stale. – Cody

Wonder Woman #35 – C-

The epic finale of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman 35-issue arc is the least epic finale that I could have hoped for. Over the past three years, Wonder Woman has rewrote Diana’s lore as a bastard child of Zeus himself. She has transformed into the Goddess of War, slugged it out with the other gods and faced off with Zeus’ First Born. So it’s extremely disappointed that such a well-told and carefully-crafted could come to such a screeching halt. It’s hastily wrapped up and the overall message is convoluted with just a few pages in this issue. It in no ways taints my memory of the 34 issues that preceded it, but I’m not heart-broken that we get an all new creative team starting next month. – Sherif

Sinestro #6 – D

On its own, this month’s issue of Sinestro is pretty good.  Sinestro and his fear mongering Corps. are still ruthless and very entertaining to watch in battle.  The pencil and ink-work is still on point.  Sinestro is still crazy powerful and super scary.  The thing that killed it for me this month is the thing I dislike most about comic books – abrupt and total change in plot.  I see this more often with the major publishers and with superhero characters.  Story lines from other comic books work their way into “related” titles and (for me) it only serves as a major buzz kill and disappointment.  What happened to Sinestro’s frozen brethren?  Who is this lamely named warrior Goddess and where did she come from?  Is Hal Jordan still pouting on that rock after getting his ass handed to him?  I was really feeling Sinestro thus far, but I have hard time forgiving such grandiose inconsistencies. – Taylor

IDW Comics:

Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #5 – B+

This series has continued to amaze me every week in how well they mix these character together and have them work so well. This week we see things finally moving forward for the good guys as the bad guys are not getting along and it seems to be breaking them apart. They are about to blow up one of the characters worlds which isn’t revealed until the end, but will the heroes be able to save this earth and all the other universes earths? Will any bad guys actually help the heroes? Well, in great Saturday morning cartoon fashion, we wont find out until the exciting conclusion next month but we get an idea of what may happen. This series is filled with nostalgia and nerdy humor for those who watched any of these shows and offers us more material from franchises we loved which we felt we may never see again. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Saga #24 – A-

(A) In all my years, I don’t think I have ever heard the phrase “stick it in my spinneret.” Saga continues to push the boundaries and introduce new and fantastical elements to an already complex and multi-faceted story. There has not been one moment where I’ve said to myself, “This is just like…” Dream team Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples introduce several new characters in this issue, as well as reacquaint us with several more, reminding us just how deep this story can be. Saga is a one-of-a-kind adventure that will have you laughing, gasping and losing yourself in, issue after issue. – Sherif

(B) Flip to page 17 of this month’s issue of Saga… Got that image burned into your brain?  Good!  Let this now everlasting burn be your eternal reminder of how great this series is.  Contemporary media based entertainment nowadays much too frequently lacks originality and genuine creativity.  Stepping outside the realm of comic books for just a second, think of the last 3 movies you went to see.  I’m willing to bet my Saga collection that at least one of those movies was a sequel, remake, or a “based-on” work.  Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples are the antithesis to this notion.  The story these two creative geniuses have put together rival any story (comic book or otherwise) I’ve experienced in the last 3 years – maybe more.  I can’t urge strongly enough to those who haven’t been following this series the pure enjoyment and gratification waiting for you in Saga.  If you appreciate originality as much as I do, then I command you to read Saga! – Taylor

Rasputin #1 – B

The use of red wine though the first panels is captivating and manipulates the eye to only look at what it wants you to look at. Red, overall, is used through the book to highlight certain moments in different way. Always, in one way or another a life force, the imagery holds fast. The is stark dialogue ramps up the emotional weight of the story. The images are rather jarring and have an intense punch to the gut. Much of the dialogue in the bubbles are replaced with images, such as, a skull in the dialogue bubble instead of words. The effect is haunting. I have always been utterly fascinated by Rasputin and glad someone is taking a crack at his story. If you like the occult and Rasputin like me, you’ll enjoy this book. – Jené

Roche Limit #2 – B

I love how this story goes back and forth between the scientist who set up this new world and the development of the story. Its one part existential crises, one part murder mystery. Cosmic and myopic in the same breath. And yet, both stories are the same and play off one another a sort of cosmic tapestry where all actions and reaction interplay with one another. One person story affects the larger level of the reality. I dig. Also, it’s just pretty, I get lost in the artwork still sometimes forsaking the story. Little less annoyed with the logistics of the story compared to the last book. It’s rounding out and I’m pulled in such a way I wish I had several books to binge read instead of the slow serial reveal. – Jené

Cutter #4 – F

Well, the Cutter miniseries has come to end and may I just say, thank god for that – what a cliché, unoriginal and overall unwelcome storyline. The conclusion in issue #4 offered literally nothing of interest and I kind of hate myself for reading it. What I’m sure was intended to be a shocking ending is extremely played out and I can think of at least three things off the top of my head that offer the same twist of a family member out for revenge for their victimized loved one (Prom Night, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, basically every movie…) I feel bad being so harsh, but honestly the Cutter series felt way too drawn out (in only four issues, mind you), completely unoriginal and frankly boring. The characters were weak and easily forgettable and the writing felt phoned in. I’m not sure writers Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey even gave a shit what happened by the end of it. As a reader, I sure didn’t. Cutter felt lazy and like it was written by people that know nothing about horror and the conclusion of the story only confirmed that for me. Oh, and what I can only assume was supposed to be a “deep” final panel can kiss my ass. I get it, the cycle continues as long as there are people who are too weak to stand up for what’s right. Your social commentary isn’t scary and it only makes me hate you more. Overall, Cutter was worth avoiding, and a huge disappointment. – Keriann

Marvel:

Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 – A-

Personally a Deadpool and Captain America team-up sounds wonderful, but then you add that it is the old Steve Rogers and it makes for the best thing to come out of the Death of Wolverine storyline and off shoots yet. In this we see Deadpool and Steve Rogers teaming up to collect any DNA of Logan/Wolverine so that nobody can clone him or use it for evil purposes. Although the underlying story is about this we actually get quite a good character study of both Deadpool and Captain America in this, showcasing sides of them only Wolverine had seen and helped them with. The ending of it had me a bit worried as to what will happen next, as I am sure any reader will understand and don’t want to give too much away, but I have a feeling it will all work itself out. Although the typical Deadpool humor is still there (seeing Steve Rogers respond to each joke Deadpool makes on whether he got the reference or not was quite funny) but we get a more drama heavy book here but with that we get a story that finally offers us something worthwhile in this never-ending Death of Wolverine saga. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #3 – C-

This week The Logan Legacy covers Sabretooth and his story about Wolverine, and oh, what a completely messed up story it is. Not much has come from the Death of Wolverine event that has been outstanding, even though I have enjoyed it all, but this does not change that as even though it is a entertaining story, it is one that ultimately seemed way off course and mostly just an avenue to show Sabretooth killing lots of people. This issue definitely gives you an idea in how fucked up Sabretooth really is as we see what he did right after Wolverines death and it was not very nice at all. The next issue is going to cover Lady Deathstrike and I have always felt she was one of Wolverine’s best villains, so hopefully we can get a worthwhile story from her and not be a rather unmeaningful story like the last two have been. – Jacob

Deathlok #1 – C-

As first issues goes, this book really isn’t all that impressive or captivating. Hays is living a double live as a secret operative and a single father. That was all that was really established in this book besides a lot of fighting bad guys that seem more like civilian casualties. Deathlok is being used to some nefarious ends he’s unaware of, or so it appears. Everyone needs some fluff in their life, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Still, I am curious about how the story will play out and the relationship between him and his daughter. At the moment the story is more action plot than character development. – Jené

All-New X-Men #33 – D

Between DC and Marvel, there is just too much “alternate universe” crap going on. Here, some mysterious all-powerful mutant girl got flustered, sneezed, and sent everybody to a different universe. Okay, where are the hidden cameras? Joke’s over guys… While the prospect of these guys ending up in different universes is intriguing, and the humor is on-point as per usual, I just can’t see this storyline being unique enough to wade through the whole thing for. Each issue keeps getting shorter, but it doesn’t help me stay interested. Best to just wait for this arc to end before jumping on the bandwagon. – Sherif

Axis: Revolutions #1 – F

I’m sorry folks, but this book did absolutely nothing for me. The first half was just some morality story as told by Spider-Man (ugh…) and the rest featured Doctor Strange (UGH….); all of the magic talk made him sound ridiculous and reminded me of Ron Burgundy on more than one occasion. Save your time! – Cody

 

Oni Press:

Ciudad #1 – D

What do you get when you take Denzel Washington from Man On Fire and Russell Crowe from Proof Of Life, mix them together and throw the character into the chaos of the drug-infested streets of modern day Mexico? Ciudad is what you get! Just in case the previously listed movies draw an involuntary “WTF?” from your lips, Ciudad’s main character is an extractor. A man with James Bond-like skills paid to return the kidnapped to freedom from those wicked and evil enough to attempt to ransom them off. Are you salivating yet? I wasn’t but, different strokes for different folks, right?! The first thing that grabbed me when I opened Ciudad was the art, which is, sad to say, downright poor. From it’s quality to it’s color (Ciudad is completely black and white) it’s leaves you with that lackluster feeling that only bad CGI in a B movie can engender. This is an issue that could have really benefited from color, and that’s not to say that there aren’t some panels that are breath taking (cause a few are magnificent), but the art as a whole takes away from the book. There’s nearly no character development, and what little there is leaves you wanting. Like a twinkie without the cream you’re wondering, where’s the filling? I will say, the action is well done. The language used is very immersive and the action keeps you engaged with brutal yet instinctive violence. It’s just not enough. Ciudad reminds me of Steven Segal. There’s not a lot of substance, and it’s not much to look at, but it can kick some ass from time to time. So open an issue if you’re feeling froggy but like the crime congested streets in Ciudad, enter at your own risk. – Zach

 

Funniest Panel:

Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 funny panel
Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman #35 Awesome panel
Wonder Woman #35

 

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.

Comic Book Reviews 07-23-14

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:

tmnt tit2 cool july 23

TMNT: Turtles in Time #2 A

The second issue in this mini series is definitely much better as far as story goes, and the artwork in this issue is great as well. We see the Turtles travel forward in time from their last destination but it is still the past to them. This time they are in Japan and almost immediately after they get there and get clothes they help out a familiar man as he is getting attacked. We still don’t know much about Renet who is the cause of the time travel until later in this series or we may have to wait for the TMNT Annual coming out later this year where she is said to be introduced as a official character for the series.- Jacob

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #33A

The end of Zero Year is finally here. The showdown with Edward Nygma comes to a close, and one of the best Batman stories of all time is over. The finale is every bit the culmination it was supposed to be, as Batman and Nygma engage in mental warfare, the fate of the city in Batman’s hands. The arrogance of Nygma is perfectly in sync with The Riddler mythos and it makes him a character that you love to hate. The main story is great, highlighted by some great panels that will define the arc, but the real prize are the subtle callbacks to minor Batman details. These range from past Zero Year issues to new aspects of Batman’s past, to the appearance of a newly-designed (and sexy) love interest of Batman’s past. When the debris clears, there’s no denying that Zero Year‘s decision to tackle uncharted territory pays off in a big way. – Sherif

Batman and Robin #33A-

Although Robin Rises didn’t give us the result I wanted, it led to a much more epic journey. The “new” Robin is going to be Damian, and if the picture I’ve seen floating around the internet are any indication, Damian will be returning, but as a reanimated corpse. The issue even pokes fun at the ridiculousness of what is soon to come. As Batman fights the League when they try to stop him from going to Apokolips to recapture Robin’s body. To do so, writer Peter Tomasi reveals the Hellbat armor, which already deserve a spot on our Top Batsuits list. With the League not allowing him to go, what do you think he’s going to do? Whatever the hell he wants. I’m all in on this epic tale. – Sherif

Superman #33B-

Batman has been hogging up much of the New52 spotlight, so it’s about due time that some of the biggest names in comic books saved the book. Writer Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. have instant chemistry, and this new hero (?) is an instantly appealing character, and the mystery surrounding him drives the story without dragging on at all. The major issue I have with the tory so far is that there is a LOT of dialogue. The first few pages are almost half-way filled with words, which was hard to get through when there was no momentum to warrant such long story-telling. The use of the medium succeeds with good art and word chemistry, not pages of talking heads. It doesn’t last forever though; once the book progresses to show our new guest, we get an enthralling story that I look forward to reading again. – Sherif

Wonder Woman #33– C+

By now, word of Wonder Woman‘s new creative team has swept the internet. After this one, we only get two more issues of the amazing Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang before the reins are handed off to the Finchs. Until then, we get to live out the rest of this bittersweet journey knowing that it will be over soon. First born has captured Wonder Woman and has begun his assault on Themyscira. We have all the tellings of a good war tale, but this issue plays out kind of like a bad The Walking Dead issue, with not much development throughout the issue, and one cliff-hanger at the end. In the grand scheme of the finale, this was just collateral damage – the issue isn’t unenjoyable. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

X-Files #14 B+

This issue reminds me so much of classic X-Files, I felt like I was watching the show. Again, with a lot of these TV to comic adaptations, I get a bit frustrated that I am reading a comic instead of watching these stories.  However, this was a good moment for this series as it really connected to me as a fan with the writing and the art. Seeing Skinner, Krychek, Mulder, Scully, and the Cigarette Smoking Man all active and all involved in some huge conspiracy was amazing.  I am sure it will all tie into a lot of the big events from the TV series.  They have made references to a ton of cases and things that may come into play at some point. Although a lot has happened up to this point in the series, you should definitely try and pick this up if you are just getting started in the series or if you were a big fan of the show.-Jacob

Super Secret Crisis War Johnny Bravo One-Shot B

This event at IDW has the child inside me having a brain aneurism because of over-excitement. This issue focuses on one of the robots from the previous Super Secret Crisis War #1 who invades Aron City, the home of Johnny Bravo, who is the famous Elvis looking and sounding, Zapp Branigann type of guy from his own cartoon. Johnny’s mom is missing and other various characters from the show, but ultimately it was a good story for the character development of Mr. Bravo and shows why he was not chosen as one of the main heroes kidnapped by Aku. If you have ever watched the Cartoon Network classics this is a must have, but since it is just a one shot, I am sure not getting it won’t effect you understanding of the main story. -Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Saga #21 B

As much as I enjoy this book, it’s actually painful to watch Marko and Alana continue to drive a wedge between themselves. Alana is busy at work, but has taken on way more than a bigger role – she is on her way to becoming a drug addict. Meanwhile, Marko is rubbing elbows with a fellow stay-at-home parent and they seem to be getting uncomfortably close. There’s also the signature sex scene, which promptly follows the signature murder scene. I love the crazy robot janitor. His character is causing going to put a huge hole in everybody’s plan, and with no motive or backstory to understand what he is doing, he is even more frightening to watch. Saga remains my favorite book from Image, so to say that this issue didn’t strike me as amazing is still saying it’s one of the best books out. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

Deadpool Vs. X-Force #2 B+

This monthly series of Deadpool is kicking the pants off of the Dracula’s Gauntlet weekly series and the main series at the moment! This issue has some pretty good writing and it is wonderful seeing Cable and Deadpool get to know each other during Civil War times. This series has definitely been enjoyable and has been a good break in the overdone and often story lacking series Deadpool has been involved in this year. – Jacob

Storm #1 – B-
 
This week, Marvel debuted its latest solo X-Men character, with Storm.  To give you some background on my love affair with Ororo, when I was a child and all the other little girls were putting toilet paper on their heads to make a veil for Kindergarten weddings, I was using toilet paper to create tornadoes, and then I would control them while I was in the sky, a.k.a. the top of the stairs, and scream “I am STORM!”.  With that being said,  I was a little disappointed in this issue.  The story gave some background into Storm, her capabilities, and where she is now.  However, there was no background for the island she saves or the young defiant mutant who Storm takes back home to Mexico.  I never felt connected with any character, including Storm or Beast.  My predetermined bias forced me to give a high score on this book, but I won’t knock it until there has been more content. – Adrian

 Original Sins #4 – C+

This miniseries and by connection the main series of Original Sin are about to come to a close. In this second to last issue of Original Sins we get to see stories about Doctor Doom, a overweight man playing Captain America in a parade ad of course the Young Avengers Story that has come with each issue. This series has been odd and I tend to be most excited for the stories that last two pages, which is usually something like Howard the Duck (whom I love). It was nice to at least kind of see what Doctor Doom is up to during Original Sin, but ultimately his story was about just some random loser who saw Doctor Dooms secrets. Overall this is definitely not a must have comic even for an Original Sin story line. -Jacob

Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #3 C-

We see the final battle between Blade and Deadpool and more story behind how Deadpool and Shiklah fell in love and got married. But although some of that may sound entertaining the way they dispatch of Blade is a very “No duh!” moment and the rest of the story just seems like it is a very unneeded prequel to Deadpool’s wedding and, of course, extra stuff to add to the whole Deadpool Gauntlet story.  I will continue to read this series as I always find Deadpool entertaining, but maybe the constant barrage of stories for him has made him a predictable and boring character when not written in the right way. -Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

ww 33 funny july 23

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

zero year punch

 

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.