Santa Fe Comic Con is finally upon us! There are tons of things to do this weekend from celebrity signings, to panels, to the cosplay contest, attendees are bound to have a great weekend. For those of you attending the convention, we’ve put together a little must-see list so you can spend less time running around the convention center deciding on things to do and more time doing them.
The events are split into five major sections: Panels (split into Room A and Room B), Concerts and Night Life, Daily Events, The Open Wound Film Festival, and Photo Ops. We’ve included the entire schedule below for your convenience, but here’s a few things we’re especially excited about.
Comic Con Cosplay Safety Meeting – Panel Room A – 10-10:45am
As a cosplayer myself, I was very happy to see this on the schedule. As detailed in a earlier cosplay article, Cosplay safety is extremely important at conventions. These artists are not props to be ogled at, and they deserve respect. Every attendee should go to this panel. As an incentive, SFCC is offering an additional free cosplay token (for use at the Cosplay contest) to everyone who attends the panel.
Power Rangers Nakia Burisse and Blake Foster – “Spin Kicks and Back Flips. Behind the Scenes with the Power Rangers.” – Panel Room A – 11-11:45am
Want a backstage pass to the action behind the Power Rangers? Attend this panel. Kakia Burisse and Blake Foster will be giving attendees some Behind the Scenes insight on how the infamous Power Rangers was shot.
Naomi Grossman “Play with me. Inside American Horror Story.”- Panel Room A- 2-2:45
If you love American Horror Story, you HAVE to attend this panel. No specific details yet on what she’ll be covering about the show, but everything about this panel demands attention. Just going off the title, this sounds like a lot of fun and perfect for the Halloween season.
Hosted by Cosplay Legend Rosanna Rocha, this contest promises to have some really amazing talent. Attendees will be able to cast their vote via tokens given to their favorite Cosplayers. There will be four categories in which to place in: 1) Best in Show will be the Costume that has the most coins with a prize of $100 cash and Free 3 Day pass to Albuquerque Comic Con. Any tie will be decided by the final vote by ROSANNA ROCHA. 2) Best Coin Bag will win a prize of a Free 3 day pass to Albuquerque Comic Con. 3) Most Fun will be decided by Girls of Geek and the prize will be an autographed Girls of Geek Calendar as well as a Free 3 Day Pass to Albuquerque Comic Con. And 4) Most Impressive will be decided on by Rosanna Rocha and will be awarded a personalized autographed print and a Free 3 Day pass to Albuquerque Comic Con.
Making Comics your Living Gene Ha and Andy Kuhn – Panel Room B – 3-3:45pm
If you’re an inspiring artists or writer, this panel is a must-attend. Comic Book professionals Gene Ha and Andy Kuhn will give their tips and tricks for how to make your own comics more lively.
Spider-Man with Sam De La Rosa – Panel Room B – 4-4:45pm
Spider-Man! Spider-Man! If you’ve been on as much of a Spider-Man kick as I’ve been on lately, you’ll want to visit this panel. Spider-Man artist, Sam De La Rosa will be speaking on what makes Spider-Man so great. Details about the panel to be announced.
Kids Cosplay- Judged by Rosanna Rocha and special guests – Panel Room A- 12-12:45pm
You should go to this contest if only for the cute factor. Supporting young Cosplayers is always worthy of your time. Not only is it adorable, it furthers their passion for art and comics, and that’s never a bad thing.
Linda Blair “Still turning heads after all these years” – Panel Room A- 2-2:45pm
This title makes me laugh. If you’re a fan of The Exorcist and have always wondered what that demented little girl has been up to all these years, check out Linda Blair’s panel!
Jeremy Shada and Jessica Dicicco “What time is it?” – Panel Room A- 3-3:45
ADVENTURE TIME! This panel promises to be just as fun as the show. If you’re a big fan of the Cartoon Network kids show, check out this panel with the voice actors behind some of TV’s most lovable characters.
Thomas Churchill “From Concept to Packaging, the do’s and don’ts of shooting your indie film” – Panel Room A- 4-4:45pm
CALLING ALL FILM MAJORS! This is a must-attend panel if you’re an aspiring film maker. Known for his zombie films, Thomas Churchill will teach you everything you need to know about how to shoot your own indie film. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to learn from an incredibly talented film maker.
Al Niuman: The History of Harley Quinn – Panel Room A- 5-5:45pm
“Call me Harley! Everybody does!” If you LOVE Harley Quinn as much as I do, you were just as excited to see this on the schedule. As much as I’m squeamish about what DC has done with Harley lately, I’m excited to see this panel on one of my favorite characters. Plus, there will be prizes throughout the panel! What’s not to like?
Open Wound Film Festival
Just in time for Halloween, the Open Wound Film Festival promises to be a brilliant event for all horror fans. Here’s what the Open Wound Films website had to say on the event. “The Open Wound Horror Film Festival is an independent film competition/film festival, developed by and for Horror Fans. Our festival is being held at Santa Fe Comic Con which will provide countless unique opportunities including Panels, Q & A sessions, signings and more!” The festival will include much of SFCC’s horror themed guests such asLinda Blair of The Exorcist, Fred Williamson of Dusk Till Dawn, Naomi Grossman of American Horror Story: Asylum, Priscilla Barnes of The Devil’s Rejects, Ernie Hudson of Ghostbusters and The Crow among many other guests! Don’t miss this awesome festival! Film schedule to be announced.
We can’t possibly cover everything the convention has to offer, so here’s the full schedule!
Hours of Operation
Friday 4pm -8pm (Celebrities do not come to this preview night)
Saturday10am – 8pm
Sunday10am – 6pm
Saturday: Panel Room A
10-10:45 Comic Con Cosplay Safety Meeting (extra voting token to all who attend)
11-11:45 Power Rangers Nakia Burisse and Blake Foster – “Spin Kicks and Back Flips. Behind the Scenes with the Power Rangers.”
12-12:45 Jim Steranko “Nick’s Fury, blast your way inside the mind of Jim Steranko.”
1-1:45 Fred The Hammer Williamson
2-2:45 Naomi Grossman “Play with me. Inside American Horror Story.”
4-4:45 Manu Bennett “How to stick a piece of metal in your forearm and use it as a hand with AZOG the defiler”
5-5:45 Ernie Hudson “Who you gonna call?”
6-6:45 Tim Murphy “Son’s of Anarchy- Antagonist This”
7-7:45 Cosplay Contest- Format – Token swapping- give your token to your favorite cosplayer.
Saturday: Panel Room B
10-10:45 Lisa Loring The Original Adams Family
11-11:45 Voice Acting with Jamie Marchi and Ian Sinclair
12-12:45 Mark Bode the Art of Being Artsy all the time
1-1:45 Star Wars with Bruce Logan, John Morton, and Dicky Beer
2-2:45 Friday the 13 Part One with Ari Lehman
3-3:45 Making Comics your Living Gene Ha and Andy Kuhn
4-4:45 Spider-Man with Sam De La Rosa
5-5:45 Cherry Comics the first best adult comic Larry Welz
6-6:45 Indi Press Jon Hughes Overground Comics
7-7:45 Closed for the Costume Contest in Panel Room A
Sunday: Panel Room A
10-10:45 Tim Murphy “Sons of Anarchy- Antagonist This: Day 2
11-11:45 Manu Bennett “From Deathstroke to Crixus”
12-12:45 Kids Cosplay- Judged by Rosanna Rocha and special guests
1-1:45 Star Wars with John Morton, Dicky Beer and Bruce Logan
2-2:45 Linda Blair “Still turning heads after all these years”
3-3:45 Jeremy Shada and Jessica Dicicco “What time is it?”
4-4:45 Thomas Churchill “From Concept to Packaging, the do’s and don’ts of shooting your indie film”
5-5:45 Al Niuman The History of Harley Quinn. Prizes throughout the hour
Concerts and Night Life
Friday Night Oct 24th LAUNCH PARTY $5 Cover
8pm to 11pm- Shadeh Night Club. Ari Lehman and First Jason will be performing
11pm to 1am Local Bands from Buffalo Thunder and radio promotion.
1am to 4am Club open for dancing
Saturday Night Oct 25th AFTER PARTY $5 COVER
Noon to 5pm DJ Saunders Playing all ages music within the Shadeh Night Club.
6pm to 10pm UFC VIEWING PARTY WITH HERB DEAN
10pm to Midnight FIRST JASON will perform
Midnight to 4am DJ SAUNDERS
Shadeh Night Club official club party
Sunday Night Oct 26th FREE ADMISSION
12 – 6pm DJ Saunders performing all ages dance music in Shadeh Night Club.
Saturday and Sunday
*DJ Saunders Live ALL AGES in Shadeh 12 noon to 5pm *Sunday Noon to 6
*Bar will be open for 21+ as well as a dance floor for all ages with age appropriate refreshments.
*Blood Drive in the parking lot
*Walgreens Flu Shots in the parking lot
*Ghost Busters Car Photo ops in the parking lot $5 each $50 with Ernie Hudson (see his schedule)
*Anime and Film Screening will be going on in Vista Room B (By escalator)
Photo ops by FROGGYS PHOTOS
1:15…..Three’s Company (Jayce Dewitt/Priscilla Barnes)
3:45…..Power Rangers Nakia Burrise/Blake Foster
1:15…..Three’s Company (Jayce Dewitt/Priscilla Barnes)
2:30…..Nakia Burrise/Blake Foster
Well, that seems to wrap things up. We can’t wait to see what this convention has to offer. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, it’s not too late! Tickets for the whole weekend are $35 for adults and $15 for children. VIP tickets are also available starting at $75. Police, Active Military, and Fire Fighters get in for free! Get them here!
The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebookand 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:
Injustice: Gods Among Us (DC Comics)#12 – A
All of those who have been reading the series digitally, ahead of times, now you can pat yourself on the back and say “I told you so.” Gods Among Us has been much more than a video-game adaptation, and this issue is the best one yet. Superman has completely lost his marbles, and Batman seems to be the only one who has the gall to deal with it. We’ve reached the end of “season one,” but it’s only the beginning of the end for this world under the iron rule of Superman. The Batman-Superman bromance comes to in end in a BAD way. I can’t recommend this series enough! – S
Revelations #1 – B
Image ushers in the New Year with the brand new mystery-thrillers series, Revelations. The series opens in Vatican City, Rome one stormy night. A potential successor to the Pope is dead – impaled on iron fence spokes after taking a long fall from a cathedral window, dropping a mysterious object on the way down. Enter Charlie Northern, a long-time atheist, fan of hardcore sucker for conspiracy theories and London detective. Charlie is asked by an old friend and member of the Catholic Church to investigate the mysterious death of the would-be Pope. By the end of the issue it’s obvious that the circumstances surrounding the death are sure to keep Charlie busy for a while. For any fans of the Da Vinci Code or National Treasure stories – this series is for you. While I’m not a crazy fan for the religious themed plots, I’m never bored by murder mysteries. Paul Jenkins (writer) peppers in just the right amount of intrigue and teasers to keep this series on my radar. That and Charlie’s hilarious inner monologues. The real seller for Revelations though – the art work. Humberto Ramos (art), Leonardo Olea (colors) and Edgar Delgado (colors) present jaw dropping panels. The detail and contrast is worked in very nicely in environments that are inherently dark and dreary. I’m looking forward to experiencing Charlie’s unraveling of the mystery and soaking in more gorgeous panels in future issues. – T
Superman Unchained #5 – B+
Superman Unchainedhas had the honor of having the best creative team in comic books, with writing by Scott Synder (Batman, American Vampire) and art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams (Batman: Hush, New 52 Justice League). This series has suffered from being under-developed, but that stops in issue five. This issue has finally picked up steam, and there is phenomenal dialogue between Wraith and Superman before things get real. This isn’t your father’s Superman. No longer the Blue Boy Scout, Superman has no blind allegiance to the U.S. government. Wonder what it would be like if Superman fought somebody just as strong was. Oh, and a huge nod to Jim Lee playing with watercolor on flashback scenes, as they are simplistically beautiful, as well as the first appearance of Jim Lee’s Batman in over a year. Every comic book fan should hop on board with Superman Unchained. – S
Batman: The Dark Knight #26 – C
The entire issue had no dialogue, but it still says a lot. Chronicling the story of a family torn by tragedy, a girl is taken from the safety of what little family she has left and forced into child labor. The ring leader is none other than the heartless Penguin. Batman catches wind of the scene and investigates, only to be trapped by Cobblepot and Co. The story tells itself with subtle imagery and great inflection. I’m not sure who the Voiceless are, but I’m intrigued enough to find out – something I haven’t been able to say for another Batman title since the New 52 launch. – S
Damian: Son of Batman #3 – C
Andy Kubert has regained a bit of momentum in this third issue, but there’s still not enough going on here to really sell it home – and with one issue left, I really don’t know where this is going. Damian is struggling with being a non-lethal Batman, and one of our Bat-family members kicks the bucket. I love the outfit and the thought of Damian trying to bring Gotham back under Bats protection, but I’m kinda over it. Even the re-appearance of “The Joker” couldn’t pique my interest. I will finish out the mini-series because there is only one issue left, out of respect for Damian, but I’m not expecting much else to come from this series that should have been buried along with Damian Wayne. – S
Dead Boy Detectives #1 – C-
Based off Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series, the two ghost detectives Edwin and Charles are back at it in their own series, Dead Boy Detectives. The debut issue has our duo following a young girl at a art show robbery. They narrowly save her from death and, as a result from her near-death experience, she is able to see them. It’s not a very engaging book thus far, and I’m struggling to see how much more in depth this mini-series can get when there have already been two adaptations of Dead Boy Detectives. Here’s to hopng that we’re not beating a dead horse or dragging Neil Gaiman’s name around for exposure. – S
Justice League Dark #26 – D
In this issue of Justice League Dark (Forever Evil tie-in), the Dark team (Pandora, Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine) are confronted face to face, or rather consciousness to consciousness, with Blight. The dialogue within this issues is corny to say the least; the art however, was a semi-redeeming quality, especially within the first few opening panels. Most of the dialogue wasn’t intriguing or fascinating, and the story itself was moving at a fairly slow pace. With very little action happening within the story until the end, I wouldn’t recommend continuing this story over others. – E
Bad Blood #1 – D-
Bad Blood is the story (sort of) of cancer patient/college student/former footballer Trick. He sulks around and his best friend Kyle tries to cheer him up. Trick gets bit by a vampire who proclaims that Trick has poisoned blood. But then the vamp immediately bites and kills Kyle. Trick feels bad, tells the police what happened, and then tries to find the vampire on his own when that doesn’t work. In theory, this comic seems pretty cool. In reality, it didn’t take a bite out of me (trust me, that pun has more personality than this comic). The main character doesn’t evoke sympathy for his bad health. We don’t know what kind of cancer he has; at least a nod to maybe leukemia would have made the title ironic in the first issue. Also this vampire, he comes out of nowhere and claims to have been eating rodents underground for centuries and that he fears the living world? That just doesn’t make much sense. And after his killing spree, he is never to be seen again. The only redeeming factor about this issue was the nod to the modern age. Trick tries to find the vampire and wonders whether he should check Facebook or Craigslist. It seems that would be where one would start in today’s times. Otherwise, there was no connection to plot or characters in this first issue. The 2nd issue will really have to step up to keep me interested. – A
Twilight Zone #1 – C
Nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu-nee-nuu…bong!! The Twilight Zone was brought to us via comics this week. Issue number one explores the life and times of Trevor Richmond, a successful and savvy businessman that’s grown bored with the routine he’s worked himself into. Looking for a change, Trevor seeks out one Mr. Wylde who heads an enterprise that specializes in giving people “new lives.” Lives that guarantee full and thorough dissociation from the previous – even in a person’s physical appearance. The plot thickens when we learn that Trevor is not just bored with his life; he’s in fact seeking an escape. With all the wealth he’s been earning for his company, he couldn’t help but skim some of the lucrative profit for just himself. Trevor and Wylde strike a deal that will sever all ties Trevor has to his current life and send him back out into the world scot-free and with no risk of repercussions of crimes previously committed. In good Twilight Zone fashion, there is a twist. We’re left with an intriguing cliffhanger on the very last panel that’s got me anxious for the next issue. Other than the allure of the Twilight legacy, there’s nothing outstanding with the issue itself. The artwork is fairly basic, characters are archetypical and the story is heading down a fairly predictable path. The comic book medium may not be the ideal place for a franchise like The Twilight Zone, as I flip back through #1. I’ll pick up the next issue, but if I’m not blown away by pages end I’ll likely opt to continue to get my Twilight Zone fix from the good ol’ black & white series that’s been blowing minds for over 50 years now. – T
Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth #8 –B
Ok, I’ll admit, this is the first issue of Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth that I have read. But I think it says a lot that because of this one issue, I want to go back and read the first seven issues. It is well drawn and colored and hilariously funny. The inside cover alone had me rolling, with explanations of who different characters were, including Mohagany Davis Jr., possibly the daughter of Sammy Davis Jr. The jokes are off-color and not appropriate at all, despite the main character being a little boy, who, because he is ugly, constantly wears a bag over his head. It reminded The story got a little confusing for me, especially because it was a Christmas issue, and I felt I was missing a lot of background, but overall I laughed throughout the entire read. – A
New Avengers #13 – C
Issue 13 of New Avengers Inhumanity arc continues the story of the Illuminati (Black Panther, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, Tony Stake, and Doctor Strange) and the eventual collisions of universes – referred to as The Incursion. Personally, I enjoy how grim this story is. It’s clear that everyone is willing to sacrifice almost everything for one reason or another- the Illuminati to ensure their survival, and Doctor Strange to restore his power to the level it once was. This book brings a dark and somber element to the comic book world, which makes it very easy to get sucked into the story. I can see big things getting ready to happen in the Inhumanity arc, yet I struggle a little bit with how quickly they switch between universes and which group belongs to which Earth, at times it can be a bit overwhelming. I would recommend sticking with this story, though, especially because it is the beginning of a brand new arc where things are beginning to reach their climax. – E
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man #7 – C+
Women make the best super villains. That’s not a slight at the female gender. On the contrary – it’s a compliment. A successful super villain has to have drive, ambition and a ruthless passion to be the best at what they do. Janice of the evil Beatle-team exemplifies these traits in issue #7 of The Superior Foes of Spiderman. From the first panels, readers venture back in time to the humble beginnings of Janice and her “job.” She pulls a sweet rope-a-dope as a pre-teen at a “friend’s” birthday party all the while being encouraged by her mobster father, Tombstone. We skip ahead in time and continue to witness the makings of a superior villain in Janice as she graduates from college (head of her class) and quickly makes a name for herself at a reputable law firm – all a means to an end to becoming the super-villain leader of her own crime syndicate. The comic as a whole is light hearted and fun to read. Janice is a dynamic character and one that’s easy to root for; mostly due to the humorous nature of the issue. The downside to all this is the obscurity of the characters. Granted, I’m not a die-hard Spidey fan. Even so, I was left wanting more insight and background on the supporting cast. The banter was entertaining at least. This origin story issue is a good read, but I’m going to need some conflict in the next issue if Nick Spencer (writer) wants to keep this fan onboard. – T
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 1 A, 1 B, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.33
Marvel Comics: 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.00
Independents: 2 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.25
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
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.
And that, my friends, is how you wrap up the greatest horror series in comic book history. This was a Locke for pick of the week before it was even announced. Kudos to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for an amazing run of almost six years. I won’t judge you if you haven’t read this book, as it’s been critically acclaimed but still very rarely marketed. There are no cliffhangers, monsters or murderers – just closure. It’s a welcome finale when writers are far more concerned with the integrity of the story rather than a spin-off or a mini-series event. As the son of the great Stephen King, Joe Hill has plenty else to look forward to. The only disclaimer I have for this issue is that you must have read the story to understand the gravity or the events of what transpire in the series finale. I know it’s a bummer but you can get started by reading our review of the first volume here.
Harley Quinn #1 (DC Comics) – B+
Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn issue #1 made quite the entrance into her own comic series. Picking up where we left off in issue #0, Harley has packed up all her belongings, at least the ones that were in decent condition after Mr. J blew her stuff up. On her very own Harley, our heroine (to be debated later) is on her way to Coney Island where she has suddenly come into her own property. On her way there, she talks to her beaver (woah, inappropriate) that only she can hear, and rescues an abused dachshund. A girl who likes animals more than people is my kind of girl. The artwork is really amazing. Illustrated by Chad Hardin and colored by Alex Sinclair (Jim Lee’s right-hand man), One of the best panels features Harley pulling up to her new pad. We see all the people of her new hood, including a beggar on the street corner wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and holding a sign that reads “Please help me pay off my student loans. Thanks-V” It’s a nice little nod to the Occupy Movement. The art allows Harley to have a bit of a sexy look to her, but in certain panels we still realize that she is a creepy, crazy clown. She even makes a jab at herself when trying to recreate her Harleen Quinzel look, “That’s what I get for getting an all over bleach job.” Her crazy wit is cute and funny throughout the comic, and we get to see how extreme she can be, especially during roller derby. It looks like this series will be following Harley in her adventures in the big city ala Sex and the City. But we all know Harley is a little less Carrie Bradshaw and a little more Lorena Bobbitt. The only gripe I have with this issue is seeing Harley as such a BA, yet at the end, a dude saves her life. When is Harley gonna be her own woman? Hopefully at some point in this series, Harley will realize how great she is without anyone to save her.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #26 (DC Comics) – C
This issue leads up to the conclusion of the current story arc and while it doesn’t offer anything crazy as far as advancing the plot forward, it does have some incredible artwork throughout. This series has been very hit or miss for me. While I love how awesome Red Hood can be, I personally can’t stand Arsenal as character, and Starfire seems like she should be too powerful for a group such as this. Nothing in 26 issues has changed my opinion of this. I continue to read because of the potential it has to intertwine with Batman; however, since the disassociation with Batman after death of the family, I have been left with a longing for Jason to return to Gotham to dispense his brand of vigilante justice. Only time will tell if this is a book I will continue to read in the future. It definitely has the potential to shine but it will depend entirely on the writers to be able to make it genuinely interesting to read. Perhaps changing the team around wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Supergirl #26 (DC Comics) – B+
If there was a good point to drop into the middle of this series, issue 26 would be the perfect one to do it. Kara does a little souls searching and while in the middle of that, the issue gives a great summary of the events of the last 25 issues. Sure there are some small things that someone just getting into the series would have to catch up on, but none of it is anything major that can’t be read later. What really makes this issue shine how is the introduction of the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy. Lobo! While he isn’t given a large amount of time, what time he is given is well utilized and promises to make this current arc one of the best so far. My only complaint with this series thus far is that it requires you to stay current with Superman and Superboy, otherwise you risk missing out on key plot points due to the way the stories intertwine
Teen Titans Go! #1 (DC Comics) – B+
Teen Titans Go! Issue #1 was a pleasant surprise for me. It was clearly intended for the younger audiences, but was packed with witty humor. I found myself laughing out loud at several panels throughout. This issue was broken up into two parts. Part one is the mystery of who is eating Cyborg’s sandwich. The mystery aspect of the story was very cute with Robin taking it upon himself to interrogate the group. Using black and white panels for this section and giving Robin old-timey detective lines worked perfectly. Part two focuses on a bet between Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy on the mini-golf course. Meanwhile, Raven and Starfire go to the arcade. Raven cleverly uses her levitation powers to get a stuffed toy out of the claw machine. Starfire asks, “But where does the claw come in?” “Beats me.” Raven replies dryly. The wittiness of this issue is what carries it. The dialogue is quick and pokes fun at itself a little. The outcomes of each episode are a little silly, but what else is expected for the teens? Teen Titans Go! is a good read for new and seasoned comic readers.
Wonder Woman #26 (DC Comics) – C
Wonder Womanhas pretty much carried the torch for women in DC Comics for the past few years. Protector, warrior, princess of Olympus – Wonder Woman is by all means a powerhouse. Thanks to some great writing by Brian Azzarello, Wonder Womanhas undergone quite the transition into the fight for Olympus. After a godly issue #23, though, things have quite slowed down. It feels like they’re trying to do too much. There are several different story-lines playing out, and over the span of months, I’m beginning to forget what the big picture actually is. While I’m sure this would read better in a graphic novel format, it’s just too complex of a story to be able to pick up every month. However, don’t let that discount the great character dynamics and fantastic use of Greek mythology; this is still a highly enjoyable book.
All New X-Men #20 (Marvel Comics) – B
Laura Kinney (X-23) is back! She’s popping blades and not taking any lip from anyone! She awakens in the old Weapon X factory, (it’s since been converted to the New Xavier School For the Gifted). Scott and Laura have a heart to Adamantium talk about why the X-Men have time traveled. She explains that she has been tortured for a year and is now being hunted by an anti-mutant group called, The Purifiers. This anti-mutant group is led by William Stryker’s son. Can we say daddy issues? The X-Men gear up and prepare to raid this new threats’ hideout when…
Amazing Spiderman #700.4 (Marvel Comics) – C
Bravo to Pasqual Ferry and Andres Mossa for the cover art. The issue is worth the pick up for that alone. Peter Parker is still in the Kaiser Permanente from hell. He has been admitted to a hospital for criminals. Joe Casey writes some harsh lines about our do-gooder, “Consider his reputation, an anti-hero at best…not exactly Captain America. He would not be missed.” Peter’s identity as Spider-Man has been compromised by the staff and now he is in a fight to get out of there.
Amazing Spiderman #700.5 (Marvel Comics) – D
No rest for the weary. Spider-Man tries to enjoy a nap after a day of crime fighting, and who should come flying through his window? Johnny Storm! Brian Reed writes this issue, Spider-Man and The Human Torch. This issue is a throw-away. The story is rushed, poorly planned and boring. Johnny steals some kind of machine from the Baxter Building that came from future Ben. It will destroy the universe and old flame-boy tries to enlist Spidey to help him get rid of it. The Fantastic Four track him down to retrieve the device. Skip this one and give Superior Spider-Man #24 a shot.
Daredevil #34 (Marvel Comics) – B-
After an odd stint in Stone Hills, Kentucky, Daredevil is back in New York City and back to the main storyline; the Sons of the Serpent, a white supremecy group, have corrupted the justice system and look to be taking the whole city from the inside. This story has been building for about ten issues now, and it finally would seem that Daredevil is gaining momentum against the Serpents. After an empowering speech over the airwaves, Daredevil has gone on the offensive against the Serpents. On display are very run-of-the-mill pages from Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez. The series has lost a bit of the appeal it had in earlier issues, but it’s still fun to read. With the story, and the series’ run wrapping up in two issues, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Deadpool #21 (Marvel Comics) – B
So I’ll admit, I got a bit carried away with Deadpool #20, the ridiculous story about battling inter-galactic monsters in Wakanda. I’m not perfect and neither is Deadpool. This issue has us follow our favorite hero as he continues his journey to separate himself from S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Preston, who is sharing space aside the multiple personalities of Wade Wilson. It doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the whole way through, but having read all the issues, it still doesn’t make sense. As he tries to satisfy Preston by watching Madea he is hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. mercenaries, an irony that is not lost on me. The issue was thoroughly entertaining and full of hilarity. This is the start of the Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D arc, so it’s a great time to jump on to watch the Merc With A Mouth take down the system. … at least for a few episodes until they put out another stupid filler issue.
Scarlet Spider #25 (Marvel Comics) – C-
This final issue in the series really brings this particular story arc full circle. What I find the most dissatisfying is that you could have almost replaced this issue with the first one and ended the entire series right there. It basically felt like a carbon copy of the first issue, only Kaine has the chops to go through with actually leaving Houston the first time. The artwork wasn’t anything particularly special but it was not bad by any means. This ending felt a little sloppy but after reading the afterword, I am assured that this isn’t the end for Kaine. This character has great potential if explored properly. I really like the idea of a Peter Parker that is tainted and willing to go places and do things that Peter Parker would never do. It is the perfect opportunity to explore that dark side and while this ending may have been a little disappointing, I am looking forward to the future of Scarlet Spider when he returns in NEW WARRIORS #1.
Superior Spiderman #24 (Marvel Comics) – C+
Oh great, as if Spiderman wasn’t arrogant enough. With the great narcissistic Otto Octavius at the helm of the Venom symbiote, things are not looking so great for those close to him. Really, enough is enough. You can make him an asshole, you can make him break up with MJ, you can even make him dance around like an idiot in Spiderman 3… but you do not get to disrespect sweet ol’ Aunt May; that is off-limits. As Spidey’s ego goes to his head, there are a lot of things set in motion by the police, the Golbin gang and The Avengers. I like where this is going, as it’s obviously time for Peter Parker to come back from oblivion and return to the spotlight. The weekly splurge of Amazing Spiderman hints that a Parker return isn’t far off.
Samurai Jack #3 (IDW Comics) – B
This month’s issue of Samurai Jack was a nice change from there the series could have gone. With the first two issues requiring Jack to defeat an unbeatable foe, I was worried every issue would follow the same script. So far, Issue #3 is my favorite. Jack, still following the magical Threads of Time to rewind history from his enemy Aku, lands in what seems to be Ancient Greece. He meets the warrior of the town, Gloer the Great of Grantus. The alliterative character shows Jack around town. But instead of having to fight Gloer, as was expected, he sees that Gloer’s town has already been demolished by Aku’s terribleness. The series is already a little Mr. Peabody-esque. This issue is Mr. Peabody meets Stepford Wives meets Disney’s Hercules. It’s very cute, but still a great use of medium to provoke some pretty deep thoughts for the intended elementary level reader. I highly recommend picking up this issue for your new little comic book reader.
We join our turtles after the fallout of City Fall as they drive to a Northampton countryside home where April O’Neil’s parents live. The family is in shambles and I can feel Splinter pain as he tries to repair the damage that Shredder and the Foot have wrought upon his family. The issue is divided between the turtles and their family issues and the O’Neils meeting Casey Jones for the first time. Ah, but the plot thickens! Our heroes had an unwelcome guest follow them to Northampton (Although not unwelcome to me, as this is secretly my favorite character in the book). Meanwhile, April finds out that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the mutagen, and her parents are the one to tell the secret. Ross Campbell has picked up art duties for the main story after doing a couple of the Micro-Series (Leonardo, Alopex) books. Although I was initially sad to see Mateus Santolouco’s grimy style end with City Fall, Campbell’s art is intrinsically beautiful and fitting of the subject matter. As we build towards another storyline, I was thoroughly pleased with TMNT #29, as it serves as a great jumping-on point for fans new to the series while still reflecting on the events of City Fall.
Black Science #2 (image Comics) – A
The second issue of this deep space thriller, Black Science, opened up the story and explained a lot of character dynamic without giving too much away for what’s to come. It’s a captivating sci-fi tale that mixes a little bit of Mass Effect with an 80’s space thriller twist. What Black Science succeeds at so well is its ability to draw in a reader with it’s amazing character dynamics and between-the-lines story-telling. Two issues in and you already know who you are supposed to like and who you are supposed to loathe. Throw in a well-placed flashback scene and now you’re part of the family. First, mutant frog people and now futuristic Native Americans killing Nazis; this is shaping up to be one special series, and it’s not limited to cliches and superheroes.
Saga #17 (image Comics) – A
“The only journalists that deserve killing are sports writers.” Saga is written too well for me to fully appreciate. It’s filled with literary quips. I feel like it’s written only for English majors or burnt-out authors. Needless to say, it’s brilliant. Issue 17 masks its social and political dogma behind vibrant panels and fashionable sarcasm. We find our two journalists greeted by yet another Freelancer named, The Brand. He enchants them with an Anti-snitching potion (Embargon) to impede them from continuing their story about inter-species love. When Upsher and Doff ask The Brand why their writing is so threatening the response is, “It’s the stories with no sides that worry them.” Saga engages everything is our current social spectrum. Nothing is taboo. Homosexuality, popular media, inter-racial relationships, and child-rearing are all on the table. As readers we are also unclear to Vaughn’s stance on these issues. This is what makes Saga so intriguing.
The Will is still bleeding out after being attacked by a possessed Sophie (slave-girl). Gwendolyn is desperate to find help. She makes her way to D. Oswald Heist’s lighthouse. She arrives after Klara’s attempt to save his life from Prince Robot IV. This week’s issue submerges us deeper into this space-opera and will give you a good giggle and gasp (See Prince Robot’s erotic revelation).
Sex #9 (image Comics) – B
Now we’re talking! There’s been a lot of foreplay leading up to Sex, but it seems that the buttons are finally coming undone. What we are shown is a genuine origin story starring our hero Simon as The Armored Saint and his techie sidekick, Keenan. It really brings the story together and explains a lot in the first eight episodes that didn’t make a whole lot of sense the first time through. Guest artist Morgan Jeske’s art has a very distinct appearance from the rest of the series, and gives the issue a very raw, Dark Knight Returns vibe. And, of course, there is raunchy, gratuitous sex – as is expected when your crime-fighting secret hideout is a whore-house. Here’s to hoping that we get more exciting issues like this and less build-up.
Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B
Enter Clone Trooper CT5539, after the Clone Wars and after Order 66. One of Jango’s copies has settled down working and living quite unremarkably on what appears to be a desert planet (perhaps Tatooine – some of the best Star Wars stories star there!). By way of true “events,” Cry of Shadows #1 really has none. The pages are filled with narration and storytelling. Flashbacks and imagination dominate. This isn’t a bad thing though! On the contrary, I was able to connect with CT5539 almost immediately because I was reading his inner thoughts. It’s critical to note that the flesh and blood Vader (or should I say, metal and lube-oil) makes no appearance besides what’s being imagined by CT derived from stories told by drunk cantina-goers. Vader remains a fantasy and a symbol in CT’s eyes. The ferocious tales are vividly and beautifully illustrated by Guzan and Atiyeh. It could be my bias, but Vader remains as imposing and awesome as ever. After meandering through post-war life, CT finds a spark and journeys out to see if the stories about Vader are true. What better way to obtain answers than ask the guy yourself?! The build-up is well done in Cry of Shadows #1 and I’m already anxious to see how the real life Vader measures up to the Vader of CT’s dreams and aspirations.
Ghost #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B-
The series is a continuation of the original 1990’s Ghost series where Elisa, a journalist, uncovers a crazy secret; the Mayor of Chicago is actual a demon in disguise. The possessed mayor banishes Elisa to hell only to have her brought back to the living world in ghost form by two paranormal investigators, Vaughn and Tommy, after which she proceeds to pull the demon from the mayor. That same demon, however, is able to escape and possess a new host – Doctor October. This is essentially where we pick up in Ghost #1. Elisa is still hunting for Doctor October as well as other possessed persons of power in Chi-town. Issue #1 starts out pretty intensely with Elisa kicking serious demon behind on the monorail. There’s lots of plot development in the first issue (as expected) and it makes for a somewhat slow read. Authors Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela appear to be working depth into the story and I enjoy the direction its heading. In Elisa’s return for the demon realm, she only partially recovered her memory; this aspect does much to move the story along and kept me engaged. Demon sketch lack originality, but are beautifully grotesque in detail (props to Ryan Sook). Ghost herself is also pretty B.A. She stunts some really cool tricks and maintains a fearless and confident attitude throughout. I’m looking forward to Elisa’s pursuits to purify her city, recover her memory and take on Doctor October!
Funniest Panels of the Week:
Adrian’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Teen Titans Go! #1.
Panama’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Amazing Spiderman #700.5.
Robert’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Supergirl #26.
Sherif’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Deadpool #21.
Taylors’s nomination for funniest panel of the week from Ghost #1.
Epic Panels of the Week:
Adrian’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Harley Quinn #1.
Panama’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Saga #17.
Robert’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Supergirl #26.
Sherif’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29.
Taylor’s nomination for Epic Panel of week from Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1.
Cover Art of the Week:
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, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Collecting: Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft #1-6
Publisher: IDW Comics
Characters: The Lockes (Tyler, Kinsey, Bode, Nina), Sam Lesser
Writer: Joe Hill
Artist: Gabriel Rodriguez
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 8
Art – 8
Captivity and Length – 9
Identity – 10
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 10
Fluidity – 7
The Little Things – 9
Overall awesomeness – 8
In the wake of Halloween, I found it only fitting to review one of the best Horror/Mystery comics of all time, Locke & Key. Having read it for the first time before reviewing it, there was a lot of hype for these books to live up to, as it has garnered quite the cult following amongst avid readers – yet, at the same time, not many comic book readers I know read the series. What I will try to give you is my opinion from the point of view of a person that just loves good stories, whether they have pictures or not. If being connected to previous comics or superheroes is a must for you, then I can already tell you that this will not be the book for you. Sometimes, you need to let go of all you came into reading with and just experience something new.
Welcome to Lovecraft introduces us to a family recovering from tragedy. The Lockes have just moved across the country to Keyhouse, a large manor that they used as a summer home in Lovecraft, Massechutesetts. This is all fallout from when the father in the family, Rendell, was shot in the face by one of his students, also a classmate of Tyler’s, Sam Lesser. At first, it seems like just another crazy murder, but as we find out, Keyhouse is more than it appears to be. Bode, the youngest of the family, finds out that you can turn into a ghost by walking through a certain door. No joke, he dies and becomes a spirit – at will.
The story can be a bit difficult to follow at first, especially since most of the first issue shoots back between flashbacks and the present day, but it becomes easier once the backstory has been built. While it is innately a horror book, there is plenty of humor to keep the mood light when people aren’t being murdered. Bode’s time as a ghost crosses the genre from horror to fantasy, as he experiences the spirit state with child-like naivety, and is one of the best parts of the book. We also get a good chance to bond with the new characters, a nod to some great writing of internal monologue from a family that has just had their father murdered. But, like in any great horror story, something that starts out cute and innocent turns out to be the doom of them all. Bode’s innocent friend Echo ends up having a mystical connection with Sam, Rendell Locke’s murderer. And he is coming back for more.
I frequently found myself wondering what the hell was going on, not because of bad writing or story-telling, but simply because I had never experienced anything like this before. The writing made me love the good guys and hate the bad guys, although at one point you can’t help but have sympathy for the pawn, Sam Lesser. The art in Locke & Key is very straight-forward and portrays the people in the story with proportional figures and adequately gross horror scenes. Gabriel Rodriguez hasn’t won any awards yet, but he does a fantastic job of portraying what the story is trying to narrate.
At the end of the day, I challenge you to find a better horror graphic novel out there. The depth of fantasy and story-telling elements help to balance the violence and terror in the story, engaging readers but never making them too afraid to connect to the reverie of what is happening. There are keys that let you go through different doors all over the world, a plot point that I couldn’t wait to be explored in future chapters. Locke & Key is proof that not all great comics need capes and cowls, but rather just a great story and the right artist to paint the picture.
General Reception: Locke & Key has found quite the cult following among readers. It’s a fun ride, and legitimately frightening in the art and story-telling aspects. Take your chances on the critically acclaimed series that has an Eisner Award for Best Writing attached to it. They’ve even tried making a television series of the book; a trailer can be found below. FOX axed the series (no surprises there) in 2011, but Locke & Key has since been revived by Universal and a full-length film is in development.
Related Books: After finishing Welcome to Lovecraft, I would recommend jumping right into the second book, Head Games. Other good horror comics on the market right now are: The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, The Walking Dead (although I don’t consider this a horror series anymore) by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, American Vampire by Scott Synder and the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.
More by the writer: It helps when your writer is actually a novelist. And it helps when that novelist is the son of the King of Horror, Stephen King. Joe Hill has written several award winning horror books and short stories, among them: 20th Century Ghosts, Heart-Shaped Box, and his best-selling novel that was just published in April 2013, NOS4A2 (Nosferatu, get it?). While he has written a couple of other one-shot comics, he has been almost exclusively dedicated to Locke & Key since its inception in 2008.
More by the artist: Like Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez really hasn’t done much else in terms of big projects, although he has drawn a number of other IDW comics, including: Transformers and CSI. His style actually reminded me a little bit of Chris Burnham’s Batman: Incorporated, a style that I feel did not work as well for Batman as it did here.
*Screenshots taken directly from comic book using Comixology app. Credit to IDW Comics for the images.