Comic Book Reviews 11-04-15

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:

howard the duck 1 RTJ

Howard the Duck #1 – A
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones

Like always, Howard the Duck ends up being my favorite comic of the week and so much of this is due to my past love of the character, but much of my love for this new and the pre-Secret Wars series are due to Chip Zdarsky’s fantastic writing! It is such a great mix of classic and modern Howard that it melds together better than peanut butter and jelly. This story seems to take place not that far after the events before Secret Wars, but Howard is still depressed and feeling out of place. Despite having his new Skrull friend Tara Tam and Aunt May starting work at his office, Howard still wants to get home to Duckworld, despite hating it there. So Howard and Tara take a trip to ease his stress, only to find out that is was a ruse from Howard to try and find a portal into the nexus of all realties, with help from his old friend Man-Thing. But Man-Thing is busy with the Howling Commandos of Shield, so Howard is left with a couple villains trying to use the portal and ends up in yet another stressful interaction for our duck detective. Also, Gwenpool WTF?!?! – Jacob

Second Opinion (A)Anyone else feel a little uncomfortable with how hot septuagenarian Aunt May is? It’s making me question myself. Seriously though, I really love this duck. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Klaus #1 – A
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora

It’s really hard to not give a Morrison comic an A+ on merit alone. But this book exemplifies why I hate the most commercial aspects of Christmas: the tradition handed down to us from, literally, Woolworth’s is garbage. All the stories are insipid, and the lesson of all of them is that desire is the kindling of magic. This Klaus, however, is awesome in a way our chubby fat guy in a red suit never is. Klaus is a wanderer outside of some place very Germanic and very frozen. He wanders into the wrong town (which used to be the right town) and is kicked out and nearly hunted. The town is run by a despotic and despondent family who, because of desire, have lost all sense of life. There isn’t much exploration of Klaus as a character in this first issue, but an image painted of what kind of world needs a Santa in the first place. This Santa’s pretty metal, and a little psychedelic. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (B)I’ll tread carefully for fear of coal in my stocking, but the book needs to do a better job of merging silly tone with extra-violent theme to really get on my Nice list. The art, though, is freaking incredible. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League Darkseid Wars – Flash #1 – D
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Jesus Merino

Man, DC Comics is feeling like a lame college party trying to compete with a new fraternity rush. They are completely being outdone by Marvel in every way. Even the Darkseid Wars, which is one of DC’s strongest arcs right now, is being watered down by the multiple spin-off titles. Batman’s spotlight last week wasn’t bad, but this one was just awful. Barry’s obsession with saving everyone has forced him into a stand-off with Death. Sloppy art and a few “profound” moments later, and you’ve successfully wasted $4. – Sherif


Justice League Darkseid Wars – Superman #1 – F-
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Bong Dazo

I wish I could truly tell the world how much I hate this issue. We get it – dickhead Superman is not relatable. He’s also a douchebag who yells at the waiter for not getting his apple pie in 3 panels. It’s basically a superlative for every stereotype we’ve ever thrown at DC for the Man of Steel. Super seriously, it’s something not even Mad magazine would wipe their ass with. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself, DC. – Sherif

Dynamite Entertainment:

James Bond #1 – B-
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Masters

This was a pretty quick read because there were no words for the first seven pages. Which is a little odd. However, I just finished watching Spectre, and this was a decent read in comparison. I like a story where drugs are considered bad, and this let’s us know from the get-go that we dealing with some bad people. It’s hard to tell how well this story will unfold, but for now, it was a decent first issue. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C+): I liked this iteration of James Bond. I especially like the parts with no words and lots of killing. – Sherif

IDW Publishing:

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #46 – B+
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Alex Milne

When I saw Grimlock on the cover, I peed a little. TF:MTMTE has excelled at playing its cards close to its chest, and playing a long game. I think it’s been at least two years since we last saw Grim. Fort Max is sailing the universe rounding up former Decepticon fugitives guilty of selling Cybertronian technology. He runs across The Scavengers, a team of well meaning and mostly harmless Decepticons, who have been unknowingly been involved in a sort of robot trafficking scam. They’ve also been taking care of Grimlock who, the last time we saw him, was wondering aimlessly with seemingly no thoughts in his head. The story isn’t particularly ground breaking, and his return isn’t quite a world breaking fireworks show (nor is it a full return yet, from what we can see), but the whole comic was a sweet character study of some pretty minor characters. – Montgomery

Image Comics:

Monstress #1 – A
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda

Damn. One amazing start to a new story. This creative team is a force not to be reckoned with. To be honest this was the first time I’ve heard of Liu, but after looking her up she has quite the resume on her.  She’s worked on Astonishing X-Men and Black Widow. At the end of the comic Liu says she got the inspiration for this comic from this stories her grandparents told about horrors they experienced during World War II. She wanted to write a story about survival, racial hatred, and the concept of fighting something monstrous. I really loved the fact that this was 75 pages instead of the usual 15-25. I don’t think I could have handled this same story taking three week to get to.  Maika the main character of the story and are is too good for that. Yes, let me wax poetic about the art. It is come of the most beautiful and intricate stuff I have seen in a long time. I found myself getting lost/wondering in the panels longer than I do with most comic books. It really begs you to sit with it longer. The narrative also treats you like you’re part of the world and doesn’t give you any heavy exposition. You’re exploring the world as the characters move though the plot. Creep factor that still makes me squirm: the witches of this series literally cut the Arcaics into chucks and eat them in order to absorb their power. So very gross, but also interesting in terms of creating a certain type of magical system. I highly recommended that people read this story. I don’t think many will be disappointed in what is all trying to be accomplished here. – Jené


Elephantmen #67 – A-
Writer: 
Richard Starkings
Artist: Axel Medellin

For Walking Dead fans, I compare this issue a lot to this last week’s episode with Morgan and his Yoda-esque idol Eastman; I am left wondering much like with Glenn, and similarly, I am wondering what happened to Ebony in Elephantmen. This issue, although just as action-packed, gives us little hope for Ebony and even makes us even more terrified of his outcome in seeing one of those damn alligators dragging him and biting his leg before going back to the action with the main crew for this story. Despite the action continuing and all the Elephantmen and their friends being in terrible danger at the start of this issue, we get to see a great flashback with Trench and how he actually saved Agathe years back, which must be pretty damning realizing how many Elephantmen he killed after that day. We leave this issue with just as much anticipation as the last ,wanting to know more now and making sure our heroes are fine… At least in the month until we find out what happens next we will likely find out about Glenn on The Walking Dead. – Jacob


Axcend #2 – B
Writer: Shane Davis
Artist: Michelle Delecki
Colorist: Morry Hollowell

In the last issue the in game betas started to show up in real life, which also includes the special in game powers. At the start of this issue we are introduced to the real life persona of Rayne. In this case she is a famous pop-singer gamer also called Rain. Rain is that pop star that tabloids love. She’s big on sex, drugs, and drinking. She’s also a world class gamer. She pulls Dog out of the game and they track down Morn and now they are teaming up to stop Ruin before he gets his beta. Ruin is sort of an unstoppable killing machine so it would be in everyone’s best interest if he was stopped. Maybe next issue. – Scott


Paper Girls #2 – B
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Cliff Chiang

I like how little dialogue there is in this book. The art and colors are still really mesmerizing to me, which helps me read it quickly. I have more questions than answers this time. Is it demons? Time-travelers? Aliens? The Japanese? I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out. Also, I hope the cool girl isn’t really dead. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C): Just because no Remender book can be normal reading, Paper Girls gets way to convoluted way too quickly. Hopefully Remender can help guide readers to the actual story sooner than later. – Sherif


Nailbiter #17 – C
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson

That was disappointing. I still love this series, but what a bunch of filler. There was nothing that was memorable. The most important players in this issue have had little to no time in the series before, so any revelations that were to be had seemed minuscule to the audience. Better luck next time, I suppose. – Adrian

Second Opinion (B-)Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoy Nailbiter but at this point it feels like they are building up so much intrigue, and so much mystery that there is no way the actual climax will live up to its own hype. I’m really into the new story lines outside of Buckaroo at this point, but I can’t shake the feeling that even after all these issues we all haven’t accomplished much. – Keriann


We Stand on Guard #5 – C
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce

Call me bitter, but I got really bummed when I found out this would be a six-part mini-series instead of an on-going tale. All the momentum and excitement I felt I’d have for years is now going to be boiled down into one final issue, and for that to be the case, I was largely underwhelmed. Turns out that Amber’s brother is still alive, in some weird prison with Chief McFadden. There are some interesting moving parts in the story, but it doesn’t feel much like a climax is building. Vaughan is now killing characters at will now to help wrap things up. I’m just really disappointed – for a minute there, I almost really liked Canadians. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Invincible Iron Man #3 – A
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

I love everything about this book. I’m ready to let go of all inhibitions and just be an Iron Man fan. Bendis has made this book hilarious but action-packed, the tech upgrades are subtle yet impressive, and the art, holy cow, the art is spectacular. This is by far my favorite book of the All-New All-Different launch, and mostly because it keeps me dying of laughter while actually having a story to tell. Some books fail by being so funny they don’t think there needs to be a story, or taking themselves so seriously that they have been pigeon-holed into not being relatable. This is a complete 180 from the a-hole Tony Stark in Superior Iron Man, and I am loving it. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)The art is still off the wall. The “rude” retorts are hilarious. And it is good to note to say “Hail Hydra” to anyone if you want to date them, just to make sure. You never know. – Adrian


Star Wars #11 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

The was full of actiony goodness. There was excellent pacing between the three story lines happening at once. It didn’t feel clunky going from storyline to storyline. Watching Chewbacca fight Dengar was pretty sweet. I like these look-ins on these lesser known characters. Luke is busy fighting a giant beast that regularly eats lava monsters, so that’s no good. We finally got the story on the whole Mrs. Solo thing, to so surprise it was a way to con someone. My favorite bit came at the end though when we got Han being Han. – Scott


Doctor Strange #2 – B+
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

There seems to be a pattern with these new Marvel books of using a two issue arc to tease at a larger narrative. It’s not bad, but it makes the introduction to these “new” (new like the 60s) worlds seem a little shallow. The librarian with the maggot cursed brain continues receiving help from Strange (spoiler: she gets better). Strange’s magic goes wonky. In a serious missed opportunity, she wanders into a room in Strange’s house that leads to a wasteland paved in bones roamed by the walking dead. I want to go into THAT world! I think the problem with this story and the Vision story is half the world is populated by characters we don’t really have much reason to care about (the librarian isn’t a very gripping character, especially given who Strange drinks with) and making them the focus. Whatever. I’m old and nearly dead. These are comics for Dora-the-Explorer hologram children. I can read it or lie in the street and wait for nature to reclaim my corpse. Note: not actually nearly dead. – Montgomery.


Extraordinary X-Men #1 – B+
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

What Jeff Lemire does best is taking something that’s been convoluted and over-complicated, and making it feel organic; he did it with Green Arrow, and Justice League Dark, and here again with Extraordinary X-Men. There are some gaps in time that beg some explaining to new readers, but it’s a wonderful transition from the last All-New X-Men canon. Not only is Old Man Logan joining the fold, but Illyana (one of my favorite X-Men who never gets any shine) and Piotr are back. The mutant “situation” is worse than ever, with mutants being hunted down like animals, and the Terrigen Mists eliminating the possibility of new mutants sprouting up. It’s X-Men at its roots, something that I am completely behind. – Sherif


Deadpool #1 – B+
Writer: 
Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, Val Staples

This issue starts off in a grand Deadpool fashion with craziness abound. Just like most post-Secret Wars titles, there isn’t much explanation offered as to how things got to where they are. Despite being all over the place, and having TONS of Deadpools, it was very well done, and even ties into the Uncanny Avengers title a little bit, which will help explain how Deadpool is an Avenger now and why and how he is helping fund the Avengers. Gerry Duggan comes back as writer in a grand Deadpool fashion: plenty of laughs, confusion, and bloody action. It also has plenty of nods to Deadpool’s pre-Secret Wars life with glimpses of Shikla, Adsit, and Preston, but not enough to know how they are or why Adsit has a huge beard. Mike Hawthorne’s pencils and Terry Pallot’s inks are fantastic for this issue and give me lot of hope for Deadpool art in the coming future, and Val Staples colors complete the trifecta of art into near Perfect Deadpool fashion. – Jacob


Drax #1 – B-
Writer: 
CM Punk, Cullen Bunn
Artist: Scott Hepburn, Matt Milla

Drax finally has his own modern series where we see his adventures outside the Guardians, but it proves to be a little lackluster when compared to Rocket and Groot’s solo adventures. I am sure in time this story will flourish and my negativity may just come from the fact I enjoyed/ am enjoying Rocket and Groot’s solo adventures (even if the other is in each others stories). This story worried me from the start though because the modern take on Drax has a very dry sense of humor to it while also having the potential to be extremely violent, very much on the same side as Deadpool, but at least Deadpool knows he is and tries to be funny where Drax is funny by just being dead serious. I do have to say CM Punk (with Cullen Bunn) had a great story here for his debut with his full series for Marvel and can only see him improving which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the series. Scott Hepburn and Matt Milla’s art is a spectacular mix of near surrealism and realism mixed into comic book fashion. Definitely a style I am totally down with. – Jacob


Nova #1 – C+
Writer: Sean Ryan
Arist: Cory Smith

Ugh. I hate kid heroes. “How’m I going to balance school work and killing giant lizards? What if Lizzie won’t go to the prom with me? Oh no! All my acne ruptured inside this helmet!” Dumb. What’s with all these “stay in school kids!” messages in all the Marvel books I’ve read this week? This book wasn’t terrible, but I feel like it’s a waste of time to pick up a book about one of Marvel’s cosmic heroes and have half the book be about seeing a movie with your buds and passing an English test. I mean, seriously, I’ve got another five paragraphs in me about this topic. It’s the same reason I hated Sesame Street as a kid: if I wanted to see regular sauce humans stumbling around being horrible and stupid, I’d just pay attention to the noxious swarm buzzing around me 24/7. When I pick up a book called NOVA about space cops, I expect to see some space action, not literally rescuing cats from burning houses. Spider-Man can handle that. I mean, also regular people can handle that. Like I said, the comic isn’t horrible, but if I don’t get equal parts space adventure in my space comic, I couldn’t care less about a hero’s personal life. – Montgomery


Vision #1 – C
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Vision is one of those characters whom I really love and identify with, but for whom finding a good story seems impossible. Since the new Marvel turned things around with Doc Strange, I had hopes for Vision. But I was kind of let down. The premise is that the Vision has made a family for himself and wants to live as normal a life as the thinking feeling son of Ultron can (so, that’s the origin we’re sticking with?). He has a wife, a son, and a daughter. The book has a cool premise, but it spends so much time trying to be literary in that way that screams “THIS IS WHAT SITCOMS THINKS WRITERS DO” that nothing really seems to happen. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but, look: Because, yeah: nothing screams well adjusted like high schoolers. Maybe the point is that Vision isn’t as intelligent as he thinks he is, but things like this smack more of lazy writing, or perhaps some kind “let’s get the kids reading the comic books” PR initiative, than something the Vision might actually do. I feel 100% convinced that someone as smart as him would watch TV for 15 minutes and, correctly, conclude, “Oh, for sure, school is the last place I want to to send a person I have any hope of being balanced. And then they all get murdered. But probably not. – Montgomery

 


Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

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Comic Book Reviews 10-28-15

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:

rumble 8 POTWRumble #8 – A
Writers: John Arcudi, James Harren
Artist: Dave Stewart

Things have calmed down since the first appearance of Rathraq but on Halloween Night he’s back, sword swinging. Bobby seems like he might have a normal life, but we all knew that wouldn’t last. In this issue he’s Good Guy Bobby helping two kids find their mom. I really like how Del has become his own character, always brave although maybe not the smartest guy. Of course Bobby isn’t going to go back to a normal life and it’s Halloween so why wouldn’t a new adventure start that night? This issue was a lot like the very first one. By that I mean it seems like a normal day and Rathraq’s appearance is very sudden. If you haven’t read the story previously you could actually jump in now without too much of a problem. This is a great book for Halloween. – Scott

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Adventure Time 2015 Spooktacular – A
Writer & Artist: Hanna K.

The stories about Marceline and Simon way back in time just following the Mushroom War are some of the most somber and gratifying. I think it was actually a Simon/Marceline flashback in the cartoon that keyed me into Adventure Time’s zany dynamic. In the Spooktacular, Marceline’s mostly grown up wandering the wasteland with her dog after Simon has gone full Ice King and abandoned them. This story doesn’t do much to clear up any of the mythology’s (large) dark and unknown spaces – we still don’t understand how Marceline got the way she is or where she is – but it’s a pretty somber and intimate look at the world post-Mushroom War. Marceline treks the waste and finds a settlement of humans living in fear of vampires. She goes hunting and vows to outlive all of them. So Marcy’s for sure not a vampire. I love the art in these Adventure Time comics. It bends my brain a little bit that a cartoon based on such a simple art style could be the progenitor of such lush and complex themes and representations. – Montgomery

Dark Horse Comics:

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953-The Phantom Hand & the Kelpie #1 A
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Ben Stenbeck

Much like the Adventure Time Spooktacular, B.P.R.D. and Hellboy side stories are almost always gratifying; they might not progress the mythology or central story, but they give the world real weight. Of the two stories here, “The Phantom Hand” is definitely the superior. In 1953, Hellboy and his adopted father, Trevor Brutenholm, along with a local occultist travel to London to investigate reports of a murderous ghostly hand. They find the hand and discover it’s the hand of a child murderer who claims the devil made him do it. Turns out he wasn’t lying; his hand was possessed by a large and powerful demon. Hellboy engages in fisticuffs and manages to beat him back with a surprising object. The real hook of the story, however, is when Trevor remarks on Hellboy’s power and potential, and how he seems to have natural ability, where others fail, to eliminate these threats and literally change the atmosphere. It’s actually quite moving. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League 3001 #5 – B+
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen
Artist: Howard Porter

I still love this book. This particular issue felt more like a holding pattern than it did progress, but it was a marked improvement over the last issue. One of the Starro horde now lives with Green Lantern in order to learn about and perhaps to come to accept the League. Green Lantern is having weird lapses in memory that just may be her hose DNA trying to crawl back to the surface of memory. Meanwhile, Batman and Supergirl (god Supergirl is so badass in this book) are hunting an impostor Batman on the prison world, and Lois Lane’s robot slips to Superman about her plan. I guess a lot of story did get progressed. It’s just that this issue is busy setting so much stuff up that it felt like no one thing in particular happened to make this issue memorable. But that impostor Batman? Stylish. – Montgomery


Prez #5 – B
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Ben Caldwell

What would happen if America apologized for all of our crimes? Well, it turns out, that is a tough question to answer. Either way, it made for a pretty interesting story line. But what was best about this month’s Prez was that War Beast escaped Guantanamo Bay, and then headed to a church group. It was so hilarious I spit out my coffee. Make sure to scroll for our funniest panels to catch the zinger of all from this issue. – Adrian


Justice League Darkseid Wars: Batman #1 – B-
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Fernando Pasarin

First of all, let me just say that Batman looks utterly ridiculous rolling around Gotham in a giant Tron chair. The gist of this issue is that Batman is now going through Gotham with his all-knowing super chair and stopping all the crime before it happens – and he’s being kind of a dick about it. It’s all very reminiscent of Superman/Batman #53 where the two switch powers. It’s kinda corny, especially when “it gets personal.” However, the issue ends on an exciting note when Chair Batman is looking to take on The Joker again. I’m curious what kind of continuity is taking effect in Justice League since it clearly isn’t in line with Batman. – Sherif


We Are Robin #5 – B-
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: Jorge Corona
This book is still really interesting to me, but this issue was a little blasé. We did find out more about Izzy and her background. The crew was then sent to find out more about the nest. There are so many unanswered questions still. I do think this was a bit of a filler issue, but I’m okay with that. There is enough mystery here to keep me going. This is one of the best DC book out right now! – Adrian

Batgirl #45 – C
Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Colorist: Serge Lapointe

The wedding is finally upon us, and as always, Barbara finds herself pulled away at the last moment. Dick Grayson makes an impromptu appearance for… seemingly no reason at all other than to bug her. Everybody loved Grayson before the elaborate death faking incident, but now he just seems to be hanging around town like the cool guy from high school who can’t move on. For Babs, though, there is a huge growth moment for her where she pretty much tells Dick that she’s moved on and that he shouldn’t hold her back anymore. It’s quaint, but there isn’t much else to lean on as far as the book goes. – Sherif


Art Opts #1 – C
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artist: Mike Allred
 

So… art is alive. There’s a secret organization that helps paintings/art wondering around the streets. There’s a man with an artsy squiggly hand and shadows that are alive that can rip off arms. A masked vigilante whose mere presences makes people sick and helps works of art in the whiteness protection system and some sort of evil trying to destroy art. Yup, that’s pretty much everything going on in this comic. I think it poses an interesting exploration into the whole concept of life imitating art/art imitating life sort of kit and caboodle. It’s a very strange and disjointed narrative that’s aim is more philosophy than story, but interesting none-the-less. I’m not sure if it’s something that I’ll be able to keep up with but it has my attention for now. – Jené

Second Opinion (D): While the art was crisp (and it better have been, it’s a book about art), the dialogue was often cheesy. It was almost as if the characters weren’t really supposed to have dialogue, but should have been thinking something to themselves. Instead, it came off as trite. And none of the characters were likable, so that didn’t help either. – Adrian

IDW Publishing:

Transformers Redemption #1 – A
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

I think the this month’s theme for me might be “side stories.” I feel like almost every book I’ve reviewed thus far has been a side story. In Redemption, the four remaining Dinobots struggle for purpose in the wake of armistice and their missing leader, Grimlock (I think we saw him once maybe 30 issues ago, suffering from amnesia and discovered by the hardcore Decepticon group? But not since?), and struggling to keep Slug’s restlessness and rage from pulling them down. Sludge is the triceratops in case you didn’t know (which you almost certainly didn’t). Believing their purpose is to do the dirty stuff for the good guys, they take a shadowy mission from a couple Camiens and one of Starscream’s secret police. It’s a pretty cool story with some interesting twists and very cool noir like narration that doesn’t feel canned like a lot of superhero narration. By the end of the book, the Dinobots end up adding a member to their group (but not who you think). Much like the Hellboy side stories, I love when the writers of the TF books slow things down to really focus on a neglected group or group and imbue them with character. But I can’t help but wonder when Grimlock’s coming back. – Montgomery


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 – C
Writers: Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman
Artist: Ken Garing

The all-new saga of TMNT begins after a magnanimous ending to issue #50 left Splinter “honor-bound” to The Foot. After one issue, I am not impressed. The new art from Ken Garing is actually more on par with the original gritty Eastman work, but it doesn’t look as polished and appropriate as Santolouco’s pencils did. Plus, Raphael is just about as into this Foot thing as I am, and Mikey on his own is a sad sight. The reign of The Foot may be over before it begins, and there are several new players about to create waves. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here, but this issue gets a big “meh” from me. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-)This issue may just not be up to par for me because of the insanity that was issue #50 but it still was my favorite of the week. I can not wait to see where Michelangelo’s story arc here begins to go!

Image Comics:

ODY-C #8 – A
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Christian Ward

I can’t believe this is only issue 8. I feel like I’ve been reading this series since I was in high school, or something. And, finally, on the 8th issue, I’ve discovered the secret to reading the comic, and it’s the same advice one of my favorite professors gave me: read it out loud. I read it out loud, and for the first time in months, I feel like I have a grip on the story. Now that we’re in the Arabian Nights arc (of which I know nothing, so I’m picking up almost none of the references), this one follows two brothers confined to a kingdom of their making. Their lovers leave and get involved with each other, so the brothers murder everyone. It was nice to feel like I had any sense of what was going on. And Christian Ward continues to deliver the best visuals in current comics. I don’t want to spoil what’s happening in this picture, but that’s an entire country built out of the bones of a single person. So, y’know… hobbies? I guess? – Montgomery


Black Magick #1—B
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Chiara Arena
 

As first issues are concerned, I’m extremely excited about this series. It’s the first time in forever that a witch has been painted in a light that’s not some evil spawn of the devil. Anything that connects to the Salam Witch Trails has my attention. I guess having an ancestor hang for witchcraft will do that to a woman. So far the story is mystical yet realistic and pulls you in right away. At first I thought it might be something akin to Witchblade. It’s not. It’s way better than then that. And the art is fracking spectacular. Breathtaking even. The sort of noir art style is amazing. And the one color page that highlights Rowen’s powers shows the power that the artist is leaning to the narrative. All in all I’m really excited to continue reading this comic book. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B+
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Brent Schoonover

I have to be honest and say I have no idea what I just read here and how it fits together, but despite that fact I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Since the Howling Commando’s made of monsters appeared in the Secret Wars Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos series, I was hoping we would get some variation of that team. As a monster fan , and a big fan of the character Man-Thing, this series seemed right up my alley and I have to say, despite being majorly confused at how things got to where they are in this issue I found it to be everything I wanted from this series within this first issue even with the robotic Dum Dum Dugan. I have complete faith in Frank J Barbiere’s writing after this issue and expect much more explanation as the series goes on. Brent Schoonover does a spectacular job on the art mixing all these different monsters together from the incredibly bad ass  Hit-Monkey to the rather dumb Zombie Jasper Sitwell., Definitely a great series to sart so close to Halloween! – Jacob


The New Avengers #2 – B+
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval

I missed the first issue of this, which is a shame because the first issue might have been an A+. This issue was still pretty good though. The only minus (which seems pretty significant, hence the drop of a whole letter grade) is that the crystal headed guys are actually NBD if you just scream right. Way to deflate all the tension. Also, how does Squirrel Girl beat up a sub-hulk exactly? At any rate, the Avengers post-Secret Wars, as I’ve commented elsewhere, has a very Grant Morrison feel. I kind of wish maybe Grant Morrison would be allowed to do for Marvel what he does for DC, like, twice a week. Those Lie Minus crystal headed guys seem ripped right out of Doom Patrol. And the concept of Life Minus seems ripped right out of Kirby’s Fourth World and the bulk of Morrison’s DC work, which centers around the anti-life equation and universal conquest. But the Ultimate universe Reed, called the Maker, who is totally bonkers, is the guy behind it all. I’m a little exasperated that we’re only two issues into the all new all different Marvel universe, and Maker is already talking about other universes. What was the point of the last year, Marvel? What? Was? The? Point? Anyways, the demon he conjures is pretty badass, and Morrison as anything that’s Morrisoned a Morrison. – Montgomery


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 – B+
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
I was worried this book might lose some of its allure since it is the second reboot in only a year. I was proven wrong, and I love when that happens! The new series starts in Doreen’s sophomore year at Empire State. She and Nancy have a place together, and the whole team seems closer than ever. There are some allusions to Doreen’s place in the New Avengers, and there are lots of good jokes surrounding that. Doreen’s number one fan came to town, a.k.a. her mom. There was a lot of play with just how embarrassing but also awesome moms can be. I thought the “bad guy” was a little silly, but I am still happy that Squirrel Girl is around. – Adrian

Chewbacca #2 – B
Writer: 
Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto

The second issue into Chewbacca’s adventure without his cohort in smuggling Han Solo brings him to the point where he is helping a young girl named Zarro free her friends and family from the evil gangster Jaum. This issue focuses on them basically getting to where they need to be and starting their plan, but it ends at a place where we don’t know if anyone survived. Gerry Dugan does a good job writing, especially for Chewbacca seeing as all he says is, “Hraa, Rawrrrrr!!” and similar manuerisms. You definitely get the point across by the great art of Phil Noto as well making sure Chewies expression comes across very clear and we know what he is thinking simply by the illustration. Duggan of course has the supporting cast help out with the emotions and plot but overall this series seems to just be getting its footing and the end of this issue leaves us eagerly awaiting the third issue. – Jacob


Deadpool vs. Thanos #4 – B
Writer: 
Tim Seeley
Artist: Elmo Bondoc

The final issue in this series finally brings us the versus in Deadpool vs Thanos and boy is it an insane battle. After Deadpool and Thanos finally find out where Death is they along with Black Talon head straight to her location to find she is prisoner of Eternity because of the chaos she has caused in, well, all of eternity. Eternity battles Deadpool and Thanos and ends up actually killing them but Death brings them back as the undead to battle Eternity but Thanos gets a little out of control and Deadpool has to try and take him out before he actually destroys everything by killing Eternity. The story ends well and we see a couple epic battles, but overall the series was a little disappointing in that the journey to the good end was a bit unneeded. That is not saying it isn’t an enjoyable ride, but the series could have had a bit more substance to it and a little less mindless journeying. I do have to say Tim Seeley’s writing is enjoyable the whole time, despite some of it feeling filler material and Elmo Bondoc’s art is what really carried me through the series. – Jacob

Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.