Creator-Owned Spotlight: Deadly Class and Blackhand Comics’ Wes Craig [EXCLUSIVE]

Hush Comics: What is your origin story?

Wes Craig:  Well I was a kid who always wanted to make comic books. I used to write and draw my own superhero stories in grade school. In my teens I made a comic called “J.D.” that was kind of based on me and my friends. I also did other comics like a Viking story, and a story about a man who meets the devil in a bar. 

When I graduated from high school I took a three-year course in Illustration & Design. While I was in there I started mailing away samples of work to DC and Marvel Comics. A had a few years of doing that, sending away samples, getting rejection letters. I got really close to a job when a DC editor called me and told me I was on the right track, I kept sending samples with no real response and then a year later I got a call from the same editor basically telling me the same thing but he’d forgotten that he called me the year before. Hahaha. 

I went to conventions and pitched ideas to Image Comics too, but I wasn’t quite ready yet so they never got green lit. Eventually I got a gig on a DC Comics title as my first paid gig [Ed Note: Wes’ first title was DC Comics’ Touch]. It got cancelled after only six issues. But my foot was in the door. Since then I’ve worked for DC and Marvel on a bunch of their titles – Guardians of the Galaxy was what I was most known for. When the offers weren’t coming in, I’d take jobs in video games, doing storyboards or character design, and work on my own comics.

Then one day, Rick Remender emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in working with him, I was a fan of his work so I was into it. And that brings us to Deadly Class.

HC: You have a very specific style. Which artists did you draw inspiration from when you were learning how to draw? Who continues to inspire you?

WC: It doesn’t feel like I do have a specific style honestly, but that’s probably something that a lot of artists feel. Anyway, when I was learning to draw I was a big fan of George Perez, his work on Teen Titans was the first comic I collected. Will Eisner’s The Spirit was a big one, I used to pick up black and white reprints of that from Kitchen Sink Press. 

I remember the first time I saw Moebius. Katsuhiro Otomo and Masamune Shirow. Brian Bolland. The Image guys like McFarlane were an influence early on. I still go back to a lot of Eisner, Moebius, and Otomo. I love anything from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. Jeff Smith. Paul Pope, David Lapham, David Mazzuchelli and a lot of the indie artists these days, people like Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Emily Carrol, Eleanore Davis. The Hernandez brothers. There’s a lot of great stuff out there.

deadly class #12
Deadly Class #12

But it’s also funny because some of the stuff you don’t like as a kid can turn into your greatest influence. When I was young I didn’t like Jack Kirby or Mike Mignola. Now they’re two of my favourite artists of all time. I just didn’t get it back then. But that’s a lesson to me as an adult, too; just because you don’t like something right away, don’t automatically reject it – maybe it’s the “shock of the new” and your brain just isn’t willing to accept it yet.

HC: What supplies do you prefer to use? Do you like traditional or digital tools more?

WC: I prefer traditional. I have friends who tell me how fast digital is, but I like the feeling of paper and ink. I use digital too, though. Especially in later stages of Blackhand Comics to adjust colors. 

deadly class pencils and ink
Credit to Twitter: @WesCraigComics

For Deadly Class, it’s deadline driven so I use standard bristol board and Sakura Calligraphy pens and brushes. Those get the job done the fastest for me. 

But for Blackhand or other personal stuff I like to change it up and try new things.

HC: What is your process when you sit down to create? Does this change when depending on what role you’re taking on for the project (writer vs artist)? Which is hardest for you?

WC: When I’m drawing Deadly Class, Rick and I usually get on the phone and talk out ideas a bit. Then I’ll get the script (page and panel breakdowns with basic description and dialogue). I usually have ideas for how I want the story to flow, changing page compositions and stuff, and Rick’s always very open to that. The final dialogue is done after I finish all the art. That’s one of my favourite aspects of Deadly Class, it feels very alive the whole time it’s being produced. When I’m doing my own work I tend to plan it to death at the beginning so when I’m doing the actual drawing it’s kind of boring, paint by numbers. So I’m trying to leave more room for improvisation now.

When I write and draw my own comics, I write description, dialogue, and do rough little thumbnail panels all at the same time, then I’ll compose it into a page and go over the dialogue and try to make it work together. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle to try and make it feel like something real is happening on the page, but that’s the challenge.

Wes Craig Blackhand script
Credit to Twitter: @WesCraigComics

So yeah, the process changes completely depending on your role. I find writing and drawing my own stuff the hardest, but also the most rewarding. 

Creating something and seeing it through the whole way kind of IS comics at it’s purest for me.

HC:I noticed that on your Twitter feed, you love sharing your recent sketches with followers – not just Deadly Class and Blackhand material, but a lot of experimentation with techniques and content. Is there any specific experimental stuff you’ve been wanting to fit into your upcoming books?

WC: Yeah, I have a lot of little experiments I’d love to try out. The thing about it, though, is it has to fit the story. I don’t want to shoehorn anything in that doesn’t belong. But yeah, lots of ideas on layering and “cut-up,” for lack of a better word. 

“Layering” has to do with looking at the page and the images as a three dimensional space, layering images and panels on top of each other. Quietly did this very affectively in We3.

A panel from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietlys We3
A panel from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s We3

And “cut-up” just has to do with how comics work, were actions and sentences are broken up, and it creates this staccato effect.  Those are two areas I’d like to explore a lot more.

HC: Is Rick Remender really the biggest asshole in the industry? I know you guys like to give each other a hard time; do you have any stories that would give us an insight as to how your relationship works?

WC: Mr. Remender’s lawyers have informed me that I am to answer all such questions with nothing but glowing praise.

He is a saint.

HC: You, Rick and Lou are probably the best team in comic books right now. Are there any other creative teams in the business that you admire?

WC: Sure. Like I’ve said mostly I’m a fan of cartoonists that do the whole thing themselves but there are a few creative teams that work so well together you’d think it was one person. 

I think we’ve worked well together and gotten that effect sometimes. Unfortunately, Lee won’t be working with us going forward, but you can see his work on a bunch of other great Image series like Southern Cross and Wolf. But we have Jordan Boyd working with us now and he’s amazing, and I think we’ve managed to keep things very unified. Also, Rus Wooton on letters really helps bring it all together. That’s my favourite part of the process: seeing a page where we’re all coming together seamlessly. 

Anyway, I think Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser are great. Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly, too. 

HC: Why Image Comics? What about working with them do you enjoy?

WC: Working with Rick was a big draw, but so was working through Image. They’re just really strong right now, they’re making a lot of good decisions and publishing a lot of good books.

HC: If you could clone yourself and jump on to do art for another title in the industry, what would it be?

WC: Honestly, I’d just do more of my own stuff. Blackhand Comics, and other projects I have in mind for the future. I try and get as much of that done between issues of Deadly Class as I can, but it’s tough. 

HC: Deadly Class comments on homelessness and the lengths one will go for security. How do you think we can help our homeless population, especially our homeless youth?

WC: Well, I think affordable housing is the thing that stands out the most for me. Cities never invest enough in that kind of thing; they say they will then they just keep building condos for the rich. 

Really, I think the best thing is to ask homeless people what they think. But my thoughts on it are that people need dignity and a purpose. They don’t need to be coddled and treated like they’re incapable, they just need a little help, a leg up. And shelter where they can feel secure and human. 

HC: Deadly Class seems to be a lightning rod for teenage angst and rebellion. Do you feel the book has transcended to something beyond the book’s stories?

WC: Well, we hope so. It seems to have reached older people who can relive those experiences with some adult perspective. and younger people who are growing up now, and see things they can relate to. The letters we get really blow me away, how passionate people are about it.

That connection people have, I think that’s the part I’m most proud of. It’s a really violent series, but underneath there’s a lot of heart and real feelings. And we try not to treat the assassin angle like it’s “cool.” Killing is a terrible thing, so when it happens, it’s not some victorious moment; it makes the character physically sick, or it damages something inside of them. I don’t know if I’ve always put that across to the audience, but that’s what I try to do.

HC: If you had to choose one of your books’ worlds to live in, which would you choose and why? Who would you want as an ally?

WC: Man, definitely not Deadly Class, that school is terrible. I guess that short story in Blackhand I did called “Circus Day.” That place seemed pretty harmless. I’d just hand out with the clowns and the freaks all day.

HC: You’ve got a T-Shirt on the way, and I’ve been trying to get my hands on a skateboard deck for months now. Do you see Deadly Class ever being branded the way The Walking Dead is one day?

WC: If we ended up with a TV show or a movie, I’d imagine there’d be some more merchandising. Right now, I’d like to keep it pretty simple, though. 

DeadlyT_Size
You can pre-order these shirts, due in October, at your local comic shop.

HC:You have announced some new Blackhand stories, with more coming soon. How will these differ from the first published volume?

WC: I keep going back and forth on that. I have an overall concept in mind for a second volume, a kind of apocalyptic theme. But there’s other ideas I have too, sometimes I think I’ll just do the first volume and that’s it, other times I want to do it more than anything. So we’ll see. 

Right now it’s looking like I’ll be going ahead with it though.There would be a lot more stories in a second volume and a more standard format. But like the first volume, a lot of dark, pulpy weirdness.


You can find Wes Craig on Twitter (@WesCraigComics), Tumblr (WesCraigComics), Facebook (Wes Craig Comics), or online at BlackhandComics.com. You can even buy original (or prints of) Deadly Class art at Cadence Comics.

Buy Blackhand Comics: Volume 1
Buy Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth & Volume 2: Kids of the Black Hole, pre-order Volume 3: Snake Pit

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Writer

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 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)

WINNER – Scott Snyder

Batman, Superman Unchained, The Wake, Wytches.  The man is a comic book writing machine.  And just because he writes a lot doesn’t mean his quality comes down either.  After all, he does have an MFA from Ivy League university Columbia; the man knows what he is doing. And he is making fanboys and fangirls around the globe very happy with his work.  – Adrian

Second Place – Josh Williamson

josh williamson writer nailbiter 7 best of 2014
Nailbiter #7

 

For me, 2014 was the year of Josh Williamson, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how he wanted it. He was previously known for GHOSTED, but in 2014 Williamson launched two new series both of which have been pretty darn well received by their audiences and critics. Nailbiter is one of the most original and psychologically terrifying horror books to come out in 2014, but Josh apparently wasn’t done there; he decided to break the mold for fantasy books as well when Birthright came out in October. Williamson has a great career in the world of comics, especially for being less than 30 years told, and his unique take to storytelling is no doubt a huge factor in his success. If you’re not a fan or simply haven’t read his books yet do yourself a service and pick them up now. You can thank me later by sending me a nice bottle of wine. Or cookies. – Keriann

Third Place – Matt Fraction

Hawkeye #17
Hawkeye #17

Sure, he looks like Harry Potter’s dad, but Matt Fraction would never make fun of a muggle. Fraction has put in some good work with Marvel over the years, but this year has been an exceptional year for him. With Sex Criminals, Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky have pushed the boundaries of censorship, and his Hawkeye run has been one of the highest-grossing books Marvel has in its lineup. Both of those books have netted him an Eisner Award in 2014. Recently, he has been the writer of Ody-C, an outer space interpretation of Homer’s The Odyssey. If you’re ever bored, check out his Twitter page, where his display name is “butt stuff reindeer.” He’s kind of a weirdo, and I mean that in a good way. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Geoff Johns

Superman #35
Superman #35

If there was a crown for most consistently badass comic book writer, it would go to Geoff Johns. He’s like a reckless magician, introducing amazing and interesting new characters, and then vanishing before they ever really get a chance to live up to their potential or be fully fleshed out. I wish Johns could just write Justice League and Superman forever (not to mention Green Lantern, a book which he ended his ten year run on last year). Where Johns really gets it right is that he sees and plans the big picture before we even see the first panel; there is a plot of planning – logical planning – that go into a Johns story, and where you end up is exactly where you were meant to, and whether or not you saw it coming, you can’t believe that nobody ever thought to do this before. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Rick Remender

remender black science 6 best of 2014
Black Science #6

 

With a pen of righteous glory, Rick Remender has a thing or two he could teach other comic book writers.  This year Remender killed it this year with Black Science.  His masterful way of telling a single story through the eyes of many (with vastly different viewpoints) resulted in me giving standing ovations in the middle of my living room.  Each character he brought to the page had something new to offer.  No one character was driving this ship and that made for very memorable reading.  Remender also knows what it means to let a story drive a genre.  Black Science is all about multidimensional travel – very sci-fi heavy.  But if you were to read an issue with just text and conversation bubbles and all blank panels you’d probably find yourself just as intrigued and captivated.  That’s the sign of a truly good writer.  That’s why Rick Remender is Hush’s writer of the year. – Taylor

Next category: Best Comic Book Artist

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best New 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 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)

WINNER – Nailbiter (Williamson/Henderson)

I love dark humor, and Nailbiter is chock full of it.  Nailbiter tells the tale of a town in Oregon that is home to a few too many serial killers.  People travel there to visit the murder store.  That alone is hilarious.  There are a slew of new murders occurring, and the police are involved.  We are slowly getting to meet the different killers and townsfolk, but the main killer, Nailbiter, is by far the best character in the series.  I look forward to this book every month, and am sure 2015 will bring out some very interesting things about the people of the small town.  Congrats to Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson for an amazing story.  Job well done! – Adrian

Second Place – Shutter (Keatinge/del Duca)

Shutter #2
Shutter #2

“Superhero this, superhero that. I want something different. I want… I want a vast and mysterious world full of danger at every corner. I want a gang of lions fighting with actual ghost ninjas, and ruthless assassins riding triceratops into battle and and and… the main character has to have a cute, unassuming companion. A pet. But not just any pet; let’s make it a ridiculous Japanese-inspired alarm clock cat. Oh, and it has to have a kick-ass artist like, uh… who’s that girl from Denver? Leila del Duca? Yeah, definitely her. Wait, what’s that? There’s a book like that out already? Hell yeah I will pick that up” – you after reading this

Third Place – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey)

Moon Knight #2
Moon Knight #2

He’s the one they always see coming.  That’s the way he wants it.  He wants them to know in the moments before he ends them that they never had a chance.  This is the core of Marc Specter, Moon Knight.  Marvel revived the Moon Knight title this year.  I’d never heard of the hero before this year, but at the suggestion of a friend I picked it up.  Best. Decision. Ever!  For those unfamiliar, Moon Knight is a hero with very unique powers granted to him by the Egyptian deity Khonshu.  If he’s not kicking butt in his blindingly white three-piece suit, he’s doing it in his ancient Egyptian heavy armor.  In one word, Moon Knight is awesome.  I tend to use that term often, but after reading Moon Knight this year my “awesome-bar” has been raised quite high.  Thus I will be using it much more seldom in 2015.  I’m glad to know that a main arc for this series has just begun.  2015 should be an eventful year for Marc as he fights the evil that lurks in the darkness.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my search for my own suit of magical, ancient Egyptian armor.  I don’t know if I can face 2015 without it. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Deadly Class (Remender/Craig)

Deadly Class #3
Deadly Class #3

A boy has to have a dream, and if that dream is to kill President Ronald Reagan, who are you to judge? Deadly Class is another awesome Rick Remender book under the Image Comics imprint that follows Marcus Lopez, common street urchin that gets recruited to a school of assassins. It’s relatable because it’s high school, but also not at all because they are constantly murdering each other. The use of color is phenomenal here; Wes Craig likes using vibrant colors to denote violence and danger – which is a majority of the time. The story has gotten continually deeper, and as Remender fleshes out the background stories of the supporting characters, it has only gotten more captivating since the first issue. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Ms. Marvel (Willow Wilson, )

Ms. Marvel #3
Ms. Marvel #3

I don’t need a comic book character that looks like me to be relatable. If I could relate my childhood struggles to anybody, it wouldn’t be Peter Parker; it would be Kamala Khan. The new Ms. Marvel book, written by Colorado native and Egyptian transplant G. Willow Wilson, follows a normal girl with a good family who is trying to find a way to stretch herself between two cultures. She doesn’t just do battle with baddies, but with all the everyday problems that plague a girl in her position. Aside from the funny Arab-American banter, there is a lot this new generation of comic book readers can learn from a girl like Kamala. – Sherif

 Next Category: Comic Book Mini-Series

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 05-28-14

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:

Deadly Class #5 – A

Just go to your local comic book store and give all your money to Rick Remender, who is also writing the wildly successful Black Science. This book is so unique; from the art and panel layout to the subject matter, I feel like I’m experiencing something new every issue I read. The story is coming as it pleases, and that suits it just fine. We’re getting an in-depth look into the psyche of Marcus, this time as he comes down from his high. While the psychedelic color scheme is beautiful, it doesn’t make me want to ever drop aid. Deadly Class remains one of my favorite books, and it’s in no rush to get where it wants to go, so just sit back and enjoy the ride. – Sherif

Man this issue was absolutely crazy! From opening to close I was hooked and I didn’t want it to end. It has been a long time since I have seen a comic so creative in design and with every panel I had a big smile on my face! I just enjoy everything Deadly Class has to offer and the character development that happens with its characters every week, especially Marcus. When issue 6 comes out I must read it day one especially due to the way they ended this issue. It has been a while since a comic has done to me what Deadly Class continually does to me. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So if you are looking for a great comic, with great art, great story, and amazing creativity, Deadly Class is calling your name. – Evan

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #5 – C+

This series is very entertaining but man is it hard to imagine the crew after the events of Serenity. Although we get to see Mal being a bad ass in this issue, the ultimate story seems slow and there is only one issue left in this mini series. Hopefully we will see more of Captain Mal, Zoe, Jayne, Kaylee, Simon, and River but up to now this series is entertaining to huge fans of this previous TV series and film but ultimately will be lost among those just browsing for a new series to read. – Jacob

 

DC Comics:

Batman #31 – A-

These two guys (artist Greg Capullo and writer Scott Snyder) are the best creative team in comic books. It’s ben a total pleasure reading Zero Year, which feels like a true origin story. As Gotham lay in ruin, Batman must find a way to free the city from Nygma’s rule. After getting knocked off his horse a few times, it looks like Bats is ready to kick some ASS. From dirt bike stunts to lighting a freaking lion on fire, Batman is back in full effect. Deeper still, we get into some embarrassing high school moments, which don’t make a lot of sense… but it’s a small setback in an otherwise superb book. – Sherif

The Flash #31 – B-

This new arc that started one issue ago is really intriguing. Barry Allen has traveled back in time to correct all his mistakes, and plans to cap it all off by murdering himself. It much be a much darker future that Barry comes from. We’re given a deep look into Barry’s relationship with a young Wally West, who has lost his mother in Forever Evil and Iris has looked to Barry to provide some male role model influence, to no avail. There isn’t a whole lot that happens, but future Flash’s run-in with Mirror Master is worth the price of admission – especially when you consider the outcome. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #8 – C+

This weekly series is doing a great job of trying to fit everything into this love letter to the Dark Knight. This week, the GCPD take a definitive stance on Batman, but our new Lt. Bard looks to be following in the footsteps on Jim Gordon. He seems like a good guy, but his timely appearance in Gotham can’t be a coincidence. I’m not a huge fan of the hulkish way Batman is drawn in this issue, but the variety between issues is a better thing than it is worse. Considering we’re eight issues in, nothing has really happened since the second issue, something I can’t really get behind if I’m paying $3 per week to read it. – Sherif

Suicide Squad #30 – C

Don’t cry, folks! Issue #30 might be the “final issue,” but a little teaser tells us that the series will be rebooted soon. Most of the characters in Task Force X have grown in the past year: Manta helped save the world, Harley got her own series (who knows how long that will last), and Amanda Waller turned from full authority to no authority in no time. I lost favor with this book early on, but with the right creative team, Suicide Squad could be a must-read book next time around. – Sherif

Nightwing #30 – D

If this feels like a terrible way to wrap up the Nightwing saga, that’s because it is terrible. From the clunky looking art style to the ridiculously long fight scene, this issue felt like a total after-thought – a way to rope fans into reading Grayson without having to explain any of the crazy shit that has happened in Forever Evil when the series debuts in July. Everything about #30 was supposed to be heavy on emotion. Dick Grayson is faking his death to investigate an underground conspiracy to annihilate super-heroes, and Batman is testing his mettle to see if he can still hang. I found it really awkward since they have full discussions while they beat the crap out of each other, especially when those conversations contain terribly placed quotes ripped straight from Nolan’s trilogy. If you’re looking for a true sendoff for Nightwing, check out Nightwing #29, written by Kyle Higgins, because you aren’t going to find it here. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Samurai Jack #8 – B+

As a Samurai Jack and overall Genndy Tartakovsky fan this issue is wonderful to me and fully deserving of an A but because this issue actually does not feature any dialogue. I give it a B, because unless you are a fan of the show, an issue with no dialogue could seem a bit off putting. This is definitely something the show would do often and carry an entire episode off of no dialogue and I feel this issue does that wonderfully. The art, intensity and great fighting from the series is all there as well which make it a absolute must have comic for fans but maybe could be one skipped along the paths of issues as it seems to be a one off story and there will likely be dialogue back in the next issue. – Jacob

X-Files Season 10 #12- B-

Although this series has been great, there sure are a lot of dead people involved. Well, at least people we thought were dead… So this series has been odd that way almost like it is trying to fix everything wrong with season 9 of the TV series. Even though this is the case, Season 10 has been very enjoyable. It is great to see these characters, as always, but if you were just coming into this series as a former fan or a new one, it would be pretty confusing. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

C.O.W.L. #1– B

This comic is pretty dope! And it’s not like the typical comic dopeness in my opinion. Yes it’s about superheroes, fighting crime, and protecting the city. However, this comic feels more “real” if that makes sense. It kind of reminds me of the Watchmen. With these superheroes being hired by a government entity to combat the crime in Chicago it has more of an authentic feel to it and I find that pretty interesting. Also, I saw something in this comic that I’ve never seen, nor ever thought I would see in a comic book. A superhero peeing on a person in the street. Yeah, that happened. – Evan

Trees #1– B

Okay, this is going to sound weird, but don’t let the fact that Trees doesn’t make sense keep you from reading it. It’s written by Warren Ellis, who has a huge cult following for writing unique stuff (NextwaveMinistry of SpaceFreakAngels, also the current Moon Knight series), so don’t let the obscurity turn you off. Titanic-scale other-world life have decided to make Earth their home, planting themselves in our civilization like… well, trees. The beings aren’t really aware of our presence, but their slightest movements result in massacres. It’s a clear parallel to how we treat the environment around us, but that doesn’t mean the weird sci-fi book won’t blow me away. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

Ms. Marvel #4 – A-

It’s no secret that Hush Comics loves Ms. Marvel. The series has been the perfect blend of teenage angst and cultural commentary, but this month’s issue kicks it into high gear. There’s a subtle discussion about how Ms. Marvel doesn’t have to be the blonde-haired “real hero” people expect. We discover more about Kamala’s powers, and finally give Ms. Marvel her first villain. She’s a far cry from the superhero she will undoubtedly one day become, so to mix it up with a villain who looks pretty capable will be scary. The progression of the story into a deeper conspiracy is totally natural, and I can’t wait to see her fight crime in her burkini. “Die! Spooky Robot Thingy!” – Sherif

Oh snap! Looks like the average every day blonde-haired Ms. Marvel is out and Kamala is in! I love to see this story continue to progress and it is exciting to see the character of Kamala develop in such a real way. Her caution and courage play well together and now that she is stepping out and no longer relying on her shape shifting I think the audience is in for a real treat. We don’t know who this villain is but I’m willing to bet that in this next issue we are going to see some pretty crazy stuff between Ms. Marvel (in Kamala form) and The Inventor. – Evan

Guardians of the Galaxy #15 – B-

Filthy Earthers. The Guardians of the Galaxy have been captured. One by one, they were sold off. We don’t find out who did this, but the whole thing smells like a conspiracy. Speaking of conspiracy, how do you put Captain Marvel on the cover and not include her in the issue at all? It will be interesting to see how they each individually deal with their own personal hell – and see how Venom fits into all of this. There is enough momentum and action to carry what is a very vague storyline thus far. – Sherif

Deadpool #29 – C-

I gotta give some credit to the writers for attempting a deeper story here, but at the end of the day, Deadpool needs slapstick humor and violence to get by. No matter how intriguing the story may be, if one of those elements is missing, it’s likely to disappoint. With this being an Original Sin tie-in – like practically every other Marvel book right now is – I expected more of a punch with the reveal, but instead we get a big, fat filler. Sadly, it reminds me of DC’s Harley Quinn series, which is not a compliment. – Sherif

 

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.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib and Evan Lowe and Jacob Robinson

Comic Book Reviews 04-30-14

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:

Funny Panel 5-2-14

Amazing Spider-Man #1 – A

Welcome back, Peter Parker! This week has been the best for Spider-Man. Peter has just got his bearings back as the web crawler and he is happy as ever to be back in the driver’s seat of his own life – even if he has no idea what happened during Otto’s reign as the Superior Spider-Man. There’s a lot of fallout here, and while some of it is explained to new readers, the point of this issue is to sit back and let the experience flow over you. There’s plenty of time to catch up to how messed up Otto left things in his stead, but for now, enjoy this love letter to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. – Sherif

Talk about getting things started off with a bang! I really enjoyed Superior Spider and the changes that Doc Ock brought to Peter Parker’s character, but I never realized how much I missed the genuinely hilarious humor until this issue. This issue had me laughing almost from start to finish. It should be interesting to see how his not knowing what happened while he was gone will make for some interesting and surely hilarious situations. It is hinted at that he may have to dig into the mind of Octavius to gather some information about the last few months so that could potentially be interesting. The other big unknown is Dr. Ock’s girlfriend that he was living with and left behind. I don’t see how she could ever replace Mary Jane but I don’t see any reason for Peter not to at least give it a shot. I figure that she will figure out he isn’t the same person and they will end up splitting up. This issue was amazing and surprisingly a good jumping in point for new readers as the beginning gives a small history lesson. – Robert

For the return of Peter Parker this comic was just okay; in the book’s defense, I haven’t read any of Superior, so the subtleties are lost on me. I like the fact that Peter is trying to figure out all that happened while he was gone and that so much of his life has changed; however, I have no idea what direction this comic is going. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong about the comic, it told a decent story, brought back Spider-Man in classic Spidey fashion, some good ol’ web slinging action, but there was no kick. No punch, no defining moment to bring it all together. Still it was a good read, and I would like to continue to see Peter Parker continue on his journey back to life. – Evan

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4 – B+

The fourth issue of this series is filled with references to the show and film from past characters to Wash’s dinosaurs in the cockpit. In this issue we see River dreaming and figuring out there were many others imprisoned inside the laboratory she was tested on. After this happens, Jubal Early knocks nearly everyone out and ties them up but Kaylee shows up and knocks him out with a wrench. Once everything is back to normal they drop Jubal out on a planet and continue to the Lab but they have to stop and sadly team up with the Operative from the film because he is the only person who can help them get into the lab. Meanwhile while all this is happening, Zoe is throw into a prison and kicks the crap out of a fellow prisoner (it’s about time we saw her be her normal awesome self) before he beats the crap out of another person. The crew gets to the lab and right as they make it to the door a ship shows up and Jubal seems to distract and fight off these guards while River and the crew fight their way into the lab where the scientist who tested on River is waiting. He compliments, insults and says all sorts of stuff to them only to release the other girls he tested on and finished before River warns everyone to run. This series is just great for anyone who was a fan of the series and movie but can definitely see how anyone who had not seen either would be totally lost; although, I am not sure why you would read this series if you had not seen either. – Jacob

V-Wars #1 – C+

A world war against a fabled monster? The actual title? If this doesn’t scream World War Z rip-off, then I don’t know what will. There are some different plot points, most pronounced being that the vampires are sentient, and that there is a bigger conspiracy to fuel the war with the living and the undead. I wouldn’t call this a total loss; the art and the explicit story carried my interest through the whole issue, but I see this being much more of a guilty pleasure read than the next big thing. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo:

Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs Bane #1 – A-

Well, the big DC event, Forever Evil, is drawing to a close – except, the final issuehasn’t been published. I guess we can assume that the JL takes care of business and Batman returns home to Gotham to clean up the mess. Only thing is, Bane has actually been doing a good job of it. He took out the trash and now has a legion of Talons patrolling the streets. However, this is Batman’s house. We get a good old fashion ass-kicking between Bane and the Bats, in all its onomatopoeic splendor. The one-shot wasn’t supposed to be much more than the signal that the Bat is back in town. – Sherif

Batman: Eternal #4 – B+

Four issues in and Eternal is building a complex story, and doing it without having to bounce off of several other Bat-titles. The pre-Batman side of Gotham – the corruption and scandal in the justice system are coming out of the woodwork now that Jim Gordon is locked up. It’s a scary and uncertain time, and even though Batman thinks he has things under control, the looming danger is not good for anybody. I really like the appearance of Bagirl here, too, and to see her clash with the Dark Knight makes my stomach drop. This series continues to impress. – Sherif

The thought of Commissioner Gordon being locked up in Blackgate makes me both worried and excited at the same time. I’m worried because I can’t recall a time where he was ever killed and this could be a perfect time to do it. I get excited thinking about it because he was former special forces and I think it would be a cool opportunity to show just how much of a badass he actually is. He wouldn’t have to hold back the way a typical officer would so we could show some potentially badass scenes of him beating up multiple inmates or thwarting assassination attempts. The plot with Batgirl spiraling out of control seems almost too cliché so I hope they have something else planned for that. Batman is business as usual which means that they have something planned to turn that upside down shortly. – Robert

Things are getting juicy. With Batgirl on the case to search for who set up her father, things are going to get very messy and/or fantastic. However, can she do it fast enough to keep her father alive seeing that he has a new home at Blackgate? This is a solid story and I can’t wait to see more. So many different things are happening with Batman and Falcone, the Penguin, Pyg, Gordon, the G.C.P.D. and so much more it’s all very exciting. I think this next issue will be something special and I cannot wait to see what becomes of Gordon. – Evan

The Flash Annual #3 – B

The Flash is really gaining some traction. After the largely successful Flashpoint arc in 2011 and news of his own CW show, the third Annual kicks off a pretty intense arc. Switching between the present and twenty years in the future, Annual #3 gives us our first New 52 Wally West (who some may remember as the Flash in the Justice League cartoon). The future that Flash finds himself in, who is blue in color and seemingly unstable from decades of abusing the Speed Force, is a dark one in which future Barry Allen must cross a certain line with Gorilla Grodd. If you haven’t been sold on The Flash series, then this issue should push you right over the fence. – Sherif

IDW Comics:

X-Files: Season 10 #11- A

This is the type of X-Files I remember! Although it involves Saudi Arabia and terrorists blowing up a oil refinery, this is the type of mystery, who dun-it type of story that encompassed the series so well. In this issue we see Mulder and Scully visiting Saudi Arabia because of a weird case and instantly Mulder thinks things are fishy because of the footage they show him of the incident. He of course sends it to the trusty Lone Gunmen and as they analyze it they figure out a mysterious figure appears out of nowhere after an explosion. Scully goes to visit the hospital that is holding the people who were injured in the incident and is quickly rushed out of one room when she then pulls a fire alarm and goes into another where another injured man is who tells her a man blew everything up. We go back to Mulder who was talking to the Lone Gunmen in a computer lab when he notices men behind who start shooting at him and as he flees he jumps out of window and a s he lands a man is standing there who knows who he is and tells him not to do it making Mulder wonder who he is. The man lowers his scarf and it is Krychek, whom if you watched the show you know as one of the main antagonists along with The Cigarette Smoking Man. This leads me to wonder where this new arc is leading and it will likely be one where if you have not read any of the rest of this series, this is a good place to start. – Jacob

Dexter’s Laboratory #1- B

It is great to see new Dexter’s Laboratory in any capacity, but IDW is turning almost all of Genndy Tartakovsky’s classic cartoons into comics, which is great for me. This short run of Dexter’s Lab is all about Dexter finding out a way to finally get rid of Dee Dee. It starts with him having a whole planned out morning to have his intelligence increased to the maximum amount possible, with Dee Dee out for her dance recital, Dexter thinks he is safe to start his experiment but then Dee Dee shows up right before he starts because she forgot her shoes and she of course destroys everything. This infuriates Dexter and he wishes he was an only child which gives him an idea for an invention to grant wishes. He then waits until bedtime and uses his invention and both his and Dee Dee’s rooms light up and then To Dee Continued… This is definitely going to be an enjoyable series helping to lead up to the giant crossover event of all the Cartoon Network shows that IDW is planning and Much like Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack and Rocky and Bullwinkle IDW is bring back childhood nostalgia like crazy. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Black Science #6 – A-

This issue marks the end of the first arc in Rick Remender’s Black Science, and damn is it good. The story has been going at breakneck speed since the first panel, and wraps up with literally no room to catch your breath. Remender has slowly been feeding us background information on the major conspiracy, but with the crazy turn of events at the end of this issue, there are limitless possibilities as to where this story will go from now on. – Sherif

Southern Bastards #1 – B+

Jason Aaron, the guy who brought us Amazing X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men, returns to give us Southern Bastards, a tale about a man who returns to his hometown forty years after his daddy, the town Sheriff, died. He immediately finds out that the town is not what it was; it’s now controlled by a man who goes by the name Coach Boss and some type of Confederate gang. There’s a fair amount of mystery around it, but there is enough here to make me want to buy the next issue. I mean, any book that begins with a dog taking a shit screams gold, right? – Sherif

Dream Police #1 – B+

What is happening?!?! I have no idea but I think it’s awesome. There is so much happening and so many components to this dream world. Dream Police, architects, shifters, nightmares, all of this is just crazy. I’ll be honest, I’ll probably have to re-read this comic several times to fully understand what is going on. Nevertheless, I think the concept is awesome, almost Matrix-like. Dream police that are supposed to make sure people dreams go the way they are supposed to, seems like a heavy job but Joe and Frank…or Katie…or whoever make it look easy. This comic is very interesting to me and for those who have a wild imagination, this one is for you. – Evan

Deadly Class #3 – B-

Deadly Class continues to impress me. Even though this issue wasn’t as action-packed or full of violence, it has some really great story-telling and character development. It’s obvious what is happening to Marcus mentally after what he did in the last issue; however, there are still so many mysteries surrounding his new life and what will become of it. The way the story is told through the eyes of a drugged up kid who claims to be the “Acid King” then instantly regrets it, allows us to see what sort of mind-frame Marcus is in. And I love it! Still a big fan of this comic and can’t wait to see what comes next. – Evan

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #26 – B+

As the team regroups from the events in The Trial of Jean Grey, we get some great introspection of Jean Grey and an awkwardly fruitful conversation between her and the present day Scott Summers. It was like a Dear John letter for all the long-time X-Men fans out there. Artist Stuart Immomen and his team put together one of the most beautiful issues All-New X-Men has seen thus far, and the cliff-hanger we leave on is an instant sell for the next issue. – Sherif

Wolverine #5 – C+

This issue was basically filler – which is fine because we are starting a new arc – but I was hoping for a little more in terms of content. We do, however, get a few new facts about Logan this issue. We find out that he is being poisoned by the Adamantium in his body and now he has a tattoo of a Rose on his arm. It is hinted that there is a deeper meaning to the rose but is never actually stated explicitly. I’m not sure if we are supposed to know or not but I am sure they will point out exactly what it means eventually. I’m curious to see whether or not the tattoo will stay when his powers inevitably return. It seems this is really just the beginning of a new arc so we shall see where things will go from here but the writing has gotten steadily better since the start and hopefully will continue the pattern from here on out. – Robert

Hulk #2 – D+

This series seems to be rather bland as it is going on. After the first issue it was kind of exciting to fantasize about what would happen to Hulk when he is smarter than Bruce Banner now. But after this issue it seems like nobody in this book knows what is going on. Although I still love Hulk and will read this series to see where it goes, it is definitely one of the weaker series for this character so far. In this issue whoever shot and kidnapped Banner revives Abomination and sends him out to find Banner. Maria Hill starts ripping into Bruce Banner when she finds out Abomination is coming so he can turn into Hulk and as soon as Abomination shows up. A huge fight ensues and everyone flees but one dumb local guy who argues with Maria Hill until some weird robots show up and are about to shoot down both of them. So not a whole much happened in this book to further the story itself but we got to see Hulk fight for the first time and maybe Abomination will have just as much brain damage as Bruce Banner or something… – Jacob

They said in Tropic Thunder that you never go full retard but that is exactly what has happened here. Why they thought that taking one of the most brilliant minds of the Marvel universe and turning him into the retarded character Ben Stiller played in that movie was a good idea is beyond me. I can’t even begin to imagine how they are going to repair his mind but they had better do it quickly because retard Bruce Banner getting mad at a sandwich container and destroying a whole town isn’t going to hold anyone’s interest for very long. If Barbara Gordon can walk again then Bruce Banner should be creating his Bannertech in no time. – Robert

Man, this comic just kind of sucks. And that is coming from a Hulk fan. Personally I think the story is pretty stupid, and it just doesn’t play as something exciting or interesting. Bruce Banner with brain damage is simply Bruce Banner who acts like he is five and it all is just dumb, dumb, dumb. And it makes me sad. The only thing about this comic that keeps me going is that I want to know who did this to Banner. But the story, the action, the “mystery” that ended this issue just has no substance to me. I hope and pray that this comic will get better, but I do not have high hopes for it. – Evan

Origin II #5 – D

I can’t help but wonder what the hell the purpose of this whole sequel to the original Origin was really for. I guessed a few reviews ago that it would show the start of the feud between Sabertooth and Wolverine and it appears that was exactly what they decided to do here. Sabertooth is a central character to the Wolverine mythos, especially lately, but I don’t really feel like they did a great job showing the beginning of a feud that lasts a few centuries. I don’t think they introduced a conflict big enough to hate someone for over a hundred years. I mean it is borderline ridiculous to think that someone could hate someone so much, over a woman no less, that either would devote the next few hundred years of their life trying to make the others life hell. This is especially true for Wolverine seeing as how he has had numerous other lovers that he has loved arguably even more than this chick. All that being said, this entire series felt like a wasted opportunity that doesn’t even begin to stand up to the original. This should have been renamed something else as opposed to being the sequel to one of his greatest storylines. – Robert

I’m really disappointed with the way this mini-series ended. Matter of fact, aside from a solid #1, I’m disappointed in everything about it. Aside from a few stand-out panels, there was nothing about this story that drew me in. The attempt to capitalize on the success of Origin failed mightily, and you’re probably better off skipping this entire installment. – Sherif

 

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.