Best of 2014: Movies – Best Comic Book Movie

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 Movie

  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  • Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

WINNER – Guardians of the Galaxy

There’s no way you thought it could be anything else, right? The pelvic sorcery was just too strong with this one. With Marvel constantly putting out sequels and reboots and team-ups, this film of the most rag-tag group of a-holes in the galaxy was a deep breath of fresh air for fans. It might have been a way to say, “look, we can make a movie starring a talking raccoon and a tree and you’ll love it,” or it could be a sign of Marvel’s willingness to finally look outside the box, but any movie that can take that lazy idiot from Parks and Recreation and make him an international sex symbol is worthy of some award. – Sherif

Second Place – Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-best-of-2014-comic-book-movie-runner-up.jpg

What’s not to love here? This movie not only had awesome special effects and fight scenes, but it also had a plot element that reverberated through the entire marvel cinematic universe including the television show. If that wasn’t enough, they even cherry-picked some of the best scenes from the comic books including a snippet from the Civil War storyline where Cap breaks out of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. While this wasn’t the first Marvel movie to follow The Avengers, it is the first one to follow more of the aftermath of that film as most of Thor was spent on Asgard (or at least dealing with that problem). We actually get to see the continuation of that plot as well as the buildup to the next Avengers movie. – Robert

Third Place – Amazing Spider-Man 2

the-amazing-spider-man-2-best-of-2014-comic-book-movie-runner-up

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out this year. That sounds silly, but when thinking about a year in review, this movie’s premiere seems like it was ages ago.  Perhaps that’s because it felt like a classic comic movie to me.  I for one loved this movie.  It had scenes and dialogue that would appeal to all audiences, and at it’s core, that is what any Spider-Man movie should do.  While the ending was controversial, it was cannon and beautifully done.  It’s too bad that there were other films that came out this year that overshadowed this film; it may have done better last year.  However,  I think this is one will stand the test of time. – Adrian

RUNNER UP – X-Men: Days of Future Past

x-men-days-of-future-past-best-of-2014-comic-book-movie-runner-up.jpg

What can I say that anyone who’s been reading comics for more than a minute wouldn’t already know? It’s the movie of one of the best X-Men comics ever made – an apocalyptic future where sentinels readily hunt humans, and a little time travel is needed to fix it. These new X-Men movies are killin’ it, and I couldn’t handle how into this movie I was when I saw it in theaters. I do wish Kitty Pride had been the one to go back in time instead of Wolverine, but, Wolverine is apparently what the people want. Maybe the best thing about this new installment, though, is how it undid the unfortunate events of X3… by making it so that it never existed. – J.H.

RUNNER UP – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-best-of-2014-comic-book-movie-runner-up

This will be a hard one to slice, and no pizza or sword pun intended there. This movie sure received a lot of hate and skepticism before the movie ever came out, and most people never shook that. To me, though, this film may not have been the best made comic book film (which definitely goes to Guardians), but TMNT gave me a feeling harkening back to my childhood and watching the original live-action turtles, which came out when I was only two…weird… Ultimately, they did Michelangelo right and as a man who owns a winter wardrobe where I look just like Mikey I can say that was enough to earn my approval. With Bebop and Rocksteady already confirmed for the sequel, you can bet I will be first in line all dressed up and ready to go. – Jacob

Next Category: Best Straight to DVD Movie

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Artist

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

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

Best Comic Book Artist

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

WINNER – Greg Capullo

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

Second Place – Fiona Staples

Saga #19
Saga #19

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

Third Place – Mike Henderson

Nailbiter #2
Nailbiter #2

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

RUNNER UP – Mateus Santolouco

TMNT #38
TMNT #38

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

RUNNER UP – Leila del Duca

leila del duca artist shutter 2 best of 2014

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

Next Category: Best New Series

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Creative Team

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

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

Best Comic Book Creative Team

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

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

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

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

The Walking Dead #128
The Walking Dead #128

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

Third Place – Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo (Batman)

Batman #32
Batman #32

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

RUNNER UP – Tom Waltz & Mateus Santolouco (TMNT)

creative team tmnt 39 best of 2014
TMNT #39

 

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

 

RUNNER UP – John Layman & Rob Guillory (Chew)

Chew: Volume 8
Chew: Volume 8

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

Next Category: Best Comic Book Writer

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Series

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

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

Best Comic Book Series (Monthly On-going)

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

WINNER – Batman (Snyder/Capullo)

 

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

Second Place – Saga (Vaughan/Staples)

Saga Best Book Best of 2014
Saga #22

 

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

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

tmnt 41 cover
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #41

 

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

RUNNER UP – The Walking Dead (Kirkman/Adlard)

The Walking Dead #121
The Walking Dead #121

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

RUNNER UP – Black Science (Remender/Scalera)

Black Science Book Best of 2014
Black Science #5

 

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

Next Category: Best Story Arc

Fifty Two 80’s: A Totally Awesome Shop!

This month we are not going to review a single item, but rather we will review an entire era: the 1980s – yes, we went there. You may ask how we accomplished this feat of time travel? Was it Police Box, Delorean or a hot tub? No, we stepped through the threshold of a magical emporium called Fifty Two 80’s: a totally awesome shop.

5280s

Item/Place:

Fifty Two 80s a Totally awesome Shop!

 

What it is:

A store entirely dedicated to items right out the 80s and early 90s. These good people stock mostly toys, but also have some clothes and iconic posters from that era. Here’s just a short list of items I found of interest: Voltron with all the Lions, Garbage Pail Kids collector cards, GI-Joes from 84-89, a Captain America poster from the 80’s TV show, PeeWees Playhouse toys/videos, Plush Gizmo from Gremlins, WWF actions figures, and a full sized Chewbacca cardboard cutout. You can see many more of these items in the video above and the pictures below.

IMG_3187 IMG_3186 IMG_3183 IMG_3182 IMG_3181 IMG_3180 IMG_3178 IMG_3177 IMG_3174 IMG_3173

How Much it Costs:

The cost is so affordable you can’t miss the opportunity to go to this store and step back in time. Items range in price from a few dollars to around a hundred dollars. Most items I saw were under twenty bucks. These items are not in perfect or A+ condition and might be missing a few parts. That’s what makes this store special. Everything is meant to be enjoyed without having to spend a fortune to relive your childhood. This isn’t a thrift store either! All the items are laid out and displayed with care. If you are looking for something specific and they have it, you will find it. You don’t have to dig through bins or shelves of random brick-a-brack to find that special item that will trigger those joyous memories of your childhood.

Is It Worth It?:

This store is beyond worth it – from the casual to the hardcore collector and everyone in-between. I’m a casual collector and have some nearly mint items that could go for hundreds of dollars. The down side is, neither myself nor my kids really get to enjoy my collectable toys anymore because I’m trying to retain their value. Fifty Two 80’s gives you and your kids a chance to enjoy toys from the 1980’s and 90’s. These vintage toys are very inexpensive and in a condition that begs to be played with. While I was at Fifty Two 80s my eight year old son ran around this store discovering a whole new world of toys he’s never seen. We ended up getting three GI-Joes and a couple of loose Star Wars Micromachines for fifteen bucks! These prices will blow away any bargain you find on ebay. They do have some better condition items that go for more and even those are set at amazingly low prices. If you happen to be in south Denver, stop by Fifty Two 80s a Totally awesome shop. Talk to Tony or DeDe, the co-owners, about any item you find. They are very knowledgeable and totally awesome people!

5280s a Totally Awesome 1980s shop:

1874 S. Broadway, Denver CO 80210

Store Hours:

Wednesday – Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

Saturday- noon to 5 p.m.

Sunday – noon to 4 p.m.

Comic Book Reviews 08-27-14

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:

 

Saga #22

Saga #22 – A

I didn’t think that the best fantasy series out could get any better, but somehow Brian K. Vaughan blew the doors even further open than they already were. The universe just got a little bigger, as we’re finally introduced to King TV, and it’s about as amazing as you’d expect. The honeymoon phase of Marko and Alana’s relationship is over, while other pieces begin to connect in the story, giving us a morsel of the big picture – and it is going to magical. This is one of the best books out, hands down, so if you are on the fence about catching up with it, let me confidently drop-kick you over to the side where you start reading. – Sherif

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Dream Thief Escape #3 – A-

I am a fan of Dream Thief Escape.  I am kind of sad that this is only a 4 issue story arc, but I think sometimes that helps move the story along, a complaint about other comics that have no foreseeable ending that I hear a lot.  This month, our Dream Thief, John, is about to break his pops out of the big house when he is possessed by a drug dealer named Whiteboy Tim who needs to avenge his own death.  I like that the book still has an end point, yet can introduce new characters that have some depth without letting them hang on too long.  And the dark tone of murdered people possessing John’s body is nicely broken up with some humor, and I’m a sucker for dark humor, so it really gets me.  I still think the art work in this book is incredible.  It captures colors perfectly, portraying the pinks and oranges of Florida and Georgia so well.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something, but doesn’t have time to get attached to a series. – Adrian

POP #1 – B

For all intensive purposes POP #1 deserves a C grade.  So why did I give it a B?  Two words.  Dustin Beaver.  You’ll understand when you read the issue.  The concept here is pretty neat and unique, but not quite awe inspiring.  I think the mini series structure will serve the plot well.  I appreciate the sci-fi angle as well – I’m a sucker for all that.  If the humor and high tech are kept in good supply then this series will be a winner. – Taylor

Sundowners #1 – B

You know the confused/weirded-out emoticon?  You know, this one…  (o_O) … Yeah. I don’t think I can explain the Sundowners premier issue better than that.  Despite that, I actually kinda liked it.  The bizarreness of it is alluring.  It’s draws a strong parallel to Kick-Ass, but with magical tattoos (or something).  The character mix and backgrounds are the real drivers with this story.  I fear that once dust settles and the alluring craziness goes away there won’t be enough of an active plot to move the story along.  But I’m no Debby Downer, so I’ll wait to see what Tim Seely has in store before letting any negative premonitions take hold.  -Taylor

Tomb Raider #7 – B

This is the start of a new chapter in the Tomb Raider universe and while nothing major has happened, this book coupled with the announcement of the next game could lead to some pretty cool things. This would be a perfect opportunity to lead into the next game and that could give a little something extra for those who have read the books and played the games. This was more of a filler issue with a small lead up into the next arc, but it has me excited for what comes next. – Robert

Star Wars Legacy #18 – C

Another Dark Horse Star Wars series wraps up this week.  My brain is screaming, “FINALLY!”  I hate to think that I’m becoming a fan boy snob, but with the growing list of negative reviews I spit out week to week it’s getting harder to defend myself.  I can summarize the conclusion of Legacy with one word: Lazy.  In every facet of (not just this issue, but) this series I struggled to find the passion in the panels.  I hadn’t really been enjoying Brian Albert Thies artwork, and the plot was plagued with so many mini side stories that I could hardly keep track of the main plot.  I don’t know if Dark Horse had different plans for Legacy prior to their “loss,” but it sure seemed like the effort was half-assed the whole time.  There were some mildly redeeming aspects.  The wondering planet and the overall concept for Darth Wredd were quintessential Star Wars.  Not delving into those brighter bits more shouts missed opportunity.  So long for now, Ania.  Should you return, I hope you leave all us die hards with a more lasting impression. -Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Sinestro #5 – A

When handled properly, plots themed in “control” are the best.  I love the simple idea of a hero (err… In this case, attempted hero) taking on a seeming insurmountable force and not only overcoming it, but controlling it.  Sinestro #5 nails this theme solidly.  What was especially compelling was that this brilliant twist in the story came out of nowhere.  I audibly exclaimed, “Ohh sh*t!” when “it” happened.  I was digging this story before and to see this added layer has really got me excited to continue reading.  And you should too!  Sinestro is the perfect character for that hate to love relationship.  So what if he is the reason his home planet got blowed-up?!?  He said he was sorry!  I’m gonna stick around and see how far that apology will take him.  With his new level of control, I’m sure he’s destined to go far. – Taylor

Superman #34 – B+

Finally, Geoff Johns’ story picks up the pace. Since taking over Superman in issue #32, there’s been a lot of introductions, and even more dialogue. Ulysses has been a unique addition, and although he has been very forthcoming and a seeming ally, there is simply too much mystery surrounding him to let the readers trust him. It’s genius writing, the kind that takes a few issues to really build into something worthy. With a new bad guy, plenty of room to grow, and John Romita Jr.’s art, this is a Superman comic I genuinely enjoy. – Sherif

Batman Eternal  #21 – C+

Is this the same book I’ve been semi-reading for over five months now? This issue just turned a stagnant pile of poo into a full-blown s***storm! Batman Eternal has gone from promising addition to lame filler in no time, with hoards of obscure rogues making appearances, but never really adding any value to the story. This issue at least breaks up the monotony that has blanketed the series with some of the pretty outrageous reveals. There’s no way I can justify spending $3-4 weekly on this – even if I am a Batman fan. – Sherif

Dynamite:

Army of Darkness: Ash Gets Hitched #2- C+

This issue does not offer much as far as story goes. It seems to be following the film to a tee, up until the last panel. The whole “Ash Gets Hitched” thing also has not played into the story much so far. The art of the series is great though and you can really see the original actors come out in the art, which helps with the dull story a lot. Ultimately, I would say as a fan of Army of Darkness this is rather dull and forgettable. It is a lot darker in the vain of Evil Dead 2 more so than Army of Darkness, but it still is one series with Ash that makes me understand a little about why Bruce Campbell refused sign these comics from Dynamite at Denver Comic Con. Although there is a lot of negativity there, it still is more entertaining than a lot of other series I have read, so give it a chance if you must but ultimately there is much better Ash to enjoy. – Jacob

IDW Comics:

Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #3 – A-

Finally! We get to see all our favorite cartoon heroes in action together. While the first two issues covered them getting captured and about the villains evil plans, this one jumps right in and see our heroes facing off against robot versions of themselves. This story, although aimed towards kids, is brilliant and combines these characters in a way where all their strengths and all their weaknesses are used perfectly and bounce off one another. I am still waiting for Ed, Edd and Eddy to save the everyone, though.  That is just my call on it. But this is a great issue with wonderful writing and the art is exactly how this would look on screen. Too bad I have to wait until next month for the great nostalgia flashback that this series. – Jacob

TMNT Turtles in Time #3 – B+

This Turtles in Time series is nothing too special, but it does give you a nice back story and sometime insanely sad back story of the Turtles.This week we see them as pirates chasing down treasure and Mikey becomes a … captain?!?!?! This issue is definitely fun and gives us a look into the past of our favorite four heroes. The art of this issue is outstanding to me, and it really stands out among this miniseries so far. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Black Science #8 – B

I think I’m going to get Rick Remender’s name tattooed on my chest.  And I’m going to have Matteao Scalera apply the ink.  While paced a bit slower than some of the previous issues, this issue is still a knock out.  The primary plot has started to flatten out, but what’s lacking in creative conflict is made up in glorious, just GLORIOUS, panelscapes.  I can’t get enough of the crazy multidimensional forest creatures and their habitats.  I’m seriously considering decorating my future home with framed panels from this series.  Back again to my flat plot point, I wonder what the next evolution of the story will look like.  I have no doubt that IT WILL evolve, but I can’t really see the path.  That’s another great thing about Black Science – it keeps your mind on its toes. Ha… Brain toes.  Do your thang Remender.  Do your thang. – Taylor

Outcast #3 – B

This month’s Outcast was a bit confusing, I’ll admit.  I even went back and read some of the first 2 issues, and I was still confused.  I am not worried though, because even though I think Robert Kirkman can be a little much with his famous series, I have faith that Outcast will come together.  I have a feeling that this is a series that I will have to read exactly how I read The Walking Dead: in volumes.  I find that sometimes the story that Kirkman tells can be confusing, and at times slowly paced, but that his story arcs always end with a bang.  The reason to read this issue of Outcast is for the Reverend’s monologue about God, drinking on Sundays, and masturbation.  Not only is it a little funny, but truly thought provoking and a great reflection of the writer’s feelings about religion.  I expect Outcast will pick up strongly from here on out. – Adrian

Sex #15 – C

I still don’t see where they are going with this book even after reading all 15 issues. I would have thought that the armored saint would have made his way back into the story by now, but they seem to only be about drama and incestuous gay sex these last few issues. I don’t know what is going on with the writer but it is time to stop with the slow burn and get to something more interesting.  – Robert

Wayward #1 – C

Wayward is a story about a young girl with mystic powers. She doesn’t quite understand living in Japan, then fights knock off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with her transforming cat-ninja lady companion.  Sounds like something straight out of anime and even looks like it at moments; both aspects of which I LOVE.  Why the low score then?  Well, if you’re as versed in anime as I am, then you know that this idea is far from novel or creative.  No knocks to Jim Zub or the team behind this Image title (I did quite enjoy the issue), but if you want a grade above average you gotta give me something above average.  Because this isn’t actually a true-blue anime I have faith that Wayward will breakaway from that formula and give us something unique and awesome. – Taylor

Marvel:

Cyclops #4 – B+

Things are finally starting to come together with this book and it’s not too bad after all. I am looking forward to the next few issues as they have signaled for bounty hunters to come get them. I am interested to see the father/son duo work together to get off this planet alive. There wasn’t a lot of story development; however, the bond that is starting to form between Scott and his father was worth the issue. – Robert

All-New X-Men #31 – B-

Another solid installment of the ­All-New X-Men series, issue #34 looks to be kicking things into high gear. At first glance, this is an unimpressive book by all means. The art is mediocre at best, and the relationship between Angel and X-23 has gone from mildly amusing to plain old mushy. Once you dig a little deeper, though, you have one of the best teams in history – but fun-sized! Jean Grey is finally getting the chance to become the phenom sans Phoenix (knock on wood) she always deserved to be, and Bobby is funny in a way I never imagined he would be, all thanks to Brian Michael Bendis’ writing. This issue opens the door for a HUGE crossover event, and the new mutant revealed here looks to play a big part in it. – Sherif

Guardians of the Galaxy #18 – C+
We finally get to see what happened to Star-Lord, Nova, Thanos, and even Drax when they trapped themselves inside the Cancerverse, and we’re on our way to figuring out how they all got out. There are some really great moments in this issue and the fight scenes are definitely something you’ll want to stop and take a closer look at…also, a near naked Thanos that you may or may not want to take a closer look at. I wish we could have had the whole story in one issue, but, I’m excited to see how they all get out of this horrible place.  – Cody

Wolverine #12 – C-

I am beyond disappointed with the way things turned out for this series. Not only was this final battle between Wolverine and Sabretooth cliché and uninspired, it was also over very quickly and not drawn very well at all. I figured with the actual announcement of Wolverine’s death, it would be something more metaphorical, but then they add something to the end of the issue that makes it seem like in the next year or less this whole thing will be negated either way. I don’t appreciate that approach after investing time into a series the way I have with this one. This issue has an effect on not only this book but  a handful of others as well. I am more curious to see how it changes things in those books than the future of Wolverine now. – Robert

Funniest Panel:

 

All New X-Men #31

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Superman #34

 

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.

 

Comic Book Reviews 08-20-14

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:

Magneto #8

Magneto #8 – A+

This series has been surprisingly great. Magneto himself, although his powers are a fraction of what they once were, is as cold and callous as ever. This isn’t your older brother’s Magneto, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, the story has just kind of crept along, offering enough to justify the insane amount of violence. That changes this issue. Magneto #8 encapsulates everything the Civil Rights era of X-Men was so successful at, and what the X-series of today are failing so hard at. It’s at this moment that Magneto becomes more than a raging badass, and stands for something much more important and complex. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Dark Horse Presents #1 – B

If you’re as die-hard Star Wars as I am, then chances are you’ve probably overlooked many of the other Dark Horse titles printed in the past 20 years.  And as of late SW series have been as stimulating as a napping Hutt – sorry Jabba.  So I picked up Dark Horse Presents #1 as an opportunity for this David, amongst Goliaths, to show me what it was made of.  In large – it did not disappoint!  Compilation issues run the risk of becoming boring and distracting quickly thus losing the attention of the reader.  Pleasingly, I found myself very seldom watching the squirrels engage in squirrel combat outside my window while reading this issue.  I was especially wrapped up the Kabuki, Wrestling with Demons, and Sabertooth Swordsman titles.  Seeing this potential is critical in the midst of Dark Horse losing their bread winning title at the end of the year.  So, while it’s a lot of fun to reminisce and revisit prior greatness, I can’t help but wonder if all Dark Horse has to offer going forward are glory day moments.  I won’t count them out just yet.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the good ol’ days. – Taylor

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4 – C

Darth Maul should have stayed dead (wow… can’t believe I just wrote that).  Let me be clear – Darth Maul will forever remain one of the most bad-ass Sith in all of Star Wars history.  No crappy comic ark will ever change that.  But in this final issue of Son of Dathomir it’s blaringly obvious that Maul is just not as cool as he used to be!  I supposed gettin’ chopped in half can do that to a guy.  His original claim to fame were his merciless methods and crazy-scary hunter/killer instinct.  Both of which were is short demand the entire ark.  “Boss Maul” spent most of the issue throwing tantrums and yelling at his subordinates.  Revisit again the origins of Maul – furious as he was in combat, his demeanor outside the battle field was stoic and mysterious.  Not the whinny, dependent character Jeremy Barlow gives us.  Add to that the fact that this was really a Mother Talzin story (who was also sloppily handled) and out comes another subpar Star Wars series.  As these Dark Horse series wrap up I grow more excited for the Marvel handoff.  The panels in the galaxy far, far away is in need of a fresh start. – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo:

Multiversity #1 – B+

(A) If this review comes off as a little incoherent it’s because I’m hyperventilating while typing.  It’s not necessarily the plot that’s got me huffing and puffing into a paper bag, it’s the idea of the plot.  Huh?!?  Let me start over.  Multi-dimensional travel via the medium of comic book panels is, well… mind blowing.   Multiversity is an adventure within an adventure within an adventure featuring characters that are make believe in one universe, but really-real in another universe, all brought together to fight an inter-dimensional being (group?) that is everywhere and nowhere at once…all the time.  Sound confusing?  Read the issue.  Done?  Still confused?  Yeah.  And that’s okay!  What I took away from this first issue wasn’t that I was supposed to understand what exactly was happening or comprehend where the story was going, only that in the coming issues this “happening” was going to be uniquely epic.  I was introduced to characters I (1) had never heard of and, (2) knew very little about.  Despite this, I was wildly engaged the entire issue.  I’ve already reread it twice.  So while my score may and my synopsis here may not be in the same universe, know that this series is going to present something brilliantly imaginative from Grant Morrison. – Taylor

(B+) I had to read this one a couple times, but, each time I read it I liked it more. Multiversity brings together characters from all over the various DC Universes. It’s great to see all the different interpretations of all our favorite heroes. The premise is that the greatest hero from each universe is being brought together for some unknown reason and our team needs to figure out why they’ve all been brought together. There were a couple moments that I just didn’t like in terms of corniness and was also rather confusing at times, but, I’m really liking it so far. I’m afraid to say I’m even enjoying Superman for the first time ever. – Cody

(B) Ok, you probably read the two reviews above me, but I still had to put my two cents in.  Multiversity is a new series written by Grant Morrison, comic book writing legend, and pencilled by Ivan Reis (whose resume is incredible).  With all of the time traveling, things get really confusing.  At times, I had no idea where we were, what time we were in, or even what some of the dialogue meant.  There were also so many characters, and those same characters transported into different time periods, it seems like a 90’s Batman movie, too much packed in one story.  However, there were two outstanding characters, Superman and Aquawoman.  It should be of no surprise that Aquawoman looks so badass because Ivan Reis was the penciller for Aquaman back in 2011.  And yes, its true, Superman is black in this book.  There is a comment about it by another character in the book, which seemed out of place, but the nice thing is that Superman just ignores it, because really, what does it matter what Superman’s ethnicity is?  I did really like that all this is happening because of a comic book panel being supernatural, or magical, or otherworldly, or something.  It give true comic nerds something to giggle at.  I am looking forward to seeing how the heroes get out of the future…  -Adrian

Batman and Robin #34 – B

Things are finally heating up in Batman and Robin. It feels like we’ve been stuck feeling sorry for Bruce and his dealings with Damian’s death forever now. Well, as Redman so eloquently put, it’s “Time 4 Sum Aksion.” The biggest letdown was the appearance of reuniting the Bat-family for a vacation to Apokolips, but it was all just a big dramatic front – a common pitfall in Batman books. Clichés aside (especially the corny Dick Grayson appearance), the book had a very sci-fi feel to it, and pulls it together quite well, an unusual feat for Batman. It’s about time this book got down to business. – Sherif

 

Dynamite Entertainment:

Justice, Inc. #1 – C+

I’d heard about Justice, Inc., The Avenger, Doc Savage, and The Shadow, but that’s about all I knew about them. Nevertheless, I was excited to see that a new series was starting and that all three of these classic characters were crossing over for the first time. This first issue was a bit slow, but, it had a lot of interesting elements to it. Lots of science talk at the start, which I enjoyed and, we get to see Albert Einstein. Howard Hughes also makes an appearance and H.G. Wells has been mentioned as well, which would make sense as we’re dealing with time travel when a modern day passenger jet is sent back to 1939. I’m definitely looking forward to where this story is going, I do love me some time travel. – Cody

 

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Annual 2014B+

(A) Finally, we get the annual issue of TMNT that helps explain the Turtles in Time series going now as well (issue #3 out next week). Although I have waited to learn where the mysterious Renet comes from, this issue did not give us the best idea other than she just randomly shows up at different times.  It does bring in the now infamous Battle Nexus from past TMNT versions, which opens up a whole lot as far as characters and other universes (Maybe and hopefully we will see Usagi Yojimbo show up soon!) Of course, Kevin Eastman’s art is wonderful as well as the writing. The issue was totally different than what I was expecting but in a good way. Definitely pick this up if your store still has any (I was lucky and picked up the last copy at my store) as it is a great new story that references past and present turtles with a modern twist.- Jacob

(B-) I couldn’t find it in my heart to give a Kevin Eastman scripted and drawn book anything less than the grade I gave it, but my enjoyment of this book was limited, and came in waves. The initial few pages were really fun and nostalgic, but Eastman’s writing shows its age in this annual. Conceptually, I enjoyed the Turtles in Time-like plot, but there was just so much dialogue here that I felt quite lulled. Plus, the dull greyscale used to represents the future (like 75% of the book) came off as really boring. At the end of the day, the TMNT co-creator can do whatever wants and I will enjoy it. I just wish the story was of a little more substance. – Sherif

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland –  B+

Little Nemo, written by Eric Shanover, is a remake of the popular weekly comic from the early 1900’s that ran for over 10 years.  Shanover is known for his work in recreating the world of Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz in comic form.  Nemo was known for its fantastical world on the way to Slumberland, where he is chosen to be the Princess’ playmate, but he always wakes up before he can find it.  The new comic is a great homage to the original strip, referring to the Princess, the boy’s new name, and world they both exist in. I really enjoyed it; however, it should be noted that this is a children’s comic.  I do recommend it to emerging readers, but this may not be the book for an adult.  -Adrian

Super Secret Crisis War The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy One-Shot – B+

In the second one-shot for Super Secret Crisis War, we see the characters from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy battling the same evil robots our heroes in the main series and Johnny Bravo and the Squirrel did in the last one-shot. This issue as with the past ones, all feel like they are lost episodes from their respective series. The art is wonderful and mixes all the styles of animation perfectly and on top of the great Billy and Mandy story we also get a prequel story featuring Mojo Jojo and Aku. If you enjoyed any cartoons of the 80’s and 90’s this issue and entire series is for you so make sure and pick it up and fill yourself with nostalgia. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #11 – B

This month, we get a new story arc for Jack and it may be his most dangerous one yet. With Samurai Jack being one of my favorite cartoons and being a huge inspiration artistically for me, this series has been wonderful. This issue the art does get a bit darker and full of shadows more than past issues, which always is a bit distracting to me with most comics trying to be gritty these days. But the story of the issue is definitely good and sets up this arc wonderfully making for quite the adventure for our hero. Definitely start here if you can, as it is sure to be a great story for this great character. – Jacob

X-Files: Year Zero #2 – B-

In this issue we get to see more Mulder and Scully than the previous issue and we figure out what happened from the first X-Files case ever. The series took a turn that may be a bit odd even for X-Files but it has a been a good story up to now despite being a bit confusing and more of a horror genre than most previous issues and television episodes. One of the most redeeming features of this series to me is the art by Greg Scott and Vic Malhotra. It is definitely more stylized than most of IDW’s X-Files series and it doesn’t focus solely on being dark for the sake of making things creepy the whole issue even if Mulder is doing paperwork. This series definitely adds to the mystery and awesomeness of X-Files and will likely be an absolute must have for any fan of the X-Files. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Fade Out #1- B

(B+) I love film noir, so Ed Brubaker’s new series The Fade Out fills a empty space that rarely sees a decent entry. Brubaker has a constant moody “voice over” following the main character, Charlie. The narrator appears to not be from the perspective of anyone you come across in the first issue and that’s intriguing; this adds an extra flavor of mystery to the already involving murder mystery main plot line. The art is done by Sean Phillips, who has worked with Brubaker in the past with FATALE. His art is dark and brooding and when paired up with colors from Elizabeth Breitweiser, who is also familiar with FATALE, the mood of the story is fully realized. I’m hoping to see the rest of cast of character fleshed out more in the upcoming issues, right now, other than Charlie, they are pretty flat. – Scott

(B-) I’m not normally a fan of cop/detective stories but when I saw Ed Brubaker was writing a noir style murder mystery, I was intrigued. Brubaker has accurately captured the style and at times I found myself using those stereotypical film noir voices while reading. The issue follows a screenwriter who wakes up to find the star of his film dead, he wipes the room clean and a mystery unfolds. This was about as good as I thought it was going to be. It was enjoyable and well written, I’m just going to have to get over my own biases towards the genre. Hopefully this mystery doesn’t get cold. – Cody

Marvel:

Deadpool vs X-ForceB+

One of the better Deadpool stories recently, this series follows our favorite Merc With A Mouth as he travels through time wrecking American history although this issue sees him and Cable in China during 1900 at least until Deadpool’s inevitable time jump at the end of the issue. The art of this issue is well done an enjoyable especially with such different settings and time periods having to make Deadpool look at least semi-normal in a confederate army outfit. The story for this so far is very intriguing and hopefully the series will continue to be good as Deadpool is always a hard character to do real well. – Jacob

Storm #2 – B+

This month’s Storm was much better than last month.  Not only that, but last month’s issue was explained in the “Previously On” paragraph than the whole issue did.  In her 2nd book, Storm takes on helping the people of New York again, mainly a girl she sees on a “Missing” poster.  I really like the concept of small “savior” stories with Storm reflecting back on her childhood in Cairo.  We can really see Storm as a well rounded woman, not just mutant, hero, or queen.  There are a few steamy scenes with Logan, and we got our “funny” panel of the week from this issue. While there are mentions for characters like the Morlocks and Calypso, I think Storm may be a good series for new comic book readers to get into. -Adrian

Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #7 – C+

This series started off rather over the top and bad, but as it went on the over the top ridiculousness stayed but the quality got better. Or maybe I just got used to it and started enjoying it for what it was, like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 film. The art is definitely good for this issue and the entire series in general but the writing could have definitely used some help although this issue was one of the more well written in the 7 issue series. Next week we have the first week without a new Deadpool which is pretty surprising, bust rest assured a new weekly series will likely start up soon. – Jacob

Original Sins #5 – C-

This series which has covered certain characters during the Original Sin story line, has at its heart been enjoyable, but the Young Avengers storyline that was in every book was pretty bad and the conclusion was a definitely a facepalm moment for me. This issue also covers “Everyone Else” and has some very minor characters (Frog-Man!!!) confessing their worst sin, although Nick Fury says none of what they say is canon. The art of each story – other than Young Avengers – is top quality and the writing especially for Nick Fury’s story is good. If you have followed Original Sin closely, then this is a great book, but ultimately it can be missed and the Original Sin storyline would still work. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

Storm #2 Panel of the Week

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

starwars

 

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.