Graphic Novel Review – Old Man Logan

Original Release Date: 2008-2009
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Characters: Wolverine, Hawkeye, Hulk, Red Skull
Writer: Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Civil War, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man)
Art: Steve McNiven (Death of Wolverine, Civil War, Meridan)

Scorecard (Each category ranked on a 10-point scale)

Storyline – 9
Art – 9
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 8
Use of Medium – 9
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 10
The Little Things – 9
Overall Awesomeness – 9

1

With the multitude of Marvel and DC events that happen each year, I have found it is actually quite rare that a story comes along like Old Man Logan that completely encompasses nearly everything I love about superhero comics. This series was just one short story among the long-running Wolverine Volume 3 comics, but it was by far the most iconic arc of its run – so much so, it got a second volume for the recent Secret Wars event. Both volumes have very iconic writers helming the stories, with the original volume being written by Mark Millar of Kick-Ass fame. This story follows an old Wolverine who seemingly has not SNIKT’ed his claws in over 50 years, and now lives on a farm with a wife and kids. Lucky for us, the story does not follow a domesticated Logan. Despite Wolverine vowing to not fight for most of the novel, the action within is intense; it’s one of the more violent Marvel stories in recent years. It also happens to be one of my favorite graphic novels of all time – and definitely my favorite Wolverine story ever.

2

Mark Millar’s story for Old Man Logan is a very heavy undertaking; it’s dark, violent, and extremely original with an outstanding identity that shines above a lot of Wolverine’s past, present, future – even his death, which we saw not long ago, was illustrated by the same artist as this series, Steve McNiven. This may have been why I enjoyed Death of Wolverine much more than most readers. For most of the book, McNiven’s art is easy on the eye and has such intense detail, it feels more like a film than a comic. So with the story and the art both being outstanding, the only thing to dislike about this series is how horrible the villains are in it, and there are a lot.

3

This series sees Logan and Hawkeye traversing the United States with a mystery package and along the way they encounter almost every villain who has gained control of the United States. This is all thanks to one night where every villain teamed up and wiped out almost every hero, leaving the world hopeless and free for the taking, leading to villains killing villains for control. It’s not a future anyone wants to be in, let alone Logan, who has let his Wolverine lay dead in the past. Along this journey, we see Logan continually struggle with whether fighting is good or not, ultimately leading him to the realization of who he is and, despite being the best at something not very nice, it is needed and the world is a much better place with Wolverine around.

4

When you learn exactly why Logan has not SNIKT’ed his claws in over fifty years, your hearts drops and gives you a very empty feeling inside. There’s a certain two-page spread that’s enough to make any Wolverine or X-Men fan have nightmares for years. This bombshell was one that instantly made you realize what was making Logan hesitate to pop those claws again, and why Logan seemingly killed off his Wolverine persona.

5

When you learn this, you almost don’t want to see Logan be the Wolverine again and hope they can avoid conflict at all costs, but along the way, you learn that Hawkeye’s daughter has been kidnapped by Kingpin. They take a detour from their trip to Washington D.C. to save his daughter, who has taken up the mantel of Spider-Girl. Logan reached a point where he must enter the fight during this interaction as when they arrive, and break in to save Spider-Girl.

ddd

After a very long trip, Some Moloids, a Venom T-Rex (Seriously, it is terrifying!), and a chance encounter with Emma Frost who has married Doctor Doom in an attempt to preserve some mutants. Hawkeye and Logan seem to reach their destination with their cargo. This cargo, which we are led to believe is drugs this whole time, is actually vials of super soldier serum. Things don’t go according to plan and Logan ends up being riddled with bullets.

6

The bodies are then delivered to the president who happen to be Red Skull, and before anyone with a brain realizes Logan can heal he shoots up out of his body bag and takes out the guards and is left there with Red Skull in his trophy room of hero relics. Logan get punched a couple times until he gets knocked into the trophy case and right by Captain America’s old shield. The battle doesn’t last very long, but Logan’s escape from the facility is amazing. With no exit in sight, he dons parts of Iron Man’s armor blows the place to shit, grabs a suitcase of money and swiftly flies home to deliver the rent to the hulks, only to find the Hulks got there first and killed his whole family… SNIKT!

7

Now we get to the grand bloody affair, and as Wolverine heads to confront his old frenemy, he takes out just about everything green along the way. After some quick montages of Hulks losing limbs and lives, Wolverine finally reaches the Hulk and as old curmudgeonly Bruce Banner comes out, he smacks Wolverine in the face. Wolverine returns that with a stab to the gut, but sadly Hulk shows up thanks to the stab and actually grabs and eats Wolverine in a couple huge bites. With Wolverine seemingly dead, the last remaining Hulk family member shows up just in time to make Hulk realize what everyone seems to forget in this series – Wolverine has a healing factor! This leads to Hulk having his spine explode and just as fast as Bullwinkle can pull a rabbit out of a hat, Wolverine shows up. After this Wolverine realizes there is a baby and the last thing one of the Hulk’s see is Logan grabbing this baby and taking off to burry his own family and raise this hulk as his own.

8

This mini-series reached into some dark places I never wanted to know about but am so glad I did;  it can make even the most die-hard Hulk fan kind of hate the green guy. The story is mind-blowing on every page and further cements Mark Millar’s validity in the comic book world. This novel is a must-read for everybody who calls themselves a comic book reader. The only downside I saw in the story is that reading it in collected form made the jumps in time from issue to issue seem much more noticeable than reading them in single-issue format. I am glad I got to also experience this series month to month off a fluke of buying a cheap comic at a gas station on a road trip. Thanks to that stop, I experienced one of the best stories Marvel has delivered in recent years and one that seems to be a major factor in the future of Marvel with recent reveals of the future and Old Man Logan #2 coming out this Wednesday. So dust off your walkers, color you hair if you don’t like the gray, and sharpen your claws and dig into this novel so you can make sure and be in the loop for events now and post Secret Wars.

Yesterday in the Nerd Verse Feb 21, 2015

It’s Oscar night tonight. Or as we like to call it here at Hush, The Walking Dead night. As John Oliver would put it, “The Oscars: why is this still a thing?”

Speaking of zombies, how do you introduce a new undead series and make it a smash hit? Well, you recruit Matt Smith (11th Doctor in Doctor Who), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones), and now John Bradley (Sam Tarly from Game of Thrones) to star in Patient Zero. There isn’t a lot of info released about the upcoming series, but I do know that British people + zombies = win. Source: The Mary Sue

If you didn’t get enough Interstellar the first time around (judging by Adrian’s review, she certainly did not), you can check it out again in theaters starting yesterday – this time with 12 minutes of unseen footage AND a BOGO free offer at AMC theaters. Source: AMC

I swear, I read it for the articles. Playboy has an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming graphic novel sequel to Fight Club, published by Dark Horse Comics. It will be released at the end of May. Source: Playboy

Zim will be Invading the comic book world, spelling DOOM for Oni Press and all their readers in July. Mwhahahaha.

Alura Zor-El, Supergirl’s mother, has been cast for the upcoming Supergirl CW series. The role goes to Laura Benanti (Nashville) and will be recurring, which makes me think “flashbacks!” Source: Deadline

Lara Croft used some of those extra pixels and gave herself some clothing! Check out the new gear she’ll be sporting in the PS4/XBO release of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Source: Game Informer

Anybody up for Hugh Jackman eventually playing Old Man Logan? If Jacked Man had it his way, he’s play the part of Wolverine forever. Source: E! Online

Who wins in a fight against the Avengers: Age of Ultron and the most anticipated boxing match of the decade? Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are set to face off on May 2nd. I say we are the real winners. Source: ESPN

Black Widow Scarlett Johansson has teamed up with other female artists to create “super pop” as The Singles. Check out their first track, “Candy” at the link. Source: Rolling Stone

Oh, and San Diego Comic Con sold out in an hour – a record-breaking sell-out time. BUT! You can find Hush Comics wondering around Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle at the end of March. They actually have comic book creators there.

Well it seems FOX’s own golden goose, Bill O’Reilly, is under fire for exaggerated claims of his coverage of the Falklands War. Fresh on the heels of Brian Williams drama, I think it’s great we are holding journalists and reporters accountable for their stories. However, I’m much more appalled at the actual bullshit they cover more so than who almost got Gumped (shot in the buttocks) in a war zone. Just my two cents… Source: Former CBS Colleague Eric Jon Engberg’s Facebook

Comic Book Reviews 12-10-14

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:

TWD 135 POTW

The Walking Dead #135 – A

Issue #135 of The Walking Dead pissed me off! Not because it was bad, but because Kirkman does an excellent job of writing in the most STUPID and UNGRATEFUL, idiot characters!! How did so many selfish morons survive the apocalypse?!?! I felt anger, pride, fear and anxiety all throughout this issue – for making me feel all the feelings, I gave TWD an A this month! I can feel it in my bones that we will soon know what’s become of Michonne. There was also some magnificent (just SUPERB) foreshadowing of Carl Grime’s future in this newly formed society. I felt the need to nervously pace my apartment after reading this issue. It’s one of the better “build-up” issues I’ve read. Whether things escalate or the simmer down from here it’s hard to say, but what’s for sure is the “aww shit” seed has been planted and it’s only a matter of time before it blossoms and eats your face. Maybe an undead face mask isn’t a bad idea after all… – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Prometheus: Fire & Stone #4 – B

And so concludes the first set of Fire & Stone comic series. There’s not a whole lot to say about this final chapter besides that it really drove home the best qualities of the Alien franchise. The issue was thrilling, bloody, left one with a sense of hopelessness, and open ended. It’s that last part that was also the downside to Prometheus F&S’s finale – there wasn’t any real closure. Because we all know that this story weaves into other comic arcs it didn’t really dampen anything, but compiling JUST the four issues together there’s a definite lack of simple plot structure. Minor overall and definitely overshadowed by all the happenings this issue. I’m sad to see this title go – it’s been such a fun ride! Let the gore and guts continue to spill in the sister issues!! – Taylor

DC/Vertigo: 

New 52 Futuress End #32 – B-

Now we’re getting somewhere. …Or at least it’s starting to feel like we are. There’s no action in this issue but at least we’re starting to get the set up of some sort of cohesive storyline. I’m not sure what clicked in the last issue or two, but I think I’m starting to actually care what happens here. So far my largest gripe against Future’s End has been the seemingly endless meandering of the plot. It seems as though we’re starting to get to the point; here’s hoping Future’s End keeps it up. – Moke

Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 – C+

There are three different story arcs in this cliché holiday issue, but I only really liked the first one. The others didn’t hold much weight for me and had they been omitted, I wouldn’t have felt like the issue was missing anything. In fact, I thought the comic was over after the first story. That being said, the other two weren’t horrible, they just seemed to be supplementary to the first story line. While this issue could be a throwaway, it was nice to see the cute side of her character – sentimental, deranged, and looking for some hell raising fun – all without The Joker. But even still, this book may be one you can skip. – Charlotte

Dynamite Entertainment:

IDW Comics:

TMNT #41 – A

This series always amazes me how each week continues to be good – even the worst issues seem to be better than some of the best stuff out there. This issue continues the awesomeness with ¾ of the turtles focusing on taking out Shredder with Old Hob and the Mutanimals while Donatello sets up a meeting with Shredder. Fugitoid and Baxter Stockman join forces despite their differences to take down Krang. Things are not looking good for Krang as no one is on his side but himself, but it’s Krang so no one really cares seeing him hurt. This story arc has been really good and I absolutely love Cory Smith’s art, in fact I might say he is my favorite artist for this series overall. I would pick up here since it is the start of a new arc. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #15 – B+

Everything is on the line and there is nothing to fight with for our hero Jack. With the sword gone and him deemed unworthy, Aku sees his opportunity for attack and takes Jack by storm.  The battle takes up this whole issue and gives us one of the most action packed Samurai Jack issues we have seen. By the end, we don’t really have an idea of what is coming next but we do get one of those most exciting issues to date. It also helps that the subscription cover was done by the main man himself, Genndy Tartakovsky. – Jacob

October Faction #3 – B

This month’s October Faction somewhat made up for the previous issue’s slow start, but it still left me wanting a little more. In my opinion, this was the most interesting issue so far, but overall its hook still just hasn’t landed. There hasn’t been enough time spent really hashing out the world these characters live in so it’s hard to get excited and speculate where the story might go. So much time has been spent on the family dynamic, and while they are likable enough characters, it feels like Niles energy could be spent in better ways to get his story really rolling. I get that this book is supposed to have a heavy emphasis on the family drama, but so far they don’t feel dysfunctional, more like Leave it to Beaver, just with the whole seeing dead people and fighting monsters thing. This issue had a werewolf fighting a robot boy and a cocky assbutt getting shot for being smarmy and making threats, I want more of that! As of now, this series does not having me drooling and obsessing, but I can at least say that its most recent showing certainly kept my interest and I’m looking forward to next month’s issue. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Southern Bastards #6 – A

This week, I decided to jump into my comics mid-series. I figure that if the story is good, no matter what issue, it should generate enough interest that I’d want to check out the rest. To that end… the 6th issue of Southern Bastards was a bad one to walk into as it’s all about football. I am so indifferent and acerbic toward sports that I make people who also don’t care about football uncomfortable. I care about high school football less, and that’s what this is all about. In huge detail. There’s even a Magical Negro™ who courageously, though blind, teaches our white protagonist how to best foot the most balls. There were points where I wasn’t sure if this story was serious or making fun of itself. The shit does get real: our hero, a boy named Euless Boss (what?) wants to impress his abusive dead beat dad by making the team. Which he does! Though his dad dismisses him because he’s mid-orgy. But when things get real (a definite spoiler), my interest was piqued, and maybe Image hadn’t lost their minds and published a football comic (who the hell would even read that? Weren’t we all beaten up by the football team in high school?), but something deeper was happening. Sure enough, I read about it online, and it’s a comic about American south small town corruption (of which football is a small-large part since they love them some football). And my interest is definitely piqued. – J.H.

Sex Criminals #9 – A-

Aside from the slight loss in momentum due to inconsistent publishing dates, this issue ends with a giant mind-f***. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are the cutest creative team in the industry, and you would never know it by their unabashed approach to talking about one of the most uncomfortable topics, SEX. SEXY SEX SEX. Now that I have your attention, this book is seriously great. There’s definitely a polarizing reaction to the sexual expression that the characters have, and in all honesty, this book kicks it up a notch in the debauchery department when introducing a new character. None of it is smut just for the sake of smut, because it is all tied to a mind-blowing new path for the story to take. Look, you can feel uncomfortable, you can feel ashamed that you laugh, but this book is a triumphant story for all the twenty-somethings out there who wish they could stop time with their orgasms – and that can’t just be me, right? – Sherif

Shutter #7 – B+

This hiatus that writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca took from Shutter came right on the heels of an epic finale that made the mid-season finale of Arrow look weak (okay, just kidding. Nothing tops the Arrow/ al Ghul showdown). The series drew me in instantly with its cast of fantasy characters and complete lack of regard for the status quo. Simply put, Shutter is a new experience. Unlike other books that try to cross into uncharted territory, a book with assassin foxes riding Triceratops into battle is just called “Issue #6.” As the arc is taking a new and unexpected turn, there’s so much to pay attention to and enjoy. I’m glad this book is gearing up for a second arc; I just hope that it can hold onto the magic that has made it so special. – Sherif

Bitch Planet #1 – B

This is the start to a really interesting sci-fi social commentary on how our society treats women and especially women of color. I love it when sci-fi uses its genre to create social change and this new comic definitely has that on their agenda. This issue definitely reminded me of the Buffy episode “Anne” where the prisoners are pushed to be compliant and denounce their individuality. And much like Buffy, Kamau Kogo gives that idea a roundhouse kick to the face. I love the representation in this comic, showing women of all sizes and color. This story arc has the potential to be really influential in the comic book world and I’m super excited to see what this new feminist icon gets up to next. – Charlotte

Copperhead #4 – D

This comic needs to go somewhere. I mean that in a bad way. It’s obvious that Faerber is trying WAY too hard to get readers to care. Cooperhead is a perfect example of trying to cram 10-pounds of stuff into a 5-pound bag. Some stories just can’t have it all and be successful! The comic flips drastically from one character to the next and alters themes just as dramatically. There’s only the mildest bit of cohesion and it’s the only thing saving this review from a failing grade. Added stories elements actually take away from the whole and make me more frustrated. It’s just one big colorful mess drifting in space. In order for this series to be saved, Faerber needs to trim the fat, pick a single theme, and just work it! No more giant teddy bears stupidly falling from rooftops or pissed of alien-hillbillies beating up manual laborers. Then I might be interested. – Taylor

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #7 – A

This series has to be my favorite of the year. Per usual, any Marvel story featuring Apocalypse will end in death and destruction. It will be interesting to see just how this happens, especially with the twist of heroes as villains and vice versa. But this issue had a major bombshell that will be sure to change the aftermath of all the carnage to ensue. – Jacob

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 – B+

Oh, how the times have changed. Remember the times when Peter Parker was the young rapscallion causing mischief wherever he went, making wise-cracks as he went? Yeah, now he has to deal with “actual” responsibilities – not saving the world or his girlfriend, but impressing upon today’s mutant youth the values of superhero ethics. Beyond the fact that this book is hilarious – I mean, picture an adult Ferris Bueller trying to teach detention, there are actually some words of wisdom that the book imparts to discuss an actual adult topic. Very sneaky, Marvel. There is a convoluted back-story as to why Spidey is teaching the “Special Class,” but the book flows far more easily without it. Sadly, this looks to be another ploy to stuff Spider-Man in our face while he’s hot, but that doesn’t make Spider-Man and the X-Men any less entertaining; it just means the ride will be a bit shorter than warranted. This could be its own version of Dangerous Minds if it stuck around long enough. – Sherif

Amazing Spider-Man #11 – B+

Rally the troops!!!! That was pretty awesome! Tension continues to mount as the Spidey(s) continue to lack even the inklings of the beginnings of a plan. However, even in the midst of an incredibly bleak situation for our heroes, Dan Slott and Co. still manage to find moments to bring the funny. We also get to see 616-Peter begin to take a more decisive leadership role (in an extremely satisfying manner, I might add). The only reason the issue doesn’t get a higher grade is because the frequent cutaways to other happenings in Spider-verse drastically hinder the pacing of the action. Every time another group of Spiders gets sent away on a mission, I can’t help but feel I’ve seen this before and the gimmick is starting to get a little tired. That being said, I can’t wait to see where else Spider-Verse takes us. – Moke

Thor #3 – B 

(B+) What to give this book? It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I like the art, and I like the idea of woman Thor, but the execution is so uninteresting and typical. The teaser for next month’s cover gave me an eye sprain from rolling too hard. Since I am not much of a “superhero” guy, a book of this type has to be leagues greater than the standard for me to take notice. Well, I say it’s not my bag, but a well-written superhero comic is impossible to say no to. I’d say if you know anything about Norse mythology (and highly respect it), you’ll probably give this comic a C, but if you like super hero books a whole bunch, it’s probably worth a read. – J.H.

(B) I have mixed feelings about Thor this month. At the onset of the issue I was very pleased with the attention to backstory. If you read my reviews enough, you’ll know that I mention “depth” a lot – Jason Aaron added some of this critically good stuff in this issue, which was a plus. Introducing Skrymir, King of the Frost Giants, was entertaining and smart. But — now he’s dead. Oh yeah… Spoiler alert… In three issues of Thor it seems that the plot is both rushed and slow-walked in all the wrong places. By the issue’s end, I found myself, yet again, screaming at the pages, “WHO IS SHE?!” My outbursts aren’t based in the well-crafted “this story is doing a good job at keeping suspense,” but rather the irritating, “there’s no point to keeping this a secret anymore!!” This story isn’t better because I don’t know who The Goddess of Thunder is and it bugs me that the story hasn’t moved on from that yet. That aside, this issue is my favorite thus far. I think we’re close to having a good thing here people. Just hold on a little longer. – Taylor

Rocket Raccoon #6 – B-

Despite this series always being good, this issue and the last one (which happened to be favorite of the series) have been so far removed from the story they set up it almost feels like they threw away the last two issues to rev up again for the new year. That does not mean the story isn’t good, but after loving the last issue and ready to get back into the story it was kind of a shock to not have a mention of Blackjack O’Hare, the other Anthropomorphic raccoon, or any real significant piece of the story and just have Rocket taking odd jobs. I did love the story and seeing Cosmo is great to any past Guardian fans. Skottie Young’s art is wonderful and offers a very different side to a lot of the super realistic Rockets that we usually see these days. – Jacob

Deadpool: Art of War #3- C

I have to say I am not following where this series is going much. Although very entertaining and will likely get some comic fans to seek out the actual Art of War by Sun Tzu, this series doesn’t offer that much past a light entertaining read and some awesome art. By the end of this issue, you kind of feel the whole idea is destroyed a bit and leaves you wondering if the rest of the series will follow the Art of War as much as these first 3 issues. Despite being a bit lost within itself, the idea is as fun as any Deadpool story and allows you to see some pretty awesome battles. I would say pick this issue up for the art alone as it is the highlight of the whole series for me. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #6 – C

Despite me trudging through everything Death of Wolverine related, I keep reading and yet another issue seems to be dull and offer nothing much to the story. Andy Clarke does well with the art for Mystique in this issue. The writing is not bad, but just feels unnecessary and unsatisfactory.This issue focusing on Mystique offered the most out of anyone of the characters in the series. However, in the last panel we go, “Back to the Beginning!” I actually have hope for the new series that may come from this. – Jacob

Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 – C-

Oh well, they can’t all be winners. I guess it had to happen eventually, but this was just utterly disappointing. I get the “why” of the art style for the first half of the issue… but ugh, that was bad. I, for one, am glad the Adam West campy days of super-heroism are over. Eh, different strokes for different folks, I guess. The art of the second half was marginally better, yet the self-contained story was pretty paint by numbers. I can’t help but feel like they set the bar pretty low with this one. Le sigh. Onto the next issue. – Moke

 

Funniest Panel:

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1
Spider-Man and the X-Men #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Shutter #7
Shutter #7

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 12-03-14

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:

Detective Comics #37
Detective Comics #37

Detective Comics #37 – A

It could be the name, or the silly costume he had in the 80’s, but Anarky has never been taken seriously as a villain. That all changes in Detective Comics #37, thanks to a great set-up story by Francis Manapul and phenomenal artwork by Brian Buccellato. This creative team has completely resurrected the series and their work is just as morbid and suspenseful as it is visually stunning. There’s also a bit of Gotham Central flowing through its veins, as a large chunk of the story follows Harvey Bullock – a heavily misused character in the New52. This is the perfect jumping on point for a new reader, so if you’re willing to take a gamble that you might actually enjoy a Batman book that doesn’t have Snyder or Capullo on it, this is the one to bet on. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Hellboy and the BPRD #1 – B

Sadly, the prequel to the Hellboy we should all know and love left me unsatisfied. While I’m sure this series will really find its roots and become grounded, I am not so impressed, but still pretty interested. The first issue moves slowly, which I understand is necessary for exposition, it just didn’t quite grab me the way I wanted it to, being a big fan of Hellboy. There were definitely some hints of way more interesting things to come, what with conspiracies and the origins of why Rasputin summoned Hellboy, and some sort of big bad down in a Brazilian prison. I’m sure this series will take off, and I’m very excited to see which beasties present themselves, the first issue just didn’t hook me. Perhaps that is because Hellboy himself had barely any “page time.” Panel time? He was barely in the book and he said almost nothing. It was kind of disappointing, to say the least. Either way, I still have mostly fond feelings for this book, but that could be because of my existing love of the character and possibly a fool’s faith that I know this will turn out awesome. – Keriann

Aliens vs. Predator: Fire & Stone #3 – C

It took approximately 10 issues for a so-so issue of Fire and Stone to hit comic book shelves. Now that the shock value of witnessing the after effects of direct contact with the mysterious, black alien-goo has passed, there’s a little more room to scrutinize the other aspects of this very well-conceived story arc.   First off – this issue is solid! I liked it. It lives up to its predecessors well and continued to hold my attention. The only reason I graded it the way I did is because none of this seems to fit anymore. I could be missing something, but it seems like the events occurring on the Geryon aren’t apart of the Fire and Stone storyline anymore. Yes – the accelerant is crazy. Yes – you all want to kill each other. I’ve got all that down already. I wanted more surprises and twist and continuity. Like I said – it’s still wildly entertaining, but feels pretty aimless. There’s only one issue left in the AVP portion of Fire and Stone. It undoubtedly will be a gory and unsettling bloodbath. High five!!! – Taylor

DC/Vertigo: 

Secret Six #1 – B+

(B+) Gail Simone is back, and not only is she working on another DC title, but it’s the New52 reboot of one of the best titles out. Gail Simone’s Secret Six was extremely revered by the entire spectrum of comic book fans, so when I heard that it was being rebooted, I couldn’t wait to read it. The team is a bit different than in the original, although Catman makes a return. The rest of the misfit team is rounded out by other obscure characters that hope to add some flavor to the mix; Strix from Simone’s Batgirl run also makes an entrance. The first issue doesn’t reveal much, but there’s a Suicide Squad vibe, as well as a little Saw thrown in for good measure. If this can prove to deviate from what’s already out there, I have no doubt that Gail Simone will do great things with Secret Six. – Sherif

(B-) Color me intrigued. I can’t help but feel like the general set up is a familiar one (Is this a B-List Suicide Squad?), yet I’m pulled in just the same. This comic is mostly plot set up, a touch of story, and absolutely no character development. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and hope the story and characters will come later this being a serialized medium and all. The art is a little involved for my taste but that’s more personal preference than anything else. I must admit: I never followed the original Secret Six. As such, I have no idea who these characters are, but I’d definitely like to know more. – Moke

Batman Eternal #35 – B-

Through nearly nine months of Batman: Eternal, one thing has become abundantly clear – this book does not need 52 issues. More of a drunken ode to the Dark Knight, Eternal has rolled more eyes than heads. Finally though, we’re getting to the juicy stuff. Jason Bard is more than meets the eye, and it seems like we finally get to find out what that is. Maybe, eventually. It sounds very promising but I don’t know that we won’t continue to get jerked around for another dozen issues before we figure out what’s really going on because there are just too many convoluted storylines taking place on top of one another. I’m still convinced this mega-story can shock and awe, but less convinced that they needed 52 issues to do it in. – Sherif

Gotham Academy #3 – B-

While this book can get very tweeny, the art is incredible, and the reason for the high grade this month.  At times it feels like Thomas Kinkade may be going under a pseudonym and drawing/coloring this book.  I cannot get over the scenery from panel to panel.  It really never misses a beat.  The colorists, Geyser, Msassyk and Serge LaPointe, should be HIGHLY commended on their contribution to the art of Karl Kerschl.  And while I do find the story more apt for a 12 year-old girl rather than a 27 year-old woman, I also have to realize that I am a 27 year-old woman who is still reading comic books.  That being said, the story involves a lot of boy problems, but I like that this group of misfit teenagers is like a Scooby-Gang, and who doesn’t love a Scooby-Gang?! – Adrian

Wolf Moon #1 – C

(B) Personally, I liked this book.  Because it is a Vertigo title, it gets the DC flavor, but with an “Image” twist, if you will.  Wolf Moon follows Dillon who is on the hunt for a werewolf.  But not just any werewolf; this one jumps from host to host from month to month.  I have never been too big on the werewolf story, but this one intrigues me, particularly because Dillon was infected himself once.  Hence his mission.  The art, particularly the coloring, was clean and crisp.  This is a mini-series, so if you are looking to get into comics, but don’t want a big commitment, I suggest starting here.  Plus it feels like a mix of Buffy/Angel/and Supernatural.  – Adrian

(D) Eh, the art really sucks. Sorry to be such an ass about it. Everything is so vague and quickly drawn that I can’t really get a feel for the environment, the setting, or the characters. I can’t even really see what the character reactions are to one another. Just disappointed. The cover art was amazing, but the rest of the book doesn’t live up to it. And the story isn’t much better. Trite, cliché, and boring. It kinda reads like a bad spin off episode of Supernatural. I almost gave up on it after four pages. It does get better towards the end, the story that is. But I don’t know if I’ll have enough cares to read the next one. – Jené

Dynamite Entertainment:

Shaft #1 – A-

I won’t lie; when I first heard that Dynamite Entertainment was coming out with a Shaft series, I was worried that it would be just like the recently-resurrected IDW comic book, Black Dynamite, only not funny. Well, Shaft proved that it doesn’t need to rely on simple-minded humor to make a story. And it’s easy to forget that Shaft was one bad man in the days of pulp movies and Blaxploitation that his courage to stand up for himself and fight had more of an impact than a Whorefanage ever could. This is the origin of John Shaft, and you should care because it’s not only entertaining, but inspiring. – Sherif

Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 – D

I don’t get the point of modeling the comic off the 1970’s version of Battlestar Galactica at all. Maybe I just can’t appreciate the retro feel to it, but I’ve always liked the newer version of Apollo compared to his previous counterpart. Whether it’s my thing of yours, it does still capture the essence of a throwback comic, and for that, I have respect for what the authors are doing with it. At first it seems that fleet haven’t been in contact with the Cylons for a while, and everyone is enjoying a level of peace, which is until, dunt, dunt duuuuhhhh they’re still being hunted by them. The title and the trite dialogue between Starbuck and Apollo give the plot away and with it takes my interest. This comic was meh. A take it or leave it read. – Jené

IDW Comics:

X-Files Season 10 #19 – B-

A new artist and a new story arc come into X-Files this month! I have to say I absolutely love Tom Mandrakes style of art from the get-go, but it does change drastically from panel to panel where the likenesses of people very easily disappear if he draws them from a certain angle. As far as story, we get lots of the Cigarette Smoking Man, Some daddy issues with Mulder, and a super drug created by the government called G-23 and of course Langley from the Lone Gunmen wants to try it. This sets up what could be an insane story and be exactly like they say in this issue, “…stranger than the plot of any Cheech and Chong movie.” I would definitely try and pick this issue up as it is a good place to jump into this series and will likely be the craziest arc yet. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nailbiter #8 – A

The last issue of Nailbiter eluded to there being bees this month and they did not disappoint. There were bees, but I was kind of expecting some new serial killer who kills people with bees! But what I got was a weird old man in a basement dissecting bees to learn their secrets while singing a children’s song to himself. Insanely creepy, but not quite what I was expecting, and yet still good – as always. Nailbiter is a book that, so far, has not let me down when the new issue comes out. The main storyline was hashed out a little more this month as Finch continued his quest to find out what happened to Carroll, and the townspeople of Buckaroo begin to band together in a false fashion against whatever it may be that makes serial killers out of its residents. It was not the most action packed issue, and this time around there was basically no gore which to me is just a testament to how great the writing really is. Joshua Williamson keeps me captivated, what can I say? Well, I guess I can say this series is great and you should be reading it. – Keriann

Birthright #3 – B+

The third issue of Birthright all but makes up for the slower pace of the last issue. This time around, I got completely hooked again. There was finally a face to face introduction to one of the bad guys that Mikey must face in Terranos, and some terrifying fantastical beasts. I began to worry about this series because I found myself not so interested in the Terranos story, the characters seemed kind of unlikeable and I just kind of felt bad for poor basically kidnapped Mikey. I still feel bad for Mikey, but the Gideon kids seem less like cliché jerks and the universe in itself just feels much more exciting. I really like the way the book is split between the modern reality and flashbacks to Mikey’s life in the alternate realm, the transitions are really well timed within the storyline. I could ramble on, but it may be easier to just sum things up with this: Birthright is awesome, and I’m excited to read it. – Keriann

The Humans #2 – B

The Humans, for being a book about a bunch of murderous drug-addled biker chimps screwing each other, is charming. It clearly smacks of 70’s animation, particularly the Ralph Bakshi variety, that featured animals as human analogues in all their boozing, drugging, sexing glory in a way that makes it feel like 70’s noir, if such a thing exists. Not just that, its use of colors and lines sticking to Earth tones and an economy of line where just enough is given to make the chimps emotional and relatable. It manages that balance struck by things like Godfather and Vikings where you care about beings who are, by all accounts, garbage people. Issue 2 was a good read; we don’t really know who Johnny is or his significance to the group, but he’s back from Vietnam and he’s miserable. And what’s the deal with the chimp that, apparently, carts a human sex slave with him? There’s some subtle horror buried there. – J.H.

God Hates Astronauts #4 – C

(B) I will be really, really sad when this series is over. God Hates Astronauts has been and continues to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. From cover to cover, I wear a gigantic smile. On the pages were I’m not smiling I’m laughing hysterically. Even the goofy advertisements and the “fan” content at the end are great. There are a few consistency flaws in the story – maybe not flaws – more like grievances. Some of the character storylines have nothing to do with the events of the upcoming war. In fact, most character storylines seem to have no connection to the greater event at hand. The part of my brain that generates laughter hopes this means spinoffs and continuations! And ultimately, it really doesn’t flipping matter (I think I said that last review). Even if these events and people are just randomly sewn together, it still makes for a very entertaining read. I can’t wait to read the next issue titled “All Out War!” I never thought I’d say something like this but, I’m actually really looking forward to this war. – Taylor

(D) Ugh. What the hell, God Hates Astronauts? What the hell? I feel like Ryan Browne has written a comic that’s review-proof. I can’t help but feel 2 things: 1. Browne is desperately trying to be Axe Cop without the five year-old writer that makes Axe Cop interesting. Without that, I feel like this book is full of the world’s worst commentary on… nothing? 2. I know the current releases are a sequel, or at least a second volume. Does the first explain anything about what’s happening to me? Does anyone read this and get it or think it’s funny? Please for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus say something! Convince me why this deserves an A and not an F! Because as good as the art can be, and as close to funny as the writing gets (without ever really crossing over), I can’t help but feel this book deserves a D, at the most. – JH

Marvel:

Angela – Asgard’s Assassin #1 – A

 I love bad-ass things. I also love women. Hence, I was quite smitten with the premiere issue of Angela – Asgard’s Assassin. I picked up this comic this week for no other reason than because the word “Assassin” is in the title – honestly! I had no idea who Angela was or where she came from or what her abilities were. But after reading just one issue, I can tell you she is a very infection character. Her past is rich (of which we get a brief glimpse) and she has impressive skills. She’s no nonsense, very lethal and has a very rigid mind-frame. The bounty hunter/highest bidder angle she wears on her sleeve (if she wore sleeves) is way cool and adds depth to her character. I generally enjoy Thor & Loki based stories; I mean, who doesn’t?! But after strong reflection I, personally, have a new top contender for favorite Asgardian (just one issue!!). This one is a solid read people. – Taylor

Deadpool #38 – B

Well, good ol’ Zenpool, as he is being called, is helping everyone and politely asking for names and writing them down on a list. Yeah, not the normal Deadpool you are used to but it sure gives us an interesting take on The Faux-Men, Shikla, the evil X-Men and Avengers, and Deadpool himself – being the most at peace while the planet is in utter chaos. In this issue, we see Deadpool trying to escape the X-Mansion with the Faux-Men and trying to get them to safety and also trying to work on things with his wife, Shikla. The latter of which is really not working out with the whole save the world without violence Deadpool we have. Mike Hawthorne does a great job on the art and the vintage cover done by David Nakayama is awesome! I would say definitely pick this one up as this story arc is definitely proving to be another great one by Posehn and Duggan. – Jacob

Thanos vs. Hulk #1 – B-

Let’s get to it already!!!! Ok, ok, ok, I get it; the big rumble probably won’t come until much later, but I’ve got to say… I really don’t care too much about the setup of this story. I just want to see them fight!!! The grown up in me really wants to understand how these two are going to match up evenly, but my inner twelve-year old really just wants to see the carnage. Nothing bad to say about the art, and the panels between Maria Hill and Tony Stark are sure contenders for funniest panels of the week…. But who cares!? I only signed up to see Hulk smash!!! – Moke

Legendary Star-Lord #6 – C-

Star Lord is the new Indiana Jones – and not just in what he does, but in popularity, too. That is the only reason Marvel can pull off an entire episode where Quill is on a date with Kitty Pryde’s hologram and must make all the moves while ducking various mercenaries trying to collect a bounty on his head. Or at least they can try. This issue was so fluffy and boring, and the humor is laid on thicker than the frosting on a grocery store white cake. It’s sad because I actually dig the relationship between Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde, but it’s one that doesn’t need to be forced – and one that is served better as a side story in a team book (ala Guardians of the Galaxy or All-New X-Men). – Sherif

Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3 – C-

I have not been the biggest fan of this series at all; although, it does seem to be getting better with each issue. We are following a group of super-powered being made to try and recreate Wolverine and in this issue they are trying to track down Sabretooth to get information and maybe some help. Ultimately, we get some insight into the characters you still don’t know or care about, but it finally brings the story to a point where I would say you should try and read this issue if you want the whole Death of Wolverine story; still, I would not recommend it to anyone not trying to read every Wolverine thing now. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

Secret Six #1
Secret Six #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Birthright #3
Birthright #3

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 08-13-14

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:

8.13 starlight 5 pick of the week

Starlight #5 A

This book is what adventures are made out of! Duke McQueen, once savior of the galaxy, is now an old man who has lived his life shamed by the very people he saved because nobody believes him – including his own sons. However, the same cannot be said across the galaxy in Tantalus, where an underground revolution is stirring. It’s hard to tell you what happened in this issue without spoiling anything, but know that s*** is about to get REAL. I enjoy every aspect of this story, and the books move along at a very brisk pace, containing just enough dialogue to keep readers engaged but not enough to feel cluttered. With Kick-Ass officially done for good, this is my new favorite MillarWorld book out. For something new and exciting, this is the book you should be reading! – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Hexed #1 – A-

Perhaps the biggest reason I loved the new comic Hexed is because it was very reminiscent of Buffy, but instead of our hero, Lucifer, being a Slayer, she is a cat burglar.  Lucifer is witty and quick thinking.  She also knows a lot about the magical world.  After all, most of her jobs involve some sort of magical, artsy artifact.  The art in this book was mesmerizing; the use of color was very well done, taking us from ” the normal world”, to the bright colors of magical hexes, and to the dark and eery world from inside of a scary painting.  The story was enough of a teaser to keep me interested for the next issue, but it also kept me interested in what was happening in the moment.  Lucifer is very relatable, despite the fact that she is a thief and is very mixed up in the magical world.  She has a lot of foes, and it can be hard to determine who is the worst.  This isn’t a gripe with the book, rather a compliment because it is often hard for anyone to distinguish who the baddies are in our own lives.  The first issue left us with a pretty big cliffhanger, which is something I personally like when I have only 20 pages to get into a story.  I definitely expect Hexed to just get better from here on out.  – Adrian

 

Dark Horse:

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #8 – C+

Well everything I thought was coming pretty much got shot down this issue. I was hoping for happier ending for John Connor but it seems like that won’t be happening, at least the way things are looking. The cover and the last issue were definitely a bit misleading, but we still have plenty of time left to change John’s future. – Robert

 

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #34 – A-

I’m still reeling from the end of Zero Year, the phenomenal story of Batman’s first appearance in Gotham City. This issue is the bridge into the next arc, Endgame, which is undoubtedly going to be another classic. As far as one-shots go, this is pretty damn great. Matteo Scalera does a decent job filling in, and honestly, the ultra-dark tone of the issue is suited by it. We get to see a morbid side of Gotham and Batman that we really haven’t gotten to since Snyder’s first Batman run, The Black Mirror. It honestly gave me the creeps, in a good way. This killer that Batman is trying to catch gave me extra heebie-jeebies because he is more along the lines of what could happen in real life. I’m looking forward to seeing the team back together in issue #35, but this was a great all-encompassing story well worthy of you time. – Sherif

Batgirl #34 C-

As much as I will miss Gail Simone’s writing, a complete creative overhaul for Batgirl is just what the doctor ordered. This latest Knightfall arc has floundered for a good ten issues, so this big finale was a great way to send Simone off. The art in Batgirl has also gotten progressively worse, with this issue being one of the least appealing in recent history. Batgirl pulls out all the stops, and calls in all the favors she can to beat Knightfall, but it doesn’t feel like the climactic ending that the book deserved. Where the book does succeed is in the portrayal of the original Birds of Prey team – Huntress, Canary and Batgirl. They work very well together and Simone’s writing gave me a solid case of nostalgia reading it. It was a decent way to wrap up this run, and I do look forward to the next version of Barbara Gordon; I have high hopes that a new start will revitalize the character. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #19 – C-

I don’t know why I continue to read this book anymore seeing as I have not been satisfied for the last ten issues or so. Now that Zero Year is over, things are going back to normal in the regular Batman book. I don’t like how they are using it to bridge the gaps in other books and how it is becoming a mandatory read in order not to be confused in a book I actually care about. About half way through this book I felt completely lost and realized how much I hate DC for doing this with another book. I have been very critical of how they did the same thing with the Superman family. It’s as if they are forcing people to read subpar books by putting important bits of information in them (I’m looking at you Superboy). I don’t appreciate this approach at all and should the writing also continue to be subpar, will have to discontinue my support of most of these publications. – Robert

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #36 – A-

What a wonderful series for any Star Trek fan! In this issue we see the current film cast, Deep Space Nine’s captain Sisko and Odo, and of course Q the greatest villain from The Next Generation (sorry, Borg). The art as with most IDW series is fantastic and unlike sometimes, each character looks exactly like they did in their respective series. I am sure we will see more The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and maybe even Enterprise, which would be great. If you are a fan of Star Trek in any capacity this is spectacular and even if you are not this is a great series as it may introduce you to characters from the entire Star Trek Universe to give you an idea of which series you may enjoy more.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #37 B-

(B+) This was a pretty fun one off issue for the series where we see a battle between Shredder and Krang and a new mutant is introduced. The story for this issue is pretty solid despite the lack of Turtles in it but nevertheless, the story is good and gives us a great look into the two biggest villains in turtle history. The art is done by Cory Smith and he knocks it out of the park with this issue and it is nice and fresh to see a different artist than Mateus Santolouco although all the artist for this series have been great! Definitely check out this issue as it is a single story and a new arc will start next month. – Jacob

(C) Since City Fall, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are preparing for a comeback. However, with Shredder in possession of some mutagen, he has set his sites upon higher targets. However, before taking over the world, he must first have a meeting of the minds with Krang. The tensions quickly rise, as the two are both too stubborn to share a vision of the future. There are some great scenes between the two, but a lot of the issue is mindless banter between Shredder and Krang, with a predictable ending and zero turtles. The addition of Krang into the mix will give the fight for New York a new perspective for the TMNT, so while this issue was a bit stagnant, it was necessary in the grand scheme of things. – Sherif

The X-Files #15 – B-

Well this issue was definitely a mind bending issue as I am still thinking about the ending… But the art of this series has always gotten on my nerves although it is the worst I have seen I wish a more detailed artist could do some upcoming issues as they have many which is obvious with the covers for this series. The writing for this issue is top notch as I have felt this whole series is and is definitely a must have for any fan of the television series. Although if you are looking to start right now, I would wait or try and read all the back issues first as things have gotten real crazy especially this issue so it could definitely be confusing to the new reader.

Transformers: Primacy #1 C+

The final installment in the current Transformers series starts out with recent Autobot Academy graduate Hot Rod joining the ranks of the Auto Bots and learning the ins and outs like any fresh meat (or fresh metal in this case). In the meantime, Optimus is off climbing glaciers with Ironhide when they come across something ancient and Megatron seems to have some dastardly new plan. Overall, I enjoyed this; it was a bit slow with all the exposition, but I feel like this mini-series is going to get pretty good. I also enjoyed the art in this one. It was very realistic although it was a bit dark at times. Definitely worth the time if you’re a Transformers fan. – Cody

 

Image Comics:

Sex Criminals #7 A

There aren’t too many books that really pull off a dildo sword fight. Matt Fraction has written in the most ridiculous scenes into this book about two twenty-somethings who find a bond between them because they can freeze time from their orgasms. I absolutely love how John’s backstory intertwines with the current situation. The books has been primarily told through Susie’s point of view, so this helps add some variety to a character we’ve never gotten to fully explore. This book is fully shifting back into gear after our power couple fell into a bit of a lull, relationship-wise. Especially after John found what was in the Sex Police basement, I’m entirely excited for the book to get back to it’s action-packed, crazy self. Like I said, dildo swashbuckling. – Sherif

Shutter #5 A-

Shutter continues to wow. Five issues in and I’m still awed by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca’s adventure story. Every installment opens more and more doors for what could possibly come next, and because it is such an original story, I have no expectations for what will come next or when I expect anything to wrap up. I also love the concept of revealing the backstory of Kate’s dad bit by bit instead of doing it all at once. Each appearance fits within the story, and although answering questions, also shrouds itself in enough mystery to keep me intrigued for future issues. And then there’s Alarm Cat, who is one of the best companions you could ever ask for. There are a few moments that make you lose brief connection with Kate, but for the most part, this book is just pure gold, and I hope there is enough juice to squeeze 100 more issues! – Sherif

The Walking Dead #130 B-

I have no idea what is going on here. Did George Romero take over as writer for The Walking Dead? There are events in this issue that our brand new to the series, but has been the central theme to all of the recent Romero titles. I’m not sure whether it’s done as a slight, since Romero has trashed TWD as being a “soap opera,” or whether the series is actually going to go in that direction, but it’s straight-up absurd. I do give the issue a lot of praise for progressing the story along – setting up Carl for a better role and finally showing a post-pregnancy Maggie – and especially for not taking the easy bait at the end of the last issue. There’s still tons of promise in this series, so a little absurdity is allowed. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #20 B+

If you picked up this book and stopped reading it after the first ten pages, you would think that it is a terrible book. The awkward PG-13 relationship between X-23 and Angel was enough to make me take pause. The whole “I’m an animal” and “if you only knew the things I’ve done” cliché has been done so many times that it’s hardly even parodied anymore. The real excitement is between Jean Grey and Emma Frost, the latter of which is trying to push Jean Grey to realize her true powers. We finally get the showdown between the two, as Emma’s jealousy is addressed. Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde and her relationship with Star-Lord is investigated further. The signature of this series has been the fact that it is often tethered to lots of humor – none more so than Iceman. This is an exemplary bridge issue that still progresses multiple storylines, and gets us one step closer to finding out the contents of Charles Xavier’s Last Will and Testament. – Sherif

Spider-Man 2099 #2 – B+

This book has the potential to be really good and actually has a great sense of humor, especially in this episode. Things have started a bit on the slow side but I am sure things are going to pick up soon enough. I have no complaints about this issue and am looking forward to what this book has to offer in the future. – Robert

Wolverine #11 – C+

(B-) One more month until one of Marvel’s most famous characters and personally one of mine (after all he was best friends with Morph in the X-Men animated series) meets his ultimate fate. We have him getting to Sabertooth’s lair with many allies and trying to take him on. Obviously with next month being the last, we don’t get the epic battle between Wolverine and Sabertooth but we don’t have long to wait. The art of this issue is great and the story is good as well. Although it is an epic event the story is not the best I think Wolverines death should have, but we will see how it all goes down next month. – Jacob

(C) Well the time we have been waiting for during these last few months is almost upon us. One more issue and Wolverine is gonna be dead. I am actually wondering if he will finally kill Sabretooth and take that orb to get his powers back. Or maybe this will be some crappy metaphorical death. Either way, if they were going to actually kill Wolverine, I wish they wouldn’t have announced it so long ago. For being so close to the end, this issue had an awful lot of filler. I am honestly ready for this to be over so we can move on to whatever is coming next. – Robert

Original Sin #7 – C

This series has been enjoyable but I found myself lost in this issue. I still feel like I understand what s going on, but by the end of this issue I was left scratching my head. The art as always in this series is good although it is insanely dark with more shadows than words on the page and this is a wordy series. It is all over next month so yeah it is a bad time to just get into the series and it is one of the more violent Marvel series at the moment so also not for kids. – Jacob

Amazing Spider-Man #5 – C

I am not sure that I am crazy about this love triangle Peter has suddenly gotten himself into. He is supposed to be in relationship with Anna and we all know you can never get rid of Mary Jane, and now he has this new chick, it is like a bad soap opera even by comic book standards. I am more interested in the ending of this issue however; there is no way they are going to release Peter’s identity again so I want to see how he gets out of this. Nothing too crazy has happened since Peter came back, minus the new chick, so I am hoping that they pick up the pace instead of easing back into things. – Robert

Deadpool #33 – C

Although this Deadpool story arc has been interesting with meeting his daughter, it is altogether not a great Deadpool story. After reading some really good Deadpool stories it is hard to read the constant three series of the character that happen each month. The art is pretty good but not great and overall the story is enjoyable as most Deadpool but this story is definitely one of the duller of this series. – Jacob

Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet #6 – C-

Ok I have to admit this issue was quite fun once I got past my views of just how ridiculous it is. I still don’t think it is anything special but in this issue we got to see Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, Elektra, Punisher, Blade, and a couple extra Deadpool regulars. The art is for this series has been good for the whole run and the story overall isn’t good or terrible. If you enjoy Deadpool, it is worth a read otherwise avoid this series, as it is one of the craziest and weirdest Deadpool series I have read. – Jacob

Nova Special #1 – F

I found this issue to be incredibly boring. NOVA is a kid who is out of his league at this point. He can hardly even handle a bunch of teenage X-Men. I found myself struggling to even get to the next page. Iron Man is a total douche (as always). The ‘X-Kids’ are morons. And, NOVA is weak. The art of the book isn’t bad, until Iron Man shows up, I’m not sure what was going on there. Even though it only takes 10 minutes to read, save you time, watch The Office instead…at least you’ll laugh. – Cody

 

Funniest Panel:

8.13 all new x-men 30 funny panel

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

8.13 tmnt 37 cool panel

 

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.

 

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Jean Grae and Pharoahe Monch “Killin’ Em”

Song: “Killin Em”

Artist: Jean Grae and Pharoahe Monch

Album: Cookies or Comas (2011 mixtape), free download here

Lyric: “Generally-accused mutant who kills sentinels eventually/For days of future past intentionally”

Character Reference/Meaning:

We just can’t stay away from this legendary MC; who knew Pharoahe was such a nerd? This week’s “Diggin’ Through the Crates” celebrates two occasions. First, Pharoahe is performing live in Denver tonight at Cervantes. If you’re in town, do yourself a favor and go see one of the illest MCs ever to rock the crowd, fresh off his P.T.S.D. album. He’s one of the best live performers I’ve ever seen, and VERY reasonably priced considering the level of talent and interaction you get at the show.

The other reason that Pharoahe graces “DTC” for the third time (“Agent Orange” and “Rapid Eye Movement” have come before it), is because of his acute knowledge of the X-Men. With Days of Future Past released today, we saw it fitting to pick a relevant lyric, but while there were some a couple Kitty Pryde lyrics and even more Wolverine ones, Pharoahe’s verbal portrait of the totalitarian rule in the X-Men’s future takes the cake. You know what? Scratch that, it takes the whole bakery; any MC that has rapped about destroying sentinels, let along read Days of Future Past (you can check out our spoiler-free review of the graphic novel here if you’re interested) deserves some recognition.

This track from the Jean Grae (who has made her “DTC” appearance with “Jeannie Rules“) mixtape Cookies or Comas features to artists just going in about how dangerous their flows are, likening their love to their apart MCs to various horror movie characters and other serial killers. It’s a track with of pop culture references aplenty, and isn’t just limited to X-Men shout outs. I could go on forever trying to dissect all the Easter Eggs in “Killin’ Em,” but we’ll stick to the mutant issue at hand (get it?).

Days of Future Past, for those that haven’t owned a television or browsed the web in the past four months or so, is a story about the desolate future, where the X-Men’s failure to stop a political murder has ended up causing the election of a radically anti-mutant senator who implements giant mutant eradicators that (surprise!) ends up killin’ everybody in site – much like the MC Lyte-sampled loop on the track suggests. Sentinels are a vital part to the X-Men lore, and represent the cold, heartless authority designed specifically to take you out. If this sounds like a social commentary, that’s because it’s supposed to be!

Let’s start with Pharoahe’s displeasure for the boys in blue. It’s no secret that Troy Jamerson isn’t impressed with the police and the American justice system. A point that Pharoahe tries to drive home is that young black men are a target in this society. The extended video for “Clap (One Day)” off his W.A.R. album illustrates the public shaming of police officers who shoot unarmed civilians, which is more common than anybody feels comfortable talking about. It might not look like it on the news, but the sentinels from Days of Future Past isn’t too far off of life in urban neighborhoods. The evidence is stacked high and people continue to ignore the dangers, and probably will until it endangers them, as well.

When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced sentinels in X-Men #14 almost fifty years ago, it was right in the heat of the Civil Rights Movement, when police were systematically trying to dismantle organized groups trying to fight for equality. Hell, the entire X-Men concept is based off the Civil Rights Movement and the right to equal treatment. Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto are often compared to the Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, respectively, of the mutant-filled world. There’s even the concept of “passing” as regular humans, something that some of the X-Men can choose to do, like light-skinned black people would do to avoid scrutiny.

Through the decades, X-Men became a sub-conscious platform for loving yourself and being comfortable with who you are, while still loving the people around you. Sure, there was Wolverine, who encapsulated all the rage and the desire to fight those who persecute, but there was the balance of Storm’s loving view towards all living things, and the logical thinking of Scott Summers (except when it came to Jean Grey; he was crazy about her). Without audiences even knowing it, the X-Men inspired the world to work as a diverse team to thwart injustice – in whatever form it may take.

Graphic Novel Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past

Collecting: X-Men #141, The Uncanny X-Men #142 (Background story Uncanny X-Men #138-143) Original Release Date: 1981 Publisher: Marvel Comics Character: Kitty Pryde, Wolverine, Rachel Summers, Senator Robert Kelly Writer: Chris Claremont (A 16-year run on The Uncanny X-Men, X-Men with Jim Lee ) Art: John Byrne (X-MenFantastic FourSuperman) SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):

Storyline – 7
Art – 7
Captivity and Length – 7
Identity – 9
Use of Medium – 8
Depth – 9
Fluidity – 8
Intrigue/Originality – 10
The Little Things – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8

 hush_rating_81

With the evolution of comic book art and the working formula of six-issue story arcs, as well as the familiarization that fans have had with staple characters, it’s rare to see books from the Bronze Age and beyond hold up to books today in general interest or revenue. “Arcs” were rare, and when they did exist, it was typically in a collection of two or three monstrously-sized issues. As is the case with X-Men: Days of Future Past, which oddly enough is a collection of two entirely different X-books.

Written over thirty years ago, and taking place in the apocalyptic future of… last year (2013), DOFP is a love letter as much as it is ground-breaking. This is not your ordinary X-Men book, either, as the two godfathers of X-Men, Claremont and Byrne, drop bombs on readers – introducing a few long-standing characters and revealing some Maury-worthy drama along the way. For those unfamiliar with Claremont’s (and Byrne, to an extent) style, he is an extremely descriptive writer, detailing each character’s internal thought process when making moves or strategizing. This is especially helpful to new fans of the series, but can be excruciatingly repetitive for seasoned readers.

dun dun dun

You’re reading this review, which means you have definitely seen an advertisement for this weekend’s release of X-Men: Days of Future Past. As bastardized as the movie is from the source material, the premise remains the same. The Mutant Brotherhood’s attack on an anti-mutant senator leads to a string of events that culminate in the release of Sentinels, secret government bots programmed to eliminate the mutant threat. Things get out of control and, somewhere along the line, everybody dies.

everybody dies

This is where our new heroes come in. Rachel Summers, the daughter of Cyclops and Jean Grey (but not the regular storyline Jean Grey; she’s still dead), joins the dwindling group of mutants still left: Wolverine, Storm, Franklin Richards (son of Mr. Fantastic), Colossus and Kitty Pryde, the latter of whom is a grown woman – which she makes perfectly clear when she insists on going by “Kate.” The whole gameplan is to have Rachel switch Kate’s body with that of her counterpart in 1981 and warn everybody of the impending doom. Kitty Pryde is the most important character in the story, and the mantle of head X-Man has been passed to Storm, who is even able to order Logan around at a certain point.

are you indeed

The story feels quite long, despite taking up just around sixty pages. This can be attributed to the insane amount of panels in the book. The dialog drives a lot of the story, aside from some pretty powerful death scenes, which isn’t a bad thing outright; I love the diction and the way internal monologue turns into conversation and action, but there’s just too much reliance on witty puns and dialog to let the story flow naturally. Furthermore, the newly assembled Mutant Brotherhood is menacing in that way only Bronze Age books can be. Resembling more of the silly Scooby Doo-type villains than the bringers of death they are. That being said, the whimsical X-Men of today provide a sharp contrast to the desperate and fearful of 2013. When in the future, I found myself constantly anxious and paranoid.

brotherhood weirdos

To me, this is a story that has so much potential, and it’s been adapted in several animated shows like Ultimate Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men, but most notably in the 1990’s X-Men cartoon, where the role of Kitty Pryde was played by Bishop – which admittedly makes a lot more sense. It’s been proven that alternate timelines where everybody dies are money makers and represent an easy way to liven things up without consequence. There have been several comic book call-backs to this book, from a sequel (Days of Future Present) to a prequel (Wolverine: Days of Future Past). I’m still pissed that they let Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (I’m tired of seeing this guy’s face) take the place of the Kitty Pryde’s character in the book for the movie, but the upcoming film should be a much-deserved modern adaptation of a great concept.

  All media credited to Marvel Comics Written by Sherif Elkhatib