There are very few surprises in the old weekly comic pile so when you have the long-awaited return of both Love and Rockets and Herobear and the Kid you know it’s going to be a good week.
Love and Rockets Volume 5 #1
Fantagraphics Books, Writers & Artists Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez
The very long-awaited return of one of the most critically acclaimed ground breaking independent comic that has been running for an amazing 35 years is back and it like putting on your favorite jacket that you had lost but found again. If you have not read Love and Rockets before this latest volume then I highly recommend that you should pick up the trades of the older material. It’s not that you can’t pick this new issue and enjoy it but there is a lot to take in with the Hernandez Brothers. But if you want to sample these great talents then this is a good doorway into their worlds. It’s hard to review this book because it is both a traditional comic and not at the same time. The best way to describe the book is that it’s more of a feeling that you get from reading the stories. Some are really out there and some are great character studies but all of them are very personal. A lot of the stories are slice of life but add in a lot of other elements that make it such a great read. They each do their own stories and have their own writing and artwork style that is a visual feast that gives each of the stories a unique voice. While this new book is composed of stand alone stories they have ties to the previous volumes with continuations of the cast of characters.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you’re looking for personal, unique and great character driven stories and have never read Love and Rockets then you’re in for a real treat here. The Hernandez Brothers create stories that not only entertain but leave an impression on you that is very rare in comics today. They continue to create stories that are both heartfelt and out there and yet it always works. It’s great to have them back and thankfully we are the beneficiaries of their amazing work that continues to impress. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1
DC’s Young Animal, Writers Gerard Way and Jon Rivera, Artist Michael Avon Oeming, Colorist Nick Filardi, Letterer Clem Robins
This is the third Young Animal title to come out and so far it’s my favorite one to date. While I did like both Doom Patrol and Shade The Changing Girl, Cave Carson is a throwback to comics that were made in the 1960’s and 1970’s and yet has a modern feel that mixes together very nicely. Writers Way and Rivera do a nice job of getting the series set up here and while this first issue is pretty much exposition they do it in a way that never feels like your slogging through the first issue to just get things out-of-the-way. The story was a wonderful mix of adventure and science fiction that is rarely see in comics today. They also make sure that while the scope of the story is big they make sure the focus of the characters is not lost in the story and is very well grounded and that is a real plus here. This type of story needs a certain look from the artist and Oeming is not only the perfect choice but I simply can’t imagine another artist that could have pulled it off as well as he has here. His bold line work and simple yet very detailed artwork helps give this book a great throwback feel that is simply perfect.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really fell in love with this book. I love the classic DC adventure comics like Challengers of Unknown and many others. It’s also a rare book that is a perfect match of both story and art that blend together so well for a writer and artist team. Way and Rivera have crafted a fun and exciting story and Oeming brings their script to life with his art that not only get you excited to read but leaves you wanting more. This is a must read comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Black Hood Volume 2 #1
Dark Circle Comics Writer Duane Swierczynski, Artist Greg Scott, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Rachel Deering
I was a big fan of the first story arc of this new incarnation of The Black Hood and Swierczynski kicks off the second story arc nicely here. If you missed the first story line make sure that you read the synopsis of it on the inside front cover. There is also a trade of the first story line that is available. He does a good job of getting both new and old readers up to speed and building on the first story arc. I like the slow burn that he takes with this book and continues to deliver a nice noir style book that follows the grey areas of vigilante stories. This new story arc brings artist Scott to the book and he is a fine addition to it. He brings a nice gritty art style to the book that captures all of the subtle needs of the story. He also wisely doesn’t overplay the artwork and keeps a nice even tone that makes the book work so well.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I’m a big fan of this book the only reservation that I have in recommending it is that Dark Circle (i.e. Archie Comics) has a really bad track record on publishing the Dark Circle line of comics on a timely basis. So as long as you know that they book probably won’t come out on a regular schedule, it’s a good read with nice artwork. It’s a nice continuation from the first story arc and worth getting.
Black Hammer #4
Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Dean Ormston, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Todd Klein
One of the best new series this year has been this book that simply continues to get better and better with each new issue. Lemire continues to shroud the central mystery of the story, but that is one of the reasons that is making this book so good. I’m actually glad that he is taking a great slow burn approach to the book because there is so much great back story and character development that makes the nuggets of the mystery all that much sweeter as they slowly unfold. His blending of the flashbacks and the current stories flow flawlessly together and shows what a great writer Lemire is. He also delivers such a great emotionally engaging story that has continuously back for more each issue. He also continues to develop the disjointed family aspect of the story that shows while the team was thrown together in this situation they have both good and bad times just as any family would. Ormston continues to deliver the goods with his wonderful artwork on the book. What really impresses me is how he is able to capture the very subtle dramatic moments that make this book work so well. The dinner scenes in this issue really show how his artwork is one of the big reasons that this book is so engaging.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a rare comic that just keeps getting better and better each issue. Lemire and Ormston are delivering a comic that is wholly satisfying but leaves you craving more and that is what comic book can and should be. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
DC Comics Writer and Artist Francis Manapul, Letterer Steve Wands
The first issue got off to a decent start but this issue stumbles a bit. Manapul has a good story idea and I think where there is a bit of an issue here is with the structure of the story. For most of the story you are not quite sure what is actually going on. While he does reveal why at the end of the issue, I felt that may have not been the wisest choice. I felt that I shouldn’t have felt as lost as I did during the story and felt a disconnect to it. And while it all make sense at the end it left a bitter taste in my mouth. I think that the flaw of it was that it will work in the overall story when you sit down and read it in one shot but as a monthly story that is where it missed the mark. On the plus side he continues to deliver some very nice artwork on the book and did help the story move along visually better than the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? While this issue is not a total failure, for me there is a lot riding on the next issue. If the story doesn’t start to fully come together then this might be the end of the road for me reading this book. I like some of the ideas that he presents in the book but the focus just doesn’t seem to be 100% on the money. Not bad just disappointing after the first issue.
Herobear and the Kid: 2016 Fall Special #1
kaboom! Writer and Artist Mike Kunkel
While I am a huge fan of Herobear and the Kid this newest mini series has suffered from a very long gap between issue #1 and this one. The first issue came out in April of 2014 so it’s been over a year and a half and while it was great to finally see the next chapter of the story there was sadly no recap and that really affects the reading of this issue. I quite honestly have forgotten what the story was about and while I read this issue and some of the story came back to me, I felt really lost in reading this and was sadly disappointed. This is not to say that the quality of Kunkel’s story and art are sub par in any way but the time gap in publishing has sadly done this book no favors. With that aside I did enjoy reading this issue and have always been a big fan of the book. The story does continue quite nicely with this double size story that I assume is the second and third issue put together. It still is a blast to read and Kunkel captures the wide-eyed innocence of childhood perfectly. It’s one of the rare “all-ages” comics that delivers to all-ages. His artwork is a perfect blend of cartoony and animation style that is always a visual feast.
Is this book worth your time and money. At this point with the book being so late I would suggest that you hold off and wait for the collection of this story, but if your like me and a huge fan of the book you take the book whenever it comes out and treasure it. While it loses huge points for lateness I still love this book and is worth the wait no matter when it comes out.
Archie Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Joe Eisma, Colorist Andre Szymanowicz, Letterer Jack Morelli
The new Archie series continues to roll along nicely and has really built a solid foundation that continues to deliver a really satisfying comic and re-imagining of the Archie universe. Waid introduces Cheryl Blossom who is basically the Darth Vader of the Archie universe. If you thought Veronica was a trouble maker she has truly met her match with Cheryl. Waid’s script hits all of the right beats with this story and melds the two stories of Riverdale and Switzerland perfectly that really makes you feel for Archie and Veronica. He really captures the emotional nerve of separation perfectly that you feel it while reading the story. This was one of the best issues yet and that is saying a lot. Eisma’s artwork on this issue is really good. He has to capture the emotional pain that both Archie and Veronica are going through and he really nails it. You can see the pain that they are going though and you really feel it because of his wonderful artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? This has constantly been one of the comics that I most look forward to when it comes out. Waid has delivered some of his best writing in years on this book that re-imagines but doesn’t try to change what we all love about Archie and the Riverdale gang. While there have been a number of artists on the book I hope that Eisma stays on the book for a while because he is really doing some great work here. This is really a must read book! VERY RECOMMENDED!