New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 11/26/14 New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 11/26/14
After being stuffed with a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. The next task of the holiday is Black Friday shopping that seems to start earlier each... New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 11/26/14

After being stuffed with a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. The next task of the holiday is Black Friday shopping that seems to start earlier each year. After shopping till you drop I was able to get around to getting these reviews up for your reading pleasure.

Planet Gigantic #1

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Action Labs Writer Eric Grissom, Artist David Halvorson

This comic caught my eye this week so I thumbed through it and it looked decent. The plot from Action Lab is, When two genetically-engineered teenagers crash-land on a strange planet, they must learn to rely on themselves and their still-developing powers as they face down a giant rock monster. Also in this issue: Lyana the Seeker braves a cursed tomb in search of the fabled Eye of the Sun. Grissom story is interesting but it does also feel like it was a far too familiar story that you have read before. The story does suffer from first issue set up story elements that do drag the story down a bit.  The flaw that I found was that the two main characters were not particularly interesting. Yuri and Valentina go through the typical emotions that the story covers but there was not a strong connection to them either. Halvorson’s art is pleasing and has a storybook type feel to it that does fit the story very nicely. The Eye of the Sun backup story was a bit more satisfying than the main story because it is a self-contained story.

Is this book worth your time and money? While the book looked nice and was an OK read I was not overwhelmed with the main story. There are some interesting elements that are there and it could develop into an interesting book but, it’s a really tough call on a recommendation. With the strength of the backup story I might be willing to try the second issue. This book is defiantly aimed at a younger crowd but even with that it’s not super strong in the end.

ODY-C #1

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Image Comics Writer Matt Fraction, Artist Christian Ward, Colorist Dee Cunniffe, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos

Using classic literature for the basis for a comic is a tricky rope to walk and Fraction tackles one of the biggest with Homer’s The Odyssey. The plot from Image is, An epic 26 centuries in the making: In the aftermath of a galactic war a hundred years long, Odyssia the Clever Champion and her compatriots begin their longest, strangest trip yet: the one home. A gender-bent eye-popping psychedelic science fiction odyssey begins HERE. So it seems that Fraction has taken the Odyssey then added Barbarella, Clash of the Titans and Wonder Woman and then stirred it all together into a half baked concoction that in the end never quite satisfies in the end. There is a lot to take in with the story but it never really connected together very well. It was all very lofty but never really seemed to have much of a point or voice to it. It feels as if Fraction has created this epic story but while putting the story together it flew out of control. The saving grace to the book is Ward’s bold and stunning artwork that admittedly really captures Fraction’s wild story. Visually the book is one of the best looking books I have seen in a while but, it’s a real shame that the story is not as good as the art.

Is this book worth your time and money? The book is far from terrible but there was no emotional investment in any of the characters in the story. The story is interesting and could end up going in a great direction but, it’s really hard to see it from this first issue. The narrative flow is just not there. Ward’s wonderful artwork can only take the book so far in the end.

Shadow Show #1

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IDW Based on the short story by Joe Hill, Writer Jason Ciaramella, Artist Charles Paul Wilson III & Jeremy Mohler, Letterer Robbie Robbins

Ray Bradbury influence will continue to inspire for years to come so it’s natural to see the stories from the Shadow Show that had all new stories to celebrate this great author. The plot from IDW is, In Shadow Show, acclaimed writers and come together to pay tribute to the work of the one and only Ray Bradbury, the incomparable literary artist who has given us such timeless classics as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and Dandelion Wine. Up first is “By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” written by Joe Hill and adapted by Jason Ciaramella (The Cape) and Charles Paul Wilson III (Wraith). In this haunting story, Gail and Joel, two young teens, form an unlikely bond over the discovery of a lifetime. But their lives will soon be changed, forever altered by what they found that foggy day by the silver waters of Lake Champlain. Adapting stories to comics can be a very tricky thing and thankfully IDW has assembled a very talented group to adapt these stories. Ciaramella does a nice job of capturing the Hill story into the visual medium of comics. I love that Gail is the one who didn’t want to go out that day and yet she is the one that the stories point of view is told from. Hill’s story really captures the emotional core of great storytelling and what made Bradbury such a master at it. By taking an everyday type story and putting a really great spin on it. The art by Wilson and Mohler really captures the core emotions of the story and really bring them to life in the artwork. The story is very fairy tale influenced and they bring a great storybook quality to the comic. The art is simple yet very detailed.

Is this book worth your time and money? I was really blown away by this book. On the surface this type of story has been told before but if you tell it well then it can become something really special. There is a lot of story in these 20 pages but I was left with a great sense of awe and wonderment when I finished reading it. It’s a very satisfying read with a solid story and great artwork. This is a really good read this week and can not wait to see what the next issues will bring to the table. VERY RECOMMENDED! 

Gotham By Midnight #1

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DC Comics Writer Ray Fawkes, Artist Ben Templesmith, Letterer Dezi Sienty

DC lately has been really doing some real outside the box books in the Batman universe and now we have Gotham By Midnight. The plot from DC is, Strange doings are afoot in Gotham City! Look out, though – Jim Corrigan is on the case in this new series by writer Ray Fawkes (CONSTANTINE, BATMAN ETERNAL) and artist Ben Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Ten Grand)! While on the surface the concept of a darker side to a superhero book is not that original, the thing that impressed me was that there were no outside DC Universe characters beyond Batman. Think of it as the X-Files division of the Gotham Police department. Fawkes creator owned book last week Intersect was a real train wreck and it’s hard to believe that this is the same writer. While there is a lot of exposition that he has to get across the pacing for the first issue was quite good considering all of the set up work that the book requires. I really enjoyed the fact that Batman is barely in the book and he is not the driving force at least in this issue. I do hope that it stays that way and let the book stand on its own. This is one of those books where there are a handful of artists that could bring this book to life correctly. Thankfully Templesmith is was chosen and he is absolutely perfect for the book. He brought the mood that this book requires in both line art and coloring. This feels like more of an independent comic than a DC one and that is a good thing. Templesmith really does horror like no other and the last page was really super creepy and one of the reason I was thrilled to hear that he was going to be the artist on the book.

Is this book worth your time and money? While the first issue is a set up issue, I really liked what I saw here. Fawkes sets up a really great tone and storyline for this series and I was impressed with what I read in this first issue. I hope that he is able to keep up the momentum in the future issues. Having Templesmith’s artwork on the book is the real icing on the cake for this book. This book is off to a strong start and was a really good read. RECOMMENDED!

Rasputin #2

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Image Comics Writer Alex Grecian, Artist Riley Rossmo, Colorist Ivan Plascencia, Letterer Thomas Mauer

This is one of those books that you like but not sure of where it’s going. The plot from Image is, With the ghost of his dead father for company, Rasputin leaves home for the monastery, where he fights monks, has a chat with God, and meets the man who will eventually murder him. As with the first issue the read of the book is good but I am not sure of the trajectory of Grecian’s story is going. It’s not confusing but I am not getting a sense of where the book is going. Like the first issue the story is good but I am just not sure of what the point of the story is. Neither the past nor the present is filling in what the overall point of the story is and it’s becoming a little frustrating. Rossmo’s art is really driving this book because there are a lot of times where there is little or no dialog and the burden of the book is on his shoulders and he really brings it home visually.

Is this book worth your time and money? Some might say that the story is a slow burning one but it’s not that things are not happening but I am just not feeling the overall point of the book. Both the first and now the second issue are well written but, it seems that Grecian is just not focusing the overall story arc of the book and it’s getting very frustrating. Rossmo’s art can only drive this book for so long. I will give it another issue to see if it starts to go somewhere. If not it is going to get cut from the pull list.

Memetic #2

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Boom! Studios Writer James Tynion IV, Artist Eryk Donovan, Colorist Adam Guzowski, Letterer Steve Wands

The end of the world is being caused by social media at least in this story. The plot from Boom is, The apocalypse continues in the second installment of the oversized, 48 page MEMETIC. In Day Two of this crisis, Aaron tries to escape his college campus overrun with Screamers, while Marcus and his Pentagon team attempt to track down the source of the meme and eliminate it before time runs out. OK I will be honest that you have read this story a million times before but like I said with the first issue, there is just something about the way that Tynion is telling this story but I am really enjoying what I am reading. I think that of the keys is that the character Aaron is so relatable in the story along with Marcus on the other end that is keeping the emotions of the story front and center to the book. While the second issue had a few sagging points in the story the overall issue was a good read. There are some time where the dialog get a bit silly but overall the book is very intriguing and a really interesting idea that Tynion is presenting. Donovan is a good artist but there are a few times where the art get a little sparse and lack of detail and stiffness that is a bit frustrating but overall he is doing a good job with the artwork. He really handles the story of Ryan and Aaron’s pivotal story moment quite well and captures the emotions of the story nicely.

Is this book worth your time and money? I am really liking this book and while there are some minor flaws in both the story and the art neither are distracting to the overall enjoyment of the book. I think that the spin that Tynion is putting into the tried and true apocalypse story is very intriguing and making the story a really fun read. In the end I like what I am reading and can’t wait to see how it end in the next issue. RECOMMENDED!

Catwoman #36

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DC Comics Writer Genevieve Valentine, Artist Gary Brown, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Sal Cipriano & Taylor Esposito

The new direction for Catwoman continues with part 2 of story. The plot from DC is, “Family Business” part 2! Selina struggles to maintain her role as the leader of Gotham City’s crime families when…Catwoman attacks? I like the idea of the new direction for the book but this second issue was a little convoluted. I really like a lot of the ideas that Valentine is bringing to the book I am just getting a little worried that the book may be bouncing around a little too much. The story seems to be going off focus a little that is starting to worry me a bit. When you are going in a very different direction with an established character you are bound to hit a few bumps in the road. I just hope that a few bumps do not turn into gaping plot holes or loss of narrative. It could also be that the book is going to work better in a single read compared to a monthly installment with the story. Brown’s art is perfect for the story but there were a few times where I felt the lack of definition to the characters in a scene was very distracting in linear storytelling. He is the perfect artist for the story but it could be an issue with the story more than the art.

Is this book worth your time and money? I am really liking the direction that the book is going but I am a little worried that the focus could be going off the rails a bit. Valentine is setting up a game changing storyline for the book and I am hoping that it all comes together in the end. Brown brings a lot of grit to the new direction of the story and some are going to be turned off by his style but visually he is brining a lot to the book. Hoping for just a bump in the road with this second issue.

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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