With recovering from the holiday and family in town this weeks post went down the drain. We will be back on track next week. This weeks new comic book reviews are very light because there simply wasn’t that many books that came out this week. So here we go.
Batman Annual #1
DC Comics Writers Tom King, Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, Paul Dini, & Steve Orlando Artists David Finch, Declan Shalvey, Neal Adams, & Riley Rossmo Colorists Gabe Eltaeb, Jordie Bellaire, Neal Adams, & Ivan Plascencia Letterer Deron Bennett
DC Annuals can be fun side stories or a collection of short stories and the second is where this one lands. There is a lot of top talent in this book and maybe that is why it’s ends up being disappointing. The book is certainly not bad by any means but none of the stories really knocked my socks off either. The best of the bunch was the King/Finch re-imagined origin of Ace the Bathound was a ingenuous little story that did a nice job of spotlighting Alfred. I did like the idea that all of the stories were based around the Christmas holiday because I fondly remember when DC used to have Christmas specials that had some really strong short stories in them. On the plus side is the overall artwork in the book that gives each story strong look that does help move things along. Of course the Adams one looks really good but the Dini story is cute but suffers as with the rest of the stories as not very memorable.
Is this book worth your time and money. While I don’t feel that I wasted $4.99 on this book especially considering that you get 38 pages of story and art that is not a bad deal on paper. I really wish that the writers had come up with more smart and snappy short stories for this book like the first King and Finch story. Considering how light this weeks releases are I would give the book a moderate recommendation but if you on a budget I would skip it.
Ghost Rider #1
Marvel Comics Writer Felipe Smith, Artist Danilo S. Beyruth, Colorist Val Staples and Jesus Aburtov, Letterer Joe Caramagna, Back-up story Artist Tradd Moore, Letterer Joe Sabino
With the reboot of the Marvel line again they take another stab at reviving Ghost Rider again this time as Robbie Reyes that really starts off flat and boring. Smith’s story is not only a by the numbers affair here but is not very compelling to want to come back for a second issue. The really odd thing about the main story is that Smith devotes half of the story to a set up with the Hulk that makes it feel as if you are not reading a Ghost Rider story and that is a real problem with the structure of the book. While there is nothing wrong with mixing an A & B stories together but they should not feel separate like they do here and seem to be slapped together pretty sloppy and disjointed. Beyruth’s art is nice but has a very flat and somewhat inconsistent look to it. It just feels very standard and honestly the Hulk sequences look better than the Ghost Rider ones that is really not helping It doesn’t help with previous series artist Moore’s eye-popping artwork on the cute but superfluous back up story that eclipses the main story only because it’s simple and short.
Is this book worth your time and money? Marvel keeps trying Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider and like the last series the stories are simply sinking the book for a character that has always struggled over the years and this new series is off to a pretty bad start. Flat and underwhelming first issue is not going get many readers to come back for more. SKIP IT!
Superman Annual #1
DC Comics Writer Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason, Artist Jorge Jimenez, Colorist Alejandro Sanchez, Letterer Saida Temfonte
On the other side of the Annual coin from Batman is a full issue story in Superman and while it works pretty well it suffers from the same fate of being nice but somewhat forgettable story. I was originally not going to pick this book up but flipping through it and finding out that it had Swamp Thing had me excited for the book because I love the character. The biggest problem with Tomasi and Gleason’s story is that while it’s a nice read, it’s a very by the numbers affair story wise. The biggest problem is that you have read this type of story a million times and they simply don’t even try to give it a new or fresh spin. The big saving grace of this book is the gorgeous artwork by Jimenez that nearly single-handedly save this book from being a total letdown. He artwork really helps the standard story much more palatable while your reading and you are visually immersed in the book and make it better than it kind of is.
Is this book worth your time and money? The book is not terrible but suffer the same fate as the Batman Annual. Forgettable story but in this case Jimenez does really save this book and throwing in Swamp Thing does help it out too. In the end it’s a nice but fairly forgettable book that is worth checking out but not a must buy.
Archie Comics Writer Ryan North, Artist Derek Charm, Letterer Jack Morelli
Jughead continues to be a must read book with North at the writing helm of the book. This issue finishes out the Sabrina story to a very nice and satisfying conclusion that is smart, funny and sweet. North has really captured what we love about Jughead and keeps the book light and fun with his snappy script. What I love about North’s take on the book is that he keeps things simple and to the point. The Sabrina story arc has really established her in this new Archie Universe as a strong and funny character that I can’t wait to see more of. He makes Jughead the lovable goofball that we all have in us and creates a comic that simply works perfectly. I am a big fan of Charm’s artwork on the book and his simple yet detailed style is perfect for North’s scripts. One of the things I love best about his art is the way that he captures the emotions in the characters that really is making this book firing on all cylinders and is an absolute delight to read.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a huge fan of this book and North has really set the book on a great course with his stories. He is not only doing a solid job on the book but is making sure that you are excited to come back for the next issue of the book. Throw in Charm’s wonderful artwork and this is a comic that I look forward to and makes it a must read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!