This week brings a nice mix to the comic reviews. Some new books and returning ones make this weeks list.
Gotham Academy #2
DC Comics Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, Artist Karl Kerschl, Colorist Dave McCaig and John Rauch, Letterer Steve Wands
I liked the first issue of this new series and hoped that it would continue in the second issue. The plot from DC is, Olive joins the creepy Order of the Bat as an afterschool activity, and we learn more about her secret past! While the comparisons to Harry Potter are pretty obvious the book is doing a nice twist with the Batman mythology. Cloonan and Fletcher are beginning to develop the mysteries that are within the walls of the academy and Olive is starting to discover her heritage in the process. The thing that I am really liking about the book is the that they are using charters from both the regular DC Universe and the Batman 1966 television show with Bookworm showing up in the second issue. Cloonan and Fletcher are striking a very nice balance between the school drama and the mysteries of both the students and the school. Artist Kerschl is really bringing this book together in a great visual style that is making this book such a fun read. His layouts for the book are really striking and imaginative and give the story a very refreshing tone.
Is this book worth your time and money? I like that we are seeing where the book is starting to go with this issue. I also like that they are keeping the book simple and not overloading the story. They are keeping it nice and straight forward that is one of the reasons why it’s working so well. It also doesn’t try and be more than it is, meaning that it keeps everything in focus and sharp. With wonderful artwork that bring the book to life, I have to say that this is becoming a must read book each month. It’s simply a really fun book to read. VERY RECOMMENDED!
The Humans #1
Image Comics Writer Keenan Marshall Keller, Artist Tom Neely, Colorist Kristina Collantes
If you took Sons of Anarchy and add Planet of the Apes and throw in exploitation then you end up with The Humans. The plot from Image is, Apart, they are nothing…deemed by society as outcasts, misfits, losers, no good punks! But together, they are THE HUMANS! The HUMANS is a high-octane, no-holds-barred, ape-biker-gang chopper ride into ’70s exploitation genre bliss. Follow Bobby, Johnny, and all The HUMANS as they fight and fly down the road to oblivion on a ride filled with chains, sex, leather, denim, hair, blood, bananas, and chrome. This book seems like a lost comic from the 70’s underground period that probably should have stayed under the ground. Keller story is a sad mess with the big problem of not developing the concept of the story. The flaw of the story is that you don’t car about any of the characters and the story doesn’t really have much of a point. Neely’s art is a mixed bag. There are way too many time where there are virtually no backgrounds and while the characters look good the overall art ends up looking flat.
Is this book worth your time and money? While not the worst book I have read it really is pretty pointless. The big problem with the book is that it seems that Keller spent too much time trying to mix all of the different genres but forgot to actually put a story together. In the end it becomes a lot of who cares when you are finished with the book. The art is OK but is a real mixed bag with some of it good and some not so good. Pass on this one.
Tooth & Claw #1
Image Comics Writer Kurt Busiek, Artist Benjamin Dewey, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer John Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt
Busiek new series is an interesting first issue. The plot from Image is, MARVELS and ASTRO CITY writer KURT BUSIEK returns to Image Comics with rising-star artist BEN DEWEY for an all-new ONGOING SERIES! Conan meets Game of Thrones meets Kamandi in an original high-fantasy epic for mature readers, as a secret conclave of wizards brings a legendary champion back through time to save the world, with disastrous consequences. Busiek is setting up a really epic story and while there is a lot that happens in the first issue I liked it but didn’t fall in love with it. The story is solid but in the end with 48 pages of story there was a lot of set up but not a lot of payoff with it. The story was a bit on the dense side with lots of set up for the future issues so I think the next few issues story wise are going to be the key. Dewey’s are is very nice and exceptionally detailed. He really keep the story flowing visually quite nicely and helps with a lot of the exposition that is going on in the first issue.
Is this book worth your time and money? There is a big story that is set up in the book but I really would have liked a bit better payoff with this first issue. With 48 pages I just felt that not a lot happened in the issue. The characters seemed a little on the bland side and hopefully that will get better in the next issue. It was a decent first issue but far from a home run. Busiek sets up some interesting ideas that will need to be better fleshed out in the next couple of issues.
Scooby-Doo Team-Up #7
DC Comics Writer Sholly Fisch, Artist Scott Jeralds, Colorist Franco Riesco, Letterer Saida Temofonte
This book has been a lot of fun with the Scooby gang teaming up with DC characters and now they are mixing other Hanna-Barbera characters into the book. The plot from DC is, When a test of Dr. Albrick Einstone’s time machine goes awry, Scooby and the gang find themselves the unexpected guests of everyone’s favorite modern Stone Age family, the Flintstones! And they’ve arrived just in the nick of time – because Bedrock is being plagued by that notorious spook, The Phantom of the Operrock! The idea of teaming up Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones is a great idea, unfortunately this issue is a bit of a bust. Fisch fatal mistake is that with a Scooby-Doo story you must have a good mystery. The book really lacks any sort of mystery elements and just has the characters hanging out together. There really isn’t much story going on here and in the end becomes very disappointing. Jeralds does a nice job on the art and does a nice job of capturing the Flintstones and Bedrock while still maintaining the Scooby style on the respective players.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is the first issue that has really disappointed me. The idea is good but the story is really poorly executed and ends up not really having a point to it. Sadly I would have to say to skip this issue and I’m now really worried about the next issue with the Jetsons.
Marvel 75th Anniversary Celebration #1
Marvel Comics Writers James Robinson/Bruce Timm/Stan Lee/Brain Michael Bendis/Tom DeFalco/Len Wein, Artists Chris Samnee/Bruce Timm/Michael Gaydos/Stan Goldberg/Paul Gulacy, Colorists Jordie Bellaire/Dave Stewart/Matt Hollingsworth/Paul Mounts/Rain Berdeo, Letterers Cory Petit/Ferran Delgado/Joe Caramagna/Clayton Cowles
Marvel is 75-years-old and this special one shot has five stories that celebrate the Marvel Universe. The plot from Marvel is, A super-sized celebration of 75 years of the World’s Greatest Comics! What happened the day the Marvel Universe was born? James Robinson and Chris Samnee have the answer! Legendary artist Bruce Timm adapts the very first Captain America story Stan Lee ever wrote, from 1941! As Spider-Man battles the Kingpin, Peter Parker’s pals-n-gals lament his absence, in a story by Tom DeFalco and Stan Goldberg. Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Gaydos guide Netflix’s Jessica Jones as she investigates a case with roots in the past of the Marvel Universe! Wolverine’s “father” Len Wein and Paul Gulacy recount an untold encounter between Logan and Sabretooth! The good new is that none of the stories are clunkers and there are some real gems. I would say that my favorite one was Anniversary by Robinson and Samnee that tells the Marvel story from a third person perspective and it really is a wonderful story. The Captain America story by Timm and Lee is an old school story that is simple and fun. The surprise one that really hits a nice sweet spot was the Bendis and Gaydos that is nostalgic and sentimental. The Spider-Man story is very bittersweet because it’s probably the last artwork by legendary Archie artist Goldberg who recently passed away and this serves as a nice tribute to him as well. Wein and Gulacy Wolverine story is interesting but I am a huge Gulacy fan but his art seemed a little off with this story. There are also covers for “Marvel Comics We Never Made” with top talent drawing fake covers with stories by Bendis that are all quite amusing.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the book is a bit pricey at $5.99 in the end it’s very satisfying and worth picking up. Overall the book is a really good read and nice artwork to go with them. In the end the book is a nice journey through the Marvel Universe. RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Joshua Williamson, Artist Andrei Bressan, Colorist Adriano Lucas, Letterer Pat Brosseau
The first issue set up an interesting idea but ultimately felt to familiar to other stories but was willing to give the book a second go around. The plot from Image is, What is the line between fantasy and delusion? In the aftermath of last issue, the Rhodes family is looking for answers…and nothing is what it seems. Williamson’s story is just not jumping out at me with this issue. While the story is decent it just really seems to be treading water. The characters just are not that exciting or interesting. I will give that there are some interesting ideas that are being presented, it just seems a bit forced at times. The good news is that Bressan’s art is still very good and at least made it more interesting to look at while I was reading it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I could be in the minority but this book is really blah for me. It’s not like the story is terrible or anything, I just don’t care about any of the characters and in the end the book just moves along in the end. I think that the idea was maybe better than the execution in the end.
Men Of Wrath #2
Icon/Marvel Comics Writer Jason Aaron, Artist Ron Garney, Colorist Matt Milla, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
The first issue left me a little cold but was willing to give the book a second issue. The plot from Icon is, Dig deeper into the bloodstained history of the Raths, an Alabama family caught in a generational cycle of violence. Are all members of this clan of killers cursed to live and die by the sword, or can one of them break the chain? The second issue was a huge improvement over the first issue and while Aaron has not revealed everything yet the backstory of Ruben’s current situation was really interesting. This might be one of those stories that will work better when reading it all in one shot over the monthly release. I would have like to learn a bit more of the plot this issue but Aaron did pick up the pace with the story in this issue. Garney does a nice job on the artwork again. He is capturing the mood of the story quite well and the horse scene was played very nicely with the visuals.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I am still not totally sold on the book, the second issue was a step in the right direction. Aaron needs to really pull the book together in the next issue for me to continue buying it. Better but still a bit iffy.
Fiction Squad #2
Boom! Studios Writer Paul Jenkins, Artist Ramon Bachs, Colorist Leonardo Paciarotti, Letterer Jim Campbell
I still feel that this book is far from original I am enjoying the pulp detective story that Jenkins is telling. The plot from Boom! is, Jack, of Jack and Jill, has taken a tumble. Humpty has cracked. The Wicked Witch of the East is buried under a two house. Key players are being taken out right and left and someone is trying to push the Queens of Wonderland and witches of Oz into a gang war. It is up to Frankie, with his partner Simple Simon, to solve the mystery before another death comes knocking at his doorstep. If you strip away the Fables and Cool World rip-off the actual detective part of the story is becoming really good and interesting. The mystery that Frankie is discovering is very deep and you are not quite sure what is really going on, and that is a good thing. We are learning the clues along with Frankie and rest of the gang and it’s keeping me interested in this second issue. The real treat to this book is Bachs artwork that is really gorgeous and captures the feel of the fairy tale lands and it’s characters. He really puts a lot of detail into every panel that is really impressive.
Is this book worth your time and money? The second issue was a little easier to swallow the book because I knew what to expect this round. This allowed me to enjoy the story a bit better and while it’s far from original, it did work better in this second issue. The artwork alone is worth buying the book and thankfully the story is catching up to it.