While I had hoped to get to more posts this week, it’s been crazy busy at work lately (got to pay the bills because the website doesn’t) and the holiday madness has just been keeping me from the site. After the holidays things should calm down but at least I can still keep up with new comic book reviews (I hope).
Shadow on the Grave #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer/Artist/Letterer Richard Corben
Richard Corben continues to turn out some of the greatest horror comics of all time and at 77 years old is as good as he was years ago. This new mini series is a collection of black and white short stories that is like the old EC comics. I love that he went back to his roots with this book and while I love his adaption of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories, I preferred his original stories. Using the host approach to set up each story gives this book an organic feel and tone that is more of an old school horror comic trope that you just don’t see often today. I’m a sucker for short stories because I think that it make you deliver a better story than one that is dragged out and loses it build up along the way. The beautiful black and white with grey tones is simply gorgeous to look at and adds a really creepy tone to the book. I must point out that the paper stock used on the book is like the old newsprint used back in the day and really adds to the feel of the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a must read for any horror fan a rare chance to go back in time to see how real horror comics are done. Corben is a master storyteller and it doesn’t get better than this. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Motor Girl #2
Abstract Studio Writer and Artist Terry Moore
This book got off to a solid start with the first issue of this new Moore book and while the second issue continues to keep things moving along nicely. Moore is taking a slow burn approach to the story that while I do like what I am reading, it does make it a little tough for a monthly book. You can see there is a long-term plan for the story and it’s hard to read just a short burst like this and be fully satisfied. This is certainly not to say that it’s not worth picking up. It’s just that I really like the book and I can’t wait to see where he is going to take it. The story is still in exposition mode now and this second issue doesn’t really answer too many things but it does set up some of the underlying mysteries that are intriguing. Moore’s art on the book is as always top-notch and a real joy to look at.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am liking what Moore is setting up here and hopefully readers will stick with the slow burn approach to the story. There is a lot to digest with this book but Moore also keeps it light and fun at the same time. I am interested to see where he takes it in the upcoming issues.
DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1
DC Comics Writers Paul Dini, Tim Seeley, Eric Esquivel, Heath Corson & Gustavo Duarte, Mariko Tamaki, James Tynion IV, Gene Luen Yang, K. Perkins, James Asmus, Bill Freiberger, Steve Orlando & Vita Ayala, Artists Elsa Charretier, Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund, Gustavo Duarte, Matias Bergara, Robbie Rodriguez, Andrea Mutti, Paolo Pantalena, Reilly Brown & Scott Hanna, Thomas Pitilli, V. Ken Marion & Mick Grey
It was nice to see DC getting back to doing a holiday special again this year with the Rebirth Universe. As with any anthology it’s going to be hit and miss with both the stories and art along with the readers opinion. For me this years book was a bit of a let down. While there were a few high points I found a few of the stories were simply not good enough this year. On the plus side the Dini & Charretier Harley Quinn framing sequences does the job on stringing the stories together nicely. Seeley & Churchill’s Superman/Batman story seemed OK but has a nice strong finish that saves it in the end. The real winner of the entire book goes to Corson & Gustavo with their Batman/Detective Chimp story that blows away all of the others hands down. It does the best on every level with a perfect marriage of story art and holiday theme. This story alone is nearly the price of admission (more on that later). The Wonder Woman and Constantine story by Tamaki & Bergara is pretty good but I felt that there was not a huge reason for Wonder Woman to be in the story and that is a real shame with the fact that her current book is so good. The Flash story by Tynion & Rodriguez is a nice little romp that while has been told many times before is a sweet story that works but is a little too safe. From this point on is where the book really struggles and starts to nosedive. The Batwoman story by Perkins & Pantalena feels like the holiday story elements seem like an afterthought and is a so-so superhero story. The Titans story by Asmus, Brown and Hanna story is the worst of the bunch. An average run of the mill superhero story that has little holiday cheer at all and feels like a lump of coal. The final story with the new Green Lanterns by Orlando, Ayala, Marion and Gray is a decent idea but never quite gelled for me and is just OK.
Is this book worth your time and money? The big question is whether the book is worth $10 bucks or not. While I can’t give it a big thumbs up because the ratio of good and not so good are not great this year. While I was mostly disappointed I will say that the Corson and Gustavo story is hands down worth reading and is what the book could have really been. Sadly the rest of the stories never hit that kind of high this year. Overall this is a tough call but to its credit it was nice to read some holiday comic book stories that I just had wished had lived up to some of the Christmas past ones.
Marvel Comics Writer Kelly Thompson, Artist Leonardo Romero, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Joe Sabino
The Marvel Now has been quite a disaster for me and for new readers wanting to jump on Marvel now. The quality has been less than spectacular and the baggage of past continuity has really hurt most of the books. Thankfully Thompson hits the ground running and jumps over those two hurdles with the new Hawkeye book. I love that she has fun with the book and yet tells a compelling story in the parameters of a superhero comic. The key element is that she spends the time to set up the character to make her interesting to the reader and yet gets the exposition out-of-the-way with framing it in a solid first issue read. This is the kind of book that we need to see more of with not only a female lead but being able to simply have fun with a superhero and still be able to tell stories that are compelling and dark when they need to be. Hats off to Romero with his wonderful artwork that really brings this book together. He really captures all of the beats of Thompson’s script perfectly with a simple and yet very detailed style that really gave a great reading experience. He really captures the emotions of the story quite well and had some really good layouts in the art.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been really hard on Marvel lately simply because the direction that the company has taken has been bad for comics. Every time that I think that they have simply lost it completely a book like Hawkeye comes along and gives me hope that there is a glimmer of hope at the company. Thompson and Romero have simply created a fun and solid comic book here. It’s not a big event crossover or shocking, just simply good storytelling, and yes it really is that simple. RECOMMEDED!
Image Comics Writer Joe Harris, Artist Megan Hutchison, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Michael David Thomas
There are some comic book that simply are not that good and sadly Rockstars is one of those. I will give Harris a slight pass on the story because the concept of the book is a decent idea but the execution is simply a mess. The story plods along with overly dialogue story and the pacing is simply terrible. The really big issue is that the main characters are simply not that interesting or fleshed out very well. Everything seems to just stumble along in the story and really has a huge lack of focus. This appears to be Hutchison’s first regular comic and sadly she is simply not ready for prime time. It’s not to say that her artwork is awful but she is really inconsistent throughout the first issue. There are times where the art shines but overall it sadly has an amateurish quality that quite simply sinks the book. She has promise but I don’t think she was quite ready yet.
Is this book worth your time and money? Good idea but terrible execution of this book sinks it. You can have a good idea but if you don’t properly flesh it out you end up with a book that is simply not that good and this is the case here. SKIP IT!