So the last week of 2014 only brings us 4 new comics and so thankfully that made it very easy to review them all.
Marvel Comics Writer Mark Waid, penciled Carlos Pacheco, Inkers Mariano Taibo with Jason Paz, Colorist Dono Almara, Letterer Joe Caramagna
I will be very honest that I gave up on the Agents of Shield television show not long after a few episodes into the first season. With that being said a new S.H.I.E.L.D. comic was not high on the to read list. The plot from Marvel is, High-tech weapons. High-stakes missions. High-octane adventure! For the men and women of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s just another day in the field!
Special Agent Phil Coulson brings together the best and the brightest, the gifted and the elite, normal people and superhumans from across the Marvel Universe on an as-needed basis to confront, combat and curtail dangers beyond the scope of any conventional peace-keeping force! Writer Mark Waid (DAREDEVIL) and a rotating crew of mission-specific top flight Marvel artists make you one promise: Every issue: Twenty pages. One mission. Unlimited budget. Unlimited imagination. Six periods. And a helper monkey. Welcome to Level Eight. Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D. Waid is one of the few writers that seems to get mainstream superheroes well and I love his work on Daredevil. I like the idea of done in one stories but the first issue is a bit on the chaotic side. The biggest problem I found was the format is new reader friendly but the story was not. If you are not familiar with the Marvel universe then there is a really good chance that you might be pretty lost. The SHIELD agents part of the story are fine it’s just the Marvel mythology that a newer reader might be at a loss. Waid does keep the story simple and the pace of the book is good. Pacheco’s art is very nice and he able to capture the huge scope of the story and visually keeps the book moving very briskly. He ia a really good choice for the book and seems to be able to handle any of the vast Marvel universe characters with ease. This is a really nice looking book.
Is the book worth your time and money? I thought the book was OK in the end but a bit too pricey at $4.99. The story is fair and I get starting the book off with a big bang type story. I just wish that is was more friendly to new readers. If you are doing a book that the television viewers might pick up at a local comic shop but not be familiar with the comic universe then you should make the book for a non regular Marvel reader. The story never quite excelled beyond an average read for the most part. The art is really good and made the story a bit higher than it would be otherwise. The book is good but not great but with the done in one I will stick around for a few issues.
Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1
IDW Writers Scott Tipton and David Tipton, Artist Rachael Stott, Colorist Charlie Kirchoff, Letterer Tom B. Long
From the department of “That could never happen” or “WTF?” is the crossover event of 2014 or 2015. The plot from IDW is, It’s the crossover nobody ever expected! STAR TREK: The hope for the best of mankind’s future! PLANET OF THE APES: A chilling look at the fall of humanity! How could these worlds possibly collide? What could possibly cause Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise to side with Dr. Zaius to protect Ape City? And what does Colonel George Taylor have to say about it? It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!! I really have to give props to Scott and David Tipton for even attempting to write such different universes let alone combine them. The key to the story is the hook that they come up with to combine them. The story is surprisingly really good and ends up being a lot better than I thought it would be. I initially figured the book would be a fun train wreck but after reading the first issue I have to admit that I am intrigued with where they are going to go with the story. In this first issue there is no interaction between the universes because of the set up but you will be good with it because the Tipton’s take the time to set up the story that make sense how they can mix together. Stott’s artwork is way above average for this type of book. While there were a few time times that the backgrounds were a little sparse, I won’t hold it against her because she does a really nice and difficult job of capturing the actors facial features that is no small feat in licensed books.
Is this book worth your time and money. I was really surprised by this book and the set up for the mini series is surprisingly good. The first issue is exposition but still ends up being a good read. The art is quite nice and I give high marks for the capturing of the actors very well. If you are a fan of either franchise I would recommend giving the book a try. I did and I liked it. RECOMMENDED!
Miracleman Annual #1
Marvel Comics Writers Grant Morrison/Peter Milligan, Artists Joe Quesada/Mike Allred, Colorists Richard Isanove/Laura Allred, Letterers Chris Eliopoulos/Travis Lanham
The long-lost Grant Morrison script finally sees the light of day. There are two short stories in this annual. Joe Quesada illustrates Grant Morrison’s lost Miracleman story, a disturbing confrontation prior to the Battle of London, Then Peter Milligan and Mike Allred reunite for a new Miracleman classic! There is both good and very minor bad to note about this annual. First if you have not been reading the reprints of Miracleman then the Morrison story is going to go over your head. That being said it’s a short but very sweet in-between story that is really nice to finally see the light of day. Morrison really captures Johnny Bates evil in the story and it keeps a great pace for a short story. It’s been quite a while since Quesada has actually drawn comic interiors and I can now see why he wouldn’t let anyone else draw the story. He really does a wonderful job of capturing the 1960’s in the look and feel in the artwork. The second story by Milligan and Allred is a throwback to the original Marvelman by creator Mick Anglo’s 1950-1960’s run and is a really fun little story that does a very nice job of nostalgia to the Miracleman mythos. They even give a nice nod to the first issue of Miracleman ending the story with an homage to Gary Leach’s zoom in on the eye that was a really nice touch.
Is this book worth your time and money? I loved it but I am familiar with Miracleman but if you are not you might want to wait until these stories are reprinted in hardcover/trade so you will be able to enjoy them better. If you have been reading Miracleman then do yourself a favor and pick this book up. Both story really knocked my socks off and are great new additions to the Miracleman/Marvelman stories. RECOMMENDED!
Abigail and the Snowman #1
kaboom! studios Writer/ Artist/Letterer Roger Langridge, Colorist Fred Stresing
I am a HUGE Roger Langridge fan when I discovered his Muppets comic work and have been a fan ever since. His new book is simply the best book of this and maybe many weeks to come. The plot from kaboom! is, Abigail is a nine-year old girl with a huge imagination who moves to a small town where she’s the new kid at school, struggling to make friends. All that changes when she meets a Yeti named Claude who has escaped a top government facility. Abigail and Claude become the best of friends, but to make sure he can truly be free from the “Shadow Men” chasing him, they must go on an adventure to find Claude’s real home! Langridge had me at the first page with the “Shadow Men” that are Laurel and Hardy that really sets the tone for the story. Langridge is one of those rare talents that really gets all ages books. He is able to make the book a great read for nearly any age and both kids will love it and there are nice elements for the adult reader. Abigail is relatable to everyone because we have all had imagination, invisible friends, being an outcast, and family issues. You immediately fall in love with her. After reading the first issue I need a stuffed Claude immediately. While we don’t learn too much about Claude, story wise that is perfect. We get to see glimpses of what is to come but Langridge wisely keeps the cards close to his vest and doesn’t revel too much too soon. Langridge the artist is simply amazing. His art style is has both a simple but incredibly detailed look that nearly rivals the great “children’s” artists of the past. He has a style that is all his own and he always creates a world that is inviting and comforting. Strising’s color work beautifully complements Langridge’s artwork that brings the world to life that is simply wonderful.
Is this book worth your time and money. For people who write off this book as a kids comic is sorely missing out on a fantastic comic that creates a wonderful world that I am very glad I get to visit. The thing that I really loved about the book is for an adult it makes you feel like a kid again. It’s like revisiting an old friend that you have missed and Langridge has lovingly giving it back to you. This is a book that proves that all ages books can not only be good but honestly it’s better than most of the books being published right now. I can not recommend this book enough. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!