New Comic Book Reviews Week of 2/12/14 New Comic Book Reviews Week of 2/12/14
Well I got off easy last week but the number of new number one issues this week was a flood compared to last week.... New Comic Book Reviews Week of 2/12/14

Well I got off easy last week but the number of new number one issues this week was a flood compared to last week. So let’s get started with it.

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City: The Mind in the Machine #1

Darby Pop/IDW Writer Eric Garcia, Artist Javier Fernandez, Colorist Mark Englert and Felix Serrano, Letterer Troy Peteri

Darby Pop is back with its second series City: The Mind in the Machine and after their first really mediocre book Indestructible I really hoped that their second book would at least be a small improvement. The plot synopsis from Darbypop/IDW is, Ben Fischer helped build the world’s greatest surveillance system, Golden Shield, which utilizes every camera, cell phone, and computer in San Francisco to battle crime. There is only one problem: Golden Shield can’t properly function without a human mind to operate it, resulting in a controversial melding of man and machine.  Writer Eric Garcia (Matchstick Men) and artist — deliver an action-packed story that questions the roles that security and technology play in our modern society. Well the good news is that it’s leaps and bounds above Indestructible. Garcia story has a nice set up to the series with the first issue. It does drag a little bit but it’s mostly because of the exposition that is setting it all up. While the story is predictable it doesn’t exactly feel like a specific copy of something. It’s a little familiar but does seem to have a fresh take on the whole big brother concept. The art by Fernandez is pretty good for an indy published book. The overall art is good but sometimes the layouts are a bit rigid and the overall flow is a little mixed but he does some nice character’s in the story.

Is this book worth your time and money? The story is interesting and a decent read for a first issue. I will give it a few issues to see if goes anywhere. As a set up its not too bad and has some interesting ideas in the story. Not an amazing book but it’s a bit above average. Time will tell on this one.

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Fuse #1

Image Comics Writer Anthony Johnston, Artist Justin Greenwood, Colorist Shari Chankhamma, Letterer Ed Brisson

We haven’t had a buddy cop comic in a while and so Fuse #1 tries to fill that gap. The plot from Image Comics is, Working homicide 22,000 miles up on an orbiting energy platform, in a five-mile-long jury-rigged steel city stuffed with a half million people, with no help from your so-called colleagues back on Earth, is more than tough…it’s murder! Cynical, foul-mouthed veteran ANTONY JOHNSTON (UMBRAL, Wasteland, Daredevil) gets partnered with fresh-faced idealist JUSTIN GREENWOOD (Wasteland, Resurrection) for a new crime series with attitude! Murder, mayhem, and mystery—22,000 miles straight up. The story is a bit of Lethal Weapon mixed with Outland and a little Blade Runner thrown in too. Johnston’s story in this first issue has a fair set up it just felt a bit been there and done that to it. After finishing the issue I felt that it really didn’t bring much new to the table of the buddy cop genre. Greenwoods art was OK the layouts were good but there were a lot of empty backgrounds at times and it just seemed a little flat for my taste.

Is this book worth your time and money? I’m just not sure yet. While I didn’t hate the first issue, it didn’t really do a whole lot for me either. While I do like the buddy cop genre I just wish that Johnston had brought something new to the table with this book. It just seems a little undercooked. I will give it a spin for one more issue but it needs to bring something better than this typical story.

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The Royals Masters of War #1

Vertigo Comics Writer Rob Williams, Artist Simon Coleby, Colorist JD Mettler, Letterer Wes Abbott

The Royals is a new twist on an old story of what if so and so had super powers during WWII and it could change the course of the war. The plot synopsis from Vertigo is, The year is 1940. As the Blitz destroys London and kills thousands, the Royal Family looks on. But in this world, the only people with special abilities are Royalty, and the purer the bloodline, the greater their abilities. So why don’t they stop the carnage with their powers? A truce between the Earth’s nobles has kept them out of our wars—until now. When England’s Prince Henry can take no more and intervenes, will it stop the planet’s suffering or take it to another level? Writer Rob Williams (Judge Dredd: Trifecta, Low Life, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and Daken) and artist Simon Coleby (The Authority, Judge Dredd: Year One and Trifecta) team up to bring you this epic of World War proportions. History will be transformed in a way you’ve never seen before. While the plot is not particularly original I will give William’s props for making it feel fresh. Using the idea of the Royal Family being the ones with superpower is a really interesting idea. While the first issue is a lot of exposition for the series I never felt that it dragged on and was surprised that the end of the first issue came quickly. Williams did a nice job of introducing the cast of characters while still holding some cards to the vest for future issues. Coleby’s art is really great. The detail that he puts in every panel is really fantastic. He is really captures both the big and small scenes in the story quite well. The coloring by Mettler really compliments Coleby’s art and brings a nice mood to the book. Vertigo is on a roll lately and this book is another solid book to the line.

Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed this first issue. While not the most original idea I will say that the execution of both the story and the art are really well done. At the end of this first issue I definitely want to read the whole six issue mini series. Recommended.

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The Mercenary Sea #1 

Image Comics Writer Kel Symons, Artists and Colorist Mathew Reynolds, Letterer Pat Brosseau

Here is another book that definitely feels like another book and or movie. It feels a lot like DC Comics The Losers and other similar type books. The plot synopsis from Image is, Action and adventure set in 1938—The South Seas. Japan has invaded China. War in Europe is imminent. Ex-bootlegger Jack Harper captains The Venture, a refitted German U-Boat, with a crew of expats, mercenaries and treasure hunters. They do whatever it takes to stay afloat, often running up against pirates, headhunters, spies, and soldiers. They’re always one step away from the greatest score of their lives…or their certain demise. While I will be the first to admit that Symons story is very “you have read this before”, but for some reason I kind of liked it. Maybe because this type of book rarely last long in comics. I do like the espionage genre and pulp genre and maybe that’s why. The only big flaw is the lack of character in the story. None of the main characters are particularly original or very memorable so hopefully the next issue will help with that problem. For me the reason I picked up this book was the art by Reynolds. His style is very art deco and his use of color is really fantastic. I did like the use of the cinematic focus shots where the background is out of focus and the front is not and rarely see this in comics. It’s obvious that the art is done digitally to do that but gives it a real nice cinematic quality that give the book a really nice feel.

Is this book worth your time and money? If you like pulp and espionage type books then you might want to check it out. While the art is really nice the story will need to have some more meat on the bone so to speak. I found the book to be fun but it will definitely have to step up its game in the long run. We will see if it’s able to go somewhere with the story.

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The Bunker #1

Oni Press Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov, Artist, Colorist and Letterer Joe Infurnari

I really like Fialkov writing but was not overly impressed with his Sky Man book over at Dark Horse but I know that he is a much better writer than that. Well we now have that better book and it’s a knockout. The plot synopsis from Oni is, When five friends go to bury a time capsule before going their separate ways, they find a mysterious bunker stamped with their names and containing artifacts from a time that has yet to come. Will their discovery save the world or doom it? From Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, VAMPIRE; ULTIMATES) and Joe Infurnari (MARATHON) comes a new ongoing series that proves outrunning your future is no easier than escaping your past. The story is so rich with character and story that you might just have to read it twice to take it all in. It’s not that you won’t get it, but there is so much going on that it’s a bit overwhelming and you are afraid that you might have missed something. Like any good mystery you want to take your time with this book. This is how you set up your story. Good character development, good pacing, and intriguing story. Fialkov does a great job of giving a lot of information but the reader is not sure what to do with all of it yet. It’s like a breadcrumb trail that you found but are not quite sure where it’s leading you but you like the journey. Teaming up from there run on DC Comics sadly very much missed I Vampire book, Infurnari delivers the goods again with his great artwork. He really capture the mood of the story with art, coloring and lettering and it just comes together so effortlessly. This book is going to be one to watch this year.

Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a bargain at $3.99 for a double sized issue that is just packed with story and art makes this book a no brainer to pick up. This is a must have add to your pull list. Fialkov and Infurnari are at the top of their game with this book and I can’t wait for the next issue. Highly Recommended and a must buy book!

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She-Hulk #1 

Marvel Comics Writer Charles Soule, Artist Javier Pulido, Colorist Muntsa Vicente, Letterer Clayton Cowles

I have very fond memories of She Hulk from the John Bryne days of her in Fantastic Four and her own book that he did. So as far as what she had done in the Marvel Universe from that point I had no idea. So pretty much being a new reader I hoped that this would be a good jumping back on point for new readers. The plot synopsis from Marvel is, JENNIFER WALTERS IS…THE SHE-HULK! A stalwart Avenger, valued member of the FF, savior of the world on more than one occasion, she’s also a killer attorney with a pile of degrees and professional respect. A 7-foot-tall drink of cool, emerald water, she’s tough enough to knock out Galactus with one punch (possibly?) and has a heart bigger than the moon. But juggling cases and kicking bad guy butt is starting to be a little more complicated than she anticipated. With a new practice, a new paralegal and a mounting number of super villains she’s racking up as personal enemies, She Hulk might have bitten off a little more than she can chew…but she just calls that Tuesday. I was a little hesitant on picking up this book because Soule has been a real miss for me with a lot of his Marvel and DC work of late. I will really give him props on this book because he definitely got the feel of the Bryne take on the character. He really played up on the fun factor of Jennifer and not just the She-Hulk aspect. It’s also has a nice light tone to it and that is not to say the story was overtly simple. I just mean that it’s a solid read but won’t change the world. And you know sometimes it’s really great to have a nice fun and light book to read. Pulido’s art is simple on the surface but has a an elegance and style that is reminiscent of David Mazzucchell, Steve Rude and Mike Allred. I am not comparing him just saying that he is a real force to watch on this book. He really brings a lot of heart to the story through his artwork. I was very impressed by it. His layouts were really good and the book has a really nice flow to it.

Is this book worth your time and money? I really have to give props to Marvel for giving some lesser known characters their own books and letting some really amazing teams do the books. Last weeks Ms. Marvel and now She-Hulk are really making me get excited about Marvel Comics again. Soule and Pulido really pulled off a great first issue and I am very much looking forward to see where they take Jennifer and her new life. Recommended!

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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