New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/4/15 New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/4/15
Dang it seems as if each weeks new comics are getting bigger and harder for me to review so many titles now. I will... New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 2/4/15

Dang it seems as if each weeks new comics are getting bigger and harder for me to review so many titles now. I will try to do as many as I can.

Ant-Man #2

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Marvel Comics Writer Nick Spencer, Artist Ramon Rosanas, Colorist Jordan Boyd, Letterer Travis Lanham

I was not overwhelmed by the first issue of this title but there was an underlying charm to it and was willing to go a second round. The plot from Marvel is, Ant-Man’s starting a new life– a bold new adventure– and you know what that means. He needs to borrow some money! Also, an old enemy returns… kinda. Sorta. Maybe? The second issue was a bit better paced than the first issue was. Spencer’s script keeps the light and breezy tone that he had in the first issue  and builds on it. The only issue that I have is that the book seems to be heading in the same direction that She-Hulk did. I’m not complaining but that book was recently canceled sadly. And yet a book with the same tone because it’s got a big movie coming it will last for a lot longer. The big question that I have for the book is its long term goal. While the story is decent it was not overtly compelling either. Rosanas’s artwork has a great look to go with the light story. It’s a nice clean style that a few times lacks the background detail that could benefit the book but overall he does a nice job.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is one that is hard to call. It’s not a bad book but it’s not very memorable either. The story is light and is easy for new readers to jump into, but in the end it was just OK. While I liked the light tone that the story has there just wasn’t much there when you are done reading it.

Wolf Moon #3

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Vertigo Comics Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist Jeremy Haun, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Travis Lanham

This title really came out of nowhere for me and has become a real great read. The plot from Vertigo is, Dillon Chase continues his hunt for revenge – and the werewolf continues its slaughter across the American midwest. Hold onto your hearts and your entrails. Bunn has done something that is rarely seen in comics. He takes a tried and true mythology and has infused new blood into it while not throwing away all of the good stuff that made the mythology work so well. He has alluded to the way that the werewolf curse affects its victims but this issue we get to see first hand the toll that it takes from both sides. Dillon’s quest is at a real crossroads because he is the hunter and the hunted at the same time. Bunn keeps the great pace of the overall story in check and he does a great job of keeping all of the characters and the plot threads in check. The cliffhanger that is at the end of the issue really has me on the edge of my seat. Haun’s art continues to impress with the great mood that he infuses into the story. He handles effortlessly both the dramatic and the horror elements that really draws you into the story.

Is this book worth your time and money? This book is one of the best new Vertigo books lately and has both strong story and art. It’s rare to do a really good horror comic and this is one of the best that I have seen in a while. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Cluster #1

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Boom! Studios Writer and Letterer Ed Brisson, Artist Damian Couceiro, Colorist Michael Garland

This is one of those books that is way too familiar for its own good. The plot from Boom is, In the distant future, as mankind discovers life on other planets, it needs soldiers to defend its colonies and outposts across the stars. In order to increase the number of boots on the ground, criminals are offered the opportunity to serve in the place of incarceration. But as wars wage on and more soldiers are needed, small-time crimes are given long-term punishments. When a group of prisoners serving their time as soldiers become stranded and abandoned on a war-torn planet, they’ll need to work together to survive and uncover the truth behind Earth’s role in deep space. The story by Brisson is OK the bigger problem is all of the influences you see in the story that are beyond obvious. Take one part Starship Troopers then add in Aliens then sprinkle in any prison movie and voila you get the story of Cluster. So I get really tired of writers that are influenced by things but don’t bother to put their own spin on it. There is nothing wrong with telling a tried and true story but give it a new spin and tell it well. Sadly this book does not do either very well. The story is competent but nothing original. The characters are the usual story tropes. The artwork by Couceiro is better than average for an original Boom title and he does his best to make the simple story visually appealing. There were a noticeable lack of backgrounds that was disappointing.

Is this book worth your time and money? Not really. The story is riddled with clichés and been there and done that. With so many comics on the shelves book like this are not going to cut it. After reading it felt more like a pitch for a Hollywood movie than a real effort at a good comic book. SKIP IT!

Star Wars #2

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Marvel Comics Writer Jason Aaron, Artist John Cassaday, Colorist Laura Martin, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos

After a great start to the new series, I tried not to let myself get too excited for the second issue just in case. The plot from Marvel is, Princess Leia has led a covert team in an attack on Cymoon 1. Unfortunately it also contains a number of innocent slave workers. Now the Rebels race to escape with the freed slaves before the factory is destroyed. A task made far more difficult by the arrival of Darth Vader on the moon. I was impressed by Aaron story and writing on the first issue and he continues to hit the tone and feel of the original films in the second issue. This issue is more action oriented and moves along quite briskly. I really love how Aaron uses the future movie vehicles in the story as a nod to the readers. It’s also nice to see a more innocent time in the saga that the story takes place in so he is able to experiment with the characters in these new situations. Cassaday continues to turn in some of the best work of his career. He really knows how to pull off the scale of the story that few artists would be able to do. But he also wonderfully handles the more intimate moments in the story with great ease.

Is this book worth your time and money? If you are a fan of the original unaltered films then this is the book that you need to pick up. The key to it working so well is that Aaron gets what made the original films and the characters so beloved. He doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here, he just tells a fun story with the original feel in-tacked. Mix in Cassaday’s beautiful art and you have one of the best Star Wars comics to come along in a great while. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Imperium #1

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Valiant Writer Joshua Dysart, Artist Doug Braithwaite, Colorist Brian Reber & Dave McCaig, Letterer Dave Sharpe

Just when I had hope for Valiant I read Imperium #1. The plot from Valiant is, Toyo Harada is the most dangerous human being on the planet. Imbued with incredible powers of the mind, he has spent his life guiding humanity from the shadows. But today he is a wanted man. His powers are public knowledge, his allies have turned to enemies, and he is hunted by every government on the planet. Instead of surrendering, Harada has one last unthinkable gambit to play: to achieve more, faster, and with less, he will build a coalition of the powerful, the unscrupulous and the insane. No longer content to demand a better future, he will recruit a violent legion from the darkest corners of the Earth to fight for it. The battle for utopia begins now. Valiant’s biggest problem is accessibility to their books and this is one of the most unfriendly books for new readers that I have ever read. They are doing such a great job with The Valiant and all of that goodwill is flushed down the toilet with this book. The biggest problem with the book is that I really had no idea of what was going on with the story and the there was absolutely no attachment to the characters because you are not introduced to anyone well at all. The story is not bad but it just really droned on and at the end of the issue I could have cared less about anything or anyone. Dysart is a decent writer and the story is somewhat competent but unless you are a current Valiant reader this book is pretty pointless. Braithwaite does a very nice job on the art but I was so lost with the story that even he couldn’t save the book for me. I did really like the artwork though.

Is this book worth your time and money? I get that Valiant is trying to create an all-inclusive universe but, with books like this they are never going to get new readers involved in the companies books. Reading their books is like being invited to a lecture about something you know nothing about and are expected to have a conversation afterwords and know everything that was not told to you in the lecture. Valiant needs to make these event books a hell of a lot better for new readers or they are never going to grow new readers into the fold. If you are a new Valiant reader SKIP IT!

Nameless #1

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Image Comics Writer Grant Morrison, Artist Chris Burnham, Colorist Nathan Fairbairn, Letterer Simon Bowland

Warning if you are only familiar with Morrison’s superhero work then this might not be the book for you. The plot from Image is,An astronomer kills his family, then himself, leaving a cryptic warning. A Veiled Lady hunts her victims through human nightmares. An occult hustler known only as ‘Nameless’ is recruited by a consortium of billionaire futurists for a desperate mission. And the malevolent asteroid Xibalba spins closer on a collision course with Earth. But nothing is what it seems-a terrifying inhuman experiment is about to begin. Abandon all hope and experience ultimate horror in NAMELESS. This is a lot closer to his work on The Invisibles in both tone and structure. This is one of those books that where you will be scratching your head but at the same time totaling enveloped with the concept. As with an original Morrison concept there is a lot going on in the story and while it can seem confusing at the time it should all come together in the end. Morrison tends to write with a bigger scope than an average writer so there is a lot to digest with this book. There is a  lot of ground work going on here in this first issue so hang in there. Burnham’s artwork is really good and put a lot of thought and detail into the art. He does a great job of visually helping the reader through the story to help make the path a bit clearer. That is the mark of a  good artist.

Is this book worth your time and money? Morrison is a real love or hate relationship with most readers. I am in the lover camp and while he has had a few flawed stories they were not awful by any means. Morrison is setting up a really interesting idea with this book and if you are willing to put the time into the book it looks to be a grand payoff in the long run. The book will probably work best in one reading so that is the decision that you will have to make. To you want to read it as soon as it comes out or wait until the story is collected. Dealers choice on this one.

Rat God #1

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Dark Horse Comics Writer/Artist Richard Corben, Colorist Richard Corbin with Beth Corben Reed

A new comic from Richard Corben is always a welcomed sight to see. The plot from Dark Horse is, Terrible things stalk the forests outside Arkham in this chilling original tale from comics master Richard Corben! An arrogant city slicker on a quest to uncover the background of a young woman from the backwoods finds horrors beyond imagining, combining Lovecraftian mutations with Native American legends. Corben is one of the rare master storytellers that is still working in comics. He is one of those rare talents that is able to craft great stories and visually bring them to life by doing the artwork himself. Corben loves to dive into the horror realm and this new story is off to a great start. One of the things that really impressed me with this first issue is that the story starts off in one direction then just as you are getting into it he turns the direction 180 degrees and throws you in a completely different direction. That is the thing that I love about Corben’s work is that he can still surprise you after all of these years of doing this. The story does have a few basic plot ideas but while there are a few flaws in the story, I still enjoyed reading the issue. I have been a big fan of Corben’s artwork and he still delivers great work every time. The thing that really impresses me is his use of color to tell the story through the art.

Is this book worth your time and money? I rather enjoyed the first issue of this book and looking forward to the entire story to unfold. While not the scariest book Corben has a great knack for delivering a good creepy story with absolutely stunning artwork. If you enjoy horror stories or are a fan of Corben then you are in for a treat with his new book. It’s worth checking out.

Django/Zorro #3

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Dynamite/Vertigo Writers Quentin Tarantino and Matt Wagner, Artist Esteve Polls, Colorist Brennan Wagner, Letterer Simon Bowland

This book has been a really fun ride so far and this third installment is really hitting the stride quite well. The plot from Dynamite/Vertigo is, Our heroes finally arrive in Phoenix and their first encounter with the self-proclaimed Archduke of Arizona, whose charming demeanor is tinged with a merciless arrogance. Diego is welcomed into the Archduke’s inner circle of wealthy investors but Django soon finds himself exploring behind the scenes with the silent but intrepid Bernardo. The Archduke’s massive railroad project is a being built be the local Yaqui tribes, who are all but enslaved by their master’s tyrannical regime. This exciting series is the first-ever sequel to any of Quentin Tarantino’s films and features one of the original western heroes, the masked crusader known as Zorro! With the first two issues setting up the story the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place with this issue. As with most Tarantino stories there is a lot of set up to the story that is going to pay off when all is said and done. We finally get to see a glimpse of Zorro (sadly at the end of the issue) finally revealing himself. Tarantino and Wagner work well together because you can tell that the ideas are from both of them and Wagner is putting the story and dialog together in the final form. What I am loving about the story is its roots in classic western cinema tales and has all of the classic beats and then mixes in Zorro and Django into it. The most important aspect of the book is that it’s the characters that are driving the story. Every thing is starting to pay off with the groundwork that has been laid down so far. Polls continues to bring some really great artwork that captures that tone of the story’s period. The key to the artwork working so well is that it visually feel just right.

Is this book worth your time and money? I was not expecting this book to be as good as it is. While I was a fan of both Zorro and Django I wasn’t quite sure if they were going to pull the whole thing off. But not only did they do it they continue to surpass my expectations of the book every issue. Add in the fantastic artwork and you get one hell of a good book. RECOMMENDED!

Feathers #2

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Archaia Writer and Artist Jorge Corona, Colorist Jen Hickman, Letterer Deron Bennett

While the first issue was somewhat disappointing I thought that there was hope for the book and was willing to give the second issue a try. The plot from Archaia is, Fresh from their near-miss escape from the Guards, Bianca and Poe strike a deal: If he guides her through the treacherous Maze, she will take him to see the White Guide, a feathered statue in the City that may hold the key to Poe’s origins. It’s an adventure that will take them from the lowest shadows to the highest rooftops, with untold dangers along the way…and not everyone in the Maze is happy about their new alliance. Well the second issue is a bit better but there are still some issues that linger. The second issues focus is a bit better than the first issue but the lingering problem with the book is that it’s a pretty basic story that has been done before and Corona isn’t really bringing a new spin on it. There are some good ideas that are introduced in this issue but the main thread is really thin. The characters are a bit hallow and one-dimensional and are pretty lackluster. The story is dragging and not going forward at a good pace. The art is still really good and that is the stronger of the two sides of the book.

Is this book worth your time and money? I really want to like this book and it is by no means terrible. It just isn’t gelling together for me well enough to recommend. It might work out in the end when the entire story is finished but, I don’t think that I’m going to be sticking around to find out.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

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Marvel Comics Writer Ryan North Artist Erica Henderson, Colorist Rico Renzi, Letterer Clayton Cowles

I admit no shame in saying that I am in love with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. The plot from Marvel is, Starting college is hard enough, but now Squirrel Girl has to deal with Galactus too? The fate of the entire planet hangs in the balance, and only Squirrel Girl can save it! Also, her squirrel friend Tippy Toe. She can help too. Iron Man might show up too! Kinda, at least! Who knew that one of Marvel most forgotten characters into the funnest book that has become one of the best book to read. North script is simply perfect and while the book is a lot of fun and a bit silly it really is a solid story and that is what make the book so charming. The big key to the book working so well is that he never treats Doreen like she is stupid but she see things in the world from an innocent point of view. She sees the world as we all should to experience things that are all around us. She also is the embodiment of what a real superhero is, do what needs to be done for the greater good. And while she may not alway go about it the best way, her intention is always from the heart. While the story is great it’s Henderson that brings the book to life. Her art captures her world so perfectly that I can imagine anyone else that could have done this book. The care that she put into every panel and while on the surface it may look simple it is far from it. She never over does the art and is a visual delight.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is simply a great book that is not only a great all ages book but, a book for everyone. Squirrel Girl is what every superhero book should be, Honest. North and Henderson have done a rare feat in comics today. A fantastic superhero book at a company that usually cranks out book as a number instead of concerning themselves with a quality product. This is simply hands down one of the best book that Marvel is currently publishing. I hope that we get to read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for as long as North and Henderson have stories to tell and here is to them having a hundred stories to tell. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! 

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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