It quite a large week of new comic book reviews with some new series and returning ones, so let’s get started.
Legends of Tomorrow Anthology #1
DC Comics (Firestorm) Writer Gerry Conway, Penciler Eduardo Pansica, Inker Rob Hunter, Letterer Cory Breen, (Metamopho) Writer/Penciller Arron Lopresti, Inker Matt Banning, Colorist Chris Sotomayor, Letterer Michael Heisler, (Sugar & Spike) Writer Keith Giffen, Artist Bilquis Evely, Colorist Ivan Plascencia, Letterer Amedeo Turturro, (Metal Men) Writer Len Wein, Penciller Yildiray Cinar, Inker Trevor Scott, Colorist Dean White, Letterer Steve Wands
DC copyright anthology uses the new CW series Legends of Tomorrow title to package for mini series into one book with mixed results. First up is Firestorm by creator Conway and it certainly harken back to the feel of the original series from the 1970’s and while that I think is a good thing the problem with the story is that it feels as a continuation of an already going story. It feels as if your dropped into a story and have no idea what is going on with the he plot. It ends up being a puzzling and somewhat unsatisfying read. While not totally terrible it wasn’t the strongest story to start with. The art by Pansica and Hunter does a nice job of capturing the characters and an overall pleasant visual look to the story. They definitely help the weak story out. Next up is Lopresti’s Metamorpho The Element Man with a re-imagining of his origin story that is pleasant but not super engaging. I will give him that he at least gives the story a nice set up to the next chapter and while the story suffers from a bit too much exposition it was a decent read with some potential for the story in the next issue. The art by Lopresti and Banning is quite nice but there is so much exposition that it mostly ends up being talking heads and little background during the story. Hopefully the art and story get a little more exciting next issue. Sugar & Spike was the story I was most dreading because I am a huge fan of the original series by Sheldon Mayer with them as kids. I have to admit that Giffen pulled off the best story of the entire book with this one. While they are Sugar & Spike in name only (and my guess is to renew the copyright on the characters), the story is tight and snappy with a sly sense of humor. Giffen mixes action and humor very nicely here and is one of the best written stories I have read from him lately. Evely artwork complements the story exceptionally well and give the story a nice feel of a comic from the 1980’s and that is not a bad thing here. I was very impressed with Evely’s art on the story and is very well suited to the story. The final story is the Metal Men with Wein script does a nice job of introducing them to a new audience. He wisely doesn’t try to change them too much but they are not your fathers Metal Men but close. The story hit all the beats for a first issue and does a decent job of setting things up with the heroes and villain and mixes some nice action to help lessen the blow of exposition in the story. While the art by Yildiray and Scott is quite nice I wasn’t very impressed with their reinterpretation of the team. It’s almost like they are over designed. While I understand that the original style is a bit simplistic, but that is what made them work so well when they changed into other things. The designs were too over thought and does bring the book down a notch for me. Is this book worth your time and money? While the cover price of $8 buck seems high it’s actually a really good deal. If these were separate miniseries at $2.99 a pop (they have the same 20 page count as a DC $2.99 book) buying the four titles would run you $12 bucks so it’s a pretty good deal on paper. The problem is that you are paying for series that you probably would pick up beyond the first issue and now you’re stuck being an $8.00 book with about half of the book being worth reading so far. There in lies the problem with anthologies. They can be both good and bad and while this book is not a total loss it’s really iffy at $8 bucks. I can’t totally recommend it but on the other hand if you’re a fan of any of the characters then you might want to check it out.
3 Devils #1
IDW Writer/Artist/Letterer Bo Hampton, Colorist Jeremy Mohler
3 Devils is a nice throwback type of book that you would have seen Dark Horse or Eclipse release back in the 1980’s and that is not a bad thing. Hampton’s script while not totally original has a certain charm to it. It sets up a nice mythology with introducing the heroin and the villain. While the set up is typical Hampton finds a way to make it feel fresh and new and while the first issue is pretty much exposition he weaves enough mystery into it to make you want to come back for more. I have been a fan of Hampton’s work for a long time and this book is quite nice. He does a great job of giving the story great mood in both the story and the artwork. I also liked that he decided to have a female hero that is nice and refreshing in today’s comics. The story give the series a nice set up to the characters and the ending does want you to come back for more. Is this book worth your time and money? While this movie is not going to knock your socks off, I found it to be a good solid read with very nice artwork. While the story is tried and true Hampton gives it a fresh spin that is a book that hits the mark that it was aiming for. It doesn’t try to be bigger than it is and that was very refreshing. Worth checking out.
Superman: American Alien #5
DC Comics Writer Max Landis, Artist/Colorist Francis Manapul, Letter John Workman
This done in one book continues to be some of the best Superman stories in years. Landis scripts are not bogged down by never-ending droning on storylines that plague so many superhero books today. While he is mining the era of the early Superman years that is what is making this series so great. There are so many stories that can be told of periods in between the mythology that is allowing Landis to pick and choose what he needs to craft each issue. This issue brings an early adventure of Clark just starting to using his power against a super villain and discovering the evil of Lex Luther. Landis script does a great job of Clark still coping with not only his powers but the weight and effects on his soul. He continues to mine the human aspect of Superman and yet he is still an alien on earth. What is making this series and the stories so great is that Landis is capturing the human emotions of being Superman. This issue brings Manapul’s gorgeous artwork to the book and really captures both the huge action in the story and the very subtle emotions and nice little details that make this issues story have a perfect emotional impact. Is this book worth your time and money. Landis continues to craft solid and inspiring Superman stories that we have seen in years. Superman has always been a tough nut to crack story wise but Landis done in one and telling little side stories that fit into the mythology are simply wonderful to read. Add in this issues amazing artwork by Manapul and you have another great Superman story that delivers on every level. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Infinity Entity #2
Marvel Comics Writer Jim Starlin, Penciler Alan Davis, Inker Mark Farmer, Colorist Wil Quintana, Letterer Joe Sabino
Starlin’s reintroduction of Adam Warlock into the current Marvel universe gets even more trippy in this second issue. Starlin script is super thick with cosmic exposition that while interesting is a bit of a chore to get through. What I’m discovering is that the story is intended to be read in one sitting and reading in single story chucks is a bit frustrating. The story is by no means bad but it’s just super thick to read as a single issue with a lot to digest in single issues. Davis and Farmer continue to make this a must buy book for the artwork alone. This is one of the best looking non Starlin drawn book in a long while. Davis is such a great storyteller himself that he really helps the reader get through the thick cosmic story and make it move along better. Is this book worth your time and money? I’m still betting that this book is going to be very good but it’s very obvious after this issue that it needs to be read in one sitting. There’s is a lot to like here between Starlin’s story and Davis and Farmer’s art but reading in single issues is a tough go of it. I still very much RECOMMEND the book but just know that it’s a big story arc that is a little challenged as single issues.
Archer and Armstrong #1
Valiant Writer Rafer Roberts, Penciler David Lafuente, Inker Ryan Winn, Colorist Brian Reber, Letterer David Lanphear
I have to admit that Valent is on a roll with the wonderful mini series Faith and now they have done it again with Archer and Armstrong. This is another new reader friendly book that gets off to a nice start. Robert’s script does a nice job of introducing the characters to new readers while not feeling too bad for readers that are familiar with them. He also does a great job of setting up the universe and having some great mystery to the story. The one thing that the series is known for is the humor and Roberts mixes it in very liberally and quite well that really give the book a great charm. The script is snappy and fun and gets the book off to a solid start. Lafuente and Winn’s art does a great job of capturing the goofy nature of the book and the cartoony style fits the script like a glove and give the book a very nice visual punch. Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed this book and applaud Valiant for making book that are more accessible to new readers. One of the problems that I have had with Valiant titles is that you have to know the history of the book to read them. I’m glad they are making strides to correct this and Archer and Armstrong is a good step in that direction. This is a fun little book that satisfies you with a solid first issue and gives you enough to come back for more. RECOMMEND!
Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #2
DC Comics Writer and Artist Neal Adams, Colorist Alex Sinclair, Letterer Erica Schultz
The second issue of Adams Superman opus continues to ramp up the action and while it’s still fun the story is a bit thinner than I would have liked for this second issue. Not that the story is bad but it just didn’t add a lot to the overall story. There were some good elements that he did introduce in this issue that does help but it seems as if this was just the second part of a longer first issue. There is plenty of action but that’s about all in this second issue that you get. The artwork by Adams continues to shine and is the big reason to buy the book. He has always been a stronger artist than scripter but hopefully the third issue will get things rolling along better with the story. Is this book worth your time and money? Having Adams do a Superman book is well worth buying but I just hope that the story can at least get going on this book. I have read worse but I hope that it just gets better.
Power Man and Iron Fist #2
Marvel Comics Writer David Walker, Artist Sanford Greene, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I liked the first issue of this book but didn’t totally love it. The good news is that this second issue really hits the ground running and doesn’t look back. Walker does a great job of building on the first issue and making this into a must read book in just the second issue. What he infuses the book with is a great charm and will win you over almost immediately. The script just flows very naturally and hits a great rhythm with the story and the snappy dialog. The other great thing about the book is it’s not afraid of humor that has been really lacking in mainstream superhero comics. Walker finds a great balance of many story elements here and blends them together into a great package that is very impressive. Greene’s art brings the script to wonderful life and has a great visual style that make the book work so well. He is not afraid to play with the layouts on the book to have fun with the art. Is this book worth your time and money? This issue really sets the tone for what Walker and Greene want to do with the book and I can say if they keep this up it’s going to be a great ride. This is a book where the story and the art are perfectly in sync and firing on all cylinders. They are not afraid to have fun and even make fun of the genre and that makes for a very refreshing superhero comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Mystery Girl #4
Dark Horse Comics Writer Paul Tobin, Artist Alberto J. Alburquerque, Colorist Marissa Louise, Letterer Marshall Dillion
The final issue of this surprisingly good little series ends on a good note with the possibility of more stories in the future. After last issues cliffhanger this issue opened very oddly but Tobin has a great method to the madness with the story. In fact I was very impressed with the way that he opened the story this issue that lead to a very satisfying conclusion to the story arc. This final issue had a lot of great action and excitement in it and wrapped things up very well. Tobin wisely left the possibility of further stories with Trine and the other cast that was a nice touch. Alburquerque’s artwork really sold this series for me. He put such a great amount of detail into the art that really pays off for the readers. This is a very good-looking book that hopefully lead to him getting more work soon. Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those books that is simply satisfying. While it may have not been super splashy or hyped Tobin and Alburquerque deliver a solid story and art that aimed and hit the right spot. It didn’t try to be bigger than it was. They just told the story well and that made is worth reading.
Dynamite Writer Rick Remender, Artist Jonathan Wayshak, Colorist Jordan Boyd, Letterer Rus Wooton
Last issue story was a bit on the slower side but Remender gets things back on track with this issue. He brings the thing that always makes a good post apocalyptic story fun is giant mutant animals that want to eat and attack everyone in sight. While the story has been told many times before Remender does not necessarily bring a lot of newness to this familiar story but he certainly is having fun with it. People getting attacked by giant bugs is always a win in my book and this issue ramps up the excitement in the story. The threat is now a lot clearer but I’m not totally sold on the villain Gil but we will see how that turns out. I still love Wayshak’s artwork on the book that is a nice gritty style that brings the world to life. He really brings it with the action on this issue and draws some really great creatures. He draws bloodbath quite well. Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not going to win any awards for originality but it’s a fun little post apocalyptic tale that is fun with great artwork. This is a silly fun book that work well for what it is. If that sound good then this book is for you.