New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 3/18/15 New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 3/18/15
Strange Sports Stories #1 Vertigo Comics Writers Gilbert Hernandez/Amy Chu/Lauren Beukes & Dale Halvorsen/Ivan Brandon, Artists Gilbert Hernandez/Tana Ford/Christopher Mitten/Amei Zhao, Colorists Trish Mulvihill/Giulia... New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 3/18/15

Strange Sports Stories #1

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Vertigo Comics Writers Gilbert Hernandez/Amy Chu/Lauren Beukes & Dale Halvorsen/Ivan Brandon, Artists Gilbert Hernandez/Tana Ford/Christopher Mitten/Amei Zhao, Colorists Trish Mulvihill/Giulia Brusco/Eva De La Cruz/Amei Zhao, Letterers Pat Brosseau/Sal Cipriano/Dezi Sienty/ClemRobins

Vertigo Comics has revived the 1973-1974 DC Comic book that was an anthology of sports themed stories that always had a strange twist to them. As with any anthology there are going to be both hits and misses with the stories and at least in this first issue there are no real clunkers thankfully. The best of the bunch is Gilbert Hernandez’s “Martian Trade” story that kicks off the book and has great story with a nice twist with both the bully part and the martian switch. “Dodgeball Kill” by Chu and Ford is good but not a big shock to the way the story unfolds. “Chum” by Beukes, Halvorsen and Mitten is probably the weakest because the payoff to the story is more strange than satisfying.  And finally “Refugees” is a really good story that might have actually worked better as a longer story. It tells the story well I just think that the idea was good and I wanted to see more.

Is this book worth your time and money? While the book is good there were only two that were real standouts while the other two were OK. Each issue is going to be a fresh set of stories so you don’t necessarily need to get each issue if you don’t want to. With a score of 2-2 the first issue is worth a look but I wish that it got off to a stronger start.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3

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

Squirrel Girl continues to be the surprise hit of the year and one of the funnest books that Marvel or for that matter anyone else is publishing now. The best thing I love about the book is that it knows exactly what it wants to do and hit that every time so far. North keeps the story snappy and fun and the pacing is spot on. This is the second part of the three-part Galactus story and it just keep getting better with each issue. I love the fact that he keeps finding the more oddball villains for her to fight like Whiplash and keeping here just on the fringe of the Marvel Universe. Henderson artwork continues to impress me and the fact that she could actually draw an outer suit made up of hundreds of squirrels in a sight to behold. Her style is just what the book needs and she really nails every beat of the story perfectly.

Is this book worth your time and money? I think that this is one of the best books being published by Marvel now. Sure the book is silly fun but is that such a bad thing. The book really shows that the major publishers really need to diversify the books to capture a wider audience. The book is a great read and simply wonderful artwork. This is one book that you need to be buying each month. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Batgirl: Endgame #1

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DC Comics Writers Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher, Artist & Colorist Bengal, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher

To be honest I hesitated to pick up this book because while I read Batgirl I haven’t read any of the Batman Endgame series. But with the regular Batgirl writing team of Stewart and Fletcher I figured I would give the book a shot. Boy was I glad that I did. The story is a classic silent story that has no dialog and only a few background phone texts. The really good news is that the book stands on its own so if you haven’t been reading Endgame or Batgirl you could pick this book up and enjoy the story. Stewart and Fletcher have crafted a solid and very simple story that has Batgirl saving a group on non infected people who are trapped in Gotham and needs to be rescued. The key to the story working is where artist Bengal comes in. He really nails the visuals that the story needs because he has to get it across with no dialog to move the story. He brilliantly handles that action and emotions that really bring the story to life. If Baba Tarr ever left the regular Batgirl comic they should only look to Bengal to draw the book.

Is this book worth your time and money? While this book was the quickest read of the week it was one of the most satisfying ones. Doing a silent story is hard, and doing it well is even harder. Stewart, Fletcher and Bengal not only do it well but they did one of the best Batgirl stories that I have ever read. This book is one of the best of the week. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Star Wars: Princess Leia #2

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Marvel Comics Writer Mark Waid, Penciler Terry Dodson, Inker Rachel Dodson, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Joe Caranagna

Princess Leia is becoming a bit of a disappointment to the new Star Wars comics. The script by Waid is serviceable but that is where I’m having a problem with it. While the story is by no means bad it is just average and predictable. Waid is a good writer and I love his Daredevil book but this one is just not doing it for me. Dodson’s artwork is simply lazy and very under par for the artist. He is a lot better than this book (See Red One down below) and it seems as if he is putting the minimum effort into the book. Don’t get me wrong the book looks good but he is a better artist than this book. There is very little backgrounds in the book and faces range from very good to pretty sloppy.

Is this book worth your time and money? This book is simply average and while most Star Wars fans will be fine with this book, I wish that the effort of the creative team was a bit higher. With talent like Waid and Dodson this book should be a lot better than this. This book is just not good enough.

Chrononauts #1

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Image Comics Writer Mark Millar, Artist Sean Gordon Murphy, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos

Chrononauts would be a really awesome book if it wasn’t for one simple thing, a rip off of the 1966 television series The Time Tunnel. Not familiar with it watch this video below and see the similarities.

I’m guessing that most of you are too young to have seen the show. The problem is that Millar is not. He was born in 1969 and more than likely saw the show like I did in reruns of the show when he was a kid. It’s obvious from some of his other works like Starlight that is just his take on FLash Gordon. Or The Secret Service that is his version of James Bond. While Chrononauts does has a few original elements the bigger problem is that the book is so-so at best. The story in the first issue really plods along and while there is a lot of exposition there is very little character development that happens. You learn very little about Quinn or Reilly other that they develop a time travel machine. There is not a lot that really happens in the first issue. The strongest part of the book is Murphy’s artwork that is always top-notch and doesn’t disappoint here either. Murphy really has a field day with the big landscape scenes and yet captures the subtle character emotions that makes the book a real treat to look at.

Is this book worth your time and money? The first issue is not that good and while Murphy’s art is worth the price of the book alone, Millar’s story is just not that good and with only a five issue story I doubt that it’s going to turn around in the next issue. Not bad but the book never excels story wise either.

Frankenstein Underground #1

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Dark Horse Comics Writer Mike Mignola, Artist Ben Stenbeck, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Clem Robins

Who better to do a Frankenstein book than Mignola. He knows how to do monsters and Frankenstein is one of the best. Mignola was smart in the way that he told the origin of Frankenstein but wrapped it in a flashback to lead his journey to his current story. He even snuck in a panel of him fighting Hellboy. The key to the story working so well is that Mignola gets the tragedy of the character. He is only a monster to people who don’t see him for what he is. They are afraid and don’t understand. The first issue is a great set up to the story and sets up the elements that will come together. Stenbeck does a great job on the art and captures Frankenstein quite well. His art brings a great mood and feel that the story needs to work. Along with Stewart’s wonderful colors this is a great start to the series.

Is this book worth your time and money? Mignola wisely doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here with Frankenstein he just creates a new story that complements the legendary character. With great visuals by Stenbeck and Stewart make this a book that is well worth checking out. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Red One #1

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Image Comics Writer Xavier Dorison, Penciler & Colorist Terry Dodson, Inker Rachel Dodson, Letterer Clayton Cowles

I noted earlier that Dodson’s artwork on Princess Leia was not his best. Well this is a rare week that you can compare his work for hire and his creator owned artwork. And if you looked at Red One then you see my valid complaints on the artwork in Princess Leia. Let’s be honest here the reason that you will pick up Red One is to salivate over Dodson’s artwork. So that leads to the bigger question is there a story that goes with the gorgeous artwork, not really. The story is sort of reverse James Bond and instead of a suave and debonaire male spy we have Vera who has large breast and is super strong. While the art is the main attraction the story is like a bubble headed blond, there is not much there beyond the basic tropes and cliché story points. One would think that with 32 pages to work with you could come up with something more than slow plodding story that surprisingly doesn’t really tell you much about anything beyond the basic plot. Dorison supposedly spent six-year from the original pitch to the book. If it took that long to come up with this so-called story in six years I doubt the story it really going to improve with the next issue. So that leaves us with Dodson’s beautiful artwork that is simply some of his best. Yes he can draw buxom babes but that alone will not sell a book beyond a few issues.

Is this book worth your time and money? Well if you are buying the book for Dodson’s artwork then the really good news is that it’s the best $2.99 you will spend this week. If you are looking for a story that is worthy of his beautiful artwork then it’s the biggest $2.99 you wasted this week. It’s your call on this one.

Giant Days #1

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Boom! Box Writer John Allison, Artist Lissa Treiman, Colorist Whitney Cogar, Letterer Jim Campbell

I had reviewed Allison’s Bad Machinery a while back and while I liked it somewhat I felt that it didn’t come together as a print collection of the web series. It felt very disjointed and was disappointing. Originally written and drawn by Allison this new series brings Treiman on board as the artist and it was a very wise choice. Allison’s story is one that has a similar problem to Bad Machinery. You are dropped into the middle of a story with these characters that are very interesting but there is just something missing from the story. I did really like the three main characters Daisy, Esther and Susan and while they were interesting I had a feeling of not fully being let into the story with them. The story is good but after reading the book I just felt like there was something missing. I can’t quite pinpoint the problem but I guess you could say it was a feeling. The thing I did really enjoy was Treiman’s artwork that is a real fresh breath of air in comics and brings a really great look to the book. I immediately fell in love with the art on the book and while there were a few to many times the backgrounds were on the light side it didn’t bother me too much. I loved the emotions that she infused the characters with and she made them feel so real and natural. This is a great looking book.

Is this book worth your time and money? While I had problems with the story there is a lot of hope for the book. There is a lot to like about the story, I just think that if it can gel a bit better in the next issue it could really come together. The book has a lot of potential and I will give the book a few more issues to come into focus. The real story here is the wonderful artwork by Treiman. She really bring a unique and great vision to the book that is more than enough to recommend at least giving the book a shot. If you are looking for something different then you should give the book a shot.

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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