New Comic Book Reviews Week of 3/5/14 New Comic Book Reviews Week of 3/5/14
Lots of new and returning comic books this week so lets get cracking! Moon Knight #1 Marvel Comics Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Declan Shalvey,... New Comic Book Reviews Week of 3/5/14

Lots of new and returning comic books this week so lets get cracking!

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Moon Knight #1

Marvel Comics Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Declan Shalvey, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos

Moon Knight is one of those characters over at Marvel that seems to have more lives than a cat. The plot synopsis from Marvel is, Marc Spector is Moon Knight!…Or is he? It’s hard to tell these days, especially when New York’s wildest vigilante protects the street with two-fisted justice and three—that’s right, count ‘em—different personalities! But even with the mystical force of Khonshu fueling his crusade, how does the night’s greatest detective save a city that’s as twisted as he is? The road to victory is going to hurt. A lot. Marvel’s most mind-bending adventure begins NOW as Moon Knight sleuths his way to the rotten core of New York’s most bizarre mysteries! Created originally by Doug Moench and the artist most associated with him is Bill Sienkiewicz, Marvel has revived the character again and this round Warren Ellis takes the reigns with the writing. The first issue is a good start but does suffer a bit from being a first issue, meaning that there is a fair amount of set up and exposition going on. Ellis does a nice job of introducing Moon Knight but still keeping a lot under wraps for future issues. Shalvey art is really nice and moody and really brings out the story that Ellis has laid out. I really liked the visual take on his costume of having him in a white suit instead of the standard cape and tights. I am hoping that Ellis will explain this later. Bellaire really adds a nice touch to the book with the color art.

Is this book worth your time and money? While the first issue is good it didn’t jump out at me and that is the way that Ellis seems to be setting it up. It has a very subdued manner about it and that gives it a good feel. He seems to be setting up a really different take on Moon Knight and I am excited to see where he is going to go with the book. Shalvey art really complements the story and really brings the book together. This book is looking to be quite the surprise with the path that it’s taking. Well worth checking out.

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Auteur #1

Oni Press Rick Spears, Artist James Callahan, Colorist Luigi Anderson, Letterer Sick Rears

Oni Press has been trying to bolster their comic output lately and their newest is The Auteur. The plot synopsis from Oni is, Fresh off the biggest bomb in Hollywood history, disgraced and desperate producer Nathan T. Rex enters a downward spiral of drugs and depravity in a quest to resurrect his career and save his soul. Over budget and behind schedule on the latest installment of the horror franchise, PRESIDENTS DAY, T. Rex is backed into a corner by bad publicity, a crap project, and a jerk studio exec, but finds salvation at a strip club by huffing glue, and a chance encounter with cable news. Welcome to the most deranged, notorious, and hilarious comic of 2014! We apologize in advance. First off somebody really liked and wants to do their version of the Warren Ellis’s Vertigo series Transmetopolitan and unfortunately it shows. Spears story not only suffers from being a bit disjointed it really suffers from trying to hard. The story is very forced and ultimately just sits there. It really tries to be “edgy” but comes off mostly boring. While I get that Rex is an ass the bigger problem is that I didn’t really care about him. He like the story is self-indulgent. The only saving grace of the book is Callahan’s artwork that is really nice. It really reminds me of classic Mad artwork but with lots of blood and guts thrown on top.

Is this book worth your time and money? Nope! It’s self indigent story that really tries to hard to be something and falls flat on its face. Callahan’s nice art can’t save this mess. A really disappointing book. It’s as big of a bomb as Rex’s last movie was. Go find a some Transmetropolitan comics and forget this poor imitation.

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Veil #1

Dark Horse Comics Writer Greg Rucka, Artist Toni Fejzula, Letterer Nate Piekos

Greg Rucka is back and hits another one out of the park. The plot synopsis from Dark Horse is, A beautiful girl wakes up in an abandoned subway station with no memory of how she got there. When men try to hurt her . . . they wind up dead. Where did she come from? And what is she capable of? Rucka is one of the few male writers that is able to really capture female characters. The main reason is that he treats them with respect not as sex symbols. Yet ironically he starts the story off with Veil walking in New York buck naked and yet he uses it to his advantage story wise. I love the way that the we know just as much as Veil knows, which is nothing and we are right there with her on her journey. There are more questions that answers but that’s what makes the story really work. Fejzula art is just breathtaking and his use of color really sets this book apart from most books published today. I love the way that he capture and treats Veil’s nakedness with such respect and keeps it from being viewed as sexual. This is one of those books that where the story and art are in perfect sync.

Is this book worth your time and money? Very much so. Rucka is really on a roll with this and his Image Comics Lazarus. While it seemed like a short read but I really walked away and it really sticking with me. Rucka really knows how to strip the story down and not be filled with excessive clutter that weighs down so many writers today. Fejzula is a real find and the art really complements the story. I can’t wait to see where this book is going to take us. Highly Recommended! 

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Evil Empire #1

Boom! Studios Writer Max Bemis, Artist Ransom Getty, Colorist Chris Blyth, Letterer Ed Dukeshire

I was a really big fan of Bemis’s Polarity comic that came out last year and was looking forward to Evil Empire. The plot synopsis from Boom is, Told through the perspective of an underground rapper named Reese, Max Bemis’ gripping story explores a scenario in which we watch modern society gradually evolve (or is it devolve?) into an evil empire. Honestly I was pretty board with the first issue. After reading the issue I felt that it was really padded out and while the cliffhanger ending was really good the lead up to it was not. While the story is not terrible the characters didn’t really have much motivation and I didn’t really care about them. It seems as if it was just going through the motions to get to the end of the issue to the cliffhanger. Getty’s art was nice but a little uneven at times. Nothing fatal but it was noticeable.

Is this book worth your time and money. If it didn’t have the story twist at the end of the issue I could have cared less about this book but, Bemis is on a very short leash with this book with me. The second issue is really going to have to hit a home run or otherwise I will have wasted 8 bucks instead of $4. It’s definitely on thin ice.

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Starlight #1

Image Comics Writer Mark Millar, Artist Goran Parlov, Colorist Ive Svorcina, Letterer Marko Sunjic

OK let’s get this out-of-the-way first and foremost. This is Mark Millar’s version of Flash Gordon. The plot synopsis from Image is, Forty years ago, Duke McQueen was the space hero who saved the universe. But then he came back home, got married, had kids, and grew old. Now his children have left and his wife has passed away, leaving him alone with nothing except his memories…until a call comes from a distant world asking him back for his final and greatest adventure. This issue launches the much-anticipated Millarworld Universe. Get in on the start of something MASSIVE! While the first issue is fun to read I just wonder how Millar is going to ultimately make this truly different from Flash Gordon. Because the only difference at this point is that McQueen is older and thats pretty much the only thing that I saw. The other slight problem is that it feels like a book being made for the sole purpose to be made into a movie, and surprise it’s already been optioned. While the first issue is good it really suffers from being too familiar to too many other things. It simply lacks real originality and that really may be its major downfall in the long run. Parlov’s art is the real story here. This guy is amazing and he really handles every aspect of the story with ease that it’s very impressive. Millar is very lucky in getting Parlov on this book because he really makes this book shine and make the story much better than it really is. It really hides quite a bit of the flaws in the story.

Is this book worth your time and money? Parlov’s art alone is worth the $2.99 cover price. The lingering question is going to be what Millar is going to do to separate his story from Flash Gordon? While it’s a good read it just wasn’t that inspired with originality. I will buy this book alone for the art but hope that the story is able to catch up with it. I hope that it happens in the next few issues.

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She-Hulk #2

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

You know this is the first time in quite a while that I have looked forward to a Marvel Comic in a long while. The plot synopsis from Marvel is, Jennifer opens her own practice, but things aren’t going as smoothly as she’d like. A new client rides into town…but is he hero or villain? Guest-starring Patsy Walker, Hellcat! This book really put the fun back in comics for a change and it ignored the memo of dark and gritty stories here folks. I have to admit that Soule for me has written some really mediocre books but had hit pay dirt with this book. He really does a great job of balancing both characterization and humor to almost perfection. He knows that She-Hulk is not an A list character and uses it to his advantage. It is allowing him to go in really different directions with the stories. I really loved him bringing in Hellcat to give Jennifer someone to talk to that wasn’t a big name. He kept it simple and that’s why the book works so well. Pulido is doing really great work with the art on the book. He is really fearless with his layouts and his close up on Jennifer was a reminder of why print works so much better than digital for comics.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is really becoming a must read book for me. While it’s not the most earth shattering book that you will ever read, it does have something that a lot of books don’t have FUN. Soule never sacrifices the story to waste a bad joke. He really treats She-Hulk with respect. This book is reminding me of when Peter David took over X-Factor and uses all of the characters that nobody wanted and turned it into some of the best stories. This book is well on its way to be the surprise book of the year. Recommended! 

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The Saviors #3

I have been a fan of this book from day one and with the third issue the book has really hit its stride. The plot synopsis from Image is, Tomas Ramirez is now in the small Mexican coastal town of La Calma, where other new freedom fighters allies intend to test a device to end the threat of the aliens forever. But the aliens have a counterattack plan of their own, so this certainly will be the Day of the Dead. The first two issues have led up to this great issue. The pieces of the puzzle are really falling into place. We start to see the battle that the aliens are going to wage on the freedom fighters to keep themselves a secret from the world. Robinson story is really taking hold and is setting up that Tomas is going to have to make a choice what he is going to do to help stop the aliens. After the events in this issue it’s clear that he can’t just ignore what is happening. Robinson really gives us a lot in this issue exposition wise but still keeps things off-balance a bit to where you are not quite sure what is going to happen next and that is what I am really liking about this book. It definitely is keeping you on your toes. Bone’s art shows that he is just as good with dialog scenes as he is with the action. He really make the story flow with such ease that it really make this book a great pleasure to read. His use of a limited color pallets to the art is simply brilliant.

Is this book worth your time and money? I am still loving how Robinson is unfolding the story at a really nice pace. While some will think that it’s too slow I would say that you are just too impatient. This book really breathes so well with both the story and the artwork that I really look forward each month to see where they are going to take me. Recommended. 

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Scooby-Doo Team-Up #3

DC Comics Writer Sholly Fisher, Artist Dario Brizuela, Colorist Franco Riesco, Letterer Deron Bennett

If you are a fan of classic Scooby-Doo then you really need to be reading this book. The plot synopsis from DC is, A magical imp is causing havoc in Gotham City, and the Dynamic Duo is looking for help from Scooby and the gang! But when Scooby gets his own “greatest fan” from the Fifth Dimension, can even Batman, Robin, and Mystery Inc. outwit two unpredictable imps to deal with the spooky, magical hijinks of…Scooby-Mite?! Fisher is obviously a huge fan of classic Scooby-Doo and old school Batman because he really knows where to hit all of the beats with the story. Throwing Bat-Mite into the mix really takes the story in every direction and that is why it works so well and allows the story to be as silly as it needs to be. Brizuel does a nice job of bringing all of Bat-Mite’s silliness to life that is a feat unto itself. Yes it silly and stupid but in the end this book is a fun read and sometimes that more than enough.

Is this book worth your time and money? I really love this book and the best thing about it while it’s definitely kid friendly but it’s very obviously written for fans of the New Scooby-Doo Movies from 1972 that had the cast of Scooby-Doo having adventures with famous actors and characters. In this case every issue has Batman in it. If you are a fan of that show then you will love this book.

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Afterlife With Archie #4

Archie Comics Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Artist Francesco Francavilla, Letterer Jack Morelli, Backup Story Writer and Artist Gray Morrow

This book continues to impress and the fourth issue does not disappoint. The plot from Archie is, Part Four: With two more members of our beloved gang infected by the dreadful zombie-virus, Riverdale’s one sanctuary—Lodge Mansion—has been compromised. The kids are left to make a significant decision—do they stay and fight or flee the only town they’ve ever known? Meanwhile, Archie makes a horrific discovery in his own home, one that may cost him his life! Aguirre-Sacasa continues to balance the story without losing the soul of the characters that make up the Archie universe. This issue is really heartbreaking for Archie and just shows why this book is so good. The idea of giving Vegas a voice in the story was sheer brilliance and very touching. While Zombies are the in thing what makes this book stand out from the rest is that it never forgets what we all love about Archie books. It’s the characters that we have always loved and Aguirre-Sacasa never looses sight of that and continues to treat them with respect. While the story is great it’s really Francavilla’s art that really brings this book to life. His layouts should be a lesson for other artist to learn from. This is a book that shows how important color is to the story and how it really adds so much detail and life to the overall story. I am really loving that they are including reprints of Morrow’s great short horror stories that new generations get to see a master storyteller tell great stories is a short amount of space. His use of subtle horror and not gore to tell the story are amazing.

Is this book worth your time and money? This book just gets better every issue. Great story and great art make this a must read every month. This is how you do horror comics. While there is a lot of gore it’s not dwelled upon and a lot of it is “off-screen” and that is the way to do it. It’s the best $2.99 you can spend each month. Highly Recommended! 

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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