New Comic Book Reviews Week of 5/17/17 New Comic Book Reviews Week of 5/17/17
Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I have been super busy but what really threw a monkey wrench into the whole thing was... New Comic Book Reviews Week of 5/17/17

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I have been super busy but what really threw a monkey wrench into the whole thing was getting sick again just as I was finishing getting over the last bout of a cold or flu that knocked me on my ass. So hopefully this weekend I can recharge and get things back on track. There were a ton of new comic books this week so I will try to get to as many as possible.

The Flash #22

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DC Comics Writer Joshua Williamson, Artist Howard Porter, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Steve Wands

The final chapter of The Button story comes to a close and overall the story ends up being an OK story but never really quite took flight with me. The biggest problem with the story was that it took four issue to tell a story that should have only take two at best. The story was by no means terrible but just drawn out. At least this last issue Williamson does a decent job of tying all of the threads of the story together pretty well. The overall impact of the story is that it pretty much gets rid of the majority of the New 52 continuity and reinstate the pre New 52 element back into the current continuity. The bigger question with the story is whether the Button was in fact to fold the Watchman is unclear with the epilogue in this issue. Williamson does his best to keep things moving along but with the weak structure of the overall story there is little he can do within the parameters of the script. He delivers a by the numbers script that does the job that is required and that is about it. Porter does a great job on the artwork and gives the book a great lift and tries to help the script as best he can but he is only able to do so much here. He does deliver some great emotional depth to the art and it’s a shame that he really makes the book a lot better than it really is.

Is this book worth your time and money? In the end The Button story wasn’t that bad but it wasn’t very good either. The story was simply dragged out and very padded. The other issue was that the story was pretty weak to begin with and that didn’t help things out either. I won’t say that it’s not worth buying but I can’t really recommend it either.

Eleanor & the Egret #2

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Aftershock Comics Writer John Layman, Artist Sam Keith, Colorist Ronda Pattison, Letterer John Layman

This book got off to a nice start with the first issue and I’m glad to say that this second issue does a very nice job of moving things along nicely and continues to build on the story. Layman continues to build the mystery of Eleanor and Egret and we start to find out why they are stealing the paintings of Anastasia Rue and we also lean how she is fitting into the tale. What I love about Layman’s script is how is nicely unfolding the story at a nice pace that is giving the book a great read. He also has a nice balance of humor, drama and mystery that is making it a real joy to read. While some readers might have an issue with the pacing of the story I am finding it to feel just right for the book. The big win for the book is getting Keith’s lush and gorgeous artwork to grace the book. He really brings Layman’s script to life in such a fun and exciting way that makes the book a real pleasure. He is able to capture all of the fun elements of the story but when things turn dark in the story is where Keith’s talents really shine. He can simply draw anything that Layman throws at him.

Is this book worth your time and money? This book is unfolding quite nicely and Layman and Keith are delivering a solid and fun book here that keeps readers on their toes. There is a lot of great set up in this issue that sets a great tone of where the book could be going and something that I didn’t see coming and that really impressed me. This is a great and solid book that is well worth buying and is VERY RECOMMENDED!

Royal City #3

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Image Comics Writer and Artist Jeff Lemire, Letterer Steve Wands

Lemire is one of the few storytellers in comics that continues to tell stories that are against the grain but yet are personal to both him and the readers. What continues to be most impressive about this book is the layers of the characters and the story are unfolding that is so much more than a typical “slice of life” book. Lemire peels back the layers of the town of Royal City and shows that life take you to places you may not want to go to but sometimes need to. What makes this story work so well is the way that he is able to balance all of the story elements that are going on and is able to keep the narrative going for the reader is a real testament to his incredible storytelling skills. You really feel the weight of the world on all of these characters and delivers the emotions impact that you truly feel as you read the book. This issue starts to reveal story elements that move the story in a direction that you expect but does not take the path that you expect at the same time. The mystery of Tommy is an interesting story element that is keeping me guessing how he fits into the characters stories that in very intriguing. This issue story threw some real twist and turns that was quite nice to see. Lemire is also a rare writer and artist that brings a unique look to his visual style that give the reader a visceral experience that drives the story perfectly. It’s a raw emotional visual that take the book to a whole new level that a different artists might not be able to tackle. Along with his beautiful color work this book is a visual feast for the eyes as well as the heart.

Is this book worth your time and money? There are few comics that delivers a truly personal emotion story like this book. Lemire has crafted a grand story here that delivers a heartfelt emotional story that is not only a great read but really sticks with you after your finish the issue. That rarely happens and is HIGHEST RECOMMENDED!

Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1

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Image Comics Writer and Artist Jim Mahfood, Colorist & Letterer Justin Stewart

There are few creators that have a personal style like Mahfood and his creator owned series Grrl Scouts is no exception. This is one of those book that you either love or hate but ironically I fell a little in the middle. I like his unique take on storytelling and visual style with Grrl Scouts but this story was a little disjointed for me. I like the concept of the book but it just got off to a slow start that just didn’t connect with me as I had wished. There are some good ideas here but the story didn’t come together well enough and struggled to get going. By the time it gets going you’re at the end of the book. Visually the book hits you and never lets up and that is the one thing that I love about Mahfood art. It’s hyperkinetic and it’s a shame that the story struggled because the visuals really make this book pop. Stewart does a great job on the coloring of the book and adds a great deal to Mahfood’s line work.

Is this book worth your time and money? I was just disappointed in this book. Maybe I expect more from Mahfood but it could turn around in the next issue but it just got off to such a slow start that missed the mark for me.

Nick Fury #2

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Marvel Comics Writer James Robinson, Penciller Aco, Inker Hugo Petrus, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer Travis Lanham

Nick Fury is one of the few books at Marvel that seems to have things going well for it. It certainly doesn’t hurt when you have a solid writer like Robinson on it. While the book has been a fun read for two issues there is a bit of a problem that has creeped up on it. There is not a lot of depth to the stories so far and while at this stage of the game is not a total fatal blow it’s a little concerning for a more long-term issue for the book. The first issue was a good start with a done in one story that was a smart idea to get the book off and running. While the second issue is the first of a new story it didn’t have much of a bite to it beyond being a fun little read. It also mirrored the first issue and that is where it stumbles a little. Robinson does deliver a tight and fun comic that made for a good read but the bigger issue is that there is not a huge reason for the reader to come back for more. After you read the issue there is not much that really sticks with you beyond the basics. The story does hit the beats but there is little beyond the surface. Robinson has written much deeper stories but that is simply just not the case with this book. Where the book does excel at is the stunning visuals by Aco and Petrus that really make this book not only stand out but simply blown nearly anything else going on at Marvel currently. Obviously influenced by the Nick Fury by Steranko back in the 1960’s they give this book not only a fun retro feel but at the same time makes it feel current. Aco’s use of layouts gives the book a feel that you rarely see in mainstream comics let alone anything at Marvel now. Then throw in Rosenberg’s vibrant color work and you really have an eye-popping comic that is a visual feast.

Is this book worth your time and money? While I did enjoy reading it, there was little to take away from the book beyond the stunning visuals. Robinson simply give the book little depth to the script that is troubling for the book. It was fine for the first issue to kick things off but the second issue should have set things into motion not been more of the same. Aco and Petrus grand visuals will only take the book so far but without a deeper story path the book is in trouble.

Jughead #15

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Archie Comics Writers Mark Waid & Ian Flynn, Artist Derek Charm, Colorist Matt Herms, Letterer Jack Morelli

I have been a fan of this book from day one and while the book had a few growing pains with the first story arc ending by Chip Zdarsky dropping the ball but it was Ryan North who really hit the ground running and had a stunning run on the book till his last issue #14. Waid and Flynn took the reigns this issue and for me has some big shoes to fill and while Waid has done a great job on the regular Archie book, Jughead is a lighter and more fun book. The good news is that he along with Flynn keep the momentum and the fun of the book in-tacked. The story fits nicely into the feel that the book had under North and they even continue some of the continuity of the previous stories. It was nice to se Sabrina back and throwing in Josie and the Pussycats got this new story off to a great start. They also have a great cliffhanger to the next issue that will have you coming back for more. The other good news is that Charm stayed on the book and that is a good thing not only to keep a consistency but it also great because his artwork is perfect for the book. His style fits the tone and feel that the book needs and the simple yet detailed art delivers the story quite well that pulls the whole thing together. In a word it’s very charming (pun intended!).

Is this book worth your time and money? What I love about this book is that it’s simply fun and that is why it works so well. It doesn’t try to be more than it is. It delivers a fun and solid story with perfect artwork that works every issue. Waid and Flynn keep the elements that made this book a success in the first place and I’m glad that they didn’t try to break something that is not broken. As an added bonus there is one of the short stories from the Big Moose One Shot that is a great story for those who didn’t pick up the book. As always this is a very easy RECOMMENDATION!

American Gods #3

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Dark Horse Comics Story Neil Gaiman, Script P.Craig Russell, Artist Scott Hampton, Coming to America Artist Walter Simonson & Colorist Laura Martin, Letterer Rick Parker

With the first season of the television adaptation in full swing, I am now more interested to see what the difference between the book and show are going to be. I haven’t read the novel so the comic is a great way for me to see the difference. This issue really shows the difference that the television show is taking with the novel and that is a good thing. They should be different as well as the comic adaptions should be also. While it follows the book (from what I have been told) but with the difference in the visual medium things are flesh out a little more due to the nature of comics. This issue also bring the first Coming to America sequence drawn by the legendary Simonson that is a real treat. This is a really great idea and does a nice job of complementing Hampton’s art. Russell adaptions continues to bring the novel to life as a perfect comic and understand how to translate it to the comic book medium that allows it to breath in a different way but at the same time being faithful to the source material. He finds ways to embellish thing that a novel can’t do in words but with artwork allows things to be viewed in a different way. Hampton is really nailing a great visual look for the book and has delivered some of his best artwork on the book. His artwork has a great realistic style that delivers the subtle emotions of the characters that is making this book work so well. With the addition on Simonson’s art on the Coming to America part of the book is a match made in heaven.

Is this book worth your time and money? Each issue of this book just keeps getting better and better and is a nice companion to both the original novel and the television series. While I’m loving the television series, I’m glad to see a more literal visual adaptions of the novel. Each has its strengths but the comic is becoming the one to go to with no disrespect to either the novel or the show. Russell and Hampton are really knocking this book out of the park and it’s great to see that they are bringing some heavy hitters like Simonson to visualize the Coming to America sequences is simply icing on the cake of this wonderful book that is RECOMMENDED!

The Wild Storm #4

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DC Comics Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Jon Davis-Hunt, Colorist Steve Buccellato, Letterer Simon Bowland

After last issues exciting dust-up it was interesting to see the impact of it on the story and the characters in this follow-up issue. Ellis continues to weave an epic story that is unfolding slowly but very nicely. There is a lot of world building here and I’m glad that he is taking his time to let each of the cast build their stories without compromise. There is a lot to unfold and take in with this world building epic and what is making work so well is the rich dialog and the slow reveals of the pieces of the puzzle that is build a solid foundation for the future. Each issue continues to build upon the story and not pushing it to fast that would not work with the payoff. Instead of instant gratification that plagues so many comics currently Ellis take the longer and harder road that comics rarely do today. If you pay attention there is a lot going on in each panel of the story, its just much more subtle than most writers use but that is one of Ellis’s greatest strengths. A comics script is only as good as it’s artist and Hunt is simply a perfect collaborator here. With such subtlety in the script you need an artist that can in a way underplays a lot of the script elements but still make it big and epic. This is where Hunt really shines because a lot of what makes the book work is the little things that he brings to each of the characters that makes each panel of the book so special. A great example in this issue when he pulls back to reveal the space station is where a lot of artist would have overplay it but Hunt wisely pulls off the epic scope of the reveal perfectly. He is really making this book shine on so many levels.

Is this book worth your time and money? I am loving every moment of this book and the epic scope and the care that Ellis and Hunt are taking with every moment in the book is simply perfect. Lot of comics say that they are delivering an epic story and rarely do they. In The Wild Storm delivers both an epic tale but with great characters with deep emotions that make this a winner on many levels and is VERY RECOMMENDED!

Will Eisner’s The Spirit: The Corpse Maker #3

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Dynamite Comics Writer/Artist/Letterer Francesco Francavilla

It takes a lot of balls to take on a book like Will Eisner’s The Spirit and Francavilla not only did it, he is delivering one of the best Spirit stories. Look no one is ever going to top Eisner with the Spirit and wisely Francavilla doesn’t try to here. While he is amazingly channeling Eisner with this book, he makes it very much his own. He has always had a great knack for noir and it really pays off here. What he does here is not to try to reinvent the wheel, he simply is telling a simple tale and doing it very well. He doesn’t try to over think the story he lets it unfold very naturally and that is why it’s working so well. The script is simply a good old fashion mystery story that is a perfect marriage of story and art and this is where Francavilla shines. He is able to blend them together seamlessly just as Eisner himself did on the original book. Each panel unfolds the story in a way that makes it not only a great read but a visual feast at the same time. It has a pacing and style that gives it a great timeless quality that is both retro and current at the same time. There has only been one other creator that has gotten this close to perfection with The Spirit and that is the late Darwyn Cooke. With this book Francavilla is just as close.

Is this book worth your time and money? I certainly do not praise this book lightly. Will Eisner’s The Spirit is truly seminal comic work but the one thing that Eisner would have never wanted was to see the character die with his passing. Francavilla has taken the challenge and delivered a book that not only satisfies fans of The Spirit but would have been love by Eisner himself. Thankfully Francavilla has truly kept The Spirit alive and well for a whole new generation to fall in love with. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Batman #22

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DC Comics Writer Tom King, Artist & Colorist Mitch Gerads, Letterer Clayton Cowles

After The disappointment of The Button storyline I probably wouldn’t have picked up this issue of Batman except for a little someone named Swamp Thing. First of all the timing of the story is ironic with the passing of co-creator Bernie Wrightson recently makes this story that much bittersweet. It also brings back the past with a nod to the classic Brave and the Bold Batman team up series with the title of the story The Brave and the Mold. Swamp Thing post Alan Moore has always seemed to have its ups and downs, and while there have been some good attempts at the character there hasn’t been a take on him in the Rebirth line until now. King delivers not only a stunning done in one story, but this might just be the best story he has ever written for Batman. What makes the story so great is that he simply gets Swamp Thing so right in the story and that is why it works so well. He also injects some little moments of humor into the story that give it nice moments in a dark story. What makes it work so well is the emotional impact of the story. I don’t want to give any of the plot away but it’s really a great heartfelt story with huge emotional impact that will leave you stunned and amazed at the end of the story. While the script is perfect it’s Gerads that really brings his A game to the story. Swamp Thing is such a beloved character that it’s tough for any artist to take him on but Gerads does it with such ease and strength that his take is one of the best and that is saying a lot. This story is one that could have easily not work in a lesser artist hands but one of the main reasons is that Gerads hits all of the beats of King’s script with such precision that makes it a perfect blending of writer and artist that is a true collaboration. The For Bernie in the opening was a nice touch and was perfect.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is simply the best Batman story in years and that is not to say that all others have been bad but King and Gerads have crafted a simply well thought out story that delivers a great emotional impact in just one simple story that delivers on every level and is simply a fantastic read and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Dead Inside #5

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Dark Horse Comics Writer John Arcudi, Artist Toni Fejzula, Colorist Andre May, Letterer Joe Sabino

This mini series has been a really great ride and Arcudi and Fejzula delivered a unique story that fell perfectly into place. What made the book so good was that Arcudi took a basic story that you have read a million times before and put a great spin on it that made it fresh and new. That is what a good writer does is simply tell a good solid story that may be familiar but gives a new feel and look. What I loved about the story was that Arcudi didn’t try to shock you or over sell the story, he simply told it very well and that is what made it work. He delivered great characters and some nice twist along the way and simply wrote a solid and entertaining story. Fejzula did a great job on the book and captured the emotions of the characters and the story quite well in the book. He always put a great amount of detail into each panel and it really paid off in the final product. Also a great color job by May who did a great job of complementing Fejzula’s line work with her color choices on the book that really stood out and made the book look even better.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those stories that doesn’t try and be bigger than it is. Arcudi and Fejzula simply tell a solid story that was satisfying series. Sometimes a well told story makes for a very satisfying read and this is one of those books.

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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