I want to say something before we get to this weeks reviews. All of the reviews of comics that I do here are the physical printed versions of the comic. I go out every Wednesday to my local comic shop and pick up the books and read them and base those reviews on them. Currently I do not get any free copies from publishers either physical or digital. I base my reviews on if the book is not only worth reading but buying in the first place. There is time where I review a title from a creator that I know and I never take that into consideration on the review. I try to be as honest as I possibly can be. So with that out-of-the-way let’s get started.
Image Comics Writer Brian Wood, Artist Danijel Zezelj, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterers Steve Wands & Clayton Cowles
Wood writes some amazing comics and now he has another title to hit the stands. Starve has a lot of promise but the first issue is somewhat disappointing. The story has some good ideas but unfortunately it’s bogged down by too much exposition and there are some confusing points in the story. I think that the problem with Wood’s story is that the idea is there but the big problem is that the main character Gavin Cruikshank is not strong enough for the reader to care. He seems to just be there and that is most of the problem. On the plus side the artwork by Zezelj is quite nice and his thick line work is really different from most artists. It’s a very refreshing and different looking book than most and Stewart’s colors really complement the line art.
Is this book worth your time and money? I will give Wood that there are some good ideas in the story but by the end of the first issue I just didn’t really care either way. The book is not bad but never quite grabbed me in the end. Zezelj’s artwork is a big plus but not enough to save the book. It could improve with the next issue but I won’t be around to see. SKIP IT!
Constantine: The Hellblazer #1
DC Comics Writers Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV, Artist Riley Rossmo, Colorist Ivan Plascensia, Letterer Tom Napolitano
There have been many attempts lately with Constantine and now we have a new attempt to bring back such a great character. While Doyle and Tynion start the new series off fairly well the first issue is good but not great. I will give them props for making John Constantine a huge improvement over the last few tries to revive the book. It’s a lot closer in tone to the original Vertigo book and that is a very good thing. The story in this first issue is pretty much self-contained and that is a very wise idea to get new readers to pick up the book. They do a nice job of giving new readers a recap of who he is but they don’t dwell on it either. They also bring back the asshole Constantine that had been lost in translation lately so that’s a great step in the right direction. I was very impressed with Rossmo’s artwork on the book and his style has a nice gritty look that give the book a nice edge. He also does a nice job on the lighter tones in the story so it’s nice to see his versatility will serve the book well. I was very impressed with his nine levels of hell club scene in the book that was worked very well for both the story and his art.
Is this book worth your time and money? Constantine gets off to a solid start but while I very much licked the first issue I think that the next issue will be the key to the long-term of this book. The end of the first issue is a nice springboard to the series and with really solid artwork that makes this a really good-looking book is well worth checking out. WORTH BUYING.
All-Star Section Ei8ht #1
DC Comics Writer Garth Ennis, Artist John McCrea, Colorist John Kalisz, Letterer Pat Brosseau
This is a tough book to review because you are either going to like it or hate it, there is simply no middle ground on it. I am in the camp of the liking it. The team that brought us the wonderful Hitman from the late 1990’s that introduced Section Eight. The good news is that this first issue is pretty easy to pick up and read for new readers and longtime fans will be thrilled that they are back. Ennis keeps the fun rolling along with the story and having a lot of laughs along the way. The story is both surreal and charming at the same time and that is why it works so well. I loved how he used Batman not only to get people to pick the book up but to use his as the joke of the issue was priceless. McCrea’s art is really outstanding in this book and his style fits the quirky nature of the book. I loved the homages to other Batman artists Jim Aparo, Neal Adams and Kelley Jones that fit perfectly into the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are looking for a funny offbeat book you have entered the right place. Smartly written and wonderfully drawn this is another great fresh book in the new DC relaunch. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Harrow County #2
Dark Horse Comics Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist and Letterer Tyler Crook
This first issue of this book got off to a solid start and was very much looking forward to this second issue. Bunn is setting things up for the long haul on this book and while on the surface it doesn’t seem like there is a lot going on but I love how he is taking the bigger picture approach to the story. We are starting to piece together what has happened in the past and where and why this is all leading to Emmy. Bunn really knows how to do creepy in a book and it really digs at you while you read it. There is a lot to digest in this issue and we are starting to see what is in store for her. Crook’s artwork continues to make this story work so well. He has the right blend of fairy tale and horror that makes this such a spot on comic.
Is this book worth your time and money?
This book is not one to miss for horror fans and Bunn and Crook continue to build on the story in this issue. There is a lot more that will be happening in the book and I plan on being there to find out what the mystery that the town has been keeping. VERY RECOMMENDED!
21st Century Tank Girl #1
Titan Comics Writer Alan Martin, Artists Jamie Hewlett/Brett Parson/Warwick Johnson-Cadwell/Jonathan Edwards/Philip Bond/Jim Mahfood/Craig Knowles, Letterer Jim Campbell and the Artists
Tank Girl is back and with four new stories with creators Martin and Hewlett along with an all-star artist on the other stories make this a very nice welcome back for her. Martin wisely tailors each story to the artist style and it make you remember why we fell in love with Tank Girl to begin with. He lets the short stories breath with the artists. For me they all worked very well but honestly it was really great to have Hewlett back drawing her again. It’s hard to review a book like this because each story brings its own charm and art style that make each one a real joy to read. Thankfully there are no clunkers in the bunch either. For sure this is this weeks best bang for the bucks comic.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a real treat for both old and new Tank Girl fans. If you have never read a Tank Girl comic before this is a really good start. With a diverse group of artists that is sure to please you this book is a no brainer buy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
DC Comics Writers Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, Penciler Emanuela Lupacchino, Inker Ray McCarthy, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Tom Napolitano
From the creative team of Conner and Palmiotti that have done such a great job every month on Harley Quinn that I was very much looking forward to this mini series. Of course being a huge fan of the character from the New Teen Titans run by Marv Wolfman and George Perez had a very high bar set for this book also. Sadly the book is disappointing but far from bad. I think the problem is that Conner and Palmiotti spend so much of the issue pointing out that Kori is a fish out of water that it really drags the story down and becomes down right annoying after a while. I understand that there are new readers that they are trying to get to read the book but I don’t think that it works on that level either. The story also jumps around too much and the focus of the supporting cast is also not fleshed out well. The script is really uneven but not a complete disaster. Lupacchino and McCarthy do a great job on the art and this is the best Starfire has look in quite a while. Gone is the Victoria Secrets costume but still has a her free spirit style outfit. The only gripe that I have on the art end is the color work by Hi-Fi that seems really uneven at times especially on Kori. There is more than once that it just doesn’t look right with the shading of the color.
Is this book worth your time and money? Look the book is far from bad but it gets off to a rough start. While I still think there is some hope that Conner and Palmiotti can turn this book around they need to fix this really quickly. Starfire is a great character but it’s hard to see it here. Hopefully it can bounce back next issue or it’s a goner.
Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer and Artist Drew Edward Johnson, Colorist Lizzy Johnson, Letterer Steve Dutro
Johnson has done a lot of good work over the years but it really has led to his first creator owned book. I admit I’m a sucker for pulp/noir type stories but I’m also picky because I love them so much. Johnson script has a pretty good amount of exposition for a first issue and while there is a lot of information that he get to the book never gets too bogged down with it. Wisely starting the book with a flashback action scene was a smart idea and then leading into the present day story did give the book a nice start. While some are going to complain that the first issue gets cut off at the end I actually see that Johnson envisioned the book as a complete story and is just the first chapter of it. There is a lot going on in the book and it does get slightly unwieldy a few times but nothing fatal in the long run. I give Johnson props for script considering that he is more known as an artist this is a very good first effort with his own storytelling. Of course the artwork on the book is top-notch and he captures the mood that he is going for quite well. He handles both the action and dramatic scenes very well. While I would have love to seen the book done in black and white I know from a commercial point of view that is nearly impossible in todays mainstream comic market. The good news is that Lizzy Johnson understands the visual tone that Drew is going for and does a wonderful job with the color work. The opening cave sequence really shows off what she is able to do with color. Maybe in the future Dark Horse could do a special black and white edition of the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? Noir is a tough sell in comics but hopefully this one will catch on with comic readers. I really enjoyed the first issue and while the ending of the issue is a bit abrupt I can see the bigger picture that Johnson is going for. If you like adventure stories in the vein of Edgar Wright Burroughs, H.G. Wells or Alex Raymond then you should give this book a shot. It’s very rare to see a pulp noir/adventure story and Johnson has done a very nice job of bringing the genre back. I like what I read and excited to see where the story is going to go in the next three issues. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer Jason Aaron, Artist Mike Del Mundo, Colorists Mike Del Mundo & Marco D’Alfonso, Letterer Cory Petit
With nearly all of the regular Secret Wars Spin off books that involve the regular Marvel superhero characters being very disappointing so far, it seems the oddball book that have virtually nothing to do with Secret Wars seem to be working. So in this case Aaron is dong his Conan story here and he doesn’t even try to hide it. So with that in mind this book is a lot of fun. There is not a lot of heavy storytelling going on here just simple sword and sorcery and monsters with lots of blood and battles and that is pretty much it. There are a few times where Aaron gets a little to dialog happy and that creates a few rough spots but nothing fatal. Del Mundo who did beautiful artwork on the recent Elektra comic is a very wise choice for this book. He is an artist that can really capture the scope of the world that this book inhabits. This is a truly gorgeous looking book and the color work is exceptional.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a simple fantasy tale of “Conan” and on that level it works very well. It’s a fun book to read and with lush artwork and nothing to connect it to Secret Wars is a clear win for this book. Not the most amazing book this week but a fun read.
Avatar Press Writer Alan Moore, Artist Jacen Burrows, Colorist Juan Rodriguez, Letterer Kurt Hathaway
It’s been a while since I have read a new Alan Moore comic that was not League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and so I was willing to give Providence a try. The first issue is interesting because as with most Moore stories the first issues usually leave you with more questions than answers and this is one of them. The thing that you have to decide with Moore and specifically with this book with the obvious H.P. Lovecraft overtones is do you want to read it monthly or wait till the whole thing is collected after the monthly series is done. I will say there is a lot to digest with this first issue and is a nice set up to the concept. The only thing was that I did feel a little on the lost side because there is a lot that he is throwing out in this first issue. The question after reading this first issue is how far and where is he going with the horror elements in the book. Is he going to go full-blown horror or a more subtle approach. It’s hard to tell with this first issue. Burrows does a very nice job on the artwork and the level of detail that he puts into the characters and their expressions is very impressive. I rarely read Avatar books but I will give them that this book is a very nice quality looking book that is way above average for a small publisher like Avatar.
Is this book worth your time and money? Moore doesn’t seem to have lost his touch and this story gets off to a good start. While it’s didn’t knock my socks off it was a very interesting read and with great artwork. I liked it enough to give the second issue a try.