A huge week for new comic books with lots of new series and more of the DC/Looney Tunes specials hit the stands this week. So let’s get to it with a rare comic book of the week winner.
Lobo/Road Runner #1
DC Comics Writer Bill Morrison, Artist Kelley Jones, Colorist Michael Madsen, Letterer Rob Leigh, Back-Up Story Writer & Artist Bill Morrison, Letterer Saida Temofonte
It’s been quite a while that a comic book has received the coveted Comic Book of the Week banner but we have one that is truly deserving of it.
Of all of the DC/Looney Tunes books this issue was the one that was the highest on my list of excitement. I am friends with both Bill and Kelley so that has no bearing on this review and honestly I hold them to a higher standards than most because of their past work. With that out-of-the-way they not only hit the bullseye but exceeded my expectations on this book. First Morrison’s script does a great job of blending the two worlds. What is most impressive is the way that he figured out to fit The Coyote and Road Runner into the DC Universe. He wisely dispenses with the origin of Lobo because if you don’t know him, it ultimately is not super important. Where he does spend the time wisely is setting up the introduction of Coyote and Road Runner and how they came about in this story. Using the Area 52 gave the story a simple but very effective way to blend in the alien angle and for them to make sense in the “real world”. He also handles the reason for Lobo to is that he might want to stop off in Vegas as he passes by earth. Morrison’s script best asset is it’s great pacing that perfectly preserves the tone of the classic Looney Tunes feel with both tone and humor. Some of the funniest and best moments are the ones where Lobo is trying to get the Road Runner that are simply priceless. I have been a long time admirer of Jones artwork but he has never been given the chance to do a book like this that is outside his usual horror zone and gets to flex his artistic skill to capture the cartoony tone that Morrison’s script provides. While the visuals have a dark overtone it works perfectly in the story and gives it a unique blend that might just be his best work to date, and that is saying a lot because he has never tuned in a bad job ever. Where he really impresses is the Lobo Vs The Road Runner gags that is the tone of the Looney Tunes but in his own style that was simply priceless. On the surface the book looks dark because Jones’s style but it’s far from it and that is a great testament to his artistic skills on the book. The back-up story by Morrison on both the story and artwork continues the main story after Lobo decides to go to Las Vegas and Bugs Bunny comes to tell him that he has to fill eight more pages of story. This story is done in a classic animation style and is a real hoot. This is a short and sweet story that works great for a short story. There are plenty of gags and will give you a good laugh to finish the book out in style.
Is this book worth your time and money? As much as I was looking forward to this book I was dreading reviewing it because I hope that it would be good and Morrison and Jones have not only delivered that but simply knocked my socks off with this book. What is most impressive about the book is how in sync that they are together on the book. Morrison knew what Jones could bring to the book and he tailored the story to his style and that is what makes the book work like a well oiled machine. Jones artwork on the book not only is great but it really gave him the opportunity to do things that he normally doesn’t get to do and he delivers it perfectly. Rarely do you see a comic like this where a writer and artist are in perfect sync and captures the essence of what these crossovers could and should be. The Morrison back-up is simply icing on the cake for this book and wraps it up perfectly. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! and is the Comic Book of the Week!!!
As an added bonus make sure that you pick up the Morrison variant cover that is also available. Here is what you should look for.
Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil #1
DC Comics Writer Tony Bedard, Penciller Barry Kitson, Inker John Floyd, Colorist Lovern Kindzierski, Letterer Dave Sharpe, Back-Up Story Writer Tony Bedard, Artist Ben Caldwell, Letterer David Sharpe
After the Lobo/Road Runner special it was going to be a very tough book to follow but I have to give props to Bedard for coming up with a smart and snappy script for the book. What I found most impressive was that he was able to come up with a way for a Taz to communicate in the story with cartoon word balloons so he is able to “talk” in the story As with the other DC/Looney Tunes specials Bedard keeps the story simple and doesn’t bog down the story with lots of exposition, he just hits the ground running with the story and keeps it fast a loose but never forgets to have fun with it. The one thing that was a great asset to the story was how he weaved the greek mythology into the story and that gave the book a strong footing in the Wonder Woman aspect of the story. Bedard grounds the story in the DC Universe but he never loses what we all loved about Taz and he plays that quite well here. Kitson and Floyd do a nice job on the artwork on the main story and while Taz is visually a bit on the monster side they make sure that when required that he still has his classic animation roots still intact. This is a nice looking book and does the job quite well. The back-up story by Bedard and one of my favorite artist Caldwell continues the story but turns it into a musical that on the surface shouldn’t work but they know how to squeeze all of the fun of a Loony Tunes short gags and all into it and make it work exceptionally well here. Caldwell style is gorgeous and throws in so many sweet Loony Tunes references that make it a real visual feast. I would have loved him doing a full DC/Looney Tunes main story. So hopefully if there are more than they know who to call first.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is another win for these crossover books and while the main story is solid it was the back-up that nearly stole the show on this one. They amazingly blend together well with the story and Bedard should be commended with that. RECOMMENDED!
Shirtless Bear-Fighter #1
Image Comics Writers Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner, Artist Nil Vendrell, Colorist Mike Spicer, Letterer Dave Lanphear
Yes this book is as stupid and it sounds and that is what I loved about it. Leheup and Girner keep it loose and free wheeling with the script that doesn’t try to be more than it is. I love that his name is simply Shirtless Bear-Fighter and the fact that he doesn’t bother wearing any pants adds to the charm or horror of the character depending on how you look at it. Wisely they don’t drag the first issue down with a drawn out explanation of his origin and while they do explain it they keep it short and to the point. I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I saw the Bear-Plane that really summed up the book. Vendrell’s artwork on the book has a nice cartoony type style that works well with the script. Where the art shines is in the characters facial features and looks that are impressive and that includes the bears that nearly steal each scene at times. I would love to see an uncensored version of the art because it appears that Vendrell visually endowed Shirtless with quite the member and adds to a nice humorous thick quality to it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I rather enjoyed the first issue and while it’s straight forward fun ride, the question is how long can you tell a fairly one note tale. I’m willing to go with it for a short fun but hopefully they wont drag the joke out. If you’re looking for something that is silly fun then you will want to pick this comic up.
Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1
Marvel Comics Writer Chip Zdarsky, Artist Adam Kubert, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Back-Up Story Writer Chip Zdarsky, Artist Goran Parlov, Colorist Nathan Fairbairn, Letterer Travis Lanham
Marvel has not impressed me too much with there relaunched of their main books so I was a bit hesitant on this one. Zdarsky’s Howard the Duck was not that good and his Jughead storyline fizzed at in the last issue so for me the bar was pretty low here. I have to give him credit that he got the book off to a decent start and the one thing that he brought to the script was a nice sense of humor and fun that is missed a lot in the Spider-Man books. The other plus was that he doesn’t treat Peter like a joke filed teenage afterschool special that a lot of writers make the mistake of doing. While the story didn’t blow me away it was a solid read and I’m willing to see where he goes with the book. The big plus for the book is getting Adam Kubert on the art. He is a great artist and the one thing that I really liked that he did on the book was make sure that the humor in the script came across in the artwork. A lot of artist will miss this and Kubert makes sure that it’s not over done and uses it when needed. The book looks really good. In a plus the back-up story Zdarsky give it a very Ditko feel in both story and Parlov’s artwork picks up on that quite well too. It’s a simple gag story that is short and sweet and is a nice addition to the book that fits quite well after the main story.
Is this book worth your time and money? The $4.99 cover price doesn’t help and Marvel really needs to stop this because new readers are going to be a bit gun-shy with that. They need to push books like this that will get non Marvel Zombies interesting in their comics again. With that said I was pleasantly surprised by this book and Zdarsky gets it off to a good start. As long as he keeps this level up it might be worth keeping it on the pull list.
Image Comics Writer Gail Simone, Artist Cat Staggs, Letterer Simon Bowland
Crosswind is one of those comics that shows promise but the first issue is a little rough around the edges. I liked a lot of the ideas that Simone had in the story but I think that the story does struggle a bit with the set up with the jumping back and forth with the Case and Juniper got a little frustrating at times but I will give her that it does come together by the end of the first issue. The one thing that did rub me a little wrong was the cliché tropes that she used in the Juniper storyline that just seemed a little too lazy for me. Don’t get me wrong with the script because there is more right than wrong, I just felt that it didn’t flow as well as I would have liked. Staggs artwork on the book was quite good and is more well-known for her cover art such as Wonder Woman ’77 and it was really nice to see her flex her skills on the interiors of the book. She did a nice job of laying out the artwork and her facial expressions on the characters is simply stunning and a real win for the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I’m glad that a new book by two great female creators is being published because we desperately need more diversity in comics on many fronts. While the first issue had a few minor missteps there was a lot to like about it and shows a great deal of promise. Simone does a neat twist on the Freaky Friday concept here that does come together at the end. Staggs artwork really keeps things moving along in the book and that is a big help. There is just enough here to give the book a shot and stick around to see where they take the story in the next few issues.
Dynamite Comics Writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, Artist Ghostwriter X, Colorist Karl Fan, Letterer Josh Krach
I’m a huge videogame nut with a huge classic gaming collection and have very fond memories of the Atari 2600 that was the first videogame system I ever had. So I was excited to see what Dynamite would do with the license and the first book gets off to a very good start at least in the script department. Bowers and Sims have a great grasp of what it was like during those very early days of videogaming and have come up with an interesting story to tie in to the ill-fated Swordquest series that was never finished. They not only deliver nostalgia but an intriguing mystery with the games and the mythology and history that Peter, Amy and Alvin have with it and how they are drawn back into it so many years later. The one thing that is very good about the story is the pacing and unfolding of both the past and the present with the characters. Few licensed comics rarely have strong characters but Bowers and Sims have made sure that for the story to work you need to care about them and they do a very good job at that. Where I struggle with the book is on the artwork. Ghostwriter X art does have more good than bad but what is frustrating is that his inconsistency from panel to panel. There are times where the art is solid but then the next panel is just not as good. I do like his style I just wish he would get a better consistency with it. I will give him that this issue was a bit better than the zero issue. Hopefully he will continue to iron out some of those bugs.
Is this book worth your time and money? I’m really liking the story that mixes nostalgia with a mystery and throws in videogames. There is something about the Atari 2600 age with not only the games but the comic books that came with some of them. Bowers and Sims have tapped into something good here with the story and it continues to intrigue me. I do struggle with the artwork on the book, it’s far from terrible and better than average for Dynamite and he seems to be getting better. If you’re a fan of the Atari 2600 age and remember Swordquest then I do recommend the comic. If you’re a casual fan it’s a tough call.
DC Comics Writer Tom King, Artist Mikel Janin, Colorist June Chung, Letterer Clayton Cowles
A new storyline starts in this issue and I thought that it would be a good time to catch up with the series that got off to a good start with the rebirth launch. King has had a good run on the book and I loved his take on the Omega Men and his current Batman run has been pretty solid so far. This issue brings back the Joker along with The Riddler with a pretty unique twist that pits their quest to be the one who defeats Batman but have started a war to see who can do it first. His portrayal of the Joker losing his gift/curse of laughter is most intriguing and the way that he tries to get it back is very unnerving. On the flip side he has The Riddler as a lot more methodical than other incarnations of him. This is why the conflict set up ends up working well because they want the same thing just not wanting the other to succeed first. King really sets up the story very well here and this issue made for a great read. Not only is the story have some great twist and turns he give both the Joker and the Riddler more depth than you normally see in a regular Batman series. This story feels more like an event but without the overblown hype that usually goes with it. Janin’s artwork really sells the story perfectly here. The level of craftsmanship is quite amazing and its the emotional impact of the characters that really sets this story apart from average. One thing that was a real treat was that he played with the layouts that kept the story not only paced great but gave you a great emotional connection through the artwork that brought the script to life wonderfully.
Is this book worth your time and money? It’s hard to deliver a Batman story that feels fresh when you’re doing two issues a month but King really nails it with this new storyline that is able to give a different takes on villains that have been told a million different ways and still be exciting and new. Having Janin gorgeous artwork bring the script to life is one of the reasons why it works so well. This is a great jumping on point for the book and I cant wait to see where they take the story. RECOMMENDED!
Royal City #4
Image Comics Writer and Artist Jeff Lemire, Letterer Steve Wands
Royal City continues to be a must read every month and this issue gets closer to the mystery of Tommy and how it relating to Pat’s return home and what the connection is to both Tommy and the family. Lemire’s scripts each issue wash over you and I love the fact that the story is methodical in its pacing that really lets the story breath and take root. Few storytellers are able to capture the subtle nuances of life, but Lemire not only delivers that he makes you feel as if this is part of your life story. It’s because the tone and characters are so relatable and remind you of yourself and your family and friends. Everyone has skeletons in their past and family that is crazy, but it’s the way that he makes it all so relatable to the reader that makes this book so fascinating. Where the book really shines is his artwork with its watercolor world that invites you in and gives it a natural feel that envelopes you into the story in a way that few artist can deliver. It’s the simplicity of his style that has great detail that is not over done in either the line work or the perfect color palette that he chooses for it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a fan of this book from day one and each issue just keeps getting better as the story unfolds and this issue lead very well to the next issue that end the first story arc. It’s a book that really sticks with you that is pretty rare in comics today and a deeply personal story that is a part of us all. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Aftershock Comics Writer Adam Glass, Artist Dennis Calero, Colorist Adriano Augusto, Corey Breen
The first issue of this series got the book off to a solid start and Glass and followed it up with a great second issue that dives deeper into the mystery of Jack discovering that he and his family are androids. The story has a familiar story, Glass has tried to infuse some twists that is trying to give it a different take. Sure there are comparisons to Phillip K. Dick stories here and let’s be honest that the basic premise has been told numerous times. I am liking what Glass has done so far but I hope that there are some unexpected turns in the next few issues. This is a good set up but he needs to steer towards more less familiar territory over the next few issues. Calero’s artwork does a nice job on the book and gives it a nice moody feel. He does a good job on the emotions of the characters and that is really helping sell the story here.
Is this book worth your time and money? I still like the book but hope that Glass will mix it up in the next few issues. The book is a good read but this issue while still enjoyable did have a feeling of been there and done that. Calero’s art keeps things on the positive side with the nice artwork but the story does need to add some freshness to a familiar story.
Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #9
DC’s Young Animal Story Gerard Way & Jon Rivera, Writer Jon Rivera, Artist Michael Avon Oeming, Colorist Nick Filardi, Letterer Clem Robins
Cave Carson continues to be a nostalgic drug trip that is as strange as it is delightful. Rivera story is going for the long haul here with the first story arc that certainly keep readers on their toes with great twist and turns but does make it a little tough for a monthly book. There is absolutely no complaint that I have with the story but, it’s just hard to take in little bits knowing that I have to wait another month to see another piece of the puzzle to the story. Rivera never lets the story turn dull for a minute and this issue has one of my favorite scenes so far with Wild Dog that I dare not spoil. Although the death by brains was pretty impressive too. The strength of Rivera’s writing is that no matter how weird and trippy the stories get he always finds a way to ground the reader to the characters to lead them though the chaos of the adventures and keep the narrative first and foremost. The other thing that is really making this book work so well is the artwork by Oeming that is an eye-popping feast that attacks your senses with every panel. The way that he visually enhances the story with his fast and loose layouts that is able to take the book to new visual levels that comics rarely take the chance with especially from the big two. He is not afraid to play with style and tone to make the story work. I have to also give great props to Filardi’s color work on the book that adds a whole other level to Oeming’s line work that really makes this book pop in all of the right ways.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is still my favorite DC’s Young Animal book because of the chances that Rivera and Oeming take with the book but also because it’s such a grand adventure that is nostalgic as it is current.
Nick Fury #3
Marvel Comics Writer James Robinson, Penciller Aco, Inker Hugo Petrus, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer Travis Lanham
Well with three issues in I have to assume that this is going to be a done in one book and that is OK with me. While I would like to see Robinson do a multi part story in the book, having a done in one at least is very satisfying each issue for sure. I have to give Robinson credit for creating a very exciting book with a character that is not known for being a James Bond type over the years. The stories have been solid but what is making this book really work so well is the visuals that Aco brings to the book. For the most part the stories are pretty straightforward but it’s the visual flair that Aco brings to the book that make each issue feel new and exciting even thought the story is one that has been told a million times before. But to be fair it’s Robinson that sets things up in the story that allows Aco to take the ball and run with it to the finish line. Petrus does some very nice ink work over Aco pencils and Rosenberg brings the 1960’s pop art color scheme to add the final ingredient that makes this book explode with pop art goodness.
Is this book worth your time and money? Robinson keeps the stories simple and sweet and that is why this book works so well. For how long it’s hard to say but with the well oiled machine of his scripts and Aco and Rosenberg pop art visuals are making this a fun ride every month.
The Wild Storm #5
Writer Warren Ellis, Artist Jon Davis-Hunt, Colorist Steve Buccellato, Letterer Simon Bowland
Ellis reinventing the Wildstorm universe continues to impress with each issue. What the book is doing so well is taking its time to create the world and its characters that is really letting the book breath. He has taken a more subtle approach to the book than you normally see. It’s a blend of Vertigo and mainstream DC that pulls from each and yet creates its own path. Most of the main Wildstorm book were superhero type books that did grow into other directions over time. Ellis has taken that outside the box thinking and put it outside another box What works so well for the book is that there is a lot of the time where characters are simply delivering dialog and yet it as compelling and even more so than the action scenes in the story. He is really developing this universe for the long-term story that he is crafting here and that is what is making it so satisfying. He is also unfolding the story at a nice pace that some might find slow but I feel that it’s more methodical the way that he uses it in the book. A comic is only as good as it’s artist and Ellis has picked a perfect partner in crime for this book. Hunt captures all of the subtle nuances of Ellis’s script and brings them perfectly to life. There is a lot of emotions that he has to capture in every single panel of the book and he does it with such ease that it’s very impressive. There is a scene in this issue where Adrianna and Spica is talking at a diner and the way that Hunt captures it in the artwork is why the book is working so well. Sure Ellis’s dialog is great but Hunt makes you feel your part of the conversation and that is a very difficult thing to do in a comic book and Hunt really make it work every time.
Is this book worth your time and money? Ellis and Hunt are taking the readers on a long journey that is taking it’s time to unfold and peel back the layers of the story. There is so much going on in every nook and cranny of the story that it washes over you and you simply must take the time to let it. You have to let the book breath while your reading it because there is so many little story elements that you might miss if you rush though it. This is a book that is on track to be a truly epic tale and were only on the fifth issue so there is a lot more to come and I cant wait to see where they take it. VERY RECOMMENDED!