After a small fifth week shipment this week is flooded with lots of new and returning comics this week. So let’s get to it.
The Flintstones #12
DC Comics Writer Mark Russell, Artist Steve Pugh, Colorist Chris Chuckry, Letterer David Sharpe
Sadly as they say all good things must come to an end and this is the last issue of The Flintstones. For twelve issues Russell and Pugh have really raised the bar on what a comic adaptions can be. Russell does a grand job of wrapping up all of the story lines in this final story that was not only bittersweet but exceptionally satisfying. Not only did it wrap up nicely but as always has strong social commentary undertones that are even more relevant in the current world. What has made this book so good is that every character is so well thought out and even with the supporting cast of the book including the animal appliances. Who would have thought that you would fall in love with a vacuum cleaner or a bowling ball but Russell pulls it off effortlessly that has made ever issue a pure joy to read and this final issue is no exception. It’s rare in comics today that a series has a defined beginning, middle and end and this book delivered on every level. The other element that has immensely helped is the spot on artwork by Pugh. There have been few comics that have this amazing level of art let alone an adaption. While the scripts have always delivered, it has been Pugh who gives the book it’s soul with every emotion and detail that is pure joy to savor every panel that is packed with detail and care. They both should be very proud of this book that has and will continue to be acclaimed for years to come.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book has been on that has alway been the first book that I read every month that it came out and has been the most consistently satisfying comics I have read in a very long time. Russell has done an outstanding job on balancing so many elements in the stories that never gets to preachy but always makes you think about things. He also made sure that the book never strayed from its root of the animated series that it was based on. He never tried to reinvent the wheel but to tell stories and open up the world that was already there. Pugh than came in a sealed the deal with his gorgeous artwork that really raised the quality of the book to a whole new level. This is a book that will be more acclaimed as time goes on. I would normally say that ff you have not been reading this book then shame on you but in this case you really need to pick up the trades of the series and see what not only myself but also critics and creators have been raving about this wonderful comic book. It doesn’t get better than this. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Rock Candy Mountain #3
Image Comics Writer, Artist, & Letterer Kyle Starks, Colorist Chris Schweizer
Every once in a while a comic comes along and really catches you off guard and Rock Candy Mountain is one of those comics. In just three issues Starks has not only crafted a unique and interesting story but continues to give the book great twist and turns that is really keeping readers on their toes. He is unfolding the story at a nice pace that is giving the story a satisfying read every issue but gives you great reasons to come back for more. What I love about his scripts is that he does a great job of balancing emotions and characters development in the book. Every player has a part in the story and this issue really shows that off. Even the characters that have small roles in the story are well-rounded and you care what happens to them just as much as Jackson and Pomona. The other thing that is working well for the book is the mystery and magic that adds great and unexpected elements to the story that is making it fresh and fun. Starks visual style gives the book on the surface a cartoony look but there is so much more detail that gives the book a great layered look that really make it all come together so well. His artwork makes the book work on so many levels that is very impressive.
Is this book worth your time and money. With only three issue into the story far this series has jumped to the top of the must read pile every month. Starks has crafted a well thought out story with this book that keeps you guessing where it’s going to go but he makes sure that the characters are the most important part of the equation. Each issue just keeps getting better and better and is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED comic.
The Unsound #1
Boom! Studios Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist Jack T. Cole, Letterer Jim Campbell
Bunn is one of those comic book writers that seems to run hot and cold and with this new series from Boom it seems to land in the middle. The first issue is a bit of a mixed bag with the story being a set up with little beyond exposition. While you get a feel for where the book might be heading it leaves more questions than answers. There were some interesting ideas here but I felt that there wasn’t a strong hook to bring you back for a second issue. It’s not to say that the book is a bad read by any means but while he did a good job of introducing Ashli it struggled to break free of being too familiar type story and didn’t bring many new elements to the table here. I mean the whole there is a mystery at the asylum and Ashli gets caught up in it didn’t really grab me that well. On the plus side the artwork by Cole does give the book a great visual style that did add a great deal to the creepiness of the asylum and the patients that helped the story move along well. He nearly saves the book in this first issue.
Is this book worth your time and money? I think the biggest problem with the book is that it’s not very memorable. There are so decent idea in Bunn’s script but in the end it just sat there for me. I have to give Cole credit for doing his best visually to pull it out but in the end it was just kind of meh.
The Divided States of Hysteria #1
Image Comics Writer and Artist Howard Chaykin, Colorist Jesus Aburtov, Letterer Ken Bruzenak
I’ll admit that I am a huge Chaykin fan and his last Image book Midnight of the Soul just didn’t do it for me. Per usual Chaykin throw a lot of elements into this first issue that does make it a bit disjointed but as with most of his work there is a long-term story he sets out to tell and the question is always are there some good ideas thrown in here and I believe there is. There is a lot going on here and Chaykin throws things at the reader with a brisk pace. The best way to describe the book is that it mirrors the current chaos and uncertainty of things now and as with his American Flagg comic from the 1980’s that was a social commentary of its time this series could be one to watch. But with most of Chaykin’s stories you have to be patient with it because he unfolds it very carefully and methodically. I absolutely love his artwork and he really does a great job on this book. While it may not be quite as good as in his older work he still is a great craftsman of gorgeous artwork that really pulls things together. Chaykin knows how to visually fill the story and breath a hyperkinetic life to it through his artwork. I must point out that his longtime lettering partner Bruzenak does his usual outstanding job on the book and shows how lettering can and should be done. He is a classic old school talent that in a huge plus has a section in the back explaining his process.
Is this book worth your time and money? For the casual reader this book is not going to be your cup of tea but if your willing to invest in the long game that Chaykin is setting up here then you should give the book a chance. This is also not for the faint of heart because as with all of Chaykin’s work he never pulls any punches on any level. He tells the story his way and sure it’s controversial but that is what he is best at.
Aftershock Comics Writer Donny Cates, Artist Garry Brown, Colorist Mark Englert, Letterer Taylor Esposito
Horror comics are a tricky thing and more often than not they tend not to deliver very well. While Babyteeth is not bad it does suffer from being a bit too Omen like and the first issue didn’t really go much of anywhere. Cates script never really goes much beyond exposition here and while it’s not terrible. it was kind of boring. The script never really gets beyond the basic premiss and while Cates throws in a few interesting ideas around it doesn’t add up to much in the end. Brown’s artwork on the book has some issues. One of the biggest ones is that the art a lot of the time has a flat sketchy look that lacks detail. There are virtually no backgrounds to speak of and comes off a bit amateurish. I will give him that the earthquake sequences actually work well but overall the artwork is weak.
Is this book worth your time and money? Not really the book simply stumbles in the fact that it’s not very original nor is it that interesting. There is little that happens in the first issue and sadly Cates give little for readers to come back for more than adding in the disappointing artwork make this book an easy SKIP IT!
Mighty Mouse #1
Dynamite Entertainment Writer Sholly Fisch, Artist Igor Lima, Colorist Pete Pantazis, Letterer Tom Napolitano
With so many revivals of old properties there is little that really surprises me anymore but I have to give Fisch props for catching me way off guard with Mighty Mouse. While the story is pretty basic it was nothing like I thought it would be. Fisch writes the highly entertaining Scooby-Doo Team-Up book over at DC Comics and I honestly expected a kid centric story here but to my surprise it takes place mostly in the “real” world. The story is pretty simple kid gets picked on and imagines Mighty Mouse in his drawings and then at the end of the issue the two worlds collide. I will admit that this is not going to blow you away or anything but what Fisch does do very well is make the story charming. The reason that it does work well is because he keeps it simple. I was pleasantly surprised by Lima’s artwork on the book all though I felt that his cartoon skills were not as strong as his regular comic artwork. He struggled a bit with the animation sequences and it might have worked better having a more cartoon centric artist do those sequences. They are not terrible but are not as good as the real world artwork but overall a good job on the art.
Is this book worth your time and money? The story is simple but was a nice pleasant read and that is exactly what the book set out to do. Fisch story does a nice job of setting things up while I’m not sure of the long-term beyond this first storyline, I am liking the set up for this first arc. Lima’s overall does a good job on the art and while there are a few minor issues with the look, it never takes away or hinders the story. This book was a fun read and if you’re a fan of Mighty Mouse or just looking for a little lighter comic book read then this book is well worth checking out.
Aftershock Comics Writer Frank Tieri, Artist Oleg Okunev, Colorist Rob Schwager, Letterer Marshall Dillon
The first issue was a pleasant surprise and I’m glad to report that the second issue does a nice job of continuing it. I have to give credit to Tieri for surprisingly coming up with a twist on the well over-saturated zombie market and has found a nice hook for the story. There was a little fall back to the whole zombie attacks the heroes in this issue but Tieri doesn’t make that the main focus of the story and that was a wise decision. I would have liked a bit more back story and character development in this issue the story did move forward and did add some nice mystery to it. The other nice element that he delivers is the intense zombie attacks that dispenses with the slow you could just run away from them that might work well in other mediums but in this story the swarming fast attacks really work very well here. Okunev’s artwork continues to impress with a nice style that strikes a nice balance between the dramatic moments and the action. This is a really nice looking book and Okunev does a good job of bringing Tieri’s script to life here.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was glad to see that the first issue was no fluke and the Tieri and Okunev are continuing to deliver a great twist on a genre that had frankly been done to death. It just shows that you can tell a story that has been told before and give it a good and new twist and it can be entertaining. This is a solid second issue and excited to see where they take it from here.
Harvey Hits #1
Joe Books Writer Kristie Shepherd/Art Baltazar/Geoffrey Golden/Landry Q. Walker, Artists Cesare Asaro/Franco/Dan Parent/Eric Jones, Colorist Pannel Vaughn, Letterer Tom Napolitano
This is going to be a short and sweet review. This is a collection of short stories with the classic Harvey Comic characters that will delight both young and old fans. The stories are very much aimed at a younger audience but if you’re an older fan of the original comics then you will get a kick out of this book. The stories are simple short gags that are charming and well done. While they were all good reads the Casper story by Walker and Jones was the real standout in both story and artwork. The main thing that it had going for it was Jones’s artwork that broke out of the “Harvey” style and was more unique and exciting. Thankfully there were no clunkers in the bunch.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is simple young readers comic that will only work for an older reader for nostalgia reasons and on that level it worked very well. It told simple and fun stories that were fun little gags. The only thing is that will kids want to read stories of characters that I doubt they are familiar with. But if you have kids then this book is a winner and well worth getting.
Savage Things #4
Writer Justin Jordan, Artist Ibrahim Moustafa, Colorist Jordan Boyd, Letterer Josh Reed
The one thing that I am discovering with this book is that each issue is a quick read but has a lot of meat to it. Jordan continues to craft a well thought out tale that while quick, it leaves you rather exhausted and wanting more. The book delivers such a high from reading it that the only disappointment with it is that you have to wait another month for the next chapter. Jordan pacing of the story is the real win for this book and the subtle nuances of the characters and the concept that are both timely and thought-provoking. Telling this story that is social commentary that deals with touchy subjects are a challenge for a seasoned writer but Jordan has really proven that he is up to the task. Moustafa artwork really makes this book pop with his detail to the emotions of the characters that visually bring this book to life. While the action scenes he handles with ease, it’s the dramatic dialog scenes where he really shines because you have to capture that perfect moment in a single panel to deliver the scripts emotions and Moustafa does it with confidence and ease that is making this comic come together.
Is this book worth your time and money? Rarely does a comic build upon each issue that keeps you coming back for more but Jordan and Moustafa are telling a taught and gripping tale with Savage Things that is becoming a must read book each month. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Eternal Empire #2
Image Comics Writers Sarah Vaughn & Jonathan Luna, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Jonathan Luna
Slow burn stories are a hard sell in comics today because everyone wants that quick and easy satisfaction that simply is not good in the long run. Vaughn and Luna are unfolding a nice story here and taking their time for me is work well for the book. I like that they basically telling the flip side story in the second issue and having them meet each other was a nice set up to the story. There is a lot going on here that will pay off down the road with the story if your paying attention. On the surface the story is pretty basic but it’s the subtle layers of the story that are intriguing me so far. Luna as always delivers wonderful artwork and this book is no exception. Here where there is not a lot of action really shows his ability to deliver subtle character emotions that give the story so much depth when there is little or no dialog. He has to tell the story visually and that is the mark of a great artist.
Is this book worth your time and money? As with the first issue this is a long-term story that is unfolding at a methodical pace that for some readers will say it’s too slow. If you want spoon fed action comics then this is the wrong book for you but if you’re looking for a character driven comic with a story that developes and intrigues then you should check this book out. There is a lot to like here and can’t wait to see where Vaughn and Luna take this story.
Image Comics Writer and Artist Daniel Warren Johnson, Colorist Mike Spicer, Letterer Rus Wooton
Johnson has really impressed me with his epic story in Extremity that continues to surprise with its twist and turns in the story that is not only keeping it interesting and exciting but not letting the readers become comfortable with what they think might happen. While the scope of the story is quite large it’s the characters and their story that is what is driving this story. Each issue has done a great job of keeping the focus of the story on the emotions and heart of the characters as you go on the journey with them. It is really a story about family and how you have to deal with all of the trial and tribulations that come with it. There are a lot of big moments in this issue but it’s the cliffhanger twist ending that will not only surprise you but change the tone and direction of the story in a way that will impress and that is hard to do in a comic book. There are few writer/artist combinations in comics today that you could say are true storytellers but Johnson is one of the few that not only does it but truly excels at it. What I most love about his artwork is the small emotional moments that he perfectly captures. Sure the big fights and blow outs are great but when he delivers the emotions that perfectly captures the story is what I love most about this book.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is my first encounter with Johnson’s work and I must say that this comic has been not only a nice surprise but an entertaining and well told story that just keeps getting better and better each issue. His blend of story and artwork is making this book a real winner and it’s a must read. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!