Hi-Fi Fight Club #1
Boom! Box Writer Carly Usdin, Penciller Nina Vakueua, Inker Irene Flores, Colorist Rebecca Nalty, Letterer JIm Campbell
I love that Boom Studios has been trying to push more comics aimed at a more non traditional comic base and this new series is another good step in the right direction. What struck me the most about this first issue is how well that Usdin sets up the characters in the story that gives you a reason to care for them that so many writers struggle with in a first issue. She really fleshed out the cast and gives you just enough in the first issue to get things off well. It was also nice to have her set it in the late 1990’s that gives it a different flavor than currently. One of the big charms of the book is the record store that they all work in gives it a different feel for the slice of life story that she is telling. The only misstep that I feel that she made with the first issue was the whole secret fight club felt tacked on at the end of the issue in an otherwise well paced story. While I understand that is what the book is about, it just didn’t feel like the rest of the story really led into that moment. I liked Vakueua’s art on the book and while she is influence by manga art style it fit the story nicely. While there were a few inconsistencies there was nothing that took me out of the story and it will be nice to see how she evolves over the next few issues. The one thing that she does very well is the characters facial emotions that is a big plus for the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am not certainly the target audience for this book, but i did find the first issue to be well done and enjoyable for anyone. I may have not been overwhelmed with the first issue it certainly had many positive things going for it. There is enough here to give the book a few more issues to see where Usdin and Vakueua take the story from here. If you’re looking for something different and fun then you should give this book a try.
Manhunter Special #1
DC Comics Story and Layouts Keith Giffen, Artist Mark Buckingham, Words Dan Didio, Colorist Chris Sotomayor, Letterers Dave & Troy, Writers Sam Humphries & Steve Rude, Artist Steve Rude, Colorist John Kalisz, Letterer Todd Klein, Writer & Artist Jack Kirby (reprints)
Round three of the Kirby 100 celebration specials this month and it has two great stories. The first is golden age Manhunter and Sandman in a fun little story from Giffen and Didio that keeps things pretty simple here with the story that uses the tried and true hero vs hero trope that while simple does a good job of giving new readers a nice little introduction to them. In the end it tell a good job of why heroes come to be is to help those in need. It may be a pretty simple story but it’s well told and simple fun. Buckingham does a nice homage to Kirby’s style on this story and while it’s hard to imitate his style, Buckingham pretty much nails it here and it looks quite impressive. The second story is one of my favorite Kirby DC characters The Demon and my only complaint about this one is it’s simply too damn short. Humphries and Rude pack so much story into six pages that simply blew me away. They not only tell is origin but craft a short but very sweet story here that ends far too quickly. The biggest treat is Rude’s stunning artwork here that packs so much into every panel that will have you savoring every line he draws. Kalisz’s color work complements Rude’s line artwork who well that makes this story look even that much better. Throw in Klein’s always brilliant lettering and simply put this story is a grand slam home run. With the nice Kirby reprints give this some great icing on the cake.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is another winner of classic Kirby DC Comics characters while the Manhunter story was fun it’s the Demon story that I really fell in love with. Overall another strong Kirby special that will delight both old and new readers. Even with the stories being short and simple they are a very nice tribute to Kirby and a great way to celebrate his 100th birthday. RECOMMEND!
Image Comics Writer Grace Ellis, Artist Shae Beagle, Guest Artist Kate Leth, Colorists Cathleen Quirk/Shae Beagle, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I really enjoyed the first issue of this book and the second issue does a very nice job of keeping that great momentum going. What is making this book work so well is the thought and care that Ellis puts into the story and the characters that is not only fun but makes them very relatable to the reader. There is something in all of the characters that you will see a bit of yourself in and something that you wished that you could either do or say. She also does a great job of balancing the fantasy elements of the story and yet she is careful not to let it overwhelm the characters that could take you out of it. The pacing of the story so far has been quite good and is giving just enough but still keeping the mystery and not revealing too much too soon. Throwing in the magic into the story was a really nice touch this issue and adds a lot of new elements to the world. I hope that there are many more story twist like this to come. Beagle’s artwork is beautiful as it is charming and gives the book a great storybook feel that i simply love about this comic. Along with her great color work with Quirk this is a perfect match of art and story that you simply don’t see that often in smaller books like this.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those rare comics that works on many levels and is both fun and a sheer joy to read. It’s a great all ages book that will be enjoyed by all and that is very rare indeed. With a strong story and gorgeous artwork will keep you coming back for more. Ellis and Beagle are the perfect team and are delivering a solid comic book here that is VERY RECOMMENDED!
Black Hammer #12
Dark Horse Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist & Letterer David Rubin
There are few book that continue to surprise and impress me after a few issues but leave it again to Lemire to craft one of the best superhero comics in years. What makes this book so great is the depth of characters and his willingness to give the book room to breath and let the story unfold as it needs to. This issue doesn’t even have any of the main characters and yet it reveals so much of what this comic is about that is what is making it so good. The story deals with void of Black Hammer’s family and colleagues trying to cope with the disappearance of them and if their dead or alive. The care that Lemire tells this story with such heart that makes you feel every emotion that they are feeling. The pain, fear, and loss make this issue one of the best so far and that is truly saying a lot. Each issue continues to build and uncover so many layers of the mythology making it such a rich and deep story. Rubin fills in for regular artist Ormston and Rubin brings a great style to this story that helps immensely with the emotional impact of Lemire’s script. There is a lot of mood to this story and Rubin captures every moment perfectly but it’s his amazing detail to the emotions of the characters that I really love about his artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have loved this book from day one and it continues to amaze and impress with each passing issue. It recently won an Eisner Award for best new series and this issue continues to prove why it deservedly won. Rarely does a superhero comic deliver this level of emotions but Lemire continues to weave an epic tale with heart and soul that makes it so special. Rubin’s artwork keep the quality level on a grand high note and make this issue one to remember. If you haven’t read this book then your missing out on one of the best comics being published now. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Shirtless Bear Fighter #3
Image Comics Writers Jody Leheup and Sebastian Girner, Artist Nil Vendrell, Colorist Mike Spicer, Letterer Dave Lanphear
This comic continues to be as strange as it is fun and that is the key ingredients of why it’s so entertaining. This issue is the big introduction of the villain and his grand scheme to take over the forest and we also find out that putting a shirt on him is his weakness. Who knew that you could create a comic with a naked bear fighter, bears packing toilet paper and talking bears and make it all seem like a perfect idea. Leheup and Girner continue to make the book smart and funny. In a lot of ways this book shouldn’t work as well as it does but somehow they manage to keep it all making sense. Having this issue be a nod and wink to James Bond films was a genus idea and made sure that the tongue was firmly planted in cheek the whole time. Vendrell artwork is somehow able to take all of the wild story elements and bring them to perfect visualization. His cartoony style fits perfectly with the wild and crazy scripts and he really has a lot of fun with it too.
Is this book worth your time and money? I honesty don’t know how to explain why this comic works as well as it does. It’s simply stupid fun that is a nice change of pace compared to most other comics out there. The only reservation that I have is how long they can keep the story going. It’s fun but at a certain point they will need to wrap it up. Other than that it’s still silly fun that is a blest to read each month.
Kamandi Challenge #8
DC Comics Writer Keith Giffen, Artist Steve Rude, Colorist John Kalisz, Letterer Clem Robins
I will be the first to admit that nearly all of the issues of Kamandi Challenge is very similar in that it sets up the situation for the issues story and then explores the area that he goes to in the story. To readers that are not familiar with the original Kirby source material it pretty much was the same thing of Kamandi exploring the world and discovering new creatures in the post apocalyptic world. So as this book goes along there are three thing it will always do, wrap up the previous issues cliffhanger, explore a new area, then leave the next creative team a cliffhanger that they have to figure out. Giffen script adds a neat story element of having two cultures based on Homers Odyssey and Homer Iliad and using wolf’s and goats as racial overtones. Not only was the story quite good this issue but ironically timely at the current moment. That was also the framework that Kirby used in the original 1970’s series. What makes this issue so amazing is having Rude as the artist who is able to capture all of the subtle tones and beats that the story calls for with his bold and exciting layouts with the artwork. He understood the scope of the Kirbyverse but also brings the emotion to the characters. He has always been good with anamorphic characters and he really brings it here very well. One of the best looking issue of the series so far.
Is this book worth your time and money? Being a Kirby fan this year has been great to celebrate his 100th birthday because DC has really pulled out all of the stops and considering that his most well-known characters are Marvel, they have really stepped up to the plate to bring some of the best talent in comics to help celebrate his incredible legacy. Kamandi was one of his best and this series has been a lot of fun so far. Giffen and Rude deliver a timely and poignant story that really captures what Kamandi is all about. Rude delivers as always gorgeous artwork that make this issue very special. Still a fun ride and this issue was great. RECOMMENDED!
Eternal Empire #4
Image Comics Writers Sarah Vaughn & Jonathan Luna, Artist and Letterer Jonathan Luna
I know for a lot of readers this comic has been a slow burn and struggle with it but I find that I can see where Vaughn and Luna are taking thing in the story and I like how the story is washing over you slowly and letting things unfold. This is a comic that is a tougher read as a monthly and is really intended to be read in one sitting. I like that there is a lot to take in each issue and its the smaller subtle story elements that I find very fascinating. A story like this should unfold naturally because they are just learning their abilities and the way the Vaughn and Luna have set up the world that there are a lot of elements that are yet to be discovered and we see that at the end of this issue. We also start to see other cracks in this dystopian world that some within are starting to see things differently. As always Luna’s artwork captures the subtitle dramatic moments in the story and gives the world a great visual look that is both grand and intimate at the same time. It’s the little things in his art that makes this book work so well.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not going to be for everyone and as with Vaughn and Luna’s previous series Alex + Ada it has the same washing over you feeling to the story and its more about the smaller things. With this issue we are seeing some nice story elements come into play and the issue ends on a nice cliffhanger that changes thing from this point forward. I’m enjoying the book and if you looking for a more slower paced unfolding story then you should check this book out.