New Comic Book Reviews Week of 8/27/14 New Comic Book Reviews Week of 8/27/14
It’s the last week of summer and while television shows are reruns and summer blockbusters imploded all over the screens, there were lots of... New Comic Book Reviews Week of 8/27/14

It’s the last week of summer and while television shows are reruns and summer blockbusters imploded all over the screens, there were lots of great comics that came out over the summer and the fall promises to continue it’s hot streak. This week we have a final issue, returning champs and new additions so let’s get started.

All Star Western Featuring Jonah Hex #34

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DC Comics Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Artist Darwin Cooke, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Rob Leigh

One of the original New 52 title rides off into the sunset and has been a class act from day one. The plot synopsis from DC is, Time has finally caught up with Hex as he battles to the death against his worst enemy: Jonah Hex! Appropriately titled “The Final Curtain” the books final issue goes out in style with Darwyn Cooke doing the honors with the art on the issue. Gray and Palmiotti have crafted a nice ending for both the regular readers and new readers that might be picking up the final issue because of Cooke’s artwork. The story is more of an ending to a book rather than a final issue, meaning that while this is the end of the current series it’s left open to continue in the future. Gray and Palmiotti wrote the story tailor-made for Cooke and a lot of the story is told from a pure visual point of view knowing that Cooke would perfectly tell the story. This is one of those stories that fires on all cylinders. The other thing that I loved about the story is that it plays up the whole point of what is truth and what is embellished with stories of legends. Cooke’s art is a master artist and this issue is another fine example of it. He told a lot of the story without dialog and few artist do it as well as he does.  The one thing that you should really pay attention to is his layouts on the story. He kept the focus of the reader every step of the way that you feel every emotion of the story.

Is this book worth your time and money? If you have not been buying All Star Western than shame on you. It’s has been probably the most consistently solid of the New 52 books and flew just under the radar at DC to leave Gray and Palmiotti alone to tell some really great stories. If you have not read the book this issue is a good example of why loyal readers have been following the book from day one. Getting Cooke to draw the final issue is a very beautiful way to go out in style. If you do pick up this issue a like it there are 33 previous issue that you can pick up in trade and see what we have known for a long time. A really good book that I am sad to see go. It had a really good run longer than I ever thought it would. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Kang & Kodos! #1

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Bongo Comics Writers Ian Boothby/David Degrand//Shane Houghton/Terry Delegeane, Artists Jacob Chabot/David Degrand/John Delaney & Andrew Pepoy/Jason Ho & Mike Rote, Colorists Art Villanueva/Nathan Hamill, Letterer Karen Bates

Bongo has been doing one shots of characters from The Simpsons and Kang & Kodos are the latest. The plot from Bongo is, It’s time for everyone’s favorite alien enslavers to take center stage. Experience these tantalizingly tentacled “things from another world” as Bongo pulls back the curtain and presents the Rigellian rapscallions, as you’ve never seen them before! The first story “Big Kang Theory!” by Boothby and Chabot has Bart, Millhouse and Nelson trying to get away after being captured by helping Kang lose weight by exercising and then having the Mars Attacks movie twist at the end. Next up Degrand tells “Spit Happens” when Kang & Kodos kidnap Professor Frink to help control their saliva that is all over the floor. Houghton, Delaney and Pepoy tell “Hillbilly Abductshun” and Kang & Kodos discover that hillbillies are not so easy to capture. And finally Delegeane, Ho, and Rote do a one page gag called Ask Kang & Kodos.  While all of the stories are fun my two favorite ones are “Spit Happens” and “Hillbilly Abductshun” Spit is a simple gag story that is really well told. Hillbilly is really fun by taking two minor characters from the show and telling a story that you would have never expected. Houghton has a knack for telling oddball stories that tend to be more outside the box compared to most of the stories for the comics.

Is this book worth your time and money? These one shots are a lot of fun because they are focused on the more odd Simpsons characters and that is what makes them a lot of fun. The great thing about a book with short stories is that if you don’t like one story there are a few more to choose from. In this case they are all fun stories that if you are a fan of Kang & Kodos then you’re going to get a kick out of the book. It’s also a fun all ages book for both you and your kids.

Bodies #2

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Vertigo Comics Writer Si Spencer, Artists Dean Ormston (1890), Phil Winslade (1940), Tula Lotay (2050), Meghan Hetrick (2014) Colorist Lee Loughridge Letterers Taylor Esposito and Dezi Sienty

I really enjoyed the first issue of this book and looked forward to where the story was going to go. The plot from Vertigo is, With four bodies lying on mortuary slabs, speculation mounts from a century ago to the present day as to the identity of the victim. In wartime Britain and a forgetful future, however, living strangers are causing confusion. A hooker’s kiss, a fine young cannibal, a fascist mob and a suspect who literally falls from the heavens will send muddy ripples through history. The time-travelling serial-killer story heats up! Spencer is taking the slow burn approach to the story. By no means is the story slow but he is letting the story breath. There are four connecting stories by four artists and yet Spencer juggles all of it very effortlessly. There is a lot of subtle things going on in each time period and with this issue you can just start to see some of the clues start to come into focus. I’m really impressed that he is telling a big story but from different points of view that all have the same crime is common yet were not sure what is connecting them together quite yet. Telling a story this way is a challenge but finding four artist to bring this to life is a very risky proposition. Ormston, Winslade, Lotay and Hetrick are perfect choices for their time period. Each artist brings a style of art that fits the time period. Now some people are going to maybe prefer a more liner style to their comics are going to be thrown off by this but that would never work with this story.

Is this book worth your time and money. This is bold story telling and having four artists tell each time period is genus. This is going to be a grand tale when it is all said and done. The only very minor grip I can say is that for a lot of readers it might be wise to wait and pick up the collected edition when the eight issues are done. If you are a more adventurous type of reader then the fun for us is trying to keep track of the story each month. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Bob’s Burgers #1

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Dynamite Writers Mike Olsen/Jeff Drake/Rachel Hastings/Justin Hook, Artists Brad Rader/Tony Gennaro/Frank Forte/Bernard Derriman, Colorists Derek Schroeder/Tony Gennaro/Paige Garrison & Tyler Garrison, Letterers Tony Gennaro/Bernard Derriman

Based on the hit FOX animated show that if you are not watching than shame on you! The plot from Dynamite is, All right! The very first Bob’s Burgers comic book, a new series from the creator of the hit TV show, created by Loren Bouchard! Now you can read about the Belcher family (parents Bob and Linda, and their children Tina, Gene and Louise) in brand-new in-canon stories created by the TV show’s producers, writers and animators creating all original stories appearing exclusively in this comics series. There are three short stories and a one page gag. Very similar to The Simpsons comics. First up “Tina’s Erotic Friend Fiction: My So-Called Life as a Horse” has Tina imagining that she has become a horse and has adventures with Equestranauts. “Louise’s Unsolved Mysteries & Curious Curiosities: Picture Day” has Louise discovering that the photographer for picture day is brainwashing the students after he takes their picture. “Letters From Linda” is a one page gag where she writes a letter to a magazine suggesting her writing for a story. And last up is “The Boy in the Burger The Musical” where Gene gets trapped permanently in the burger suit and telling the story as a musical. First off if you have never seen the show then you are really going to be lost with this book. I highly recommend that you see the show first to get to know the characters to understand what they are all about. The book is written by the staff of the show and it does seem that some of the stories were ideas that might have not fit in the regular show for unknown reasons. I don’t think that they are bad ideas but they are better as smaller tales that can be either hit or miss. The only story that I thought was a tad week was the Gene musical, because music never really translates well to print and while the show has great music I just couldnt’ imagine music while I was reading it. It does work fairly OK with just reading it. Hands down the Tina story is the real win in this issue. The Equestranauts episode is probably the single funnies episode so far in the series and is definitely ripe to continue to mine that idea. The Louise is a cute one-off but did seem to be missing a bit of her bite that she normally has on the show. The Linda gag page is a perfect Linda story that you could see her writing.

Is this book worth your time and money? If you are a fan of Bob’s Burgers then you are going to enjoy the book. While the first issue is not a home run the most important thing is that the book looks and sounds like the show. Dynamite is not know for it’s art but the artist really capture the feel of the show in their stories. The stories are not terrible they are more ideas than stories. While I think that some issues should have full issue stories and some should have shorter ones. I would still recommend the book to fans of the show but it was a little uneven but still impressive from Dynamite who has a really so-so record for licensed books.

Low #2

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Image Comics Writer Rick Remender, Artist Greg Tocchini, Letterer Rus Wooton

The first issue of this series didn’t exactly blow my sock off story wise so this second issue had a lot more to prove to me. The plot from Image is,The underwater city of Salus, humanity’s last refuge, is running out of air and time. Poverty, disease, and corruption are rampant, and the church of Optimolgy can offer no solace as powerful as hard cream, the strange drug that keeps the bleak realities at bay. Police Inspector Marik Cain has sunk so low into that haze; should an opportunity for hope present itself, can he rise again? The first issue set up the concept but I left it feeling so-so and not very original. The second issue was a vast improvement and seemed to get things back on track. While I am still not sold on the book yet Remender has at least made the second issue a lot more interesting story wise compared to the first issue. The ultimate question is where is he going with the story? At this point it’s still a little uneven on that count. I thing the problem that I am having is that the focus of the book is where the problem is. So far I am not totally sold on where Remender is steering the book. Tocchini’s art is again the high point of the book and it’s gorgeous. He is at least keeping me interested in the book and he uses a wonderful color palette to bring the art alive.

Is this book worth your time and money? It’s still iffy for me to recommend this book. While the second issue is an improvement it still seems like Remender hasn’t figured out the direction of the story. It’s kind of all over the place and has a air of familiarity to it at the same time. While Tocchini’s is the best thing going for the book that will only take is so far in the end. Unless the story starts to come together soon I think that this one will have to fall off the pull list.

Star Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #2

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DC Comics Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, Artist Scott Hampton, Letterer Rob Leigh

The first issue of this book really impressed me and was very intrigued where the story was going to go. The plot from DC is, An undercover operation exposes a guided missile terrorist plot – and the only thing in its way is a zombie with an AK-47! The easiest way to describe this book is think of X-Files but with one of the team being a zombie. Palmiotti and Grey are really starting to get to the meat of where the story is going and what a fun ride that we are in for. I love that G.I. Zombie is a super agent that literally can’t die and keeps on coming. Adding a dash of humor to him is the icing on the cake. It’s also nice to see a twist on the whole buddy cop partner story. It’s not just one is dead and the other one has issues. Well that part of it but not the whole story. They are telling that part of the story within the mission. There is a lot of story that is going on underneath the main story and that is what I am really liking about this book. They are saving things for the long run while telling really solid stories with the main story. Getting Hampton to do the art on the book is the best thing to happen to this book. The story needs an artist that can capture a certain mood and very few artist could do what Hampton is doing on this book. This is possibly the best looking title that DC has now.

Is this book worth your time and money? The second issue really solidifies that this book is going to go places that will catch you off guard in a very good way. On the surface it’s a pretty by the numbers story but, it’s what is being told underneath that is what is really setting this book apart. Palmiotti and Grey have another winner on their hands with this book and having Hampton as the artist is the perfect team. I just hope that people pick this book up and give it a chance. I just wish that DC was doing more book of this caliber now. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Wayward #1

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Image Comics Writer Jim Zub, Artist Steve Cummings, Colorists John Rauch and Jim Zub, Letterer Marshall Dillon

This book is really going to divide readers so it’s going to be interesting to see what people thing of it. The plot from Image is,Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late? While I will concede that the story in the first issue is pretty basic, I did like the characters and they seemed to be interesting and have story to connect the reader with them. Zub’s story is not earth shattering and gets the first issue off a bit rough I did find it intriguing. While I am not 100% sold on the book I found that the set up of Rori was the best thing about the issue. The thing that worries me about the book is that the fight scene seemed very forced and I was kind of board with it. It came off as pretty standard and predictable and didn’t quite jibe with the first part of the story. And that is where I’m a bit on the fence with this book. When it was telling the character part of the story at first I really liked it. When the fight came at the end I lost the momentum that I had with the story. Cummings artwork was really nice but it just felt a little better in the non fight scenes of the book. It seemed like the great detail that was in the first half of the book went out the window during the fight scene and became pretty average. I definitely enjoyed his art more when it was just the dialog scenes.

Is this book worth your time and money? I am really torn by this book. I actually preferred the character development part of the story over the action scene. And I’m guessing that the action is where the book is going to land. I will give that the overall concept of the book is very interesting but when it came to the action in the book it just fell flat. I will see how the next couple of issues go with the story. Not a bad book just disappointed after the first half of the issue.

Groo Vs. Conan #2

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Dark Horse Comics Story Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier, Artists Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates, Colorist Lovern Kindzierski, Letterer Richard Starkings

The weirdest team up in comics history continues. The plot from Dark Horse is, Groo vs. Conan pits the two most feared barbarians in comics against one another. Will the savagery of Conan overwhelm the stupidity of Groo, or will Groo’s unmatched aptitude for destruction catch the Cimmerian swordsman off guard? It may all be a dream in Sergio’s head but it’s one hell of a story. The fun continues of mixing the Conan world (drawn by Yeates) and the Groo and real world (drawn by Aragones) and having the two world clash. This is one of those book that you just go with the flow. The story by Aragones and Evanier is quite clever by having the story be a delusional dream of Aragones but that is what is making the story so much fun. This issue Groo and Conan really interact and you get to see how the two art styles really work of each other. The mixing of the cartoon art of Aragones and the realistic art of Yeates really blend together quite well. There was a lot of time spent on laying out the story so the two artist could get everything right.

Is this Book worth your time and money? Book like this are a blast because it’s great excuse to turn it into a free for all. But at the same time for it to totally work you need to have a solid story to go with the fun. Thankfully this book is the whole package. A great story with a mash-up of art styles is making this a very enjoyable book. A quality book like this comes along rarely so do yourself a favor and pick this fun book up and enjoy the ride. I can not wait to see how it all turns out. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Steven Howearth

Steven Howearth

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