This week is a real mixed bag of new comic books. There were some real disappointments but there were some strong books to balance it all out. So let’s get going.
Teen Dog #1
Boom! Box Writer and Artist Jake Lawrence
I really wanted to like this book but… The synopsis from Boom is, Skateboards, football games, prom…your teenage years have got nothin’ on the raddest dude that’s ever graced a denim vest. Written and illustrated by Jake Lawrence (Time Cowboy), join Teen Dog and his best friend Mariella as they tackle typical teen life with a manic twist. Growing up is an adventure, and you might as well rock it! I want to start off by saying that this is not a really terrible book but, the problem that I had with it was that it was just pretty boring. The book came off as a strip that you might find in a high school news paper done by a high school student. It tries to be clever and hip but ultimately it really has no point. This is a collection of daily strips that sort of tells a story but it never quite pulls it together. The art is the current trend of Adventure Time inspired art that ends up feeling like been there and done that. It has a pleasant style with nice coloring that was one of the better things that I liked about the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I can’t really recommend the book because while it may work as a daily web strip it really didn’t do anything for me as a comic. The overall feel was a bit basic and too simplistic with the “story” in the current form. I just wonder what the audience for the book is. I don’t see in today’s market a book that feels like a young cartoonist first take at doing a comic book aimed at high schoolers. I was really disappointed in this book.
Image Comics Writer Steven Seagle, Artist Mark Dos Santos, Colorist Brad Simpson, Letterer Thomas Mauer
The fist issue of this book left me with a so-so feeling and this second issue was really going to have to bring the goods this time. The plot from Image is, ALL TREMBLE BEFORE THE EVIL THAT IS METERAX AND HIS…ah, you know what? Who gives a damn? Mark’s wedding to Katie is looming and he still hasn’t learned how to fly or gotten a superhero costume yet. But it’s Imperial who gets a lesson when Mark teaches him how to make s’mores: Jab it-Heat it-Stack it-Squish it. Now that’s worth saving the world for. Well I hate to say it the book didn’t win me over with this issue. While the story by Seagle is ok and that is what the problem is it’s just ok. It’s a pleasant read but story wise it really isn’t going anywhere and you really don’t care about any of the cast and what is going on. Dos Santos art is pleasant and is a bit better than the first issue but still doesn’t jump off the page.
Is this book worth your time and money? Nope this is where the book ends for me. The concept is not terrible but by this issue something should be happening with the story but that is not the case. The real problem with the book is that it’s just very average and with so many comics on the shelves that is just not going to cut it. There are way too many good books out there to bother spending money on a book that is average. I’m cutting this one loose.
Ms. Marvel #8
Marvel Comics Writer G. Willow Wilson, Artist Adrian Alphona, Colorist Ian Herring, Letterer Joe Caramagna
This book returns to the review list not because the book has been bad it’s just that it got shoved out over the glut on new books. The plot from Marvel is, Kamala crosses paths with Inhumanity for the first time — by meeting the royal pup, Lockjaw! Every girl wants a puppy, but this one may be too much of a handful, even for a super hero with embiggening powers. He may be the Queen’s pooch, but this dog’s one royal pain in the neck. I have been a fan of this book form day one this issue was a real blast to read. While the story is continuing this issue is a decent jumping on point for new readers. Wilson continues to make this a really special book every month and throwing in Lockjaw was pure genius. Kamala is still learning how to use her new abilities and that is what I am really loving about the story that Wilson is crafting with this book. She is really allowing the book to flow at a really great pace. Very few mainstream superhero book rarely do or take advantage of this in todays comics. I am a huge fan of Alphona’s art and he really brings his talent to give Lockjaw the best he has ever looked in the Marvel Universe. I’m also impressed with the ease that he is able to handle the art when Kamala uses her growth ability. I also want to point out Herring’s color work on the book. He gives the book a very storybook look and does not overpower Alphona’s artwork. The color is very soft and fits with the mood of the overall feel of the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is such a great read every month and have really been impressed with the direction that the story continues to evolve into. This is probably the best mainstream superhero book being published by Marvel or DC for that matter. If you are not reading this book then you are missing out on a truly breath of fresh air that this book brings every month. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Howtoons [RE]Ignition #2
Image Comics Writer Fred Van Lente, Artist Tom Fowler, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Rus Wooton
I applaud Image for putting this book out but I’m still not sure how to even review it. The plot from Image is, Tuck and Celine search the post-energy wasteland for their missing parent–but when they discover they aren’t alone in civilization’s ruins, they’ll need new HowToons projects to protect themselves! The thing that make the book so wildly different from other all ages books is the thing that really bothers me while reading the book. Lente is writing an interesting story while not wholly original it is enjoyable. The parts where the kids build and explain things is where the book just stops the flow of the story for me. If this was an all ages book instead of a monthly comic it might work better. I start getting into the story and then it comes to a grinding halt for me every time the how to part pops up. Fowler artwork is very pleasing and he puts a lot of detail into the art. It has a bit of a cartoony style but it fits the book so perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am not the target audience for this book but, I am enjoying the story not the how to parts. I don’t need to know how to build a go-cart or a shelter. It’s very difficult to read because of the starting and stopping of the story. If you have kids that are about 5 to 13 this is a really awesome book. If you’re an adult reader then I think that you will find it frustrating to read like myself.
Terminal Hero #2
Dynamite Writer Peter Milligan, Artist Piotr Kowalski, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Simon Bowland
The first issue of this book had a lot of promise so I was looking forward to see where Milligan was going to take this issue. The plot from Dynamite is, Peter Milligan continues with his vision of Terminal Hero! Rory always thought he was a good man, but that seems like a long time ago. Still reeling from the terrible side-effects of Treatment Q and the fact that he killed his best friend, Rory’s life now takes an even darker and more complicated turn when he’s approached by two members of British Intelligence. After a strange meeting with what’s left of the man who developed Treatment Q, Rory is desperate to escape from the violent new life he’s being forced to lead. But is he will to pay the price? The second issue is still getting some of the initial exposition going so it’s moving forward but a tad slower than I would normally like. Fortunately it’s not fatal and the story is still very interesting. The last act of this issue really has me wanting to see where Milligan is going to take the story in the next issue. Kowalski’s art is a mixed bag. While it’s never terrible it never quite excels either. The book does need a bit stronger artist on the book but Kowalski is not dragging the book down with his art.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am liking the story but I will admit it’s off to a bit of a slow start but the last pages does have me very interested to see where Milligan is going with the book. The art is the weak link but it’s not awful just so-so. I will see where the next issue lands to see if it’s worth buying in the long run.
Image Comics Writer Jay Farber, Artist Scott Godlewski, Colorist Ron Riley, Letterer Thomas Mauer
The premiss of the book is what if Deadwood had aliens. The plot from Image is, Welcome to Copperhead, a grimy mining town on the edge of a backwater planet. Single mom Clara Bronson is the new sheriff, and on her first day she’ll have to contend with a resentful deputy, a shady mining tycoon, and a family of alien hillbillies. And did we mention the massacre? The first issue gets off to a decent start. Farber sets up a lot in this first issue but still keeps things close to the vest for the story down the road. While it’s an interesting idea there was a bit of too familiar territory to the book. It just left me with a feeling of I have seen this story before. I did like the idea of Farber having a female lead for the book. It at least steers it a bit away from all to familiar man with no name territory. Godlewski’s art in nice and does a good job with the characters and there expressions. The only complaint that I had with the art is that the backgrounds were really sparse at times. I just wish that he had put a little more detail into the overall appearance of the art.
Is this book worth your time and money? I like the first issue but didn’t love it. The key to it working is if Farber steers the story away from the familiar territory. While the idea is not wholly original it does have some good ideas going for it. The artwork is nice and fits well with the story. The next issue is going to have to bring some freshness to the book for it to catch me in the long run.
Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #2
Dynamite Writer Joe Casey, Artists Nathan Fox & Michel Fiffe, Colorist Brad Simpson, Letterer Simon Bowland
I think that by now you know my love of Jack Kirby and was not super impressed with this new incarnation of his creation. The plot from Dynamite is, Joe Casey and Nathan Fox are continuing their run on one of Jack Kirby’s greatest creations, Captain Victory! The search for Captain Victory continues! This time, they are bringing with them the special guest artist, Michel Fiffe! Across space and time, the crew of the Dreadnaught Tiger try to unravel the events of last issue. Where is Captain Victory and what new cosmic adventures has he found himself facing all alone? The second issue of the book has the same problem as the first issue. The story lacks focus and coherency. I would have hoped that Casey had figured out where he was going with the book after the first issue but sadly this is not the case. The story plods along and you don’t know whats going on or for that matter really care. I found reading the book was really forcing to get through it. This has nothing to do with knowing the original Kirby material because while I love Kirby Captain Victory was not his strongest creation. This book is simply a real mess. The art by Fox and Fiffe is good and the only thing that the book has going for it, but that is not saying much.
Is this book worth your time and money? NO this book has been a real chore to get through and I am done with it. Casey is a decent writer but I don’t know what the hell he was on or thinking when he wrote this train wreck. I really doubt that the book will last very long because it’s just plain terrible. Don’t waste your money on this book.
Wild’s End #1
Boom! Studios Writer Dan Abnett, Artist & Letterer I.N.J. Culbard
I was really looking forward to this book and so lets see if it is worth it. The plot from Boom! is, When a rural English community of the 1930s is the victim of an alien invasion, the residents’ lives are upended by the harsh realities of life-and-death violence. Led by the town’s outsider and retired war veteran, they will have to rally together to uncover the secret of their invaders and ultimately fight back. This could be one of the surprise hit of the year. The first issue gets off to a really strong start. Think if H.G.Wells teamed up with Beatrix Potter characters. One thing that it reminds me of a bit is Fables in the sense that it has a fairy tale quality to it but it definitely stands on its own. Abnett is one of those writers that does a lot of work but while he is good nothing has turned him into a hot writer. I think that this could be the book that could do that. He does a good job with the characters because when you are writing animals that are in place of humans in a story can get very tricky. The key is that them being animals should not seem out-of-place. Abnett sets up a really neat concept with the story and I am really excited to see where he is going to take it. Culbard’s artwork really make this book work. First his art is just beautiful and make the world come alive with the feel that he has created for the book. There is even a two page newspaper after the story that was really a nice touch.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really fell in love with this book and can’t wait to see where Abnett and Culbard are going to take us. The world that they have created with this book has a lot of future potential to it. It will be interesting to see if after the first series of six issues if they have more stories to tell of this wonderful village and its curious inhabitants. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Mark Millar, Artist Duncan Fegredo, Colorist & Letterer Peter Doherty
This series has an interesting premise but I have not been entirely sold on the book so far. The plot from Image is, Roscoe, his girl Rosa, and pals Chevy and Baseball mount a super-speed-fueled crime spree that even the Feds can’t stop…unless they accept the help of a detainee so dangerous they’ve had him in lock-up for thirty years. The story ironically about speed has not progressed very speedily for the first three issues. Millar’s story is not bad it is lagging a bit in overall bite by this issue. It’s not a bad story but I really wish that the excellent ending to issue three had happened a bit sooner. I think one of the problems is that the characters are not particularly interesting. I really feel pretty indifferent to all of them and I think that is where the books problem is. I have zero complaints about Fegredo’s artwork that has been the main reason for me to pick the book up. He is a least making the so-so story visually interesting.
Is this book worth your time and money? By a third issue you should have really engaged the reader at this point. I will give the book one more issue because of the way the third issue ended and really opens the story up to a more interesting idea. Otherwise with the dragging of the story it will fall off the pull list. This one is on the edge for sure.