Well I am finally back to getting new post up on the site. The holidays and family and friends visiting pushed back post to today. So I will be catching up on some new comics that have hit the stands over the past few weeks. So lets see how they stack up and if they will make future pull lists.
Image Comics, Written by James Robinson, Art by J. Bone
I have been looking forward to this book when Image announced it. I am a huge fan of both Robinson’s and Bone’s previous work and was very excited to see them work together. The plot synopsis from Image is, When Tomas Ramirez stumbles upon an extraterrestrial conspiracy to take over the world, his life is changed forever. He must now seek out those few souls who share this terrible knowledge. But even united, how can they hope to defeat a shadowy alien cabal that is both indestructible and eager to kill anyone who threatens it? Thankfully the first issue lived up to my expectations. While the first issue is exposition for the series it does get off to a nice start. While the concept is not necessarily new the way that Robinson tells it is very intriguing. He has a way of telling the story from Tomas’s view that give the reader a great way into the weird stuff that is going to be happening. The art by J. Bone fits this story like a glove. He has a cartoony style but with an edge of realism that captures the normal and the alien parts so well. I was also very happy to see the book being done in black and white. There are so few books that take the risk of this now days that it’s almost a lost art. Bone adds some great grey tones to give it that nice edge that the art needs.
So is this book worth your time and money? Yes, it’s a solid first issue that does a nice job of setting up the story and has a nice cliffhanger (literally) that makes you want to come back for the next issue. It’s a nice spin on the aliens in a small town story. A solid creative team make this a definite add to the pull list. I am very much looking to see where they take us with it. Recommended.
Juice Squeezers #1
Dark Horse Comics, Written & Illustrated David Lapham, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Lettering Nate Piekos
David Lapham returns to comics with his new mini series Juice Sqeezers. The plot synopsis from Dark Horse is, Tunnels made by a legion of giant bugs crisscross the fields below Weeville, and only one thing can stop them from overrunning this quaint California town: the Juice Squeezers. A covert group comprised of scrawny tweens, the Squeezers are the only ones who can fit into the cramped subterranean battlefield and fight the insects on the frontlines! So basically this is the Goonies meets Starship Troopers in a small town. The first issue sets up the story while giving the back story of how the bugs came to Weeville and while it’s good it does not quite take off and the story never quite grabbed me. It’s not bad by any means and I will read the second issue it just seemed average. You never really get to know any of the kids and while the situation is set up there is just nothing to grab onto character wise. Lapham’s art as always it very good and captures both the people and the bugs quite well.
So is this book worth your time and money? Not sure yet. While this is far from a bad book the first issue really does not go anywhere. While the set up to the story is there the characters are not. Overall the book just kind of sits there. The art is really good and I am willing to see if the story picks up in the second issue. Overall a bit disappointing compared to Lapham’s previous books.
Twilight Zone #1
Dynamite Entertainment, Written by J. Michael Straczynski, Art by Guiu Vilanova, Colorist Vinicius Andrade, Lettering Rob Steen
I will be very honest that this book had a lot to live up to. The Twilight Zone television show created by Rod Serling is seminal work. Doing any work inspired by the show has to be up to the same standards that the show was. The plot synopsis from Dynamite is, Trevor Richmond is a Wall Street investor who embezzled millions and is about to tank the economy. Again. Desperate to avoid the consequences for his actions, he goes to Expedited Services, Inc., which offers to help him disappear and enjoy a life of leisure in a new life. But what exactly is this new life, how much is freedom worth, and what happens to the old life when someone else shows up to claim it? This is the first installment of three interlocking stories that will push the boundaries of The Twilight Zone into new and uncharted territory, a journey that will travel into the past and the future, into murder and revenge and the sunrise of nuclear Armageddon. Straczynski last stab at comics with Superman and Wonder Woman over at DC Comics left a lot to be desired. I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with the first issue. Straczynski obviously did his homework before doing this story. It definitely has the feel of the original show but he also knows how to make it work in the comic book medium. The first issue is a nice set up but because it’s not constrained by the half hour television format the story is allowed to breath but does not stray from its roots. The art by Vilanova is better than the usual mediocre art that Dynamite books suffer from. Good facial expression and good layouts with nice backgrounds do a nice job in bringing the story to life. If you have never seen The Twilight Zone and you think you will be lost reading the book, don’t be. The book stands on its own and that is exactly what made the television show so good was that it was immediately accessible and so is this book.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are a fan of The Twilight Zone television show and were afraid to get the book, don’t be. It’s a solid read and definitely has the feel of the show. I am really intrigued where Straczynski is gong with the story and the cliffhanger at the end of the issue is a very good one. Recommended for both old and new fans.
DC Comics, Written by Marc Andreyko, Art by Jeremy Haun, Colorist Guy Major, Lettering Todd Klein
This is the real first issue for new writer Andreyko (the last issue was a crossover with the Zero Year storyline). Without getting into the reasons that the original creators left the book, I read this issue as if it was starting off as a new book with a known character. The Plot from DC Comics is, Kate Kane’s life has always been one of intrigue and adventure, but since she took on the mantle of Batwoman, things have been in overdrive with no sign of slowing down! Join us as Batwoman starts her next chapter and faces a threat that might just have her rethinking her career as a hero! While this series has had it’s up and downs story wise in the past this is a jumping on point for new readers. So stepping back and reading this with a fresh and open approach it was OK. Andreyko story is a pretty by the numbers affair here. It’s well written and has some really good dialog it’s a bit ho-hum for a first issue. I will definitely give him a pass because of being thrown into the firestorm of the book. Art wise Haun’s a good artist and has some nice layouts. Some of the backgrounds are a bit sparse at times but overall a decent job.
So is this book worth your time and money. This is basic superhero storytelling 101 and while it’s not terrible it just is pretty average. I will give Andreyko a few more issue to see if he can bring it up to his Manhunter quality that he wrote a few years back. To be sure the clock is ticking. This one is too early to call yet.
Dynamite Entertainment Writer Bil Willingham, Artist Sergio Davila, Colorist Wes Hartman, Lettering Rob Steen
Bill Willingham currently has one of the best comic books going right now with Vertigo Comics Fables and now is lending his pen to a really unique book at Dynamite. The Plot synopsis from Dynamite is, We start in the Big City, protected by Vampirella and the Green Hornet. A scarlet clad woman of mystery rushes into a bar, pursued by a team of assassins. The terror that breaks loose there and then will eventually lead (in the issues that follow) to The Phantom’s Jungle, Flash Gordon’s space age town of Landing, battles in the sky with Captain Victory, and so much more, until finally, we arrive in the Monstrous Lands, protected by… well, nobody. While most company crossovers are the touted huge events that are usually terrible and make you buy tons of extra books that you don’t want or need. Willingham and Dynamite have taken a different approach to this idea. Fist all of the characters in the story are licensed and would not really fit together. SO he has created a world of steampunk that allows different takes on the characters without changing what makes them good and mixes it all together. The first issue sets up the world and the mystery that will bring the characters together it only has Vampirella in the first issue. While I liked the first issue it only covers a small amount of what is to come. That is actually a good thing. I really like how he keep the story close to his vest and is giving just a taste of the world. Davila’s art is a nice step up from the usual average art found in most Dynamite books. He definitely has a huge George Perez influence that is certainly not a knock at all. If you are going to be influenced by an artist you could certainly pick worse influences. The layouts are really nice and does a nice job with the backgrounds. He nicely captures both action and dialog scenes very well. A very nice coloring job by Hartman rally adds a lot to the overall great look of the book.
Is this book worth your time and money. Very much so. It’s a really nice spin on well-known characters. As with Fables Willingham is able to take what he needs and is able to spin it in a whole new direction because of the different world that the characters are in. Very nice art make this a really good book. I am looking forward to where this 7 issue series take us. Recommended.
Dead Boy Detectives #1
Vertigo Comics, Writer Toby Litt, Penciler and Story Mark Buckingham, Inker Gary Erskine, Colorist Lee Longhridge, Lettering Todd Klein
Vertigo Comics resurrects the Dead Boy Detectives for a new ongoing monthly book. The plot from Vertigo Comics is, From the pages of THE SANDMAN, Neil Gaiman’s dead boys get their own monthly series! As fans of storybook detectives, Edwin Paine (died 1916) and Charles Rowland (died 1990) will take on any and all mysteries—including their own untimely deaths! The dead boys head back to St. Hilarions, where bullying headmasters continue to rule the school. But when they investigate the lingering mysteries of their own deaths, they meet a young girl named Crystal whose tech skills and strange link to the undead earn her a place as a new detective. DEAD BOY DETECTIVES is a fast-paced adventure series that takes us from the bustling streets of contemporary London to Japanese-inspired video games and dangerous worlds perched somewhere between the now and nevermore. There have been many Sandman spinoffs in the past but it’s been quite a while for a new one. While I really enjoyed the story in the Sandman book, I am not sure that a regular monthly series is going to work for these characters. The story by Litt and Buckingham is OK it really feels a bit jumbled. The same issue affected their story in the Witching Hour anthology story from last October. While I don’t mind reading non traditional non linear stories the thing that I think hurts this first issue is that you feel as if you are dropped in the middle of an ongoing story. You are not going to get lost by any means it just gave me a feeling of being off somehow. The pacing seem to be the issue for me. It just seems to go at different speeds during the issue. The is no complaints for Buckingham and Erkine’s artwork that is really top-notch here along with Longhridge and Klein make every page a treat for the eyes.
Is this book worth your time and money. I’m just not sure yet. While I was left a little cold on the first issue there is definitely really good ideas here and the back story of the boys is really interesting. I am hoping that the book will find it’s way in a couple of issues. This first storyline is 4 issues so I will hang in their to read that but it will have to start gel soon to keep it in the buy pile.