I really don’t know how the comic publishers think that people can keep up with the flood of comics that has been hitting the stores lately. Marvel seems to have more #1 books in a month than some publishers have all year. So on with this weeks reviews.
Captain Marvel #2
Marvel Comics Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, Artist David Lopez, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Joe Caramagna
I was not overwhelmed with the first issue of this book so with the second issue will it stick around? The plot from Marvel is, Higher, faster, further…. WAR?! Captain Marvel forges towards the final frontier—and is thrown into the frontlines of battle. Can this half-alien survive in an all alien-world? The problem that I had with the first issue was that for a new reader it was very tough because you felt like it was the middle of the story. The second issue sadly doesn’t do much to change that. DeConnick’s script is just average and suffers from a lot of been there and done that. This book is one that fans of the character will like but the odds of new readers staying with it are slim at best. So instead of doing something interesting with the story she just throws in the Guardians of the Galaxy (that ironically have a big movie coming out this summer) and there is no big reason for them to be in the story for the most part. Lopez’s art is good but nothing spectacular and there are many times where the backgrounds are just color and that can get boring after a while.
Is this book worth your time and money? With so many good books out there right now, an average book just doesn’t cut it. Throwing in guest stars in the second issue felt desperate and did nothing for the story. After this issue for me there is no point in going any further. I say cut it loose and spend your money on a better book.
Flash Gordon #1
Dynamite Entertainment Writer Jeff Parker, Artist Evan Shaner, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Simon Bowland
Dynamite sadly has a more miss than hit ratio on licensed titles. So I was hoping that Flash Gordon might break the curse. The plot from Dynamite is, Flash Gordon never fit in on Earth. But on the bizarre planet MONGO, Flash’s thirst for thrills and daring danger makes him the perfect weapon against world-breaking Ming the Merciless and his awful inter-planetary swarms of terror! Can the cocksure Man From Earth funnel his overconfidence into saving worlds, or will the universe fall to Ming? Don’t miss out on THE most exciting ongoing series of 2014 by dream team Jeff Parker (Batman ’66, Aquaman), Evan “Doc” Shaner (Deadpool, Ghostbusters) and Jordie Bellaire (Pretty Deadly, Captain Marvel)! If you are a fan of Flash Gordon at all then save yourself the pain and avoid this book. While I understand the need to update the character to a more current approach this book is sadly amateurish on every level. I really love Parkers work on the Batman 66 book over at DC and can’t believe that he wrote this mess. It was on page 5 where he really lost me. After Flash bungee jumps off a bridge a guy in the crowd says (and I quote exactly) “Yeah Bro! AWESOOOME! Really Mr. Parker you wrote this. The story is all over the place and really drags the whole issue. It doesn’t really tell you very well what is going on and how Flash and company got to Mongo. The story just didn’t have much of a point at all. The art was both good and bad. Overall Shaner does a pretty good job on the art, but there are a few panels that are just awful but thankfully not too many. I will give Shaner that he does some really nice detail work on the worlds of Mongo.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book was a real waste of $3.99 and if you are familiar with Flash Gordon it’s even more insulting. The story is uninspired and disjointed. Shaner’s art is the only saving grace of this mess and I had a few issues with that. Just go find some of the Alex Raymond original strips to see how great Flash Gordon can be. It may be dated but it will show you how good Flash Gordon can be. AVOID THIS BOOK!
Marvel Comics Writer Peter Milligan, Artist David Lafuente, Colorist Laura Allred, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I was a big fan of the Milligan and Mike Allred run of X-Force then X-Statix and so I was looking forward to this Doop series. The plot form Marvel is, Living in the margins of the X-Men, Doop has freaked out X-Men and readers alike. However, when he gets deeply involved in X-Men business (and in the personal life of Kitty Pryde!), Doop will be thrust into the spotlight. This adventure will prove that Doop is, in fact, the most powerful X-Man! The problem that I had with the book is twofold. First I felt that Milligan made a huge mistake in having Doop involved with continuity stories because a new reader to the book is going to be totally lost. I think he could have told the same basic plot without involving previous stories. Second the book didn’t seem as fun as it was during the X-Statix days. Instead of fun it came off as a little weird. Lafuente art style did fit the story well with its cartoony look. The good thing is that he didn’t try to mimic Allred’s style and let his own style shine trough.
Is this book worth your time and money? Not sure yet. I was hoping for a fun read with this book and was very disappointed. After reading it I felt that the story never quite took off. Throwing in the continuity was a big mistake and I think that the book really suffered because of it. I will give it one more issue to see if Milligan can turn this around.
All New Ghost Rider #2
Marvel Comics Writer Felipe Smith, Artist Tradd Moore, Colorist Val Staples, Letterer Joe Caramagna
I was pleasantly surprised by the first issue of this book and wanting to see where Smith and Moore were going to take the story. The plot from Marvel is, “ENGINES OF VENGEANCE” PART 2 • ROBBIE REYES has been given a new awesome power but can the teen handle it or will it drive him to a path of destruction? • Who owns the HAUNTED RACE CAR and what will they do to get it back? • What are the PINK PILLS and who is behind their creation? This issue started off with a nice action piece but then got a little bogged down for the rest of the issue. Smith’s story seemed a little jumbled overall and maybe juggled too much in this second issue. Hopefully the story will focus the story a little better in the next issue. Moore’s art is continues to impress. his bold layouts and designs are really setting this book apart from previous incarnations. Staples is doing a really nice job of complimenting Moore’s art with just the right color palate.
Is this book worth your time and money? The story is still interesting but this issue seemed to be a bit of a shotgun approach to the story. If Smith can pull the focus together this could really get good. Moore’s art is what is driving this book right now and if the story is able to catch up then this could be a fun off beat superhero book.
Image Comics Writer Joe Keatinge, Artist Leila Del Duca, Colorist Owen Gieni, Letterer Ed Brisson
This is a spin on the serial action hero a la Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider. The plot from Image is, Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer of an Earth far more fantastic than the one we know, is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting. This is one of those books that has a setting that is all too familiar but somehow ends up being fresh and new. Keatinge wisely doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with the first issue. He got the story going and does a nice job of giving you enough back story to get things started. The key to this book is going to be the next few issue to see if Keatinge is able to put his own mark on this familiar idea. Del Duca’s art is fresh and exciting. Her style has a bit of a cartoony style but has a nice mix of that and realism that really flow together quite well. I really enjoyed the layout of the story and she really did some nice backgrounds and really great detail on both the big and small scenes. Gieni’s colors really make the artwork pop on this book and blends really well with Del Duca’s art. As a bonus there are two short stories after the letter column. A three page story by Ryan Alexander-Tanner that is a funny take on giant robots fighting giant monsters. And one page Tiger Lawyer by writer Ryan Ferrier and artist Felipe Torrent and is a good one page gag.
Is this book worth your time and money? Solid story and artwork help this familiar idea a good first issue read. If they can pull off a great second issue then this could be a book to watch this year. This book is well worth the $3.50 cover price for a good main story and two backups. RECOMMENDED!
Magnus Robot Fighter #2
Dynamite Entertainment Writer Fred Van Lente, Artist Cory Smith, Colorist Mauricio Wallace, Letterer Marshall Dillion
After reading the first issue of this revival of Magnus Robot Fighter I was pretty underwhelmed with it. So can the second issue change my mind? The plot from Dynamite is, Russell Magnus thought he was a normal man living a normal life…until massive robots tore him from his home and thrust him into a world where men are controlled by machines! How does he get back to his family? Who is the mysterious and deadly Leeja Clane? And why is Magnus so damn good at fighting robots? I hate to say it this issue did nothing much to win me over. Van Lente’s story kind of plods along and while not awful or boring it really didn’t go anywhere either. It didn’t really answer any questions and seemed like a bit of a filler issue. I get you don’t want to rush a story sometimes but you really do need to keep people interesting if you want them to continue to read it. Smith’s artwork is serviceable and works for the most part.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is just dragging and not really compelling me to come back for the next issue. This issue should be where things start to come together and gelling with the story arc. Sadly that didn’t happen. At this point I would go and find the original Gold Key run of Magnus Robot Fighter by Russ Manning and that may have been a bit of a Tarzan copy it is leaps and bounds better than this revival.
Marvel Comics Writer Chris Claremont, Artist Todd Nauck, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer Cory Petit
It was really nice to see one of the original X-Men back and written by the original writer to boot. The plot from Marvel is, NIGHTCRAWLER IS BACK! Newly-returned from the afterlife, veteran X-Man Kurt Wagner finds himself in a world that’s a far cry from the one he left: Professor Xavier is dead, Cyclops is on the run, and the X-Men are divided. But determined not to let his new lease on life go to waste, Nightcrawler hits the road alongside Wolverine, eager to right some wrongs and safeguard the future mutantkind…and he’s going to do it by the means he loves most: swashbuckling, lady-charming and-of course-BAMFing! The first issue was somewhat new reader friendly. If you are not familiar with current continuity you might be a little lost but Claremont does give you the basics to get going. I will give Claremont that this feels like the old X-Men days book and that is nice for a change. Claremont knows Nightcrawler very well and gets the humor level and the action just right. The only minor complaint is that sometimes Claremont get a bit dialog heavy at times and bogs the story down a little a few times. Nauck art has always been a solid artist and I will say that he does the late Dave Cockrum proud with his version of Nightcrawler. It’s very much Nauck’s style but he is one of the few artist after Cockrum captures Nightcrawler so well. Nauck draws the cutest little Bamfs you have ever seen and even brings back the sadly long missed stuffed Bamf.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are an old school X-Men fan then this book does a good job of brining back some of that old magic. Some of the current continuity does get a little in the way at times. This is a good start to what could be a fun series. Hopefully the stories will stay on the light-hearted side. The glue of the book is Nauck’s art and he really brings back the feel of classic X-Men to modern readers.
Rocky & Bullwinkle #2
IDW Writer Mark Evanier, Artist & Letterer Roger Langridge, Colorist Jeremy Colwell
I really loved the first issue of Rocky & Bullwinkle and being really impressed with how it like reading a new episode of the original series. The plot from IDW is, n “The Washed-Up Wizard,” Rocky and Bullwinkle help an aged magician regain his fame…but why do the evil Boris and Natasha care about his powers of prestidigitation? That can’t end well! Plus, Dudley Do-Right in “The Right Man”. Evanier really shows how you can update characters to a modern setting without losing what made them great in the first place. Evanier’s script is on the money with the snappy dialog from the show and telling a really great story. He breaks the story in half and has the Dudley Do-Right story in the middle just like the original show. He also brings back the Moon Men Gidney and Cloyd from the original series that really made my day when I read it. Langridge’s art is simply perfect. He kept the characters on their original models but really injects his style into it at the same time. Very few artist can do what he is able to do and his detail is just beautiful.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am a huge fan of the original series and I might be bias but this book is really wonderful and a real joy to read. When I read it I imagine the original voice actors at the same time. For me that says a lot to how perfect this book is. If you can tell new stories but still have the spirit of the original show, that takes real talent and both Evanier and Langridge bring it to the table in this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Iron Fist #1
Marvel Comics Writer and Artist Kaare Kyle Andrews, Colorist Joe Caramagna
I was never a big Iron Fist fan but after reading this issue that opinion might change. The plot from Marvel is, High above the city, in a multi-million dollar penthouse, Danny Rand, a.k.a. Iron Fist, “The Living Weapon,” is haunted by the consequences of choosing death over life. A message from Iron Fist’s mystical homeland of K’un-Lun brings Danny back to his blood soaked origin of betrayal and vengeance! Revenge is a weapon that cuts both ways…. Will Danny survive the bloodletting? A one-of-a-kind kung fu action epic directed by the inimitable Kaare Andrews! The story is a good start and while there is a lot of first issue set up it does a nice job of bringing new readers up to speed of who Iron Fist is. The story is not the most original idea for a first issue but it does hit all of the beats well. I really admire Andrews because while there is no doubt that he is a really solid artist with a great ability to do the artwork style to fit the story with both the flashbacks and the current story. He also is the writer and he does a good job of telling the story beyond the art with a solid script. Colorist Caramanga does a wonderful coloring job on this book. He also adjust the color for both parts of the story and was very impressed with the way that he colored the flashback part of the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? The art was the thing that brought me into this book but, it has a pretty good story for a first issue. Andrews was able to keep the story on track while telling both the current and flashbacks without feeling lost and that can be tricky. The new few issue will be the key to this book. Andrews has set up a nice mythology with the first issue and hopefully continues to keep the quality high.
Boom! Box Writers Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, Artist Brooke Allen, Colorist Maarta Laiho, Letterer Aubrey Aiese
I saved the best book of the week for last and jumped to the must read list! Boom! Comics with their new Boom! Box imprint starts their second book this week and it is the winner of the week. The plot from Boom! is, Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! Not only is it the second title launching in our new BOOM! Box imprint but LUMBERJANES is one of those punk rock, love-everything-about-it stories that appeals to fans of basically all excellent things. This book is a winner on two fronts first the book is done by an all female creative team and that is something that is too rare in comics today. We need books from more voices from a more diverse pool than we have been getting. Second the book is really good and quite the surprise. I love that the story jumps right in but you never feel like you are lost. Stevenson and Ellis starting the story with the girls in action really gets you right in there with them and does a nice job of introducing the quirkiness of the characters and the story. Setting the story in a summer camp is pretty brilliant because it allows a wide range of adventures but still giving them a base to work from. They wisely don’t go into each characters details because that would have bogged down the story for a first issue. Instead they give us a feeling for them and allow the story to breath. Allen’s art is absolutely gorgeous and fits the story like a glove. It’s a great mix of indy/cartoon and exaggerated reality that is really refreshing to see in comics. Laiho color art really sets the mood for this book and it’s a rare talent that can pull off night scenes this well. This is one of those rare books that is perfect for everyone and especially is perfect to get more female readers both young and old reading comics. There is such a lack of books that can appeal to anyone and that is what makes this book truly special.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is what great all ages comics can be like. This book really is special and really needs to be at the top of your list of books this week that you need to buy. I hope that people so not write this off as a “girls” or kids comic because that would be a real shame. I really loved this book and you will too. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!