Sorry about missing last week reviews. I was out at the Pinball Madness event held at the Museum of Pinball in Banning CA to volunteer for the weekend so it was a crazy 3 days and sadly the reviews fell by the wayside. So this week covers both weeks and there is a lot to cover so lets get going.
My Dog Ivy #1
Uncivilized Books Writer and Artist Gabrielle Bell
This is a slice of life autobiographical story of Bell when she house sits for some friends while they are on vacation and she has to watch the house and the dog and still try to work on her comic at the same time. While her art style is rough, it gets the story across and that is where the book works well. The book is mostly one page story that are like a day in the life where most are pretty normal everyday stuff that we all do and yet that is what makes this book fascinating is that it just is what it is. It doesn’t try and be more than to tell her story of this time in her life. One of the big wins is of course Ivy who as most dogs does what she wants to do but is simply a dog and that and all of the other daily normal stuff makes for a nice slice of life story. Her artwork style is very underground and at first it’s a bit rough but once you get going it does what it needs to do and that is all it needs to be.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This comic is not going to be for everyone but it you are looking for something different and has a voice then this is a nice little book that will satisfy that craving and I enjoyed it.
Count Crowley #12
Dark Horse Comics Writer David Dastmalchian, Artist Lukas Ketner, Colorist Laurne Affe, Letterer Frank Cvetkovic
The best way to describe this book is if Elvira was a drunk and a local late nigh horror show host was the last job you could get is pretty much the basic premiss here. And oh yeah there are real monsters that she has to deal with. If your a fan of late night horror shows then this is the comic for you. What I liked about this book was that it doesn’t try to be more than it is meaning it’s a fun little story that has a nice hook that you don’t expect and its simply having fun. Dastmalchian script is tight and sets the story up nicely while keeping the pacing of it to the point. I also like that Jerri doesn’t really give a crap what anyone thinks of her but she is just trying to get through life. Where this book really shines is Ketner’s artwork that has a classic EC style that fits this story perfectly. He does a great job of capturing all of the lows that Jerri that is pretty sad but he gives it the visual emotions that hit all of the right beats of the story.
Is this comic worth your time and money? I had a lot of fun with this book and Dastmalchian and Ketner deliver it perfectly. They do a nice job of setting things up here in this first issue and give you a goo reason to come back to see where they take the story from here. This one is well worth checking out. RECOMMENDED!
The Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1
Marvel Comics Writers Jonathan Hickman/Gerry Duggan/Nick Spencer/Kelly Thompson/Al Ewing/ Chip Zdarsky/Jason Aaron, Artists Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend & Al Vey/Greg Smallwood/Michael Allred/Valerio Schiti & Mattia Iacono/Chris Sprouse, Karl Story/ Rachael Stott/Cameron Stewart/Mark Bagley & John Dell, Colorist Bachalo/Smallwood/Laura Allred/Iacono/Dave McCaig/Triona Farrell/Nathan Fairbairn/Frank D’Armata, Letterer Joe Caramagna
This one shot is a round robin style story where each team had to get Spider-Man out of the cliffhanger from the previous writer. Each writer didn’t know what to expect but had to come up on how to get him out of the cliffhanger and leave a cliffhanger for the next writer. The final chapter all of the writers had to get together to finish off the story. This type of story has been don many times before and its either hit or miss but this one does work pretty well overall. What really helps this book is the artist that were able to pull off some pretty wild stuff that was thrown at them by the writers and thankfully there were some really great artists that they got for this book. As always Allred nearly steals the whole thing with his chapter but there were some great surprises along the way such as Smallwood and Bachelo were my favorites but thankfully there were no duds in the art department. The stories are kind of all over the place but there is some common threads in each one that gives it an overall flow. This is one of those comics that has more surprises than usual and that is part of the fun with this type of round robin comic. A nice addition to the book is the behind the scenes of the writers trying to figure out the last chapter of the story and that was pretty funny.
Is this comic worth your time and money? The one big hurdle that this book has is the cover price that is pretty steep for a lot of readers at 10 bucks. The question is it worth it and the answer is both yes and no. While these types of books are fun they are pretty forgettable in the end and that is the case here. But that is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it either because I did. In the end if you like the concept of the comic and it’s in you’re budget then you should be happy with the final results. If you are on a tight budget you could skip this one because it’s just a one off special.
Superman Smashes the Klan #1
DC Comics Writer Gene Luen Yang, Artist Gurihiru, Lettering Janice Chiang
Every once in awhile a mainstream comic comes along and tells a story that mirrors reality but yet is still steeped in the superhero mythology and Superman Smashes the Klan is not only timely even though it takes place in 1946 because Yang take the story from a Superman radio drama and uses his personal experiences to make the story as relevant today and even more so than back then. One of the most interesting aspects of the story is that the period that the story takes place is one that a lot of people have a nostalgia for but America wasn’t always a great place to live especially if you were not white and this story shows the darker side of the country back then. What I liked about the story is that Yang makes sure that the story reflects the grey area of the time meaning that most of life is not just black and white because things are usually not that simple. The story does a great job of showing that there are many reasons that cause racism and some just get caught up in things because of other that have strong influences. He also makes sure that Superman doesn’t solve all of the problems and that the Lee’s are strong characters. I was impressed with Gurihiru’s artwork on the book and while it has a strong manga style to the artwork there is also a good amount of influences of American comics artwork from the period that gives it a great overall look and feel. I was really impressed with the level of detail that the artwork had and the color work gave the artwork a nice tone that fit the story perfectly.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I was really looking forward to this comic and it truly even went beyond my expectations. This book is very important on many levels and first and foremost is that Yang has brought attention to a period in history that should never be repeated and yet today it seems as if we are going backwards in our society. And yet the story is filled with hope and shows that good is always stronger than evil. It’s also a great all ages comic that is always appreciated and while the subject matter is pretty deep Yang handles it perfectly for all ages and it’s mostly from the kids point of view that makes it work on many different levels. Yang and Gurihiru have created a very special comic here that I simply can not wait to see where they take the story in the next two chapters. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
The Mask: I Pledge Allegiance to the Mask #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer Christopher Cantwell, Artist Patrick Reynolds, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Nate Piekos
It’s been quite a while when the last time we saw The Mask in comics from Dark Horse and sadly the wait was not worth it. The biggest problem with this new mini series is that the story by Cantwell is really disjointed and is too dark for it’s own good. The thing that always made the Mask so great was the fine line between dark comedy and violence but this story just doesn’t have any zip or charm to it and that is just one of the many problems here. The other issue is that the story jumps around to much and you tend to get lost with the direction of the story and by the end of this first issue you simply don’t care anymore. Reynolds artwork is nice and fits the story but that is also one of the problems because the story is so dark there is not the cartoony aspect to the Mask that is a staple of the character. This is not the fault of Reynolds because he is just following Cantwell’s story. It’s a real shame because Reynolds is a good artist but the script just sinks this whole thing.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I really wanted to like this comic but it’s just so far off base with the tone of the character that is where the book fails. It’s not that I can’t accept a different type of Mask story because there have been many variations over the years but this one is so far from the mark that it’s nearly unrecognizable. SKIP IT!
Marvel Comics Writers Gerry Duggan/Nelson Ribeiro/Frank Tieri/John Cerilli/Katherine Brown/Ralph Macchio/Jon Adams/Jesse Falcon/Tini Howard/Zac Thompson/Lonnie Nadler/Bill Morrison, Artists Scott Koblish/Don Simpson/Natacha Bustos/Bill Morrison/Rogê Antônio/Mauro Vargas/Brain Level/Jon Adams/Nelson Ribeiro, Inkers Walden Wong/Dexter Vines, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg/Chris O’Halloran/Jordan Boyd/Federico Blee/Dono Sánchez Almar/ Eric Arciniega/Nelson Ribeiro/Stephen Paitreau, Letterer Joe Sabino & Joe Caramagna
Another 80th anniversary special from Marvel brings us there version of Mad Magazine that had many different incarnations over the years but always was worth checking out especially in the 1970’s with many high profile creators that contributed to the magazine. As with any comic like this there are going to be both hits and misses with both the story and the artwork but overall this special gets more right than wrong. My favorite ones were the Man-Thing stories by Adams and O’Halloran that were really funny and Morrison’s rejected Marvel comic books was a lot of fun. I would have loved to see more Don Simpson but overall the comic was a nice nostalgia trip back in time to when humor magazines were popular and parody was king.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? For readers unfamiliar with Crazy I’m not sure that you would appreciate the comic but if you’re a fan of Mad Magazine then you might find this comic fun and charming. I enjoyed it and it’s worth giving it a try if you’re interested.
Metal Men #1
DC Comics Writer Dan Didio, Penciller Shane Davis, Inker Michelle Delecki, Colorist Jason Wright, Letterer Travis Lanham
I’m a hug fan of the Metal Men and have tried ever incarnation of the group over the years and some have been good and some not so good. This new series gets off to a bit of a slow start. Didio does do a good job of setting things up for new readers as to who and what the Metal Men are and what they do so that really exposition heavy that really drags this first issue down and never quite takes off but on the plus side there is the underlying story elements that is just enough to give the book a second chance with the next issue. There are also some new story elements that Didio brings to the mythology that was interesting that was a nice touch and does not negate the history of the characters. The artwork by Davis is where the book really shines because he does a very nice job of capturing the emotions and drama of the script that helps move it along visually that helps you struggle through the exposition.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This one is a really tough call because for a old time reader like me I have a better understanding of the characters and their history but, for new readers this one is going to be a really slow opener that is not going to blow you away. I think there is enough here to give a small recommendation to new readers if you’re budget allows but we will have to see if Didio can get the story moving forward better in the next issue.
Image Comics Writers David Hine & Brian Haberlin, Artist Brian Haberlin, Colorist Geirrod Van Dyke, Letterer Francis Takenaga
This is one of those comics that has a lot of good ideas but never really quite gets a good momentum going in its first issue. I will say that it helped being a double sized first issue that gave it a better leg up because you’re reading two issues at once basically. I will give Hine and Haberlin props for giving a good balance to the exposition of the story because there is quite a bit of back story here to get through and the set up has good ideas but for me it just never quite took off story wise for me. I think that one of the problems is that the basic story structure here has been told many times before but there is not enough new ideas or concepts that really set this one apart. I also felt that the characters were not fleshed out well and there was not enough reason to care about them or their situation. The artwork by Haberlin was nice overall but there were a few inconsistencies that were not hugely noticeable but a few here and there. It also didn’t really stand out in the sense of that it had that 1990’s art style that a lot of artist have been stuck in lately that it didn’t feel fresh but none of these issue are fatal just had wished the overall book had more originality.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I really wished that this comic had more going for it because there are a few good ideas here but overall there is just not enough to recommend this one. Not terrible just kind of average.
Marvel Comics Writer Jonathan Hickman, Penciller Leinil Francis Yu, Inker Gerry Alanguilan, Colorist Sunny Gho, Letterer Clayton Cowles
We are now at the regular X-Men series that has spun out of the House of X and Powers of X and I waited to see where Hickman was going to take this whole thing and there are some problems with this whole story. First I have no problem with non action superhero books and in fact a lot of what made the Claremont/Bryne runs so good was the attention to detail with the characters that had depth and you cared about them. Hickman seems to have tried his best but never quite gets me to really invest into his reboot. I find a lot of the story and dialogue pretentious and boring and at this point with 13 issues of story I really wanted this first issue to really take off but it ends up just sitting there and droning on like the previous 12 issues. It’s not that the book is bad and get the long game story telling but you need to feel like it’s all going somewhere and at this point I’m really not seeing it. Yu’s artwork is decent but there are far too many times where there are no backgrounds and also times where the characters are too still and rigid and basic. There are some good pages but they are too far and few between to get excited about it.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I really wanted to like what Hickman was doing to the X-Men and there have been some good moments here and there but the fact that were 13 issues in and he is still throwing out exposition is simply not enough to keep going for me. There are a lot of reviewers that are really high on the book but I find that for me Hickman slow approach to the story is simply too slow and doesn’t seem to have a strong direction to it. If you’re a fan great but if you are hoping for a real renaissance this is not it.
IDW Writer John Lees, Artist Ryan Lee, Colorist Doug Garbark, Letterer Shawn Lee
I really enjoyed the first issue of this story and this second outing does a great job of building on the first and moving the story forward nicely. Lees does a nice job of slowly revealing some of the mystery of the small town and that things are not as they seem on the surface. The other interesting element is that Abraham’s kidnapper may have not been as crazy as we thought because some of the things that he was scared of are possibly coming true in the story. Lees is keeping the story tight and suspenseful and that is making for a very good reading experience here. Lee’s artwork continues to impress with both the drama and the disturbing elements of the script but never overplays it visually that really helps build the tension of this story. There are also lots of little subtle clues that he puts in the artwork that is very impressive.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I’m really digging what Lees and Lee are delivering with this comic. It’s hard to deliver a suspenseful comic with both the story and the visuals but Mountainhead is delivering the goods here and I can’t wait to see how the mystery unfolds. RECOMMENDED!
Inferior 5 #2
DC Comics Writers Jeff Lemire & Keith Giffen, Penciler Keith Giffen, Inker Michelle Delecki, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Rob Leigh
In some ways I’m still not sure what to make of this series but I find the story intriguing in a weird way that I can’t quite describe. What is interesting is that Dangerfield Arizona seems to be some sort of alien experiment but what for and why is still unknown. Lemire does keep the story moving along and while you’re not sure as to what is going on there is a sense of the story moving forward and things are slowly being revealed. What we do find out is that there is something about Billy that the aliens have discovered but what exactly were not sure. Lemire reveals a little bit more here but still keeping a lot under wraps for now. Giffen does a great job on the artwork here and it was a nice nod and wink that the monster is very Kirby inspired that was a nice touch to the story. The back up story by Lemire continues to reveal what has happen to the Peacmaker and it’s obvious that there is a connection here with the main story and Amanda Waller so it continues to intrigue.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This is a very curious comic that taps into a ear gone by where you could experiment with many things and that is what I find fascinating about this book. There is a lot going on here and while you are not quite sure of what the hell is going on, one thing is for sure there is nothing like this comics especially at DC. If you are willing to go to the edge and take a wild ride then this one is for you.
Marvel Comics Writers J.J. Abrams & Henry Abrams, Artist Sara Pichelli, Inking Assistant Elisabetta D’Amico, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Joe Caramagna
I have to give this second issue builds nicely from the first issue that I liked but wasn’t blown away by. While the story is not the most original it does have a lot of charm going for it and that is enough to keep it afloat. In a lot of ways this is a simple re-telling of his origin but from his sons perspective. The other thing is that Peter is kind of an ass in the book and I kind of liked that in that he is not what you expect in the story. The relationship between Ben and Faye has a nice charm and fun to it and that helped the story move along. Pichelli’s artwork does a nice job of capturing the feel of the story and she does a very nice job on the emotions fo the characters.
Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This is a basic what if story and wont blow you away but what it does have going for it is that its a fun little story that works well on that level. The nice thing is that it’s great for new and old readers to have a nice self contained story that is simple and fun.