Well fall is usually a more quite time for new comics but I guess none of the publisher got that memo this year. The flood of new books hitting the shelves lately has really affected me reviewing more comics than I would like to. So let this weeks battle begin!
Alex + Ada #9
Image Comics Writers Sarah Vaughn & Jonathan Luna, Artist & Letterer Jonathan Luna
By far one of the best books that I am reading now. The plot from Image is, Ada explores life without Alex and discovers just how dangerous it is to be a sentient android out in the world. This is one of the few books that no matter what comes out the same week it’s the first book that I read and can’t wait to see where Vaughn and Luna are going to take the story each month. I have said it before but the charters in the story are so relatable that is what is really driving this book. This issue really nails what it is like to have a relationship suddenly fall apart and you are not sure what to do. Seeing what Ada would do in the real world now that she is sentient was not what I thought would happen. Luna’s art really brings the story to life with such subtle detail that brings such heart and soul to the story. This is one of those books that just keeps getting better each issue and I am on the edge of my seat at the end of every issue and can not wait to see how the story is going to turn out.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those books that you should be reading period. The book is such a great blending of great story and fantastic art that is perfectly in sync with each other. Rarely does a book keep me this hooked every issue. Alex + Ada is one of those rare gems that satisfies you but you keep wanting more. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
DC Comics Writer Cullen Bunn, Penciller Reilly Brown, Inker Nelson Decastro, Colorist Pete Pantazis, Letterer Travis Lanham
Just when you though DC had scooped the bottom of the New 52 barrel comes along the re-imagining of Lobo that was not needed and nobody wanted. The plot from DC is, The all-new Lobo brings the ultraviolence to his new ongoing series! If the first few blood-soaked pages of this issue don’t shock you – nothing will! Lobo origins was originally a fairly straight forward villain in the Omega Men. Later he was re-done and became an over the top violent killing machine that parodied comics at the time. Now DC has decided to bring Lobo back but now he is a not the Lobo that we all loved. Bunn script is not terrible but really just sits there and is pretty much by the numbers affair. He has turned Lobo into a run of the mill killer for hire that reeks of been there done that. The problem is that what made the original Lobo work was the outrageous humor that Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and Simon Bisley brought to the character. There is no humor or over the top antics in this book. Bunn has broken the cardinal rule with this book, if it aint broke done fix it. They have really ruined Lobo and made him just an average killer that ends up being boring. Brown’s and Decastro’s art is decent and makes the book at least OK to look at while you are trying to get through it. The book is a parody in the end, a parody of pointlessness.
Is this book worth your time and money? There is nothing to recommend here. Bunn has written better comics like The 6th Gun but after reading this book that’s really hard to believe. I even doubt that new reader who have no idea who Lobo is will even care about this mess of a book. While it’s not the worst book I have ever read, it was the book that was the hardest to get through this week. I was board and it seemed to last forever. Move along nothing to see here.
Fiction Squad #1
Boom! Studios Writer Paul Jenkins, Artist Ramon Bachs, Colorist Leonardo Paciarotti, Letterer Jim Campbell
I would have like this book had I never read Fables and seen Cool World. The plot from Boom! is, Fablewood is a pretty dangerous place, but no area is more dangerous than the City of Rimes, deep in the heart of the Children’s Realm. After transferring in from the realm of Mystery, a failed detective from an unfinished prose novel, Frankie Mack, is about to uncover a conspiracy that could unmake storytelling itself. After Humpty Dumpty is pushed to crack and Jack (of Jack and Jill) goes AWOL, Frankie and his partner, Simple Simon, are put on the case. Jenkins story is interesting I could never shake the fact that it’s pretty much a rip off of both Fables and Cool World. I will give Jenkins that he does write a pretty good noir story and that is one of the higher points of the book. The one really good thing that comes out of this is the wonderful art of Bachs. He really brings the fairy tale world to life and does a great job on both the “human” and the storybook characters and visually is where the book really excels at.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are willing to ignore the very blatant rip off of this book then it’s not too bad of a read. I really did like the noir elements that was in the story. It’s a shame that while the fairy tale characters are public domain, Jenkins story is way too close to Fables and has traces of Cool World in it. While I thought the book was interesting and the art is really good, this one is a really tough call on a recommendation. If you are a Fables reader I think you will feel the same way after reading this. I put it in the toss-up category.
Gotham Academy #1
DC Comics Writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher, Artist Karl Kerschl, Colorist Dave McCaig, Letterer Steve Wands
Just when you though DC Comics was falling off the cliff with the New 52 (see Lobo above) they surprise us all with Gotham Academy. The plot from DC is,WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange is the students! Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?! GOTHAM ACADEMY is a new, monthly teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City, with new characters and old plus a secret tie to Gotham’s past. First the whole teen drama angle that DC is promoting the book really needs to go. This is a more all ages book that happens to star female characters. I blame the Twilight movies for everyone promoting stuff that stars female characters and keep calling them “teen dramas”. Ok now with that little rant out-of-the-way. The story by Cloonan and Fletcher is defiantly inspired by the Harry Potter book as far as the whole academy feel and that is where for me the familiarity ended. The book is paced for some might seem a little slow but I felt it was perfect for the amount of exposition that they have to do in this first issue. What I really loved about the idea of this book is a fresh take on the Gotham mythos that are definitely going down a different path than we normally see from DC. Heck they even brought back Aunt Harriet from the Batman ’66 television show. The key to the book working is the relationship between Olive and Maps that feel really fresh and natural. Having a good story is one thing but to make a comic work it needs to deliver in the art department. Kerschl really brings this book to a whole new level with some of the best looking art I have seen in a book lately. His art is really impressive for a number of reasons from the layouts that are simply give the book a great style. He does a really nice job on the backgrounds that so many artists forget to pay attention to in comics today. And finally the detail that he put in both the settings and especially the characters that convey the emotions of the script just beautifully. McCaig color work really bring this book to the finish line with some really outstanding work.
Is this book worth your time and money. I really hope that this book sells really well and DC will see that thinking outside the box with their book is a good thing. While the New 52 was a good idea, in the end it became mostly more of the same old thing just in a new shiny package. When you let creators like Cloonan, Fletcher, and Kerschl be creative you can see how well that can turn out. This is a really special book that works on a lot of great levels with the most important one of being good. I just hope that this is a turning point for DC to think outside the box on their other books. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Men of Wrath #1
Icon Writer Jason Aaron, Artist Ron Garney, Colorist Matt Milla, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
Jason Aaron is really writing a lot of books lately and he has two this week alone. First up Men of Wrath and the plot from Icon is, Ever since Great Grandfather Isom killed a man over some sheep, a black cloud has hung over the Rath family. Now, over a century later, Ira Rath, the coldest hitman ever to walk on Alabama soil, has taken a job that will decide the fate of his cursed family once and for all. Writer Jason Aaron (Southern Bastards, Scalped) and artist Ron Garney (Weapon X, Thor: God of Thunder) team up once again, to bring you the story of a Southern family, whose only heirloom is violence. Aaron’s story is good but it did have some similarities to his other book Southern Bastards over at Image. The first issue story lays a nice foundation for the mini series and while it was a bit familiar it did leave me wanting to see where the second issue is going to go. The story is one of those that is either going to work really well or fall into the average seen that one before. Garney does a nice job with the art and does some really nice shadow work that give a nice mood that the story needs.
Is this book worth your time and money? This in one of those book that was a nice read but didn’t knock my socks off either. It has a familiar air to the story but sets up an interesting idea at the end of the issue. I think that the second issue could be a make or break for the book. A solid but not spectacular first issue.
Marvel Comics Writer Jason Aaron, Artist Russel Dauterman, Colorist Matthew Wilson, Letterer Joe Sabino
Well Marvel has put another quarter in the hype machine and is changing Thor into a female character. The plot from Marvel is, The great hammer MJOLNIR lies on the moon, unable to be lifted by anyone in all the heavens! Even THOR! Something dark has befallen the God of Thunder, leaving him weakened and for the first time in forever… UNWORTHY! But when Frost Giants invade the Earth, the hammer will be lifted and an all-new Thor will arise! A Thor unlike any we’ve ever seen before! Who is this new GODDESS OF THUNDER? Not even Odin knows! So for all of us who opted out of the whole Original Sin wallet buster there is a catch up in the opening of the book to help readers get up to speed. While it does fill in some of the blanks I really wish that when Marvel starts a new series don’t make it feel as if you are in the middle of the whole thing already. Aaron script is serviceable I felt that while is was good it read a bit uneven. This could be because of the after the big event here is our new book that has spun out of it has hampered the first issue. I guess the biggest feeling after reading the story was it was nice but I am not chomping at the bit to read the second issue. The real story here is Dauterman’s art that is quite stunning and the attack on the undersea lab is just beautiful. He did make the book work a lot better than it actually ending up being.
Is this book worth your time and money? Considering the talent involved with this book I would have thought it would have gotten off to a much stronger start. After reading the first issue it just felt a little meh. Overall the story just kind of sits there. While the art is fantastic it’s a shame that the story didn’t reach the same level. In the end the hype didn’t translate into a creative win on the book. It could swing either way about picking up the second issue of the book.
The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1
Dynamite Writers Christina Blanch & Chris Carr, Artist Chee, Letterer Troy Peteri
Dynamite picked this web-based comic from Mark Waid’s Thrillbent’s site. The plot from Dynamite is,How far will a man go to save his son? Charlie Wormwood has a pretty normal life – a house, a wife, a job, and a kid. With his son sick, he begins treading a dangerous path to make things right. Teaching in prison gives him many “opportunities” but what problems will he create as he walks into the prison of darkness for his family? This is a really solid book and a real step up for Dynamite. Blanch and Carr have delivered a really interesting drama piece that really delivers a solid story. It really rare to see a dramatic comic in today’s market and I really applaud Dynamite for putting out a print edition of the book. The real key to the story working is getting the right tone with Charlie to have the readers be able to lead the reader into the story and Blanch and Carr have done a wonderful job doing just that. For the whole story to work you really need a strong artist to bring this story to life and Chee really captures the emotional impact that the story needs. The real key to the story working so well is the subtle emotions that Chee brings to this book. You have to convey so much in a single panel and he really pulls it off quite brilliantly. This book was a real surprise for me and am very much looking to see where they story take me.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are looking for something really different then you have come to the right place. It one thing to attempt to do a dramatic comic but it’s another to pull it off so well like this book does. This book is not going to be for everyone but if you want to see that comics can tell great drama stories then you should definitely check this book out. RECOMMENDED!
The Names #2
Vertigo Comics Writer Peter Milligan, Artist Leandro Fernandez, Colorist Chris Peter, Letterer Carlos M. Mangual
I was pretty impressed with the first issue of this new Vertigo mini series and was excited to see if the second issue would work out. The plot from Vertigo is, Searching for the truth behind the mysterious death of her husband, Katya Walker is drawn into the dangerous, nightmarish world of the Names. Meanwhile, the psychopathic killer known as the Surgeon makes a new move, and we learn more about the bizarre creatures know as the Dark Loops. Milligan is writing a really deep story here that is very layered. You really have to be patient and take your time when reading it to soak it all in. I think the idea that I like best in the story is that Katya’s murdered husband Kevin Walker has left clues for her and his son Philip to solve his murder and that is what I am loving about this story. There are a lot of twist and turns to this story and it’s going along quite nicely in this second issue. Fernandez is doing a nice job on the art but there were a few times where visually I was unsure of the characters because a few have similar features. I think that he is still doing a good job on it when all is said and done.
Is this book worth your time and money? The idea of solving your own murder mystery from the grave is the hook where the book is really working well for me. There is a lot of story going on and I think that in the long run it will read better as a whole story than as a monthly book. Milligan and Fernandez are doing a great outside the box idea of a typical murder mystery. It’s an interesting ride that so far is getting me to come back to it.
Fade Out #2
Image Comics Writer Ed Brubaker, Artist Sean Phillips, Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser
Brubaker and Phillips have really hit a home run on this book. The plot from Image is, Was a murder covered up? Or did the movie starlet commit suicide? And how does the show go on with a dead leading lady and an unfinished film? BRUBAKER & PHILLIPS’ new crime noir masterpiece is just getting started! Remember, every month THE FADE OUT has exclusive back pages articles that are only available in the single issues. This book oozes with noir and the second issue really keeps the story moving. There are a lot of spinning plates that they are spinning and just when you thought it might just be a simple murder mystery there are things that change any idea that you had and keep both the suspense and the mystery in perfect balance. Brubaker is the master of keeping the pacing of a story at a leisurely pace but never feeling too slow or flying off track. Phillips art bring old Hollywood back to life and captures the noir feeling that the story is telling. The more that we learn about the past in the story is leading to a very interesting path.
Is this book worth your time and money? Brubaker and Phillips at this point can do no wrong and this book is simply fantastic. Getting noir on the printed page is quite difficult but Fade Out does it with such ease that it really is breathtaking. They are two master storytellers that have crafted a really great book that is a real pleasure to read. This one is a keeper for sure. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Boom! Studios Writer Caleb Monroe, Artist Mariano Navarro, Colorist Gabriel Cassata, Letterer Ed Dukeshire
I kinda like the first issue of this book and it had enough to get me to try the second issue. The plot from Boom! is, After the shocking reveal of what truly happened to his mentor and father figure Blackstone, Adam reluctantly agrees to join the ranks of the CLOAKS blackops organization and is immediately thrown into his first mission: hunting down his predecessor on the team, someone who Adam can’t help but find familiar. While the idea of the story is not entirely original the angle of the magic spy group is pretty fun. Monroe keep the book on the light and fun side and that is hitting my soft spot. I think that having Adam be the character that is leading the reader in the story is what is working so well because he is really relatable. The story does have enough twists that is taking to at least some not so standard ideas. Navarro is delivering a nice job on the artwork that is a big step up from a lot of Boom books. There are a few stiff moments and some lack of backgrounds but visually pleasing.
Is this book worth your time and money? I will be honest this book is not reinventing the wheel here but, by keeping the story on the light side is really working for me. It’s a nice twist on the whole good group verses bad group story and adding the magic angel is adding a nice layer to it too. At the half way point I am liking what I am seeing so I will finish out the mini series.