Silver Surfer #14
Marvel Comics Writers Dan Slott & Michael Allred, Artist Michael Allred, Colorist Laura Allred, Letterer Joe Sabino
If you thought issue #13 was touching then your will have to break out the tissues for this one. Slott and Allred have always made the Silver Surfer one of the rare must read books at Marvel, and while it’s been a bit on the late side towards the end the finale has been well worth the wait. The book has been many things over it’s run, adventure, space opera, love story and so much more but Slott and Allred have really outdone themselves here on this final story that serves as not only an epilogue to the series but wraps it up so perfectly that you forget that it’s a comic and leaves you emotionally wrecked but in a good way. It’s very rare for a mainstream superhero comic to come this close to perfection but they do because they keep to the heart and soul of the characters that you have come to love over the run of the book. Not only is this final story a tribute to the history of the Silver Surfer but a final nod and love letter to Jack Kirby in the end. The story is one that you take you time to let it all flow into you because the story is so rich. The one thing that I loved the most about not only this issue but the run as a whole is that Slott and Allred did it their way the whole time and told a story that will truly stand the test of time. While other books goes with disposable and flashy elements, Silver Surfer never strayed from it’s path of simply telling great and fun stories. There have been many books that Allred has drawn over the years and this one is one of his best and most personal. To try to fill the shoes of King Kirby is a Herculean task and Allred not only did it but proved why he is one of the current legends of comics. His style gives the book a visual warmth that always makes you smile and gives you a sense of wonder with the cosmic worlds that he created. He also delivers such great emotions with his art and you can really tell with this book is comes from the heart. Laura has always been a great colorist but her Silver Surfer work is some of her finest. She is always careful of not over playing the color and complements Michael’s line work with the perfect match and is another reason for the success of the book. The book is a master class of how to color comics that every colorist should study and learn from.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is one of those books that has been a grand ride and while I will truly miss it, as with all great things they must come to and end and this book goes out in style and perfectly. Very few comics have ended on their own terms but Slott and Allred have given readers one of the best comics in years and ended it beautifully. It’s a comic that has been a true pleasure to read. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
The Ruff and Reddy Show #1
DC Comics Writer Howard Chaykin, Artist Mac Rey, Letterer Ken Bruzenak
I have been looking forward to this book from the short back up story from the Hanna-Barbera/DC team up books a few months back where Chaykin wrote and drew the story. He is joined by Rey as the artist on this mini series and the first issue gets off to a great start. Chaykin sets things up quite well in this first issue and while there it’s a lot of exposition to get through he does a great job of pacing it so that if moves along nicely. The way that he plays the characters is quite ingenious and the rise and fall in Hollywood was a very nice touch. I also love the way that he plays the trap of being in a children’s show and always putting on a show on and off camera is a challenge. While the story shows time periods at the beginning of the story, it becomes less important as it goes on and he uses it to set up the characters motives. Where the book really shines is Rey’s artwork that is gorgeous and gives the book a great balance between humans and the animal characters and blends them together so visually naturally that it becomes second nature when you read it. His color work on the book gives the book a great animation style that complements Chaykin’s script and brings the world to life wonderfully. As much as I love Chaykin’s artwork Rey gives the book a visual flair that the story needs to come together. This book is a visual stunner.
Is this book worth your time and money? This first issue is not going to blow you away but that is OK because Chaykin is setting things up and it’s allowing the story to breath and unfold because it needs to wash over you to take you to this world that he and Rey have crafted. This is the first time I have seen Rey’s artwork but he simply blew me away with it and cant wait to see what the rest of the series will look like because this first issue is a stunner. First issues are tough but this has a solid set up and gives you a good reason to come back for more with it’s humor and social commentary that is spot on. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Black Crown Quarterly #1
IDW Writers Rob Davis, Cathi Unsworth, William Potter, Carl Piuttnam, David Barnett, Jamie Coe, Tina Howard, Peter Milligan, Cindy Whitehead, Artists Rob Davis, Cara McGee, Philip Bond, Martin Simmonds, Jamie Coe, Gilbert Hernandez, Tess Fowler, Nicole Goux
I enjoyed last weeks Kid Lobotomy that was the first book in the Black Crown line and this week brings the first Quarterly book that is a compendium to the line and is a mixed bag. While I like the idea of the book the problem is that for seven bucks you only getting 24 pages of original content while the other 24 pages consist of previews from upcoming books in the line and a pull out poster of the cover of Kid Lobotomy. On the plus side the Rob Davis story and art that kicks off the book is a real win and sets things up that the books in the Black Crown line take place in the same world. It’s a fun little romp Tales from the Black Crown Pub that blends humor and mystery into one great little story. Rich and Strange first chapter by Potter, Puttnam and Bond is off to an interesting start but ends up being a little too short to be satisfying and waiting 3 months for the next chapter makes it tough to call now. There is a prose story by Unsworth and McGee was an interesting read and a nice addition to the feel of the book. The rest of the issue is devoted to sneak peeks of the upcoming books that does get you excited to see but considering that these are essentially reprints in the end makes the overall book feel padded and not worth the cover price. While I like the idea of the overall line this book is a very hard sell to the casual reader. While I understand that printing a 48 page book with no ads justifies the $6.99 cover price but with a new line of comics that only has one issue to date most people are going to pass on this book and I even was iffy as a whole. Hopefully the next issue will have more original content than this one does but if it’s not a full 48 page of new material then I doubt that it will last very long.
Is this book worth your time and money? I liked the original content of the book but simply put for seven bucks it’s wasn’t really worth it. While I liked the previews it wasn’t enough to justify the price of the book and was pretty disappointing. I think in the end the idea was good but the execution was not.
Jughead the Hunger #1
Archie Comics Writer Frank Tieri, Artists Pat & Tim Kennedy, Inkers Bob Smith & Jim Amash Colorist Matt Herms, Letterer Jack Morelli
Picking up from the Jughead the Hunger special this continues the Jughead as a werewolf story. The special was quite good and this first issue picks things up right away and while I wasn’t as overwhelmed by this first issue, it was still a good story that introduces some good ideas for the story arc. Considering that we Maury never see another issue of Afterlife with Archie ever again, this book does fill the void left by that book. Tieri make sure that the book still feels like an Archie comic with the characters still the same but just putting them in a horror motif is one reason it works well. With Betty pretty much being Buffy with Archie as a sidekick is a mix with Supernatural that is tried a true story that is a little basic and hopefully is fleshed out better as the story goes along. The one thing that the book does very well is Jughead is spot on and is why the book works well when it does. The artwork is a little rough at times and while it’s not bad it does have some inconsistencies along the way. On the plus side Herms color work on the book really saves the art many times and gives it a great moody look that helps it along.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was a little underwhelmed by this first issue compared to the original special but Tieri has some good ideas here but I worry a little because there are some basic story tropes that are there also that were a bit on the cliché side. The art was OK but inconsistent but didn’t kill the book either. While it’s no Afterlife with Archie, it was a decent read and fun. So there is hope that it will find it’s sweet spot next issue.
Thor: Where Walk the Frost Giants #1
Marvel Comics Writer Ralph Macchio, Artist Todd Nauck, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer Travis Lanham, Journey Into Mystery #112 reprint Writer Stan Lee, Penciller Jack Kirby, Inker Chic Stone, Letterer Sam Rosen
After last weeks disappointing Thor #700, I was very hesitant in picking this book up but as a fan of Nauck’s Nightcrawler series I was willing to give the book a shot. This is one of those done in one specials that is great for new readers and a fun romp for regular readers. Macchio wisely doesn’t try and reinvent the wheel here and just tells a simple story that is fun and what a good done in one should do. It’s a classic Thor story that will not necessarily blow you away but does make for a good read. While it’s a little on the short side at only 18 pages, it gets the job done. Nauck artwork is where the book shines and the amount of detail that he puts into every panel is amazing. He balances both the grand scale and subtle dramatic elements without missing a beat in the story that really makes this story shine. I had only wished that there was more story so that he could do more art in the book. After the main story there is a reprint of Thor Battles The Hulk by Lee and Kirby that is fits into perfectly with the new Thor Ragnarok movie theme. The joy of this story is to see the gorgeous Kirby artwork of Thor and Hulk is a nice addition to the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a great book for new readers of Thor and Macchio and Nauck delivers a short and sweet story that is classic Thor and hits all of the right beats. When you throw in a classic Lee and Kirby Thor vs The Hulk story makes this book a nice package that is sure to please.
Dark Ark #2
Aftershock Comics Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist Juan Doe, Letterer Ryane Hill
Dark Ark has been a big surprise with a great twist on the familiar Noah’s Ark tale and this second issue proved that it was no fluke. Bunn is unfolding the story at a nice pace and while he is using the basic murder mystery story trope here, it ends up working quite well here with this book. He also mixes in class and racial tensions into the story along with the confinement aspect of the story gives it a nice edge. Bunn plays with these very well in this issue and really packs in a lot of story elements in this second outing. It’s rare for a high concept comic to get to not only pull it off but to build upon it and Bunn does that with the story in this issue. He keeps you on the edge of your seat with the riot that breaks out on the ark with the monsters but the really intriguing part was the human “food” element of the story that I didn’t expect and added a huge emotional impact on the book. Doe continues to prove that he was the right artist for the book with his bold line work that captures both the monsters and human characters very well here. The two page monster riot will simply blow you away with its raw power and yet with the next page he captures the human drama of the human food captives with a soft touch with the perfect emotional impact. He is bringing Bunn’s script perfectly to life and is one of the main reasons that the book is working so well.
Is this book worth your time and money? I think that the second issue is even better than the first. Bunn starts to get to the emotional core of the story and sets up a lot of ethical and social commentary elements that you do not expect and gives the story a great flavor and twist. Doe is really nailing the artwork on the book and delivers some of his best work to date. This is not only a great read but is giving you a great reason to come back for more and is becoming a must read comic. RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Sean Mackiewicz, Artist Niko Walter, Colorist Mat Lopes, Letterer Rus Wooton
Gasolina is a book that is a bit frustrating because it’s a really good story that is not working well as a monthly book. Mackiewicz’s story is deep and methodical and is unfolding at a great pace, but with more questions than answers is leading to a very rich story but is obviously going to work best in one reading. This is a story where there is a lot going on underneath the story but on the surface is a slower pace that unfolds with it at the same time. With the depth of the story it’s hard to remember the smaller subtle details of the story from the previous issue. That is actually a great complement to Mackiewicz’s story telling ability in this book but it does really hurt it being told in small monthly chunks. There is a deep mystery to the story that gives it a great richness that just as you’re getting into it, you’re at the end of the issue and that becomes frustrating. Walter’s artwork hits the perfect balance of mood that is required to give a very dark story the right look with lots of shadows and light is really gorgeous and gives the book a strong visceral reading experience. It’s the emotions that he gives the characters with their facial expressions that shows his artistic talent quite well here.
Is this book worth your time and money? I like this book but this second issue was really frustrating because the story is so dense that you don’t remember all of the details from the first issue after a month, but if you read the first and second issue at the same time you discover where that becomes a problem with the monthly installments. The book appears to work better as a whole and not as a monthly so at this point I would recommend waiting for the trade of this book to read as a whole.
Fu Jitsu #2
Aftershock Comics Writer Jai Nitz, Artist Wesley St. Claire, Colorist Maria Santaolalla, Letterer David Sharpe
The first issue of this book was quite interesting and while it was pure exposition there were a lot of good ideas presented. Nitz does a great job here of building upon that first issue and blends many genres and story tropes together into a fun read that keeps you intrigued. This has allowed Nitz to let the story breath in a way that you don’t see very often. I loved that the villains were super cliché that gives the reader a nice chuckle and is predictable but in a very good way because that is the charm of this book is that it’s familiar yet not what you expect at the same time. Just when you think that you know whats going to happen Nitz throws you a curve ball that catches you off guard and makes you smile. St Claire’s artwork has the same effect on you. His style is able to morph and capture the subtile changes with the story with ease that is very impressive. One of my favorite things about his artwork is the way that he captures the humor of Nitz’s script without making it look too goofy that would have killed the book but he plays it with just enough soft touch that makes this book work so well. He has a great balance with the drama and the action with the artwork and while I would wish that he would put a bit more into the backgrounds that is only a very minor complaint in an otherwise good-looking artwork on the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a nice little surprise and blends both genres and give it a dash of humor that makes this book a really fun read. Nitz and St. Claire are delivering a very unique book here and setting things up nicely for the story arc. I’m very interested to see where they take the story in the next issue. This is well worth picking up and reading this week.