This weeks new comic books is in for a really bumpy ride. So hang on for this one.
Image Comics Writer and Artist Ray Fawkes
This book is the winner of the bat shit crazy book of the year. The plot from Image is, Blood rains from the skies. A hypnotic voice trills over the airwaves as bodies shift and grow in horrifying new directions. Are you ready for the new world? RAY FAWKES, acclaimed creator of One Soul and writer of Constantine and Batman: Eternal, launches a terrifying monthly odyssey of madness and warped flesh in this lush, fully-painted debut issue! I honestly don’t where to start on this one. Some are going to say that this book is avant guard or outside the box. If the story was coherent I might be willing to go there but, this book is lacking any real direction. The biggest flaw that Fawkes does here is that the reader has no character to hang onto and for the most part I had no idea what was going on. It’s alway tricky to drop a reader into the middle of a story and in this books case this was a major problem. The story really has no point and you could really care less on what is going on in the book after finishing the first issue. The art while it looks really nice at times is just as incoherent as the story. There are a lot of times where I could not even tell what he was trying to get across visually.
Is this book worth your time and money? The simple answer is no but, that would be the easy way out. While it’s not the worst book ever the biggest flaw is that it really had no point and in the end could have cared less. There is no real narrative to the story beyond that something is chasing these two girls. This is one of those situation that does not pass the airplane test. The airplane test is if an airplane came crashing down into this book and killed everyone in it would I have cared, NOPE! This could be a really brilliant book when Fawkes completes the story. For me I don’t care to waste my time or anymore money to see if that happens.
Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #4
DC Comics Writers Gilbert Hernandez/Rob Williams/Neil Kleid, Artists Gilbert Hernandez/Tom Lyle/Dean Haspiel, Colorists John Rauch/Wendy Brooms/Allen Passalaqua, Letterers Deron Bennett/Saida Temofonte
I reviewed issue #3 last month and was very disappointed that DC split the Gilbert Hernandez story into two parts because they knew that they could get people to buy two issues instead of one. So was it worth the wait? The plot from DC is, Wonder Woman appears in a trio of tales with some offbeat guest stars! The conclusion to Gilbert Hernandez’s tale “No Chains Can Hold Her” pitting Wonder Woman against a science villain, android minions AND brainwashing!, “Attack of the 500-Foot Wonder Woman” has a Thanagarian menace returns to Earth, and you won’t believe what Diana has to do in her battle with Byth! Finally in “Ghosts and Gods” Diana and her friend Etta Candy are captured by Ra’s al Ghul, but he’s not the most surprising soul they meet. So after the one month wait to finish the split up Hernandez story was it worth the forced wait from DC? HELL YEA! Hernandez pulls out all of the stops with this story and even throws in Mary Marvel in the mix. Hernandez is obviously having a field day with this in both the story and art. He really lets loose with the all out action of the story and injects it with a lot of humor. This is what makes these books fun because it allows creators outside the mainstream play in the superhero sandbox and let them go wild. Williams and Lyle’s “Attack of the 500-Foot Wonder Woman is a fun play on the film The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and they throw in The Atom and Hawkman and Hawkwoman to the fray. They even have a giant lizard monster just to firmly plant the tongue in cheek that make this romp so much fun. Williams keeps the story simple and fun and give it a really nice ending with a twist that I didn’t see coming. Lyle’s art captures that battle very well and gives it a nice old school look and feel. In “Ghosts and Gods” Kleid and Haspiel team up Diana with her old pal Etta Candy for a good old fashion hero vs villain story that is short but very sweet. Kleid throws Deadman into the mix and adds a nice twist to the story with him. Haspiel is one of my favorite artists who recently did The Fox series over at Archie and is perfect for this story. His style gives the story the perfect visuals that makes it work so well. His visual take on Wonder Woman harkens back to the original comics but makes it all his own. I really enjoyed his interpretation of Deadman also.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I am still a little bitter about the split on the Hernandez story, it does have tow really great stories to go along with it. This is another solid issue of this book and I really love seeing different interpretations of Wonder Woman by different creators. I alway find it amazing what creators can do with a limited amount of pages. I think that this issue really proves that you can tell really great stories in a short story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Legendary Comics Writer Jonathan Hennessy, Artist Shane Davis, Colorist Morry Hollowell, Letterer Patrick Brosseau
Legendary has had a bit of a spotty record with their line up but will Epochalypse change this? The plot from Legendary is, Legendary Comics turns history on its head with the sci-fi adventure Epochalypse, a mind-bending new series from historical author Jonathan Hennessey (The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation) and acclaimed artist Shane Davis (Superman: Earth One). When a mysterious space-time phenomenon causes 600 years of human history to collapse into a single era, societies from the past, present, and future are forced to coexist in a dystopian civilization. To set the timeline straight, an elite team of Resynchronization Officers must rid the world of Anachronisms – futuristic artifacts that threaten the very laws of time. To ensure our future, we must undo it. As one defiant officer leads the manhunt for elusive scientist Dr. Tomorrow and notorious outlaw The Salesman, he is challenged by shadowy agencies, rebel militias, and forbidden desire. Can our hero save history – or doom the future? Epochalypse falls into the average territory. The first issue starts off a little slow and while it’s not bad it never quite takes off either. Hennessy is obviously setting up a bigger story here but, I wish that there was more to it than there was. The biggest problem for me was that there didn’t seem to be a really solid main character to the first issue. I get not giving too much away in the first issue but Hennessy doesn’t give the reader much to go on to read beyond the first issue. Davis does a nice job on the artwork but considering the limitations to the story in the first issue he does a very good job of at least making it all look interesting. Davis is the high point of the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? The idea of the book might have been more interesting if there was a bit more to work with in the first issue. With so many books being released each week, a new book really has to stand out. Sadly this is not the case with this book. The idea might be there but I just was not convinced enough to come back for the second issue of this book. Not bad just more of a miss of the target.
Multiversity: Pax Americana #1
DC Comics Writer Grant Morrison, Artist Frank Quitely, Colorist Nathan Fairbairn, Letterer Rob Leigh
Grant Morrison’s epic take on the DC Universe continues. The plot from DC is, Brace yourselves for the next exciting chapter of THE MULTIVERSITY as the acclaimed ALL-STAR SUPERMAN team of writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely investigate the conspiracy on Earth-4, home of Pax Americana! Told backwards through an experimental storytelling technique that reveals new mysteries with each turn of the page, PAX AMERICANA stars The Question, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Nightshade and Peacemaker like you’ve never seen them before! As the assassination of the U.S. president leads to political intrigue, interpersonal drama and astro-physical wonder, the truth behind the crime and those involved will blow your mind! What confidential conversation between the president and Captain Atom could reveal everything? How far will The Question take his hunt for the truth before he hurts his former friends – or himself? And who is the steel-handed bogeyman operating in the shadows? This is one wild story and there is a lot to digest on this issues book. The best way that I can describe this story is it’s Morrison’s take on Watchmen but with the original Charlton characters. Meaning it’s like Watchman in the sense of what if superheroes existed in the real world? While the comparisons are very obvious there is a lot to digest in this story. This is one of those stories that you will want to read and then let it sit with you and go back an re-read it and let it soak in what is there. Morrison really layers this story with a lot in both the dialog and the experience of it. It’s not a typical read in the sense of reading quickly. You have to let the story flow over you. It might take a few passes at it to take all of the layers in but it’s really quite amazing. What can you say about Quitely’s artwork that hasn’t been said before. In this case there is another level that he has taken this story. I doubt that any other artist could have visually pulled off this story like he does. The bold visual layouts to the story are brilliant and help balance the ride through the story. Morrison wisely choose Quitely to pull off this very complex story and his art fits the story like a glove.
Is this book worth your time and money? Last months Multiversity book was a little shaky but Pax Americana continues to challenge you to look at the DC Universe in a very different light. Morrison is a writer that will challenge you to not read a comic the conventional way. It’s one of the few times that re-reading this book really see different thing and experiences each time that you read i, and that is what it is an experience. Throw in stunning artwork by Quitely and you have a comics that makes you think outside the box and have a very different experiance than a normal comics
Image Comics Writer Jacob Semahn, Penciller Jorge Cornoa, Inker/Letterer Steve Wands, Colorist Gabriel Cassata
I had mixed feelings for the first issue of Goners and hoped that the second issue would pull me in. The plot from Image is, Assault on the King’s Bluff Police Station as the Latimer children fight their way out against the onslaught of horrors that stalk them. Semahn continues to focus on the battle with the demons that are attacking the police station but is still slow in giving the characters the reasons for the situation. There is some new back story on the kids Josiah and Zoe but I still feel left in the dark so to speak. While he has a lot of action there is just not enough plot going on in the book to compel you to care about the situation. While the story is moving there is just not enough focus on why and where it’s going to go. Cornoa and Wands artwork is really good with the battle action. Visually it’s very exciting to look at but I wish that there was more to the book than nice visuals.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is really lacking focus story wise. It’s a decent read but ultimately it really isn’t going anywhere. There is just not enough character development that desperately needed to kick in with this issue. I hate to say it but I just don’t care anymore. The book is not bad but I just doesn’t seem to be going much of anywhere.
Wonder Woman #36
DC Comics Writer Meredith Finch, Penciller David Finch, Inker Richard Friend, Colorist Sonia Oback, Letterer Sal Cipriano
After a stunning three-year run by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang Meredith and David Finch take over the book. The plot from DC is, As this new epic begins, the fate of the Amazons is about to be revealed, major new characters will be introduced and a new villain will arrive with enough power to defeat the combined might of Wonder Woman and her Justice League teammates! Don’t miss the start of this story that guest stars Swamp Thing! It will define what it takes for Diana to fulfill her destiny as Wonder Woman! Meredith Finch unfortunately delivers an under cooked and underwhelming plot and story to this new story. It’s as if she wrote down a bunch of story ideas and forgot to connect any of them together. The other big flaw is that the new storyline is not new reader friendly and while I understand that you don’t want to throw out the great stories that Azzarello and Chiang did you should at least understand what and who Wonder Woman is. M. Finch seems to have no clue who Wonder Woman is and what she is all about. David Finch and Friend’s art is visually appealing and tries to save it but they can only do so much. D. Finch is a very good artist but unfortunately his wife is not as good of a writer to match him up with.
Is this book worth your time and money. While following Azzarello and Chiang’s run on the book would be a hard task for anyone. Even reading the book on it’s own and ignoring the previous work it really fall flat and is just plan sad. The big problem is that it doesn’t even feel like Wonder Woman and it’s like she is a guest star in her own book. The lack of a real plot and point to the story is the deal breaker on this book. D. Finch & Friend’s art while very pretty is just wrapping a smelly fish in silk sheets. It still stinks no matter how pretty the paint job is.
Batman ’66 The Lost Episode #1
DC Comics Based on an original television treatment by Harlan Ellison, Script Len Wein, Penciller Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Inker Joe Prado, Colorist Alex Sinclair, Letterer Wes Abbott
This book is the PICK OF THE WEEK and for really good reasons. The plot from DC is, During the original Batman television series run, legendary science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison turned in an outline for a story that would have introduced Two-Face. The story never made it to air, and Two-Face never entered the TV show’s Rogues Gallery. Now, “The Two-Way Crimes of Two-Face” is adapted to comics by two comic book legends: writer Len Wein and artist José Luis Garcia-Lopez. Also included in this special edition are Ellison’s original prose story outline and the complete, original pencils by Garcia-Lopez. Let’s get the elephant in the room out-of-the-way first. The $9.99 cover price for this amazing book was probably not the wisest choice. I would have offered it in a standard comic form and a special edition with the extras. The extras include the penciled pages by Garcia-Lopez like the artist editions along with concept sketches and the full reprinted Ellison treatment along with rare publicity photos from the television series. There are also behind the scenes on how the comic was made. For a lot of people the high cover price is going to turn them away from the book and that is really sad. The outline by Ellison was written back in the 1960’s when the show was being developed. The outline never went forward and later printed in Ellison’s Brain Movies volume 5 published in 2013. With the Batman ’66 television show finally coming to home video and DC publishing new Batman ’66 stories it seemed like a good time to dust off the outline and adapt it to comics. Wein was a wise choice given that he knows Batman and is a very good writer. He added all of the dialog to the treatment and tweaked a few things to make it work better as a comic but still retained the feel of the series. This was no easy task to put the pieces of the puzzle together and Wein has done a really amazing job with the script. The story while pretty basic is fun and does a nice job of introducing Two-Face into the Batman ’66 mythos. Ellison’s outline hits all of the beats that the show was like and fits a lot of story into a three act 25 minute television show.
The main reason that I was excited for the book was that the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez was doing the artwork. He has drawn literally every character in the DC Universe because he did all of the artwork for the DC style guide that is used to this day for licensed products using DC characters. He has also drawn many comics over the years including Atari Force, DC Comics presents and the Superman/Wonder Woman treasury format story. Having him do the artwork for this story was a stroke of pure genus. His line work is and detail that he infuses into this story are second to none. His layouts are the stuff of legend and he really has some amazing layouts for this book. Even at age 66 he has never lost his artistic touch. You would be hard pressed to see the difference from this book to his earlier work. On top of the amazing artwork on the book the chance to see his raw pencil work is for me a chance to see a master artists in his pure form. Below are some of the art from the DC Style Guide.
Is this book worth your time and money? While as much as I was looking forward to this book the $9.99 cover price was a tough pill to swallow. Until I actually saw the book. Not only is the main story a must have for any fan of the Batman ’66 television series but, to have an actual episode that was never made brought to life by a team of living legends Ellison, Wein and Garcia-Lopez is one of those once in a lifetime comics that just doesn’t happen now days. While there are many books that come out in any given week I would say that in the end you get a lot of bang for your buck with this book. The book is ad free during the story and the extras so there is no interruption while you are reading it, so that is a huge plus. I would have easily paid the cover price for Garcia-Lopez’s art on the book alone. Having a fun and great story along with the extras really made this a truly special event. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Below is Garcia-Lopez’s variant cover for the book.