DC’S Nuclear Winter Special #1
DC Comics Writers Mark Russell/Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing/Steve Orlando/Jeff Loveness/Tom Taylor/Mairghread Scott/Paul Dini/Phil Hester/Cecil Castellucci/Dave Wielgosz, Artists Mike Norton/Giuseppe Camuncoli & Cam Smith/Brad Walker/Christian Duce/Tom Derenick & Yasmine Putri/Dexter Soy/Jerry Ordway/Phil Hester & Ande Parks/Amancay Nahuelpan/Scott Kollins, Colorist Hi-Fi/Romulo Fajardo Jr./Nathan Fairbairn/Luis Guerrero/Yasmine Putri/Veronica Gandini/Dave McCaig/Trish Mulvihill/Brian Buccellato/John Kalisz, Letterers Deron Bennett/Clayton Cowles/Tom Napolitano/Steve Wands/Dave Sharpe/Josh Reed
As with most holidays DC can nearly be counted on to come out with a 80 page giant special for the season and this year instead of the usual joyful Christmas stories they decided to go all Mad Max with tales from the pos apocalyptic DC Universe that has both hits and misses. There is no doubt that this one is a very eclectic mix of both story and talent. I’m just going to cover the highlights of the stories that I liked the most but thankfully there are no huge clunkers but some are better than others. Probably my favorite one was the Firestorm story by Dini and Ordway that brings back the more original classic version of the character and is is both apocalyptic and has a lot of heart at the same time. This story works on both story and artwork level so well that it really is the big standout of this book. Another big surprise was the Aquaman story by Scott and Soy that starts off a little slow but when you get to the end you totally understand why she set the story up that way. Soy delivers some really nice artwork and really messed up sea monsters that complements the story perfectly. The Taylor, Derenick, and Putri Supergirl story is one that unfolds nicely with a good twist in the story and Putri art and color really sells this one. And leave it to Hester and Parks to his the old school readers with a great Kamandi story full of wonderful nostalgia and heart. I liked the idea of the Russell and Norton framing Rip Hunter story but I think it might have worked a bit better had it been a stand alone one but does a nice job otherwise.
Is this book worth your time and money? Overall the book is good read but for a lot of people its going to be a tough sell for 10 bucks on a budget. I’m a sucker for these anthology comics that allows both new and established talent to do a short story with characters they have always wanted to do but might not be able to do for various reasons. While the different concept of a post apocalyptic world was both and good and maybe a bit of a miss idea. Some creators had a better handle than others with the balance of the two concepts and some struggled a little with the short story format but in the end for me it was worth it and I applaud DC for trying something different instead of the sweet and nostalgic typical Christmas special.
The Warning #1
Image Comics Writer and Artist Edward Laroche, Colorist Brad Simpson, Letterer Jaymes Reed
The Warning is an interesting comic in that not much is explained in this first issue but yet your quite intrigued with the little bits of story that you are given. Laroche does a. Very nice job here of balancing exposition and still gives the reader just a bit of what is going on and yet he keeps a lot of the story under wraps down the road. What is impressive about the story is that Laroche actually tells a lot of the story here but most of it is under the surface and you really have to not only pay attention but study the artwork for little clues of what is to come. Laroche’s big win for this book is the emotions that he infuses the characters in both story and art and the way that he captures the subtle moments in the story was quiet impressive. I liked that he played with the layouts of the artwork that gave it a nice visceral feel and adds a lot to it.
Is this book worth your time and money? While there is a lot that Laroche doesn’t reveal here in this first issue, I was surprised how much there is at the same time. It’s a book that you didn’t notice the small subtle elements peppered throughout but by the time you get to the end of this first issue it really comes together quite nicely. He also gives you a great reason to come back for more that is always a good sign. RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1
IDW/Marvel Writer Delilah S. Dawson, Artist Fico Ossio, Colorist Ronda Pattison, Letterer Shawn Lee
The first of the Marvel licensed titles of all ages comics from IDW gets off to a good start that is a good jumping on point for both younger and older readers alike. It’s also for seasoned readers that just want a simple Spider-Man story without the baggage of continuity in tow. Dawson wisely keeps the story pretty simple here but does have fun with it and has a nice charm to it. These are more younger incarnations of the characters that I would say are more middle school age than high school. While Dawson keeps it light it’s not to say that there is not some decent depth to the story and while the story is not going to blow you away it does do a nice balance of both setting the story up and has some nice action for a first outing. The story is not made for readers that want more adult versions of these characters but that is not what this book is intended for. I liked Ossio’s artwork on the book and that he didn’t give it a kiddie look that would have not complemented the story. That is one of the things that sometimes really kills an all ages comic is that they aim both the story and the artwork to such a juvenile level that it never is taken seriously but Ossio doesn’t visually got that way and that gives the book a great visual heft. Overall its a fun book that was a nice little surprise this week.
Is this book worth your time and money? Lets be honest here that Marvel themselves have never been able to really pull off an all ages comic that well over the years with many tries but I have to hand it to IDW that at least in this first outing they seem to have found a formula that just might work. For me I enjoyed it but with so many comics to read this will probably be my only outing for this book, but in a lot of ways this book is not really aimed at me. It’s a great comic to give both younger and new readers that are interested in Spider-Man because Dawson has made it exceptionally accessible to them but made sure that it’s also feels like a regular Marvel Comic per se. So if you’re looking for a comic for new and younger readers than I highly recommend this book.
Hex Wives #2
Vertigo Comics Writer Ben Blacker, Artist Mirka Andolfo, Colorist Marissa Louis, Letterer Josh Reed
I was a bit disappointed in the first issue of this book and while I think that there are some really good ideas here, Blacker really struggles with the pacing of this book. I had really hoped that he would get things going in this second outing but he dropped the ball once again by not moving the story forward that much here and quite honestly we learn very little again in this issue. I would say that maybe if he had developed the characters in this issue I could give him some slack but he spend time on Isadora but you really don’t learn much about her here other than basic surface stuff and as a reader I get that they are witches and they are under a spell to be normal housewives but we got that in the first issue. At this point the only thing that is saving this mess is Andolfo’s gorgeous artwork here and she does her best to move things along visually but it really hampered by the middling pacing of this story. It really impressive that she is able to give this book any forward momentum simply with the artwork and just shows what a great artist that she is.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really want to like this book and the concept is really good but Blacker doesn’t seem to get that this book comes out in one chapter every month and you have to give the readers a reason to come back. This seems to happen with writers from another medium that they don’t quite get the flow that a monthly comic needs to have and the monthly gap. While I can’t really recommend this book at this point I’m going to give it one more shot because I love Andolfo’s artwork so much. She is the only reason that it gets one more shot at redeeming itself.
Batman: Kings of Fear #4
DC Comics Writer Scott Peterson, Artist Kelley Jones, Colorist Michelle Madsen, Letterer Rob Leigh
This book has been a pleasant surprise in that it has been quite an off beat story and Peterson and Jones continue to pose a story that laced with a deeper level than most Batman books. While this issue does suffer a bit from being a bit of the middle of the story meaning that there is both a lot going on and a little slower pace here but still a solid outing. What they have done here is tell a simple idea of Batman going to a psychiatrist but insert the Scarecrow and the city of Gotham is the office, Peterson takes a different approach to the deeper scars that Bruce has built up over the years and while some of the story remains the same he gives it nice little twist and turns that doesn’t change any history but adds little in-between to it. There are so many great things that Jones brings to this story and while the horror parts are a given it has been the more subtle emotional moments that he has infused this story with that has made this story work so well. This issue doesn’t have a lot of over the top moments on the surface but there is so much going on just under it that he makes sure that they are all there for the readers to soak in. This issues “dream” sequences are visually breathtaking and simply put I seriously doubt that any other artist could have been able to capture it all the way Jones has on this story.
Is this book worth your time and money. Some would say that I might be over praising this book because there have been better Batman stories but what they don’t see here is that Peterson and Jones are not trying to do that here but they are going for a deeper outside the box approach to this story that tires to not outdo things in the Batman mythology. In a lot of ways they are underplaying things on the surface and letting the subtle things bubble up in the story. I can’t wait to see where they take it all in the end. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Wonder Woman #59
DC Comics Writer G. Willow Wilson, Penciller Cary Nord, Inker Mick Gray, Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., Letterer Pat Brosseau
Wilson has really turned this book around and this second issue continues to build the groundwork for her run. As with the first issue there is a lot to get going here and she builds nicely from the last issues story. I love that she uses Ares as the devils advocate to show that some do not see the grey area of good versus evil and yet some can’t see beyond the grey. I think that Wilson get that with Wonder Woman and what makes her such a great character is that she leads with her heart and her head before her strength and always give the benefit of the doubt to people and some would see this as a flaw but in fact it’s that she uses them instead of rushing to judgement or seeing the world with blinders. There is also the other part of the story with Steve that has its own mysteries that are quite intriguing and this issue eludes to a bigger threat than we first expected. Nord continues to impress with his artwork on the book and gives it both the heft and subtly that is needed with Wilson’s script. It’s the more subtle moments in the story that impresses me with his artwork and the strong emotions that he brings to this book. While I would like to see a little bit more put into the backgrounds they are however outside in the book in a war zone but that is a very minor complaint.
Is this book worth your time and money? I like that Wilson is taking her time here setting this story up but she makes sure that the story still going forward that is always a key to not only enjoying the book but gives you a good reason to keep coming back. With strong artwork by Nord this a great jumping on point for new readers and for those like me who had given up on the book post Rucka. RECOMMENDED!
House Amok #3
IDW/Black Crown Writer Christopher Sebela, Artist Shawn McManus, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Neil Uyetake
In a way I’m still not sure where Sebela is taking this story but in a weird way it somehow is entertaining even if you’re not sure of what is going on. Part of both the charm and slight frustration with this book is Sebela’s non linear storytelling that does move the story forward but not necessarily straight forward path that most storytelling follows. In a way the book careen down the hill at a full speed and doesn’t slow down for anything but what Sebela does do with this story is gives it nice subtle character development that is subtly under the surface and slowly bubbles up as it moves along. This issue focuses on Dylan and how even twins as much as they are alike they are far different from most realize. Sebela has found a way to squeeze a lot into the story each issue and not have it become overwhelming to the reader but sometimes you have to just let the story flow over you and that what is making this book so interesting. The big win for this book continues to be McManus’s gorgeous artwork that makes this book a great pleasure to read. There are a lot of times in the script where he is able to decipher Sebela’s dense story and make it easier for readers to digest. There are a lot of smaller moments in this issue that he captures the emotions of Dylan’s story and yet when all hell breaks loose he visually goes full throttle on it and blows you away.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not going to be for everyone but if you’re looking for a more offbeat horror book that throws conventional storytelling out the window (but in a very good way) then you really need to be reading this book. There is a lot to make in here but its a hell of a wild ride. RECOMMENDED!
Books of Magic #2
Vertigo Comics Writer Kat Howard, Artist Tom Fowler, Colorist Jordan Boyd, Letterer Todd Klein
As a whole the Sandman Universe has pretty much been a total bust but there is one that continues to show that there is hope for at least one of the books to work and that is Books of Magic. Howard builds nicely from the first issue that was mostly exposition and now with that out-of-the-way she is able to start exploring both Tim and the world that is trying to stop him. What most people don’t understand is that Tim Hunter predates Harry Potter by about seven years so while they have similar story elements they are very much original. Howard really ramps up the tension in this second issue and shows that there are many elements in play here that revolve around Tim learning magic. Howard does a nice balancing act with Tim learning and the dangers that are coming for him that can be a challenge for a writer but she handles it very well here and shows that there is going to be a lot more to this story than just a boy learning magic. Fowler pulls out all the stops with the artwork here and the one panel that is a bloody mess (no spoiler here) really shows that he is up to the task with how wild this book is going to be at times. He also gives a nice charm to Tim and an innocent that can be hard to capture but he handles it with ease.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was really impressed with Howard and Fowler’s work on this second issue and not only does it move the story forward quite nicely but sets things up in the story to give you a nice reason to continue to get this book. I really enjoyed this second issue and excited to see where they take the story from here. RECOMMENDED!