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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 1/20/16

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 1/20/16

Devolution #1


Dynamite Writer Rick Remender, Artist Jonathan Wayshak, Colorist Jordan Boyd, Letterer Rus Wooton

Dynamite rarely does original comics so when they do I try to check them out to see what made them decide to go outside their licensed comfort zone. Remender while a popular writer has not been one of my favorites but I really have to give him credit that this book is surprisingly good. While the basic plot is lifted from a number of places (Mad Max/Last Man on Earth among others) he does a nice job of setting up the series with enough to get you going and keeping you interested in coming back for the second issue. There are a few narrative story issues but nothing fatal but it does jump around a bit. Remender keeps things moving along and hopefully in the next issues move the story in a bit more original direction. Dynamite is not known for the best in the art department but Wayshak is a real find here. His style is a nice influence of Heavy Metal and EC Comics and this is by far one of the better looking books from them. He does a great job of giving the script life and visually making the story a little more interesting than it really is which is a credit to him. Boyd does a nice job on bringing the bleak setting to life but he never over powers Wayshak’s artwork. Is this book worth your time and money. I rather enjoyed this book and while it starts off far from original it does get off to a good start and hopefully Remender can build on this in the next issue. Wayshak’s artwork really saves the day and makes this book worth a look for the art alone. It’s worth a throw.

The Legend Of Wonder Woman #1


DC Comics Writer and Penciler Renae De Liz, Inker/Colorist/Letterer Ray Dillon

Wonder Woman has always been a difficult character to crack and very few have been able to get her right over the years after William Moulton Marston created her back in the 1940’s. The only ones that have been able to get it were George Perez, Brian Azzarello, John Byrne and now Renae De Liz. The smartest thing that De Liz has done with this story is not try to reinvent the wheel here. She goes back to basic and tells the story that we know but does a great job on expanding the story out and adding some really wonderful ideas into the mythology. I was very impressed with this first issues story because she found a way to tell the story that is very familiar to regular Wonder Woman readers and yet it was very accessible to new readers. De Liz gets this series off to a great start in both story and her artwork. It’s rare to have a talent that has both the skill to tell a story in both writing and artwork and along with Dillon on inks, colors and lettering they deliver a beautiful looking book. I was a huge fan of her work on IDW adaptation of The Last Unicorn and she brings the same wonderful style to this book. Her artwork has a great look of wonderment with clean and simple artwork that has a great amount of detail but keep a fairy tale quality that is simply beautiful for this book. Is this book worth your time and money? While there have been very few really good Wonder Woman stories over the years De Liz has not only remedied that problem but I dare say that she has surpassed my expectations of this book. Sometimes it takes an outside the mainstream talent like De Liz to come in with a concept that is both a great homage to the material but very original at the same time. I am very excited to take this journey with her. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

American Monster #1


american-monster-#1Aftershock Comics Writer Brian Azzarello, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Juan Doe

Brian Azzarello is one of my favorite writers but I am a bit puzzled by this first issue of American Monster. I don’t think the book is bad but it’s such a set up that it seems like not much is happening in this first issue and yet there is a lot of ground work with the set up. Azzarello is a writer that goes for the long haul and while I wasn’t bowled over by this first issue there is some promise of a very good story here. I think as the story goes along this first issue will be like looking at puzzle that your putting together but can’t see the whole picture yet. I did really love the mood and tone of the story and some interesting characters. I did enjoy Doe’s artwork in the book while it’s a simple style it did work well with the story and he did some really nice layouts. There were a few times where the backgrounds were a little sparse but overall not too bad. Is this book worth your time and money? The next issue is going to be a key to the success of this book. While there is a lot of ideas in this first issue I didn’t totally connect with it as well as I would have liked. I do think that there is a lot of promise to the book I just am a little hesitant to fully recommend it on this first issue alone.

The Hangman #2


Dark Circle Comics Writer Frank Tieri, Artist Felix Ruiz, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Rachel Deering

The biggest problem with all of the Dark Circle and Archie comics are that they are not on any sort of regular schedule and that really hurts readers wanting to jump into the books. The last issue of Hangman was released on 11/2/15 so it been 2 1/2 months and for a comic reader it’s hard to keep track of a book that is not monthly. That being said that this second issue of The Hangman was well worth the wait. Tieri has crafted a very good re-imagining of the old Archie where he has taken a simple revenge character and infused a wild new spin on him and yet keeps the basic premiss. I have to hand it to him for this second issue story and a very impressive new take on the old going to hell story.  The script really built on the first issue and gives a great set up to the next issue. Ruiz’s artwork is gritty and moody and adds so much to the book. He really takes Tieri’s story and takes the book to a whole new level. He really makes this book work so well. Is this book worth your time and money. I was really glad that after reading this second issue that the first issue was no fluke. This is a solid story with fantastic artwork that blend perfectly together. Tieri and Ruiz have crafted a great moody and creepy take on a standard superhero revenge character and breathed new life into it. RECOMMENDED!

Silver Surfer #1


Marvel Comics Co-Writer Dan Slott, Co-Writer/Artist Michael Allred, Colorist Laura Allred, Letterer Joe Sabino

Another Marvel book that is really issue #16 but renumbered to try to get new readers on the book. While Slott’s story tries a bit to get new readers up to speed it’s not entirely the best jumping on point for new readers but they shouldn’t be too lost either. The thing that I love about this book is the general weirdness and fun that Slott and Allred infuse into the book. They really take the book outside the normal box that most superhero books are stuffed into. As with the previous run they take the book in any direction that they see fit for the story and keep things fast and loose. You can really tell that the script is a collaboration between the two. While I’m not a huge fan of Slott’s solo work adding Allred to the mix makes them a good team for the book. On the flip side Allred is a great idea man but sometimes his solo scripts can be a little convoluted so they really do complement each other. On the art side is where the book has always shined. Allred is a perfect artist for the book because he gets the style and tone of Jack Kirby who created him and yet he makes it all his own. He get to draw all sorts of weird aliens and wild worlds so the book could not be in better hands. Is this book worth your time and money? SIlver Surfer is a tough character to get right and the light and goofy tone that Slott and Allred are taking with it is bold and smart. It allows the book to be both cosmic and fun and can go anywhere it wants to and that makes every issue exciting and fresh. I have been a fan and this “new” series is well worth your time and money. RECOMMENDED!

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1


DC Comics Writer Amy Chu, Penciller Clay Mann, Inker Seth Mann, Colorist Ulises Arreola

This is one of those books that is not terrible but not terribly good either. Chu script hit all the basic beats in the story but never excels beyond an average story. You can see everything coming in the story as it goes along and there is nothing shocking while your reading it. Ivy is an interesting character but you’re not going to see it here too much. There are a few times where the story might break out of the average mold but in the end it never does. The art by Clay and Seth Mann is one of the better things about the book and while they do a good job on the artwork they can’t really save the averageness of the book. Is this book worth your time and money? Supposedly the book was promoted by DC as demanded by readers. Sadly I don’t think that anyone will really be demanding this book. SKIP IT!

Amazing Forest #1


IDW Writers Erick Freitas & Ulises Farinas, Artists/Colorists/Letterers Julien Dufour/Matt Rota/Melody Often/Yumi Sakugawa,

This is a very interesting anthology book in that it’s the same writers for all four stories but each story has a different artist. Each story is self-contained and each has a Twilight Zone flavor to them. Tank with Dufour is one of my favorites and with a great ironic story of be careful what you wish for type plot that hits all of the right beats. The artwork by Dufour is some of the best in the book. Lots of great detail to the artwork and brings a style that fits it perfectly. Wolf Mother by Rota is one of the stranger stories in the book and honestly was not to my taste. Rota does some nice work but the story just left me scratching my head so there was little for him to save on this one. Ronnie The Robot was my second favorite of the issue with a great story with a nice twist in the end that was surprisingly satisfying. Often’s art was nice and fit the story well but I really didn’t enjoy her lettering on it. It was really too large at times and got in the way. Not fatal just disappointing but still liked it a lot. The last story with Sakugawa’s art is a very strange story as you read it but does come together in the end that makes it work pretty well. Like it but didn’t love this last story. Is this book worth your time and money? Anthologies are a tough thing to pull off and to do it well is a pretty rare thing. I will give Freitas and Farinas that each story doesn’t feel like they were by the same writers and that is a huge complement. While I may have not like them all I will applaud the book for taking the risk on the format. The art is mostly good and does fit the story they were given. Overall I liked two really well, one was not that good and the fourth was OK so it hit a 50% ratio. If you are looking for something truly different this might be worth looking at but just not enough to recommend it but not a skip it either. This book is dependent on ones personal taste.