Another huge week of new comics and both new and returning comics are reviewed this week. I am a bit under the weather so I will see how many I can fit in and hopefully they are coherent.
COMIC BOOK OF THE WEEK!
DC Comics Writer Mark Russell, Penciller Ben Caldwell, Inker Mark Morales, Colorist Jeremy Lawson, Letterer Travis Lanham
With the end of DC Comics The New 52 this year brought some of the freshest ideas (along with some duds) that creative wise was the right direction that DC sorely needed. Prez shot out of the gate to be the must read of all of the new series and has constantly one of the best books this year and kept getting better each issue. Originally planned as a 12 issue series is now been broken up into two 6 issue series that DC had better stand by it promise to publish the next story arc. This issue does have a great halfway point for the story and is a good break. Russell continues to impress me with his balance of humor, political satire, and current events and weaves all of those and other elements into a fresh reading experience that is as enjoyable as it is thought-provoking. He takes the story into directions that you don’t expect but it never goes off on tangents and everything fits perfectly into place. Caldwell and Morales artwork delivers the visual impact of the story and give the book such a great feel that amplifies Russell’s grand tale. They really capture all of the story elements with such ease that you rarely see in mainstream comics today. Is this book worth your time and money? I find that Prez is one of those rare books that each issue is better than the last one and yet there is still 6 issues of stories left to go after this. Russell and Caldwell have delivered a book that has been one of the best books of the year. It’s an absolute joy to read each month and the only complaint that I have is that the story wont’t be finished until next year. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
The Sheriff of Babylon #1
Vertigo Comics Writer Tom King, Artist and Colorist Mitch Gerads, Letterer Nick Napolitano
I think that The Sheriff of Babylon might be a good book but unfortunately the first issue is very unfocused and fell really flat for me. I will give King that the feel of the story is spot on and is s novel twist on the tired crime story. The problem that I had with the first issue was that there was not a character for the reader to follow. There are good story elements but without anyone for the reader to follow I really wandered around not really caring about much. Gerads artwork does a great job of portraying Bagdad and the chaos of the war. He gives the story the visual impact it needs but he can only do so much with the frustrating story. Is this book worth your time and money. I think that the book could be good but I just couldn’t get into the story in this first issue. There are some really good ideas and I will give the second issue a try to see if it will work better but I can’t really recommend the book very much but it my be worth a try for some.
Mystery Girl #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer Paul Tobin, Artist Alberto J. Alburquerque, Colorist Marissa Louise, Letterer Marshall Dillon
Mystery Girl is one of those books that really charms you right from the start and sets up a really good premiss to the series. Tobin does a great job of introducing Trine and giving a well paced exposition in the first issue and keeping the focus on point. He also keep some things close to the vest that should unfold well in the story arc goes along. This is a solid story that gets the book off to a very good start. On the artwork side Alburquerque is nice with a style that fits the story very well. He does a good job conveying the dramatic tones of the story with very good facial expressions that make the story work so well. Is this book worth your time and money? I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this first issue and will stick around to see where they take it. I have to hand it to Tobin and Alburquerque that they delivered a solid first issue that does all of the right things to set up the series and move the story along at a nice pace. RECOMMENDED!
The Totally Awesome Hulk #1
Marvel Comics Writer Greg Pak, Artist Frank Cho, Colorist Sonia Oback, Letterer Cory Petie
So we all picked this book up because of Cho’s awesome artwork but you know, I have to give credit to Pak for coming up with a really fun story to match Cho’s style. Pak’s story while fun does have a few flaws with the biggest being there is not a whole lot of story going on. It does lack substance and while I didn’t mind some might. The other thing is that this is not the Hulk we a know and love but a more young adult novel approach to him and that may turn off some also. With that being said the story moves along nicely and tongue in cheek is the tone of the book. Cho brings his A game to the book and has a lot of visual fun with the book. He gets to draw the Hulk fighting monsters and throws in She-Hulk and Spider-Man for good measure to cover all of the visual bases. Is this book worth your time and money? This is a fun book and while the story is pretty thin but with Cho’s artwork your just happy the story is readable. I can’t say the book has a real long-term prospect but as long as Pak can keep thing moving along well then it’s going to be a fun ride. I liked it and it’s worth buying.
Paper Girls #3
Image Comics Writer Brian K. Vaughan, Artist Cliff Chiang, Colorist Matt Wilson, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
Things are starting to come together with the Vaughan’s story in this issue. I love how he is doing a slow burn with the story and slowly revealing the mystery of the alien invasion. The story just breezes by and keeps you wanting more. Vaughan make all of the story elements flow so effortlessly and has such a natural flow that give the reader a real emotional connection to the girls that you hang on every element of the story. Chiang’s art is wonderful with capturing all of the subtle elements in Vaughan’s script and blending both the real world and science fiction elements smoothly. Is this book worth your time and money? Paper Girls continues to impress me and is still keeping me on the edge of my seat every issue. This continues to be a must buy book. VERY RECOMMENDED!
The Vision #2
Marvel Comics Writer Tom King, Artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I was very impressed with the first issue of this book and I am very glad to say that the second issue continues to keep the story moving along very nicely. King has found a great balance of emotions or lack there of at times and has crafted a very impressive story. The fact that The Vision has tried to erase his emotions and yet his family has gone the opposite way, King has created a great divide in the family and an intriguing idea. Can a computer who is modeled after humans actually erase their emotions? It’s making a great story and series so far. Walta’s artwork is impressive considering that he is drawing characters with no facial emotions and yet has to give them emotions at the same time. He is really pulling off a great look that the book really needs and making in work so well. Is this book worth your time and money? I would have never thought that a book about The Vision would be as good as this but King and Walta have delivered one of the best books a Marvel in a long time. It a very subtle story that really brings up the question of what the relationship of emotions have on us and how we can never actually subvert them no matter how hard we try. RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Story Emi Lenox & Jeff Lemire, Script Jeff Lemire, Artist Emi Lenox, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letter Steve Wands
The mystery of Plutona continues and we start seeing cracks in the group of kids that has found her. Lemire continues to do a great job of writing the kids in such a perfect way that we would all have done if we were in the same situation as kids. I’m impressed how he captures a bit of all of us in each of the kids and I think that is why the book is working so well. It’s also a nice slow burning story that keeps us guessing where it will go next and I honestly didn’t see the ending of this issue coming. Lenox art continues to impress with her simple and yet very detailed artwork that gives the story a nice storybook quality that fits perfectly to the story. Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a real winner and continues to keep me guessing as to where they are going with the story but in a really good way. The next issue should be a real turning point with the events of this issue and I’m on the edge waiting to see what happens. RECOMMENDED!
Red Wolf #1
Marvel Comics Writer Nathan Edmondson, Penciller Dalibor Talajic, Inker Jose Marzan Jr., Colorist Miroslav Mrva, Letterer Cory Petit
Coming out of the series 1872 and surrounding controversy Red Wolf gets off to a soft start. While the story is not amazing but it’s not a train wreck either. It’s a throwback to classic western comics where the outcast is the sheriff in this case Red Wolf and stumbles across a mystery that has him at odd with the locals. Sounds pretty familiar right? Edmondson’s script hits all of the typical beats and that is where it falls into the all to familiar problem. The script takes no chances and ends up being a pleasing but average read. I did like Talajic and Marzan Jr. artwork that does a nice job of capturing the old west and while it’s not flashy it gets the job done well. Is this book worth your time and money? I thought it was a decent read but the big problem is the last page. Red Wolf is transported to the present day and the idea of a western comic is thrown out the window. It’s going to turn into a fish out of water story that based on the formula of this first issue does not bode well for the future of the book. The problem is that you have read this story before and has been done better It’s a shame because there are a few good ideas here but it never quite excels at anything more than average. SKIP IT!
Harley’s Little Black Book #1
DC Comics Writers Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner, Artist Amanda Conner, John Timms, Dave Johnson, Colorist Paul Mounts with Hi-Fi, Letterer Dave Sharpe
The overexposure of Harley Quinn continues with yet another special that is neither special or needed. The problem with these specials are that the story could have been told in the regular Harley book and it seems when Palmiotti and Conner expand the stories out for these specials there are very padded and not very exciting. The story is bloated and everything is by the numbers. There is nothing that will surprise or impress you with this story and is like every other special but with Wonder Woman. On the art side the book does look really good with a rare appearance of Conner’s doing some work here. The art on the Harley special have never been a problem and are usually the best thing about them and this is the case here. Better art than story. Is this book worth your time and money? At $4.99 this is another Harley book that is an overpriced special that is not very special. SKIP IT!
Johnny Red #2
Titan Comics Writer Garth Ennis, Artist Keith Burns, Colorist Jason Wordie, Letterer Rob Steen
I wasn’t totally sold on the first issue of this series but wanted to give the second issue a chance and glad I did. The second issue really hits the ground running and Ennis’s love for war stories is evident here. With the set up out-of-the-way Ennis is getting to the meat of the story about the red devil and how the Russian army doesn’t really want him but need him. He gets the subtle elements of doing a fictional war stories without making then overt or melodramatic. Burns artwork captures the gritty reality of the war but gives it a great emotional grounding that give the reader a real sense of being there. Is this book worth your time and money? Unless war stories are not your thing this book is a real winner and getting really good. I’m hooked on this one after this issue and is now in the buy pile.
A Train Called Love #3
Dynamite Writer Garth Ennis, Artist Mark Dos Santos, Colorist Andrew Elder, Letterer Simon Bowland
Now on the opposite side of the Ennis spectrum is this book that just gets wilder with every new issue. Ennis has a lot of story plates spinning on this one and just when you thought you had seen everything he throws a curve ball into you and continues mixing sex and humor in a very unusual way. I like how he is weaving the individual stories in and out of each other and as we can see with this issue they are tying together when you least expect it. Dos Santos cartoony style is perfect for this slightly off-center story and give the book a nice visual boost that pulls it all together. Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not for the faint of heart but if you want one of the wilder stories that I have read in a while then this is the one for you. I’m enjoying the ride.
Dead Vengeance #3
Dark Horse Comics Writer Bill Morrison, Penciller Tone Rodriguez, Inker Keith Champagne, Colorist Carlos Badilla, Letterer Nate Piekos
The pieces of the puzzle are falling into place on this fun little book. Morrison reveals how Johnny became the dead man that he is and how must try to solve the past in the present with his current condition. I am loving how Morrison is bringing back a pulp mystery novel in comics that has a lot of great things that you rarely see in comics today. The best thing about the book is the tone and feel that you get when you read it. He has given the basic murder mystery/crime novel story a fun new spin with some nice twists that is keeping the story fresh. Rodriguez and Champagne’s art is top-notch here and has a great style that fits the story and the period of the story. They really nail the facial expression on the characters to deliver a great feel when your reading the book. Is this book worth your time and money? I am having a lot of fun with this book and while it’s not the most amazing book that your ever going to read it’s a nice throwback to a number of genres that are sorely missing in comics today. I can’t wait to see how they wrap it up in the final issue. Worth picking up!
Doctor Strange #3
Marvel Comics Writer Jason Aaron, Penciller & Colorist Chris Bachalo, Inkers Tim Townsend, Al Vey & Mark Irwin, Letterer Cory Petit
I was hoping that by this issue I would have liked to see things moving along better. The problem with Aaron story is that the overall story arc is not coming together well. He seems to plod around with exposition instead of getting to point of it. We get that there is a disruption of the magical realms but Strange runs around most of the issue fighting giant slugs instead of getting to the point in the last few pages of the issue. Aaron had wasted too much time on extraneous story and ruined what little good will I had left. I love Bachalo’s artwork and even with the story problems it’s an amazing looking book but I wish that Aaron’s writing was on the same level as Bachalo’s artwork because that would be an amazing book. Is this book worth your time and money? After a third issue of Aaron not getting the story going, I’m done this could and should have been a very good book but he has wasted too much time on story elements that are not driving the book forward at this stage of the game. There is one editorial interference issue that really bugs me this issue. In the first part of the story Strange is naked in the magical realm and Bachalo cleverly covers his naughty bits but on page 9 in the last panel there is a small butt shot that has a censor bar over it, REALLY MARVEL!?!?! This is embarrassing because later in the issue you show a person getting tortured but a butt shot is a problem. I’m sorry but that is just ridiculous. I have given up on this mess of a book. SKIP IT!