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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 12/6/17

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 12/6/17

dc-holiday-special-2017-#1

DC Holiday Special 2017 #1

DC Comics Writers Jeff Lemire/Denny O’Neil/Mairghread Scott/Tom King/Joshua Williamson/Christopher Priest/Dan DiDio/Shea Fontana/Scott Bryan Wilson/Greg Rucka/Mike Friedrich, Artists Giuseppe Camuncoli & Cam Smith/Steve Epting/Phil Hester & Ande Parks/Francesco Francavilla/Neil Google/Tom Grummett & Scott Hanna/Matthew Clark & Sean Parsons/Otto Schmidt/Nic Klein/Bilquis Evely/Neal Adams & Dick Giordano. Colorists Tomeu Morey/Dave McCaig/Trish Mulvihill/Ivan Plascencia/Jeromy Cox/Rob Schwager/Romulo Fajarooo Jr., Letterers Clayton Cowles/Deron Bennett/Clem Robins/Tom Napolitano/Willie Schubert/Travis Lanham/Carlos M. Mangual/Dave Sharpe

It’s that time of the year when the comic book companies put out special holiday editions that get lots of different talents together to do short stories and wrap it all up in one package. DC has had both hits and misses over the years with their specials. The ones that have mostly unknown talents seems to be the ones that suffer a bit but the good news this year is that there is a mix of both established creators and new faces that gives this years special a better balance. Lemire and Grummett give the book a nice bookend to the book that gets the book into a grand holiday spirit. I wont go through each story but will point out that ones that were my favorites. At the top of the list is the King and Francavilla Sgt. Rock story that is not only a brilliant story but is a nice homage to Joe Kubert’s work on the characters. Francavilla captures King’s story with a great noir look that is perfect for the story. They have pull off one of the most heartfelt stories in just eight pages that will really stick with you. O’Neil and Epting’s Batman story is great because of the subtle storytelling that shows that O’Neil has not lost his touch and Epting brings the story to life with such care in the artwork that makes is work wonderfully. The Flash story by Williamson and Google starts off pretty standard but their finish to the story is where it really shines. One of the bigger surprises is the Atomic Knights story by DiDio and Clark that is a sweet little holiday story that shows what the true meaning of the holiday is all about and leaves you with a smile. One of the most intriguing stories is Wilson and Klein’s Swamp Thing stories that is pretty deep for just six pages but delivers a beautifully strong message. The final new story that brings back Rucka and Evely to Wonder Woman delivers all of the heart and soul that made his run so wonderful and blends Batman into the story perfectly and makes me miss his writing on Wonder Woman that much more and gives you a great sense of hope that made is run so great is front and center here. The final story is a classic reprint of probably Batman greatest Christmas story ever by Friedrich and Adams that is always a pleasure to see again and glad that they included it here for a whole new generation to read and enjoy.

Is this book worth your time and money? Sure the $10 prince tag is a bit much for some but considering the quality and quantity of stories in the book it makes it worth picking up. While there were a few stories that were not my favorites there were none that were terrible by any means. In a book like this if the ratio of good to bad is at least 80% it’s a big win. I would give this one a 90% ratio. What I love most about these types of books is not only do they get you into the holiday spirit but get creators together that you might not normally see doing superhero comics. It also gives some new talent a great venue to introduce. Overall the book is worth getting and for me it was well worth the higher price tag. There are some real standout stories and artwork this year and is RECOMMENDED!

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Barbarella #1

Dynamite Entertainment Writer Mike Carey, Artist Kenan Yarar, Colorist Mohan, Letterer Crank!

I was a bit hesitant on this book because I’m a big fan of the original Jean-Claude Forest original incarnation of Barbarella so it was a very high bar for this book. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it and quite frankly shocked by the quality of the artwork on the book. Carey has obviously done his homework before writing this book because people are more familiar with the Jane Fonda feature film of the same name that is not a very good adaption of the stories but still kitschy fun. Carey doesn’t pull nay punches with the more erotic elements of the story that is a staple of the book. He also give the first issue a nice story set up that wisely dispenses with the exposition and get the story going quickly. While this may cause a little confusion for newer readers the story is very straight forward and shouldn’t present an issue. He make sure to keep things simple with the story and good old fashion prison escape story gets the book off to a good start. Yarar’s artwork is way above average for a Dynamite book that is sadly known for it’s less than stellar artwork on the majority of their books. While there were a couple of rough spots overall the art has a great European flavor that is a great asset to the book. The one thing that he doesn’t skimp on is the detail and backgrounds in the artwork that really helps the book work well.

Is this book worth your time and money? If you’re a fan of the character then your probably going to get this book anyway but for new readers, if you like more old school science fiction stories and don’t mind the erotic elements to the book then you should give it a look. It’s was a solid story with very nice art that made for a good read this week.

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Sleepless #1

Image Comics Writer Sarah Vaughn, Artist Leila Del Duca, Colorist Alissa Sallah, Letterer Deron Bennett

I’m a fan of Vaughn’s work with Jonathan Luna Alex + Ada and was intrigued to see her writing on her own and it’s off to a fairly good start. The story is a set up one that doesn’t quite tell you what is going on but has some interesting elements to it. Your kind of thrown into the middle of the story and I wish that she had done a bit better job of introducing the cast because while you are interested in the story, I wasn’t totally invested in the characters. A first issue is alway a tricky balance but you also need to give the readers a reason to care and come back for more. While Vaughn does some of that here I wasn’t totally sold on the book yet. I did like the mystery that she sets up and there are some interesting ideas here. On the plus side Duca’s artwork is quite nice here and gives the book a great visual feel that helps it stand out. Where she really excelled with the art is the wonderful facial expressions of the characters that deliver great emotion to the story. Another plus for the book is Sallah’s color work that complements Duca’s line artwork very nicely here.

Is this book worth your time and money? While I wasn’t totally sold on this first issue, it does however show promise and I will give the book another chance with the second issue. The book was good but just didn’t take off as well as I would have liked for a first issue. I just wish there had been a bit more meat here.

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Jupiter Jet #1

Action Lab Entertainment Writers Jason Inman & Ashley Victoria Robinson, Artist Ben Matsuya, Colorist Mara Jayne Carpenter, Color Flats Sara Alfaqeeh & Tori Ridley, Letterer Taylor Esposito Back-Up story artist Jorge Corona

All Ages comics are a tricky one to pull off because if you make it too simple then older readers will find it aimed at younger readers and you don’t want to make it to complicated for the same reason. The good news with Jupiter Jet it hits the sweet spot right in the middle and should please both sides. Inman and Robinson were obviously inspired by Dave Stevens Rocketeer and pays a nice homage to it but does give the book their own spin and voice that works in the books favor. They do a good job of balancing exposition and keeping the story moving along. What benefits the story very well is the sly humor that is used nicely here along with infusing the story with heart and soul that makes for a fun read. They also do a nice job on setting the characters up in the story well so that you have someone to take you on the journey with them. Caring about the character is an important story element and Inman and Robinson make sure that is well done here. Another win for the book is Matsuya’s artwork on the book that gives it a great visual pop that complements the story very well here. It’s a simple yet detailed style that is very pleasing and captures the fun spirit of the story. I must also point out the back up story that begins the origin of the jet pack that is a very nice story that complements the main one with very nice artwork from Corona. The only complaint that I have is that I wished that the back up story was more than two pages because it really leaves you wanting more and that is a good thing though.

Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed this book and while it’s not going to blow you away it does have a very solid story and nice artwork that was a real pleasure to read. And while it was a simple story it does it very well and leaves you wanting more. This book is a winner and is VERY RECOMMENDED!

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Batman #36

DC Comics Writer Tom King, Penciller Clay Mann, Inker Mann & Seth Mann, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Clayton Cowles

I have to admit King has really gotten me back into Batman with his amazing writing on the book lately. I love that he is doing bit sized stories with just a few issues for each one. While the epic ones are great they can get a bit exhausting after a while and shorter stories are better for both old and new readers to jump right into. If you think that you have had awkward double dates then you seriously need to read this story arc. Who knew that Batman and Superman could be the center of an awkward double date? Well it’s wasn’t uncomfortable to read but extremely amusing to say the least. I think that King has written one of the best Lois Lane interpretations in this issue and gives here some brilliant dialog here. The other thing that works so well for the story is the dueling storylines between the two that captures both the fun and awkwardness of it all perfectly. Mann delivers some truly outstanding artwork here and while there are very big action scenes in the story it’s the small subtle moments that he perfectly captures with his art that take the story to a whole other level.

Is this book worth your time and money? I honestly don’t understand how King is able to do these amazing stories every two weeks and hit this level of quality. This is not only a solid superhero story but the humor and drama are top-notch here and simply doesn’t get better than this. I love the rotating artist that brings their talents to the book and Mann not only steps up to the plate but hits a home run with such beautiful artwork. This is a must read book this week and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

jetsons-#2
The Jetsons #2

DC Comics Writer Jimmy Palmiotti, Artist Pier Brito, Colorist Alex Sinclair, Letter Dave Sharpe

With an intriguing first issue, Palmiotti build greatly upon it and really up’s the game with the story in this second issue. The big surprise with this book is the scope that he gives the world and how well thought out the cast is. The one thing that he is very careful of is that they still feel like the original cartoon and while there is not a huge sitcom tone to it, he wisely does put in humor here and there to keep the story from getting too dark. The one thing that I do like is that he has done a nice job on Judy and Elroy by giving them something to do in the story and making them more well-rounded in the story. This second issue really ups the mystery of the story and is unfolding it at a nice pace that is keeping it interesting and gives you a good reason to come back. Brito’s artwork on the book is improving and he does a nice job overall. There are a few weak moments but I was impressed at his growth from the first issue. There is a lot of detail in this issue and he did a nice job on the scope of the big scenes in this issue.

Is this book worth your time and money? I like this story and Palmiotti and Brito are crafting a very nice take on this Hanna-Barbera property. There is scope to the book that is very impressive and the story is unfolding very nicely here. While the tone gets a bit dark at times there’s some nice humor in it also. It’s going to be interesting to see where they take the story from here. A good read this week.

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Captain America #696

Marvel Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Chris Samnee, Colorist Matthew Wilson, Letterer Joe Caramagna

Waid and Samnee continue to rebuild the damage inflicted on the Captain America book and build greatly upon their first issue. I like the done in one approach to this story but also giving the book an overall story that is a road picture theme that is working quite well for the book. What is making this book great is that Waid and Samnee are keeping the stories simple and to the point that gives it both great action but also heart that was sorely missing from the book. They have recaptured what makes Cap great in the first place to do good and what is right. What also works in the stories favor is that he is going to small towns that gives the book a real Americana feel and a bit of a throwback to the feel of the 1950’s and that is closer to the WWII feel that has always worked best for the character. There is also the lightness that Waid gives the dialog that gives the book a nice snappy feel that balances the action perfectly. The real charm of this book comes from Samnee’s beautiful line work that gives it a great old school feel. Sometimes simpler is better and Samnee proves that here. He never overplay the big or little things with the visuals and with Wilson’s fine color work on the book that really complements Samnee’s artwork.

Is this book worth your time and money? Waid and Samnee have given Cap a new lease and are crafting a book that hits all of the right beats perfectly. They are keeping it light and fun but there are great overtones to the travel story that adds a lot to each stand alone story. It’s amazing that in just two issue they have flushed away the train wreck of Secret Empire and given Cap the care and respect he deserves. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Batman: White Knight #3

DC Comics Writer and Artist Sean Murphy, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Todd Klein

DC is firing on all cylinders with their Batman books and leading the pack is Murphy’s White Knight continues to blow me away. So far with only three issues of eight, Murphy continues to throw readers off with so many great twist and turns in the story that the book is a real page turner. Murphy is crafting a great Elseworld story that is out of continuity but doesn’t really change the elements that make Batman and Gotham great. The layers of the story are one of the main reasons why this book is so damn good. There is also a major shakeup this issue and it will be interesting to see how Bruce is able to cope with it from this point. The other thing that is working so well is the way that Murphy is playing with the supporting cast and how they are very important to the overall story. Not only is this an amazing story but Murphy’s artwork is always a treat but he is really putting in his A game here. It’s the dramatic moments of the story that is where for me the art really shines and then add in Hollingsworth’s gorgeous color work you have a comic that is nearly perfect.

Is this book worth your time and money? Murphy has always delivered solid storytelling but his take on the Batman mythology is a book that continues to surprise and impress. It’s amazing that there have been so many Batman stories over the years and the fact that Murphy is able to surprise readers with a story that is totally fresh and new is a testament to his talent as both a writer and artist. It really doesn’t get better than this and gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

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