Death Bed #1
Vertigo Comics Writer Joshua Williamson, Artist Riley Rossmo, Colorist Ivan Plascencia, Letterer Deron Bennett
It’s been a tough road at Vertigo lately but they keep plugging along with books here and there with both hits and misses but Death Bed might just be the brightest spot Vertigo has had in quite a while. Williamson does a really great job of not only setting up the story in this first issue but really catches you off guard with it at the same time. He sets things up that feel pretty basic at first but he throws in an awesome twist that you never see coming and shoots the book into overdrive and your both shocked and exhilarated at the same time and by the end of this first issue your totally sold on the story and cant wait to see where the story goes. Williamson has a great knack for mixing many genres with his scripts that allows the story to not be pigeonholed into one category and Death Bed really benefits from it. It’s not thing to have a great script but if you don’t get the right artist to bring it to life then it can really sink a comic but luckily Rossmo is not only perfect but is able to capture all of the insanity that Williamson throws at him with ease. The thing that really impressed me with the artwork was his wonderful layouts that give the book a kinetic energy that will blow you away. While the action scenes are impressive it’s the smaller dramatic scenes where Rossmo really nails this book with the perfect marriage of story and artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really loved this book and not only sucks you into the story but gives you a great reason to come back for the next issue. Williamson and Rossmo deliver a vibrant comic here that is a strange as it is good. This is a must buy comic book this week and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Black Panther Annual #1
Marvel Comics Writers Priest/Don McGregor/Reggie Hudlin, Artists Mike Perkins/Daniel Acuna/Ken Lashley, Colorists Andy Troy/Matt Milla, Letterer Joe Sabino
With the huge success of the Black Panther film Marvel is wisely trying to get new readers to buy a Black Panther comic and this weeks annual is actually a great place for new readers to start. There are three short stories that tell a different type of story and that is one of the big reasons why the book works so well. First up is Priest and Perkins story that is actually quite fun and has a nice sly sense of humor to it and doesn’t even have Black Panther in it that much. Perkins does a very nice job with the artwork with the story and is able to really capture all of the twist and turns in the script. The second story from legendary Black Panther writer McGregor who really defined all of the elements of what Panther is today tells a very touching story of love and loss that is a beautiful script that really defines who and what T’Challa is and will bring a tear to your eye for sure. It’s a wonderful marriage of the past and present of the character that is sure to please. Acuna artwork is spot on with an old school approach that fits with McGregor’s script like a glove and is a nice nod to Rich Buckler and Billy Graham for which the story is dedicated to. It’s a rare feat for an artist today to really capture the style of the period and Acuna delivers it perfectly. The final story from Hudlin and Lashley is a nice What If story that has T’Challa telling his granddaughter the history of how he came to rule the world and is an interesting take on it. Lashley’s artwork is very nice here and he really put a lot of detail into it.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is not only a great primer for new readers but for seasoned readers as well. It’s a trip down memory lane with McGregor’s story and Priest and Hudlin deliver great bookends to it. The artwork on all three stories are really nice and makes this an easy recommendation and well worth the price of admission. VERY RECOMMENDED!
The Brave and the Bold: Batman and Wonder Woman #1
DC Comics Writer and Artist Liam Sharp, Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., Letterer Troy Peteri
After his wonderful stint on Wonder Woman Rebirth Sharp takes the reins with both the writing and drawing of this mini series that keeps the threads from that series. This first issue is a bit of a challenge because of the scope to the story that he is telling. In a lot of ways there is both a lot that happens and at the same time it moves along at a slower pace that might be a challenge for some readers. There is a lot to take in here and even for me was a bit tough at times but I can see where Sharp is going with the story and this first chapter is more of a set up to it and hopefully come together as it goes along. The one thing that does work well is that he really captures the spirit of Diana that many writer have a tough job of cracking. He very obviously takes many cues from Rucka and builds on them here nicely. There is not much of Batman in this first issue but as we have seen many times before it’s pretty hard to screw him up and Sharp does avoid that well here. To no ones surprise the book is absolutely gorgeous and is some of his best artwork to date. The level of detail that he infuses the book with will blow you away and is worth the price of admission alone. Colorists Fajardo Jr. really brings out the great line work of Sharp and is a great asset to the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I will even admit this first issue was a bit of a tough one to get through but I will give Sharp that he is setting things up with every ounce of detail here and does give it a nice cliffhanger set up for the next issue. While I’m not totally sold on the book yet, I will give credit to Sharp for not skimping on any of the details in setting this story up. He’s going for the long run with the story and hopefully it will come together once it’s told. While his art is worth picking the book up for, I am intrigued to see where the story goes from here. If you were a fan of his and Rucka’s run on Wonder Woman Rebirth then your might want to give this book a chance.
Punks Not Dead #1
Black Crown/IDW Writer David Barnett, Artist Martin Simmonds, Colorist Dee Cunniffe, Letterer Aditya Bidikar
Black Crown started with a lot of promise with Shelly Bonds credentials but sadly it’s been a bit disappointing so far and this new series falls in the middle. Barnett does throw out some good ideas here with the ghost of Sid Vicious hanging with a teenager has a lot of great potential and while there are some bright spots in the story, it never quite took flight for me. It’s certainly not a terrible book and it was a decent read but I just felt that the concept was better than the actual execution of it. The problem with this and the other Black Crown books are that most current comic book readers will simply have no idea of who Sid Vicious is and this is a problem. Barnett flaw in this first issue is that you never really get to know the characters that well and you don’t connect as well as you should when you start a new series. By the end of the first issue you really don’t care that much about anyone or anything and that is a shame because the concept is solid but the execution is a bit weak. I did think that Simmonds artwork on the book really helped it along and made it a better ride because of it. He does give the book a great visual energy that I had wished that the script could have done.
Is this book worth your time and money? I think that the big problem with Black Crown is that they book are trying to relive the heyday of Vertigo but that is one of the big problems with the line is that it’s stuck in a time bubble in the past and isn’t really moving comics forward like Vertigo used to do. Bond is a great editor and has a great eye for books and talent and in a lot of ways she does that here with this book. The problem is that this book would have been great in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s but is not that relevant in todays comics. By no means is the book terrible but it just doesn’t have the energy that the concept has. I really wanted to like the book but it just ended up being OK and with too many other choices out there with new comics, it’s just not going to cut it.
Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye/Swamp Thing Special #1
DC’s Young Animal Writer Jon Rivera, Artist Langdon Foss, Colorist Nick Filardi, Letterer Clem Robins
Milk Wars part three lands and is a really wild and crazy ride with this crossover. I have always been a big fan of Cave Carson and teaming him up with Swamp Thing fits into the unique and weird world of the book. We have seen Carson’s eye pop up though out the Milk Wars stories in the other books so far but this is the first with Carson himself. Putting Carson, Chloe and Jack into an office cubical hell is pure genius and Rivera has a lot of fun with the tropes that come with that. He is basically using the zombie formula here and it works quite well for the story but wisely does not let the story fall into the traps that come with them. And like the last two specials it sadly doesn’t reveal much to the overall story but is a stand alone story that does connect because of the milk but doesn’t really explain too much but still is a solid read none the less. I did really enjoy how Rivera turned the 9 to 5 office grind into a sort of horror story that gave it a nice tongue in cheek element that a lot of readers will be able to relate too. He also did a nice job on Swamp Thing that mixed in very well to the Cave Carson universe and has a way of keeping the story on track no matter how weird and wild it gets. I loved Foss’s visual take with both Carson and Swamp Thing that gave the book a great outside the mainstream look that had a nice underground feel at the same time. He really captures the horror elements of the script very well here and the mundane feel of an office at the same time. The only issue that I had been that it appeared that some of the pages were misprinted with the color not lining up correctly. It could have been done on purpose but was a little strange.
Is this book worth your time and money? I had hoped that the DC/Young Animal crossover specials would reveal more of the overall Milk Wars story but as with the other two it pretty much tells a stand alone story that has to do with the overall story but doesn’t seem to be adding much to it either. With that being said the book is a very enjoyable read on its own and Rivera and Foss do a real bang up job on the book. It does work as both a nice introduction for new readers as well as regular ones. So far this special is my favorite one so far and is a solid buy this week.
Mata Hari #1
Burger Books/Dark Horse Comics Writer Emma Beeby, Artist Ariela Kristantina, Colorist Pat Masioni, Letterer Sal Cipriano
This is a book that I really wanted to like but it really fell short for me. I think that the story of Mata Hari is very interesting but unfortunately the story delivery by Beeby is sadly all over the place. There are two big issues that hurt this book with the script. The first is that telling the story in a non linear way can work but you still need to have threads for the readers to follow at a point and sadly Beeby doesn’t do that here. The other issue is that I honestly didn’t really learn anything about her with this first issue that is a bigger issue. When you tell a story about the main character you should care about them so that if your story is non linear you will at least care about them and again she misses the mark on this also. There are some very interesting elements to the story but it’s such a jumbled mess that by the end of the issue your simply frustrated with the whole thing. The only thing that I did like about the book is Kristantina’s artwork on the book that is very nice but sadly wasted here on the disappointing script. She did a very nice job with the artwork to give it a nice period look that tried to help the book along but good art can only do so much here.
Is this book worth your time and money? I had really hoped that this book was going to be good but sadly it’s simply a mess with the story. After the story Beeby writes a text piece about how she is obsessed with Mata Hari but that could be the problem that she is so close to the story that she is the only one that it will make sense to. Sometimes when your too close to a story you forget that others are not familiar with the story and simply are lost because you tell it all out-of-order and that is where the book really fails. It’s a real shame about this because the history of the characters are intriguing but you really wouldn’t know that after reading this book. The strong and beautiful artwork by Kristantina is sadly wasted here and that is the real shame of this book. I really expected a stronger book from Karen Burger than this mess is. SKIP IT!
The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #2
Image Comics Writer Eddie Gorodetsky & Marc Andreyko, Artist Stephen Sadowski, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer A Larger World Studios
The first issue of this book was a huge surprise and happily the second issue builds very well off of it. The first issue was good with the whole washed up superhero bit but this second outing take the concept in a really great direction that you never see coming until the last page of the first issue. What is making this book such a pleasure to read is the depth of character that Gorodetsky and Andreyko have infused into Nick and the other characters. This second issue is pure character development that could have been super dry but they dig really deep into them and make everyone and everything so interesting. They also give the old superhero/super villain tropes some very nice twist here and it really keeps you on your toes as to where the story is going to go. They also seed some nice mystery elements that are sure to pay off as the series goes along. Sadowski’s art on the book is nice and considering that this issue is pretty much people standing around and talking is pretty hard for an artist to pull off but he really nails that very well here. His one real standout with the art is the flashbacks to Nick and Morganfeld that he nails in the old school style that was a real treat and added greatly to the look of the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book has turned into quite a little surprise and is a nice twist on the superhero genre. Gorodetsky and Andreyko have really given the script a lot of meat on the bone with this one. The way that they are revealing the story is quite intriguing and I really loved how they are seeding story elements for the overall story. The big win for this book is how solid the characters are and their dialog is simply spot on. Throw in the nice artwork by Sadowski and this book is really firing on all cylinders and is a must buy. RECOMMENDED!