The Terrifics #1
DC Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Penciller Ivan Reis, Inker Joe Prado, Colorist Marcelo Maiolo, Letterer Tom Napolitano
So far the DC new age of heroes has been off to a more miss than hit but leave it to Lemire and Reis to hit the ground running with The Terrifics. I am a huge fan of Lemire’s writing but a lot of his main stream work left me mostly cold but this book is a real winner. One of the things that benefits the book is that the cast of characters are more second stringers so that allows them to pretty much do whatever they want with them and that really gives this book a nice edge. The big win in this is Plastic Man that Lemire get the spot on humor that he can bring to the story and he’s as lovable as ever because of it here. I also like Mr. Terrific here because his book from the New 52 was for me a lot of fun and sadly underrated and hopefully people will see what he is able to bring to the book. While this first issue is a set up Lemire keeps the pace of it moving along nicely and it never gets bogged down with the exposition that was very impressive. There is a really nice treat for the cliffhanger in this first issue that I wont give away but I was glad to see it show up again. Reis’s artwork is perfect for this book because he brings a real heft and depth to this book of second stringer characters that you rarely see on this type of book. It really elevates this book to match Lemire’s script that is a great feat on his part and his Plastic Man is simply a pure joy to see and he has a lot of fun with it. He put a lot of detail into every panel and doesn’t skimp on any of the moments in the book and makes it a great visual feast.
Is this book worth your time and money? To be cliché the book is certain Terrific! I had a lot of fun with this book and Lemire and Reis give it a lot of charm that really sets it apart. Sure it’s a fairly basic superhero group book but they simply make it good and so many superhero comics forget to do that. They don’t overplay or try to be some grand epic, they simply deliver a fun and solid comic book here and that is why it worked so well. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer Daniel Kibblesmith, Penciller Carlos Villa, Inker Roberto Poggi, Colorist Chris O’Halloran, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I love Lockjaw and who doesn’t. While he has been in comics here and there lately his best was back in the beginning of Ms. Marvel where he just shined and was his best story to date. I was a little hesitant with this book because you have a main character that doesn’t talk so how are your going to do a story about that. Well I have to hand Kibblesmith that he found a neat way to pull it all together here. The story is told from Dennis Dumphy’s view so that solved the Lockjaw dialog issue and is setting up his origin that has not been fully ever told and that is where this story is going. We find out that there is another dog that had shown up 30 years ago and the resemblance is uncanny. Kibblesmith sets things up well in this first issue and is simply telling a fun little story and that’s where is works. Honestly this is a pretty simple and quick read but it works because of the charm that he infuses the story with. This is where Villa’s artwork comes into play. He has a simple style that is not flashy and is a bit on the basic side but it kind of what the story needed. One thing that he does very well is Lockjaw’s expressions and that’s where it need to really work because he can’t talk so Villa has to have him as expressive as possible so you kind of know what he is saying and that is why it works in the end.
Is this book worth your time and money? Kibblesmith and Villa don’t try and make this book bigger than it is. It’s a simple and sweet tale that hits the right beats and is an adorable and fun comic that will please all ages. They set things up well in this first issue and with the reveal at the end of the issue gives you a great reason to come back for the next issue. I had fun with this book and is well worth buying this week.
The Beef #1
Image Comics Writer and Letterer Richard Starkings, Writer and Artist Tyler Shainline, Colorist Shaky Kane
This is one of those comics that you’re not quite sure what to make of it but you kind of like it and kind of wonder what the heck is going on here. Starkings follow-up to his amazing Elephantmen epic run is honestly have some readers scratching their heads after reading this one and I’m kinda with them. I think the thing that threw me off was that he throws a lot of things in the blender here but what comes out at the end is a bit of an odd mess. He introduces a lot of characters here and does a decent job of letting the reader know them but its the lack of linear story thread that really hampers this first issue. He throws a lot out there but it didn’t really seem to stick to anything. I did like Shainline’s art that was a wild mix of Kirby, Hernandez among others but was fresh and unique in its own wild way. The only complaint was there were too many times where there were simply no backgrounds and that bothered me a bit but he does have a nice pop art style that gave the book a look that fit the strange story.
Is this book worth your time and money? This one is a really tough call because Starkings Elephantmen started off pretty strange too and but really came together after a rough start. I’m hoping that this book goes that way. It’s a book that is hard to recommend but if your willing to give the book a chance there is some good ideas here that have a lot of potential. It’s just a bit hard to see here. I’m hopping that the second issue gives the book a clearer focus and Starkings tells stories for the long game so fingers crossed that’s where this book will go.
Cult Classic: Return to Whisper #1
Vault Comics Writer Eliot Rahal, Artist Felipe Cunha, Colorist Dee Cunniffe, Letterer Taylor Esposito
I have never read a Vault Comic and was intrigued with this one and the $1.99 cover price helped sell it. I wasn’t blown away by the book but it did show promise but there were a few bumps along the way. While the story by Rahal had some good ideas there were many things that were a bit too cliché and too familiar but thankfully didn’t drag the book down horribly. It was however a hodgepodge of other comics, movies or television shows that made up a lot of this first issue. While it was a decent read I couldn’t help while reading this book that I just couldn’t shake that all too familiar elements that kept creeping up in the story. It’s certainly not a terrible book but does suffer from not being very original. Cunha’s art has some rough edges at times but there are others times where it pretty good. He does struggle a bit with being consistent but there is more good than bad and hopefully he will be able to improve as he goes along.
Is this book worth your time and money? I will give Vault comics for trying a book that is outside the normal big two offerings and while the book sadly falls a bit into the average area at least it delivers a decent story and art for two bucks. Look I have read a lot worse than this and the main problem that I had was that I had wished that they had come up with a story that was more original. There were some good ideas here and it could go somewhere good in the end. The art is a little iffy but not awful by any stretch. In the end the book is OK and at least they tried something different and I will give them props for that.
Static Press/Titan Comics Writer Hubertus Rufledt, Writer and Artist Helge Vogt
Titan Comics continues to impress with bringing more European comics and translating them to English and Alisik is a wonderful little story that has a solid story and gorgeous artwork. What works so well for this book is the wonderful script from Rufledt that has all of the tropes of ghost and the afterlife and finds a way to make it feel fresh and new. I think that what made this book such a wonderful read was that he didn’t go for the whole dark and depressing afterlife story and while the tone is dark it has heart to the story that gives it a warm and fuzzy feeling that works very well here. It ends up being a sort of slice of the afterlife so to speak. He also lays some great ground work with mystery for future issues as to what happened to Alisik and how and why she passed that gives you a great reason to come back for more. The big win for this book is the stunning artwork by Vogt. Not only are the visuals amazing his color work is really breathtaking and adds greatly to the visual impact that complements the script. He also keeps the not dark and dreary tone of the script with the art that has a nice etherial look that is perfect.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really fell in love with this book because not only is the visuals amazing but the story is just as good. There are so many time where the art is gorgeous and the story is so-so but this book delivers both perfectly. You also fall in love with not only the characters but the world that they are in that is in between life and the afterlife. This is a unique and beautiful comic that is a must buy. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Mera: Queen of Atlantis #1
DC Comics Writer Dan Abnett, Penciler Lan Medina, Inker Richard Friend, Colorist Veronica Gandini, Letterer Simon Bowland
I like both Aquaman and Mera and there have been some really good stories over the year with both of them but sadly that is not the case here. Abnett’s script here is simply average and doesn’t really strives to go anywhere. It’s a pretty by the numbers affair here and there is nothing that will surprise or impress you with after reading this first issue. There are many plot threads from the current Aquaman series and Abnett does explain most of them well enough for new readers not to feel totally lost while reading it. But the bigger issue is that you simply know everything that is going to happen while your reading it. There are no surprises and its pretty boring and average. I wished that the art was better here and Medina does some nice work but it also falls into the same category as the story in that its pretty boring and uninspired artwork here. The problem is that it’s visually standard looking superhero art that get the job done but doesn’t leave any impression on you after you’re done.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really wanted to like this book but it simply was very average in both story and artwork. We really need more female driven characters from DC like this book but they simply need to be a lot better than this book and sadly this is part of the problem with comics from the big two. There simply needs to be more fresh voices for a book like this to give someone new a chance to jut their teeth on a character like Mera that is wide open for something new. Sadly there is nothing here to recommend in this first issue or the other five to come. SKIP IT!
DC Comics Writer Dan Abnett, Penciller and Writer John Romita Jr., Inker Sandra Hope, Colorists Dean White & Arif Prianto, Letterer Tom Napolitano
It’s kind of hard to believe that the same writer of Mera co-wrote this book because this is so much better than that. The first issue got off to a pretty good start and this second round continues to build upon that very nicely. The one thing that I like about this book is not necessarily the action that is quite impressive but the dramatic story and the mystery of those elements is where the book really shines. The basic plot elements have been done to death I have to give Abnett and Romita Jr. kudos for giving them a fresh spin and making them seem different. The key to the story working is how well-rounded Honor is as a character and how she is trying to live a normal life but the agency won’t let her out. The script has a nice snappy feel with a good balance of action, humor and drama that can be a challenge with a superhero comic. I have to admit that Romita Jr. is really impressing me with his art on this book because I haven’t been a fan of his over the years but he is really putting some great effort into this book. Where his art is really shining is when Honor is with her family in the more low-key dramatic elements and there are some really great expressions that he pulls off that quite impressive and I think that Hope’s inks are helping that out too.
Is this book worth your time and money. I won’t deny that I’m 100% sold on the book because while there are a lot of things to like about this book so far, it hasn’t broken out of some of the more familiar story tropes that have been told so many times before. I would like to see the book grow a bit more and while this second issue has there is still room for some improvement. With that being said the book is still worth buying and is moving forward a little better than expected so that’s a pretty good sign for future issues.
Doom Patrol/JLA Special #1
DC’s Young Animal Writers Steve Orlando & Gerard Way, Artists Dale Eaglesham, Nick Derington, Additional Artists Sonny Liew, Ibrahim Moustafa, Michael Avon Oeming, and Marley Zarcone, Colorists Tamra Bonvillain & Marissa Louise, Letterer Clem Robins
The final chapter in the DC’s Young Animal/DC Universe Milk War saga comes to a close with this bookend chapter and while it wasn’t the most amazing comic crossover, it did however provide a lot of fun and unique elements of both worlds. For readers of the Young Animal line knows at this point the weirder the better with these stories and that is very prominent here. And yet as wild as the story got it did have a flavor that worked well for what they were trying to accomplish. This and the other book are not going to be for every readers taste and that is a good thing because the whole crossover was an outside the box crossover to begin with. What was fun about this final story is that it’s pretty much a giant fight scene with lots of humor and drama thrown around and how you can take basic and cliché superhero fare and come up with a different spin that shows that you can push boundaries in many different directions and take chances. Orlando and Way have taken the event crossover to a whole new level with the Milk Wars and this final chapter really seals the deal. One of it’s best assets is that it delivers a grand and satisfying finale but has you wanting to go back and re-read the previous chapters to find the more subtle elements that you will discover now that you know the whole story. Very few mainstream comics have that effect. This story makes you look at the stories from a different view and actually embraces the clichés and basic tropes and used them to its advantage. It also lays the ground work for the relaunch of the Young Animal books this month. Eaglesham handles the majority of the artwork load on this book and he really has outdone himself on the epic battle scenes that are very impressive and having Derington bring the story to a great visual close was simply icing on the cake for this final issue. It was also nice to see some other artists peppered throughout the story that gave the book a great look with each artists style blending in and out nicely for a great visual feast.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed the overall Milk Wars story and going back and re-reading the whole story after this final issue does make it work a lot better. And while the individual issues do stand on their own they make a better connection when you read it in one sitting. I will say that this may not be the best way to jump into the Young Animal Universe but it will give you a flavor of what you can expect from the books and that is they all go for the long game and not just disposable stories each issue. This was a bold and wild crossover that was a great ride on many levels and really redefines what a superhero crossover can and should be. Not a sales event but a chance to tell a good and unique story, and every creator on every one of the books delivered that. VERY RECOMMENDED!