Valiant Entertainment Writer Andy Diggle, Artist Stephen Segovia, Colorist Ulises Arreloa, Letterer Simon Bowland
Valiant’s reboot of the popular Acclaim Comics series gets off to a good but a bit middling start. Diggle sets the story up fairly well here with introducing the new cast of characters with Alyssa and Jack and a bit of their background. The one thing that I felt he did very well is the Voodoo mystic/magic elements of the story that had been a strong element in the original series original creators Garth Ennis and Ashley Woods. The first issue does struggle a bit with that it sets things up for this first story arc but ends up not being hugely compelling. I just found it to be an OK read and while Diggle script has some good moments, it simply didn’t make me want to rush out and buy the second issue. It seemed to be a by the numbers affair with nothing that wasn’t expected or surprising. I will give Segovia props for some nice artwork on this book and while it wasn’t flashy, it did a good job of being visually appealing and actually helped the so-so story along better than it ended up being. He handles both the dramatic and action scenes in the book without missing a beat.
Is this book worth your time and money? I didn’t find the book to be a terrible read but, it didn’t really stand out either. I will give Diggle that while a new reader may not know everything right away, it was accessible to them. The book just kind of sat there for me and with so many comics being released each week, it’s tough to recommend it and just kind of meh in the end.
Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1
DC’s Young Animal Writer Jody Houser, Artist Ibrahim Moustafa, Colorist Jordan Boyd & Marissa Louise, Letterer John Workman, Back-Up Artwork Paulina Ganucheau
I rather enjoyed the first story arc of Mother Panic and do like the different direction that Houser is taking this new story. While the story trope of after a big crossover our hero comes back to a different time line is not particularly new but she does add a few twist that gives this take a nice lift. Houser wisely keeps the mystery under wraps here but give nice little clues as to the similarities and differences of this version of Gotham. Her new side kick with Rosie is interesting but it’s too early to tell where her story is going to fit into it. I’m intrigued with the Collective and how it fits into Violet’s search for her mother and her re-imagined Joker has some nice potential. The only issue I have with this first outing is that it’s good but a bit slower than some readers will be able to see the foundation that she is laying here. I’m very glad to see Moustafa artwork on this book and really enjoyed his work on Savage Things. There is a lot of character building and drama that he is able to make it visually exciting with his wonderful artwork. He is able to capture the characters facial expressions quite well and his art has a nice fluid flow that brings the story to life very nicely. As a nice bonus to this first issue there is a short story that sheds some light on the Collective and how they are trying to shape this version of Gotham. It has some very nice art from Ganucheau that delivers a nice Stepford look that hits the nail on the head of the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a very good jumping on point for new readers and regular readers will enjoy the new Gotham that has some very nice potential. Houser and Moustafa have giving this series a nice fresh start but with an eye to the first series. This new Gotham has a lot going for it with this first outing and a solid first chapter that will bring you back for the second issue.
The Terrifics #2
DC Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Pencilers Ivan Reis & Jose Luid, Inkers Vicente Cifuentes & Jordi Tarragona, Colorist Marcelo Maiolo, Letterer Tom Napolitano
I was very taken with the first issue of this series and this second outing does a very nice job with the set up of the team and the story arc to come. This book proves again that with the right characters Lemire can really craft a fun and well thought out superhero comic. By far the best of the New Age of Superheroes books so far and what makes it so good is that it’s simply a really fun book that hits all of the right beats for a superhero team book. The big plus for this book is that Lemire take a cast of non A list superheroes and is able to make them stand above nearly all of the current DC team books. He is able to give these characters so much depth but never forgets to let the book be fun. One of the best elements in this second outing is how Linnya (Phantom Girl) ended up in Dark Multiverse is very touching and is what sets this book apart. The other big win for this book is Plastic Man who could have just been comic relief but in Lemire’s hands is so much more than that. He also uses some cliché story elements to his advantage such as the reason that they have to stay together is pretty flimsy but he is able to make it work because you are able to just go with it. It appears that Reis was only on the book for one and a half issues that is a real disappointment but Luid does an amazing job of keeping the continuity of the visuals for the final five pages. Reis brought a great look to the book and sad to see him go but the good news is that Evan “Doc” Shaner is jumping onto the book as the regular artist on the book. One of the reasons that the book works so well that Reis and Luid are able to capture the huge scope of Lemire’s script but also capture the humor and emotions of the characters that really make this book click!
Is this book worth your time and money? This second outing does a fantastic job of building from the first issue and does a grand job of finishing the set up of the team. Now that the exposition is out-of-the-way and by no means was it boring to say the least, I simply can’t wait to see where Lemire take this team. This is one of the funnest superhero comics that I have read in quite a while and it’s both refreshing and satisfying all at once and a real must buy comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Highest House #2
IDW Writer Mike Carey, Artist & Letterer Peter Gross, Colorist Fabien Alquier
I was rather taken with the first issue of this new series and the second issue builds greatly on the story. Carey script really lets this world breath and gives it a natural flow that really flows over you as you read it. The subtle story elements that unfold with Carey’s script give the reader a chance to get to know the cast so well that when some of the secrets of the mystery are revealed in this issue you are able to feel for them in a way that makes it very satisfying. Moth evolution as a character is where the charm of the book is being delivered perfectly. Carey makes you feel all of his emotions and that lets you identify with him very well. The growing supporting cast is revealing very nicely here and there is an overall richness to the story that makes this book very charming. How are you able to continue to praise Gross’s gorgeous artwork where every panel is so lovingly and perfectly captured. The level of detail that he puts into his work on this book is one of the main reasons that you are transported to this world and he makes you fell as if you are there. Alquier’s color work continues to impress and complements Gross’s lone work beautifully.
Is this book worth your time and money? This issue dives deeper into the mystery of the Highest House but it also continues to build the characters and the world out very nicely. I like the pace that Carey and Gross are unfolding the story and letting the story breath and letting the readers soak it all in. This is a grand epic story that continues to impress and deliver as satisfying read again this issue and look forward to see where they take it in the next issue. RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer Daniel Kibblesmith, Penciler Carlos Villa, Inker Roberto Poggi, Colorist Chris O’Halloran, Letterer Clayton Cowles
As much crap as I give Marvel for their lack of good or competent comics, every once in a while they put out a book that will shock me because it’s actually pretty damn good. Lockjaw definitely falls into that category. While Lockjaw is not going to be the world’s greatest comic magazine by any stretch but thanks to Kibblesmith it a really damn fun ride. Sure he keeps the story pretty simple but that is why it’s so charming. He doesn’t overplay the story and in this issue he uses Ka-Zar and the savage land to his advantage. Yep there is a dog, cat and even dinosaur jokes peppered throughout the story but he also starts to reveal the mystery behind what is going on behind the scenes with what Lockjaw is looking for. Adding to the fun is Villa’s artwork that is somehow able to capture all of the action, jokes and charm that is in the script. His clean line work really benefits the book and keeps the visual tone loose and fun. He does a nice job with both the human and animal characters that is a big plus for the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? What I love about this book is that Kibblesmith and Villa don’t try to make this book more than it is meaning that it aims for the middle and hits it perfectly. This is not to say that it’s average no, it’s just that it doesn’t try to be more than it is and that is why it’s working so well. This is a very charming and fun book for all ages and a nice romp with Lockjaw through the Marvel Universe. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Doomsday Clock #4
DC Comics Writer Geoff Johns, Artist Gary Frank, Colorist Brad Anderson, Letterer Rob Leigh
This book while entertaining to read to a point is almost like reading fan fiction based on Watchmen. I had hoped that Johns was going to blend the Watchmen Universe and the DC Universe together but this is really just ending up being an homage, sequel and rehash of the original Watchmen. As you read the book it’s interesting but in the end is not really adding anything really new to the Watchmen mythology. At least the Before Watchmen material felt fresh and new because most of those stories were not so slavishly following the original series. It’s almost as if Johns took each issue of Watchmen and is telling the nearly same story but set in a different setting with a different cast. If the point of this is going to be blending the two universes together, there has been very little of that so far. He really seems to be dragging this whole thing out at time it seems. Unlike some I don’t think that Johns writing is gods gift to comics and while he has written some fun comics he has also written some pretty mediocre ones too. Of course Frank always delivers on the artwork side of thing and continues to make this book at the very least gorgeous but unlike what Mitch Gerads is doing with the nine panel layout over on Mister Miracle, Frank seems to be far too slavish to Gibbons original art from Watchmen. In fact it simply doesn’t stand on its own very well with that in mind.
Is this book worth your time and money? As this series goes along the more frustrated that I get with it. It’s not that it’s a bad read but I just feel like it’s far too much of Johns aping Alan Moore and Watchmen in both dialog and lack of originality. Sure it’s worth the price of admission for Frank’s artwork alone even with the slavish re-imagined Gibbons artwork. I think the biggest problem with this book is that I really expected better from them both. I simple don’t want to read a re-imagined Watchmen and if I wanted I would just go back and re-read the original brilliant series not a poor mans fan fiction piece.
Static Press/Titan Comics Writer Hubertus Rufledt, Co-Writer & Artist Helge Vogt, Letterer Cat Connery
I am really loving Titans Comics new Static Press line that is bringing foreign comics to American comic book readers with proper translations. I was very impressed with the first outing of Alisik and Rufledt and Vogt have really done a great job of building on the first issue and adding some wonderful new twists to the already intriguing story. I love that they have went with a less darker tone with death that other comics have taken and while there are dark overtones, I love that they are developing characters that you really care about and that is why this book is working so well. Even the supporting cast has great development and add greatly to the overall story. The big surprise with this issue is adding Ruben to the mix who is able to see the dead even though he is living. I won’t reveal the reasons for this you are just going to have to buy the comic to find out but it really ups the game of this already great story. Vogt makes this book a true visual feast with his stunning artwork that has a nice ethereal look and feel. Each character has a unique look and feel that he is able to blend it all together with ease and that is where this book really excelled. The whole dress-up scene with Alisik and Frings going to the mall and buying clothes was very adorable and charming. This is a really gorgeous looking book and is just as good as the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? I am really enjoying this book and a real bargain with 54 pages of story and artwork for only $5.99 that is a real steal in today’s comic market. Rufledt and Vogt have created a wonderful little story here that is a simple and fun comic that works really well on every level. With stunningly brilliant artwork and solid script make this a must buy book. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #36
DC Comics Writer Sholly Fisch, Artist Dario Brizuela, Colorist Franco Riesco, Letterer Saida Temofonte
It’s been quite a while since I have reviewed this book. And while I read every issue that is a pure blast I really have to point this issue out because it’s a true love letter to old school DC Comics from the 1960’s period. As always Fisch make this book very accessible to a younger audience who has no idea who these classic characters are and that’s fine but, for us old timers it’s a nostalgia trip with both Scooby and the gang meeting some long-lost DC friends. In this issue alone it’s filled to the brim with a huge cast with Angel and the Ape, The Inferior Five, Stanley and his Monster and the biggest surprise of Sugar and Spike that is one of my all time favorite DC Comics that desperately needs to be full reprinted. The thing that always impresses me with Fisch’s writing on this book is that he makes sure that the reader is able blend together the Scooby gang and the guest stars with such ease that he makes it great even if you’re not familiar with them. You get enough quick information without dragging the story down because he has to wrap it all up in 20 pages. He makes sure to keep it light and breezy every single issue. Brizuela herculean task of trying to draw all of these characters is one thing but he has to draw them in a simple animation style is a hard task for any artist but he always seems to find that magical way to make it all work and flow together effortlessly. He always delivers perfect artwork every issue and that is a testament to his artistic talents.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is always fun every single issue and I have to really praise Fisch for mining some of the most obscure DC Universe characters at times and making it come together with simple and fun stories for both young and old comic readers. This is a book that is like eating candy in that it’s sweet and very enjoyable. I love this book each and every issue and the quality is always top-notch. RECOMMENDED!