Action Comics #1000
DC Comics Writers Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis, Artists (Penciller) Dan Jurgens, (Inker) Norm Rapmund, Patrick Gleason, (Penciller) Curt Swan, Butch Guice and Kurt Schaffenberger (Inkers), Oliver Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Penciller), Kevin Nowlan (Inker), John Cassaday, Jim Lee (Penciller), Scott Williams (Inker), Colorists Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Peter Steigerwald, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair, Letterers Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano, John Workman, Carlos M. Mangual, Josh Reed, Chris Eliopoulos, Cory Petit, Pin-Ups, John Romita Jr. and Danny Miki, Walter Simonson, Jorge Jimenez
A comic that was 80 years in the making Action Comics is not only was the first appearance of Superman but he was the first superhero ever. DC has pulled out all of the stops with some of the biggest names in comics today. The biggest take away from these stories is what Superman has meant to readers over the years and why he still relevant today as he was in 1938. Each creative teams stories shows different views of him but they all deliver a great satisfaction of why readers still love the character. The very good news is that each story is simply perfect and while some shine more than others, there are no clunkers in the bunch and with an anniversary such as this I would expect no less. The biggest surprise was the Curt Swan story considering that he was of the defining Superman artists and was nice to see his artwork again. Johns, Donner and Coipel was a fun take on the cover artwork from Action Comics #1 and why Superman is always looking for the best in everyone. Snyder and Albuquerque deliver the tears in the most heartbreaking story of the book that is bittersweet brilliance. My personal favorite was the Dini and Garcia-Lopez story that was simply fun and any chance to have Garcia-Lopez to draw Superman again is a chance to relive my childhood because he drew so many comics for DC in the 1970’s and 1980’s that I read and Dini takes full advantage of his art with a fun and adorable story that doesn’t even have Superman. Meltzer and Cassaday deliver a story that hits the nail on the head about Superman being better than the best of humanity. This is also the first taste of new Superman writer Bendis that kicks off his run with a preview story with Lee that will set your mind at ease that based on this brief story that his take on Superman appears to be in good hands. He also keep telling the underwear joke that has been long overdue.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book set out to do exactly what it was intended to do, let creators tell short and sweet stories about the greatest superhero of all time and why he has endured and continues to be relevant today and in the future. While it would have been nice to see other creators tell a story, there is no doubt that the team for this book are at the top of their games with their stories. I’m a sucker for anniversary comics and DC has done Superman proud with this one. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Image Comics Writer Joe Henderson, Artist Lee Garbett, Colorist Antonio Fabela, Letterer Simon Bowland
This is an interesting comic this week in that Henderson and Garbett have come up with a really great concept here but it was an all too short first issue. In a way that is a good thing with the pacing of this first outing in that Henderson delivered a tight script that delivered exposition but kept it moving along nice and briskly. You get to know the cast of characters nicely and the story set up is good but I think that is simply ended too quickly but on the plus side they give you a good reason to come back for a second round. Garbett’s artwork is very nice here with a nice clean style that keeps it simple but is able to capture the scope of the world without gravity. One of the most impressive things is that you have to visually think of everything without gravity so when a character is drinking you must have it float out of the bottle and Garbett makes sure all of those little touches like that are there to give you a great visual sense of it.
Is this book worth your time and money? There is a lot to like with this comic and Henderson and Garbett get the book off to a very good start. And while I liked it, I just felt that there was not as much depth to the story quite yet but they doe set things up nicely so in the end it pretty much even out. With nice visuals that complements the story that makes this a comic well worth checking out.
Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1
Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Dean Ormston, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Todd Klein
The regular main Black Hammer comic is back and while the side story mini series have been great, I have been missing the main cast of the stories. If you are new to the Black Hammer Universe there is a nice synopsis of what has transpired in the book and while that is great I really recommend just buying the trades and getting caught up that way and you will not be disappointed. Now that Lucy has found the lost heroes Lemire doesn’t just let things get settled that easily. As we have learned with Lemire’s stories on this book that there is alway more to come and that is what makes it so good. You never know where he is going to take the book but in this case that is very good because as with most things in life things are not that simple. We also learn this issue that there appears to be more than one of these pocket universe. What continues to make this and the other books so good is that there are so many stories to tell that having the main book along with the mini series flow together so effortlessly that shows what a great writer that Lemire is. I have really missed Ormston’s artwork and it’s so nice to see him back in the saddle so to speak. I simply love how he is able to capture the weird worlds that Lemire comes up with and he is able to make the normal strange and the strange normal. These stories require a really subtle touch with the artwork and Ormston makes sure not to overplay or underplays each moment as needed. With Stewart and Klein on colors and letters this is almost the perfect comic.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is simply one of the best comic books out there now and each story just gets better and better as it goes along. It’s great to see the regular series back and I love how Lemire has weaved the mini series elements into the regular book. Ormston delivers great visuals and continues to surprise and impress. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Brave and the Bold #3
DC Comics Writer and Artist Liam Sharp, Colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr., Letterer Troy Peteri
Sharp’s deep and dark epic story teaming Batman and Wonder Woman does a nice job of hitting it’s stride with this third issue. The one thing that Sharp continues to deliver is a story that is very dense but there is such a richness to it that you don’t see in mainstream superhero comics much. What I have found in reading this book is that if you take your time to read it and let it all soak in it becomes quite a grand tale. I love that this issue is a Batman centered detective story that few writers remember that he is the dark night detective. Sharp has a lot of fun with this in the story and that made it quite enjoyable to read. He also give the story some nice action along with the mystery that gave this story a nice balance feel. There is no doubt that Sharp the artist is great but this might just be one of he best single issues that he has ever illustrated. The way that his able to go from small dramatic scenes to sweeping epic vistas is simply breathtaking and is perfect for this middle story issue.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I still stand by that this story will probably read best in one sitting because of the depth of story that Sharp is telling here but with that being said this issue was a nice surprise with it’s story elements that he delivers here. While I will say that for some readers the dense script might be hard to take it all in but if you give the book a chance and let it flow over you then I think that you will enjoy it. I’m starting to get into the groove on this book and likening where Sharp is taking it.
E.C. Publications Executive Editor Bill Morrison, Contributing Artist & Writers The Usual Gang of Idiots
The newly relaunched MAD Magazine is the best of both the magazine format and it goes back to its original comic book roots that it started out as. There is still the usual parodies and gag ads but what really got me excited about this new format is that Morrison with his deep comic book roots with Bongo and as a writer and artist himself brings back what Kurtzman did with the original comic book version that was a mix of parodies and simple funny stories. There are some great stories in this first outing with one of my favorites Bob Fingerman doing a great short story. There is also a nice Peter Bagge Ready Player One two page that was nice to see him draw. The Ian Boothby and Tom Richmond Archie parody of both the classic and Riverdale was great fun and props for Richmond pulling off the two visual styles perfectly. Overall this was a great start to the new book and I really like the direction that Morrison is taking the book in. I love that he is putting more comics back into the book and while I enjoy the parodies it was the classics that Don Martin, Harvey Kurtzman, Sergio Aragonés and Al Jaffee that made MAD such a great success over the years. While I would rather see it go back to full comic and gag pages, I do understand that a lot of readers love the current parodies and it seems that the overall balance of the new book will please both parties.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you’re not a fan of MAD then this new incarnation is not going to convince you otherwise but, if you liked MAD and haven’t read it in a while I do very much recommend that you try this new book out. While not perfect its a huge step in the right direction for the book and cant wait to see what Morrison and the Usual Gang of Idiots have in store for future issues. RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Pornsak Pichetshote, Artist Aaron Campbell, Colorist Jose Villarrubia, Letterer Jeff Powell
I liked the first issue of this comic and the second issue build very nicely on the unnerving feeling that this comic is delivering quite well. Pichetshote keep the horror on the more subtle side going for a more creepy feeling then trying to shock or cheep scares. There is a lot to take in with this second issue and the only problem is that I found it best to go back and re-read the first issue that gives this second issue a better flow because the month break did hamper reader the second issue at first. I love how he is slowly revealing the mystery that is going on and where he is going to take it. There is some great twist to the story here and the ending takes it to a place that you don’t see coming and that’s a good thing. Is the building haunted? Is Aisha possessed? At this point it could be anything and that is really helps the story along nicely. Campbell continues to impress with his very moody artwork that complements the script very nicely a I really like that he doesn’t overplay the visions and demons but gives it just enough to make it get under your skin. It takes a strong artist to know when to make more subtle visual choices and Campbell does a wonderful job of it on this book.
.Is this book worth your time and money? I’m really digging this book but am wondering if the monthly installments are the best way to read it. It’s obvious that Pichetshote is going for a more longe term story arc with this book and in this case a monthly book does take a bit away from it’s impact. This is not to say that this second issue is bad but it was a little hard to get back in the mood after a month and reading a ton of other comic books in the meantime. It’s a story that is got a lot going on and there are many subtle things that may not work when you have to wait to read the next installment. Pichetshote and Campbell are crafting a really solid horror comic here and is well worth getting.
Dark Horse Comics Story, Art and Lettering by Carlos and Miguel Valderrama
The grand finale to this neat little mini series comes to a satisfying conclusion that wraps up nicely but leaves room for more stories in the future. What I think worked best for this story is that it really was never about giant monsters but about family and friendships. Carlos and Miguel made sure that the core of the story was about the characters and the emotions that gave this story such a great foundation. In a lot of ways this story have been told many times before but they always made sure that you never lost sight of the emotions that made it such a wonderful reading experience. With a story like this one you need the artwork to be able to capture the smaller more intimate moments in the story and they really deliver in this final story. The final scene with Gogi and Zero is so beautifully drawn and captures what this story was all about that you feel both sides and why they are truly two sides of the same coin. Its a real visual feast.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed this book and while you have read this story many times before Carlos and Miguel gave it a fresh look and captured the emotional core of the story in both the scripts and the artwork. I hope that we see more stories in the future in this world because I think that there is a lot more to explore with both the lower and upper worlds. If you haven’t read this book so far I would say it would be best to pick up the trade when it comes out so you can read the whole story in one shot. It may not necessarily blow you away but it’s a solid and great looking story that is well worth reading. RECOMMENDED!
Baby Badass #3
Action Lab Comics, Writer D.E. Schrader, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Tim Larsen
The third and final issue (for now) Of Baby Badass is a bit of a mixed bag. There is a lot of story elements that Schrader has thrown into this book and while it’s had its ups and downs, its at least never has many dull moments. This third issue was a bit frustrating because there is simply too much story going on and at times becomes a bit of slog to get through. It seems as if he threw everything including the kitchen sink into this final issue and kind of lost its focus. There is too many new story elements that he puts into the story this late in the game and that is where this issue struggles with the story. I will give it that there is some very nice humor elements that has been a nice plus for this book overall. The couch character is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while and the dialog made me giggle. Where this issue stumbled was that the story doesn’t come to a natural story arc ending and Schrader threw way too many new elements far too late in the game that made it a bit disappointing. I do think that there are some good ideas overall in Baby Badass but the structure of the story has struggled with focus and pacing. This issue sadly doesn’t come to a natural story arc conclusion it just kind of ends and does leave you somewhat unsatisfied. I do think that Schrader has some good ideas here but the structure and pacing of the book has been a real mixed bag. Hopefully he is able to work on this if the book is able to do its next story arc. Larsen artwork on the book is still a mixed bag but for a small press first time book it looks good even with the inconsistency in the artwork. I have certainly seen worse artwork from major publishers than this. I will say that overall the artwork is more good than bad and there is now doubt that Larsen does not skimp on any detail in the panels and that is a big plus.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really wish that Schrader had structured this first story arc better. Overall I like a lot of the ideas that he introduced and there is some really great humor that the book does well but, it’s just a bit too rough around the edges but does show promise if the book continues. Hopefully he can iron out some of these bugs if the book continues. I would love to see more of the Superfluous Six in the future because that joke shows a lot of promise if done well. At the very least the book has been quite unique and while there have been issues there is no doubt that there is no other comic book like it.