The Flash #21
DC Comics Writer Joshua Williamson, Artist Howard Porter, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Steve Wands
I’ll be real honest I wasn’t overwhelmed with the first part of The Button story in the last issue of Batman but this second part by Williamson and Porter do a good job of getting the story back on track. The Batman story tended to drag out the story and sot it off to a slow start but Williamson does a good job of mixing the mystery with the drama and action that makes this a more satisfying story. I like that he treats the story as more of a mystery and makes it fall into place more naturally. This story also re-establishes the continuity that was blown off by The New 52 that is a good thing in my opinion. This story along with the whole Rebirth allows the creative teams to pick and choose what they want to use in their books. He also creates a new timeline in the DC Universe that is quite intriguing and will see how it pans out in the upcoming issues. Porter really does an impressive job on the artwork here and wisely doesn’t get trapped in the 9 panel Watchman layout that plagued the Batman story. While there are a few nods to it he lest the story take the lead and hits a home run with it. This really shows what a versatile artist he is because he is able to handle both the dramatic dialog scenes and the big epic moments in the story with ease.
Is this book worth your time and money? While this is not the greatest story that I have ever read it was a good improvement over the first chapter. While the jury is still out on how and if they bring the Watchman Universe into the DC Universe this issue gives me hope that the story will come together in the end. In the end it’s a good read and I will give the story a go to the end at this point.
Aliens Dead Orbit #1
Dark Horse Comics Writer, Artist and Letterer James Stoke
There have been a ton of Alien comics over the years at Dark Horse and they have boon both good and bad. The biggest problem with most of them is that they tend to follow the sam basic plot of finding a planet or abandoned ships with Aliens on them and they have to fight their way out to survive. Stokes pretty much follows the same theory here and while the book is a good read I was hoping for something a little more different. The story hits all of the right beats and the script does have some nice moments but I hope that he does take some risks and twist with the story in the next few issues. The one thing where the book really shines is Stokes artwork that is very impressive here. The level of detail that he puts into each panel is simply amazing. There is an obvious Japanese Manga influence but that is certainly not a complaint. This is one of the best looking Aliens series in quite a while. He also does a great job on the coloring of the book that sets a great tone and feel for the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I did like the first issue but it did suffer from the been there and done that story. I hope that Stoke will mix things up in the story that will either make or break this series. The book is worth buying but just be forewarned that there is a very familiar story here so that could be good or bad depending on what you want.
Batman/The Shadow #1
DC Comics/Dynamite Writers Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando, Artist Riley Rossmo, Colorist Ivan Plascencia, Letterer Clem Robins
Crossovers can be a very tricky thing and more often than not most are simple fan service stories that bring little beyond that. I really have to give Snyder and Orlando props here that they have crafted a really good story here that doesn’t make it feel like another crossover. You actually believe that these two universes are the same one. While the first issue has a fair amount of exposition they do a good job of not letting that drag the story down with it. One of the best things about the story is that they actually have Batman be a detective and it really benefits the story quite nicely. In fact that is one reason the story gets off to such a good start. The other thing that they get right is the tone for both of the characters. Batman feels like Batman and The Shadow feels like the Shadow and many writers try to change them to make them fit into a story that doesn’t work because of it. Another win for the book is the beautiful artwork by Rossmo that blends the two universes together that visually they fit perfectly. What always impress me with an artist is how they are able to handle dramatic and dialog scenes and Rossmo really nails that here. He also delivers a great mood to the book that is a staple of both The Shadow and Batman and that really helps the book immensely. Colorist Plascencia adds a lot to the mood with his great color work on the book that really complements Rossmo’s line work.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed this first issue of this crossover and Snyder, Orlando and Rossmo have done a bang up job on this first issue. They hit all of the right beats that a first issue should do and avoid all of the trappings that a crossover can fall into. Solid story with great artwork make this book an easy RECOMMENDATION!
X-O Manowar #2
Valiant Writer Matt Kindt, Artist Tomas Giorello, Colorist Diego Rodriguez, Letterer Dave Sharpe
The first issue of this book got off to a solid start and this issue shows that it was no fluke. Kindt does a great job with this second issue. He builds on the first issue and moves the story alone nicely. What I like he has done with the story is made Aric a reluctant hero but also is smart enough to not to follow stupid orders. Using a basic storm the castle for the first storyline is a smart idea and allows him to deliver the exposition that he needs to set things up and the simple story keeps things moving along nicely. This issue has a lot of nice action that was nice to see and added to the fun of the story. I also like that he doesn’t want to use the X-O suit and the mystery that surrounds that is adding nicely to the mystery of the story. Giorello artwork continues to impress with the lush and detailed artwork that really elevates this book. In fact it is one of the best looking books from any publisher now. The blending of Giorello’s line work and Rodriguez’s color work makes this book shine and takes it to a whole other level.
Is this book worth your time and money? The one thing that really impresses me about this book is that you don’t have to have any previous knowledge of the characters and that is a big plus for this book. That issue has really plagued Valiant over the years and I’m glad that they are trying to entice new readers to their books. This book is a solid story with gorgeous artwork that is a real pleasure to read and is RECOMMENDED!
Big Moose One-Shot
Archie Comics Writers Sean Ryan, Ryan Cady & Gorf, Artists Cory Smith, Thomas Pitilli, & Ryan Jampole, Colorist Matt Herms, Glenn Whitmore, & Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Jack Morelli
With the success of Riverdale and the modern take on Archie in the new comics there has been a number of one shots spotlighting characters from the Archie universe and Moose is one of the first ones to hit and it’s surprisingly quite a treat. There are three short stories Moose vs The Vending Machine is first up by Ryan and Smith and they deliver a fun little story that captures the essence of what Moose tries to do things the right way and that doesn’t always work out well. It also shows that when he wants something he will stick with it until he gets it. The second story by Cady and Pitilli might just be the best one. While on the surface Moose might be the dumb bohunk but he is a very sweet-natured boy who will do his best no matter what the task is. This story is really sweet and shows another side of him that you rarely see. It also show why Midge loves him so much. The third and final story by Gorf and Jampole is a predictable story but while it’s by the numbers it works and is another sweet story. All three of the story are simple but very well told and that is why the book is so charming. They wisely don’t just treat him as the dumb jock that he was mostly portrayed in the old days. What I loved about all of the stories was that Moose has a heart as big as he is tall and that is why this book works so well. Each artist brings a nice look and take on each story and capture Moose very well. These are good-looking stories that make this book a real winner.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not going to be the greatest thing that you have ever read but that’s OK. Sometimes reading a sweet and simple story is a nice break from a lot of heavy-handed comics. These stories don’t try to be more than what they are. Short, Sweet and to the point and that is why they all work so well. Solid stories and artwork make this a good deal. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Supergirl Being Super #3
DC Comics Writer Mariko Tamaki, Artist Joelle Jones, Colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, Letterer Saida Temofonte
This Supergirl story continues to be one of her best and this issue is a great lead in to the final chapter. After the tragic events of the last issue I was glad to see that Tamaki really takes the time to deal with the emotional impact of those events. That’s what I really love about this book is that she takes the time to let the story unfold very naturally and makes it feel that much more real. What I didn’t expect are the huge story twist that are thrown in this issue and really kick the story into overdrive. Tamaki’s script is always catching the reader off guard and that is a good thing and she hits some really great emotional beats in the story. This is the kind of breath of fresh air that Supergirl really needs now in comics. There is so much that she can and should be and Tamaki is really hitting the nail on the head on the direction that she needs to go in. Jones continues to deliver really beautiful artwork on the book. Her style gives the story a very natural feel that brings the script to life. It’s the small subtle things that she delivers in the art that makes this book such a treat and a treasure.
Is this book worth your time and money? Some would write this book off as a “young adult” or “teen drama” book and they would be very wrong. While on the surface this book might appear to be that, it’s very far from that. What is making it work so well is that Tamaki and Jones are the perfect team to bring this book alive. It’s delivering on every level and is simply a great comic book. This could be the almost perfect Supergirl comic. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer R.L. Stine, Artist German Peralta, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer Travis Lanham, Back-Up Story Artist Kate Niemczyk
This book continues to be quite the surprise. While the last issue seemed to dip a little once I read this issue I now see where and why Stine did with the last issue. He is really pulling off a solid first story arc for the book. While there is some mixed reaction to the book, I’m finding it to be a very unique take on the character. The one thing that I applaud Stine for is that he steers away from Swamp Thing territory and that is very wise. What he is doing is building a foundation for Man-Thing from the ground up. It’s also a story that is unfolding and there is not the typical Marvel format that is probably throwing some readers off. He also has a slower pace that a lot of impatient comic reader tend not to like. The other thing that I like is that Stine keeps readers on their toes by throwing things into the story you never quite expect. This book really lucked out in getting Peralta artwork on the book. He is another reason that this book is working so well. He brings a great horror feel and look to the book and the level of detail really delivers the emotions of a character that has limited facial expressions is tough for any artist but Peralta does it with ease. Another win for the book is the short story back ups in each issue that gives the book a more old school feel. This issue is another winner and Niemczyk delivers some nice art to the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? I’m digging the old school feel and look that this book is delivering. I also enjoy the methodical unfolding of the story that is taking it’s time to tell it. This issue goes in a direction that I never saw coming and that was very nice to see and can’t wait to see where Stine and Peralta take the book. The back-up short stories are the icing on the cake for this book. If you’re looking for a retro inspired horror comic then give this book a try.
Kamandi Challenge #4
DC Comics Writer James Tynion IV, Artist Carlos D’Anda, Colorist Gabe Eltaeb, Letterer Clem Robins
I love to see how each creative team hands off the story and see where the next ones take it. Tynion and D’Anda do a great job of picking up from the last issue and give a nice take on the giant monster. Tynion finds a very clever way continuing the story. The other thing that I was impressed with is that he kept a nice humor aspect to the story that adds to the irony of it. He also keeps the spirit of what makes Kamandi so great is his compassion and caring that makes him such a great character and Tynion captures that perfectly here. Each issue keeps building on the world and yet each writer brings their own voice to the book that is making it simply a fun and enjoyable read each issue. What I’m loving about this book is that they are not being slavish to the Kirby version but just letting the book inhabit his spirit and not try to recreate it and that is why it’s working so well. D’Anda artwork give this issue a great look with his bold line work that added a real epic quality to the Tynion’s story. He is able to bring the emotions to the script very nicely and give the book a grand scope to make the story work so well.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is simply a nice throwback to not only King Kirby but also a time when comics were simply fun. Each issue is a blast to see how they come up with a solution from the previous team and the challenge that they leave for the next team. This is pure old school goodness that if you’re not reading then your missing all of the fun. RECOMMENDED!
Wonder Woman #21
DC Comics Writer Greg Rucka, Artist Liam Sharp, Colorist Laura Martin
We are sadly coming to the end of The Truth storyline and this issue throws a huge monkey wrench from left field into the story. What is making this Rucka run so enjoyable is that he captures the spirit of what make Wonder Woman such a wonder. He infuses both her compassion and when she need to kick ass she does. He always treads that fine line and that is a difficult task but he always seems to pull it off with ease and this issue hits that home. One of the best things about this book is the way that Rucka unfolds the story each issue because you really savor each moment in the story and let it wash over you. This issues cliffhanger was quite the surprise and really makes all of the story elements to this point really come together. And then there is Sharp who has simply nailed this book from day one. The level of emotion that he puts into each line that he draws is simply beautiful. This is one of those rare books that you can truly call a collaboration. He brings every word of Rucka script to visual perfection and is able to capture each subtle moment in the story with ease. I must also point out that Martin’s color work on the book really complements Sharp’s line work and is the final part of the team that has been delivering a truly standout superhero book each issue.
Is this book worth your time and money. While it’s sad to know that only a few issues from now this team will be departing the book. But the joy and honesty that they have brought to each and every issue has been a real gift not only to readers but Diana herself. What better way to cap her 75th Birthday than a run that has simply delivered a top-notch comic book that has really defined the DC Rebirth initiative. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
CATCH UP REVIEW:
Archie Comics Writer Ryan North, Artist Derek Charm, Letterer Jack Morelli
This issue marks the end of North’s wonderful run on Jughead and he really does a great job on wrapping up his final storyline. He has really done an outstanding job on this book and I’m sad to see him go. He brought the same spirit of fun and joy that he brings to Squirrel Girl each month (and if you’re not reading that book then shame on you!) and brought it to Riverdale and really shaped who Jughead is. He delivered a solid ending to his run that he should really be proud of here. I love how he let Jughead grow each issue and really fleshes out his character over his run. There are so many great things that he wraps up in this issue and gives the run a nice solid ending that is very satisfying. Charm has really stepped up to the plate with his art on the book and is the perfect partner in crime to North’s scripts. His clean and simple style brings the script perfectly to the page and really does an outstanding job on the emotions of the story. This issue is one of his best and wraps it up very nicely.
Is this book worth your time and money? While the book came out a few weeks ago, I really wanted to review North’s final issue because it not only ties up all of his storyline’s but really shows the wonderful tone and joy that he brought to the book. Along with Charm they delivered a book that was a great read each issue and is going to be a tough act to follow. VERY RECOMMENDED!