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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 5/29/19

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 5/29/19

Killer Groove #1

Aftershock Comics Writer Ollie Masters, Artist Eoin Marron, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

If your a fan of comics like Stray Bullets then this is a comic right up your alley. Like Masters previous comics he has a knack for crime and noir stories and he has cooked up a very nice one here. What does work well here is the mixing of the music genre with the crime/noir genre that gives this story a fresh look and feel but wisely doesn’t stray from its core roots of noir. This first issue has quite a bit of exposition but Masters keeps the story moving along so it never gets too bogged down. Masters give the characters nice breathing room to let the readers get to know them and that is a big plus here. Marron’s artwork does a great job of bringing the right tone and feel to the story and capturing both the action and the drama quite well here. There are a number of times in the story where there is no dialog and Marron does a really good job of conveying the story with the artwork alone that is the mark of a good artist. Not only is the artwork spot on Bellaire brings here great color talent here and it add greatly to Marron’s line art to capture the perfect balance.

Is this book worth your time and money? I enjoyed reading this first issue and there is a lot to take in. Masters sets a lot up here in this first issue and delivers a very satisfying first issue out of the gate. There is solid character work and a good reason to come back for a second issue. Marron artwork captures the script very well and help deliver a solid comic book here that is well worth checking out. RECOMMENDED!

Superman: Leviathan Rising #1

DC Comics Writers Brian Michael Bendis/Greg Rucka/Matt Fraction/Marc Andreyko, Artists Yanick Paquette/Mike Perkins/Steve Lieber/Eduardo Pansica & Júlio Ferreira, Colorists Nathan Fairbairn/Paul Mounts/FCO Plascencia, Letterers  Dave Sharp/Simon Bowland/Clayton Cowles/Tom Napolitano/Troy Peteri

This kick off to this Leviathan Rising event in the Superman titles along with Supergirl and will also have two new spin off series that have Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane. The good news is that none of the stories are terrible but there are two that really stand out and ironically they are both the new series. The framing sequence by Bendis and Paquette is good but in a way never quite elevates itself to a must read but it’s a story that is setting up things so on that level it works decently. The big win for this story is Paquette’s gorgeous artwork on this and really elevates the story. Bendis script is OK but I will say that the dialog is quite good and added a lot to helping it along. I was excited to hear that Rucka was coming back to DC and finally doing his Lois Lane story that he had wanted to do for years and it was well worth the wait. He has a great knack for writing strong female characters and this one is right up his alley with a nice noir touch to it. Perkins really delivers some great moody artwork that really complements Rucka’s script and is one of the strongest stories in this book. Hands down the big win for this book and nearly enough alone to buy this book is the Jimmy Olsen story by Fraction and Lieber that is one of the funniest comics I have read in quite a while. It reminded me of the charming Bizzaro mini series a few years back but even funnier here. Not only does Fraction nail this one perfectly but Lieber brings the perfect visual style and tone to the story that makes this the one book to really look forward to. Andreyko and Pansica’s Supergirl story is another set up one that is OK and we will have to see where that one leaves and if their current run on the book is an indication I’m hopeful to see more but for new readers this story is going to be the most puzzling. The one thing that I did get excited from this story is that it appears that Andreyko’s version of Manhunter is back and looks to play a role in the story. 

Is this book worth your time and money? This one is a bit of a tough call in the sense that most event books from DC have been very uneven at best lately but with the two new series basically being previews here and the main storyline not super overwhelming it ends up being a bit of a draw. The bigger question here is if you really need to pick this up to understand the upcoming Leviathan Rising storyline. I’m guessing with what I have to go with based on this is probably not. On the other hand the Jimmy Olsen story is the biggest win for me and a strong second for the Lois Lane story so I would say that if your a current reader of the Superman and Supergirl comics then this is going to be worth it for you. If your not then I would say depending on your budget that if it allows and your interested then it’s worth a throw. 

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1

DC Black Label Writer Scott Snyder, Artist Greg Capullo, Colorist Johnathan Glapion, Letterer FCO Plascencia 

The long awaited second Black Label book from DC finally hits after many delays after the whole Batawang with Batman Damned fiasco. With that out of the way this story is more like the old Elsewhere stories that DC used to do where it’s outside the normal continuity and Snyder and Capullo take full advantage of this here. At first your going going to be thrown off by the first chapter and that is totally on purpose to catch you off guard so that when you start to discover what the story is about then is all become much more clearer. It’s hard to describe the story with giving too much away but basically its Batman is that last hero on the earth after the apocalypse and he is carrying around the Jokers head. Snyder sets thing up quite well here and while the story is not the most original he did spice the premiss up very nicely and threw in a lot of intriguing ideas to set things up for the overall story. It’s a bit to early to tell where this will land compared to his Batman run but out of the gate it starts off very promising. I like Capullo’s artwork and while his work on the regular monthly Batman series was good with the schedule did take a bit of a toll on the detail that he had time to put in. With this series he had a good lead time and the boo really benefitted from it. This is some of his best work in not only the detail but the dramatic moments in the story (and there is a lot of that here in this first issue)  really pays off. 

Is this book worth your time and money? I like Snyder and Capullo’s run on Batman but didn’t think it was definitive work but entertaining but here I did like that they decided to venture to the wild side and let loose more. While it’s too early to call on where this one is going to land from reading this first issue, I am sold on the story to continue it for it’s run. It didn’t necessarily wow me that was never the intention of this first outing. The key is does it give you a good reason to come back for a second issue and that is a firm yes and gets a RECOMMENDATION!

Dog Days of Summer #1

DC Comics Writers Collin Kelly & Jackson Lanzing/Joshua Williamson/G. Willow Wilson/Andrew Marino/Phillip Kennedy Johnson/Kenny Porter/Dan Didio/Mariko Tamaki, Artists Cully Hamner/Kyle Hotz/Stjepan Sêjić/James Harren/Christian Duce/Paul Fry & Mick Gray/Tom Raney/Cian Tormey, Colorist Dave McCaig/David Baron/Dave Stewart/Luis Guerrero/Ivan Plascencia/Hi-Fi/John Kalisz, Letterers Andworld Design/Tom Napolitano/Steve Wands/Clayton Cowles/Travis Lanham/Rob Leigh

Another DC anthology but this time centered mostly around the Super-Pets and as with most anthologies there are both misses and hits so the question is always the ratio of them. First up is Krypto & Superman in “The Crucible” that is a really heartwarming story about a man an his dog that will really melt your heart on this one. Kelly & Lanzing hit all of the right beats on this one and pull of a grenade surprise at the end. My only minor complaint on this one is Hamner’s artwork that I’m a big fan of but this was really disappointing artwork from him. While not terrible it falls into the really disappointing category but thankfully doesn’t kill the story. “Citizen Croc” is another strong story by Williamson with spot on artwork by Hotz that really captures the other side of a villain and is one of the big wins in this book. This is one of those short stories that is the perfect blend of story and artwork. “Barbecue Season” is a great extension of Wilson’s current strong run on Wonder Woman and does a fantastic job of balancing humor and heart in this story that is about Ferdinand that will really win you over with its charming story and wonderful artwork. “Crisis on Earth-26” was a bit of a tough one for me at first because I’m a huge fan of the original Captain Carrot series from the 80’s and the new incarnation has been a mixed bag but I will give Marino and Harren that they do a good job of capturing the classic WB animation style story that mixes the cartoon world and the superhero style quite well here. It’s did win me over with it’s charming story and artwork by Harren that balanced the two style very well here. “Rio Celeste” with Animal Man by Johnson and Duce is a nice story that is good but is totally saved by the final page. While it didn’t wow me it did pull a pretty so-so story up until it ended on a strong note that pulled it all together. Duce does some nice artwork here that has a strong amount of detail that helped it along till the payoff. “Tourist Season” from Porter & Fry and Gray is one that ends up in the mediocre pile that is an OK read but never really grabs you in the end but the artwork by Fry was nice but not enough to help the average story. “Panic at the Midnight Rodeo” by Didio & Raney is sadly the clunker of book. The story is simply just not good and really have no weight to it and the payoff is simply just not there. It makes it even more sad that Raney does his best with the artwork but he can’t save a terrible story. Last up is “All Beasts Bright & Beautiful” by Tamaki and Tormey that I question it as a real animal story and yes I get that Beast Boy can turn into any animal he can think of but that being said that Tamaki & Tormey take a fairly fun of the mill story and add some nice punches to it to make it a fun little read and has a sweet ending but didn’t really bowl me over either but was a decent read and the artwork was good. 

Is this book worth your time and money? Is is worth ten bucks, I would say marginally. The ratio from good to mediocre does have more good than bad with only one complete miss but does the ones that are strong good enough to buy this book? For the average buy I would say no but if your budget allows I would consider it because the ones that were good were really good and overall it was a pleasant reading experience. The real takeaway from this book is how heartwarming most of the stories were and that was the big surprise with this book.

X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction #1

Marvel Comics Writer/Artist Ed Piskor

I have been a big fan of Piskor’s take in both story and visually of the X-Men universe and now we get to the period in the run were I pretty much gave up on the book back in the mid 1980’s on where it just had fallen off in quality post Paul Smith’s run on the book. So I was hesitant on picking this up but I love Piskor’s take on the run that I was willing to give it a chance. While I still don’t think that this part of the run is all that great, I will say that Piskor made in much more palatable to revisit than I would have thought. Both is writing and art distills it down to the highlights and makes Claremont’s long and drawn-out storylines in a more streamline fashion that makes it much more enjoyable than the original series did. What I love about Piskor is is art style that has a great underground flavor that I love and hopefully will get the average Marvel reader to maybe explore a whole other world of comics out there that are far removed from the superhero genre. This is really great stuff both visually and but the paper stock and the color pallet that he uses on the books.

Is this book worth your time and money? I hate to admit it but Piskor actually got me to read these stories and make them a lot more palatable to read. While I do think the previous volumes are better because the source material is stronger, I have to give credit to Piskor for improving on the original stories by distilling them down to their points. I have been a fan of these book and this one is another winner. RECOMMENDED!

Dick Tracy Forever #2

IDW Writer and Artist Michael Avon Oeming, Colorist Taki Soma, Letterer Shawn Lee

After a great start to this series Oeming really steps it up here in this second outing and hits the ground running. This issue only has two stories but they are both really strong. The first is a very short story but in only four pages he really delivers a strong story that it’s hard to believe that it’s only that short because it is packed to the gills. The second and longer story is a real treat because he really lets this one breath and that is a welcomed addition to this book. With the longer length it allows the story to go a more leisurely pace and the way that he allows the story to unfold made this one a real winner. It let the characters unfold and have a deeper depth than the short stories allowed. Not only is Oeming a solid writer but as always his artwork is simply breathtaking. It one thing to do a noir style but its a rare thing to be able to capture it so effortlessly and that is what is making this series so special. Even with the style and tone of the comic set in the past, Oeming has a way of infusing just the right amount of modern edge tom make it contemporary at the same time that is a near impossible feat. The other impressive thing is Soma’s color work on the book and you can see that he complements Oeming’s line work and noir style to really make this book pop in all of the right ways. 

Is this book worth your time and money? I cant say enough great things about this comic and the shame is that a lot of people are going to miss this because honestly this book is a really tough sell to todays comic readers. There is so much here that puts a lot of current comics to shame because you can see the love, care and passion that Oeming puts into both the story and artwork that is making this comic so special. The only thing that I can say it that this is one of those rare truly must read comic books and if your not buying this then your really missing out on a wonderful comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! 

Ascender #2

Image Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Dustin Nguyen, Letterer Steve Wands

This second issue of the next chapter of the Descender story really kicks into high gear and we start to see where things are going in this story. Lemire and Nguyen are lovingly taking time to let the story unfold at a very nice pace that is allowing it to breathe and that is what has alway made this series so great. This is why I love Lemire’s writing in that he takes the time to set things up and let the characters develop that gives the reader reasons to care what is not only going on but invites you to join in the journey with them and this allows the story pieces of the puzzle to fall perfectly into place. It’s one thing to have a great story but if you don’t have an artist to bring it to life then the book will sink, but not here with Nguyen who lavishly watercolors the artwork that has always giving this story a great ethereal look and feel that makes this book stand out in all of the right ways. I think my favorite thing that he does is how he captures the look and spirit of children in his artwork and it really shines in this story with Mila. 

Is this book worth your time and money? If you have read Descender and are afraid to pick this book up then the really good news is that it does stand on it’s own and while it’s part of a bigger story, your able to enjoy this and you can go back and catch up with the first storyline. Lemire and Nguyen continues to deliver a home run every issue and as always will have you hungering for more after you devour each issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Sham Comics #1

Source Point Press Re-Writers Tim Fuller, Daryll Collins, Artist Various

I’m a fan of old comics from the golden age and I was curious as to what this was going to be like with the re-written stories of golden age comics and simply put this is a real train wreck. While the idea of doing a so called “Mystery Science Theater 3000” treatment to these stories might seem like a good idea and it might have been if the writers had any respect for the original material even if the original stories were not that great but Fuller and Collins have simply no grasp of either tack or humor with their takes. This is lowball college humor at best and simple appeals to the lowest common humor level of booger and fart jokes. They try and be funny but it fails miserably at best and they simply throw in explicative’s to attempt to be edgy and it comes off like a child who just learned those words. It’s not that I’m insulted by them ruining these stories (although they barely miss doing that) or that it’s insulting to the original creators, no it’s that they took the cheep, lazy, and lowbrow approach to this and failed miserably. This really could have been a fun book but Fuller and Collins simply don’t understand the source material and riff on that angle and turn this into a dismal failure.

Is this book worth your time and money? The first thing that came to mind is insulting and that pretty much sums it up. The only minor thing that this comic has going for it is the reproduction of the artwork is actually pretty good and the size and paper stock of the cover and interiors are vert nice but with the actual content stinks so whatever point that SPP gets for the package is destroyed by the amateurs who wrote this in a word this book is a total sham but not in the way that they intended. AVOID THIS COMIC!