Another big week for new comic books as we start to head into the summer season when the flood of comics hits the stands. I will try to get as many in as possible so onward we go.
Adventures of Supergirl #1
DC Comics Writer Sterling Gates, Artist Bengal, Letterer Saida Temofonte
One would have thought that DC would have had this book out sooner considering the show started last fall and they knew well in advance of the show being picked up after the pilot but I guess better late than never over at DC on this one. While the book has been available digitally first for a while it’s now just seeing print. Gates gets the book off to a fine start by a done in one story that gives both fans of the show and new readers a great starting point for the book. He gives the book a nice balance between telling the story and giving the exposition of the television series origins. For seasoned comic book readers there is not a lot new here but Gates keeps it light and fun that makes for an enjoyable read for us. What was very impressive with the story was how well Gates captured the tone and feel of the television series but still made it feel like a good old fashion comic book story. I’m a big fan of Bengal’s work and he does a nice job here with giving the book a slightly cartoony look that works well for new comic book readers. He keeps the line work simple and yet never sacrifices the detail to the art that makes it a very pleasant reading experience.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a nice bridge between the television series and comic books. Gates and Bengal deliver a fun little romp that while might not become a classic, it does however have a cleaver story with wonderful artwork that will please both fans of the show and regular comic book readers and at $2.99 is worth picking up.
Archie Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Veronica Fish, Colorist Andre Szymanowicz with Jen Vaughn, Letterer Jack Morelli
Continuing the ongoing story Waid delivers a great story of the Veronica and Archie arc that test their relationship that her father Hiram Lodge is trying to break up because of his hatred of Archie. Waid continues to impress with his storytelling of the Riverdale gang and continues to keep it simple a sweet with the book. His knack for delivering great character development in the book is one of the reasons that it’s such a fun read. While the characters may seem updated, Waid never forgets what makes them great in the first place and that is the reason that the stories are working so well. Fish has been a great choice for the book and she is really delivering in the art department on the book. Her simple yet detailed visual style makes Waid’s script come to life each issue. I’m especially taken by her attention to the detail in the emotions of the characters where the book really shines.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is still my go to book for recommending to not only new comic book readers but regular readers who are looking to get away from the superhero fare. Waid and Fish are firing on all cylinders here and each issue delivers a real joy to read. I really look forward to each issue when it comes out. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Kaijumax Season 2 #1
Oni Press Writer and Artist Zander Cannon, Color Flatting Jason Fisher
I’m a big fan of this book and was very excited when season two started. The book starts off from the events in the first season so if you missed that first story arc I highly recommend picking up the trade of the first season because this second story arc will be very confusing otherwise. What makes this book such a great pleasure to read is that he gives the “monsters” some really great character development. He also give them a slice of life that makes their stories so relatable. They do the same thing we all do the daily grind just to get by in life and the fact that they are second class citizens give the story a real down to earth quality that you never quite expect to see in a story about monsters. Cannon’s art style adds a great level of detail to the story. It’s a great mix of cartoon and realism that really delivers a great visual experience to go along with the wonderful story. It’s a unique and very pleasing looking book.
Is this book worth your time and money. Kaijumax really hits the ground running with this second story arc. Cannon continues to build the story with wonderful layers of humor and social commentary that is a very satisfying read. A very off beat but fun and thought-provoking story that continues to deliver a great reading experience. RECOMMENDED!
Swamp Thing #5
DC Comics Writer Len Wein, Artist Kelley Jones, Colorist Michelle Madsen, Letterer Rob Leigh
This is one of the few series that I have sung the praises of for the first four issues and with the fifth hitting this week is another home run for this book. This issues story is a bit of a middle part of the final story arc of the book where there is a lot going on with Wein’s story but is much more subtle than some of the previous issues and really builds some wonderful tension leading up to the final issue. The splash page open with a Scooby-Doo joke that is truly priceless and shows the wonderful tone that Wein continues to set for this series. He weaves horror and humor with ease in this book that really sets it apart from other horror books. He is also not afraid to let the book be a “comic book” meaning that he allows the story to have those moments and clichés that work so well in the comic book medium and he relishes the book in them. Wein also adds some of DC Comics greatest mystical characters to help Holland stop Matt Cable from destroying the world that are alway great to see again like Deadman, Spectre, and Phantom Stranger that need to grace the pages of comic again. There is a lot of meat to this issues story and is a fantastic lead in to the final chapter. Jones really pulls off some amazing artwork on this issue. This issue is mostly dialog with not a lot of action but where he really shines is the mood that he infuses the story with. It’s truly stunning how he can have a scene with characters delivering dialog and it just oozes with emotion and style that captures the tone in Wein’s script and is one of the best looking comics that DC has released in years. High marks for Madsen’s color work that complements Jones’s blacks with just the right amount of color tone that really works here. Also Leigh’s lettering is very complementary to the art and never obscures any important things in the artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? With all of the mis-steps that DC has had recently it’s amazing that this book was given the green light and we should be thankful that they did. This is what a great DC comic looks like. Great storytelling that doesn’t try to be more than it is. Wein and Jones are master storytellers that are telling a well though out story that hits all of the beats a great comic can and should be. We desperately need more books like this one from DC using classic characters in the hands of creator that really care about delivering quality on every level. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Satellite Falling #1
IDW Writer Steve Horton, Artist Stephen Thompson, Colorist Lisa Jackson, Letterer Neil Uyetake
Sometime you read a comic and while it may not be the most original thing that you have read there is some twist to the story that gives is a great new spin. Horton and Thompson has done just that in Satellite Falling. While on the surface most of the story you have read before but there is something that I can quite place my finger on that Horton has done with it that made it a very enjoyable read. One thing that really helps is that he does a great job on introducing Lilly that allows the reader to latch on to her and gives the story a reason to care about her. It’s not the type of story that is going to wow you but there is a great charm in the script that does a nice job of setting up the story without being to bogged down by exposition in the first issue. The main attraction to picking up the book is Thompson’s beautiful artwork that graces the book. More often than not smaller publishers really struggle in getting good artist on their book but in this case Thompson’s artwork is not only impressive I dare say that it looks as good if not better than comics from the big two publishers. His style is a nice european feel that has wonderful detail to the artwork. One thing that really stands out is that he takes the time to do backgrounds that far too often artist leave blank for the colorist to fill in but not with Thompson who gives the book such a great amount of detail to every panel that is quite impressive.
Is this book worth your time and money? There is something charming about this book and I really enjoyed reading it. It’s one of those books that instead of aiming too high and missing the mark it aims for the middle and hits it perfectly. The book is by no means a middling effort it’s just that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. It’s a nice blend of science fiction, crime drama and a dash of noir that delivers a nice solid first issue that does want me to come back for more. RECOMMENDED!
Black Panther #2
Marvel Comics Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, Artist Brian Stelfreeze, Colorist Laura Martin, Letterer Joe Sabino
Black Panther is a book that I really want to like but the problem is that Coates script is just too disjointed and not really moving the book forward. It’s a real shame because I think that there are some good ideas that he has with the story but the sheer lack of focus of the story and that it jumps around way too much that it just comes off as a frustrating reading experience. This is one of those books that you should give someone to read and ask for an honest opinion because it just needs some editorial direction to it. On the plus side Stelfreeze’s artwork make the frustrating reading experience at least bearable because of his nice artwork. The book looks really good and it’s shame that the script is not on par with the artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? It could just be me but I was board to tears trying to read this book. I felt as if the story was printed out-of-order and the story made no sense but alas this is not the case. The problem lies in the fact that Coates is a good writer with his day job, the problem here is that he simply doesn’t have the skills to formulate a comic book story. While the first story arc could end up being brilliant in the end, I doubt that after two of the most frustratingly difficult reads that I am going to be proven wrong. I have to say that this will be the last issue for me. SKIP IT!
The Fix #2
Image Comics Writer Nick Spencer, Artist Steve Lieber, Colorist Rya Hill, Letterer Nic J Shaw
I was very surprised by the first issue of this book but the second issue really blew me away with the free for all nature of the book that is willing to go and do about anything it feels like doing. Spencer daft sense of dark humor is quite refreshing because I never felt that he was trying to be shocking just to be shocking. Everything that happens in the story seemed to flow very naturally in a very outrageous and dark humorous way. The real irony of the story is that what makes it work so well is that Mac and Roy are so believable as the lovable buffoons that is summed up in the line “There is something seriously fucking wrong with you” from the chief. There were multiple times that I laughed out loud while I was read the book. Lieber’s artwork captures the fine line of standard comic art and yet has a great and subtle dark tone that really drives this book to greatness. It’s really impressive how just a little shift in the tone of the art really delivers the punch of the script and really nails the visual gags perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book in just tow issues has become a must read series for me. Dark humor in comics is a really tricky proposition but Spencer and Lieber do it with such ease that it’s both impressive and scary at the same time. This book is not going to be for everyone but if you are wanting something truly biting and fresh then look no further than The Fix. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
The Rocketeer At War #3
IDW Writer Marc Guggenheim, Artist J Bone, Colorist Ronda Pattison, Letterer Gilberto Lazcano, Rocketeer Prose story by Lisa Morton
With a long delay from issue #2 The Rocketeer at War gets a new artist to finish the story with J BOne taking over from Dave Bullock who fell behind on the art on the series. While it’s sad to see Bullock gone from the book, Bone is a great choice to bring this story home. While this may not be the greatest Rocketeer story, it’s a fun little romp with the backdrop of the war that adds a nice hook to Guggenheim’s story. While I am enjoying the book I think that the one thing that is missing is a certain spontaneity in the script. It’s a very by the numbers affair and doesn’t seem to break any new ground with the story. While I will say that nostalgia plays a role in the book and it’s alway great to see a new Rocketeer book I just wish that Guggenheim had come up with something a little more than average with the story here. Bone steps into book effortlessly and delivers a nice hand off from Bullock’s art style. While Bone is a bit more cartoony he really gives the book a nice visual punch that helps the story move along better. As always Morton’s back up prose story is a big plus for the book and is a solid and satisfying story.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I will admit that this is not the greatest Rocketeer story but it’s a nice and pleasant read that keeps the tone that Stevens created in The Rocketeer. FOr an average reader there is not going to be much here for you but if you’re a Rocketeer fan then the book is a pleasant if formulaic read.
Kennel Block Blues #3 & #4
Boom! Studios Writer Ryan Ferrier, Artist Daniel Bayliss, Colorist Adam Metcalfe, Letter Colin Bell
To catch up I am combining the last two issues in this review. Kennel Block Blues has been quite a ride and both touching and visually amazing comic that was truly original. Ferrier mixes many things in this series and while it could have easily went off the rails, he was able to bring a great balance to all of the story elements that are juggled in the story. One thing that he pulled off quite well was a lot of the social commentary in the script that could have really been preachy and bogged the story down but he wisely uses it sparingly and that made it much more effective in the end. There is a lot to digest with the story here and I found myself having to slow down while reading it to let it all seep in and let the story wash over me. I was very impressed with how the story came to a very natural ending that was not cut and dried and leaves a lot of questions to be answered by the reader themselves. Ferrier lays a lot out there in the story for the reader to come to their own conclusions with this book and that is a rare and welcomed thing in todays comics. Simply put Bayliss’s artwork is simply stunning. Rarely does a book have such a diverse and different styles from one artist that blends it all together so effortlessly and gives the book a look that is like nothing else in comics now. It quite frankly knocked my socks off and is such a visual feast for the eyes. His scope and depth that he delivered in this book is nearly beyond words. It’s a rare feat to actually find artwork that is truly touching and I haven’t seen that in a very long time.
Is this book worth your time and money. Ferrier and Bayliss have delivered a unique and special book with Kennel Block Blues. It’s one of those rare books where the writer and artist are in perfect sync and deliver a book that is not only special but makes you think about the book long after your finished. Most comics you read are fairly disposable but this book breaks that mold and delivered a comic that is well worth going back and reading again. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!