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New Comic Book Reviews Week of 5/14/14

New Comic Book Reviews Week of 5/14/14

Not even the power outage at my local comic shop this Wednesday could keep me from picking up this weeks new comic books. And there were both good and so-so books that landed on the racks this week so lets get to it.


Tales From The Con Year 1

Image Comics Writer Brad Guigar, Artist Chris Giarrusso

Image has collected the first year of strips from this web comic in print for the first time. The plot from Image is, If you’ve been to a comic convention, you’ll recognize the scenes in TALES FROM THE CON, the irreverent webcomic that has appeared on the Emerald City Comicon website since 2012. Written by Eisner-nominee BRAD GUIGAR (HOW TO MAKE WEBCOMICS, Evil Inc.) and illustrated by CHRIS GIARRUSSO (G-MAN, Mini Marvels), TALES FROM THE CON is an uproarious take on the world of comic books and conventions. Fanboys, fangirls, cosplayers, retailers, volunteers, and pros repeatedly collide on the convention floor (and beyond) to prove that comic conventions are one part festival, two parts group therapy. Collects the first year of TALES FROM THE CON strips along with bonus material. This was the first I had seen this strip and had real mixed feelings about it. While the strips were dead on with their view of conventions and fandom and all that goes on there I just had an overall feeling of it just being too cute. I am a huge fan of Evan Dorkin’s Eltingville Club book that came out a few weeks ago that was a much more biting satire of geekdom and maybe that is what this book is missing. While every strip was dead on with if you have been to any of the bigger conventions I am sure that you have experienced at least one of the strips. Maybe because I have been going to conventions for so long that is why I felt the book was a bit pedestrian. I felt that the book overall was just OK for me. I think that every reader is going to get a possible different experience with it. Guigar writing and Giarrusso’s art fit the strip perfectly and they do a good job on it.

Is this book worth your time and money? I think the book is OK but in the long run I just wish that it had a little more bite to it. You could very well have a different opinion than me. Overall the book is well written and nicely drawn and I do feel that it is worth buying. But for me I guess that I was expecting more out of it.


All New Ghost Rider #3

Marvel Comics Writer Felipe Smith, Artist Tradd Moore, Colorist Val Staples, Letterer Joe Caramagna

The new Ghost Rider book has gotten off to a nice start and now we are at part 3 of the first storyline. The plot from Marvel is,“ENGINES OF VENGEANCE” PART 3 • Ronnie meets the mysterious entity behind his possession • Is the all-new GHOST RIDER a hero or a villain? MR. HYDE takes on the street gangs while a thug discovers the power of DR. ZABO’S pills. This issue starts to open up with the relationship of the Ghost Rider demon and Robbie and the car. Smith does a really nice job of still keeping the “normal life” aspect to the Robbie character and the problems that a normal teenager goes through, but still keeping the whole gang turf war on a collision course with him. I also like that he is setting the groundwork with the mythology of Ghost Rider but putting a new spin on it and making it his own on this series. The only grip that I have with it is that the villains are a little too one-dimensional and pretty standard fare in the genre. It will be interesting to see where he take the stories after the initial arc. Moore’s art is what is making this book shine. His bold use of layout and style continue to impress and make the book look like no other “superhero” comic right now. He is able to capture both the dialog scenes and the great action pieces with such skill that alone is worth picking the book up for.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is a good read so far and while it’s not the most brilliant book it is not trying to reinvent the wheel here. The big plus is that Smith and Moore are making a known character into their own on this book and that is what is interesting me about it. It’s worth the $3.99 cover price for the art alone and the story is pretty good.


LumberJanes #2

Boom! Box Written by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, Artist Brooke Allen, Colorist Maarta Laiho, Letterer Aubrey Aiese

I was really enamored with the first issue of this book and was looking forward to the second issue. The plot from Boom is, When you’re a scout, nothing is more important than being prepared, but how do you prepare for legions of supernatural creatures threatening to beat down your scouting camp’s door? Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are about to find out! It’s just supposed to be a normal day at camp with games and a bit of canoeing, but when the girls find themselves separated from the rest of camp they realize there really is a lot more going on and it might be an unhelpful river monster that gives them the key to figuring everything out. First let me say that it is great to have a book completely done by female creators. There are far too few women doing comics and this book is proof of it. Stevenson and Ellis has crafted a story that may be about a group of girls but you know what I loved it even if I’m a guy. The thing that I love about the book is that while the cast of the book are all females the story works for everyone because they are solid characters. The other thing that I love about the story is the mythology that they are creating and the epic nature but still keeping it relatable and real to the reader. Each character has such a natural feel and sense to them that you relate to them so well. Allen’s art is so wonderful I just love the way she perfectly captures the humor that the script does so well. I also love the facial expressions of the girls have a lot of the times and is able to handle the big action scenes with ease. If you are a fan of the Goonies and who isn’t then you really need to read this book.

Is this book worth your time and money. I am glad to say that the first issue was no fluke. This is a great book and I think that the second issue is better than the first issue. I loved the first issue and can not wait for the rest of the series. This is a great all ages book and shows that women can do a comic that can be in this case much better than a most of other comics done by men. I love it and it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!


Justice League United #1

DC Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Mike McKone, Colorist Marcelo Maiolo, Letterer Carlos M. Mangual

I was surprised by issue #0 of this book so lets see if it’s still worth it. The plot from DC is, In Canada, the team of Animal Man, Green Arrow, Martian Manhunter and Stargirl is joined by Adam Strange to fight an unstoppable forced called the Unimaginable. The first issue story was a break from the usual type of group set up but unfortunately the second issue really fell flat for me. Lemire story while not bad seemed to plod along with this issue. There was a lot of action but it really felt padded out and not a lot was really happening. It felt very paint by the numbers type story. He has certainly written much better stories than this. McKone’s art does help the story along with a nice visual flair and some really nice action scenes. He at least kept it mildly interesting.

Is this book worth your time and money? I was very disappointed with this issue because the first issue has a lot of promise but the story on this one fell into all of the usual traps of a standard superhero group book. It was not terrible but it fell short of the solid story that the first issue had. I will give about one or two more issues at the most. It’s on a very short leash.


The United States of Murder Inc. #1

Icon/Marvel Comics Writer Brian Michael Bendis, Artist Michael Avon Oeming, Colorist Taki Soma, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos

From the creative team that does the Powers comic comes a new series. The plot from Marvel is, In this oversized first issue, you will discover a world in which the families of organized crime never lost their stranglehold on the United States. Today is the day that Valentine Gallo becomes a made man, and it’s also the day he learns the secrets behind the organization he has served since he was old enough to walk. But it is mysterious hitwoman Jagger Rose that will forever turn his life upside down. Be there when shocking secrets of this new world spill out onto the very past page. This bold new vision of crime fiction harkens back to Bendis’ earliest work in crime comics, while also giving you everything you expect from the creators of POWERS. I haven’t read Powers in quite a while but it is a great book so I was excited to see what these two had up their collective sleeves for this new series. Bendis story does give a fresh spin on the mobster family type story and injects it with some fictional future world that did pique my interest. While the first issue story was solid it was a first issue where there are more questions than answers and that is OK. But being a bi-monthly book is going to be a little hard on the story possibly. He sets up an interesting idea at the end of the issue that you really don’t see coming and opens up many possibilities of where the story can go. Oeming’s art as always pitch perfect for this story. I really loved the way that  he laid out the story with the art. His bold use of line work jumps off the page and sucks you into the story very well. Soma’s color work compliments Oeming’s art very well. Her use of color a lot of times comes very close to black and white but is careful and uses color only where and when it needs it.

Is this book worth your time and money? At $3.99 for a double sized comic is a steal and it’s a really good story with fantastic art. I really hope that with the book being bi-monthly doesn’t hurt the momentum of it. It’s nice to see another noir type of story from Bendis and Oeming because they do it so well. Very much looking forward to the next issue. RECOMMENDED!


Futures End #2

DC Comics Writers Brian Azzarello, Jeff Lemire, Dan Jurgens, Keith Giffen Pencils Jesus Merino, Inker Dan Green, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Carlos Mangual

DC weekly comic part 3 hit this week and the first two issues were decent so where do we stand this week? The plot from DC is, The entire DC Universe gathers to mourn a fallen hero! Plus the secrets of the DCU five years later arrive at Lois Lane’s door! So to start the series off with a bang they killed Green Arrow last issue and so we get the angry/brooding/sad superheroes that go to the funeral. Mr. Terrific is now a whoring dick that is just looking for publicity. Firestorm is now a dick for not saving Green Arrow because he was trying to get laid. We now have Batman Beyond who apparently forgot that he did detective work and only a soldier in the future. Really DC at least the first two issue were not this pointless. The whole story is just padded and filled with who cares. Beyond that the “story” doesn’t make much sense or have a point it seems it’s filled with making up crap for characters because it’s five years later and that’s why. Merino and Green do a nice job on the art but sadly they can’t even save this terrible story. It seemed fun at the start but now is just dark and depressing like most of the other New 52 books.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is where I get off the ride. The New 52 at DC has pretty much been a train wreck lately beyond a few books. The writers of this story have written much better stuff and it seems as if they are just flinging crap at the wall to see what will stick. The “Event” comics from both Marvel and DC seem to be more a sales gimmick than actually delivering something worth reading. I’m sure that both this and Original Sin will sell very well but in the end they really are just filling egos at the top of the food chain. Skip it and spend your money on better books.


Nightcrawler #2

Marvel Comics Writer Chris Claremont, Artist Todd Nauck, Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer Cory Petit

The good news about the second issue of Nightcrawler seems to have hit its groove. The plot from Marvel is, Someone is hunting down Nightcrawler’s loved ones…and Nightcrawler and Wolverine are determined to find out who and to what ends! • Classic X-Men characters meet contemporary threats as the newly resurrected Nightcrawler crosses the globe to save his nearest and dearest from suffering the fate he just escaped. The first issue was a bit bogged down with dialog and seemed to be missing some of the fun factor that has always made Nightcrawler such a fan favorite. This issue really is where the book should have started. This is the Kurt that was kind of missing from the first issue. It sheds the baggage and really gets back to the basics with the story. Claremont story is more like the old X-men days of Bryne and Cockrum and a real breath of fresh air. What make the book really enjoyable is that it’s focused on the adventure and fun aspect of Kurt as a solo character and crafting a solid story Nauck’s art really shines in this issue and he shows off his flair and versatility. I really loved the flashback scenes of Kurt as a child because he really captures the essence in the artwork of what make Nightcrawler so great in the first place. And let’s just say it, that he draws the best little BAMFS ever! He really is bringing his A+ game on this book. I must really point out Nauck’s fantastic cover art and design that is really stunning work.

Is this book worth your time and money? If you are like me that is more of an old school X-Men fan then you will really enjoy this fun series that is long overdue. If you are a newer reader then this is what an X-Book should be like (I must point out Peter David’s X-Factor has been the sole bright light forever in the X-Universe). Take a great character like Nightcrawler and do what he does best in a book. Have fun and create a great adventure. It is really that simple and Claremont and Nauck deliver that in this issue. The more fun the better. I am now hooked and can’t wait for more of this fun stuff next issue.


Afterlife with Archie #5

Archie Comics Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Artist Francesco Francavilla, Letterer Jack Morelli From The Vault Story Writer Danald E. Glut & Artist Vicente Alcazar

After last issue gut wrenching last issue with Archie dog Vegas sacrificing himself to save Archie this issue is the end of the first story arc. The plot from Archie Comics is, Most of the survivors of the Riverdale Zombie apocalypse hiding out at the Lodge family home and it’s Hubert the families butler that is the center of this issue. The thing that I love about this book is that Archie Comics is letting Aguirre-Sacasa and Francavilla do what they want and need to do for this series. There is no limits on where and what the story needs to do. Aguirre-Sacasa take the most mundane character like Hubert and make him more fascinating than some of the characters that you have known for decades. And that is why this book is working so well. Strong story but still leaving the Archie cast as the same we have known for years. The story in this issue deals with a lot of character study of where they stand right now with the chaos of the town. Archie is becoming the hero that we need him to be. The nice surprise was the Kevin Keller is being portrayed in the story. Francavilla’s art and use of color that is really driving the book’s story to a whole new level. With his art and amazing use of color shows just how a horror comic is done. The backup reprint story by Glut and Alcazar is a nice take on the Golem myth and it’s really nice to see these reprints being seen by todays audiences. I really love these old school horror stories that are so much fun.

Is this book worth your time and money? This book has easily been one of the biggest surprises in comics in a long time. Both the story and art deliver one of the best horror books in comics but still keeps the characters that make Archie and company so loved throughout the years. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!