Superman Year One #1
DC Black Label Writer Fran k Miller, Penciller John Romita Jr., Inker Danny Miki, Colorist Alex Sinclair, Letterer John Workman
This longe gestating project has finally come out and I must say that overall it was worth the wait. While a number of the Year One series have been both hits and misses the thing that I like that Miller did with this story was not re-inventing the wheel with the origin of Superman but gives it a slightly different angle I particular liked a lot of the very young Clark story elements in this first issue. There have been many different interpretations of these elements over the years but Miller had a way of connecting feelings and emotions to a much younger Clark than we are used to seeing. I also loved the Clark dealing with school bullies and how he has to keep a level head and not hurt them as much as he wants to was a really strong element here. Miller is more know for his gruff and rough type of stories but here he has giving it a more heartfelt emotions that is always present in his work but most of the time is more subtle and not wearing it’s heart on it’s sleeve like he does here. Romita Jr. does some of his best work here and while I’m not his hugest fan, I feel that his work at DC has been much stronger than at Marvel. WHt he brings to this book is a great emotional visual depth to the story and captures all of the little subtle moment perfectly here. Miki does a great job of inking here and really tightens up Romita Jr’s pencils that can sometimes be a bit on the loose side. They make a really good team on the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? DC’s Black Label has a rough start with the whole Batman wiener issue and the possible cancellation of other titles that were announced seemed to spell doom for the line before it started. The big question here is there anything here that doesn’t fit into the regular DC line and my only thought is that because Bendis is writing Superman they wanted to keep this ver separate from that. Sure it’s pretty much an Elseworld type of story that most of the other Year One graphic novels have been but putting it in an oversized magazine format. With that being said this book is a real treat and Miller and Romita Jr. are telling a solid story here. This first issue has a lot going for it in terms of both story and visuals and they give a good reason to come back for a second issue. I really enjoyed this book and cant wait to see where they take it. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Usagi Yojimbo #1
IDW Writer/Artist/Letterer Stan Sakai, Colorist Tom Luth
Usagi is back and now in full color courtesy of of long time colorist for Groo Luth has added greatly to an already great long running series. This is the first issue from IDW but the really good news is that Sakai always starts a new story arc off that is always easy for new readers to pick up and get going with the story right away and that is one of the reasons why the book has so successful over the years. This new storyline gets off to great start and loved the puppet aspect of the story that gave a great hook to the story. Not only does the story get off to a great start but the cliffhanger at the end of the issue is a great twist. I have always found Sakai’s black and white packed with detail and charm but I have to say that Luth brings a whole new way to appreciate both the line work and the color work and they really blend together very well here. One of the great tragedies of using digital lettering in comics is that most comics the lettering rarely stands out but Sakai still hand letters his artwork and you can really see the care in how they are part of the artwork and they capture the dialog perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? I have been a fan of Usagi Yojimbo for years and it’s one of the few creator owned comic that has stood the test of time. Sakai has written and drawn ever issue of the book for 35 years and with over 200 issues it’s still as fresh and relevant today as when it started back in 1984. This is a great jumping on point for new readers and with the book now is color it hopefully will gain a much wider audience that it truly deserves. Getting a new Usagi Yojimbo comic is always a cause for celebration! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Little Bird #4
Image Comics Writer Darcy Van Poelgeest, Artist Ian Bertram, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Aditya Bidikar
With the non stop rollercoaster ride that this book has been for the first three issues, this fourth issue is a bit of a breather but instead of full throttle Poelgeest take the story in a direction that caught me off guard but in a really good way. We find out this issue the back story of little bird and Gabriel and there are a lot of great twist and turns to that element of the story. The biggest takeaway from this issue is that we get to see Gabriel come to terms with his sister and what is happening to the world and what his father has done to both. The story this issue is so much deeper than what you initially see on the surface of it. While it may not seem like there is much going on but the fact that Poelgeest has packed the story with lots of story threads from the first three issues that lead to this moment in the story is what makes this book so great each issue. How do you continue to describe the amazing artwork of Bertram and how he is able to pull off this amazingly detailed artwork that takes this book to a whole new level. What makes his artwork so great is the level of detail that he infuses each panel that makes you want to take the time to absorb all of it.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book just gets better and better each issue and continues to surprise and impress with its strong story and brilliant artwork make this a must read each issue and keeps you in suspense on what is going to happen next. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Lab Raider #1
Black Mask Writer Matt Miner, Artist Creees Lee, Colorist Josh Jensen, Letterer Matt Krotzer
This is one of those comic ideas that tries to be edgy with a current event but actually fails to devour a good story. Miner does have some good ideas here and there but the biggest problem with the script is that you simply don’t care about any of the characters and the plot doesn’t really go anywhere. There is really no motivation given to readers as to why they are activist or the reason they are doing this and it ends up reading like a news story and it doesn’t help that the characters are flat and one dimensional. Even by the time you get to the “shocking” ending you really don’t care and you realize that the whole story that you just read was pretty pointless. Creees artwork is about the only thing in the book that is decent. He does a good job on the characters emotional expressions but the lack of backgrounds in every page is really noticeable after a while and becomes distracting.
Is this book worth your time and money? This comic is a total misfire because it simply doesn’t tell a story that is worth telling. If I wanted to read a story about animal activist then I would just read the story in a newspaper. The problem is that Miner misses every opportunity to tell a coherent and interesting story and instead delivers a flat and boring one. SKIP IT!
Dark Horse Comics Writer/Artist/Letterer Troy Nixey, Colorist Dave Stewart
This is my first exposure to Trout by Nixey and I liked it but just not sure that I totally understood it. There have previous Trout stories and the problem here is that if your not familiar with that then you might be a bit lost on it like I was. Now this is not to say that I didn’t like the book on the contrary I found in quite intriguing but I felt as if I was coming into the middle of a story that has been going on for a while and never connected as much as I wanted to. I really love Nixey’s artwork and is one of the main reasons that I picked up the book. The level of detail that he infuses into the work is amazing and is simply mind blowing.
Is this book worth your time and money? There is no doubt that this is a special and amazing comic but I wish that I had a better understanding of the concept and the characters. Nixey is telling a very epic tale here and when you throw in his spectacular artwork this make for a very unique book. If your familiar with the previous material then your going to probably get this story more than I did so if your a new reader this may not be the best place to start the story.
Boom! Studios Writer Brain Azzarello, Artist Maria Llovet, Letterer AndWorldDesign
This third out for Faithless is more of a character and concept driven story than the previous and is a bit of a middling issue. This is certainly not to say that this is a bad story, quite the contrary it does a lot of character building and moves the story along. But as a single issue it’s not going to blow you away like the first two issues did. Azzarello is building a lot in this book and this issue shows the methodical pace that he is delivering the story. In a way this issue is a breather issue so that it can set things up for the long haul of the story. I like that that this issue touched on Faith’s other life before all of this craziness started. It really added more layers to her and the other characters. While some might not realize the repercussions of the fate of Aya but you can see that this will be a major turning point for Faith and that is what is most intriguing about this story. As always Llovet brings her A game with the art and this issue really shows that she captures the deep emotions of the story and really conveys the pain of this issues story. There are many times where there is no dialogue and she captures Azzarello’s script perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? I’m still really digging this book and this issue will have a lot of impact as the series goes along you just might not notice it at first. Azzarello is laying a lot of ground work this issue and cant wait to see where the story goes from here and with Llovet delivering the perfect visuals to this book it’s still a must read each month. RECOMMENDED!
Vertigo Comics Writer Dan Watters, Artist Kelley Jones, Colorist Chris O’Halloran, Letterer Steve Wands
I was not impressed with the relaunch of Lucifer when it came out nine months ago so why would I buy this issue, Kelly Jones. That alone is more than a reason to celebrate this issue but I have to hand it to Watters that he knew what Jones could do and they delivered a great story in the tradition of classic House of Mystery self contained story with a great plot twist at the end. Watters keep the secret of the story nicely hidden by keeping other story elements in the forefront and by the time you get close to the end you are very pleased with the ending of this story. Jones really brings the great mood and tone that fits Watters story like a glove. This book really shows that he is the master of horror and how he is able to capture the dark horror but the great emotions that come with it. I love how he captures the emotions of the characters in this dark and twisted story. The eating of the creature is a particular delight visually as Jones captures the slow decent of Fowler’s fate and the karma that comes with his actions.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really wish that this issue could be the norm for this book. Jones really lifts this book out of the doldrums and I have to give it to Watters who really stepped up to the plate with this issues script. Sure the issue really doesn’t have Lucifer in the story much but it’s the tone and mood that really sells this dark and disturbing story that brings back great horror comics to DC. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!