This has been a very busy week here at Pop Culture Maven. With E3 in town this week it’s been a whirlwind of craziness and trying to do a ton of things then try to update the site. Luckily I was able to get to the comic shop Wednesday night and get this weeks new books. I would have liked to review more this week but with the crunch I tried to get as many as I could. So let’s get started shall we.
Marvel Comics Writer Charles Soule, Artist Ron Wimberly, Colorist Rico Renzi, Letterer Clayton Cowles
I have been a big fan of this book from day one but there is a bump in the road for this and the next issue. The plot from Marvel is, She-Hulk & Hellcat must uncover the secrets of the Blue File – a conspiracy that touches the entire Marvel Universe! • This new mystery brings us She-Hulk’s most terrifying role ever. Javier Pulido is taking a break from the artwork on issues 5 & 6 and guest artist Ron Wimberly is filling in. Before I get to the problem that I have with the artwork I want to say that I have a very eclectic taste in comic art. I am a fan of artist that take chances and try to bring style to the book that they are working on. With that being said while I thought the artwork was very distracting to the story and by the end of the issue I was dismayed with the whole issue. Wimberly is a good artist but the style that he chose for this particular book does not fit the story at all. There are many times in the story where the perspective is just to exaggerated and visual unnecessary. The art seems very influenced by Peter Chung of Aeon Flux fame and while I love Chung’s style because it fit with the material. Wimberly’s style approach is too distracting to the story. There is also a real lack of backgrounds that does not help either. The bright side is that the story by Soule is really fantastic and he is developing the Blue File story that has been alluded to in the previous issues. There is a bigger story that is unfolding and is really a great read.
Is this book worth your time and money? This one is a real tough call. The story is really good and unfortunately the art was very distracting and over done for the story. I think Wimberly really over thought the style of art for the story and it’s very overwhelming but not in a good way. If you are a regular reader of the book you are probably like me. Just suck it up and suffer for the next two issues until Pulido is back and the book gets back on track. Only recommended if you are a current reader.
Boom! Box Writers Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis, Artist Brooke Allen, Colorist Maarta Laiho, Letterer Aubrey Aiese
After the disappointment of She-Hulk this week I knew what to grab from the pile next to read, Lumberjanes. The plot from boom is,The girls have landed in a supernatural cave that has many puzzles to solve so they can make it out alive. Will they be able to solve the mystery of the cave? This issue is probably one of my favorite ones so far. This story is very much inspired by the Goonies and what better story to put our group of girls into. The story really nails the heart of this book is that they all must work together to solve the puzzles or use their individual talent to help out. Stevenson and Ellis continue to dive deeper into each characters strengths and weaknesses while they work together. They show that it’s OK to be scared or not know what to do because your friends always have your back. They even threw in the classic X-Men fastball special move into the story to solve one of the tasks. Allen continues to impress with her wonderful artwork. She captures each of the girls personality just perfectly. While the stories are fantastic it’s Allen’s art that really makes it jump to life each issue. She does an amazing job with not only the emotions of the story but she can handle the action with ease. Laiho’s color work continues to impress me and this issue is a real tour de force for her coloring. Aiese really lets loose with the all of the action in this issue and keeps the flow of the story going nicely.
Is this book worth your time and money? This has been a must buy book from day one and it just keeps getting better each issue. Thankfully it’s now an ongoing series from Boom! and hopefully the creative team has more great stories up their collective sleeves. This issue really captures the spirit of what this book is all about, adventure and fun. And it doesn’t get much more fun than this. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Marvel Comics Writer Jim Zub, Artist Filipe Andrade, Colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Letter Joe Caramagna,
Marvel’s second Disney inspired series the first being Seekers of the Weird that left me a little underwhelmed and hoped that Figment was going to be better. The plot from Marvel is, Dive into a steampunk fantasy story exploring the never-before-revealed origin of the inventor known as Dreamfinder, and how one little spark of inspiration created a dragon called Figment. What is the Academy Scientifica-Lucidus? Who is Blarion Mercurial? What is the Integrated Mesmonic Spark Convertor? Find out as we give a Marvel spin to Epcot’s mind-bending attraction, Journey Into Imagination! The really good news is Marvel got Jim Zub to write the book and has doing a bang up job over at IDW on their Samurai Jack book and brings his great storytelling to Figment. He set the story in 1910 in London England and in an “industrial revolution” period. By having Mercuria imagine Figment coming to life is a really ingenuous story idea and really brings that child like imagination that we all have to the story. That opens the story to just have Figment as a fantasy character and not have to waste time on a long exposition of it in the first issue. I really loved that at the end of the first issue Zub adds the “time travel” element to the story that will allow it to go almost anywhere. Zub does a great job on the story and then Andrade makes it that much better with the artwork. I have never seen his art but it’s absolutely gorgeous. The level of detail to the art is what really impressed me and he captured both the characters expressions along with the “cuteness” of figment and then the mind portal at the end with such ease. He is a real find and can’t wait to see what the next issue brings.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really enjoyed the first issue of this series. The best part is that it’s just a fun little book. It has a very well thought out story with amazing artwork. Zub is crafting a really wonderful origin tale but is not falling in the trap of a first issue so-so story. Combine the fun story with Andrade’s beautiful artwork and you have a really good all ages book that a solid read. RECOMMENDED!
Red City #1
Image Comics Writer Daniel Corey, Artist Mark Dos Santos, Colorist Chris Fenoglio, Letterer Dave Lanphear
This new Image series mixes noir with science fiction and it works. The plot from Image is,In the wake of a systemwide civil war, hard-nosed interplanetary investigator Cal Talmage is given a simple mission to find a missing ambassador’s daughter in Mars Central, a.k.a. Red City. The routine case quickly complicates as Cal finds himself in the midst of rival alien mobs, street vendettas, and political conspiracies. He struggles with personal demons as he discovers that another war is brewing, and the lives of an entire race hang in the balance. While the story by Corey is on the surface a pretty standard detective story but it never really has that hook that a story like this need to set is apart from the crowd. While it’s no the most original book and mixing genres is interesting and could be the key to the book working in the next issues. Dos Santos does a nice job on the artwork with most of this issue is dialog with characters facial expressions being the main thing in the first issue. He does a nice job with both the noir period and then adding in the science fiction themes. While his artwork may not be the flashiest compared to others it fits this story very well. It’s about conveying the emotions of the characters and that he does very well.
Is this book worth your time and money? The first issue has a nice set up but it’s hard to call the book yet. I liked it but on the other hand it didn’t blow me away either. I think that it didn’t bring anything fresh to the idea. Mixing two genres is not enough, it’s what you do when you mix them that makes it work. The next issue is going to be a make of break it on the book. The story needs to step up it’s game for this book to work. With so many comics on the rack it better be sooner than later.
Infinity Man and the Forever People #1
DC Comics Writers Keith Giffen and Dan Didio, Penciler Keith Giffen, Inker Scott Koblish, Colorist HI-FI, Letterer Travis Lanham
DC second attempt to bring Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories to life for the New 52 (O.M.A.C. that lasted only 8 issue after being a launch title). The plot from DC is, Four of the best students from New Genesis arrive on Earth to study and aid in the advancement of humanity – but they soon discover a darker purpose to their mission: a threat so great that it may bring the multiverse itself to its knees! The only thing that stands between them and total destruction is the mysterious entity known as the Infinity Man! I am a huge fan of Kirby’s Fourth World books from the 1970’s and it ver obvious that Didio and Giffen are also. The question is are current readers going to buy this book? A lot of longtime DC Comics readers have been turned off by the New 52 and current and I’m just not sure that current readers will appreciate or care about this book. Didio and Giffen do a smart thing for new readers by bringing the cast to present day earth and that really grounds the story for new readers. The story does a nice job of introducing the characters and is a pretty standard first issue superhero set up issue. The next few issues are going to be the key to see where they take the story. Giffen and Koblish do their best Kirby impression while still retaining Giffen’s style to a point. I will give DC points for using the Fourth World characters and concepts and trying to get current readers interested.
Is this book worth your time and money? While this is a pale imitation of Kirby’s Fourth World Saga it still is a nice fun read for Fourth World fans. But the question still lingers on who is this book intended for? Readers didn’t embrace O.M.A.C. but people who were familiar with Kirby were the ones who enjoyed the book. Placing this book in the present day earth may be the key to get new readers into the book. The next few issues are going to be the key for new readers to stick with the book. Maybe it will work this time. I will hold final judgement for a few more issues to come out but based on the first issue alone it was a decent read and was nice to see the Kirbyverse concepts being used again. It is one of the better New 52 books that I have read lately.
The Empty Man #1
Boom! Studios Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist Vanesa R. Del Ray, Colorist Michael Garland, Letterer Ed Dukeshire
Boom! has had both hits and misses lately with their creator owned books and now The Empty Man is here. The plot from Boom! is, It’s been one year since the first reported case of the Empty Man disease, and no drug has been able to slow its progress. The cause is unknown, and the symptoms include fits of rage, hideous hallucinations, suicidal dementia, followed by death, or a near lifeless, “empty” state of catatonia. As murder cults rise nationwide, the FBI and CDC enter a joint investigation of the Empty Man, hoping to piece together clues to stop the cult and uncover a cure. Horror is a tough genre to pull off well and I will give props to Bunn for pulling this story off. While I am a big fan of his series The Sixth Gun from Oni I was less enthused for his Night of the Living Deadpool book over at Marvel. The good news is that this is a really good story and gets the series off to a great start. The story starts off with a great WTF just happened mystery and even at the end of the issue your still not sure what is going on. But that is precisely the point. You are there with Jensen and Langford being caught off guard with what is going on. And you’re not even sure that there is really a monster or is that what Bunn wants us to believe. Del Ray’s artwork captures the mood that the story needs. She does a great job of capturing the horror and mystery that the story is setting up. She really brings you into the story with her artwork and handles both the horror and the dialog scenes very nicely. She is one of the reason that the story works so well.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was really surprised how much I liked this book. Horror is a very tricky thing to pull off well and this book hits the mark dead on. Bunn has crafted a great story and with Del Ray bringing the story to life they have crafted a great first issue that leaves you wanting more at the end. This is a really solid book and can’t wait for the second issue. VERY RECOMMENDED!