Second Coming #1
Ahoy Comics Writer Mark Russell, Artist Richard Pace, Finisher (Earth Pages) Leonard Kirk, Colorist (Earth Pages) Andy Steen Letterer Rob Steen
Once to be a Vertigo Comic c was cut loose by DC Comics and thankfully has landed at Ahoy Comics and has been well worth the wait. There has already been a lot of controversy about this book but Russell has done a great job of blending superhero mythology with religious fables and found a great sweet spot in the middle. What I loved about this story was that he never makes a mockery of the religious parts of the story but totally has fun with it and gives it a great sense of dark humor that was a big plus for the story. In a lot of ways he follows the stories in the Bible pretty closely but what he is really doing here is what would happen if Jesus came to earth today and react to what is going on and then to team him up with a superhero from another planet “wink, wink” that shows him what the world is like is why the story works so well. It’s not that Sunstar is trying to change him in fact he might actually be changed by Jesus. What Russell is exploring here is how things are not always black or white but mostly reside in the grey area of the world and that is what makes this story so fascinating. Pace really delivers some great artwork here on the book and I loved how he changed the styles up between the earth pages (with assists from Kirk and Steen to give them a different look than the present day part of the story that gave a great balance to the overall story. He does a great job of capturing both the humor and the emotions of the story perfectly and really brings this story to visual life.
Is this book worth your time and money? Forget the “controversy” about this book because DC’s loss is Ahoy’s gain on many levels. For me Ahoy’s titles have been a bit of a mixed bag but have always delivered a quality product that I may have not been a fan of but at least the comics are not terrible but they have really struck gold here with this book. Russell is on fire with his writing and this is one of his best out of the gate. Smart, funny, and filled with emotions made for a really great first issue that will want you to come back for more. Pace does a bang up job on the artwork that really pulls this comic all together. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Giant-Sized X-Statix #1
Marvel Comics Writer Peter Milligan, Artist Mike Allred, Colorist Laura Allred, Letterer Nate Piekos
X-Static is back and with it’s original creative team with a new generation of recruits for the team. This story is a bridging from the previous series that is leading up to a new series next year. While I’m glad that the band is getting back together but for new readers this book is going to possibly be a bit confusing. I will give Milligan that he does a good job in bridging the old with the new and will help readers who have never read the original run that helps them get up to speed. The only downside to this is that the set up takes up nearly all of the story that when you get to the end you find out that this is a set up story for the series that doesn’t start till next year and that was really disappointing. As always Allred drivers the goods with his stunning artwork that is like the original series never ended. He has a great knack for drawing quirky characters and there are a lot of new ones that he gets to flex his artwork with here.
Is this book worth your time and money? This is a tough one because I really liked the original series and while it was great to have them back, I felt a bit cheated because this is a set up story for a book that is a least 6 months away and to release it now seems like not the greatest plan to get readers excited for a comic that they will honestly forget by the time the series starts. The other issue was that there is so much exposition by the time I got to the end of the story I was disappointed that wrapped up but really didn’t and you shouldn’t feel that way when you read a comic. If your a fan of the series you might want to might want to wait till it comes out because there is nothing in this special that you couldn’t totally live without in some respects.
Black Hammer/Justice League #1
Dark Horse Comics/DC Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Michael Walsh, Letterer Nate Piekos
I have been waiting for this comic ever sense it was announced and was it worth the wait, very much so. For long time readers of Black Hammer are going to have to deal with the exposition of setting this story up for new readers but that is a very good thing because new fans will be able to pick this series up and get right up to speed on the Black Hammer Universe that I love so much. Lemire wisely keeps the pacing moving along nicely even with the exposition and while it didn’t surprise me too much with this first issue, it’s very well set up and blends the characters together quite well here. At first it seems like a trading places type of story but that is what Lemire is so good at as a writer is thinking that your exception one thing but then he throws a curve at you and blows you away with a surprise at the end of the issue and he delivers a doozy one here. Walsh is great choice for the artwork on the book because he does a great job of capturing the Black Hammer universes and makes sure that the Justice League fits the same style and not a standard superhero “look” that would not work for this story. He captures both the drama and action very well here and builds on Lemire’s script perfectly.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you have never read Black Hammer before this is a great opportunity to jump on one of the best comics out there right now. Lemire wisely makes this story super accessible to new readers and that is a really good thing but long time Black Hammer readers will be satisfied with it also so its really the best of both worlds. Throw in Walsh’s artwork and you really have a winner comic that is off to a great start. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writer Justin Jordan, Artist Rebekah Isaacs, Colorist Alex Guimarães, Letterer Clayton Cowles
Reavers is an interesting comic but not that original. Jordan sets things up pretty well in this first issue but the thing that it suffers from is that you have read this story a million times of a gang of outcast thrown together to go on a death mission but he didn’t really bring much new to the story. That is not to say that the book was a terrible read but by the end of this issue, I wasn’t hugely compelled to read the next issue. The problem is that there is nothing that will surprise you here and you will pretty much see everything that is going to happen in the story before you get there. On the plus side Guimarães artwork does really shine here and he did help me forget the basic story that was happening with his very nice artwork but he was only able to do so much here with what he had to work with.
Is this book worth your time and money? While I wasn’t over whelmed with this comic, I will say that it’s far from terrible but if your going to tell a story that has been done to death you really need to bring something new to it and sadly Jordan doesn’t do that here at least in this first issue and that doesn’t really give me a lot of confidence to buy the second issue. Some readers are going to like this comic and that’s fine but with so many choices this average comic is just not good enough.
Invisible Woman #1
Marvel Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Mattia De Iulis, Letterer Joe Caramagna
I have to admit that I was pretty surprised by this comic in the fact that I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot but leave it to Waid to deliver a nice little surprise here. Sure it’s pretty basic stuff here but one thing that Waid is good at is taking characters that are not high profile and is able to give them a story that lets them shine in a different way. Instead of the tired old superhero tropes that he could have thrown together here he uses an espionage story at it and it ends up being a really wise choice here. I also liked that he made here a strong female character but she wasn’t willing to give up her principles on the mission. The other thing is that the story is simply fun and sometimes that is all it needs to be and that works really well here. De Iulis’s artwork really shines here with a nice “painted” look that adds a nice touch to the story. He greatly captures the emotions of the script and that brings this comic together quite nicely.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is certainly not earth shattering by any means but is simply a fun and charming read and sometimes that really hits the spot. Waid also gives readers a reason to come back with a nice little cliffhanger at the end of this issue. Throw in the gorgeous artwork by Guimarães and it’s a comic that is worth checking out.
Bitter Root: Red Summer Special #1
Image Comics, Writers David F. Walker & Chuck Brown, Artists Sanford Greene/Lisa K Weber/Daniel Lish/Chris Brunner/Khary Randolph/Dietrich Smith, Colorists Daniela Miwa/Kelly Fitzpatick/Rico Renzi/Matt Herms/Anthony George, Letterer Clayton Cowles
Bitter Root has been quite a surprising comic and while the series is on a scheduled break it’s nice that this summer special helps readers ride out the wait with some really great short stories with a bounty of different artists. I won’t review all of the short stories but thankfully there are none that are bad here but there were some real standout ones. Red Summer with artwork from Lish was really heartfelt in an action set up that delivers a huge impact at the end that really gets to you. Lish gorgeous artwork really brings it all together perfectly. Tulsa with artwork by Brunner is another emotional ride that has great impact and shows the human toll of the jinoo outbreak has on people. Brunner captures is all so well here too. The last story with artwork from Barzakh shows that there is a deeper story going on here and that is tied to the jinoo outbreak in ways that we don’t quite understand yet. Each of the artist stories is perfectly suited to their style and they all add greatly to them and it’s nice to see different interpretations to the mythology. This is a rare anthology that every story is a winner. The only minor complaint is that if you have never read Bitter Root before this might not be the best starting point without knowing what has come before this.
Is this book worth your time and money? With six solid stories for six bucks is a real steal for this book with such high quality and is a great choice this week. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Image Comics Writers Cullen Bunn & Kyle Strahm, Artist Baldemar Rivas, Letter Crank!
Bunn is one of the few writers that really gets horror comics and he brings Strahm to the party as a writing partner on this one and they have crafted a really intriguing story here. On the surface the structure is pretty basic and you have read it before but, they give it a nice spin that makes it feel fresh. The story wont necessarily blow you away but it does satisfy and give you a decent reason to see where they take the story. There is some really creepy stuff here but I liked that they didn’t try and shock you but its more of an uncomfortable feeling that they deliver here that works well for the story. Baldemar’s artwork is quite nice here while there were a few times where there were missing backgrounds that were noticeable overall he gave the book a nice look and delivers some great moody artwork that works in the creepy favor of the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? While it too early to call this one yet, I will say that this first issue shows promise for the story and is worth trying for a few issue to see where hey are going to take it. If your a horror fan you should give this one a try.
Ghosted in L.A. #1
Boom! Box Writer Sina Grace, Artist Siobhan Keenan with Sina Grace, Colorist Cathy Le, Letterer DC Hopkins
Ghosted in L.A. is another in a long line of YA type books from Boom that has some good ideas but isn’t quite compelling in the end. Grace script has good ideas but the story wasn’t as focused as much as I would have liked. I think on of the problems lies in that I never quite connected with Daphne as a character well. She came of as sort of a jerk at first and she overall wasn’t very compelling. The other issue was that the story just felt to basic where thing just happened to her and just jumped from plot point to plot point with not much reason. Keenan’s artwork is nice but there are simply too many times were there are no backgrounds that ends up making the artwork flat and stiff most of the time and that didn’t do the comic any favors. I will give her that when it came to the characters facial emotions she pulls it off well most of the times but there is just not enough overall that stands out here.
Is this book worth your time and money? I wanted to like this book and it’s certainly not terrible but it really just kind of sits there in the end and with so many comics that come out, being average at best is not going to cut it. SKIP IT.
Batman Universe #1
DC Comics Writer Brian Michael Bendis, Artist Nick Derington, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Josh Reed
The second of the Wal-Mart reprint books for the direct market brings us the Batman stories by Bendis and Derington and while I have the same issue that I had with the Superman book aobu the price for these books (Click here to read that), I will cut to the chase here. This is Bendis’s first real Batman “series” now that he is at DC and he has settled into the Dark Knight very well here. The one thing that he get to right away is Batman being a great detective and he uses it nicely in this first set of stories. He also went with the Riddler that is a good choice because he is one of the more under used villains and he has a lot of fun with him here. There are a couple of guest stars in the story and I wont spoil them here but trust me they work well, that was a really nice touch to the story. Derington fresh off of his Doom Patrol run is a really great chice here for the art because he is not a typical “superhero” artist and that really plays well here. It’s not that he can’t handle the action scenes because he does it very well here but, where this book really shines is the dramatic scenes such as the Riddler imposters interrogation is where this book really shines.
Is this book worth your time and money? I’m still torn on the price per page ratio on these titles, I have to admit that Bendis and Derington really deliver a great story and artwork here and I was quite impressed with it overall. The only thing to consider is that there will be six issue same as Superman so you might want to consider waiting for the trade depending on your budget when the individual issues come out. Other than that it worth getting if your looking for a solid easy to get into Batman story.