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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 7/12/20

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 7/12/20

Sorry its been so long in updating the website. The apocalypse will put a crimp in you’re life and then with Diamond comics shutting down everything went off the cliff from there. I was also working a lot of hours because my job was considered essential so by the time I would get home I was exhausted and even after new comic books started to come back it took me a while to even get back into the groove to read them. So hopefully I can get the reviews back on track. I will try and cover as much ground with this post and also combine some books to catch up, so the reviews might be a bit shorter than usual. So lets get going!

S.O.S Support Our Shops 

Aftershock Comics Writers Cullen Bunn, Stephanie Phillips, Zac Thompson, Steve Orlando, Jamie McKelvie, Aaron Douglas, Jerry Ordway, Phil Hester Artists Leia Leiz, Don Kramer, Szymon Kudranski(Colors & Lettering) , Gordon Purcell, Ro Stein & Ted Brandt (Colors & Lettering) , Cliff Richards, Jerry Ordway (Colors & Lettering) Colorists Guy Majors, Juanchoi, Phil Hester (Penciller), Bruce McCorkubdale (Inker & Letterer), Letterer Marhall Dillion

With all of the news of how comic shops are struggling to survive during a world wide pandemic Aftershock comics has really stepped up to the plate with giving this special comic to retailers for free and selling to make money for their store. They are simply trying to help both retailers and readers and this makes this book even more special. There are eight short stories about the creators love of comic books and comic shops and it simply could not be more heartfelt in this current time. Anthology comics are always tough because some stories are good and some are misses but this is a rare case of one that all of the story are simple spot on. It’s also rare that some will stand out over others but this one they all were of such great quality in both story and artwork that it would be a disservice to put one over another. The one thing that I took away from reading these stories is our shared love of both comics and comic stores that are the lifeblood of the industry. We all have great stories and memories of them both and to have them put into great stories in this book was one for the heart.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This one hits really close to home and I have to applaud both Aftershock and all of the creators that donated their time and talent to this comic. This is what community is all about. So if you see you’re local retailer selling this book by all means buy it to support the store and it will remind you of what you love about comics for the first time and why you still love the medium. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

Rogue Planet 1 & 2 

Oni Press Writer Cullen Bunn, Artist Andy Macdonald, Colorist Nick Filardi, Letterer Crank!

Bunn has written some good horror comic as of late and this new one has some promise but there is a nagging sense that I read or seen a lot of the premise before. There is no denying that there is a strong Alien influence to the story but he also throws in a dash of zombies while he’s at it. It’s not to say that the first couple of issues are bad but it didn’t quite blow me away either. I did really enjoy Macdonald’s artwork on the book that gives it a nice gritty style and really captures the scope of the story very well also. He also liked how he handled the gore parts of the story that didn’t go overboard but didn’t pull it in so that fell flat either. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I liked the first two issues but didn’t quite love them. For me there wasn’t quite enough original feel to it that set it apart from its influences. The artwork was very nice and the book does show promise but not quite enough yet. I will give it one more issue to see if Bunn can steer it on a better course. 

Harley Quinn And the Birds of Prey #2

DC Black Label Writers Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, Artist Amanda Conner, Colorist Alex Sinclair, Letterer John J. Hill

It had been so long sense the first issue of this mini series came out that I had to go back and re-read it to remember what was going on in the story. As I noted in the first issue review this is Conner and Palmiotti simply delivering their usual fine quality Harley Quinn story but with the Black Label they get to go into the more R rated territory with the story, dialogue and artwork meaning they get to really let loose and go crazy with it. On the plus side with this book you know exactly what you are getting from them and that is a good thing if you like the creative team. The big plus here is that its a stand alone story that is a nice complement to the Birds of Prey movie and has nearly the same cast of charters but with the addition of more from the comic universe from their run on the regular Harley Quinn series. What gives this book charm is the free for all aspect of the story in that Conner and Palmiotti just go full throttle with the story and throw everything including the kitchen sink into it and that really adds to the craziness of it all. They also make sure that the characters have nice depth to them so that the story is just not silliness on the surface. It’s always a pleasure to see Conner’s artwork in comics beyond mostly covers recently and she does not disappoint here. With the freedom of release on the mainstream comic she really goes to town with the blood bath here but still keeps in all tongue in cheek that adds greatly to the fun of it all. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This one is a no brainier in that if you like Harley Quinn then this one is for you because the way that Conner and Palmiotti are able to let loose finally is what the regular comic should be. This is not going to be the greatest comic that you will read but it sure will be the funniest one that you can get. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Marvel’s Snapshots: Captain America #1

Marvel Comics Writer Mark Russell, Artist Ramón Pérez, Colorist Rico Renzi, Letterer Joe Sabino

As you know I’m a huge Mark Russell fan and this is the first time that he has been able to play in the Marvel sand box and boy did he deliver on this one. To say that this story that he wrote is timely is an understatement to say the least. Knowing that it was written before the current events of Black Lives Matter makes it stand out even more. While the story is set in the past its even more relevant today and points out how important it is that we learn from our history. What I love about this and the other Marvels stories is that they are told from the average person on the street and while there are superheroes in the story its the individuals story that is at the core of it all. He infuses the main character Felix with such hope and humanity that is so perfectly relatable that is one of the main reasons that the story is so heartfelt. It also delivers a strong message of right and wrong and sometimes taking the easy way out of a situation is not going to be the best solution. Pérez’s artwork on this book is the real icing on the cake here because he captures the ugly truth of the run down city and the struggles of the people who live there and gives it such a caring touch that adds so much to Russell’s perfect story. There are so many times that he beautifully underplays the artwork to let it wash over you that shows his artistic talent.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This was a very touching story and even more poignant with the current climate but that is why a great story like this works because its a story about people and life and while there are superheroes in the story, its the every person that is what makes changes in life for us all. This is a real winner and a must read comic. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

That Texas Blood #1

Image Comics Writer Chris Condon, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Jacob Phillips 

This one was a very interesting comic that while you are reading it you are not quite sure what genre its going for and that ends up being a really good thing. I like what Condon has done with the story here in that there are a lot of differently genres and influences but he make it fresh and original here so that you don’t feel like you have read this story before. The other thing is that it keeps you on you’re toes as to what is going on in the story and that is whats intriguing about it is that by the end there are more questions than answers but it does leave you wanting more of it. Phillips brings a big win for this comic with the artwork because a lot of the story is character development and visual facial expressions and that is one of the reasons why the book works so well because of the subtle emotions of the characters really conveys the small elements that become quite big. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? This is a solid first issue and while you are not sure of where the story is fully going here you will find out that the journey gets off to a very good start. With a strong story and gorgeous artwork That Texas Blood is well worth checking out. RECOMMENDED!

Green Lantern 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1

DC Comics Writers James Tynion IV, Geoff Johns, Cullen Bunn, Dennis O’Neal, Ron Marz, Peter J. Tomasi, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, Robert Venditti, Mariko Tamaki, Sina Grace Artists Gary Frank, Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert, Doug Mahnke, Mike Grell, Darryl Banks, Fernando Pasarin & Wade Von Grawbadger, Chriscross & Jordi Tarragona, Rafa Sandoval & Jordi Tarragona, Mirka Andolfo, Ramon Villalobos Colorists Steve Oliff, Alex Sinclair, David Baron, Lovern Kindzierski, Hi-Fi, Gabe Eltaeb, Luis Guerrero, Ivan Plascencia, Arif Prianto, Rico Renzi Letterers Tom Napolitano, Rob Leigh, Carlos M. Mangual, Clem Robbins, Josh Reed, Steve Wands, Dave Sharpe, Gabriela Downie, Andworld Design

DC keeps pumping out these anniversary book because quite simply they sell well and it gives different creative teams both new and old a chance to do a short story about a character that they have always wanted to do. As with most of these anthologies you have to hope that the ratio of the good stories outweigh the ones that were not. This one has ten stories so at 10 bucks cover price you hope that you at least get a 70% plus ratio of good ones. So this one has 70% really good stories and 30% that were OK and thankfully no clunkers so that was good. The one that really stands out is what seems to be Denny O’Neal’s last story before his passing is a Green Lantern/Green Arrow “Time Alone” story with his 1970’s collaborator Mike Grell that is bitter sweet to say the least. It reflective in the fact that I took from the story that O’Neal might have know that it would be his last story and it was appropriate to have them together for one final story. Another stand out one is by Venditti and Sandoval “Four” that is another bitter sweet story that surprising is about Guy Gardner of all things. Not all of the stories are somber both “Last Will’ by Johns and Reis along with “Heart of the Corps” by Tomasi and Pasarin are nice a sweet and humorous. The one that caught me off guard was “Homegrown Hero” that is very timely and has a great social message that is at the core of the characters in the Green Lantern Corps. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? Overall I enjoyed this special and of course for me the O’Neal and Grell story is worth the cover price as a loving tribute to Green Lantern/Green Arrow and to O’Neal’s legacy, but there are other strong stories that makes it worth buying also. The artwork on each story is really good and gives even the minor stories a good lift so that also is a plus for the book. In the end it’s a nice celebration of the characters that have been beloved over the years and a nice celebration of them. RECOMMENDED!

Adventureman #1

Image Comics Writer Matt Fraction, Penciler & Colorist Terry Dodson, Inker Rachel Dodson, Letterer Clayton Cowles

In this oversized first issue Fraction delivers a lot of pages to work with and yet the story ends up not amounting to much. It’s not that the comic is bad, its just that not really much happens here and the fact that you have two issues worth of story to work with there is not much here to  feel that its going to go somewhere. I will say that it starts off really good with the first half of the story (ie the first issue) that is where the excitement ends pretty much. The “second issue” is where it really takes a dive and just kind of meanders around and by the time the issue is over the “reveal” at the end is a cliche ending at its finest. The only thing that this book has going for it is Dodson’s gorgeous artwork that is alway a winner and he really does a great job even in the slower parts and that is about the only thing that kept me going on the second half. I will say that there are a few good ideas here and there but nothing that really makes this book stand out.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? It’s not a total train wreck but you would think that with the top talent involved here there would be a stronger book. Well this one lands squarely on Fraction’s lap because the story is simply boring after the set up and that is where it falls apart. Dodson does his best with the artwork that really shines but in the end he can’t really save a mediocre script. SKIP IT!

Dark Knights Death Metal #1

DC Comics Writer Scott Snyder, Penciller Greg Capullo, Inker Jonathan Glapion, Colorist Fco Flascencia, Letterer Tom Napolitano

I will be very honest here in that I didn’t think that the original Dark Knights series was all that great and was hesitant on this one. While I didn’t think that this was the most amazing comic I have ever read, I will say that it was a lot better than the first one. I will say that if you haven’t read the first series that Snyder does a good job of recapping it here in this first issue but he peppers it throughout the story so that it doesn’t affect the pacing of the story. Snyder’s story here is not deep but has some nice fun bits that keeps it from becoming too dark. As always Capullo’s artwork is top notch and the amount of detail that he puts into it is really amazing and Glapion’s inking complements it very nicely too. Visually he complements Snyder’s script perfectly and its the small subtle visuals that made it work well.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I’m not a big comic events guy but at least this was pretty entertaining for what it is. It’s a dark Justice League story of the multiverse and on that level it works fine. Capullo really delivers on the artwork so at the very least that is worth the price of admission here. It’s not bad for what it is. 

Sleeping Beauties #1

IDW Based on a Novel by Stephen King and Owen King, Adapted by Rio Youers, Artist Alison Sampson, Colorist Triona Tree Farrell, Letterer Christa Miesner

I have never read the original novel that this story is based on so I only have what is in front of me with this comic and it gets off to a bit of a slow start but it does show promise. Youers script is good and this first issue is all set up but it does it well with introducing the hook of the story. The story has a slight disjointed narrative but that it usually how King novels starts off with a kind of fast and looseness but as it moves along it becomes more focused. Youers moves it along well and adapts it well to the different visual medium and this is where Sampson comes in and she brings a great kinetic energy to the story. I was impressed with her work on Winnebago Graveyard a few years ago and her style fits this story nicely. The story is a bit off kilter and thats what she brings to this story. 

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? I’ll be honest in that this first issue is tough because it’s just the first chapter of a bigger story so you can’t quite tell what to make of it with just so little of it. This is one of those comics that I hate to say that will work better reading it as a whole instead of monthly. I will say with just this first issue there are some good ideas here and an interesting concept. So I have mixed feeling but it was worth giving a look at.

Batman: The Smile Killer #1

DC Black Label Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Andrea Sorrentino, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Steve Wands

This is a side story/epilogue to the Joker: Killer Smile mini series that you will need to read to understand the story here so make sure that you have read that first. While it does stand on its own there are story elements from the other story that connects the two and makes for a very nice follow up to it. Lemire does a nice twist on a young Bruce Wayne here and just as with the Joker: Killer Smile it a decent into the mind of Bruce but with a great twist. What I love that Lemire has done here is that both Batman and Joker are cut from the same cloth but on opposite sides of the spectrum and he uses that very well here. Sorrentino continues to bring a great visual style to these stories and he has a great way of visually descending into madness but never lets it get out of control. Its the subtle moments in the story that he perfectly captures with the artwork that complements Lemire’s script so well and that is why this follow up story is such a great treat.

Is this comic worth you’re time and money? The Joker: Killer Smile was great and this one is just as good. Lemire and Sorrentino deliver a great companion story here and is a must read comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!