Conan The Barbarian: Exodus #1
Marvel Comics Writer & Artist Esad Ribić
It’s a rare feat to be able to pull off a “silent” comic story but I have to hand it to Ribić that not only is he a brilliant artist but a solid writer too. Most people do not realize that doing a story with little or no dialog still has to have a story and Ribić does that very well here. Surprisingly without dialogue there is quite nice depth to the story and is a great marriage of story and artwork. Visually the book is very impressive with the level of detail that you rarely see in comics with both the line and painted artwork. There is so much detail in every inch of every panel that makes you take your time in taking it all in. As a nice bonus there are behind the scenes with his pencil layouts of the art that just shows how much each part brings to this great story. It’s a rare one and done comic that is one of it’s best assets.
Is this book worth your time and money? Even a casual Conan fan can easily pick this up and enjoy it and when you throw in that there is no language barrier to the story it can be “read” by anyone and that is where this book really shines. There is a lot packed into this twenty page comic that is a bargain for all that your getting here. RECOMMENDED!
The White Trees: A Blacksand Tale #1
Image Comics Writer Chip Zdarsky, Artist Kris Anka, Colorist Matt Wilson, Letterer Aditya Bidikar
At first this story starts off as a pretty straight forward kidnapped/rescue mission but the story actually has some nice twist and turns that you don’t expect and became a great surprise. What I liked about this story is that while its very familiar Zdarsky doesn’t try and re-invent the wheel here but simply tell a solid story and that is why it works so well. The one thing that I liked was the pacing of the story and how it just had a natural unfolding to it that made for a pleasant reading experience. The other strong aspect of the story is the depth of the characters and how in such a short period that you get to know them quite well and care about their journey together. While there is mystery to their past I never felt like I was missing anything. Anka’s artwork is such a great complement to Zdarsky’s script and one of the big reasons why this book works so well. His line art is has such a great impact because he captures the visual emotions of the characters that you feel so perfectly. Its amazing that he is able to capture the large scope of this epic tale but its the small subtle dramatic moments he visually brings to life so well here.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really like this first part and cant wait to see how they fit the rest of the story into the next issue. It’s a very bold move to tell this story in two oversized issues and that is exciting to see a nice self contained story. The only thing that readers should be aware of is there are some very adult scenes in this and is defiantly for mature readers but I will say that both the script and the artwork handle this very tastefully and beautifully. This was a great read and can’t wait for the next issue. VERY RECOMMENDED!
Once & Future #1
Boom! Studios Writer Kieron Gillen, Artist Dan Mora, Colorist Tamra Bonvillain, Letterer Ed Dukeshire
Every once in a while a comic comes along and surprises you and Once & Future is one of those rare ones. There are so many great things in this story that I would love to talk about here but certainly don’t want to spoil anything. I will say that things start off one way and there are so many great twist and turns in just this first issue that will both surprise and impress. Gillen does a great job of not only setting this story up so well in this first issue but we get to know the characters that is a hard balancing act to do in a first issue and he really pulls it off impressively here. I really loved how he handled Duncan as sort of the lovable buffoon and his grandmother is a real spitfire. But the big win is the classic mythology that he weaves into the story will really blow you away. Mora best known for his wonderful artwork on Klaus is the prefect artist for this book. The way that he captures the characters facial expressions is amazing and gives this story so much added depth that makes it such a visual treat. The dinner date with Duncan is simply priceless and shows he great range as an artist and makes for a great looking comic book.
Is this book worth your time and money? I was really impressed by this book and this first issue really shoots out of the gate very well. A strong story and fantastic artwork make this a real winner and it gives you great reasons to come back for more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Silver Surfer: Prodigal Son #1
Marvel Comics Writer Peter David, Artist Fancesco Manna, Colorist Espen Grundetjern, Letterer Cory Petit
I’m a big Peter David fan and was excited that he was doing this book but it ended up being pretty flat after reading it. The problem is that it’s certainly not bad but it didn’t really bring much new to the character of the Silver Surfer. The story is a pretty by the numbers affair with one hero trying to stop Galactus from destroying his planet and thats ends up being pretty much it. The bigger problem is that you’ve read this so many times and David didn’t bring a different angle to it and that is a real shame. The artwork by Manna is nice but but pretty standard and didn’t really stand out much. It gets the job done well but thats about it.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really wanted to like this comic more than I did but it’s so standard and bland that is ended up being pretty boring and with so many other better comic books out there its not worth it. SKIP IT!
Second Coming #2
Ahoy Comics Writer Mark Russell, Artist Richard Pace, Inker (Earth Pages) Leonard Kirk, Colorist (Earth Pages) Andy Troy, Letterer Rob Steen
After a stunning first issue of this comic, Russell and Pace hit the ground running and make this second issue better than the first and that is saying a lot with the amazing first issue. There is a great twist to the story from last issue with Sunstar and the robot bank robbery that sets a great tone for this issues story. What Russell is doing here is mixing superheroes with reality and then throwing in God and Jesus in for good measure. While on the surface this is a what if superheroes actually existed in the real world but there is so much more that Russell is doing her with this. One great thing is the dark humor that he sprinkles throughout the script but also the biting satire that he pokes at everyone and everything simply adds to the richness of the story. Where this book really shines is the emotions that Sunstar has and how he is just as normal as the rest of us but just happens to have super powers but has all of the same problems that we deal with. Pace brings so much visually to this comic with his artwork and how he is able to create two different styles for both the heaven and earth sequences is most impressive. It gives the story great heft and weight to each part of the story that adds so much to its impact. His depiction of heaven is mind blowing and yet he captures the humor of the script at the same time that I loved this issue but its that he is able to convey the emotions of the characters that is where he really shines.
Is this book worth your time and money? This comic is a true fresh breath of air and so thankful that Ahoy was willing to take a chance on it. There is so much to like about this book and its so layered in both story and artwork that makes it such a wonderful read. I thought the first issue was great but with this second issue I simply can’t wait to see where they take this book next. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
Black Hammer/Justice League #2
Dark Horse Comics/DC Comics Writer Jeff Lemire, Artist Michael Walsh, Letterer Nate Piekos
As you know I’m a huge Black Hammer fan and while I liked the first issue, it tended to be more for new readers to get up to speed in the Black Hammer Universe than for the regular readers of the comic. This second issue starts to get to the meat of the story by switching the teams to their opposite places and it made for a really fun read and starts to delve deeper into the mystery of why this is happening. One of the best things that Lemire does here is with the members of the Justice League and how they are struggling with being trapped on the farm for what they believe is 10 years and it mirrors the original Black Hammer storyline. The bigger question is it the same or is Lemire going to change things up and there are clues in this issue that allude to both or neither. One of the bigger side stories was the John Stewart and Colonel Weird story that may shed some light on what is going on. The big win for this book is the character driven story that Lemire is doing here is that is exceptionally rare for a crossover book like this and that is what I love most about it. Walsh captures the look and feel of the Black Hammer series here and that gives the book a great and different feel than a more mainstream artistic look that fits the story very well here. His visual look for Bizarro was particularly impressive.
Is this book worth your time and money? I’m really digging this book but I wonder for more mainstream superhero readers how they would think of this book? If your willing to go more outside the normal look and feel of a mainstream Justice League comic then you really need to check this one out. For fans of Black Hammer then your already getting this book. I’m excited to see where the comic goes from here. RECOMMENDED!
DC’s Young Animal Writers Mikey Way and Shaun Simon, Artist Ilias Kyriazis, Colorist Cris Peter, Letterer Simon Bowland
The first issue of this book was a really bizarre read but there was something very intriguing about it so I wanted to see where they were going to take the story. Well this second issue is just as weird but were starting to discover what powers that Liam has but the question is why and does he even control them. Way and Simon deliver a unique decent into madness with Liam and its one of the more strange takes on the concept that I have ever read. The question is does it make sense, well both no and yes and that is where the story gets interesting. The story is a bit more linear this issue and that does help greatly but there is still a lot to digest here. Kyriazis artwork on the book is a huge help because he is able to visually help the reader make some sense of the story here and that is a big plus. One of the strongest aspects of this comic is the visual approach to the layouts and the ability to capture the insanity that Liam is going through and that is where Kyriazis art really shines.
Is this book worth your time and money? I still am not sure what the hell is going on here but at least this issue reveals more of the mystery even though its hard to imagine it sometimes while your reading it. If your looking for different you have certainly come to the right comic. I’m still intrigued to see where it goes.
House of X #2 & Powers of X #2
Marvel Comics Writer Jonathan Hickman Artists Pepe Larraz (House of X), R.B. Silva & Adriano Di Benedetto (Powers of X), Colorist Marte Gracia, Letterer Clayton Cowles
Playing a little catch up here with part 2 & 3 of this story.
I have to say that the second issue of House of X is absolutely amazing with telling the back story of Moria X is one of the best X-Men stories that I have read in years because of the focus on characterization over super heroics. It’s also very focused that has been an issue for me with the structure that Hickman has taken with the story so far. This issue was a great character study and hopefully he does more of this as the story goes along. Larraz really nails the artwork on this story because there is so much emotion that is in the script and that he is able to capture all of the subtle moments so perfectly here that really help sell this story.
Powers of X #2 gets back to the future storyline that I thought that moved a bit better than the first issue of House did but still has the same issues that the story is interesting but you kind of feel a bit lost while your reading it. I’m all for pacing in a story but the reader should feel more of a sense of it going more forward at this point. Silva’s artwork on this part of the story is nice but there are noticeable times where there are limited backgrounds and feels a little too open because of it.
Are these books worth your time and money? While House of X was a huge success, I’m still not totally sold on this story. I really want to like what Hickman is doing here but I just feel that the forward momentum is just not happening as much as I would like it to. I also think that there hasn’t been enough insight to the mystery of the overall story that is becoming a problem. I’m not saying that this storyline is bad but after four issues of the story and only one that is a win is not the best odds. I keep hoping that it comes together but not much so far.
Batman Universe #2
DC Comics Writer Brian Michael Bendis, Artist Nick Derington, Colorist Dave Stewart, Letterer Josh Reed
I’m still a bit upset about the price of these reprints I have to say that this Batman story by Bendis and Derington is at least giving you bang for the buck quality wise with this story. Bendis is really having a blast writing Batman here not only with the charm of the Riddler but to throw in Green Arrow has been a real charmer of this third chapter. Then in chapter four he takes Batman to Gorilla City was very unexpected and a lot of fun especially with the dialogue he came up with that really lighten up the Dark Knight in a really good way. The real win for this book is Derington’s artwork that is really mind blowing. Between his layouts and the way that he is able to capture both the big and smaller moments of each beat of the story that is making this comic such a treat.
Is this book worth your time and money? I really have to admit that Bendis and Derington really won me over with this second outing for this book. It’s not to say that the first issue was not good but there is so much to like here with both the story and the artwork that is just as good if not better than a lot of more higher profile Batman stories recently. This one looks to be a keeper. RECOMMENDED!
Invisible Woman #2
Marvel Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Mattia De Iulis, Letterer Joe Caramagna
This book was a pleasant little surprise on its first issue and continues to be so in this second issue. Waid is simply telling a fun little espionage story with a very unlikely lead in Sue Storm and that is what is making this book so charming. She is a very unlikely character for this type of story and that is what is making the story so fascinating is that your never quite sure what to expect with it. In adding Black Widow has giving this story some great twist and turns with both the action and the difference between there philosophies about the mission. It is making for an intriguing character study. De Islis’s artwork on this book is simply stunning in how he has such great line work but gives it a painted look with the color that has a semi-realistic that add greatly to the story especially with characters facial expressions that are big reason why this book is working so well.
Is this book worth your time and money? The big win for this book is that it’s simply a lot of fun and that is what is making is so enjoyable. Waid is not trying to overplay the story and is keeping it simple and fun and that is what you will like about it. When you add in De Iulis gorgeous artwork then you have a winner here. RECOMMENDED!