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New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 8/5/15

New Comic Book Reviews Week Of 8/5/15

Batgirl Annual #3


DC Comics Writers Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher, Artists Bengal/David Lafuente/Ming Doyle/Mingjue Helen Chen, Colorists Bengal/Gabe Eltaeb/Ivan Plascencia/Mingjue Helen Chen, Letterer Steve Wands

This book was not shipped to my local comic shop last week so I’m catching up with it this week. The story is broken up into four chapters that is drawn by a different artist. The overall story by Stewart  and Fletcher is a bit on the long side. The story gets off to a solid start with wonderful artwork by Bengal. The story and art have a very good pace and the Grayson trying not to be noticed is a fun little story element. Where the book starts to lose its charm a bit is with the other stories that are good but feel a little tacked on. LaFuente art on the second part makes the weak story better to get through but the story sadly doesn’t add much to the overall arc of the book. The Ming Doyle story and art was for me the weakest of the four chapters. It really just kind of sat there for me. Doyle is a good artist but I just felt that his art didn’t pop off the page very well as the other chapters did. The last chapter has some gorgeous artwork by Chen and has Batgirl visiting Gotham Academy and is the next best chapter after the first one. It wraps up the story very well and doesn’t feel as forced with the cameos like the second and third chapters were. So there are both hits and slight misses.

Is this book worth your time and money? I did like the idea of the story and the first and last chapters are by far the best parts of the book. The story sadly sagged in the middle with both chapters feeling like an after thought. It felt as if Stewart and Fletcher story was initially the first chapter and then padded the story out to make the book the larger annual format. The last chapter is the best of the rest but overall not entirely needed. The book is not bad by any means and it’s nice to see different artists interpretations of Batgirl. I just can’t say that the book is worth the $4.99 cover price. If you are a Batgirl reader your probably going to get more out of it than a new reader. I liked it but didn’t love it.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #2


Dynamite Writer Matt Wagner, Artist Dan Schkade, Colorist Brennan Wagner, Letterer A Larger World Studio

While I was very glad to see The Spirit back to comics I felt the first issue of the book struggled a bit for the first issue. Wagner made a bold story choice of starting the book off without the main character of The Spirit and continues the search for him in this second issue. Wagner does pick up the pace with the second issue and it flows a bit better than the first issue because there is some actual adventure in this issue. We finally get to see The Spirit in a flashback scene that does help a bit. Schlade’s artwork is good but there are still some panels that are a bit rougher than others so there is still a little inconsistency issues but overall he does a nice job. It does seem that Wagner might be doing breakdowns or layouts for him.

Is this book worth your time and money? I did like the second issue a lot better than the first and seems to be edging closer to what the book needs to be. It felt a lot more like The Spirit this issue and that is a good sign. The artwork still has some rough edges at times but hopefully he will get better as the book moves along. Wagner does need to move things along with getting The Spirit into the book but the second issue get the book on a more solid footing that was missing from the first issue. RECOMMENDED. 

Mad Max Fury Road: Max Part Two #2


Vertigo Comics Story George Miller, Script Mark Sexton & Nico Lathouris, Artist Mark Sexton, Colorist Michael Spicer, Letterer Clem Robins

The final prequel chapter in the events that lead up to Fury Road fill in the final pieces to the Max story. These stories have been a great way to see story elements that you could see in the film but could have not been included for time and money to tell all of them. It was great to see how Max got his car and builds on the themes from the original three films that lead to the new film. This second issue ties up the story very nicely. The best thing about these books are that Miller is making sure that they all fit into the cannon of the Mad Max universe and is a great way to delve deeper into the characters. Sexton and Lathouris do a great job of both the action that is just like the film but delivering a touching story at the same time. Sexton’s artwork does a great job of making the book gritty and great looking at the same time. He really does a great job of making the book feel like an extension of the films.

Is this book worth your time and money? I have really enjoyed all of the prequel books but the Mad Max one has really been great. It finally revealed that Fury Road is in fact the fourth film in the series and has filled in all of the blacks that were alluded to in the film. It was like getting a whole separate  film but in comic book form. Great story and solid artwork have made this a must buy book for Mad Max fans both old and new. VERY RECOMMENDED!

Airboy #3


Image Comics Writer James Robinson, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Greg Hinkle

One of the most controversial comics of the year continues and the outrageousness continues full throttle this issue. Robinson continues to mix many genres and breaks the fourth wall and blend realism with fantasy and then drop a bomb on it and explodes all over the pages. While it might seem incoherent and self-deprecating for some readers I have found this book to be one of the most intriguing books of the year. Robinson and Hinkle have been transported back to WWII and they are still the same thoughtless jerks but now running for their lives and still causing problems. Robinson has infused the story with so many things that your always not quite sure how anything is going to turn out. It’s like sliding down a hill on a sled with no controls or breaks and is just going to go wherever it wants to. But in a weird way they whole thing makes sense. Hinkle continues to impress me with his artwork on the book. I love how he make the comic world full color while keeping Robinson and himself in green/grey tone. This is a great looking book.

Is this book worth your time and money? I won’t get into the whole controversy with this book but at the end of the day I like the books no holds barred approach that Robinson and Hinkle are taking with the story and artwork. There is something that will offend everyone in this book and that is what is making it so interesting. It is willing to go into the grey areas of story that are rarely explored in mainstream comics. This book is not for everyone and sure it continues to push boundaries but in the end for better or worse I think that the book is one of the most interesting stories that I have read in a long time. RECOMMENDED! 

John Flood #1


Boom! Studios Writer Justin Jordan, Artist Jorge Coelho, Colorist Tamra Bonvillain, Letterer Ed Dukeshire

Jordan has taken a somewhat conventional idea and molded it into a very interesting concepts in the book. While the first issue is good there are a few minor flaws but nothing fatal. There is a lot of exposition in this issue and it’s handled pretty well but there could have been some better fleshing out of the characters a bit better but that could be fixed in the second issue of the book. I did like the idea of a man-made rain man from an experiment was a nice twist on an over used story trope. Jordan keeps the story moving along nicely in the first issue and has a nice set up to the next issue. The artwork by Coelho is very nice and a good step above some of the average artwork that seems to have plagued a lot of Boom titles lately. While there were a few sparse backgrounds at times but considering that he put a lot of nice detail into the characters facial features, I will give him a pass on that. It’s a very nice looking book.

Is this book worth your time and money? The first issue gets off to a good start and while there are a couple of minor bumps in the road the book shows a lot of promise for the series. I do hope that some of the minor story issues are addressed in the second issue but overall the book gets off to a solid start with some good ideas and very nice artwork. Worth checking out.

This Damned Band #1


Dark Horse Comics Writer Paul Cornell, Artist Tony Parker, Colorist Lovern Kindzierski, Letterer Michael Heisler

I rarely find reading a comic making me say what the fuck was that. Well Cornell has not only made me say this but this could be one of the most incoherent comics I have ever read. The main problem is that there really is no story to speak of and the book just presents situations as it goes along. There is none of the characters that are likable or even interesting they are all cliché rock stars that are not interesting. Cornell has the band being film for a documentary a la Spinal Tap but that does nothing for the story or have any real point. The only thing that made the book marginally bearable was Parker’s artwork that was decent and I like the style that he used to differentiate the drug trip after the band takes mushrooms.

Is this book worth your time and money. I only paid $1.99 for the book and felt ripped off. This book is simply bad. The story what little there is, was a chore to read and had no point to it. Filled with clichés and tropes that are more sad than interesting. It’s hard to see what Dark Horse was thinking when they decided to green light this book. DO NOT BUY!

We Stand On Guard #2


Image Comics Brian K. Vaughan, Artist Steve Skroce, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Fonografiks

I was very impressed with the first issue of this book and the second issue continues the story very nicely and keeps the momentum of the first issue and builds on it quite nicely. I like how Vaughan is unfolding the story in layers that not only keeps the present story going but the flashbacks are nicely filling in the back story at the same time. There is still a lot we don’t know but Vaughan is smart not to reveal things too quickly but you never feel like your not getting enough story. I am loving how he is introducing each character and giving background without it bogging down the story. Skroce’s artwork is amazing and the scope of the detail that he puts into the artwork is breathtaking. He does a wonderful job of the emotions of the book in the characters facial expressions.

Is this book worth your time and money? This is becoming the book that I am looking forward to each month. Vaughan and Skroce have created a gripping and dramatic story that looks wonderful and keeps you wanting more. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Dark Corridor #1


Image Comics Writer and Artist Rich Tommaso

I love noir crime stories and Tommaso is a unique take on it. I really got swept up in the two stories that are in this first issue. I love the idea that the book is about a city not specific characters but that gives it the ability to go anywhere and tell any type of story depending on the page count. This allows the story to take as much or as little time it needs to tell its tale. A lot of people are going to compare it to Tarantino or other movies or directors but I never thought of anything or anyone but the world that Tommaso created. It’s a real shame that readers today are going to struggle with a book like this. It’s hard for people to wrap around an open world concept in comics that is so rare today. As much as I loved Tommaso’s stories I was just as impressed with his artwork on the book. I could see a lot of great influences in his artwork but he gives the book his own bold and visually striking style that brings this wonderful noir world to life. His bold line work and the layouts are fantastic along with his use of color make this a book that you really take your time to read and let all of the visuals soak in as you are reading it.

Is this book worth your time and money? I hope that this book does well because there are so few books that take the noir genre and bring it back to the comics medium. I simply was blown away by this book. This is a book that you really need to give a chance to because if you let it wash over you then you will understand how great noir can be. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!