It’s been very difficult to get these reviews up on the site and I thank you for bearing with me. First there was SDCC where there was no chance that any reviews were going up that week and then last week I came down with the dreaded Con Crud that took me down for the count. So there is a lot of books to catch up on so I will try to keep them brief so I can get through the big pile of books here.
Godzilla In Hell #1
IDW Writer/Artist/Colorist/Letterer James Stokoe
While I am a big Godzilla fan most of the comics have left me a bit on the cold side but I decided to give this new series a chance. Stokoe has taken the book in a very interesting direction. There is no dialog but the story is told through the artwork. This approach can either sink or swim a book but in this case it actually works quite well. The story is straight forward and hits the ground running. Stokoe’s artwork is really fantastic and is the main reason to buy the book. He puts a lot of detail into the artwork and get the look of Godzilla perfect. Because there is no spoken dialog he has to tell the story in the art and on that the book reads very well. While I like the first issue I do question the long-term of the book. You can get away with a fight with another monster for one issue but Stokoe will need to bring something new to the next issue without rehashing the same thing every issue. I am recommending the book cautiously in the hopes that Stokoe will surprise me with the next issue. The first issue gets off to a good start.
Doctor Fate #2
DC Comics Writer Paul Levitz, Artist Sonny Liew, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Nick J. Napolitano
The first issue got off to a good start but was a bit bogged down by an an abundance of exposition. While the second issue does go forward it was a little slower than I would have liked. Levitz is a good writer and I can see that he is making sure to explain as much as possible to new reader of the character. The problem that I am having is that I wish that the story was moving forward at a better pace. There is stuff happening but it’s just taking too long to get going in the story department. I like the direction of the story just not the pacing. Liew’s artwork is still the main draw of the book for me. His style brings a refreshing look and feel of a superhero book that makes it really stand out from the crowd. While I haven’t given up on the book I’ve only got about one to two more issues for Levitz to get the momentum on the book going better. Not bad just not where I would like to story to be at.
Strange Fruit #1
Boom! Studios Writers J.G. Jones & Mark Waid, Artist/Colorist J.G. Jones, Letterer Deron Bennett
The timing of this book is very ironic with the recent removal of the Confederate Flag from southern states. Jones is more known for his artwork but this is his first time as a writer of a series and he has crafted an emotional and powerful story that you rarely see in todays mainstream comics. He collaborates with Waid on the story and while the subject matter is sometime difficult to read it mixes history with a touch of superheroes that could be one of the biggest surprise books of the year. The story reminds me of a take on the John Henry folk tale but mixing it with history and superheroes that is not only powerful but a comic that is a really great story. Jones fully painted the artwork that take the story to a whole new level that captures every emotional detail of the story. The artwork pulls you into the period and makes you feel everything that the story is telling. This is a book that is not to be missed and is one that everyone should be reading. HIGEST RECOMMENDATION!
Martian Manhunter #2
DC Comics Writer Rob Williams, Penciller Eddy Barrows, Inker Eder Ferreira, Colorist Gabe Eltaeb, Letterer Tom Napolotano
I have to give credit to Williams for not going the traditional route of standard superhero fare for this book. I am enjoying how he takes the regular superhero route at times but it never is quite what it seems. He will lead you on with standard tropes and then take it somewhere that you don’t expect. The art by Barrows and Ferreira continues to make the book look really great and they handle both the big action scenes and the more subtle ones very well. This book is heading in a great direction and I am enjoying how Williams is pushing the story forward and still keeping the mysteries close to the vest. This second issue was a very nice surprise and a good build from the first issue. RECOMMENDED!
The Fiction #2
Boom! Studios Writer Curt Pires, Artist David Rubin, Colorist Michael Garland, Letterer Colin Bell
The Fiction got off to a good start with the first issue and the second issue kept the book moving along quite nicely. Pires script keeps the story moving forward while still giving more back story to the readers. I am very impressed with that balance to the story that so many writers seem to stumble over. He cleverly slowly reveals the mystery with flashbacks to the kids and what happened to Tsang and how they are trying to discover why they are being pulled back to the story worlds. Rubin’s artwork is very nice and his layouts for the story are very impressive. His visual take on the story worlds are very impressive and imaginative. Overall this is a solid book that I will buy for the full four issues and is worth reading.
Black Canary #2
DC Comics Writer Brenden Fletcher, Artist Annie Wu, Colorist Lee Loughridge Letterer Steve Wands
This is one of those books I want to like better than I do. Don’t get me wrong the book is not bad but the second issue does not move the story forward very much. Fletcher is a good writer but I think that he is just moving this book too slowly. With this second issue I should be finding out more about the characters and what is going on. It seems more like the same story from the first issue with a few new things thrown in to the mix. The only thing that is saving the book for me is Wu’s incredible artwork that has a bold and refreshing style that is missing from the mainstream now. The book has so much more potential than this second issue shows and it has me a bit worried. I will give it a few more issue to get back on track but this book should be a lot better than it is now.
Marvel Comics Writer Gerry Duggan, Artist Nik Virella, Colorist Lee Loughridge, Letterer Clayton Cowles
To say that I have been less than overwhelmed with Marvel’s Secret War book is a sad understatement. There have only been a few that have not followed the whole Battleworld scenario and they are the ones that are working. 1872 works because it’s more of a what if type story that has Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in the wild west and using other characters like Kingpin and Bullseye. Duggan does a nice job of keeping the spirit of the characters but letting the wild west take precedent to them. While this book is not the most original idea it is well executed in both the story and artwork. While Virella’s artwork is not flashy it does fit the tone of the story very well. He gave the book the visual impact that the story needs. I must mention Loughridge’s color work on the book gives the colors a nice sepia tone look that makes Virella’s artwork pop. This book is not going to win any awards but it’s a solid story with nice artwork that was a really fun read and well worth checking out.
DC Comics Writers Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti, Penciller Emanuela Lupacchino, Inker Ray McCarthy, Colorist Hi-Fi, Letterer Tom Napolitano
The first issue has some really problems but I had hoped that Conner and Palmiotti would correct things in the second issue. The answer is both yes and no. It seems as if the aim of the book is trying to hit two different audiences and missing them both. It’s too high for the younger crowd but too low for the adult crowd. The book is by no means unreadable it just never quite hits the mark on the target. It suffers from an identity crisis of being too silly and too serious at the same time. Conner and Palmiotti are very good writers I just thing the problem with the book is that the overall tone of the book is unclear. It wants to be too many things at one time and then does none of them well. The one thing that is very right with the book is the artwork by Lupacchino and McCarty that make the book a visual feast that makes the story a bit more tolerable. It’s a real shame about this book because Starfire is a great character but sadly this book does not show it very well. SKIP IT!
Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1
Marvel Comics Writer Al Ewing, Penciller Alan Davis, Inker Mark Farmer, Colorist Wil Quintana, Letterer Travis Lanham
The only reason I bought this book is for the stunning Alan Davis artwork and that always leads to the question is the story any good. I wasn’t holding my breath because the Secret War books have been a real disaster quality wise so the bar was pretty low. Ewing follows the theme of Battleworld but does give the story a nice What If touch of re-imagining the heroes in a different way that made the story a pleasant read. The story is not going to blow you away or anything but one would wish that Davis had a better story to work with here. Davis and Farmer certainly make the book a lot better than it should be and as always deliver their A game with the artwork. A great looking book with an average story is what you get here.
All Star Section Ei8ht #2
DC Comics Writer Garth Ennis, Artist John McCrea, Colorist John Kalisz, Letterer Pat Brosseau
While I wish that this was not just a rehash of the first issue adding Green Lantern and subtracting Batman I still get a kick out of this book in a weird way. Look for most people this book is not going to be your cup of tea. It’s rude, crude and very silly but Ennis and McCrea make no apologies for it and it is what it is. Sure I would have like a different story for the second issue and hope that this mini series is not the same every issue but I get it and I make no apologies for it. I love the book and most are not going to care for it.But if you are looking for some wild fun in the DC universe this book will fit the bill nicely.
Archie Comics Writer Mark Waid, Artist Fiona Staples, Colorist Andre Szymanowicz, Letterer Jack Morelli
After much ballyhooed the new Archie series has arrived and is one of the best Archie comics that I have read. Waid is very smart and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here. All of the characters feel and act like classic Archie characters but he has simply updated them to the 21st century. Sure there are a few “racy” moments in the story but nothing inappropriate or out-of-place. The best way to think of it is that it’s like Dawson’s Creek but in the Archie Universe. Waid also give the characters a much broader storyline than the usual Archie comics. It’s a book that you could still give a younger reader but adults will enjoy it just as much if not more. Getting Staples for the artwork is a real cherry on the top of this book. She really give the book and the story the visual energy that the book needs. She gives the cast a fresh look but still keeping the classic look that has made Archie such a huge icon for over 75 years. I am very impressed with this incarnation of Archie and hope that people will give the book a chance because in the end it’s simply an enjoyable book that keeps it simple and great. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Justice League of America #2
DC Comics Writer & Penciller Bryan Hitch, Inkers Daniel Henriques, Andrew Currie & Bryan Hitch, Colorist Alex Sinclair, Letterer Chris Eliopoulos
I was very underwhelmed by Hitch’s first issue of JLA because as great of an artist that he is honestly his writing is nowhere nearly as good. I will say that the second issue was a lot more coherent than the first issue but in the end the story is pretty basic and the dialog is at time amateurish. I think that Hitch has some good story ideas and if he has a co-writer the book could be a real winner but in the end you get a stunning looking comic with an average story. While the book is not a train wreck I doubt that I will get beyond this first story arc if I make it that long.
Where Monsters Dwell #3
Marvel Comics Writer Garth Ennis, Artist Russ Braun, Colorist Dono Sanchez Almara, Letterer Rob Sheen
The winner of the best book to come from the whole Secret Wars mess is the one that has nothing to do with the whole Secret Wars thing. Ennis continues to impress me with this book in both the tone and the story. He has taken both Karl and Clemmie in story directions that I never imagined and while Karl is still a complete ass but Ennis gives him a lot more than what you would expect. The story continues to go deeper into the mysteries of the island and I can’t wait to see where is goes in the nest issues. Braun artwork is simply wonderful and each issue seems to get better each issue and has a great knack for wonderful facial expression that is key to the book looking and working so well. This is one great looking book. This team needs to do a regular series ASAP! VERY RECOMMENDED!
Star Trek/Green Lantern #1
IDW/DC Comics Writer Mike Johnson, Artist Angel Hernandez, Colorist Alejandro Sanchez, Letterer Neil Uyetake
I love that publishers are teaming up on books and the latest is DC and IDW doing Star Trek and Green Lantern that actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Using the current J.J. Abrams Star Trek crew writer Johnson get the story off to a decent start. It’s always hard for this type of story to get a real feel of what it’s going to be like from the first issue because your juggling two separate universes and then setting up the whole story with a lot of exposition in the first issue that is always difficult. The key to this mash-up working is if you feel that the story mixes the two universes so they seem to fit together. I give credit to Johnson that he does that nicely for the first issue but the real key is going to be the second issue. Hernandez does a nice job on the art and books with licensed characters are even harder on an artist because they have to work on the actors likeness and Hernandez does a good job with it. Luckily he has free rein on the Green Lantern characters and you can tell he has a bit more fun with those characters. I liked what I read in the first issue so that a good start but we will see what the next issue brings.
Constantine The Hellblazer #2
DC Comics Writers Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV, Artist Riley Rossmo, Colorist Ivan Plascencia, Letterer Tom Napolitano
This incarnation of John Constantine got off to a good start but stumbles a bit on the second issue. I just felt that the issue rambled on a little too much in this issue. It was hampered by too much exposition that while a lot of it was important it just too much for the second issue. I will give Doyle and Tynion are getting the book in the right direction and this second issue is not bad by any means. Second issues of a new book are more crucial than the first. People will forgive a lot in a first issue but the second issue is where you can lose a lot of readers. I do plan on continuing the book but hope that the next issue picks up the pace and is a bit more focused. Rossmo’s art is the real winner here. His style is really giving this book a solid tone to the story. I am simply blown away by his wonderful artwork on the book and hope that he stays on the book for a while. There is a lot riding on this book for me and while I am a bit disappointed in the second issue it’s certainly a good book.
Invader Zim #1
Oni Press Writer Jhonen Vazquez, Penciller Aaron Alexovich, Inker Megan Lawton, Colorist Simon Troussellier, Letterer Warren Wucinich
I must first start off by say that Oni really impressed me with including the names of the voice actors of the original show in the inside front cover below the comic book creators was a very nice touch because when you are reading the comic you are imagining the actors voices in your head. Invader Zim was one of the best shows that Nickelodeon has ever done and yet there is only one season of the show ever done. People still love the show and now Oni Press has come to the rescue and not only given us a new comic but it’s written by the creator of the show Jhonen Vazquez. So saying that this comic feels like the series is an understatement. There is a nice recap at the beginning for new readers but from that point on it feel just like an episode of the series. Vazquez script hits all of the right beats and it’s like no time has passed on the story. Alexovich and Lawton do a great job of keeping the characters close to the style of the show that was based on Vazquez’s designs. They do a great job on the weird designs that are in the story and make this one of the best looking adaption that I have seen in comics lately. If you are a fan of the show then this book is for you. If you have never watched the show but are curious then this is a good jumping on point. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Mad Max Fury Road: Max Part One #1
Vertigo Comics Story George Miller, Script Mark Sexton & Nico Lathouris, Artist Mark Sexton, Colorist Michael Spicer, Letterer Clem Robins
The previous two stand alone books told the stories of Nux, Immortan Joe and Furiosa and now we have the back story to Max that tells the story before the events of the film. Based on the story by director Miller Sexton and Lathouris have given the back story to the original three films and now we learn that Fury Road takes place after Thunderdome and is in fact a continuation of the original trilogy. If you are a fan of both the old and new films then these comics have been a real treat because it fills in a lot of the story details that are alluded to in the film but are now fleshed out into full stories for the comics. Sexton and Lathouris do a great job with the script in keeping with the tone and feel of the film. Sexton’s art is a visual feast that has all of the drama and action of the films and he is able to capture that feeling in the artwork. This is a rare comic that actually has the films creator involved with the comic and is an extension of the film and tells stories that could not have been in the film but needed to be told. This is a great comic and a must buy. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Book of Death #1
Valiant Comics Writer Robert Venditti, Artists Robert Gill with Doug Braithwaite, Colorist David Baron with Brian Reber, Letterer Dave Lanphear
I keep hoping that Valiant will let new readers into their universe but while I was a big fan of their recent The Valiant their other attempts of new book have been not as friendly to new readers. I will give Book of Death is fairly new reader friendly the bigger problem is that the story is really ho-hum. Venditti’s script is pretty basic and has far too many familiar story tropes that you have read a million times before and he doesn’t really bring anything new or exciting to it. The art is OK but there is a fair amount of inconsistent panels that tended to distract me while I was reading the book. I will give Valiant that they are trying to get new readers but with their books being difficult for new reader to pick up is one thing, but putting out an average book is not going to convince anyone to try other books from the line. SKIP IT!
Marvel Comics Writer Charles Soule, Artist Alex Maleev, Colorist Paul Mounts, Letterer Joe Caramagna
The regular Star Wars comic has been a very good read I was not as overwhelmed with Princess Leia or the Darth Vader book. So I was a bit weary of the new Lando book but it actually worked out pretty well. I think that the best thing going for it is that Lando is not as well established in the Star Wars universe as the main characters are so I think that Soule has a lot more latitude story wise in this book that the others did. Lets face it he is kind of the smoother version of Han Solo and Soule uses that to his advantage in the story. He also doesn’t try to change Lando just sets up a fun and well thought out story for him. The story is pretty straight forward and Soule keeps it simple and to the point. Maleev is a perfect choice for the art on the book. He brings a smooth and great style that the book needs to work and he does a brilliant job of capturing Billy D Williams likeness throughout the book. Overall this is a great start to this series and one of the better spin-off Star Wars comics. RECOMMENDED!