Well this was a really big week for comics and I had originally planned to read DC’s villain themed months books with the gimmick 3-D lenticular covers (yes I pick up all 13). But a funny thing happened when I sat down to read the pile of comics that came out this week. I though why read average fill in stories first when there are six new #1 issues and a #2 that I was really looking forward to. So I set the 13 villain issues aside and dug into the other number ones (I will be reading the 13 one shots and will have those reviews up soon). There are some good and some mediocre books that landed this week so let’s get started.
Trillium #2 (Vertigo Comics)
I was really blown away by the first issue of this book and was really looking forward to the second issue to see where Jeff Lemire was going to take me. The synopsis from Vertigo In the heart of the Amazon jungle, Nika, a scientist from the year 3797, and William, an explorer from 1921, struggle not only to survive but to make sense of the mind-bending events that have pulled them together across space and time. At the ends of the first issue the separate stories come together and now they try to talk to each other but do not understand each language. Then Nika eats the trillium and they both share each others memories. At the end of the issue they are in there separate times but Nika’s future is uncertain. Lemire sure knows how to draw you into the story without giving too much away but still being very satisfied. Both his story and art are just wonderful and I love the way that he conveys the two trying to communicate with each other while not knowing what they are saying.
Is this book worth your time and money? Very much so! I am in this for the entire eight issues. This book is a must buy each month.
Hit #1 (Boom! Studios)
There are very few noir comics out there right now so when one pops up I am sure to always check it out. Noir is a very tricky genre to pull off. The plot of the first issue is, Los Angeles. It’s 1955. It’s dark; it’s sexy. It’s dangerous. Everyone has an angle. And while infamous gangster Mickey Cohen rots in a prison cell, Los Angeles ignores the blackest parts of the city’s heart…where clandestine groups of LAPD detectives moonlight as sanctioned hitmen knows as “Hit Squads.” The one thing about this book is that the story by Bryce Carlson is dense like any good crime novel and should be slowly read to soak up all of the detail. It’s one of those book that you actually want to re-read to make sure that you didn’t miss anything the first time through. The story is defiantly a slow burn but if you like detective stories then this one is sure to please. While the story is good the art by Vanesa R. Del Ray who really captures the feel and flavor of the period. Apparently this is her first company gig as an artist and it’s not only good for her but great for us. Her artwork really make the story shine and that just oozes pulp style. I must point out that the color work by Archie Van Buren really shines and just adds to R. Del Rey’s art that is the perfect blend of color but very much in a black and white vein. Boom has really surprised me lately by putting out so me really great non licensed books. It’s really great to see this because they could just keep pumping out Adventure Time books but to build a great overall publisher you need all types of books.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are a fan of detective or noir stories then you are in luck. Because this book is right up your alley. Solid story with great art equals looking forward to the next three issues of this limited series. Well worth the $3.99 cover price.
Forever Evil #1 (DC Comic)
DC Comics New 52 big “event” book has landed and well I can’t really get too excited about it. DC plot synopsis is The first universe-wide event of The New 52 begins as FOREVER EVIL launches! The Justice League is DEAD! And the villains shall INHERIT the Earth! An epic tale of the world’s greatest super-villains starts here! So written by DC wonder kin Geoff Johns with art by David Finch and no big surprise it reads like a typical Johns event book. There of course is the “big first issue shocking reveal” of the villains unmasking Nightwing and revealing his secret identity as Richard Grayson (GASP!). Well this is pretty standard “event” fare and a by the numbers Jeff Johns script. While the art by Finch is really nice and seeing all of DC villains is neat, it’s just is ho-hum in the end. I thought the original intention of the New 52 was to wipe the slate clean and reinvent the DC Universe. Well I guess when you are Johns and want to reuse the Crime Syndicate of Amerika then I guess you get to do what ever you want to. A book like this is like a candy bar it’s great while you are eating it but a few hours later you will still be hungry for something else.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you buy into the whole “earth shattering event” that this book promises then you are going to buy the book no matter what I or anyone else says. In the end this book is not bad it’s just average. The problem is that there are so many better comics out there that people miss because they buy into these events and can’t afford anything else. You could pick up a book that is a lot worse than this but at least try one of the other books that I recommended this week and expand your horizons.
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 (Marvel Comics)
Not to be left out in the cold this week Marvel Comics has their own “EVENT” comic out this week too. Marvel s synopsis of the book: The past, present and future of the X-Men collide in this 50th Anniversary event crossover! When investigating a new mutant, something truly horrible happens to the All-New X-Men that shakes time and space to its core. This is so dire that X-Men come from THE FUTURE with a message: THE ALL-NEW X-MEN MUST RETURN TO THE PAST! The ten-part crossover starts here with superstars Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho. Normally I don’t buy into Marvel events but with this issues art by Frank Cho was the main reason for doing so. I haven’t read a regular X-Men book in like forever (X-Factor doesn’t count because Peter David is over in his corner telling good stories) so I am coming to this book knowing absolutely nothing about current X-Men continuity. Well the good news is that the first few pages bring you somewhat up to speed or at least enough to know who is who. So in simple terms this is a time travel story about how you have to be careful about how time effects things and how you have to be careful of not changing it. While this would all be great if the first issue wasn’t almost the same a the plot of Back to the Future. I also have a bad feeling that Bendis will also be dipping into the Classic Days of Future Past territory with this “event”. Very much like DC’s Forever Evil this is not a bad book just pretty much paint by the numbers story. Cho’s art is the clear winner of the book but sadly he is only doing this issue and the story continues through eight separate X-Men books for the next two months.
So is it worth your time and money? For the Cho art I would say yes, otherwise unless you plan on picking up all of the tie in books there is not much here. Average been there done that story that really doesn’t get me to care to read any X-Men book anytime soon. So move along there is not much to see here.
The Star Wars #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
George Lucas has ruined my childhood. There I say it and got it out of the way. Yes I grew up on the original (and as far as I’m concerned only trilogy) Star Wars films (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) so I pretty much avoid most things Star Wars today because it has just been Lucas whoring out Star Wars to make a buck. When I got to my comic shop this week I picked up this book to flip through it and the art was really nice so I figured that I would give at lease the first issue a try to see what Lucas had originally wrote in a his first draft. Here is Dark Horse’s synopsis of the first issue: Before Star Wars, there was The Star Wars! This is the authorized adaptation of George Lucas’s rough-draft screenplay of what would eventually become a motion picture that would change the world. Annikin Starkiller is the hero . . . Luke Skywalker is a wizened Jedi general . . . Han Solo is a big green alien . . . and the Sith . . . Well, the Sith are still the bad guys. High adventure and derring-do from longer ago, in a galaxy even further away! So yes things are similar but the interesting thing is that this draft of the script starts before the events that we are fimilar with and that there are more characters than in the final draft. J.W. Rinzler adapts the script and the art is by Mike Mayhew. The really neat thing about this book is that it’s a re-imagining of something that you are familiar with but at the same time it’s like reading a whole new story. Rinzler has done a fine job of making the script flow into the comic medium. The artwork by Mayhew is the real reason for me liking the book. He has a nice style and his facial expression are really amazing. Then adding a “painted” color work by Rain Beredo really pull the art into a really beautiful book.
Is this book worth your time and money? Surprisingly yes. I was very skeptical of this book and I had a lot of baggage in tow heading into it. So recommending this book is a winner on two fronts. For diehard Star Wars fan you have already bought this so no need to convince. One for those of you out there like me who has tired of the pimping out of Star Wars over the years this book gives me hope that I can again fall in love with the original movies I so dearly love.
Reality Check #1 ( Image Comics)
Image has been on a roll lately with some really great creator owned books. Sadly this book didn’t really impress me. Image’s synopsis of the book, A struggling artist, Willard Penn, scores an unlikely hit with his new comic. The story centers on a hero more concerned with his libido than serving justice. After an unexpected sell out, Willard can’t recall anything about his story. That night the book’s hero shows up outside Willard’s window refusing to return to the comic until he finds true love. Exasperated, Willard is forced to help the lovesick hero meet the perfect woman. But he’ll need to hurry because the book’s villain, a homicidal maniac, has entered his world as well. Written by Glen Brunswick with art by Viktor Bogdanovic just left me very meh after reading it. While both the story and the art are very competent and by no means terrible, I just didn’t really care about the main character William or the fact that it just seemed like I had seen this story before. It’s not like it reminded me of a specific story I could remember but I just couldn’t shake that feeling. It’s Like watching any procedural television show. While you might watch the show, you really don’t think about it after your done.
Is this book worth your time and money? No not really. While very competently done I doubt that I will pick up the second issue. A good comic should leave a better impression than this one.
I have save the best for last. Batman Black and White is the book of the week. This is the fourth incarnation of this anthology. It allows a who’s who of cream of the crop talent to write and or draw one of the greatest comic book characters of all time. Conceived and edited by Mark Chiarello this first issue has four stories in it. The synopissi by DC Comics: the legendary, Eisner Award-winning series BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE returns in a brand-new six-issue miniseries featuring tales of The Dark Knight by some of the comics greatest writers and artists! This first issue kicks off with stories by Chip Kidd and Michael Cho, Neal Adams, Joe Quinones and Maris Wicks, John Arcudi and Sean Murphy, and Howard Mackie and Chris Samnee. I have added a page from each story to show how gorges this book is.
The first story by Kidd and Cho called “Don’t Know Where” is a great throwback to Batman of the 30’s and 40’s and has for a change Robin saving the day. A fun story and Cho’s artwork is a real love letter to art form the golden and silver age era.
Adams “Batman Zombie” is a great take on a vivid nightmare by Bruce Wayne and shows that it takes more than a costume to be a hero. Adams is a comics legend and he proves it again with this story and art.
“Justice is Served” starring the much-loved CLASSIC Harley and Ivy had me laughing out loud. Quinones art hit the bullseye and Wicks story is pitch perfect. This story is probably my favorite. It’s simple fun and sorely lacking in DC Comics now.
“Driven” by writer Arcudi and art by Murphy is an ode to the Batmobile and the perfectionist that Bruce Wayne can be. It’s a race around Gotham and shows what the Batmobile can do. I rally love Murphy’s art and I just love his interpretation of the Batmobile
And the final story of this issue by Makie and Samnee tells the story of the ventriloquist and how even the villain has a good side in the end. The art by Samnee of current Daredevil fame is gritty and very noir.
The thing I love about these books are that it allows creators to think outside the box with Batman and have to do it in an eight page story format. Of course the other is to do the artwork to be in black and white and take advantage of the pureness that can allow you to achieve.
Is this book worth your time and money? As far as Batman goes it doesn’t get much better than this. Top talent and the freedom to pretty much do what ever they want, equals a truly satisfying book that are light years above any New 52 book. If Mark Chiarello was running DC Comics just think of what that might bring us. It’s the best $4.99 you could spend at your local shop this week.