This was one big week for new comics. Lots of new and returning books are making reviews more difficult each week. Mostly good this week with no real train wrecks.
The Phantom #1
Hermes Press Writer Peter David, Artist Sal Velluto, Colorist Eugenio Mattozzi, Letterer Kenneth Bruzenak
Another Phantom comic is trying to revive this newspaper strip again. The plot from Hermes Press is, This classic tale pits The Phantom against the Singh Brotherhood and their metal-handed leader who are intent on plundering an ancient fabled City of Gold. Only The Phantom, Diana and a newly found alley —taken from the pages of the first Phantom adventure— can stop them! Filled with action, suspense, intrigue and surprises that will thrill Phantom fans and lure those only familiar with the legend to pick up issue #1 and read on! The first issue does a nice job of updating new readers to the origins of The Phantom and starts off the series with a set up issue where not a lot happens in this first issue. David does a solid job on the script and he is wise in not reinventing the wheel here. He keeps the classic Phantom mythology but updates the book to a more modern era while still feeling timeless. The first issue is a set up to the series and that makes it harder to judge. It gets off to a promising start but on the other hand it does not overwhelm you either. Velluto’s art fit s the story nicely. His style is a throwback to the 1980’s DC and Marvel style of the period that is good but does feel a little like a “house style”. That is by no means a complaint it’s just so rare that you see that type of artwork in comics today. He does a nice job on the characters and the settings for the story.
Is this book worth your time and money? The first issue does suffer from the dreaded “First Issue” where there is a lot of back story/set up that makes it hard to tell where the book is going to land. The story and art are solid but in the end nothing blew my socks off. If you are looking for a bit of nostalgia this book looks like it will fit the bill. For the average reader there may not be enough to keep them for the second issue. If you know and like the Phantom this is a nice update on the character.
Marvel Comics Writer Jason Arron, Artist Russell Dauterman, Colorist Matthew Wilson, Letterer Joe Sabino
While the book looks amazing I was underwhelmed with the book on its first issue. The plot from Marvel is, Get ready for a Thor like you’ve never seen before! Witness the mysterious all-new Thor in action for the very first time! With an army of Frost Giants invading the earth, she may bet he world’s only hope! Aaron is a solid writer but this book is just not working for me. While the set up to the story is interesting the dialog in this issue drove me up the wall. You have her thinking in a normal voice but is delivering her dialog like overacting in a Shakespeare play. This goes on for the entire issue and comes off as just silly. The idea of the story is interesting but it feels like it’s spinning the wheels a little with the characters. Dauterman’s art is the reason that you would buy this book. It is just gorgeous and give the book such grand scope and weight that it makes reading the book even more disappointing. Dauterman is going to be an artist to watch but I just wish that the over story was up to the quality of his stunning artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is not terrible but it feels as if the story is all over the place with the extremely forced dialog. While the plot is quite good the book is just not going anywhere. The artwork is so amazing that is making the book that much more disappointing in the end. I hope that Aaron can turn it around with the next issue but I think that will take a miracle.
Image Comics Writer Jay Faerber, Artist Scott Godlewski, Colorist Ron Riley, Letterer Thomas Mauer
This book started off rough for me but it may have turned a corner. The plot from Image is, Sheriff Clara Bronson’s plan to catch a murderer takes her deep inside the copper mine. While there is still some familiar tones to the story, Faerber has turned the corner and setting up some good ideas that are starting to payoff. He is thankfully getting away from somewhat familiar territory with this issue but the standard crime drama plot does stumble a bit. There were some nice plot twist in this issue that will keep me around for a few more issues. Godlewski art seemed a little more rushed at times in this issue. The art is still nice but it seemed a bit inconsistent than the previous two issues.
Is this book worth your time and money? The story is finally starting to get interesting and as you would say the plot is thickening and is picking up the pace. The artwork suffered a little this issue but is still pretty good. I think that the next couple of issues could be the make or break for this book but after reading this issue think are starting to look up.
Deep State #1
Boom! Studios Writer Justin Jordan, Artist Ariela Kristantina, Colorist Ben Wilsonham, Letterer De Dukeshire
And the new number one titles keep flooding the shelves. The plot from Boom! is, John Harrow doesn’t exist, and his job is to make sure that other things don’t exist, too. At any given time, the government is running dozens of black book operations, experiments that aren’t on any official record and are never acknowledged to exist. Some of these are innocuous. Some of them are monstrous beyond reason. And most of the time, they go as expected and the public is never the wiser. Most of the time. John Harrow’s job is to handle them when things go wrong, and do anything to make sure the government’s secrets stay just that-secret. Jordan story unfortunately falls into the average mixing of other stories. In this case he decided to mix Men in Black and X-Files and while not terrible it’s certainly not terribly original either. It falls into the been there and done that category. The story is pretty average and Jordan sadly doesn’t really bring anything new or different to the tried and true aliens from outer space meet a mystery government team that must stop them. Yep never read that one before. Kristantina’s art is serviceable but suffers form being very inconsistent. I will give her that she does a good job on the facial expressions on the characters.
Is this book worth your time and money? Sadly an average book like this is just not going to cut it with so many comics on the stands and most people trying to fit as many title as their budget allows. You have read this story a million times and Jordan story does nothing different to it. Pass on it.
The Kitchen #1
Vertigo Comics Writer Ollie Masters, Artist Ming Doyle, Colorist Jordie Bellaire, Letterer Clem Robins
Vertigo travels back to the 1970’s in this new mini series. The plot from Vertigo is,New York City, late 1970s. Times Square is a haven for sex and drugs. The city teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, while blackouts can strike at any moment. This is the world of THE KITCHEN. The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives – Kath, Raven and Angie – decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop. Masters story gets off to a bit of a slower paced start than I would have liked but the concept is solid. The one thing that he does very well is the period that the story takes place in. That is sometimes very difficult to pull off in comics and it was really refreshing to see it done well. I think that the story will payoff in future issues and this is a set up first issue story. Doyle visually nails the period and delivers really nice artwork for the story. The thing that impressed me with the artwork was that it felt as if it was done in the 1970’s with the layouts and the overall feel.
Is this book worth your time and money? I do think that the story is going to be really interesting and the first issue is a set up to the overall story. There is a lot of promise to the story and I think the second issue is going to be worth coming back for. I would say that the first issue is worth picking up and trying.
Dynamite/Vertigo Writers Quentin Tarantino and Matt Wagner, Artist Esteve Polls, Colorist Brennan Wagner, Letterer Simon Bowland
Here is one crossover that no one expected. The plot from Dynamite/Vertigo is, Set several years after the events of Django Unchained, Django/Zorro #1 finds Django again pursuing the evil that men do in his role as a bounty hunter. Since there’s a warrant on his head back east, he’s mainly been plying his trade in the western states. After safely settling his wife, Broomhilda, near Chicago, he’s again taken to the road, sending her funds whenever he completes a job. It’s by sheer chance that he encounters the aged and sophisticated Diego de la Vega – the famed Zorro – and soon finds himself fascinated by this unusual character, the first wealthy white man he’s ever met who seems totally unconcerned with the color of Django’s skin… and who can hold his own in a fight. He hires on as Diego’s “bodyguard” for one adventure and is soon drawn into a fight to free the local indigenous people from a brutal servitude, discovering that slavery isn’t exclusive to black folks. In the course of this adventure, he learns much from the older man (much like King Schultz) and, on several occasions, even dons the mask and the whip… of The Fox! You have to have seen Django before reading this book or you are going to be super lost. That being said there is a lot to like about this first issue. While there is a lot of set up to the series here, Tarantino and Wagner briskly keep a nice pace with the story so you don’t feel as if you are reading the set up. The dialog is very snappy and the characters work quite well together. I have to admit the story does feel like a film script but is still very much written for the comic book and has a very natural feel to the story. Polls is an excellent choice for the art on the book. He really capture the old west setting perfectly and is spot on with the characters. The art is way above the usual Dynamite book and really adds a lot to the overall feel of the story. Polls really delivers the goods on this book.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are a fan of Django then this book is a worthy sequel to the movie. Adding in Zorro is icing on the cake. I was really impressed with this first issue and exceeded my expectations for it. Polls artwork is one of the reasons that the book really works so well. Rarely does a story and art match this perfectly. RECOMMENDED!
Wild’s End #3
Boom! Studios, Writer Dan Abnett, Artist and Letterer I.N.J. Culbard
This book just keeps getting better with each issue. The plot from Boom! is, Clive and the others can no longer deny the danger of the alien threat or the violence it’s capable of. As they struggle to escape the alien targeting them and hope to survive long enough to find answers. Abnett script is really getting juicy but the real key to the story working so well is the characters. He really infuses the emotions of the story into every corner of the book. This is one of those book that really runs a fine line with the many story elements and emotions that could have really flown off the rails. THe pacing of the story is quite impressive and at the end of every issue so far I can not wait to read the next issue. Culbard art continues to impress. He captures the emotions of the story with such subtle detail that you forget that they are animals. He really adds a richness to Abnett’s story that very few artist could have brought to the book. His use of the color palettes on the book bring a wonderful feel to the artwork.
Is this book worth your time and money? This book is a grand adventure and it just keeps getting better each issue. Both the story and artwork work so seamlessly together that is making this book work so well. The mixing of genres is one of the most impressive things about the book. This is one of my must read books when it hits each month. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
DC Comics Writers Cameron Stewart & Brenden Fletcher, Artist Babs Tarr, Colorist Maris Wicks, Letterer Jared K. Fletcher
The new creative team go off to a roaring start last issue. The plot from DC is, Batgirl’s new life is off to a rousing start when her first day of graduate school is interrupted – by twin sister assassins on motorcycles! Stewart and Fletcher continue to lay a great foundation for there take on Batgirl. They are still letting Barbra get her feet wet with her new-found hero persona. They are also doing a great job at developing her everyday life and how she is handling the two. I am very impressed with the way that the characters feel so natural and down to earth that is pretty rare in the superhero game. Stewart and Fletcher have a knack for making Barbra a really interesting person because that is the key for the stories working so well. People forget that writing superheroes is easy it’s their alter ego that is the key to their success. Tarr (with breakdowns from Stewart) is a real breath of fresh air in mainstream superheroes. Tarr is bringing a style to the script that is really pushing the book to new heights. The art is so outside the box as far as superhero books goes that is really exciting to see. Where the art really excelled at is the character scenes. Tarr’s clean style that she has for the characters expressions is very impressive.
Is this book worth your time and money? DC needs to do a lot more books like this one. They have been behind Marvel lately with doing outside the box books like She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel. It’s when you allow creators to give superhero’s room to breathe and create they can pull off some quality books. Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr are really bringing this book to life that is sorely missing at DC at the moment. This is a must buy book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
HERO Comics 2014
IDW Writers and Artist Various
If you only buy one book this week it should be this one. Because the money spent on this book goes to a great cause and as a bonus you get 8 stories in the book. The plot from IDW is, Another great all-star one-shot to benefit The Hero Initiative, the charity that helps comic-book creators in times of great need. Sam Kieth provides an all-new Maxx story, his first in nearly 20 years; Mike Grell takes us on a journey with his classic creation, Jon Sable, Freelance. There will also be several “Hero in action” one-page stories, featuring real-life events where Hero Initiative made differences in comic creators lives! While the main stories are really good it’s the Hero In Action that make the book so special. There are four stories that are told by the people who the Hero Initiative have helped out. And that is what is so important about this book. As comic fans we have a duty to give back to the creators that have given us so much for so long. I know times are tough but even just buying this book can make a huge impact. If every regular weekly comic reader bought this book there could be thousands of dollars that could be used to help creators in need.
Is this book worth your time and money? Beyond that the money raise from the book is going to a good cause, it has a solid line up of both story and art that make it a must buy for the cover price. Please buy this book to give back to the people who is the reason that we all love comics so much. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
All-New Captain America #1
Marvel Comics Writer Rick Remender, Penciler Stuart Immonen, Inker Wade Von Grawbadger, Colorists Marte Gracia with Eduardo Navarro, Letterer Joe Caramagna
Another reboot hits bumps in the road. The plot from Marvel is, This is it! The all-new, Spy-Fi, highflying adventures of Sam Wilson Captain America and Nomad begin here! Hydra is growing, the terrorist band have has infiltrated the Marvel Universe completely! But what is their ultimate goal? United by Hydra, Cap’s rogue’s gallery gathers to take down the new untested Captain America and Nomad! You know you are in trouble when the opening page has so much explanation that is needed to read this book. Remender is a decent writer but unfortunately you wouldn’t know it by reading this book. It’s not that the book is terrible but it’s a paint by the numbers story that could have been written by anybody. It’s a punch first and don’t worry that there is not much of a story going on script. The dialog is bland and you could care less about the characters because there is little motivation to anyone beyond the tugging on the heart-strings flashbacks to Wilson’s past that is like a sledgehammer. The only thing that I did enjoy was Immonen & Von Grawbadger’s artwork that did it’s best to visualize the bland story. The artwork is quite nice and made the so-so story at least somewhat interesting while reading the book.
Is this book worth your time and money? If you are looking for the standard superhero’s paint by the numbers book then you have already read the book and think that I am crazy for even saying anything bad about this amazing book. If you are like me and hoping that Marvel might think outside the box on this book are going to be severely disappointed. I really wish that Marvel was able to do their big gun titles like the second string books like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk or Daredevil have done with creators of those books. I didn’t have much hope for the book and so it met my expectations of mediocre superhero books. Skip it!
Image Comics Writer Ivan Brandon, Artist Nic Klein, Letterer Clem Robins
Another space opera book from Image this week. The plot from Image is, In its frantic rush to survive itself, mankind has spread across the universe, colonizing and strip-mining countless planets. Abram Pollux barely survives a crash landing on Ouro, a lawless backwater world where life is cheap. What starts as a struggle for survival quickly becomes a journey to the very edges of what it means to be human. This is one of those books that I wasn’t quite sure how I felt after reading it. Brandon’s had some interesting ideas it just felt a bit too familiar to other similar concepts with the whole loner crashing on an alien world idea. The story just kind of sits there and didn’t pull me in that well. He also could have given a bit more background to the characters. I didn’t really end up caring too much about any of them by the end of the issue. Klein’s art is really good and his scenes with the crash at the beginning were spectacular. He did help the book work a bit better than the script with the great visuals.
Is this book worth your time and money? The book could miraculously get better with the second issue but I’m not holding my breath. My gripe with the book is that if you are going to tell a familiar story then bring something new to it. In the end this was a tried and true average space opera/western story that Brandon didn’t bring anything exciting or original. The saving grace of the book is Klein’s art that will at least get me to look at the second issue.
Image Comics Writer Scott Snyder, Artist Jock, Colorist Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer Clem Robins
I liked the first issue but wasn’t totally sold on it. The plot from Image is, A busload of children disappears in the woods. A strange bite grows on a girl’s neck. And the wytches are getting closer, creeping from the woods. Be there for the terrifying second chapter of the new smash hit, WYTCHES. The first issue was a little standard for me but thankfully the second issue really gets the story going in a better direction. Snyder’s story is really opening up and getting more outside the safe area that the first issue suffered from. This issue hits the ground running and really opens up the mythology that is needed in a book like this. He had some nice surprises with the story that I didn’t expect. Jock continues to bring his A game to this book and he really went for it in this issue. The layouts for the art are really wonderful and gives the book a really fresh and different look and feel that it needs.
Is this book worth your time and money? The second issue really fixed a lot of the issues that I had with the first issue. The first issue was not bad just steered a little to close to being similar to other things. This second issue hits the full throttle button and you hang on for dear life. This could really be a standout series and I am excited to see where Snyder and Jock are going with it. RECOMMENDED!
This week there are so many books to review and not enough time in my schedule at work to fit them all in. So I am going to hopefully do more quick reviews so that it might help you save or spend more money.
The October Faction #2
IDW Writer Steve Niles, Artist Damien Worm, Letterer Robbie Robbins
Niles and Worms family monster fighter story continues to intrigue me. There is a lot of history that has yet to reveal itself but I am really enjoying the book. Solid story and art make this worth your time and money.
The Fade Out #3
Image Comics Writer Ed Brubaker, Artist Sean Phillips, Colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser
Brubaker and Phillips Hollywood noir story continues its great story that continues to dig deeper into the mysteries at Victory Street Pictures of the Valeria Sommers murder. Not only is it a great murder mystery but they are really developing a much deeper rooted story. This is two creators at the top of their game. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Alex +Ada #10
Image Comics Writers Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna, Artist/Colorist/Letterer Jonathan Luna
This is my favorite comic being published now and this issue is the culmination of the emotional roller coaster that Alex and Ada have been on. Vaughn and Luna have wisely waited to give the impact of the relationship of the two reach this very natural progression. The emotions that the story is telling is so real and heartfelt that is so rare in comics. Each issue continues to be a real treat. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!