Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Judas Contact...

 

I loved the old Marv Wolfman George Perez new Teen Titans from the eighties when I was a teenager their book in my memory is brighter then the Claremont/Cockrum/Smith Uncanny Xmen so this new interpretation I had to read. Jeff Lemire has a great repututaion and has written some books I have enjoyed including the new 52 title Frankenstien and the Agents of SHADE which was my favorite of any of the initial offerings given the Dodson's did the art my expectations were pretty high. Overall I dug this book which strikes me more as the beginning of something rather then a full ing in and of itself. Jeff sets up three story arcs and hints at several more within the pages of this but only pays off on one of the promises he makes. As an old time fan I have to give Jeff and Terry kudos for making me not notice the characters they chose not to include by getting me fully investing in the handful the do use; Victor Stone, Tarra Markov, Garlfield Logan, Joseph Wilson Raven and the mysterious alien Starfire.

 

Though I can not say for sure how more recent fans of the Titans might feel about this book I can say that for an old fan the re visioning works pretty well. Jeff has clearly defined personalities for these characters and reveals them clearly over the corse of the story, the rebellious angry young girl, the underachieving son of the successful mom, the precocious smart caring son of a different family, the respectful girl raised by her grandparent, the disaffected loner and the terrifies outsider looking for help. Jeff know his DC and Teen Titans history; you can tell from the Easter eggs throughout the book for long time fans like me.and much like the amazing Guardians of the Galaxy film last summer they were winks to fans more then integral parts of the story. This book stands well on its own I believe having gone back to read it several times. Its a solid teenage hero tale that spins out of the feeling most teens have of disassociation with their parents and finding a place where they belong among people like them seen throught the lens of the superhero origin story. If anything the end comes all too soon leaving what seems to me the most interesting part for the future volumes. Fans of the marvel series Runaways would likely find the book happily familiar both with the characterful writing that keeps you engaged and with the clean and well thought out art choices.

Terry and Rachel Dodson pull from several styles in creating the overall look of this book. I think given one of the entryways into the Teen Titans comes from the animated series's that have been around its no wonder that the style they chose has hints of animation influence; Joseph Wilson's design looks almost pulled from Japanese animation particularly his profile at times and Tara Markov could easily at times have been drawn by Adam Warren who first adapted the Dirty Pair for US comic audiences. The color palet that they cose to work with also has more of the vibrancy that I associate with animation and doesn't go in for lots of the dark and more stark contrasts that I feel are being I used more in the "grittier" and grimmer comics DC seems to put out lately. This book looks more in line with the Batgirl with art by Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart the it does with sat Batman or Superman right now. Anyone who likes comics that straddle that style line between American comics and Japanese manga and animation should likely enjoy the look of this.

Teen Titans: Earth One may not hit everyone the way it did me. Jeff Lemire really hit it right in my opinion in terms of taking a classic comic story I loved, The Judas Contract by Wolfman and Perez, character that I fondly remember and rich comic history and revisited with a lot of love and respect. He changed things yes, it's not the same story and people looking for that will be missing out on what he did write. I think this will play well for most old fans with open minds and hefully just create some new ones I'd expect people who loved the Runaways from marvel or who are now enjoying coming of age hero tales like Nova and Ms.Marvel are just the right new audience for this.

Is it a five for five shots that is for you to decide but it hit much more then not for me... Worth the money in my opinion. Out today Nov 19th at your local friendly comic stores....

Ps among the best bits in this for me were the seen a new cool take on Raven and getting Cyborg back where he belongs with his friends.

 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rocket.....

So I'm pretty surprised with how much people loved Rocket and Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie that no one seems to be talking about the Scotty Young Rocket comic book and particularly this issue. Very few comics these days make me laugh out loud as much as this single issue did, sure it was a gimmicky issue, they can only really do this once and get away with it but this was worth four dollars for all the honest laughter it brought me. Sometimes comics should just be funny; I needed a break from all the not so great news of this week in particular and well this twenty some odd pages did the trick for me. Will this issue be a big piece of continuity, will it be relevant in ten or seventy five years well who knows but it was damned funny and gave me a great amount of joy for the visual jokes and storytelling and yeah it gave me the Rocket and Groot I really wanted. Great work. If you need some levity this is the Racoon and tree your looking for. Five stars if you need a rating....

 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Quinnzilla In the City....

Putting aside all the controversy that proceeded this title Amanda Conner Jimmy Palomotti new artist Chad Hardin and Stephanie Roux are making a quality laugh worthy dark minded and light hearted book. This collections is two hundred twenty five pages of beautiful detailed and colorfully writes comedic superhero satire tha stands well alongside titles like the old Giffen and Bisley Lobo and More recent Deadpool titles. Palomotti and Conner succeed in taking the spirit of Harley Quinn created for the animated Batman series by Bruce Timm and fitting her into the new 52 in a way that works for me. Without the imposition of cartoon physics this leads to a title that tends towards lots of blood and black humor (again see comparisons above) the book tends towards lots of innuendo, implied um..situations, breaking down of the fourth wall as the authors become part of the story. Harley Quinn is possible not a comic for everyone with its sarcastic national lampoonish nature but in a place as grim as the new 52 a little levity is a great thing as is this book.

Harly Quinn as people who recall the old Batman tv animation was created to be the partner and foil for the Joker and made a slow successful transition to part of continuity through first the Batman Adventures title and her pairing with Poison Ivy in Gotham Sirens. In the New 52 she has been one of the members of the Suicide Squad separated for her Mr. J. And I can say I have sadly no experience with that title. ( I was a fan of the original Suicide Squad by the great John Ostrander and well nothing has ever measured up to the series to my memory but ta is not a review of S.S. So...). As I said above this title and its writers deftly captured the demented yet innocent nature of Ms Quinzel; I. The course of this collection she becomes the target of assassins looking to collect on a contract, she becomes the savior of animals destined for the needle, takes possession of a building ala Fraction's Hawkeye title becoming their landlord/neighbor/protector. Conner and Palomotti show her actuall responsible side in her search for gainful employment and her doctorish side in the patients the come into her care to balance all the casual mahem and violence the is the rest of her life. They also play with the relationship she has with Posion Ivy and develope an extended cast through the freakshow (a literal one that inhabit the building now hers) and the aforementioned patients. For a comedic title the writers do touch on some very real issues and do so with some care even if they take things to the edge of good taste.

In terms of art this is one of the nicer looking books out there between the clean and clear pencils and the amazing pallet of colors used by Alex Sinclair. The the first issue, which I cannot recall if it was a zero issue or not, we got treated to a page a piece of art from so many great artists I am sorry now that I passed it up when I could have gotten it and the clear and loving treatment given the rest of the issues by the team of Chad Hardin and Stephanie Roux make me glad I now have the chance to get them in this volume. Though not the most PC of titles art wise given the T and A quotient the exploitation of the human form is pretty even handed between cheesecake and beefcake here so if it would bug you either way this may not be a title for you. The violence in this book may be written as tongue in cheek but the art tends towards realism with the bodies much like most of the police procedurals on tv and there is even a ________in refrigerators moment. The really nice Easter egg included in this volume are reproductions of the roughs pencils and inks of some of the pages and seeing these makes the collection of more interest to me as I want to draw myself and that kind of thing is invaluable insight. Chad and Stephanie also put a great deal of details into their work, the backgrounds are particularly rich and the attention to detail and continuity was particularly good because when they broke out of it for comedic effect it was pretty obvious. Even is this title was not as well written as it is the character and skill of the art alone would make it worth a look.

Harly Quinnis a book that is a lot of fun and its far enough outside the regular continuity at lest in this initial volume that its solid enough a book to stand on its own. It takes a character that has not had her own title in the past and allows her to be the focus on her own. Jimmy and Amanda have given her her own place and background cast and managed to only reference the Bat and Mr. J sparingly which I think is a great plus. She now has responcibilites again having become a therapist and a landlord and though this is a title mainly played for laughs and over the top violence its adding to her overall story too. Its a book that actually makes me smile and laugh and that something good to find even it is doing it sometimes through bad jokes and innuendo. For an author known mainly for a couple of western comics and another known mainly as a kinda cheesecake artist they are turning out some great fun here and I'm sorry I was paying more attention to the controversy then to the product when it started. Recommended for more then just the obvious laughs and pretty art.

The thing that manages to overcome the graphic violence and sexually exploitive art (pretty though it is) is the truly charming writing that Palomotti and Conner do that convinced me that Ms Quinn has an childlike innocence at heart despite her violent tendencies. Like Deadpool and the original Lobo title this one relays on cartoon physics at time but given its a superhero comic were almost there to being with... hmmm mayhaps there could be Captain Carrot appearance after the Power Girl one that is just about to happen....

Recommended out Oct 28 2014

 

 

 

 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Detective Comics

 

Given I have not been the biggest fan of the New 52 version of the DC universe I have to say this Scott Snyder Greg Capullo story is pretty damned solid and actually accessible even is you have not read much of the last twenty some odd issues. Though already in print for months at this point but its currently timely since the Gotham television show has just started and it covers some of the same time period of Jim Gordon's early career and his meeting with the young Bruce Wayne. The art by the veteran superhero noir artist Greg Capullo, who's work with both Spawn and Sam and Twich from back in the nineties was good has developed into a very tight defined and detailed realistic style. This story plunges the people of Gotham into a escape from New York short of closed off primative island setting kept in the dark and secluded by the machinations of the Riddler who's got a point to prove. Scott gets to develope the characters of Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox more then they have been in the past and they kind of shine through more then the titular character who's best story moments for me happen I the flashbacks. All in all I actually feel I can reccommend this for superhero fans who have been wanting to read Batman but don't want to feel like they are stuck in the crossover nightmare of multiple titles to read.

Zero Year jumps back and forth between several time periods including the events that lead up to the shooting of the Wayne's, Bruce's development after that shocking event, Batmans early relationship with the Gotham PD and Gordon and finally the Riddler's abduction of the city of Gotham to force evolution. The volume opens with a scene where Batman deftly evades the then mostly corrupt Gotham PD and has a truly contentious encounter with Gordon. Over the corse of the stories we get to see the development of their grudging mutual respect and Snyder takes opportunity to flesh out the early career of for the future comissioner and how he got wise of the corruption around him. He also writes about the pre- and post- murder Bruce and touches on his young adulthood a bit in enlightening ways. In the zero-year story involving the Riddler we get to see Lucius Fox in light of his career as an inventor and read a pretty disturbing serial killer tale that is worthy of the bizarre antagonists that Batman is known to face. Though these are in essence ret-con events they do fit into the story and build on the legend. In the full course of the story we get to see Batman come into being the hero he will someday become, one who is driven to win eventhough failure and loss may be on the road to winning. All the players big and small from the Bat-mythos get their moment to shine in Zero-Year and the story elevates the Riddler to more then just a bit part villain in the same way that Avengers Arena elevated Arcade from a joke to a threat.

Greg Capullo has come a long way since he was the replacement for Todd Mcfarlane on Spawn and the main artist for the titles spun out of that one of the first Image comics. His line work has become much cleaner and tighter and he has become very adapt at displaying emotion without ending up in the realm of caricature where some artists out of the 90s can tend to go. Probably some of the most startlingly good work in this book are the distance shots and cityscapes he draws; he effectively creates the moods and atmosphere of post apocalyptic setting among the skyscrapers and buildings of Gotham City. He and the colonists have created a very pretty book about some very ugly things that really left me wanting more. His Bruce Wayne looks much less weathered then he does in the modern storyline and give we are seeing hi at the outset of his career and as with the story its a worthy addition to the story.

So if your like me and have fond memories of reading Batman in the past but have not really been captured by some of the stories in the New 52 this may be one to check out because its not weighed down be missing chapters published in other volumes and you don't really even need to read Zero Year part one to really get stuck in. I don't know if I'll be back for the next volume but after checking this out I can reccomend it for multiple reasons and I like it enough to say I will be checking into the book from time to time. Strong enough a tale to drive away the bad taste some of the new Bat-Family titles have left in my mouth recently.

Release Oct 15 2014 in Hardcover

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pull list Oct 8 2014

 

Captain Marvel 8

Kelly Sue Deconnick is writing some of the best and often funniest adventure stories out there for me at lest. The last issue of Captain Marvel brought her back to the ship she left earth in to join the Guardians of the Galaxy in where Rocket has been keeping all too close an eye of her cat/flerkin whichever it is. I think this story has the potential to be a really funntwist on the Ridley Scott aliens story. This is one of the comics that often makes me either think or honestly laugh out load depending on the story. Its also one of the best booking comics because Marvel tends to pair Kelly Sue with artists that are not typical or pushing any house style. Love this book.

 

 

Rocket Racoon 4

Scotty Young's time as artist writer on this book seems to be limited but as with All New Ghost Rider I will stick with this book because I like the characer a lot and the book is doing something different that is considered regular continuity and that is a good thing. Its certainly not an all ages title given the level of violence and the implications about Rocket and his proclivities re rescued princesses. I'm enjoying the difference in tone that kind of lampoons the rest of the superhero genre in a similar way to the Bisley version of Lobo used to...

 

Amazing Spider-Man 7

Though I'm picking up a couple of the Edge of Spiderverse books that is not the reason I'm getting this. Dan Slott is a pretty able writer and I did enjoy the Superior Spider-Man issues I got electronically where they were on sale I can't branch out into more books given price and space issues. So yes I'm getting this because Ms Marvel is in it and the few preview pages looked rather nice... I know its a bit of a marketing thing maybe but I'll fall for it because I love that title almost as much as I love Captain Marvel.

 

 

 

Copperhead 2

So yeah along with legacy heroines, talking gun toting raccoons, space westerns are a thing for me that I simply can't pass up. Was this as outright great out of the gate as Saga no but it was solid storytelling, it was characterful and the great art reminiscent to me of Alien Legion from back in the day does not hurt. Police procedural western in space that promises Deadwood leanings I'm pretty much solidly there with this one and will be giving it several issues to develope.

 

 

Birthright 1

This sounds like a title that will appeal to the epic fantasy fan in me but definitely along very different lines from Rat Queens. This takes the portal fantasy plot taking a young adult from our world to a fantasy setting where they become the hero of legends. The tale here seems to be the aftermath in that the boy hero disappears to have his adventure the returns a year later much older and much changed by the events. The fantasy story aparently will be mainly revealed in memories and flashbacks so there will be two different hero tales layered together... sounds complicated and multifaceted. I think this will well be worth a look

 

 

 

Batgirl 35

I am picking this up for the same reason I am trying out Gotham Academy; its DC trying something new and outside the grim dark that I feel has become its stock in trade these days. The redesign of the costume appeals to me as does a break from the other bat titles which made the Gail Simone era not to my likeing with all the crossovers breaking the narrative. Here's hoping its up to the hype....

Hexed 3

Fans of heist storylines with magic and lots of mystery should be checking this out. Hexed the last time around was the book the Emma Rios knocked out of the water and this time around lookes to be no different with a new great artistic talent in Dan Mora. This story started with the heist of a mystical painting and spiraled out of control into a trip into the lands beyond death and revelation of a dark power released into the world. The titles threw us right into the action and let us figure it out as we go...love it.

 

Axis 1

Now to contradict what I said earlier about crossovers in that I'll be buying into at lease the first issue of this one. I happen to love the Kubert brothers artwork and though I either love or feel let down by Rick Remender I'm willing to go for the first issue because if he hits on a good story he doesn't fail when it comes to the ending of it. So much is already known about this book and its repercussions well I will have to get back to people next week after I read it....

 

 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Comics Oct 5 2014

In my opinion successful comics do one of several thigs for me as a reader... It either makes me smile or outright laugh outloud, touches me emotionally possibly to tears to, gives me chills up and down my spine in one way or another or gives me a story or idea that is too compelling for me to not continue thinking about after I've put it down... This week had it all to be honest.

Black Widow 11

This is a fun title that has a unique muted color pallet and follows Natasha Romanov trying to redeem herself to, well. mostly herself. Last issue presented a past encounter she has with another avenger, Hawkeye, and put in jeopardy her lawyerly assaciate. The draw that made me pick up this issue was the appearance of Laura/X-23 as her back-up as she goes to rescue her abducted ally. This is one of the titles which presents characters that seem mismatched but actually play well together and you may just hope to see together in the near future. Black Widow is a nice character to see getting to be a bad ass without male backup and this title really dives into the truth that women are overall more dangerous then men, anyone who has been the lone male in a class of women would know. Its a good book I must go back and seek out the rest of the issues.



 

 

 

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier 1

This addition to the morally grey area of the Marvel Cosmos was high in my pile to read this week because I didn't know what I expected and its one of the books I have really been able to dig into and enjoy several times. The art is the same style as Elektra but more muted like watercolor at times and to really appreciate the depth of the detail you have to spend time with the book and that is something that I appreciate given the cost of comics. A book about a cosmic hitman I would not expect to have such a sense of humor that really comes through in Ales Kot's work here and distinguishes itself from the other assassin turned hero books out there. I had a good ammount of affection for Barnes' going into this book and came out of it pretty happy with it. Its different then the earlier Winter Soldier title that I also really liked but I'm glad this is something new. The art here might not be for everyone since it requires you as a reader to kind of participate more then other books on the shelf. Pretty great book overall.

 

 

Thor 1

This is probably the best new book of the week and the only thing I can say about it is that this book is a constant chill fest up and down my spine. Though I liked the last volume of Thor but this title gives me the feeling that the old Journey into Mystery did. Anyone who read the final issue of Thor will know what is coming as this issue opens as one of the story hints isicked up right away that then turns the cool up to 11. This story addresses the new status quo with Thor being mearly Odinson and the talk to the hand Hammer thanks to Nick Fury. No one need have read Original Sin to know how we got to now. The art in this story keeps up the tradition of the rest of Jason Arron's run having some of the best work out there these days. This is well worth the price of admission and given a certain person is in little of the issue it definitely leaves you tingling for more... Magic....

 

 

Rat Queens 8

One of my favorite comics hit the stands again today. I pretty much don't mind this issue being an "origin" story look back though it breaks the narrative from last issue. Though I can say I like all the heroines in this book equally Vi is pretty much my favorite to read about this month and low and behold the now beardless dwarf gets all the spotlight here as does much of her attitude and inspiration. The cover art makes me want to try out Peter Panzerfaust given the exchange of artists between the titles and well just writing about how much I enjoyed the revelations that made me grin here I want to read it again and revel in the great art and story. I think in this arc we will be getting clever inclusions of the Queens pasts and damn I forgot how much I like this woman warrior centric book. (see my comments above again for Black Widow.) if you are not reading Rat Queens and have any interest in fabulous fantasy you are missing out on great stuff.

 

And just because that Peter Panzerfause book with the guest cover by the regular Rat Queens artist....

 

 

Guardians 3000 1

Like Bucky Barnes this was a title I read a couple times this week to really sus out my feelings about it overall. It could not be further from the soft art and subtl story of Ales Kot though; Dan Abnett and Sandoval are pretty much on the over the top bombast with the opening of the book. Guardians 3000 presents a pretty dismal depressing future and an equally grim proposition for the heroes with the potential grindark Groundhog Day set up. That said I overall like this return to the characters I wanted more of as kid but never really got. I was initially disappointed to be honest but wanting to give it a fair shot I read it again and I can see that Dan is setting up a lot of things here that long time marvel fans will get and probably enjoy the implications he makes. I want so much more the these sadly overlooked characters. This is a title I want to love and have to be honest and say I just like it and mainly for the cool kinetic art right now but I do like it enough to hold on for more and hope other people are there with me....

 

There are a couple more books from the week I hope to get and maybe I'll be doing a follow up on Tuesday....

And there's a hint about one of them....

 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Comics Sept 28 2014

 

New Avengers 24

Namor made a choice to be the thing that was necessary and enlisted the help of probably the best possible accomplices he could have in the now eight months old New Avengers 23. The mistake the heroic Illuminati made way back in issue 1 comes to roost in their belief they were morally up to the task of saving the world and universe; most sadly surrender to the what is coming, one runs and one Namor chooses to be the thing that is necessary. Here he realizes he can't live silently with the deal he made because of the allies he chose. This is not a happy story, its not the one I expected but it was the one I was glad to get; Thanos is not a hero, never was and neither were Terrax, the mad Inhuman,Thanos' generals nor is Black Swan. The story that Hickman is finally telling is due payoff for his long set up nd the moodily colored art by Schiti. There is a sence of both menace and dark humor in this title that ove one the grim dark nature and make it more then just another anti hero tale told yet again. My only wish would be to see more of Black Swan in the story. Its seldom writers tap into how truly malicious Thanos can be but Hickman and Schiti get idisturbingly right to the point.

 

All New Invaders 10

Few people are talking about the Invaders and this unassuming book is doing compelling things with lesser utilized characters in the Marvel Universe and expanding the legacy of the original superheroes of WW2. James Robinson and Steve Pugh are slowly expanding the cast they are working with this time; re introducing Jim Hammonds sidekick Toro and addin a new Iron Cross as well as tying this book into the wider Inhumas story, they also recognize the developing story between Captain America and the New Avengers and reintroduces the British legacy heroes not to mention Killraven. I'm afraid this might be another title that I connect with like Fearless Averngers and Journey into Mystery that will have an abriviated run so I hope other people try out this unusual title. It's not another Avengers though it stars one of them, its a bit more like mission impossible with superheroes and manages to carriy the weight of Marvel History on its shoulders much the same as a successful Justice Society title would for the other company. Next issue promises a Namor Human Torch battle to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Marvel so perhaps that may get some notice for this somewhat ignored book...

 

Mighty Avengers 14

This issue temporarily marks the end for this book by Al Ewing that began with the ad hoc formation of the most ethically diverse team in recent memory during the Infinity storyline. I loved seeing Luke Cage back in a regular book as well as Monica Rambeau (the second Captain Marvel now Specturm) who was one of my favorite Avengers and was a joy in a couple issues of Deconnick's Captain Marvel. Though this book will be back with the Sam Wilson's Cap after a month hiatus this is a great testament to the emotional fortitude of the cast Al is writing about in this book. Overshadowed by its big screen cousin title and its eight months later hype in my opinion this is the Avengers book to be reading. Al never failed to bring an honest smile to my face and several months back in issue ten wrote one of the best Original Sin ite in issues where the Blue Marvel becomes a god father. This book like the Invaders has a sense of history and legacy where it comes to character and like most books dealing with "lesser" characters can make actual change that will probably become lasting.

 

All New Ghost Rider 7

Filipe Smith is taking his hero Robbie to some very dark places in the second story arc; being a young person straddled with responciblity getting power seems to have changed his life for the better. I know that with the change I art last issue some people might be giving up given Damien Scott is so looser and different from the amazing Mr Moore but they are missing out on good storytelling here. The art is honestly not for everyone and some elements in this issue feel a bit rushed but I will say this for the story its strong enough to eked me coming back. The art has a definite street graffiti influence and given time it will develope into something people may really dig. This issue builds on the story from the first story arc and touches on the new Hyde army that Zabo seems to be working towards and on the fallout of the missing drugs from the earlier story. Oh and in the final pages next issues guest star maked his fiery appearance. Good stuff and actually pushes some interesting story buttons not explored often in superhero comics.