Category Archives: Comics Reviews
Last week I started off a new feature on the blog, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, in which I will be reviewing some of my comics read from that week that I wasn’t able to get to in terms of reviews. And these can be comics I liked or comics I hated or anywhere in between really. Last week I did six comics, all of them among my top picks for the week, and it was a pretty fun experience, trying to reduce my usual 700+ words reviews into something like half that number. Quite challenging too since I usually write so much more.
The picks for this week are: Grimm Fairy Tales #104, Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition, Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #2, Inhuman #8, Storm #5, and Wonder Woman #36. The picks are a bit heavy on the Big Two this week, owing to how much I read from them, and also since most of my reading was confined to them only this week. An interesting bunch certainly and there are quite a few really good books in here, though not all are what I’d call “Pick of the Week” material, even though they skirt the line.
Batman ’66 stands as one of the best examples of superhero television done right. The show was quite phenomenal in its time and I remember watching reruns as a kid in the late 90s, and getting all excited whenever the action directions lit up on the screen with “BAM!” and “KAPOW!” and what not. Oh and Adam West was absolutely brilliant on the show as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Not to mention that the show introduced us to the whole firefighter-style changing room that the hero used to change into his “work-clothes”. It really was quite incredible and has enjoyed a renewed surge in popularity in recent months as well thanks to DC’s Batman ’66 comics.
The latest issue of the hit series is the adaptation by Len Wein of an unfilmed episode of the show that saw the debut of none other than Two-Face, the Duke of Duplicity himself. Borne out of something that Harlan Ellison wrote for the show but which was never picked up unfortunately, this issue explores how Two-Face would have been like on the show, from both a writing perspective and an art perspective. It really is a most fun issue and while sometimes the campiness got to be a bit too much, it was nevertheless quite entertaining all the way through and Two-Face rocked it all.
Last month we got to see Jim Zub’s unique take on the Forgotten Realms lore with his new mini-series Legends of Baldur’s Gate, which is intended as a tie-in effort by Wizards of the Coast for the upcoming expansion Tyranny of Dragons. The first issue, right out of the gate, was an excellent one and stands as one of my favourites all year. Both Jim and artist Max Dunbar did a pretty awesome job with the issue, and the adventures of Minsc, Delina and Boo proved to be very entertaining and fun, in all the right ways. Plus there was a nice larger mystery that involved the characters and that helped set the pace for the story.
This past week’s Legends of Baldur’s Gate #2 continues the story of Minsc, Delina and Boo as the three of them meet up with a couple of thieves who are willing to help them find refuge from Baldur’s Gate’s Watch. Last issue we got introduced to the primary characters, and while this week we get to meet many more characters, we also see the narrative move forward as the mystery of Delina’s twin brother’s disappearance deepens, and we see some of who and what the mysterious cabal operating in Baldur’s Gate is like. As with the first issue, Jim and Max do an awesome job once again.
Ron Marz and Laura Braga’s soft reboot of Witchblade last year made it one of my absolute must-read titles each month and the two creators continued along that path with their following issues, each of which did something different and ended up being really good for the most part. In recent weeks however, we have seen the beginning of something different as matters seem to ramp up for the protagonist Sara Pezzini, who is working hard at being the kind of Sheriff that the people of Saratoga County need her to be with all the strange goings-on.
At the end of the last issue, we saw that there was some new unforeseen complication for Sara in the form of a couple new characters. In this past week’s Witchblade #179, we see a glimpse of what these plans entail, given that Sara and Kate’s new case has them investigating some horrific cattle mutilations in the backwaters of Saratoga. This is mostly an action issue with little in the way of character development, but that’s fine since this is just the opening spell of a brand-new arc and Ron does take a while to get going. The art is good too, as I expected it to be since I’m not pretty used to Laura Braga’s unique style and the monster introduced is pretty cool as well.
Marvel’s Black Widow has undoubtedly been one of the publisher’s bigger success stories from among all the new titles launched this year. While not reaching the heights of titles like Ms. Marvel, it hasn’t been down in the doldrums with titles like She-Hulk either, being more of a balancer towards the high side of the numbers. And that’s well and good since it makes a solid addition to the overall line-up and the work done by writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto has been quite phenomenal, especially of late, with more to come I’m sure.
This week’s Black Widow #12 sees the comics debut of noted television news anchor/journalist Anderson Cooper as Nathan Edmondson writes a really charged issue that explores Natasha’s dual nature. Being on SHIELD’s payroll and also a prominent Avenger, her work often brings her into conflict with things she can’t control, such as international political red-tape and the label of “necessary evil”. Nathan delivers a rather astounding issue this time, even as Phil Noto goes all out with the star-cast of this issue that also includes quite a few prominent Avengers and other high-profile Marvel characters.
Just about three weeks ago, we got to see something amazing happen in James Robinson and Leonard Kirk’s Fantastic Four, when we finally got to learn who was orchestrating the team’s grandiose downfall, chipping away them one by one. We still don’t have all the answers, but damn, it was a huge issue, a major turning point. With everything that was happening, things seemed to be moving towards a conclusion finally, and I reveled in that since it was something I’ve been wanting to see from the series for a couple months now. The wait is now over.
Fantastic Four #13 is yet another turning point for the series, and the cover is pretty much a dead-giveaway for what is going to happen here. Last time, we saw that Ben was planning a break-out with the Sandman, and we see that happen in glorious detail in this issue. After all the misery of the previous issues, there’s finally some hope for the team, even though they are all still caught in a dark circle that is going to take some time for them to break out of. The issue is a bit too fast-paced for my tastes, but the story and art are both as excellent as they could have been.
Last month Dark Horse kicked off yet another Fire and Stone crossover book wih Joshua Williamson and Christian Mooneyham’s Predator, that is the tail-end of the stories being told in this crossover. With Galgo sacrificing his crew yet again to get out of a tight scrap, it was a very fun issue that also showcased the utter deadliness of the Predator and it seems that both the writer and the artist have the monster alien hunter down pat, since they imbue him with all the hallmarks of that which made the original films so good all those years ago.
This week’s Predator: Fire and Stone #2 continues Galgo’s story as he tries to fight against the Predator who took over the Perses in the last issue. Well, more like ineffectual resistance since the Predator pretty much caught by the end of the issue and now Galgo is basically Ahab the Predator’s servant. Of sorts. It is pretty awesome. Joshua really ups the stakes with this issue, giving us some background on the Predator early on, and then launches off on a really fun story. And the art? It is pretty damn perfect too!
Last month DC launched Trinity of Sin, a title that brought together three of the biggest ancient mystics in the DC-verse, a union not seen since The Phantom Stranger #0, when Phantom Stranger, Pandora and Question were brought before the Council of Eternity to face judgement for their sins, the greatest in all of history. The first issue was a pretty good one and it set the stage for a really epic story that drew on some of the most weird supernatural elements of the DC-verse.
Trinity of Sin #2 picks up from where the first issue left off, and it continues the story of Nimraa and his three special servants as he seeks to bring back the great days of his race, of which he is the sole survivor following some dark calamity. As with the first issue, this one too has some really great moments and the action scenes are really good as well, drawing on the powers of all the different characters. The art has some missteps though, which felt really weird, since there are clear precedents and the changes just don’t make sense, but still it is pretty damn good
Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman has faced quite an uphill battle in recent years. There was the whole “boob-window” controversy last year during the Infinity event, when her space-suit had a boob window for some inexplicable reason. And then there was the utterly horrible Milo Manara variant cover a few weeks back for her debut issue, released this week. Despite being an Avengers stalwart for a number of years, she has had a tougher time in recent years with her own books than many other characters, though she has still come out on top with others like Black Widow and Ms. Marvel and others in getting a brand-new series this year.
Spider-Woman I had quite high expectations for, I’ll admit. I love Jess as a character, thanks largely to some of Brian Michael Bendis’ work with her and what Ales Kot has been doing this year in Secret Avengers. Despite the controversy, I was really looking forward to this book, but unfortunately, things just don’t work out at all. Writer Dennis Hopeless dumps you straight into the middle of Spider-Verse without any kind of context at all and it is more an ensemble title rather than a Spider-Woman title. Most disappointing.
Given how many comics I usually get to in any given week, anywhere from about 25 or so and all the way up to 40 even, it is not possible for me to review everything. Especially when I watch a lot of television in the week as well, and review as much of that as I can, or anime or even book reviews. Hence this new effort, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, which I’m hoping to make a regular weekly thing on the blog. But no pressure! Every week on Wednesday, I’m going to try and review about 6 comics from the week prior that I didn’t get to in that week, and see where things go from here!
The picks for this week are: Archer & Armstrong: One Percent #1, Deep State #1, Django/Zorro #1, Hexed #4, The Kitchen #1 and Unity #12. As you can see, four of this comics are brand-new series, with the very first one being a spin-off of Valiant Comics’ hit title Archer & Armstrong. I picked these six comics because they are undoubtedly among the best comics I read this week, but also because they are all incredibly diverse, very different to each other and to other comics on the shelves this past week, especially Unity #12 which is a superhero comic, but deals with something rather different than the norm.
Iron Man has been one of the books from Marvel in their Marvel Now! launch that I’ve largely given a miss in the last couple years. I started off reading the first issue but it didn’t interest me at all. The next issue I read was sometime this year, which dealt with Mandarin’s death and his rings’ search for their next wielder, in Iron Man #23 I recall. However, that storyline didn’t interest me either, after two issues, and I gave up on that too. And then Marvel announced the Avengers NOW! launch for Iron Man, and I was interested in the changes being made to the character.
Superior Iron Man #1 follows in the wake of the recent issues of Avengers & X-Men: AXIS in which the villain Red Skull did some psychic hanky panky and unleashed a Hate Wave across the world that has turned some heroes towards a dark path while some villains have turned towards the path of redemption. It is an interesting mechanic, and Tony too has been changed by this, becoming a more narcissistic and greedy businessman seeking to profit from the misery of other people. But the writing didn’t really work for me in this issue, though the art was passable, from one standpoint.
Last month Cullen Bunn kicked off the second stage of his Helheim saga with the release of Brides of Helheim #1 which takes a look at the main character of Rikard some time after the events of the previous series as a young Viking girl by the name of Sigrid searches him out to exact vengeance for her father’s death. It was a pretty great issue, in terms of both the art and the story and I loved it, which is why I wanted to read more and even went and got the first mini-series, though I haven’t had a chance to read it as yet.
This past week’s Brides of Helheim #2 continues the story of Rikard and Sigrid even as the writer gives us some background on the spae witches who have been Rikard’s enemies, along with their distant master who is emerging into the world once again. Cullen Bunn packs the issue with some astounding moments of character and action, even as Joelle Jones and Nick Filardi render them quite beautifully. The second issue is as good as the first one, and as the mysteries and story deepen, things look set to get better and better on all fronts.