Category Archives: Comics Reviews
Joining Marvel’s line-up of female-led titles this year was July’s Storm #1, which featured one of the most iconic members of the X-Men, Ororo Munroe aka Storm. The first issue was something quite wonderful since Greg Pak got the character down perfectly, almost, and the same can be said of Victor Ibanez’s art as well. The title is also very different to every other female-led title from Marvel this year and it also plays into a larger team dynamic with the X-Men themselves, so that’s another reason to get along with this title and see where things go from there.
In Storm #2, Greg takes the readers down into New York’s abandoned subway tunnels and has Storm go up against an old enemy, Callisto, for a rematch that shocks Storm and really makes her reassess her priorities and her heroics. Over in Storm #3 however, Greg Pak has the Goddess flit over to Kenya where she has been invited to help with the water shortages in the country and is just another example of Greg developing the character through her past experiences, grounding her, so to speak. There are two separate art teams in both issues, and despite some minor negatives, they make both issues two of the best comics you can read this year.
This past week DC’s month-long Future’s End came to a close and it was certainly an eclectic mix of titles, from all that I’ve read so far. But there were indeed some titles that I enjoyed this week, and as I continue my readings this week, for I still have quite a few titles to get through overall, I’m expecting more to pop up. In the Green Lantern and Super-family titles I’ve had to face quite a bit of disappointment in particular, with little that has been good, and going into the final week, with the pending release of the Sinestro and Superman one-shots, I was holding up to some expectations.
Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed too much as it turns out. Sinestro: Future’s End #1 by Cullen Bunn is easily one of the best titles that I’ve seen this month, while Superman: Future’s End #1 by Dan Jurgens is mostly good though there were some problematic things in it. In a strange bit of contrast, Sinestro isn’t a series that I’ve kept up with lately, though I really liked the first couple issues, whereas with Superman‘s reboot under Geoff Johns I’ve been having a ton of fun on the title. Sadly, Geoff didn’t write this month’s one-shot but Dan does a decent enough job and since it ties in directly to Future’s End, it is a much stronger story than it appears to be.
Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.
Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.
It may just be me, but I think that with his work on Samurai Jack that writer-artist Jim Zub has really mastered the art of standalone storytelling. Each of his issues, whether they are part of an arc or not, really feel like great self-contained stories, and that’s one of the things that I love so much about his run on Samurai Jack. Apart from the whole nostalgia feel of it, his writing has been spectacular on this series, and the art by both Andy Suriano and (guest) Brittney Williams has been impressive to a great degree. Each month I can tune in to a Samurai Jack comic and not be disappointed.
I didn’t get around to doing reviews of the last two Samurai Jack issues, either because I was traveling in the week they came out, or because I just couldn’t focus enough to get through as many reviews in that week that I wanted to. But with this week’s Samurai Jack #12, I kind of take a stand on it and so here it all is. Samurai Jack #10 is a standalone issue that deals with Aku trying to defeat Jack by going into his dreams and taking over his mind while Samurai Jack #11 and #12 are part of an arc that really tests Jack’s skills and his endurance and his thirst for vengeance on Aku. Of course, it helps that the art is as great as it is too, so the overall experience is that much better.
I’ve long been a fan of G.I. Joe in all its forms, whether as an animated television series or as comics or as action figures. The recent movies have been the only disappointing part of my life-long G.I. Joe experience, sadly enough, but it is very easy to look past them for there is a vibrant and exciting franchise out there that remains undimmed in its awesomeness despite the terrible movie duology. I’ve been reading G.I. Joe comics on and off for a number of years, taking an occasional break as it were, and as I start to get back into the new phase of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics from IDW, it also seems like a great time to read G.I. Joe as an ongoing.
Karen Traviss is, to my knowledge, the first British writer of G.I. Joe, and also the first woman as well. As such, she brings a very different take to the franchise than you’d expect otherwise and given her own experiences writing military science fiction over the years and all, I think it is an exciting time to be a G.I. Joe fan. This week’s relaunched G.I. Joe #1, set five years after the end of the previous series, starts the “Fall of G.I. Joe” arc and the outlook of the world in this reboot is both exciting and fresh, whether we talk story or art.
The recent round of Future’s End issues have done much to deepen various mysteries, as well as tying together several stand-alone plot-strands that didn’t seem all that important until recently. One of the biggest mysteries however was how Green Arrow died back in Future’s End #1/Future’s End #2, or even what killed him. In this month’s Green Arrow: Future’s End #1, we learned that Oliver faked his own death, in quite a devious and masterful manner, to throw his enemies off his scent and here we are now, knowing full well that the hero-for-the-masses has several tricks up his sleeves, and one of them involves going up against Cadmus itself.
All the Future’s End issues till now, except for the FCBD issue, contained multiple storylines. With four writers working on the series, lots of characters were introduced to this vision of the future and lots of different events happened at the same time. It has all culminated to this issue, Future’s End #21, where we learn some details (finally!) about the war with Earth 2 that several characters have referenced before, and the part that some heroes played in it and what it ultimately means for Earth 1, or Earth Prime rather, and even why Green Arrow had to fake his own death. This was a stellar issue, one of the best in the series, and the art by Cully Hamner was simply astounding.
This is the last and final week of Future’s End one-shots and it seems that this is kind of like the first week where the one-shots were all generally damn good. Most of the ones I’ve read so far have been excellent, such as Harley Quinn or Justice League Dark, thankfully enough. There’ve been a few titles that haven’t made it to my “good” list, but they are kind of insignificant when compared to the good ones. One thing has been for sure though, that much as with last year’s Villain’s Month, a lot of the stories haven’t been planned out properly so that the overall general effect of this event month is one of cohesiveness.
Catwoman: Future’s End #1 and Star Spangled War Stories: Future’s End #1 (alternative, G.I. Zombie: Future’s End #1) are among two of my favourite reads of the week. The former I was hesitant about picking up since I was dreading Ann Nocenti’s vision of Catwoman’s future, but thankfully it turned out that Sholly Fisch was the writer and she wrote a really cool story here. The latter I expected to be great since Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have been doing some wonderful stuff on the new series and this one is more of the same. Story-wise, they are both two of the strongest titles this month and even art-wise I’d say, with all the artists being quite spectacular.
In the wake of the post-apocalyptic ending of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, Zenescope launched the Realm War: Age of Darkness mini-series that expands upon the victory of the Dark Horde and presents a world changed and shattered by the same. The heroes are all scattered and the villains have supremacy everywhere. In the midst of all this, a brave few such as Sela and Britney and Shang and Gideon are trying to stem the tide even as the intrigues and biases within the Dark Horde make themselves more prominent than before. I quite loved the first couple issues of the series and have been waiting for the third ever since.
This week’s Realm War: Age of Darkness #3 picks up from slightly after the previous issue ended and it shows Sela and Britney go up against a foe that they are hard-pressed to beat, Robyn Locksley, the prophesied Child of Darkness. Robyn was a Realm Knight alongside the other two women up until the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, but since then she has gone over to the Dark Horde. How and why, we don’t know, but that’s part of the fun of this issue. Joe Brusha really gets into the thick of things here as he begins to interweave several mysteries and the art by Sami Kivela is even better than before Read the rest of this entry
I’ve mentioned before that I love reading space opera, a lot, and recently I’ve started reading horror SF as well and am having quite a fun time of it with Caliban from Avatar Press and Deep Gravity from Dark Horse. The latter is a hot new title from Dark Horse and in its first two issues it has had a fairly good run, creating a new space opera vision that involves lots of suspense and thrills while also providing some fun monster action. Writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman have been quite incredible on this so far and so has the artwork from Fernando Baldó and others.
Deep Gravity #3 picks up from where the previous issue left off and we continue on with all the surviving scientists and crewmembers of the ship trying to get off. They can’t take anything for granted however, particularly as there might be a saboteur on board after all, and because many of the animal specimens that the ship was transporting back to the home world are now on the ship. There are a lot of twists and turns in this issue that keep you guessing what’s going to happen next, and the artwork complements that every step of the way, especially when it comes to the monsters.
As has become the norm these days, I’ve started learning more and more about new books via social media and creator blogs. That’s how I learned about Jim Zub’s Wayward from Image. Jim is currently one of my favourite writers in comics, and Wayward #1 was a solid series opener when it debuted last month. Japanese urban fantasy with a great female protagonist? Hell, I’m all over that. The series opener had great writing, and the art by Steve Cummings, John Rauch and Jim himself was similarly enticing, really pulling you into the whole feel of the story and the world.
Wayward #1 introduced Rori Lane, an Irish-Japanese high school girl who moves to Japan to be with her mother after her parents’ divorce and then ends up getting embroiled in some really weird and supernatural things involving cats. Jim paced the first issue like a pro, developing the characters and the world in a sedate manner and that is exactly what he does in the second issue as well, out this week. A new character is introduced, Rori’s faces up to more challenges in the new city and every step of the Steve, John and Jim present some of the best art in comics right now.
Red Sonja is one of the greatest and, dare I say, none of the most well-known, heroines in fantasy fiction. She is brave, courageous, compassionate, fearless, daring, aggressive, dominant and much more. Under the pen of Gail Simone, we’ve seen some really great things with the character in the rebooted Red Sonja. And her current arc has only heightened all these aspects of the She-Devil With A Sword, as she is often known. Tasked to find six of the greatest artisans in the world for a dying king’s death-feast, we’ve seen some great adventures with Red Sonja and now it all comes to a close.
Red Sonja #12 sees Sonja and her friends Rat, Aneva, Osric, Gribaldi, Plaitius and newcomer Rakaua return to Emperor Samala for his death-feast. Sonja’s reward for spending an entire month gathering these artisans is that once they are presented to Samala, he will free a thousand slaves as her reward. Bu Emperors rarely keep their promises and Samala planned to betray Sonja from the get-go, so the direction of this issue is no surprise. Not really sure what I can say, other than that Gail Simone and Walter Geovani delivered one of their best issues to date.
After handily wrapping up the first arc on Tomb Raider, Gail Simone teamed up with Rhianna Pratchett for the second arc that, last issue, took her to Chernobyl to help Alex’s sister Kaz with whatever trouble she is having. It was a slightly confusing issue to be true, but it was also quite fun since the creative team was intent on keeping things fresh and presenting Lara with new challenges and new direction. The art also seemed to improve, so that isn’t something that I’m going to complain about. Yeah, I liked the previous art as well, but the new style is definitely cooler.
In Tomb Raider #8, we see more of Kaz’s backstory and learn a lot of things about her that we didn’t know before. In the previous issue, it was all about getting Lara to witness Alex’s ghost rise up and warn her about Kaz and then Lara getting all the way up to Chernobyl before things really went south for her. Now, we see the beginnings of some real meat of the story, and that was most welcome. The action overall is rather static, in that everything takes place in a very narrow location and that was a slight shock but still, I liked the story here well enough and the art was great as before.