Category Archives: Comics Reviews
Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs launched the tenth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in great fashion some five months ago, and they’ve made this book into one of my top favourites of the year, something that I can depend on being super-good month after month. As I’ve said before, I got introduced to this due through their work on Angel & Faith Season 9 and they’ve brought the same awesomeness to this title. Reliving the adventures of this entire group through this new lens of comics is an incredible experience and the best things about it all remain the best still.
In last month’s Buffy #4, we saw that Dracula, out of his own hubris and inconsiderate manipulation of Xander, had begun to turn into the demon Maloker, the demonic father of all Vampires. In the midst of all the great character interactions, Christos Gage told a really involved story about friendships, love, betrayal, infatuation and manipulation, and he continues all of that in last week’s Buffy #5 as the first arc of the new season draws to a close. Not to be outdone, Rebekah also turns in some fantastic artwork coupled with brilliant colours from Dan Jackson.
After a slight bump here and there, Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma’s Tomb Raider has really gotten off to a great run in the last couple months. So much so that it is finally the kind of Tomb Raider comic I’ve been wanting to read from the two of them, ever since the announcement last year. Gail has done a great job thus far of shepherding the character through her post-game events, and she has turned Lara into a most interesting character, someone who is both strong and fragile in equal measure. Someone who feels complete because of that contradiction.
With her recent return to Yamatai, Lara ran into the bad guys real soon and started to discover just how twisted and demented the new villain is. But what all we saw in Tomb Raider #5 was just the tip of the iceberg, for Gail commits herself fully to the madness of her villain and to showcase the best of Lara and her friends as well. That’s where this issue really won me over, that it wasn’t just Lara being awesome, but her supporting cast as well. And Nicolás is finally comfortable with the characters, and has a much more consistent style, so that was most welcoming too.
Over the years, Ororo Munroe aka Storm has become one of the most prominent of the X-Men, particularly since starring in the X-Men movie franchise and played by Halle Berry (questionable performances, but more to do with the writing). With the launch of Brian Wood’s X-Men comic last year that saw her take a more prominent role in the comics-verse, a lot of people in the fandoms seemingly expected to see a Storm comics series soon. And lo behold, their prayers were answered earlier this year when Marvel confirmed a Storm ongoing, which came out yesterday.
Written by Greg Pak and drawn by Victor Ibanez, Storm #1 falls in the realm of one of the better new titles that Marvel has launched this year. Greg Pak captures the awesomeness of Storm very well in this debut issue though sometimes the monologue got a bit too weird for me. Victor Ibanez on the other hand draws a really good Storm in this issue, and you can really feel her personality coming through the pages. Far better than I expected, Storm #1 has got me really excited for the series now, and I’m hoping that the second issue arrives very soon!
Of late, the action in Future’s End has really been ramping up to something epic. With all the different plotlines going on, it was inevitable that many of them would intersect with each other in quite interesting ways, and that is exactly what has been happening. Thing is, despite the apparent lack of general popularity in the title as far as the blogosphere is concerned, the title still appears to be going strong and week after week I can see why. It has some of DC’s top writing and top art at the moment and that has value, even if a lot of it is just the house style..
The epic went into overdrive in this week’s Future’s End #12. First we had this big fight scene with Amethyst, Frankenstein and Hawkman, with a decidedly major cliffhanger. Then the King Faraday and Voodoo plotlines intersected something fierce and I’m left wondering if the character of “Courtney” is who I think it is. Then the plotline with a villain named Ethan got super-interesting, considering how he was broken out of prison recently and after that we got the most magnificent cliffhanger ending ever in comics, as we got taken back to the future that Terry McGinnis is trying to prevent in the past.
Aliens and superheroes is a concept that mixes really well, as some 75 years of comics from the Big 2 has proven. Superhero comics today form the biggest share of the market and with good reason, they are the staple of the form after all. Occasionally creators go the full distance with this, as Valiant Comics has done in recent weeks with its Armor Hunters series, tying together its X-O Manowar and Unity titles, at the least. It has proven to be a good time for Unity in particular, a series that started last year, and with Matt Kindt’s writing and Steven Segovia’s art the overall experience has never been better.
While Armor Hunters deals with all the big moments, Unity has been dealing more with the little things that inform those big moments. This past week’s Unity #9 is proof of that for it doesn’t move along the Armor Hunters story forward but instead has Livewire question her origins, show Ninjak and Eternal Warrior getting their violence gig on in London, and MI-6’s top coordinator Mr. Alcott get ever more frustrated with current events. With all the little moments, Matt Kindt is at his best here, and the same can be said for Steven Segovia and Co. where the art is concerned.
In the last four months Ales Kot and Michael Walsh have dazzled me with their take on this secret group of Avengers working for SHIELD. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Nick Fury Jr., Phil Coulson and Maria Hill have been stunning almost every step of the way and this has certainly been one of the most impressive of the new titles launched by Marvel this year for its All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, marking the second major launch of its titles since late 2012. The four issues thus far have been impressive sure, but I think we are entering an all-new phase that is even better..
This past week’s Secret Avengers #5 deepens the character mysteries and really tones down all the action so that the plot moves along in a very different manner. It is given however that when Maria Hill and Nick Fury Jr, are involved, especially a straight-and-narrow guy like Coulson, there is going to be a lot of friction between them over all the secrets being kept, and the biggest secret on this team is that Modok is working for SHIELD! Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson and Tradd Moore are at their best in this issue and they deliver on the goods in a handsome manner.
Launched last year, Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Chad Hardin has pretty much taken the market by storm. The first few issues were all chart-toppers and the series has continued a good sales run without any signs of serious flagging. I’ve loved and disliked the series in equal measure for while the story has mostly been good, the art has been less so, but that kind of fluctuates as well. Still, I won’t deny that Harley Quinn has been a most fun book indeed and that the fact it has managed to steer clear of any other book/event/crossover has been rather impressive.
When DC announced plans for Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con #1, I got really excited. Can you just imagine the sheer fun of such a title? The promise of lots of crazy antics, lots of surprises, lots of fourth-wall breaking, it is all there in this title. And when I read it last week, this title delivered on every bit of them. From the group of Joker cosplayers to Harley Quinn cosplayers, from Dan Didio and Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell cameos to Harley Quinn going to Jim Lee for an artist portfolio review, this issue was all-out fun. The art was a bit iffy and slightly inconsistent, but I’ll give that a pass.
Early last year, IDW Publishing did a 4-part mini-series in which it unveiled a new look at the history of the Foot Clan. Titled, well, The Secret History of The Foot Clan, it explained the bad blood between Splinter and Shredder, as well as other things about the Foot that I had never known before. And it was awesome. Writer-artist Mateus Santolouco did a brilliant job with it. And then IDW announced plans for several one-shots set in between its ongoing TMNT series that would each focus on a particular hero/villain, and having read a few of them, I have to say that they’ve done a decent job. Together, the micro-series and the 4-part have done much to inform me about the larger TMNT world, and it is all awesome.
The latest release of the Micro-Series is Splinter, the fifth in order of publication, and it takes a very interesting look at the history between the men who were once known as Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi, or alternatively, Shredder and Splinter. In many ways, the flashbacks in this issue inform more of what Mateus explained and showed in The Secret History of The Foot Clan and I found this issue to be a most fascinating read. Erik Burnham, who co-wrote The Secret History of The Foot Clan writes a gripping yarn about a father’s strengths and weaknesses, and artist Charles Paul Wilson II delivers some stunning visuals here.
Something I’ve remarked on before is that IDW Publishing seems to be doing a pretty good job with its Star Trek line of comics. They publish the books on a bi-monthly schedule, which is pretty impressive, and to go with that they also publish occasional specials and one-shots that expand on one area or the other of the entire franchise. I’ve had some good fun reading some of the recent comics, especially the Abramsverse line of Star Trek: Ongoing set in the new timeline from the rebooted film franchise, and am looking to delve further into the whole thing.
IDW’s latest Star Trek special, Flesh and Stone, is basically fan-service to every fan out there who loves some of the franchise’ most important leading heroes, the doctors of Starfleet Medical. About to gather for an important medical conference on Federation Starbase near the Tholian border, the doctors find themselves in a medical emergency and have to play medical detectives to find out the root cause and cure for the sickness that has claimed all the personnel at the Starbase. The Tiptons tell a wonderful and simplistic tale here as the Sharp Brothers do a damn good job with the artwork. More specials like this are most welcome.
Last month Dan Slott and Mike Allred wrapped up their first arc on Silver Surfer, coming in at only 3 issues, and it proved to be a most satisfying read. For me, Dan Slott captured a very classic feel of the Silver Surfer, with some modernistic elements thrown in and that was a really great experience. Silver Surfer is one of my favourite Marvel superheroes, and to see him done so well, both in terms of the story and the art really pleases me. Dan Slott has really emerged as one of my favourite writers in the last two years and the same goes for Mike Allred as well, as an artist.
Silver Surfer #4 sees the titular hero return to Earth with Dawn Greenwood and experience some really bizarre events, not the least of which is something that infuses him with a strong sense of personal horror, something really upsetting that he experienced some years back and which is now back in full force. This is quite a light-hearted issue and it features some excellent character beats such as the interactions between Silver Surfer and Dawn about the prehistorical eras of Earth and pop culture. Dan Slott’s writing is good as ever and Mike Allred’s art is just plain superb too.
Last year veteran Batman writer Grant Morrison finally killed of Damian Wayne, the character that he created along with artist-writer Andy Kubert almost a decade ago. The fallout from Damian’s death was a bit intense across the Bat-family titles (for most of them anyway), but then the titles moved on, and the gaping heart remained since Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne aka Batman and Ra’s al-Ghul’s daughter Talia, was the current Robin and had apparently gained a lot of popularity among fans despite his many… flaws. I certainly didn’t enjoy what little I read of the character in various comics, but he was… interesting.
With Robin Rises: Omega #1, a one-shot comic, it appears that DC is looking to bring back the fan-favourite Robin from the dead, and I’m already turned off by it. I got this double-sized issue to see what kind of a story I was going to get here and because there was a good amount of buzz for it, and all I’m left with after reading through it is plain disappointment. Tomasi’s writing has been decent at best for me, but with this issue he really bored me from the get go. And while Andy Kubert’s art has been decent at best as well, I couldn’t get into it so much, although the art is definitely better than the story here.
The newly (re)launched Ms. Marvel’s first arc (sort of) wrapped up last month on a really nice melancholic note. Writer G. Willow Wilson really went to town to create a realistic modern teenaged character with some real personal issues and she made Kamala Khan’s story resonate. That has been something that has served this series in good stead, for most of the comics right now from the Big 2 really don’t focus so much on characters like Kamala. In a lot of different ways. And the uniqueness that results has made this series one of the best on the shelves each month.
The new Ms. Marvel #6 takes some time off from Kamala’s usual heroics and interactions with her family to focus on things like her religious instructor and mentor as the two interact really well together in quite surprising ways. And also, we get to see a surprise guest star in the second half of the issue (spoilers will be below!) and that really made my day, to see Kamala meet and hang out with this superstar superhero. G. Willow Wilson’s writing in this issue was spot on and consistent, though with Jacob Wyatt stepping in for a pencil guest-spot, the art isn’t to the usual high standards.