Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Black Monday Murders #4

The Black Monday Murders #4

The Black Monday Murders, Issue #4 can be a little confusing. There are three children in it, the twins, Grigoria and Daniel Rothschild, from their birth in 1962 to 1981, and there is the diary of Wynn Ackerman from age five in 1976 to 1981.  We of course see them as adults in the 2016 timeline  and as young adults in the 1985 and 1989 pages, culminating in Daniel's expulsion from the group and finally Daniel's murder in 2016.

I did love Issue #3, and it's still my favorite issue of the four, but Issue #4 ties everything together from the bank side of things.  There is still the murder investigation and Detective Theodore Dumas, who is my favorite character of the series.  You only see him briefly in this issue.  I generally don't re-read comics.  I decided early on that I'd spend enough money on comics so that I wouldn't have to.  I pulled out Issue #4 today along with Secret Wars, also by Jonathan Hickman, but I have a solid hankering to go back and re-read Issue #1 through Issue #3 of The Black Monday Murders.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Romulus #1

Romulus #1

Romulus, Issue #1 is a comic that was recommended to me by a friend, and I thought I'd finally give a go at reading it before Issue #2 comes out in two days.  I hadn't heard of the creators when I bought it (aside from the excellent letterer, Troy Peteri), so I approached it with a little trepidation.  I mean, it's an Image comic, so it's probably good, right?  It's the story of a 22-year-old assassin named Ashlar, formerly a Wolf of the Ancient Order of Romulus.

Romulus is pretty cool.  You've got a woman assassin, trained by her mother, turned on by her masters.  She meets with Nicholas Franklin, the genius scientist.  Together, they will save five billion lives, she promises.  The scope of this series is immense, as there are seven billion people on Earth, and she only wants to save five billion of them.  Anyway, this issue is a good start, and I look forward to buying Issue #2 on Wednesday.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Punisher MAX: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1

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The Punisher MAX: The Complete Collection, Volume One collects a whopping 18 issues: Born, Issue #1 through Issue #6, and Punisher, Issue #1 through Issue #12.  The book is really three arcs.  Born is the story of Frank Castle in his third tour of duty as a Vietnam War captain at Firebase Valley Forge, 1971.  "In the Beginning" takes place 32 years later, when he is at war with the Mafia while being recruited by the C.I.A.  "Kitchen Irish" takes place after that, when he takes on the I.R.A., who have an agent in New York City.

I read 14 of the issues last night and four this morning, which is a lot for me these days.  I've been reading single-issue comics, usually one or two - maybe three - a day, concentrating most of my reading efforts on audiobooks and novels.  What changed that was how awesome The Punisher MAX is from start to finish.  There are to be four more collections in this series, which ran from 2003 to 2008.  Volume Four comes out just after Christmas, and Volume Five comes out in February.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Blue Beetle #3

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Blue Beetle, Issue #3 begins with Jaime Reyes crashing onto an alien planet with his Blue Beetle implant on his back.  He puts up the shields, but he is surrounded by an army of anthropomorphic bugs, which are attacking him.  He's helpless against these bugs when just as soon as he was crashed into the alien planet, he is crashed into Earth, in his neighborhood.  He seeks Ted Kord, the last person to wear the Blue Beetle implant, but Kord has nothing but bad news.

There's a fair amount of text in this issue, yet it's easy to read.  There's nothing worse than a comic with turgid prose all over the place.  Some writers think that if you're charging $3 to $5 for a comic, the readers should spend extra time reading it.  The $2.99 price tag on Blue Beetle is also easy on the wallet.  I bought four comics this week, including this one, and the others cost $4.99, $4.99, and $5.99, although two of them are double issues.  I also bought a mini-comic (Sec) for $5.  I get 20% off at Comics N' Stuff because I pay $10 a year for a membership.

So far, I've read four of the new Blue Beetle comics.  I'm not exactly hooked, but its reading accessibility and price mean that I'll probably go on reading it for the near future.  I do like the new arc, suggesting that there are more than one Blue Beetle.  An origin of the Blue Beetles is promised in the next issue, and I'm looking forward to it.

Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever #4

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Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever, Issue #4 is in three parts.  The first story, "Plan 9: Long Way Back to Hell" starts with Glenn attempting to summon Satan while everyone else is making plans for a fake newscast reminiscent of Plan 9 From Outer Space.  The idea is to scare Glenn's mother so much that she goes away, but things don't go as planned.  Glenn's attempts at necromancy have actually raised the dead!  The next part is "Henry & Glenn v. Lizards," and the final part is "Henry & Glenn Forever in Space."

"Plan 9: Long Way Back to Hell" is definitely the highlight of this issue.  On the whole, the issue is good, but I liked Issue #3 a tiny bit more.  "Plan 9" might be my favorite story of the series, though.  You can almost hear Glenn's mother sing "Amazing Grace" while everyone else battles zombies.  Mini-comics rock!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Civil War II #7


Civil War II, Issue #7 begins with a new vision by Ulysses where he is thrust into the world of Old Man Logan, when he is battling the Hulk Gang.  Then, the comic flashes between that world and the Marvel universe, where Miles Morales is sitting on the Capitol steps, waiting for his future.  A few issues ago, Ulysses's vision shows Morales killing Captain America on those very Capitol steps.

There's a lot more in Issue #7 than there was in Issue #6, which is more of a transitional issue.  You find out more about Old Man Logan and how his universe relates to the Marvel universe.  It's a great issue, and I'm glad I dove into this series around the time Issue #4 came out.  There have been delays, and an eighth issue has been planned.  As originally envisioned, this series would've wrapped up months ago, but I'm glad it's still going.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever #3

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Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever, Issue #3 might be the best one yet.  Issue #2 ended with Glenn's mother coming over to visit and Glenn running away.  Issue #3 starts out with Henry looking for him, ending up at a live karaoke place, but Glenn's mother shows up there as well.  Worse yet, she's singing old Misfits and Danzig songs with the lyrics changed to reflect Henry & Glenn's love.  What will happen in Issue #4?

The Henry & Glenn series is written by a number of different people, but I was surprised to see one series of panels drawn by MariNaomi, the author of I Thought YOU Hated ME.  Like the other issues, there are references to pop and alternative music galore.  Glenn even sings "Showboat" to Freddie Mercury, the Queen of Gaydes to rescue Henry from the afterlife.  Like usual, this is a rip-roaring adventure through alternative music and the gay subculture.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Henry & Glenn Forever

henry and glenn forever book cover

Henry & Glenn Forever came in the mail today.  It's a 66-page, square book of mostly one-panel comics about Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig, in an alternate universe where the two are gay lovers, along with their Satanic neighbors, John Hall and Daryl Oates.  Originally published in 2010, it has since become an underground sensation, mostly due to its frequent references to alternative and mainstream music.

For instance, one gag is Henry and Glenn putting up a yard sign that says, "Repeal Prop H8," referring to the "Defense of Marriage" act in California.  Hall and Oates, dressed in their Satanic garb, disagree.  Oats says, "no can do," and Hall says, "oh, I can't go for that."  If you don't have the song "I Can't Go For That" stuck in your head after reading that comic, you're doing it wrong.

Glenn Danzig absolutely hates it, saying, "I thought it was a crappy, opportunistic book.  Henry Rollins hasn't read it, but he found the idea of Hall and Oates being their Satanic neighbors pretty funny.  I definitely found this one funnier than the last title in this series I read, Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever, Issue #2, and I also got Issue #3 and Issue #4 in the mail today.

Nisekoi, Vol. 18

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Nisekoi: False Love, Volume 18 sees the story finally start to pick up.  It starts out with a fun scene on the school trip where the girl that shoots Raku with the arrow will end up in a relationship with him.  It's a story typical of the series so far, but then it takes a dark turn.  Chitoge is going back to America, and the false relationship between Raku and her is at an end.  Of course, not too much is ever going to change, so there's a plot to keep Chitoge in Japan.

The highlight of this volume is Raku's best friend, Shu, asking him if he liked Onodera or Chitoge better, which is important because so far, Raku has always said he loved Onodera and only had a false relationship with Chitoge for the sake of their respective gangs.  And Marika, Seishiro, and Onodera's sister, Haru all love Raku as well, but it's great to see that he's as oblivious of his own feelings as he is of the feelings of the people around him.


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Sec is an erotic mini-comic/poem by Sarah Ferrick.  It doesn't contain any graphic images or language, but this is definitely an adult publication.  It's written to an ambiguous "you," with sentences like, "Where I hold you against the wall."  I assumed, perhaps erroneously, that the narrator and the "you" were both women, but I guess it would work with any of the various genders, as there's nothing that would imply any particular one.

I've gone on record that I'm a mini-comic fan.  I have a bunch of Retrofit comics at home, most of which I've read, and I have some Study Group and Microcosm mini-comics coming in the mail.  You never know which one of these artists and writers is going to go mainstream, but the emphasis is on art rather than money.  That's why I like mini-comics.

The Woods #27

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The Woods, Issue #27 actually came out a couple of weeks ago, and it's finally made it out of my to-read pile and into my collection.  The story starts with Karen's mother cutting through a fence to get inside the area where the school used to be before it was somehow teleported onto the bizarre moon where most of Issue #1 through Issue #26 have taken place.  Back on that moon, an adventure into the forbidden city is taking place.

You finally get to learn some of the secrets of the moon, what its purpose was, and what its new purpose is.  Why it keeps teleporting humans to it.  This is a very revealing issue, reminiscent of a season opener of The X-Files where you get your questions somewhat answered only to end up with more questions.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Salmon of Doubt #2

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: The Salmon of Doubt   2 Page 1

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: The Salmon of Doubt, Issue #2 sees the detective Dirk Gently looking for his companion, Sally Mills, using a time machine.  You see, in Issue #1, Sally Mills accidentally stepped into the bathroom of Professor Regius Chronaotis, not knowing that said bathroom is a time machine.  They also don't know that Bernice the cat is missing.  Or how to kiss, it seems.

I haven't watched the Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency TV show, which has been advertised on the comics.  I do love Douglas Adams, and I do love Dirk Gently, but I just can't handle TV these days.  The comic is more than enough, and writer Arvind Ethan David really "gets" Dirk Gently.  In those two novels, if I'm remembering them correctly, the humor is slightly different from that of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  They are funny in a more subtle manner, not in the "hit you over the head" style of humor that Eoin Colfer uses in And Another Thing, which is a wonderful work.

What I like specifically about the coloring is the blues used.  The blue on the "Previously" and "Dramatis Personae" pages just blew me away, especially how colorist Charlie Kirchoff winds that blue into other blues in the work.  I've fawned over the work of artist Ilias Kyriazis, specifically the Africascapes in A Spoon Too Short, but it's also the coloring of those scenes that helped make them great.  And again in this issue, the detail is fantastic.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lovers in the Garden

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Lovers in the Garden is a lovely Retrofit comic book that I got in the mail this week.  It's the story of two early 1970s hit men who set up a drug deal to kill one of their competitors, but they've been double crossed.  Their boss wants them dead, and one of the two is sleeping with an undercover cop.  The other is telling his life story to an alcoholic reporter.  There are a number of ancillary stories about the reporter, the two hit men, their boss, and everyone else involved.

This is just simply fantastic.  I say that about a lot of comics because this blog is more a celebration of comics rather than a critical review of them, but Lovers in the Garden is one of the better titles I've read in the past few weeks, maybe the past few months.  The artwork has a crayon feel to it, although it's done in colored pencils.  There's an anachronism where one of the characters talks about "heels" in pro wrestling, but I guess she could have had some inside information.  We often forget how common "inside" information about the wrestling world is today.

Lovers in the Garden is available on the Retrofit Comics website (Google it), and it's on Amazon.com, although it's out of stock at the moment.  I paid around $90 for a Retrofit comic a month, but it's well worth the $10 list price.  Again, the best deal is to subscribe to Retrofit.  It's totally worth it.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Spider-Man #9

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Spider-Man, Issue #9 ties in with Civil War II, in which the Inhuman, Ulysses, has a powerful vision of Spider-Man (Miles Morales) killing Captain America.  The comic starts out with the revelation that Miles is missing.  Nova and Ms. Marvel are trying to get into his computer when Miles's dad catches them in the act.  Then Bombshell and Gold Balls are talking about finding him, so where is he?

Spoiler alert: there's no Spider-Man in this Spider-Man comic, aside from the vision Ulysses has in the beginning of the comic and the preparation for the confrontation at the very end, which is concluded in Civil War II, Issue #7.  I'm sure that some people are already saying that this comic is skippable or disappointing.  I think it's a cool look at all the people around Miles Morales.  For instance, Ganke gets the help of a YouTuber who specializes in Spider-Man sightings, and Fabio Medina/Gold Balls gets on his X-Men uniform.

Green Lanterns #11

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Green Lanterns, Issue #11 continues the "Phantom Lantern" arc.  Frank Laminisk wanted nothing other than to be a Green Lantern.  He trained for years, and just as the Power Ring was about to choose him, it chose Simon Baz instead.  Then, another Power Ring chose Jessica Cruz, but Laminisk wasn't done.  Billions of years ago, a now-disgraced Guardian of the Universe created the Phantom Ring, and after billions of years of it being safe, Baz and Cruz lose it.

It's more complicated than that, and of course another entity is involved, but the Phantom Ring is pretty damn cool.  Laminisk initially becomes a Green Lantern of sorts, but he also shows the abilities of a Yellow Lantern and an Orange Lantern.  This is the only DC Universe Rebirth title that's really hooked me.  I like how it comes out every two weeks, and I like the characters.  Blue Beetle is the other DC Universe Rebirth title I read, but only a few issues have come out.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Infamous Iron Man #2

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Infamous Iron Man, Issue #2 introduces a new superhero to the Marvel universe, Victor Von Doom, the number-one enemy of the Fantastic Four, also known as Doctor Doom.  With Tony Stark dead or somehow out of the picture, Victor Von Doom has taken up the mantle of Iron Man, replete with cape, hood, and a Doctor-Doom-looking faceplate.  Hot on his trail is Ben Grimm, the former member of the Fantastic Four and current Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Bendis and Maleev are one of the best selling teams in comics today, and for good reason.  As far as the art goes, the highlight for me is Doctor Doom's version of the Iron Man armor, which you can see on the cover.  The Thing is always difficult to draw, and Maleev makes him look muscular and solid.  Finally, Matt Hollingsworth does the colors.  He has a noir style, reminiscent of another favorite colorist of mine, Elizabeth Breitweiser.  VC's Clayton Cowles does the lettering.

Old Man Logan #13

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Old Man Logan, Issue #13 ends the "Last Ronin" arc.  The first arc is a series of battles; it's cool, but the series didn't really start to take shape until the second arc, which is "Borderlands."  In it, Old Man Logan rides north to the Canadian town where the young girl, Maureen, who would in another universe become his wife, lives.  That arc introduces Lady Deathstrike back into the Wolverine lexicon, and she plays a prominent role in the "Last Ronin" arc, which takes place in Japan.  In it, Old Man Logan battles the Silent Order.  

The reds by colorist Marcelo Maiolo define this series, the reds on the cover and the reds of the battle scenes.  So do the three blades of Wolverine, as drawn by artist Andrea Sorrentino, who first came to my attention drawing The Green Arrow, also with writer Jeff Lemire and colorist Marcelo Maiolo.  I like The Green Arrow, but the team has really coalesced around Old Man Logan, which is the title it'll be most remembered for.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Thought You Hated Me

I Thought You Hated Me is a 35-year story of a friendship between the author and a slightly older girl who bullies her at first.  It starts in 1981, when the author's only friend (Harmony) introduces her to Mirabai, who makes fun of her bell bottoms and lack of athleticism.  As they grow older, Mirabai buys the author her first cigarettes, and the author is jealous as boys fall in love with Mirabai instead of her.  Then comes a revelation from Harmony and Mirabai that they didn't like the author when they were all girls but that they liked her in middle school and later.  The comic then follows their sporadic friendship into adulthood.

There's a lot to read into this book, which touches on themes of body image, childhood trauma, and the complicated nature of pre-adult and even adult friendships.  We don't always really like our friends, to put it bluntly.  J.D. Salinger illustrates this perfectly in The Catcher in the Rye.  Holder Caulfield's two best friends at school are his roommates, Ward Stradlater and Robert Ackley, and although he does his best to socialize with them, he envisions a bleak future where his only friendships are of a shallow nature, like those with Stradlater and Ackley.

Again, I've loved every Retrofit comic I've read, and I always look forward to getting new comics in the mail, although I Thought You Hated Me and the other comics are available on smile.amazon.com and the like.  I Thought You Hated Me doesn't quite have the sharp edge of some of the other titles on Retrofit, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.  My first two comics on Retrofit were Drawn Onward and Ikebana, and the last title I read on that publisher is We All Wish for Deadly Force, so I gained a false predilection toward titles like that, related to the publisher.  This is a fun story with some darkness but without any mental illness or the like.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Spider-Man/Deadpool #11

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016-) #11

Spider-Man/Deadpool, Issue #11 guest stars Penn & Teller, and it's written by Penn Jillette, writing as Penn Jillette, the character and the writer.  It's Deadpool, remember?  And Spider-Man is along for the ride!  The comic starts out with Deadpool playing Texas Hold-em with Jillette, and if he loses, he and Teller have to switch places.  That means that Penn gets to do his show with someone with a healing factor, and Teller gets to fight crime (somehow) with Spider-Man.

This is a pretty good issue, although it isn't my favorite of the guest-writer issues they've done on this series, even though all of them have been good.  It never really lags, even when Spider-Man and Teller fight a tarot-wielding meta-human, a scene in which Teller gets to use his own special abilities.  I found the comic on a whole to be quite clever.  Usually, when a celebrity writes a comic, he or she only writes a few lines and has the regular writers come up with the rest.  The problem with that theory is that no other writer is listed.  No Joe Kelly, no nobody.  If Penn Jillette wrote this entirely himself, which I think he did, I have to give him a hell of a lot of credit.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Invincible Iron Man, Vol. 1: Reboot

Invincible Iron Man, Volume 1: Reboot is a book I bought for my nephew for his 10-year birthday, along with Eoin Colfer's Iron Man: The Gauntlet.  I decided to read it, myself.  It's basically a five-issue arc where Victor Von Doom teams up with Tony Stark to chase down Madame Masque, who is trying to gain ultimate power by assembling the most powerful devices in the world.

I found Doctor Doom's turn toward the light side of the Force somewhat interesting.  Of course, Infamous Iron Man, Issue #2 comes out in two days, and it details how Doctor Doom becomes the new Iron Man after Tony Stark apparently dies in Civil War II.  Before this death, he helps Riri Williams become the new Ironheart, so there are two people running around with Iron Man suits.

Tony Stark is an interesting contrast to Batman.  Both of them are geniuses, both of them are billionaires, and both of them fight crime.  I see Batman more rooted in the detective side of law enforcement, while Iron Man is more into the tech side of it.  Batman often goes rogue, and is a vigilante figure, while Iron Man always kowtows to the government, much like Superman or Captain America, although the latter was on the other side of Civil War I.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hunter x Hunter, Vol. 26

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Hunter x Hunter, Volume 26 has a complicated story leading up to it.  Gon and Killua are Hunters, the main protagonists of the series.  In this, the "Chimera Ant" arc - which runs from Chapter 186 to Chapter 318, about a dozen tankobon volumes - a giant ant with the ability to take on the abilities of whatever or whoever it eats, washes up on the shore.  Soon, it reproduces and begins eating humans.  Then they begin eating nen-enhanced Hunters and attempt to eat humans en masse.  Volume 26 details the attack of the most powerful Hunters on East Gorteau, the isolated nation that the Chimera Ants have taken over.

Killua's grandfather, Zeno, shows up, along with Nieto, and they finally kick some ass.  Gon corners the surgeon Ant (Pitou) so she can help Gon's father's student, Kite, but Pitou insists on treating Komugi first.  Komugi is the Gunga champion of East Gorteau, and is my spellchecker going wild or what?  It seems so bizarre, and it is so bizarre, but Hunter x Hunter, Volume 26 simply draws me in, even though I've only read a few volumes in the past six months.

Invincible Iron Man #1

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Invincible Iron Man, Issue #1 introduces 15-year-old Riri Williams as Ironheart.  The basic story is that Williams is a "super genius," and that she somehow became the new iron-themed superhero.  She had a cameo in Civil War, Issue #6, but this comic has her taking over for the presumed-deceased Tony Stark.  She's built her own armor, while in Infamous Iron Man, Doctor Doom takes Tony Stark's armor and becomes Iron Man, himself.

A recurring theme in all the Iron Man comics is A.I. or artificial intelligence, and although Tony Stark is dead, his A.I. lives on.  This artificial intelligence is based on Tony Stark's own brain patterns.  Riri Williams opines in the early part of the comic that she needs an A.I..  She probably also needs Tony Stark's resources, as of this issue, she's just playing superhero out of her mother's garage.  The cover shows Williams wearing Stark-like armor, but in this issue and Civil War, Issue #6, she wears more basic armor, implying that she does get Stark resources.

Over the past year, I've become a fan of Tony Stark, and I don't know how great a replacement Riri Williams and Doctor Doom are going to be.  Sure, the writing and artwork are excellent - I'll read anything Brian Michael Bendis writes at this point - but I hope Stark doesn't stay dead for too long.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Poe Dameron #8

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Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Issue #8 begins Book III: The Gathering Storm.  It starts with a sort of dramatis personae, as Poe Dameron goes through each member of Black Squadron, looking for the leak.  Agent Terex of the First Order simply has too much info on the Resistance for there not to be a leak, and Dameron can't believe that it's any one of them.  Then the comic goes back in time to the fall of the Empire, when Agent Terex, then a stormtrooper, takes off his armor and deserts.

Charles Soule's writing engenders interesting parallels, such as that between the relationship between Finn and Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens and the relationship between Terex and the other former stormtrooper in this comic.  Phil Noto is an excellent artist, and this is a very good comic.  I find myself subvocalizing C-3PO in Anthony Daniels's voice and hearing the incidental music of Episode VII in my head.

I read a lot of the Star Wars Extended Universe in the 1990s and early 2000s, perhaps some 20 or 30 novels.  Timothy Zahn's Empire trilogy inspired a generation that grew up with the original trilogy.  I didn't start reading comic books until 2013, so my perusals into Star Wars fiction over the past year have been mostly in canon.  My next adventure into Star Wars will be Chuck Wendig's Aftermath, which has received mixed reviews, mostly because it features new characters instead of the traditional characters.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens #6

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Issue #6 finishes the comic adaptation of the movie.  It starts with Kylo Ren killing Han Solo and then moves into the lightsaber battle between Ren and Finn and Rey.  The Rebels blow up the Weapon, and Rey brings Luke Skywalker his lightsaber back.  There's not much dialogue in this issue, and I read it in a few minutes.  

The series taken as a whole is excellent, and it lists at $24.99 in hardcover, although Amazon sells it for around $18.  In my review of Iron Man: The Gauntlet, I suggested that it would be a good present to get kids to read.  I paired it with Brian Michael Bendis's Invincible Iron Man from earlier this year for one nephew, and paired The Force Awakens with Chuck Wendig's first Star Wars: Aftermath novel for another nephew.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Iron Man: The Gauntlet

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Iron Man: The Gauntlet is a prose work by Eoin Colfer, the man behind the eight Artemis Fowl books, and it's actually the 12th prose book by the Irish author that I've read in the past two years.  Starting with Tony Stark as a young teenager, The Gauntlet mostly consists of a story about eco-terrorists who steal the Iron Man suit from Tony with the help of Tony's "AI," Friday.  I read the audiobook, which is six hours and change long, so it's not a very long work.  It would be suitable for not only my 12-year-old nephew but my 9-year-old nephew as well, although it's probably most appropriate for ages 10 to 14.

A good Christmas present for a youth reader might be this book along with a more recent Iron Man comic paperback to go with it, such as the recent Superior Iron Man or even International Iron Man, although the latter trends a little higher in age range.  There are two new series out in comic-book form, Infamous Iron Man, the first issue of which I've reviewed earlier, and Invincible Iron Man, which I bought the first issue of today.

It was really International Iron Man that turned me into an Iron Man fan.  I've never seen the movies, and I'd only read about three trade paperbacks before the beginning of this year.  Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev are an incredible duo.  Also be forewarned that there isn't much continuity between The Gauntlet and other series.

Showman Killer, Vol. 1

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Showman Killer, Volume 1: Heartless Hero is a much needed diversion from yesterday's tragic events.  Written by Alejandro Jodorowsky with beautiful art by Nicolas Fructus, it tells the story of a future intergalactic empire where one man creates the ultimate killer, taking the sperm from a serial killer and impregnating a woman who is killed after the boy's birth.  He is raised without human contact, his only playthings weapons and gold Kublars, taught to be ruthless and mindful only of money.

It's a lot more complicated than a simple Frankenstein story.  The Showman Killer has dreams, visions, and what happens when the woman in those dreams meets him in real life?  The artwork is stunning, and I can't fathom how Jodorowsky keeps finding these magnificent artists.  Nicolas Fructus's work is so far beyond the average comic-book art.  I can't wait for Volume 2 and Volume 3 to come out.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Southern Bastards #15

Southern Bastards #15

Southern Bastards, Issue #15 is a dual story, starting the new arc, "Gut Check."  The Running Rebs lost their homecoming game 45-6 mostly because their defensive line hasn't recovered from the death of their defensive coordinator, Ole' Big.  At the same time, Roberta Tubbs, the half-black daughter of the man Coach Boss killed with his bare hands, has come home from Afghanistan to her father's old hometown, and she's seeking revenge.  And aside from that, there's the story of Sheriff Hardy and his high-school girlfriend, Judy.  And the half-dead mayor and his wife.

I read a lot of Jason Aaron's and Jason Latour's other work, in particular Star Wars and Spider-Gwen, but this is by far my favorite.  It doesn't come out as often as I'd like, but whenever it does, I read it as soon as it comes in the mail.  This particular issue just gives off an aura of heat and humidity.  It's the beginning of the school year, September, and it can be a hot one down in the South.  These are people who cheat to survive, sell drugs, and do anything they can, but life is still hard, and their respective positions are in as precarious a state as ever.

Green Lanterns #10

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Green Lanterns, Issue #10 is the first comic I've read in a few days because I've been busy with the Presidential campaign as a volunteer and an informal observer.  The election is tomorrow, and I'm supporting... well, enough of that here.  Issue #10 begins with Simon Baz trying on the Phantom ring to see what it does, and it's pretty cool.  A lot of people take umbrage with the use of the word, "awesome," as that word means "godlike" and "truly creating awe."  An order of nachos isn't "awesome."  The Phantom Ring?  Yes.

The Phantom Ring gives the bearer the power of all seven Power Rings.  Feel scared?  The Yellow Ring takes over.  Feel angry?  The Red.  I have liked the series so far, but I really think that the "Phantom Ring" arc is a step above what the series has been so far.  We needed to see the Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz characters developed, and now that they've grown into being Green Lanterns, we're ready to see what they can do.

In my review of Issue #9, I wondered what YHWH put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden for in the first place.  You knew someone was going to bite that fig or apple, just like you knew someone was going to wear that Phantom Ring.  Donald Trump, I believe, is that evil we must stop, at the risk of becoming evil ourselves, perhaps.  Hillary Clinton isn't the perfect candidate, but I've gone fully behind her, driving to Arizona to campaign for her yesterday.  Life isn't like a comic book, and we shouldn't elect a comic-book villain to the Presidency.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Unworthy Thor #1

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The Unworthy Thor, Issue #1 is a title I've been looking forward to.  It's written by Jason Aaron with art by Olivier Coipel and colors by Matthew Wilson, and it tells the story of Odinson, who was Thor before he dropped Mjolnir on the Moon and couldn't pick it up.  Then an unknown (for a time) woman picked it up and became Thor.  The god formerly known as Thor has a difficult existence, expelled from the Avengers and unloved in Asgard.  He lives on the Moon, battles trolls and ekes out a living.

The news is that there's another Mjolnir, and Odinson has to fight for the right to wield it, but what is going on in Asgard?  I won't reveal what happened at the end of the issue, but it's a bit of a twist.  Olivier Coipel, the artist, has worked for Marvel for some time.  His artwork can be rough at times, but I like the way he keeps Odinson's eyes hidden and the way he uses straight lines to shade, reminiscent of Jacques Tardi or Herge.  I think he and Jason Aaron are going to be a very good combination.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

23 Skidoo

23 Skidoo is a mini-comic originally published in 1994 for a cover price of $1.00.  Written in 1993 and 1994, this new publication marks the 23rd anniversary of this mini-comic by Al Columbia.  At 24 pages with very little dialogue, 23 Skidoo is something you can run through in a pair of minutes or really look at for dozens of minutes.  It's as graphic as the 1990s were, with its grunge music and its strip clubs.  Disturbing and haunting, 23 Skidoo is an excellent reprint.

In fact, this title makes me want to learn more about Al Columbia.  The clerk at my local Comics N' Stuff said that he'd get other stuff by Al Columbia if I liked 23 Skidoo, and I think I'll take him up on that, although Columbia's stuff is notoriously hard to find at a reasonable price.  The Biologic Show, Issue #1 runs for around $200 these days.  Anyway, I rarely regret buying mini-comics, and this is no exception.

Kill or Be Killed #3

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Kill or Be Killed, Issue #3 begins the day after Dylan kills his childhood friend's abusive older brother.  He has to kill someone or else he'll die every month.  That's the story of the series.  He gets closer and closer to death - getting sick - as the month wears on, but he wonders if the whole encounter with the demon wasn't some bizarre hallucination.  He lives with Kira, his best friend with whom he has a strained relationship.

This issue develops Kira and Kira's respective relationships with Dylan and her boyfriend, Mason.  Stephen King is of course known as a horror writer, but he gets props from many readers and critics for his character studies.  This is an excellent study of an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation, his relationships, and the people around him.  The title didn't catch me right away how Fatale, Velvet, and The Fade Out did, but it caught me eventually.  I'm a fan.