Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FF #8 - Review

A "Date" to Remember



FF is one of those smaller titles that I don't hear people talking about, and that's just really sad. If you're unfamiliar, FF (Future Foundation) was originally a companion series for the Fantastic Four that followed the adventures of the young children living at the Baxter Building and working towards a better tomorrow with Dr. Reed Richards. The cast was already very large, including the Richards' children, but now there's a new team running the show. While the Fantastic Four are out among the stars, a new team was selected to take their place. Ant-Man, She-Hulk, Ms. Thing, and Medusa are the new Fantastic Four until further notice. Not only do they have to handle any monstrous dangers that threaten New York City, but they also have to teach and care for the genius children still living in the building. Mix in the fantastic retro-styled artwork by Mike Allred and you've got a series that looks and feels like no other Marvel title.



This issue features a "date" between Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) and her ex-boyfriend Wyatt Wingfoot while the moloid children Torg, Mik, Korr, and Tong team up with Bentley-23 to try and sabotage their evening. It's one of those fun issues that's just for character building and lets the children interact with each other and really cool gadgets. It proves that you don't need dramatized action to have a good time with characters in a place like the Marvel Universe. There might not be any life-threatening villains, but the super science moments with the children more than make up for it.

Matt Fraction has been the writer of the series, including Fantastic Four, since the Marvel NOW! launch of both titles. I haven't been following the other series, but FF has remained one of my favorite Marvel titles. He captures the same rowdy spirit that Jonathan Hickman did when he first wrote this series, but has put his own comedic spin on many of the characters. It can't be easy working on a title where there has only been one writer before you, but Fraction has stepped up and delivered a comic that is enjoyable on all levels.



Allred's artwork is always a force of nature. His unique style can make any characters interesting, but there's something about the B-List characters that makes it really charming. Ant-Man looks especially cool in Allred's style, and the light tone matches the color scheme (Laura Allred) and expressions that Allred uses for the characters. The bright pop-art renditions of these characters is reason enough to check out this series.

What it all comes down to is fun. This title has smiles by the bucket load. I could read a whole Marvel Universe drawn by Allred and many more stories featuring these characters by Fraction. If your pull-list is light, or if you're a casual comic reader who wants something they can just jump into, this is the perfect comic book for you. There's only four issues, and you don't really have to read Fantastic Four to follow it.

Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Uncanny X-Men #1 - Review

Bendis, Bachalo, and Uncanny X-Men


Brian Michael Bendis wowed readers with his take on Marvel's mutants with All-New X-Men, and now he continues to dazzle us with the first issue of the Marvel NOW! relaunch of Uncanny X-Men. The legacy of the X-Men in American storytelling and the comic book medium is one that many readers are protective of, and I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed this new take on Scott Summers. Bendis isn't afraid to take the classic moments of the X-Men franchise (finding new students, fighting sentinels, time travel, and social issues) and introduce them into a new paradigm.

The "Uncanny X-Men"

For those of you who haven't been following, the Phoenix Force took over Scott Summers and drove him to an unspeakable act -- killing Professor Charles Xavier. To atone for his crimes, Cyclops has made himself the face of the new mutant revolution. The Phoenix Force has brought a wave of new young mutants into the world, and Cyclops is ready to lead them to a brighter tomorrow.

This series picks up with a dark secret being outed by someone close to Cyclops, and breaks into an all out brawl against powerful enemies as the new X-Men (Emma Frost, Magik, Tempus, Magneto, and a yet to be named healer) try to save a new mutant in San Diego.
Sentinel throw down in San Diego
The writing by Bendis is just as strong as his characterizations in All-New X-Men. I've read Bendis' work on The Avengers here and there, but I'm convinced that he's much better suited for the mutant family. I haven't truly enjoyed Cyclops as a character since I was a little kid, and Bendis is taking the new direction that Summers has been pulled in and running with it. The relationship between Magneto and the rest of the team is just as interesting, as he's been reduced to a much less powerful version of his former self. It's all an interesting read, while being packed with action and life that makes me want to read the issue all over again.

A strange new mutant appears!

Chris Bachalo's artwork is astounding. I've always been a fan of his art style, and seeing a double-page spread of the X-Men fighting off Sentinels in the middle of the city is a real treat. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the new costumes that the team wears, but I think that it's important that they set themselves apart from who they were before the events of AvX. Bachalo makes the new costumes work with the situation in the story, and his cartooning and use of line make each detail pop. And it would be criminal not to mention his interesting layouts and pacing, which work well with Bendis' dialogue and story.

Uncanny X-Men is an example of how the Marvel NOW! relaunch can be effective in bringing in new readers. I hadn't been reading any X-Men titles (besides Wolverine and the X-Men) and now I'm reading almost all of them. Bendis is spearheading the mutant revolution, and this new ongoing take on a classic title is another unstoppable weapon in his arsenal.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Invincible #100 - Review



“The Death of Everyone” story arc comes to a close in this giant-size issue of Invincible from Image Comics. Issue #99 left readers on a big cliffhanger, and this story picks up right where the last chapter left off. The opening splash page is definitely something you don’t want to miss if you’re an Invincible fan, and this new issue sets up the premise for the next story arc.

The writing by Robert Kirkman in this series has always been strong, and that continues with this issue. It’s been years since Mark Grayson first stepped off his roof and began flying, but Kirkman has managed to keep readers interested for 100 months. Aside from this being a great story, it’s a wonderful achievement for a comic book creator to have an original property reach that level of publication. Kirkman was able to do that with both The Walking Dead and Invincible, and it’s astounding.

The artwork by Ryan Ottley and John Rauch delivers all of the emotion, action, and gore that come with an issue of this series. There were a few particular moments (which I’m not going to spoil for ANYONE) where the distress on people’s faces was so powerful that they came off the page.

Invincible is a series that deserves serious attention, because it’s a superhero genre story that both dissects the genre and celebrates it at the same time. Kirkman explores all of the tropes and popular character stereotypes, but puts his own fun spin and style into the heroes and villains. Even though Mark Grayson isn’t one of Marvel or DC’s characters, he still has a legacy, which is hard to pull off when you’re wearing tights at a different publisher.

Issue #100 isn’t a jumping on point, so if you were new to this story I would start at least a few collected trades back. If you love the idea and concept of superheroes, but are looking for a different take, this title is for you. This issue for long-time readers provides another looking-glass moment for heroes and villains that’s been building up between two characters in the Kirkman-verse.

9/10





Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hellblazer #298 "Death and Cigarettes Part 1" - Review

My favorite cover of the week (Simon Bisley on art)


John Constantine has been a staple of the comic book world since his appearance in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing. There's no magician in comics with more attitude, wit, and cigarette butts behind him. As the final arc of the long running series begins, Constantine finds himself dreaming about his death. He's cheated his way out of it before, but that was devils and demons, this time it's the Fates themselves that have chosen his time to pass.

Peter Milligan's run on the popular Vertigo Comics character has been debated, but I really do enjoy his portrayal. It reminds me of the natural continuation of the Constantine from the Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis runs, and even has some of that Jamie Delano flair mixed into it. This issue finds him actually giving into death, which is something we've never seen the character do before.

Constantine is known for being the world's best con artist. If there was a way out, he would have found it. Instead he accepts that death is coming and tells his wife, Epiphany, that there's nothing he can do to prevent it. Without giving away too much of the story, there are some pleasant moments between the two of them in what Constantine believes to be his last five days on Earth.

The artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli is some of my favorite that the series has ever had. Camuncoli's art style, which is very cartoon-based, is expressive and fits well with the strange tone of the book. The artwork isn't afraid to get gory, violent, or even tender for that matter. Most of the opening of this issue feels like a movie or TV show opening, which really pulled me. The mixture of Camuncoli's art and Milligan's writing really does make the perfect pair for Hellblazer.

Hellblazer isn't going to be around for much longer, but John Constantine will be having a new DC Comics title called, wait for it . . . Constantine. I have mixed feelings about it, but on the whole I'm willing to give it a shot. My biggest fear is that it'll be a watered down version of the character, but so far I've enjoyed Constantine in Justice League Dark. Jeff Lemire has brought new life into the book and it kind of feels like a Vertigo title without really being one.

If you're not familiar with Hellblazer and you like twisted stories of horror and magic, I recommend picking up any collection or issue. They're recently re-releasing and numbering the trade paperbacks, and it's the perfect time to become familiar with him before the character gets his new DC series.

Rating: 8.5/10

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Walking Dead the Official Magazine #1 - Review

The Walking Dead the Official Magazine #1 from Titan and Skybound

If there’s one thing that’s true about The Walking Dead, whether it’s the comics or the TV show, it’s that people can’t get enough of it. And there’s good reason for that statement. Robert Kirkman has created a storytelling juggernaut that’s taken the world by storm. If you've been looking for a new outlet for your fandom of Kirkman’s Walkers, then The Walking Dead the Official Magazine is the answer.

Published by Titan and Skybound, the magazine has articles that relate not just to the comic book and TV show, but also has pieces on the actors, merchandise, and extras like the TV show Talking Dead. Each piece is well written, concise, and professionally constructed.

The overall design of the magazine fits well with the motif of the TV series and comic book. It uses color, balance, alignment, and enclosure to create an effective magazine. It’s one of the few magazines that I've read cover-to-cover because I wanted to.

My favorite part about this first issue was the bonus story “Just another Day at the Office” by Jay Bonansinga. The addition of actual prose stories into the magazine is a very unique choice. It gives people new to the series an inside look at Philip Blake (The Governor), who will be a major part of the new season of the TV show.

The Walking Dead the Official Magazine is a publication that will please any fan of Kirkman’s zombie series. So while you’re waiting impatiently for the next issue of the comic book or the next episode of the TV series on AMC, reach for this magazine. The first issue is on newsstands now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Walking Dead - The Official Magazine


THE WALKING DEAD, THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE
 LAUNCHES TOday!

Hotly anticipated first issue of The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine hits newsstands and digital platforms.

The Walking Dead Official Magazine, Issue #1

Titan Magazines and Skybound’s premier issue of The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine, based on Robert Kirkman's Eisner Award-winning comic book series, best-selling graphic novels and Emmy-winning AMC television series, hits newsstands and digital platforms on October 23.

This 100-page issue features an inside look at the TV show, comics and everything in-between: The Walking Dead creator/writer Robert Kirkman reveals what’s coming up next on the TV show, which broke basic cable records again with the season three premiere, and how the shocking events of issue #100 of The Walking Dead Comic will affect Rick and our favorite survivors; an exclusive interview with Danai Gurira, who plays the iconic character “Michonne”; an exclusive prologue to the new Walking Dead book, The Road to Woodbury, about the rise of Philip Blake aka The Governor written by Jay Bonansinga and Robert Kirkman; behind-the-scenes set visit report; executive producer/showrunner Glen Mazzara tells us why he’s so excited about season three; plus, all the latest news, revelations and tips for fans of the entire The Walking Dead universe.

The first issue debuted at this year’s New York Comic-Con with a special NYCC variant cover, and an additional nine variant covers are released tomorrow: a newsstand cover featuring “Michonne”; an alternative art cover by The Walking Dead comic artist, Charlie Adlard and colored by The Walking Dead comic colorist Cliff Rathburn; seven retail variant covers with stores Comickaze, Forbidden Planet, Midtown Comics, Redd Skull Comics, Ultimate Comics, Ultimate Treasures and Wade’s Comic Madness, each featuring art by Adlard and Rathburn.

Discussing what fans can expect from the magazine, Robert Kirkman, creator/writer of The Walking Dead, says, "We'll be talking about what's coming up on the TV show, we'll fill you in on what to expect from the comic and you'll hear from all the talented people who work on all the various Walking Dead projects. This magazine is going to rock!"

The magazine will also be available to read on the iPad, Nook and Kindle Fire starting tomorrow, giving Walking Dead fans an exciting alternative to the print edition and a high quality digital reading experience. Just search ‘The Walking Dead Magazine’ on your device’s newsstand or app store.

The magazine is currently offering fans an exclusive FREE The Walking Dead T-Shirt (not available in stores) with new print subscriptions. For more information on this subscription offer and other offers in your territory, visit the magazine website,www.TitanMagazines.com/WalkingDead. Readers can also join the magazine on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/WalkingDeadMag and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/WalkingDeadMagazine to keep up to date with news and special offers and www.Skybound.com, the source for all news on The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman and all Skybound titles.

The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine issue #1 will be available on newsstands and comic book stores in the U.S. on October 23, in the U.K. on November 8 and Australia & New Zealand on December 18. Digital editions will be available globally on the iPad, Nook and Kindle Fire from October 23.

Contact Details Of Stores With Variant Covers:
Comickaze Comics, San Diego, CA -www.comickazeonline.webs.com
Forbidden Planet, London, U.K. - www.forbiddenplanet.com
Midtown Comics, New York, NY - www.midtowncomics.com
Redd Skull Comics, Calgary, Canada - www.reddskull.com
Ultimate Comics, Durham, NC - www.ultimatecomics.com
Ultimate Treasures, 11240 Village Lane Clinton, MI 49236-9595
Wade's Comic Madness, Levittown, PA - www.comicmadness.com

About Robert Kirkman
Robert Kirkman's success and passionate advocacy for creator-owned comics led him to become the first person invited to become a partner at Image Comics since the company's inception twenty years ago. Kirkman is the creator/writer of the Eisner Award-winning The Walking Dead, long-running Invincible, all-agesSuper DinosaurThe Astounding Wolf-Man and Thief of Thieves. In 2010, Kirkman formed his own Image imprint, Skybound, which publishes his own work and Witch Doctor, Guarding the Globe andClone. Kirkman has earned the respect of the comic, writing and television communities and topped the New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels in 2011 and in April 2012, he took the top five spots on both the hardcover and paperback lists. He's the creator/executive producer and writer of the hit Emmy®-winning television show, AMC's The Walking Dead, the highest-rated basic cable drama of all time in the U.S, also an international success in 122 countries and 37 languages. AMC is developing Thief of Thieves as a potential series with Kirkman serving as creator/executive producer and writer. Your destination for all news and merchandise from Robert Kirkman, The Walking Deadand all Skybound titles is www.Skybound.com.

About Image Comics
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit www.imagecomics.com

About The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine
Published by Titan Magazines and Skybound, The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine will be a complete, in-depth guide to The Walking Dead TV series and comics, featuring exclusive interviews with the show cast, as well as comic editors, illustrators and more. The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine is a must-have companion for fans.

Each 100-page edition also includes the latest revelations from The Walking Dead comic team, including interviews with the creators and features showcasing the creative process behind the art. Plus,The Walking Dead creator and writer/executive producer for the show, Robert Kirkman, reveals the latest news from the set and answers fans’ questions.

Issue #1 will be available on newsstands and in specialty comic book stores in the U.S. from October 23, U.K. from November 8 and Australia & New Zealand from December 18.

For more information on The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine visit:

Connect with The Walking Dead, The Official Magazine:

About Titan Magazines
Titan Magazines is the largest and most experienced publisher of licensed entertainment magazines and comics in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand.

Licensing partners include: Aardman - ABC - BBC - Bongo - CBS - DC - Disney - Hasbro - LucasFilm - MGM - NBC - Nickelodeon - Paramount - Twentieth Century Fox - WWE - Mattel

For more information, visit:

About The Walking Dead (TV series)
 “The Walking Dead” is the number one drama series in basic cable history for Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.  Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, “The Walking Dead” tells the story of the months and years that follow after a zombie apocalypse. It follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home. The series, which garnered a 2010 Golden Globe® nomination for Best Television Series – Drama and won the 2011 and 2012 Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Prosthetic Make-Up, stars Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Scott Wilson, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira and David Morrissey.  Season three of "The Walking Dead" is executive produced by showrunner Glen Mazzara, Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert.

For more information, visit:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Uncanny Avengers #1 - Review


Uncanny Avengers #1 - Team Roster: Thor, Havok, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Captain America, and Wolverine.


The first book in the Marvel NOW! line of comics hit store shelves today and picks up where the events of “Avengers Vs. X-Men” left off. Captain America realizes that he’s been ignoring mutant rights and decides to restructure the Avengers to be comprised equally of X-Men. With Cyclops imprisoned for his crimes with the Phoenix Force, Alex Summers AKA Havok is chosen to help lead the new team.

But Summers isn’t ready to take the spotlight. And an old enemy has seen an opportunity in the current state of the world and it’s views on mutants. It’ll take the combined might of Earth’s mightiest heroes and strongest mutants to stop the threat.

Rick Remender and John Cassaday have knocked it out of the park with Uncanny Avengers. Since the release of the blockbuster movie, fans have been waiting for a fresh new take on Marvel’s premier team. This series is setup as being the bridge that needed to be built between the Avengers and the X-Men.

The characters in this first issue all feel genuine. Every character from Wolverine to Captain America feel like they’ve been plucked right from their own series. When the book starts, it seems that it’s going to be X-Men heavy, but ends up balancing the two different sets of characters so that everyone gets equal panel time.

If this is any indication of how Marvel NOW! is going to be, then we’re in for a real treat. It’s really just a change of creative teams and a bit of a shake-up in the Marvel Universe, but it makes a big difference.

Uncanny Avengers #1 is well worth the time for any X-Men or Avengers fan.