Sunday, July 31, 2011

Old City Blues - Review

FROM WEB COMIC TO TOP NOTCH GRAPHIC NOVEL


After the devastating flood of 2016, the Hayashi Corporation helped rebuild Greece and create the city of New Athens for humans and cybernetic lifeforms to live in peace on the ruined planet. SDX Officer Solano is investigating a string of brutal murders of both human and robotic individuals that are somehow tied to the Hayashi Corporation, and when Hayashi himself is killed the case gets even stranger. Solano is given a new partner named Ella Thermidor, who pilots a Mobile Gun -- a cybernetic mini-mech suit that deals with heavy-hitting criminals. Together the two of them will try and find out the mysteries surrounding the Old City, where strange occurrences are becoming more and more frequent, and where Hayashi is keeping a dark secret.

Written and illustrated by Giannis Milonogiannis, Old City Blues is a collection of his wildly popular web comic series of the same name. This volume, published by Archaia, collects all four issues that can be found at www.oldcityblues.com, though I suggest picking up the new hardcover collection because it's wonderful.

The artwork is very stylized and simple, but gives the same black and white futuristic feeling that Akira gave on the printed page. The pacing and panels have lots of movement and action in the sketched lines that kept my eyes gliding across the page. Even the handwritten word balloons were a nice touch, which made it feel more authentic and independent from the big publishers.

Influences on Milonogiannis' are pretty apparent in this volume, as the styles of sci-fi noir classics like Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell bleed into his work. It's not a rip-off by any means, but an homage to the more thought-provoking sci-fi of the past few decades. In a time when most sci-fi genres pieces rely on action to tell the fantastic portion of the story, Milonogiannis uses the characters to explore a world where hardcover books and inked paper are a thing of legends, and robotic individuals are just as respected as human beings.

I picked up this book on a whim and absolutely loved it. I would love to see the continued adventures of Solano and Ella in New Athens, and I'm now interested in other work done by Milonogiannis. This might be one of the best stand-alone graphic novels I've read so far this year. Something pretty spectacular is going to have to step in to top it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jack of Fables: Jack of Hearts - Review

JACK TRICK HITS THE CITY OF SIN


Jack quickly finds himself in new digs and a whole lot of trouble when he marries the daughter of a casino owner in Las Vegas. What starts off as another bawdy romp for Jack turns into another life-threatening Fable adventure as Lady Luck sets her sights on Jack and his newly acquired estate. It's up to Jack to defeat the evil, get the girls, and make off with as much loot as possible.

Bill Willingham's Jack of Fables series is turning out to be one of the best comic book series I've ever read. Just when you think that Jack can't be more of a lovable scum bag he turns and does something else. It's almost worth it just to get to the caption at the end of every issue where Jack gives his thoughts on what's going to happen next.

This story was a great look into the world and concept of luck and how you can make or break it yourself. Of course it helps to have a magical horseshoe that gives you infinite good luck no matter what you do. I've always believed that luck is something you make yourself, but sometimes outside forces tend to change it with the wind. Jack considers himself the luckiest Fable of them all, and to see him take on the Fable known for luck was a treat. There's also a bunch of wonderful slander about Belgians, which reminds me of many Douglas Adams jokes.

These trade paperback collections are wonderful because Vertigo has essentially put all of the story arc into one easy-to-use collection. It's almost like having a Jack of Fables movie from start to finish. The iconic image of Jack on the side of the road with his empty briefcase is one I would have tattooed on my arm in a heartbeat.

If you're a fan of new takes on old and classic characters, Bill Willingham delivers in his Fables and Jack of Fables series.

American Vampire Vol. 1 - Review

SNYDER MAKES VAMPIRES SCARY AGAIN


If there's one genre of science fiction and horror that's been overdone in the past few years it's vampires. Modern pop culture has tried to make them the anti-heroes of young adult fiction and the romantic equivalent of knights to young women. Scott Snyder, who has done an incredible run on Detective Comics, decided that he was sick of the way that vampires were being portrayed in the media and wanted to make them scary again. Ladies and gentlemen, he has done exactly that with the help of Vertigo publishing.

Jumping back and forth between the Old West and 1925, American Vampire Vol. 1 tells the story of Skinner Sweet, a notorious bank robber who crossed the wrong bank and train lines after making a group of powerful vampires angry at their losses. When the authorities can't take him down, one of the vampires decides to take the opportunity and rid himself of Sweet once and for all. He doesn't expect Sweet to survive the attack, and no one expects him to become something that has never been seen before -- an American vampire. What's the difference you ask? For starters, he can walk in the daytime. In fact, he's strong in sunlight. He also can't be killed by any of the traditional methods of vampire slaying. Instead of getting rid of the biggest thorn in their sides, the vampires of old instead put the nails in their coffins.

I picked this hardcover collection up on a whim and ended up being engrossed in it. I had been wanting a writer to make vampires scary and unattractive again and Snyder, along with Stephen King, have done just that. Skinner Sweet is the kind of villain that you love to hate and hate to love. Though he doesn't have very many morals, you can somewhat side with him in his decisions. That is until he opens someone's throat for a snack. Though he does prefer to satisfy his cravings with candy.

The artwork by Rafael Albuquerque is very powerful and stunning. It can easily switch from the 1920's to the 1800's, and the pacing on the panels is top notch. Paired with Snyder and King's writing, the story really makes you feel nervous every time someone's fangs drop.

I would usually say stay away from vampire fiction, but this book has happily made me remember to stay away from vampires in general. It takes it back to what vampires are supposed to be -- bloodthirsty monsters who don't see normal people as anything but food and resources. Like Bram Stoker's Dracula, Snyder and King have made me make sure my windows are locked at night.

Venom #5 - Review

FLASH THOMPSON FIGHTS HIS PAST


Flash Thompson tangles with the Human Fly as Venom, facing the disgusting things he's done to innocent people in the name of "consuming calories." But Flash's real battle lies at home when he finds out that his father, Harrison, is missing and presumably drunk. Flash takes a tough stroll down memory lane, reliving the events that caused him to be a bully and then turn his life around in the military. In this issue it's Flash Thompson against his inner demons instead of the onslaught of external ones in the Marvel Universe.

Written by Rick Remender with art by Tony Moore and Tom Fowler, this issue of Venom continues on the path of setting up Flash Thompson as more than just a symbiote host. Remender is taking the time to build up Flash and Venom as a whole new character with hopes, dreams, and flaws. From the reader responses that I've seen it seems to be working so far. Flash has taken on a whole new role in the Marvel Universe as an anti-hero, and it seems that he's going to play a much bigger role down the line.

The artwork by Moore and Fowler was very different, and I think that I liked Moore's work a bit better, but it was still a solid issue. It almost gave a whole different feel as to how the world of Venom looks and how the world of Flash Thompson looks.

The writing in this issue was really solid. It felt like reading a really well-plotted short story. I'm honestly pretty amazed at how well American comic book writers have been doing lately. I had sworn off American comics due to the bad writing and non-stop plots of superhero books. And although I do get burnt out on the big events and climatic battles, I still do enjoy the personal stories of the characters and how they juggle their lives.

This was a great issue and I have yet to see Remender take this title down the wrong road. Pick it up!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

X-Men #15 - Review

Evolution Takes Its Toll


In Christopher Yost's "First to Last" conclusion the X-Men finally make their move in the past and the present to take on the Evolutionaries and save mankind. While the Evolutionaries want mutantkind to take its rightful place as the dominant species on Earth, Cyclops and the X-Men don't want all of the normal humans to pay the price for it. In a last ditch effort by the Cyclops of the past and the Cyclops of the future, a machine that can separate the cosmic power from the Evolutionaries. But is it really the end of the fight for evolution?

In this latest issue of X-Men we see the big differences between the Magneto of the past and the Magneto of the future. In the past he would have killed off humanity without a second thought, and now, in his more humbled state, he can see the error of his ways. If anything I think that this story arc was a wonderful reminder of how far he's come as a character in recent years.

Aside from that the story was good, but not the best. It was fun to read and the artwork, done by Paco Medina, is very fun and stylish. It has a hint of Jack Kirby influence and a wonderful use of then and now elements. It's worth reading just because it's a fun romp into the world of the X-Men and a great idea for a time travel story where the main characters don't actually do the traveling.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daredevil #1 - Review

Here Comes Daredevil!


Matt Murdock is back in a brand new #1 issue written by comic book scribe Mark Waid and drawn by Paolo Manuel Rivera. In this newly launched title, Murdock is trying to get his life back together after being outed as Daredevil, then concocting a scheme to keep people guessing. It's been a hard few years for the man without fear, but his new attitude is to take it one day at a time and do the best he can. Even if that means dealing with other lawyers using his dual life against him and a highly skilled military team trying to get the jump on him.

Daredevil #1 might be one of the coolest relaunches I've read in quite some time. The Captain America #1 relaunch was incredible, and now Waid's take on the man without fear has me even more excited. The opening sequence where Murdock tries to stop The Spot from using his dimensional portals to kidnap the daughter of a mob boss at a wedding was incredible. Not only was the story top notch, but Rivera's use of paneling made it a whole different kind of beast this past week in comics. The expression of movement and agility were so well conveyed that I nearly thought I was watching a TV show instead of reading a comic book.

The use of Daredevil's radar sense was also an interesting take. It used grids and varying lines for sounds to show how he "sees" the world. There was even a wonderful short story at the end that just showed Murdock and Foggy walking through New York City and experiencing it through the eyes of a radar-sensed blind man.

Daredevil has been a character that I've always liked, but felt that he wasn't really being taken in any good direction. Waid has given Murdock a new outlook on life and it seems to be transferring well to the page. I can't wait to pick up the next issue of this series and I hope that it goes on for at least fifty issues.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

#3 - Captain America: The First Avenger (Podcast)






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Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger - Review

A Wonderful Action and Adventure Film


Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) just can't seem to get the military to take him in as a recruit. He's small, frail, sickly, but refuses to give up. He doesn't think that it's fair that someone should be told they can't help their country, or others, in their time of need. All seems lost. That is until Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) sees him and picks him as his number one cannidate for the super soldier program. With Rogers' transformation underway, a new threat reveals itself to the world -- HYDRA. A super science section of the Nazi movement that has its own plans for world domination, with or without Hitler. But HYDRA didn't count on the star-spangled man stepping into WWII.


Directed by Joe Johnston and released by Marvel Studios, Captain America: The First Avenger might be one of the greatest comic book movies I've ever seen. If not, it's at least one of the best movies I've seen this year. The entire film has a classic Indiana Jones feel, and it's well paced, beautifully shot, and has some great tender and hilarious moments. As an adaptation it's pretty close to the source material, but it wasn't afraid to do its own thing. One of the real shining gems in the movie is Colonel Chester Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones), who got arguably some of the best lines in the film.


One of the very classic Jones style traits that it implements is the cliche-turn. It takes a cliche situation and turns it on its head to both celebrate and poke fun at it, much like Raiders of the Lost Ark did when Dr. Jones shot the guy with the sword after the long fight sequence.

Another wonderful aspect of this movie is that it's taken the idea of the serialized comic book and added the element of "continued in this story!" Marvel Studios has done the right thing by connecting all of their characters and building a larger universe. While you haven't had to have seen any of the Iron Man movies or Thor, it certainly does add another level of depth to it.

And I was proud to say that everyone cheered after the credits when they played the trailer for The Avengers.

If you're looking for a really fun summer movie in the vein of the classic action and adventure films, then Captain America: The First Avenger is right up your alley.

Green Lantern #67 (Conclusion) - Review

The War is Over!


The "War of the Green Lanterns" is over and so is the run of this Green Lantern title. After 67 issues it's been quite a journey. Geoff Johns has really taken Hal, Kyle, Guy, and John to whole new heights, as well as the entire Green Lantern mythology. Luckily he'll be back on the creative team when the new #1 launches in September.

Until then, onto this issue!

Hal Jordan and the others have been freed from the powers of the other rings and have reclaimed their abilities as Green Lanterns. As the entire Corps tries to fend off the possessed Guardians of the Universe, Hal and Sinestro try to take down Krona once and for all. Krona asks Jordan why it is that he fights so hard for a race of beings that don't even care about the others that live in the universe. Jordan replies that he doesn't believe entirely in the Guardians or the decisions that they make, but he does believe in everyone that bears a Green Lantern Power Ring and the ideals of the Corps. This sparks Sinestro's interest and he lunges out to save his old rival. It's at that point that a Green Lantern ring chooses Sinestro as its new bearer. Everyone is in shock, but Jordan and Sinestro know that it's time for action, not debate. With his incredible will power Hal Jordan is able to do something no one is supposed to have the power to do -- kill a Guardian. Krona is finished, but the Guardians don't see Jordan's act as heroic. Instead they label him a traitor and strip him of his ring, sending him back to Earth without being able to defend himself in front of them. Sinestro is left with is Green Lantern Ring, unsure of what the future holds for him.

Wow. That's all I have to say. Johns is the king of making me think that one thing is going to happen in Green Lantern and then giving me a whole new direction. Many people were upset that Sinestro got a Green Lantern Ring, or were confused by it, but it makes perfect sense to me. He's never been against the ideals of the Green Lantern Corps, only the Guardians. Sinestro believes in the Corps and seeing Jordan put his life on the line for those ideals sparked the flame that had once made Sinestro the greatest Lantern of them all. I'm excited beyond belief to see where the series goes with the new #1.

The writing from Geoff Johns, as always, was wonderful to read. The artwork by Doug Mahnke was iconic and well paced, and I think it was a fitting end to the years that this series has been on shelves. With this same creative team coming back in September, I feel as if I can overcome any fears of the new Green Lantern series not being up to par.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Love is Real - Review

A Very Bold Take on Science Fiction and Comics


It's been five years since the AIDS vaccine was released and riot cop Jok finds himself in the middle of another vegiesexual riot. He can't stand people who have sex with plants, and the mineralsexuals and people who have sex with robots make him even more angry. Jok is proud to be a zoosexual, which is the norm by that day's standards. He has a romantic relationship with a dog, as do most of the other members of the police force. But when he meets a mineralsexual named Brin, Jok starts to lose interest in the ideas of the masses. In a future where no one can agree over who has real and honest love with their companions, Jok can't even decide if he fits into the new world on any level.

Written by Sam Humphries and drawn by Steven Sanders, Our Love is Real is an independently produced and created one-shot comic that was released in limited stores and digitally through Comixology. I had heard about the comic through a podcast from iFanboy, where Humphries was interviewed about his process in self-publishing a very risky science fiction story as a one-shot comic book.

The story, though it is a bit of a strange ground to tread on, has that very classic science fiction element of a man against the norm. In this world it's not strange to have sex with things that aren't human. In fact, it's the social standard to be one of these strange orientations. When Jok starts falling for a human, he feels as if he's done something wrong, as if he's betrayed society. It's this kind of story telling that reminds me of the classic science fiction stories and pulps I read as a kid.


The layout of this comic is also a bold move. Instead of being the standard dimensions, Humphries and Sanders went with a square page, 8"x8", giving it an even more unique feel. Add in the artwork done by Sanders, which is a stunning black and white presentation with incredibly detail and style, and you've got one powerful piece of literature.

I can see off the bat why many people would completely dismiss this book right from the get go, but I encourage you to give it a chance. It was a bold move to put out this book, and it has nothing to do with the writer's sexual orientation (he assured us on iFanboy). What it is doing is showing that people are still willing to write science fiction that does what it was intended to do -- speculate. In fact, most science fiction should rightfully be called speculative fiction for the sole reason that it's speculating as to where society or technology might eventually bring us.

This little limited released comic book is wonderful for a number of reasons, the first being that Humphries went out, published it himself, and then distributed it through phone calls and Comixology. Though I will note that I haven't checked if it's at Graphicly yet, which is the other big digital comics retailer. The second reason that it's important is that it brings us back to the fact that comics can tell any kind of story in any kind of genre with just as much literary power as any other medium. And finally it's important because it teaches the age old lesson that sometimes the social norm isn't the right thing, and that in order to find real love and true happiness you have to go against what society says.

You can order the book at www.ourloveisrealcomic.com or you can find it on Comixology for sale.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Starborn #8 - Review

Starborn and Soldier Zero Team-Up!


While Ben Warner battles a large group of The Pride in the stars, Soldier Zero tries to fend off a scouting party on Earth. Ben tries to convince Talon that the humans of his civilization weren't as noble as they had seemed, and that he has proof that the humans were enslaving other alien races. He'd love to explain this to the members of the alien councils, but they won't let Ben get within ten feet of them without trying to tear his head off. It's not easy being the heir to an empire that did horrible things, but hopefully Ben can change all that. In the meantime, can Soldier Zero hold his own against an enemy he's never encountered before?

Written by Chris Roberson and Stan Lee, with artwork by Khary Randolph, this issue of Starborn was EXACTLY what I had been yearning for -- a Soldier Zero crossover! Soldier Zero is a great concept, but I feel like putting him in a larger scope has better chance of having him grow on fans and as a character. I sincerely hope that Stewart and Ben end up teaming up in the same panels, and that they start working towards a similar goal.

The artwork by Randolph in this issue is beautiful as always. He really lends his heavy and interesting line style to the world of Starborn and it shows with every issue. Roberson's writing makes this title feel like it's existed for years, giving it a strong backstory and mythos to build upon. Stan Lee may be an old fellow, but he's still got plenty of wonderful characters left in him.

This issue as a whole was very good, and is the reason why I think that Starborn is the best of the Stan Lee signature titles. Maybe we can see these two characters team up with The Traveler sometime in the near future?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Power Lunch: First Course - Sneak Peek!

First Look at J. Torres and Dean Trippe's New Book!


Joey is the new kid in school and is spending his first day eating alone at the lunch table until Jerome, his soon to be best friend, decides to take a seat next to him. Jerome notices that Joey’s lunch is a little strange, and that everything that Joey eats is white. After an encounter with a strong-armed bully at school, Joey confesses to Jerome that he only eats white foods because other colored foods do something strange to him. It’s not everyday a kid can chew a piece of bubblegum and leap fifty feet into the air, and it certainly isn’t normal. Joey’s ability to gain superpowers based on the types of food that he eats is a wondrous thing in Jerome’s eyes, but Joey knows from experience that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Can Joey find a way to balance his powers and his diet? Or will he end up exposing himself and having to move again, starting all over at square one? This new title from Oni Press dares to ask those questions.

Written by J. Torres and illustrated by Dean Trippe, Power Lunch: First Course is a story that delves into the younger age realm of comics without lowering the integrity of the material. It’s very much styled and penned for kids, but I found it to be just as entertaining as an adult. In fact, I almost wish I had kids in order to read it to them. Though it’s just one of the first stories, the plot sets it up for lots of question as to the morals of having superpowers whenever you need them and if it’s ethical to use them to get ahead in life. Joey’s attitude so far is that he only uses them when it’s needed and to help someone else, but the idea of him being caught up in the social circles of school is full of possibilities to question that mindset.

The writing is tight, lean, and very easy to follow. At no point did I have to go back and re-read anything that Torres and Trippe had put on the page. The artwork is just the same way in the sense that it’s very clean and concise, and though it’s a modern style it still holds that retro feeling from books of the fifties and sixties. Much like Darwyn Cooke, Trippe’s style makes the reader nostalgic for the simpler times of comics.

Overall this is a great launching story, and I can’t wait to see where Torres and Trippe take the character next. It could really be a great starting point for many young comic book readers and a great bridge for adults to share with their children. In a medium that’s often oversaturated with violence, it’s nice to see a team that just wants to tell a great story for all ages, especially one that can offer a look into the comic book medium for those that haven’t reached their teenage years yet. I highly recommend this book when it’s released. In fact, I plan on buying a copy for my little cousins once it’s printed. I hope you all do the same.

Here's a link where you can pre-order the book through amazon:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises - Poster

The Dark Knight Rises


It's coming . . . !

The Unwritten #27 - Review

The Tinker Strikes!


Tom Taylor has gotten his hands on his father's old journals, which give him some insight as to who he really is and where his magical and literary powers come from. A character called The Tinker keeps popping up in the entries, and when Tom goes to a museum to look over relics of Golden Age comic books he finds that The Tinker was a superhero that predated Superman. Not only does this obscure crime-fighter have a connection to Tom's father, but the main character of the comic book has many similarities to Tom himself.

Written by Mike Carey and drawn by Peter Gross, this issue of The Unwritten was just as much of a delight as any of the other issues. I still just can't say enough good things about this comic book series. This issue had a great mix of flashbacks and forward storytelling that make me wish it were a TV series on AMC or HBO. Of course it's just perfect as a comic book, too.

A great aspect of this issue was its focus on the villain, Pullman, who shows just how far he's willing to be pushed around by the Cabal that he's a part of. He may seem like just the muscle in their arsenal, but he's existed long enough to have a strong head on his shoulders. He's someone I definitely wouldn't want to run into in real life or a fictional story.

The pacing is right on the spot for his issue. The artwork is still very striking and bright, and the overall arc of the story is moving forward while not showing all of its cards. Carey and Gross are crafting a series that I hope gets more attention, because it's one of my favorite titles from Vertigo right now.

Captain America #1 - Review

Man Out of Time


Steve Rogers was transformed into the United State's greatest super soldier in WWII, turning him into the beloved Captain America. But as a man who has spent most of the 20th century frozen, he finds himself forgetting that he should be an old man by now. He attends the funeral of Margaret Carter, his love from WWII. But the funeral is cut short when Rogers, Nick Fury, and Dum Dum Dugan are targeted by a sniper. Their search for the shooter takes them on a horrifying trip down memory lane and right into the clutches of a group of special forces HYDRA members. But who is really pulling the strings behind the reappearance of a soured ally from the past?

Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Steve McNiven, this brand new first issue of Captain America was a real treat. I admit, I have never read a Captain America comic book before. It just wasn't a character that had intrigued me. I had always been the cynical little jerk who thought that any superhero named after our country had to be a reflection of how this country actually is. The wonderful thing that I've discovered about Rogers as I've researched him is that he stands for what HE believes America should stand for. A man who thinks that we can get back to our golden age (comic book pun intended). That sort of drive, with one man against the world, is the exact sort of stories that I like.

The writing is very fluid and spot on. I was engrossed in the issue the entire time I read it. The pacing was pretty straightforward, and you kind of saw everything coming out of your peripheral vision on the page. But it's an action title. I'm expecting things to go "boom" every so often. And speaking of things exploding, the artwork is definitely worth a mention. McNiven's work is incredible. The first thing I thought when I was reading this was, "man, this is some great artwork." And I felt that way right up until the end of the issue.

Overall, Captain America #1 is an incredible issue. I believe I'm going to be following this series from now on, and picking up issues when I can. Brubaker and McNiven should be pleased with their work, not to mention Marvel should be nodding their heads knowing that they made the right decision with this title.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #539 - Review

Hope For The Future


Hope Summers goes out on the town in San Francisco in an attempt to stop working 24-7 on combat training in Utopia. Things get complicated when she's snatched from a store front by a special forces team. Wolverine, who has spent most of his time ignoring and keeping his distance from Hope, volunteers to go and rescue her. Hope's captor, the Crimson Commando, has no intention of killing Hope, but doesn't mind making her a little less pretty in order to get what he wants. Wolverine, however, doesn't plan on letting that happen.

Written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Ibraim Roberson, Uncanny X-Men #539 explores the relationship between Wolverine and Hope, whom he's worried he's going to have to kill someday. There is a fair bit of action in this issue, but the story focuses more on how Wolverine is tired of having to take out friends who become too dangerous. An admission of something as powerful as this to Hope Summers is a big step for Wolverine, and he prays that he'll never have to do so. But if Hope's powers do get out of hand, she asks him personally to make sure that he's willing to carry it out.

The writing in this issue was just plain fun. The artwork was a wonderful realistic yet comic book take on the characters, and I did read the entire issue in one fell swoop. The mixture of Gillen's writing and Roberson's artwork was a great match-up, and I hope that Roberson draws the next issue of Uncanny X-Men as well. My only complaint might be that the threat is taken care of in a quick move by Wolverine, but since the story was centered around character development and not things going "boom," it's easily forgiven. It's a great issue and I'm sure X-Men fans will love it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #11 - Review

Gardner Vs. Diplomats!


Guy Gardner has finally earned some R&R after the horrifying "War of the Green Lanterns," but soon finds himself getting into the thick of it when a diplomat is attacked by a fleet of starships. Gardner reluctantly agrees to pursue the ship and save the diplomat, and discovers a lovely woman sent the distress call. He lets his guard down, staying to escort the ship, but as for everything with Gardner, things turn for the worse.

Written by Peter J. Tomasi and drawn by Bernard Chang, this issue of Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors follows the honor guard Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, taking on one of his many famous types of stories -- space missions. It's single focused issues like this that make me love Gardner as both a Green Lantern and a comic book character in general. He has a very big heart, but loves to do things his way or throw a punch to prove the other guy is wrong. He's the kind of guy you want backing you in a fight, but the last guy you want to make angry.

This issue had a pretty classic and pulp science fiction element to it, but it's those kinds of stories that can be turned on their heads for the better in any Green Lantern series. I also love, and this is a bit of spoilers for anyone reading, when Lanterns have to fight without their rings. It really proves that it's the man that makes the ring and not vice versa.

Tomasi's writing is top-notch as always. I've loved his work on Green Lantern Corps and on this title. If there's one man who can capture Gardner in all of his glory, it's Tomasi. Bernard Chang's art lends well to the style of the book and the way that Gardner fights, so it was as an excellent match up for this issue. I'm not sure if they're going to continue this one, but I really hope that Guy Gardner continues to have his own book for a while, even if it's just as the lead role in another Corps series.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Batman & Robin #25 - Review

Todd Paints Gotham Red


Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne) have teamed up with the Red Hood (Jason Todd) in order to retrieve the kidnapped Scarlet, whom the Red Hood took on as a protege after Pyg had murdered her father. The group faces off against Scarlet's captor and a gang of very fast and efficient hired ninjas, but in the end it comes down to the Dynamic Duo going tit for tat with the Red Hood. The fact that all three of them have been Robin at some point makes their backgrounds and training completely identical, but it's two against one.

Written by Judd Winick and drawn by Andy Smith and Greg Tocchini, Batman and Robin #25 concludes the "Boys Night Out" story line of Jason Todd escaping from prison with the help of someone who wants to hire him. Watching him go toe-to-toe with the Bat Family is always a delight, but it's even better when he's up against people who had also shared the Robin title throughout the years. His knowledge of how Grayson and Wayne will think and act puts him one step ahead in planning his next move, and Todd is always one to have three or four back up plans just in case.

There were a few panels that didn't make much sense to me in this issue, especially a costume change halfway through. Despite that problem it was still fun to see the Red Hood in action, and I can't wait until he gets his own series after the DC reboot. Todd has become one of my favorite DC anti-heroes, and I hope that he sticks around in their universe for a long time.

The Walking Dead: Season One - Review

Kirkman's Epic Devours The Small Screen


Police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a coma after being shot in the line of duty. Instead of finding his family waiting for him, he finds the city deserted and ominous warnings about "the dead" written on walls, sometimes scribbled in blood. What he finds instead of his family and friends is a legion of the dead, walking and feasting on anything that's alive. Aided by a surviving father and his son, Rick sets out in a land populated with monsters to find his family, whom he knows in his heart are still alive.


Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman and produced by AMC, The Walking Dead has become a television phenomenon. I actually feel a little guilty that I haven't gotten around to reviewing or even finishing the first season until now. It's slated for a second season starting on October 31st, the anniversary of its original premier. Since it's creation it has taken the ratings by storm and gained a large loyal following on AMC.

The great thing about this zombie TV show is that it isn't really about zombies -- it's about the people who are now forced to actually live their lives in the wake of the dead. The most dangerous things that Rick, his family, and the other survivors have to deal with are people they encounter and themselves. When you can't trust yourself to walk alone in the world for fear of being eaten alive by the undead, it's also hard to trust any living person you might encounter, filled with the same fear and need to survive.


The writing on the show is fantastic. Every episode has a layer of tension so thick that you could sink your teeth into it. Not just the tense scenes with the zombies, but the sequences with human interaction as well. It's no surprise that a genre show that uses its fantastical premise to show the real life effects on individuals would do extremely well. It's that kind of connection to the characters that makes viewers scream at the TV to run, help the others, or stay and fight.

If you've missed this show and you're a big fan of the zombie genre of science fiction and horror, this is the series you've been waiting for. It takes on the premise of zombies taking over the world in a view from the survival standpoint of individuals as a drama instead of trying to make it an action or gore festival. Go out and watch it, you won't be disappointed. Also check out the books that the show is based on. The comics tell the story in a different medium, but also has different fates for different characters. It's definitely worth seeing from both sides.

Detective Comics #878 - Review

Batman takes on Tiger Shark!


This issue of Detective Comics finishes off the "Hungry City" story arc and pits Batman (Dick Grayson) against the infamous Tiger Shark -- a pirate of international waters who has an affinity for rare items and endangered animal skins. While Batman fights against this new and merciless enemy, another dark force waits for him in the shadows. James Gordon is back in town, and what he's been up to may shock and disturb you.

Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Jock, Detective Comics #878 was a well-rounded end to the "Hungry City" story. For my money it was the story about James Gordon that was the real page-turner. Since his re-introduction he has made my skin crawl, and Snyder's writing has had readers guessing whether or not he's as legit as his father, Commissioner Gordon, would like to believe. The last page of this issue had my mouth hanging open, which, considering the final image, is kind of funny in a twisted way.

The writing in this title since Snyder has taken over has been some of my favorite in comics right now. Jock's artwork lends well to Snyder's style of Batman storytelling, and I'm sad to hear that the two of them will no longer be working on this title after the DC reboot in September. I am interested in seeing where they take Grayson as Batman before that big change, because it seems as if he'll be returning to the role of Nightwing.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #10 - Review

War of the Green Lanterns -- Part Nine!


Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner are faced with being forcefully turned into the new Guardians of the Universe when Krona wraps them up for a metamorphoses to change their DNA and body structure. Meanwhile, Kyle and John try to reignite Mogo's core and save the planetary Green Lantern from death. Ganthet reveals to the four Earth Lanterns that the only way to break into the central power battery is to wield all of the different colored rings and control the entire emotional spectrum. When the others are pulled into battle with all 7,200 possessed members of the Green Lantern Corps., it's up to Guy Gardner to harness the rings on either end of the emotional spectrum -- Rage and Love.

Written by Peter Tomasi, drawn by Fernando Pasarin, and published by DC Comics, this installment of Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors is drawing toward the conclusion of the "War of the Green Lanterns" story arc. When this arc finishes, DC will be launching its new #1 issues of Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: The New Guardians, and Red Lantern Corps. I'm not sure if Emerald Warriors is going to continue, but I do love having a book just staring Guy Gardner. Unlike most of the DC titles, these characters will not be starting over and will continue their story. I'm actually quite relieved about this as I've become very fond of Geoff Johns' take on the characters and story.

Tomasi is another one of my favorite Green Lantern scribes, and I'm glad to hear that he'll be working on the titles after the reboot. This issue was well written, well paced, and gives us Guy Gardner as a growing character in the DC Universe. The fact that it's all up to him in order to preserve the Corps. he's worked so hard to rebuild is fitting, and although Hal Jordan is still the head honcho, it's good to know that the other three Earth Lanterns can still pull their weight.

I'm very eager to read all of the new GL #1's as they get released. You can expect them to be reviewed the same day they're released.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted (Motion Comic) - Review

They Call it a "Cure" . . .


The X-Men are restructuring and trying to change their public image after having defeated the Legacy virus, which threatened to destroy Mutantkind. Cyclops has started a relationship with telepath Emma Frost, Wolverine is against shooting for a "superhero" publicity stunt, and Kitty Pryde is struggling with being back on the team. All the while a stranger from Breakworld has arrived with technology that can cure human beings of mutation, causing riots and panicking amongst humans and mutants alike.

Based on the Astonishing X-Men run and written again as a motion comic by Joss Whedon, this motion comic animates the story arc of "Gifted" and enters the fray of digitizing and bringing comics to life on screen in the most literal of translations. I had seen the first episode a long while back, and after seeing the Invincible motion comic and falling in love with it, I decided to give this one another shot.

There are times when I enjoy motion comics and other times that I don't. While the writing was pretty solid in this short series (6 episodes), the animation was sometimes strange and forced. Other times they just used a panel from the book and didn't animate it at all. The moving mouths and walking are what really made me feel strange. Everyone looks like a rag doll or a ventriloquist dummy. Though I do admit that it kept my attention the entire time and that I watched it straight through.

Most people are against motion comics, but I think it might just be different styles that people enjoy. While this X-Men series wasn't the best I've seen, it wasn't the worst either. The voice acting was very good, and I felt like it would have done well fully animated if given the shot. I still enjoyed Kirkman's motion comic a bit better, only because it didn't try to make the characters move. I think that many of the motion comics do this and people expect the animation to be top notch. At least, that's what I've seen in some iTunes reviews.

I'm going to be giving all of Marvel's motion comics a shot, but as for this one I'd give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5. I'm going to just start rating this like this in order to give people a good indicator of how I feel about it. It's worth watching if you're a big X-Men fan, but worth skipping if you're looking for better animation.

Venom #4 - Review

Flash and Peter Go Head-To-Head


Betty Brant is strapped to a bomb across town, and only Venom or Spider-Man can save her. The only problem is that Flash Thompson has lost his ability to control the symbiote, and when it sees Peter Parker again it can't help but attack him. While the two brawl it out in storefronts of Manhattan, Flash fights to convince Venom that he needs Betty just as bad as Venom needs a host.

Written by Rick Remender, drawn by Tony Moore, and published by Marvel, this issue of Venom was pure fanboy delight as Venom and Spider-Man tear into each other in New York City. The fact that the actual host of Venom this time around sees Spider-Man as his lifetime hero makes it all the more intriguing as he fights to stop his super-powered symbiote from stopping Spider-Man from saving his girlfriend.

The writing in this issue was top notch and made me feel like a kid again. Spider-Man and Venom were two of my favorite characters growing up and seeing them brawl it out like they did in the old days was a trip down a very violent and action-packed memory lane. Though I have to admit my favorite scene in this issue is when Flash is at home with Betty and Peter, not knowing that he was battling Peter only a few hours earlier. The two of them try and come up with a reason why Venom would have returned and why he would have told Peter where to find Betty, but Peter is still weary that Venom is up to no good.

This is shaping up to be one of my favorite Marvel titles, and I hope it continues going for a long time. The fact that both Thompson and the symbiote are useless without each other on the battlefield could make for some interesting character development of Venom as the actual parasite.