Monday, August 31, 2015

Yukarism: Who Were They?

I read Yukarism, Vol. 3

I posted a review at the ComicBookBin.  Follow me on Twitter or at Grumble.  Support me on Patreon.





Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review: EARTH 2: Society #1

EARTH 2: SOCIETY #1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

[This review was first published on Patreon.]

WRITER: Daniel H. Wilson
ART: Jorge Jimenez
COLORS: John Rauch
LETTERS: Travis Lanham
COVER: Jorge Jimenez with John Rauch
VARIANT COVERS: Paulo Siquera and Cam Smith with Hi-Fi
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2015)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

“Planetfall”

Earth-Two began as a parallel universe to the mainstream DC Comics continuity.  Earth-Two first appeared in The Flash #123 (cover date: September 1961).  DC established Earth-Two during the 1960s as a way to explain how DC characters who had adventures in the 1940s could still be in their 30s in contemporary comics, with contemporary then being the 1960s.  Why was Batman still a young man in the 1960s when he had adventures in the 1940s?  Well, the Batman of the 1940s lived on Earth-Two.  The Batman of the 1960s lived on Earth-One, the modern or mainstream DC Universe.

Over the decades, the idea of Earth-Two changed.  Now, Earth-2 is about the world where the survivors of a war rebuild with the help of younger superheroes.  That is the setting of the new “DCYou” series, Earth 2: Society.  The series is written by Daniel H. Wilson (Earth 2: World's End), drawn by Jorge Jimenez (Earth 2: World's End, Arrow), colored by John Rauch, and lettered by Travis Lanham.

Earth 2: Society #1 (“Planetfall”) opens in New Gotham, the first city of Earth-2.  Batman is on the trail of Terry Sloan, a man of secrets pursued by many.  But it is an anxious time for the survivors of Earth-2’s war with Apokolips, who find themselves on a new world.  What are the intentions of Green Lantern, who seems different?  A flashback to “planetfall” may answer questions or simply raise more.

OK, my plan was to review all the new “DCYou” titles, but Earth-2: Society is the kind of comic book that makes me reconsider that.  Issue #1 is not bad, or particularly good, for that matter.  Perhaps, the point of the new “DCYou” is that not every book is created with “you” or me in mind.  That Earth-2: Society is not made for me is (if you will) no skin off my nose.

C

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: LANDO #1

LANDO #1
MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Charles Soule
ART: Alex Maleev
COLORS: Paul Mounts
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Alex Maleev with Edgard Delgado
VARIANT COVERS: Alex Ross; John Tyler; Skottie Young
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (September 2015)

Rated T

“Part 1”

Lando Calrissian was the first Star Wars character portrayed onscreen by a Black man, Oscar-nominated actor, Billy Dee Williams.  [Of course, James Earl Jones first provided the voice of Darth Vader, while another actor wore the costume.]  Lando made his debut in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), the first sequel to Star Wars (1977).

Lando Calrissian gets his first solo comic book series with the recently launched title, Lando.  The comic book miniseries is written by Charles Soule, drawn by Alex Maleev, colored by Paul Mounts, and lettered by Joe Caramagna.

Lando #1 (“Part 1”) opens sometime after the events depicted in the original Star Wars film.  The story begins on the Imperial colony world, Castell, shortly after Lando has bedded Ssaria, an Imperial Moff.  Lando needs something from her to pay a debt to “Papa Toren,” some kind of crime boss, but things don't quite work out for Lando.  Lando convinces his partner, Lobot, to join him on another gambit.  He recruits the twin weirdos, Aleskin and Pavol, and Sava Korin Pers to steal something – something of which none of them understands the true value.

Not long after the release of The Empire Strikes Back, a trio of novels featuring Lando Calrissian were published [Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu; Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon; and Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka, all written by L. Neil Smith].  So it is strange that in the character's previous 34 years of existence no one thought to create even a Lando solo comic book miniseries, especially considering the almost uncountable number of Star Wars comic books that Dark Horse Comics published over a period of just over two decades.  Well, half a year before the release of the seventh Star Wars film (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Marvel Comics is smart enough to give us a Lando comic book series, and it is quite good.

In terms of design and graphic style, Lando the comic book looks like The Empire Strikes Back.  In fact, in composition and rendering and in character design, Alex Maleev's work on Lando recalls the work of legendary comic book artist, Al Williamson.  It was Williamson who drew Marvel Comics' six-issue adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, which was published in issues #39 to 44 (cover dated: September 1980 to February 1981) of Marvel's original Star Wars comic book series.  Even colorist Paul Mounts seems to have The Empire Strikes Back's color palette in mind as he colored Maleev's original art for Lando.

As for Charles Soule's story, this heist tale has potential.  It looks like a tale that could be filled with backstabbing and life-threatening situation.

However, Marvel Comics (like DC Comics) has been making a big deal about its recent moves towards diversity.  Apparently, diversity to Marvel means a few more comic books with “characters of color,” but not more Black creators producing those comic books, especially when it comes to writers.  It would have been nice if Marvel Comics had given an African-American writer a shot at writing a Lando Calrissian comic book.  It certainly would be something different, and perhaps more interesting.  What would be even more special and surprising would be if Marvel Comics knew more than two Black comic book writers to whom they could offer assignments or writing gigs.

Anyway, I'll give Lando a high grade for its lovely art.

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Comics Review: BLUBBER #1

BLUBBER #1
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS – @fantagraphics

[This review first appeared on Patreon.]

CARTOONIST: Gilbert Hernandez
EDITOR: Eric Reynolds
COVER: Gilbert Hernandez with Paul Baresh
24pp, B&W, $3.99 U.S.

Gilbert Hernandez is the cartoonist, comic book creator, and graphic novelist best known for being one-half of the duo known as “Los Bros.” along with his brother, Jaime Hernandez.  Together, the two Eisner Award (Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards) winners have produced the seminal, alternative comic book series, Love and Rockets, for more than 30 years.  As a “solo act,” Gilbert (a.k.a. “Beto”) has also produced numerous original graphic novels and several comic book miniseries for publishers Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, and Drawn & Quarterly, as well as for his original publisher Fantagraphics Books.

Fantagraphics recently published Blubber #1, what will hopefully be the start of a new series from Gilbert.  This black and white comic books contains a series of short stories and vignettes featuring a cast of misfits, monsters, and anthropomorphs.  These types of surreal and strange characters and stories have been a hallmark of Gibert's comix going back to the beginning of his public work.

In “Eyes of the Mau Guag,” readers get a look at a docile, dog-like creature whose like is marked by masturbation and victimization.  Penetration and eye-ball trauma mark the existence of the furry-type “Doogs.”  Also, see a different kind of hangover in “Las Vegas Lace.”

On first glance, Blubber #1 looks ridiculous.  It is like flipping through a self-published vanity comic book full of weirdness.  Reading it, however, gives a far different impression and experience.  Not far into reading it for the first time, I found myself fascinated.  I had to re-read some segments of this comic book because I could not get enough of it.  Even 26 pages of what could be described as Beto's kooky version of the “Wild Kingdom” was not enough for me.

Blubber #1 recalls the ethereal and beautiful explorations contained in Moebius' Une jeunesse heureuse (released as a small leather-bound notebook).  It also has a passing resemblance to the surreal pantomime comix of Jason (who is also published by Fantagraphics in America).  The phallus... ahem... comes in many shapes and sizes, generally as a saggy meat hose or as a gradually swelling tuber.  It's penetrative explorations can be creative or pleasurable, but are consistently dangerous slash destructive.  I'll say no more because you, dear reader, should pay to discover this comic book's wonders.

I hope that more of Beto's id explodes onto enough pages for there to be a second issue of Blubber.  This crazy little comic book proves once again that not only is Gilbert Hernandez the best American comic book writer of the last four decades; he is also one of its essential visionaries.

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 26, 2015

DC COMICS

JUN150176     AQUAMAN #43     $3.99
JUN150241     BATGIRL #43     $2.99
JUN150249     BATMAN 66 #26     $2.99
JUN150247     BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT GENESIS #1     $2.99
JUN150182     CYBORG #2     $2.99
JUN150204     DEATHSTROKE #9     $2.99
MAY150262     EFFIGY TP VOL 01 IDLE WORSHIP (MR)     $14.99
JUN150188     FLASH #43     $3.99
MAY150246     GI ZOMBIE A STAR SPANGLED WAR STORY TP     $16.99
JUN150253     GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT #8     $2.99
JUN150255     GRAYSON #11     $3.99
JUN150257     HARLEY QUINN #19     $3.99
JUN150273     HE MAN THE ETERNITY WAR #9     $2.99
JUN150203     JLA GODS AND MONSTERS #3     $3.99
JUN150196     JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 #3     $2.99
MAY150242     JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK TP VOL 06 LOST IN FOREVER     $16.99
JUN150169     JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #3     $3.99
JUN150215     PREZ #3     $2.99
APR150324     SCALPED HC BOOK 02 DELUXE EDITION (MR)     $29.99
JUN150270     SINESTRO #14     $2.99
JUN150234     SUPERMAN #43     $3.99
DEC140428     SUPERMAN BATMAN MICHAEL TURNER GALLERY ED HC     $125.00
JUN150221     TEEN TITANS #11     $2.99
JUN150264     WE ARE ROBIN #3     $3.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES
FEB150308     BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE DARWYN COOKE 2ND ED     $89.95

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 26, 2015

MARVEL COMICS

JUN150825     AMAZING SPIDER-MAN TP VOL 04 GRAVEYARD SHIFT     $15.99
JUN150686     ANT-MAN LAST DAYS #1 SWA     $3.99
JUN150773     CAPTAIN MARVEL AND CAROL CORPS #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150733     CIVIL WAR #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150787     DEADPOOLS SECRET SECRET WARS #4 SWA     $3.99
JUN150763     E IS FOR EXTINCTION #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150731     HANK JOHNSON AGENT OF HYDRA #1 SWA     $3.99
JUN150836     INHUMANS BY PAUL JENKINS AND JAE LEE TP NEW PTG     $34.99
JUN150830     IRON FIST LIVING WEAPON TP VOL 02 REDEMPTION     $17.99
JUN150694     MAGNETO #21 SWA     $3.99
JUN150839     MARVEL UNIVERSE ALL NEW AVENGERS ASSEMBLE DIGEST TP VOL 02     $9.99
JUN150805     MARVEL UNIVERSE ULT SPIDER-MAN WEB WARRIORS #10     $2.99
JUN150710     MARVEL ZOMBIES #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150777     MODOK ASSASSIN #4 SWA     $3.99
JUN150835     NEXTWAVE AGENTS OF HATE COMPLETE COLLECTION TP NEW PTG     $34.99
JUN150771     OLD MAN LOGAN #4 SWA     $3.99
MAY150827     RETURN OF LIVING DEADPOOL TP     $16.99
JUN150809     SHIELD #9     $5.99
JUN150693     SPIDER-WOMAN #10 SWA     $3.99
JUN150789     STAR WARS LANDO #3     $3.99
JUN150821     STAR WARS LEGENDS EPIC COLLECTION RISE OF SITH TP VOL 01     $34.99
JUN150824     UNCANNY AVENGERS TP VOL 01 COUNTER EVOLUTIONARY     $17.99
JUN150778     WHERE MONSTERS DWELL #4 SWA     $3.99
JUN150828     WOLVERINES TP VOL 04 DESTINY     $15.99
JUN150761     X-MEN 92 #3 SWA     $4.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for August 26, 2015

IDW PUBLISHING

JUN150439     ANGRY BIRDS COMICS HC VOL 03 SKY HIGH     $12.99
JUN150446     BEN 10 CLASSICS TP VOL 05 POWERLESS     $17.99
MAY150348     DIRK GENTLYS HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY #3     $3.99
JUN150363     DRIVE #1     $3.99
JUN150431     GHOSTBUSTERS GET REAL #3     $3.99
JUN150375     GODZILLA IN HELL #2     $3.99
MAY150423     JOE FRANKENSTEIN HC     $24.99
APR152727     MACHI KORO MILLIONAIRES ROW EXP     $19.99
JUN150391     MAXX MAXXIMIZED #22     $3.99
JUN150470     MICKEY MOUSE #3     $3.99
APR150370     MY LITTLE PONY PAGEANTS & PONIES TP     $7.99
JUN150395     RAGNAROK #6     $3.99
JUN150383     SHERLOCK HOLMES 7 PER-CENT SOLUTION #1     $3.99
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JUN150437     SKYLANDERS #12     $3.99
JUN150368     TMNT CASEY & APRIL #3     $3.99
JUN150420     TRANSFORMERS ROBOTS IN DISGUISE ANIMATED #2     $3.99
JUN150467     WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES #722     $3.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 26, 2015

DARK HORSE COMICS

JUN150056     CONAN THE AVENGER #17     $3.50
JUN150013     FIGHT CLUB 2 #4 MAIN MACK CVR     $3.99
JUN150054     HALO ESCALATION #21     $3.99
JUN150079     HELLBOY IN HELL #7     $2.99
APR150076     KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE OMNIBUS ED TP BOOK 01     $19.99
JUN150023     MULAN REVELATIONS #3     $3.99
JUN150015     NEW MGMT #1 MAIN KINDT CVR     $3.99
JUN150021     PASTAWAYS #6     $3.99
APR150057     SUNDOWNERS TP VOL 02     $14.99
JUN150022     TOMORROWS #2     $3.99
APR150043     USAGI YOJIMBO SAGA LTD ED HC VOL 04     $79.99
APR150042     USAGI YOJIMBO SAGA TP VOL 04     $24.99
JUN150045     ZODIAC STARFORCE #1     $3.99

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 26, 2015

IMAGE COMICS

JUN150497     COVENANT #3 CVR A LIEFELD (MR)     $2.99
JUN150498     COVENANT #3 CVR B HORAK (MR)     $2.99
APR150574     COWL TP VOL 02 THE GREATER GOOD (MR)     $14.99
APR150531     EAST OF WEST #20     $3.50
FEB150521     FIVE GHOSTS TP VOL 03 MONSTERS & MEN     $14.99
JUN150564     IMAGE GIANT SIZED ARTISTS PROOF ED WALKING DEAD #1 (MR)     $19.99
JUN150545     INVISIBLE REPUBLIC TP VOL 01     $9.99
APR150521     IXTH GENERATION TP VOL 01     $14.99
JUN150569     LOW #9 (MR)     $3.50
JUN150573     RASPUTIN #8 (MR)     $3.50
JUN150574     ROCHE LIMIT CLANDESTINY #4     $3.50
JUN150576     RUMBLE #6 CVR A HARREN (MR)     $3.50
JUN150577     RUMBLE #6 CVR B BERMEJO (MR)     $3.50
JUN150554     RUNLOVEKILL TP VOL 01 (MR)     $9.99
JUN150580     SONS OF THE DEVIL #4 (MR)     $2.99
JUN158622     SONS OF THE DEVIL #4 CVR B MILLER (MR)     $2.99
JUN158623     SONS OF THE DEVIL #4 CVR C OUM (MR)     $2.99
MAY150544     SPAWN #255     $2.99
MAY150545     SPREAD #9 (MR)     $3.50
JUN150583     SUNSTONE OGN VOL 03 (MR)     $14.99
JUN150587     THEYRE NOT LIKE US #7 (MR)     $2.99
APR150678     THIEF OF THIEVES #30 (MR)     $2.99
JUN150588     TITHE TP VOL 01     $14.99
JUN150589     VALHALLA MAD #4     $3.50
JUN150591     WAYWARD TP VOL 02 (MR)     $16.99

Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for August 26, 2015

PREVIEWS PUBLICATIONS
JUL150057     PREVIEWS #324 SEPT 2015 CUSTOMER ORDER FORM     PI
JUL150054     PREVIEWS #324 SEPTEMBER 2015     $3.99

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

JUN158138     21ST CENTURY TANK GIRL #1 2ND PTG (MR)     $3.99
JUN151342     24 BY 7 HC     $25.00
JUN151150     ADVENTURE TIME #43     $3.99
APR151599     ADVENTURES OF BASIL AND MOEBIUS HC VOL 02 SHADOW GAMBIT (MR)     $18.99
JUN151634     AJIN GN VOL 06 DEMI HUMAN     $12.95
JUN151702     ALIENS VS ZOMBIES #2 A CVR METCALF (MR)     $3.99
JUN151703     ALIENS VS ZOMBIES #2 B CVR SPAY (MR)     $3.99
JUN151704     ALIENS VS ZOMBIES #2 C CVR CAFARO (MR)     $3.99
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JUN151192     ALONE GN VOL 04 RED CAIRNS     $11.95
MAY151506     AQUILA #5     $3.99
JUN151403     ATTACK ON TITAN BEFORE THE FALL GN VOL 05     $10.99
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JUN151402     ATTACK ON TITAN GN VOL 16 PLAYING CARD DECK SP ED     $19.99
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JUL151309     DF AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 RAMOS DELGADO GOLD SGN     PI
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JUN158139     MINIONS #1 2ND PTG     $3.99
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JUN158141     ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 01     $9.99
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JUN151090     OVER THE GARDEN WALL #1     $3.99
APR151788     PRIEST & BRIGHTS QUANTUM & WOODY TP VOL 01 KLANG     $19.99
JUN150865     PRINCELESS BE YOURSELF #3     $3.99
MAY150864     PUPPET MASTER #5 MAIN CVR (MR)     $3.99
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FEB151679     Q2 RTN OF QUANTUM & WOODY DLX HC     $24.99
MAY150916     ROBOCOPPER (ONESHOT)     $3.99
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JUN151252     SHERLOCK HOLMES VS HARRY HOUDINI TP     $19.99
JUN151446     SIXTH GUN VALLEY OF DEATH #3     $3.99
JUN151510     SNOWDEN GN     $16.95
JUL151352     SODDYSSEY & OTHER TALES OF SUPERNATURAL LAW TP     $17.95
JUL151275     SOLITARY TP     $17.95
MAY150958     SONIC SUPER DIGEST #13     $4.99
JUN150968     SONIC UNIVERSE #79 STANLEY REG CVR     $3.99
JUN151136     SONS OF ANARCHY #24 (MR)     $3.99
JUN151374     SPACE DUMPLINS GN HC VOL 01     $24.99
JUN151373     SPACE DUMPLINS GN VOL 01     $14.99
JUN151370     STAN LEE CHAKRA THE INVINCIBLE #2     $2.99
JUN151440     STRINGERS #1     $3.99
JUN151375     SUNNY SIDE UP GN     $12.99
JUL151350     SUPERNATURAL LAW TP ZOMBIE WIFE & OTHER TALES     $19.95
JUN151561     SURFACE TENSION #4     $3.99
JUN151215     SWORDS OF SORROW PANTHA JANE PORTER SPECIAL     $3.99
JUN151217     SWORDS OF SORROW SONJA JUNGLE #2 CVR A ANACLETO     $3.99
MAY151192     TAROT WITCH OF THE BLACK ROSE #93 NEON MONSTER CVR (MR)     $19.99
JUL151478     TICK BIG BLUE DESTINY COMP WORKS (NEW PTG) TP     $29.95
JUL151064     USAGI JANE AND THE SKULLBUNNIES GN VOL 01     $25.00
JUL151353     VAMPIRE BRAT & OTHER TALES OF SUPERNATURAL LAW TP     $14.95
MAY151566     WALLACE & GROMIT NEWSPAPER STRIPS HC VOL 04     $16.99
APR151163     WE CAN NEVER GO HOME #4 (MR)     $3.99
JUN151629     X-O MANOWAR TP VOL 09 DEAD HAND     $14.99
JUN151416     YOUR LIE IN APRIL GN VOL 03     $10.99
MAY151510     ZENITH HC PHASE ONE APEX ED     PI
JUN150876     ZOMBIE TRAMP ONGOING #14 MAIN CVR (MR)     $3.99
MAY151455     ZOMBILLENIUM HC VOL 03 CONTROL FREAKS     $14.99

MAGAZINES
MAY151504     2000 AD PACK JUL 2015     $26.75
APR152031     ALTER EGO #135     $8.95
MAY151844     BACK ISSUE #83     $8.95
MAY151861     CINEMA RETRO CLASSICS AMERICAN WESTERNS CLINT EASTWOOD     $15.95
APR152033     COMIC BOOK CREATOR #9     $8.95
JUN151776     COMIC SHOP NEWS #1471     PI
JUN151777     COMICS REVUE PRESENTS AUG 2015     $19.95
MAY151821     DC BATMAN AUTO FIG MAG #64 BATMAN #366 JOKER COPTER     $21.00
MAY151852     DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE #489     $9.99
MAR151796     FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #272 HISTORY OF SCI-FI COVER     $9.99
MAY151853     FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #273     $9.99
MAY151867     GIRLS AND CORPSES MAGAZINE SUMMER 2015 (MR)     $8.95
JUN151483     NICKELODEON MAGAZINE #3     $4.99
MAY151857     SCI FI & FANTASY MODELLER VOL 38     $27.99
JUL151927     ULTRA VIOLENT MAGAZINE #12     $5.95

BOOKS
JUN158306     AGATHA H & VOICE OF THE CASTLE GIRL GENIUS NOVEL HC     $24.99
JUL151807     ART OF DAVE SEELEY HC     $50.00
JUN151637     ATTACK ON TITAN HARSH MISTRESS OF CITY PART 1 NOVEL     $10.95
APR151790     DANZIG LYRIC BOOK (MR)     $24.95
JUN151682     DEVIL IS PART TIMER LIGHT NOVEL VOL 02     $14.00
JUL151817     DICK GRAYSON BOY WONDER 75 YEARS ROBIN NIGHTWING BATMAN SC     $39.95
APR151791     DRUKIJA CONTESSA OF BLOOD LIMITED SC (MR)     $24.95
JUN151735     FALCON FIGHT OR FLIGHT YR CHAPTER BOOK     $5.99
MAY151055     GLENN FABRY SKETCHBOOK VOL 03 (MR)     $12.99
JUL151860     JOSS WHEDON BIOGRAPHY SC     $19.95
JUL151837     RAY BRADBURY HALLOWEEN TREE ILLUS HC     $18.99
JUN151684     SPICE AND WOLF NOVEL VOL 15 (MR)     $13.00
JUL151884     STAR WARS SHIPS OF THE GALAXY HC     $11.99
JUN152724     WARHAMMER 40K PYRES OF ARMAGEDDON HC     $28.00

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Book Review: EVERY SECRET THING (Movie Tie-In Edition)

EVERY SECRET THING
HARPCOLLINS/William Morrow – @HarperCollins; @WmMorrowBks

AUTHOR: Laura Lippman
ISBN: 978-0-06-241140-2; paperback (June 2, 2015)
448pp, B&W, $14.99 U.S., $18.50 CAN

Every Secret Thing is a 2003 crime novel from bestselling author Laura Lippman (After I'm Gone).  The book was adapted into a crime film, also entitled Every Secret Thing, by director Amy J. Berg and writer Nicole Holofcener, which received a limited theatrical release in May.  William Morrow, the HarperCollins imprint, released a paperback “movie tie-in” edition of Every Secret Thing with cover art that referenced the movie poster and some of the actors featured in the film.

The novel opens seven years before the main body of the story.  It introduces two 11-year-old girls, Alice Manning and Veronica “Ronnie” Fuller.  After being banished from a neighborhood birthday party, Alice and Ronnie find a stroller with an infant inside on an unfamiliar Baltimore street.  What happens after the girls' discovery is shocking and terrible.  There is irreparable devastation to three separate families, and the incident changes lives and careers.

Seven years later, Alice Manning and Ronnie Fuller, now both 18, are released from juvenile facilities a.k.a. “kid prison.”  Ronnie begins her life over again, or tries to do so.  Alice aimlessly wanders various neighborhoods.  When another child disappears, the unanswered questions about the original crime return to haunt the parents, lawyers, and police involved in the disappearance and the investigation that followed.  The truth about what happened then and is happening now will be devastating to everyone, but in different ways.

It took me over two months to read Every Secret Thing.  It is a well-written novel, engaging and often absorbing.  However, Laura Lippman is a queen of the killer-ending.  The whodunit and why-they-did-it are never simple and are full of twists and turns.  To say that the endings of her books are shocking seems not to tell the whole story.  Let's just say that Lippman writes resolutions and conclusions that reward her readers for starting her books.

The reason it took me so long to finish Every Secret Thing is that Lippman pulls no punches.  Yeah, I think “pulls no punches” is a phrase that perfectly describes the way Lippman depicts relationships – familial, personal, and professional.  Some might call some of these relationships toxic, but they capture the rough edges and dark corners that define relationships as much as love and need do.  There were times when I thought about just stopping, putting aside this book and not looking back.  Laura Lippman keeps it too real... sometimes, but as a reader, I guess I wouldn't really have it any other way.

My main complaint about the book is that there are simply too many characters, even for a book that runs over 400 pages.  Sometimes, this novel feels like an ensemble drama composed entirely of bit players.  Even Alice and Ronnie occasionally seem estranged from the narrative.  This makes the novel seem disjointed as Lippman introduces and drops characters, re-inserting them in a disconcerting fashion that makes the narrative a bit awkward in places.  Still, the spine of the story – the connection of the child kidnappings – is strong and powerful stuff, because Lippman deals in strong and powerful characters, plots, settings, and angles.

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: HARLEY QUINN AND POWER GIRL #1

HARLEY QUINN AND POWER GIRL #1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

[This review was first published on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Justin Gray
ART: Stephane Roux
COLORS: Paul Mounts
LETTERS: John J. Hill
COVER: Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts
VARIANT COVERS: Stephane Roux
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2015)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

Harley Quinn created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm; Power Girl created by Gerry Conway, Ric Estrada, and Wally Wood

“Extrastellar Exploitations”

Harley Quinn is a DC Comics character, specifically a villain.  However, Harley Quinn originated as a character on the animated television series, "Batman" (also known as Batman: The Animated Series; FOX Network, 1992).  Harley was created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm and made her first appearance in the episode “Joker’s Favor” (September 11, 1992), as a female sidekick of The Joker and his eventual accomplice.  Harley made her first comic book appearance in The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993), DC Comics’ comic book spin-off of the animated series.

Power Girl (birth name Kara Zor-L) is a DC Comics female superhero.  She was created created by Gerry Conway, Ric Estrada, and Wally Wood and first appeared in All Star Comics #58 (January/February 1976).  Power Girl is a cousin of some sort of Superman.

Harley and Powergirl are now a duo in the new “DCYou” comic book series, Harley Quinn and Power Girl.  The series is written by the trio of Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Justin Gray, drawn by Stephane Roux, colored by Paul Mounts, and lettered by John J. Hill.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 (“Extrastellar Exploitations”) opens in “La Galaxia del Sombrero” on “Hoard Moon.”  [See the 2014 Harley Quinn comic book, issues #11-13, apparently.]  Power Girl/Kara is suffering from amnesia, and Harley is telling jokes.  Both women discover that they can get answers about their predicament from Lord Vartox of Valeron, but he is being held prisoner by world-beater, Oreth Odeox, on the Lust Moon of Lustox.

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 has some beautiful art.  Stephane Roux is a talent, and the accomplished and famed colorist, Paul Mounts, makes this comic book one of the prettiest you can find on comic book store shelves.

Sadly, the comic book isn't much to read.  It is one of the stupidest things that I have read in awhile.  I can understand the writers' egos allowing them to believe that this is something for which they should accept a paycheck.  However, there should be a level of corporate shame that would have forced DC “Entertainment” to shelve this, but they didn't and have the gall to accept payment for this from customers.  Or... maybe Harley Quinn and Power Girl will turn out to be a good series.

C-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: ULTRAMAN Volume 1

ULTRAMAN, VOL. 1
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia

[A version of this review first appeared on Patreon.]

STORY: Eiichi Shimizu
ART: Tomohiro Shimoguchi
TRANSLATION: Joe Yamazaki
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Stan!
LETTERING: Evan Waldinger
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8182-8; paperback (August 2015); Rated “T” for “Teen”
240pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

As a team, Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi created the manga, Kurogane no Rainbareru (Linebarrels of Iron, Akita Shoten), and have produced character designs for video games and action figures.  Their current collaboration is the manga, Ultraman, based on a character that appeared in Japanese sci-fi/fantasy films and television series, beginning in the 1960s.  Ultraman was an alien entity that merged with a human host to create a superhero that fought aliens trying to invade Earth.

Eiichi Shimizu worked on the story, script, and mechanical design for Ultraman (stylized as ULTRAMAN).  Tomohiro Shimoguchi provided character designs and art for this manga that is a sequel to the television series, “Ultraman” (1966).  The manga (Japanese comics) began its serialization in Monthly Hero's in 2011.  VIZ Media will publish the manga in English as a graphic novel series, beginning August 2015.

Ultraman, Vol. 1 (Chapter 1 to 6) opens 20 years after Ultraman (“Giant of Light”) left Earth after defeating the last of the alien invaders.  Defense Minister Shinjiro Hayata and his young son, Shin Hayata, are visiting “The Giant of Light Memorial Museum.”  The elder Hayata does not remember that he had merged with Ultraman even after something shocking happens to his son at the museum.

Twelve years after that fateful museum visit, young Shin is trying to be a normal school boy, trying to get the girls at his school to notice him.  His life, however, is about to change, and the truth is going to come out.  What is the “Ultra Factor,” and who possesses it?

Many years ago, on a comic book creator's message board, I posted that I wondered if there were Japanese superheros that were similar to American superheroes , such as Superman and Spider-Man.  Another board member said there was such a Japanese superhero – Ultraman.  I wasn't buying it, as what little of Ultraman that I had seen just did not look like something from DC Comics or Marvel Comics or even like superheroes from independent comic book publishers.

Years later, VIZ Media recently sent me the opening volume of the new Ultraman manga.  I don't know how close the new is to the original, as I have not experienced original Ultraman.  I can say that Ultraman Volume 1 makes me believe that Ultraman is like an American superhero.  I could not help but think of Iron Man, although neither Shinjiro nor Shin Hayata is like Tony Stark.  This manga does remind me, a little, of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

This first volume is quite an enjoyable read.  The graphical storytelling moves like a superhero comic book.  If I did not know that Ultraman was created in Japan, I would not at all think of it as manga.  That is not a criticism; I simply think that this Ultraman could work as an American comic book.  I look forward to future volumes because Ultraman has the potential to be quite good.

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: STARFIRE #1

STARFIRE #1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
PENCILS: Emanuela Lupacchino
INKS: Ray McCarthy
COLORS: Hi-Fi
LETTERS: Tom Napolitano
COVER: Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts
VARIANT COVERS: Emanuela Lupacchino with Hi-Fi
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (August 2015)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

Starfire created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez

“Everything to Everyone”

Koriand'r, who is the female superhero known as Starfire, first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 (cover date: October 1980), which contained the preview story that introduced The New Teen Titans.  Created by writer Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, Starfire is an alien warrior, was a member of the Teen Titans, and is the love interest of Dick Grayson/Robin.

As part of the “DCYou” publishing initiative, there is new comic book featuring the character, and it is entitled, Starfire.  The series is written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, penciled by Emanuela Lupacchino, inked by Ray McCarthy, colored by Hi-Fi, and lettered by Tom Napolitano.

Starfire #1 (“Everything to Everyone”) opens in Key West, Florida.  Starfire is at the Key West Police Station where she is giving her origin story to Sheriff Stella Gomez.  Although she is busy preparing the locals for an approaching storm, Stella takes time to help Starfire find a place to live.  Hilarity ensues.  Meanwhile, darkness, both natural and otherwise, approaches.

This new Starfire comic book is interesting, but other than finding out about the unseen who or what that appears on the last panel of the last page, I am not sure that I will read another issue.  Starfire is not at all bad, and the art is pretty.  Starfire seems to be in keeping with DC Comics' apparent goal of making “DCYou” be about different types of books to attract new and/or different readers.

Starfire could almost be one of those new, updated Archie Comics titles.  Yep, Starfire now looks like a sex-ified Betty.  Still, I think that readers looking for “girl superheroes” will want to give this a try.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 19, 2015

DC COMICS

JUN150317     ASTRO CITY #26     $3.99
JUN150250     BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT #7     $3.99
JUN150236     BIZARRO #3     $2.99
JUN150178     BLACK CANARY #3     $2.99
MAY150240     CONSTANTINE TP VOL 04 THE APOCALYPSE ROAD TP     $14.99
JUN150184     DOCTOR FATE #3     $2.99
JUN150237     DOOMED #3     $2.99
MAY150265     FAIREST TP VOL 05 THE CLAMOR FOR GLAMOUR (MR)     $14.99
MAY150238     GOTHAM BY MIDNIGHT TP VOL 01 WE DO NOT SLEEP     $14.99
MAY150236     GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS TP VOL 06 STORMING THE GATES     $14.99
JUN150268     GREEN LANTERN THE LOST ARMY #3     $2.99
JUN150261     HARLEY QUINN & POWER GIRL #3     $3.99
JUN150195     INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FOUR #8     $2.99
JUN150202     JLA GODS AND MONSTERS #2     $3.99
JUN150172     JUSTICE LEAGUE #43     $3.99
JUN150289     MAD MAGAZINE #535     $5.99
JUN158277     MAD MAX FURY ROAD MAX #1 2ND PTG (MR)     $4.99
JUN150207     MARTIAN MANHUNTER #3     $2.99
MAY150268     NAMES TP (MR)     $16.99
JUN150262     ROBIN SON OF BATMAN #3     $3.99
JUN150223     SECRET SIX #5     $2.99
JUN150225     SENSATION COMICS FEATURING WONDER WOMAN #13     $3.99
APR150303     SUPERMAN HC VOL 06 THE MEN OF TOMORROW     $24.99
JUN150232     SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN #20     $3.99
JUN150275     TEEN TITANS GO #11     $2.99
JUN150226     WONDER WOMAN #43     $3.99
APR150306     WONDER WOMAN BY GEORGE PEREZ OMNIBUS HC     $75.00

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

FEB150302     BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE BY BRYAN HITCH     $79.95
FEB150297     DC COMICS DESIGNER JAE LEE SER 1 BATMAN AF     $24.95
FEB150299     DC COMICS DESIGNER JAE LEE SER 1 CATWOMAN AF     $24.95
FEB150296     DC COMICS DESIGNER JAE LEE SER 1 SUPERMAN AF     $24.95
FEB150298     DC COMICS DESIGNER JAE LEE SER 1 WONDER WOMAN AF     $24.95

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 19, 2015

MARVEL COMICS

MAY150726     1872 #2 SWA     $3.99
JUN150703     AGE OF ULTRON VS MARVEL ZOMBIES #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150736     AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RENEW YOUR VOWS #4 SWA     $3.99
JUN150765     ARMOR WARS #4 SWA     $3.99
MAY150826     AVENGERS WORLD TP VOL 04 BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT     $19.99
MAY150828     CAPTAIN AMERICA TP VOL 05 TOMORROW SOLDIER     $19.99
JUN150756     CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MIGHTY DEFENDERS #2 SWA     $3.99
MAY150822     CAPTAIN MARVEL TP VOL 03 ALIS VOLAT PROPRIIS     $12.99
MAY150833     DAREDEVIL EPIC COLLECTION TP WIDOWS KISS     $34.99
MAY150809     GEORGE ROMEROS EMPIRE OF DEAD ACT THREE #4     $3.99
MAY150818     GUARDIANS OF GALAXY BEST STORY EVER TP     $14.99
JUN150779     GUARDIANS OF KNOWHERE #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150802     GUARDIANS TEAM-UP #10     $3.99
JUN150722     HOUSE OF M #1 SWA     $3.99
JUN150729     HOWARD THE HUMAN #1 SWA     $3.99
JUN150782     INFERNO #4 SWA     $3.99
JUN150795     KANAN #5     $3.99
JUN150695     LOKI AGENT OF ASGARD #17 SWA     $3.99
MAR150784     MARVEL FIRSTS 1990S OMNIBUS HC     $125.00
MAR150786     MMW LUKE CAGE HERO FOR HIRE HC VOL 01     $75.00
MAR150785     MS MARVEL HC VOL 01     $34.99
MAY150841     MU ULT SPIDER-MAN WEB WARRIORS DIGEST TP VOL 02     $9.99
FEB150837     POWERS OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 (MR)     $125.00
MAY150840     ROGUE TP COMPLETE COLLECTION     $34.99
JUN150705     RUNAWAYS #3 SWA     $3.99
JUN150714     SECRET WARS JOURNAL #4 SWA     $3.99
JUN150699     SECRET WARS SECRET LOVE #1 SWA     $4.99
MAY150799     SILK #6     $3.99
JUN150739     SPIDER-VERSE #4 SWA     $3.99
MAY150780     STAR WARS #8     $3.99
MAR150783     ULTIMATE MARVEL OMNIBUS HC VOL 01     $99.99
MAY150824     UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL TP VOL 01 SQUIRREL POWER     $15.99
MAY150724     WEIRDWORLD #3 SWA     $3.99
MAY150839     X-MEN AGE OF APOCALYPSE TP VOL 01 ALPHA     $34.99
FEB150870     X-MEN AVENGERS ONSLAUGHT OMNIBUS HC     $125.00
JUN150769     X-TINCTION AGENDA #3 SWA     $3.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for August 19, 2015

IDW PUBLISHING

JUN150461     DONALD DUCK #4     $3.99
JUN150436     GARBAGE PAIL KIDS GO HOLLYWOOD DLX ED (ONE SHOT)     $4.99
JUN150425     GI JOE A REAL AMERICAN HERO #217     $3.99
JUN150389     INFINITE LOOP #5     $3.99
JUN150451     MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #33     $3.99
JUN150442     SAMURAI JACK TP VOL 04 WARRIOR KING     $19.99
MAY158379     STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN #1 2ND PTG     $3.99
JUN150370     TMNT AMAZING ADVENTURES #1     $3.99
JUN150372     TMNT MUTANIMALS TP     $17.99
JUN150365     TMNT ONGOING #49     $3.99
JUN150413     TRANSFORMERS WINDBLADE #6     $3.99
MAY150404     X-FILES ARCHIVES TP VOL 01 WHIRLWIND & RUINS (PROSE)     $14.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 19, 2015

DARK HORSE COMICS

JUN150069     BPRD HELL ON EARTH #134     $3.50
JUN150061     BTVS SEASON 10 #18 MAIN MORRIS CVR     $3.99
JUN150011     DARK HORSE PRESENTS 2014 #13     $4.99
JUN150082     DEATH HEAD #2     $3.99
APR150071     EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS AT THE EARTHS CORE HC     $14.99
APR150072     EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS AT THE EARTHS CORE LTD HC     $49.99
APR150023     EMPOWERED TP VOL 09     $17.99
APR150080     GAME OF THRONES PINT GLASS MARTELL SIGIL     $9.99
JUN150052     GROO FRIENDS AND FOES #8     $3.99
MAY150101     MIDNIGHT SOCIETY THE BLACK LAKE #2     $3.99
APR150033     NANJING THE BURNING CITY HC     $24.99
JUN150053     PLANTS VS ZOMBIES ONGOING #3 BULLY FOR YOU     $2.99
MAY150029     RESURRECTIONISTS TP VOL 01 NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCED     $19.99
JUN150063     STRAIN NIGHT ETERNAL #12 (MR)     $3.99

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for August 19, 2015

IMAGE COMICS

JUN150520     BIRTHRIGHT #10     $2.99
JUN150543     EMPTY ZONE #3 (MR)     $3.50
JUN150544     INVINCIBLE #122     $2.99
JUN150546     ISLAND #2 (MR)     $7.99
MAR150575     MANIFEST DESTINY #16 (MR)     $2.99
JUN150503     MANTLE #4 (MR)     $3.99
JUN150529     ODDLY NORMAL #9 CVR A FRAMPTON     $2.99
JUN150530     ODDLY NORMAL #9 CVR B GOULD     $2.99
JUN150509     OEMNIBUS TP     $24.99
JUN150551     POSTAL #6 CVR A SEJIC     $3.99
JUN150552     POSTAL #6 CVR B GOODHART     $3.99
MAR150504     RAT QUEENS #11 (MR)     $3.99
JUN150553     REVIVAL #32 (MR)     $3.99
APR150552     SAVAGE DRAGON #206 (MR)     $3.99
MAY150546     STRAY BULLETS SUNSHINE & ROSES #7 (MR)     $3.50
JUN150559     STRAY BULLETS TP VOL 03 OTHER PEOPLE (MR)     $19.99
JUN150560     TREES #12 (MR)     $2.99
JUN150540     WOLF #2 (MR)     $3.50

IMAGE COMICS/MCFARLANE TOYS

MAY150637     WALKING DEAD COMIC SERIES 4 PIN CUSHION AF     PI

Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for August 19, 2015

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

JUN150933     8 BIT ZOMBIE FULL BYTE TP     $12.99
JUN151154     ADVENTURE TIME FIONNA & CAKE CARD WARS #2     $3.99
JUN151155     ADVENTURE TIME FIONNA & CAKE CARD WARS #2 SUBSCRIPTION     $3.99
MAY151115     ADVENTURE TIME FIONNA & CAKE ENCHIRIDION ED HC     $59.99
MAR151086     ADVENTURE TIME MATHEMATICAL ED HC VOL 03 ECCC EXC     $49.99
JUN151220     ALICE COOPER HC VOL 01 WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE     $24.99
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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review: LOVE AND ROCKETS: New Stories #7

LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES #7
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS – @fantagraphics

[This review first appeared on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez – @BetomessGilbert @xaimeh
ARTISTS: Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez
EDITOR: Eric Reynolds – @earinc
COVER: Jaime Hernandez
ISBN: 978-1-60699-679-9; paperback (January 2015)
100pp, B&W, $14.99 U.S.

We last saw a new volume of the annual Love and Rockets: New Stories (#6) in the fall of 2013.  Since then, creators and brothers, Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez (a.k.a. Los Bros.), each finally won his first Eisner Award (Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards).

Love and Rockets: New Stories #7 was published in March, I think (although the publishing date inside the book is listed as January 2015).  The latest volume contains 14 stories, 6 six by Gilbert and 8 by Jaime.  Among Gilbert's (Beto) offerings is a story that runs slightly longer than a single-issue comic book.  Entitled “The Magic Voyage of Aladdin,” it pits Morgan Le Fey (as played by Fritz) and Aladdin against two evil bitches, Circe and Jasmin, who are trying to obtain Aladdin's magic lamp.  “Daughters and Mothers and Daughters” is a flashback story about Maria, the mother of Luba (one of Beto's central L&R characters).  “Killer in Palomar” finds Dora “Killer” Rivera in Palomar, and Fritz and Fritz-wannabes compete in a few shorter stories.

Jaime (Xaime) puts the focus squarely on his signature characters, Maggie and Hopey.  The life-long friends and former lovers take a road trip to Huerta for a “punk rock reunion.”  However, their proximity to each other reveals that their humdrum domestic lives have not quite tamed the passion nor has it severed the romantic connection between them.  Plus, the comic book-length “Princess Animus!” plays out the classic bad movie that Maggie and Hopey watch at the old “Vogue Theater” while in Huerta.  In  “if it ain't fixed, don't break it!”a tawdry true-crime television show brings up the nutty and perhaps murderous secrets of Tonta Agajanian's nutty family.

I am not one of those Love and Rockets admirers who have bought into the idea of high and low periods in the quality of Los Bros.' output.  For me, all their comics have been at least great comics or hugely intriguing, with the best of it being high-comics art.  Since I first discovered their work 30 years ago, I have been fascinated by everything that the brothers have done in L&R.

Still, even L&R fanboy that I have am, I must admit that Love and Rockets: New Stories has seen Los Bros. soar to new heights of comics art excellence, beginning with New Stories #3, in particular.  In New Stories #7, both brothers revisit old haunts and familiar characters.

“Daughters and Mothers and Daughters,” Gilbert uses Maria to reveal how the ugly secrets of the past continue to affect a family long past the origin of the secrets.  The fanciful derring-do of “The Magic Voyage of Aladdin” recalls Beto's wild and wholly early comics, with their mixture of B-movie plots, weird fiction, and lowbrow comic book sci-fi.  While Jaime has found fresh potting soil for his stories in Tonta, he has kept his eyes on the magnetic attraction between Maggie and Hopey.  Time is neutral, and the notion of “what is past” is an illusion, especially when it comes to these two classic comix characters.  Recalling the best of the brothers' BEM stories (big-eyed monsters), “Princess Animus!” is a joy to read at 18 pages, and I could have read another 18 pages of it.

So with the final panel of Fritz, we have to wait another year for “the most important and enduring alternative comics series in the history of the medium.”  Hopefully, some graphic novel collections (God and Science and The Love Bunglers) will hold me until then.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: BLACK CANARY #1

BLACK CANARY (2015) #1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Brenden Fletcher
ART: Annie Wu
COLORS: Lee Loughridge
LETTERS: Steve Wands
COVER: Annie Wu
VARIANT COVERS: Tula Lotay
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (August 2015)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

“The Most Dangerous Band in America”

DC Comics' superhero, Black Canary, first appeared in what is known as the “Golden Age” of comic books.  She was created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Carmine Infantino and debuted in Flash Comics #86 (cover date:  August 1947).  Black Canary was one of DC Comics' earliest female superheroes.

Her alter-ego was Dinah Drake, and she was a member of and appeared in both the Justice Society of America and Justice League of America comic books.  Eventually, Dinah Drake gave way to a younger version of the character, Dinah Laurel Lance (who was at one time depicted as the daughter of Dinah Drake).  Dinah Lance's super-power is the “Canary Cry,” a high-pitched sonic scream that can shatter objects and incapacitate enemies, and she is also a world-class martial artist.

As part of DC Comics' new publishing initiative, “DC You,” Lance is the star of a new comic book entitled Black Canary.  It is written by Brenden Fletcher, drawn by Annie Wu, colored by Lee Loughridge, and lettered by Steve Wands.

When Black Canary #1 (“The Most Dangerous Band in America”) opens, Dinah is the lead singer of a four-piece band called “Black Canary.”  On keys is Paloma TerrificLord Byron pounds the drum kit.  The “silent wunderkind,” Ditto, is the guitarist.  Talk about kick out the jams, mutha...., Black Canary is literally tearing up the venues in which her band plays.  She is a trouble magnet, but what she discovers about her band will change all their lives.

The snarky part of me thinks that this Black Canary comic book won't last more than 12 issues; actually, I don't think that it will go past eight issues.  This is not a bad comic book, but, at this point, its uniqueness may not save it.  Black Canary is a like a shallow Vertigo Comics spin on Eisner Award winner Jaime Hernandez's classic “Lucas” comics in the long-running alt-comix title, Love and Rockets.  Hernandez was able to convey the heady noise-making of punk rock in both the static images and graphical language of comic books.  Black Canary doesn't bring the noise.

Black Canary has potential, but sometimes, quirky and interesting isn't enough.  Black Canary needs a great second issue to suggest a long run.  Hell, a third and fourth great issue wouldn't hurt.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact the author for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review:: E IS FOR EXTINCTION #1

E IS FOR EXTINCTION #1
MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel

[This review originally appeared on Patreon.]

WRITER: Chris Burnham
ARTIST: Ramon Villalobos
COLORS: Ian Herring
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
COVER: Ian Bertram with Dave Stewart
VARIANT COVER: James Harren
36pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (August 2015)

“Relax and Be Replaced

Rated T+

When the Chris Claremont-John Byrne run on The Uncanny X-Men came to an end with the epilogue that was issue #143 (cover date:  March 1981), it was if the series were waiting for the next great thing to happen to it... at least, I can see that in hindsight.  But nothing great, at least in any sustained way, happened... until two decades later.

Grant Morrison began his tenure as an X-Men writer on New X-Men #114 (cover date:  July 2001) with the three-part story, “E is for Extinction.”  It took 20 years, but I think that this was the next great step for the X-Men after landmark run produced by Byrne-Claremont.  With his partner, artist Frank Quitely, changing the graphical storytelling language of the X-Men, Morrison tore down the X-Men and allowed them to make the next big evolutionary leap for which the series had been straining to make in the aftermath of “The Dark Phoenix Saga.”

Alas, it was not to be, even Morrison could not recreate that spark-as-big-bang that was “E is for Extinction.”  It did not help that Quitely was (and still is) not the kind of artist that can produce art for a monthly publishing schedule past three issues.  And truthfully, Quitely was Morrison's equal in taking the X-Men to new places.  After New X-Men #114-116, the series was quirky and different, but hardly revolutionary or evolutionary, for that matter.  The New X-Men never fully reached the promise offered by “E is for Extinction.”

2015:  Marvel Comics is revamping or relaunching its publishing line.  But first, they are going to make lots of money with the multiverse destroying event miniseries, Secret Wars, and a veritable fleet of tie-in and spin-off comic book series.  Each series is set in a part of “Battleworld,” which is all that is left of the multiverse.  I am ignoring those comics for the most part but...

I could not ignore the cover for a comic book entitled E is for Extinction.  This “Secret Wars Battleworld” comic book takes Morrison and Quitely's classic story and takes it to new places, much as the original once did for the X-Men comic book.   E is for Extinction is drawn by Ramon Villalobos, who is copying Quitely's style in the best way.  Ian Herring provides colors, and Clayton Cowles is the letterer.  Best of all, the writer of E is for Extinction is Chris Burnham.  He is the artist and co-creator with Grant Morrison of the comic book, Nameless (published by Image Comics).  Like Quitely, Burnham is brilliant at taking the craziness of Morrison's writing and translating it into comic book art that does more than just tell a story.  Burnham creates new worlds of new times and new essences.

It is Burnham who takes the possibilities of  “E is for Extinction” the story arc and delivers on that potential with E is for Extinction the comic book.  E is for Extinction #1 (“Relax and Be Replaced”) opens with the event that give Magneto victory over Charles Xavier – Professor X.  “X years later,” Magneto guides the New X-Men from “The Xavier Memorial Educational Nexus” a.k.a. “The Atom Institute.”  He has a new attitude about the future of homo superior and normal humans, and he's got something growing in the basement to serve his cause.

When he isn't at home in District X, the Beast is at “Mutopia Medical Center,” where he can tell normal human men how many of their sperm carry the “X-gene.”  Meanwhile, at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Cyclops and Emma Frost are living as X-Men-past, as their powers dim.  They have a plan to get their mojo back, but it means they need to get the band back together...

Ramon Villalobos brings Chris Burnham's story to life as the kind of comic book storytelling that refuses to be ordinary.  Villalobos makes Quitely's style practical and also visually striking and bracing.  I am flabbergasted.  I wanted to read this E is for Extinction comic book, but I did not expect to get this fantastic comic book that keeps me flipping through it pages.

I have more praise for it, but I better save it for issue #2.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact the author for syndication rights and fees.