Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Book Review: MOST DANGEROUS PLACE by James Grippando

MOST DANGEROUS PLACE
HARPER (HarperCollins Publishers) – @HarperCollins

[This review was originally posted in Patreon.]

AUTHOR: James Grippando – @James_Grippando
ISBN: 978-0-06-244055-6; hardcover (February 21, 2017)
368pp, B&W, $26.99 U.S.

Most Dangerous Place is the new novel from author and attorney James Grippando.  It is also Grippando's 25th novel and the thirteenth novel featuring Grippando’s Miami-based, criminal defense attorney, Jack Swyteck.  In Most Dangerous Place, Swyteck defends a woman accused of murdering the man who raped her.

As Most Dangerous Place begins, Jack and his wife, FBI Agent Andie Henning, with their two-year old daughter, Riley, are waiting at the International Terminal of Miami International Airport to meet a family arriving from Hong Kong.  However, not long after Jack's high school buddy, Keith Ingraham, his wife, Isabelle “Isa” Bornelli, and their daughter, Melany, arrive, officers from Miami Dade Police Department arrest Isa.  What's the charge against her?

Isa is being charged with the murder of Gabriel Sosa, a man who sexually assaulted Isa after she went on a date with him when she was in college.  Jack immediately agrees to represent Isa, but soon discovers that he must separate truth from lies.  That undertaking becomes more complicated when a second defense lawyer joins the case, the splashy Manuel “Manny” Espinosa, whose style does not jibe with Jack's.  Jack must dig deep into the pasts of multiple colorful and shady characters, in a case that will take him from Florida State Prison to a legendary Miami nightclub and from the shiny side of Miami to one of the most dangerous places in Venezuela.

I read my first Jack Swyteck novel, Blood Money, a few years ago, and followed that up with Black Horizon.  Now, the only James Grippando novels I really want to read are Swyteck novels.  At this point, I have sold myself on the idea that I know Jack Swyteck as if he were a real person.  I guess that successful bestselling authors who write book series have to compose their stories in such a way as to make readers gradually become attached to the characters.

However Grippando isn't just about churning out a series.  When he is at his best, Grippando writes twisty thrillers that offer one surprise after another, even to the last page in some cases.  The title, Most Dangerous Place, references the FBI factoid that the most dangerous place for a woman between the ages of 20 and 30 is in a relationship with a man.  Well, Most Dangerous Place the novel makes the reader wonder who is really the victim and who is really the perpetrator.  The line between innocence and guilt blurs, and the reader is forced to consider that cold-blooded revenge might actually be retribution, rightful and justified.

Once again, James Grippando proves that his legal thrillers deserve to be read as much as any other bestselling author's legal thrillers.  John Grisham, I'm looking at you.

A-

www.jamesgrippando.com

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 1, 2017

DC COMICS

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DEC162187    DOCTOR WHO PIRATE PLANET HC    $19.99
JAN171874    DRAWINGS OF LAURIE LIPTON HC    $39.95
DEC162204    LEGO BATMAN MOVIE MAKING OF MOVIE HC    $24.99
JAN171875    MARIJUANA MANDALAS COOL COLORING BOOK    $7.95
JAN172276    NEW FASHION NUDES HC (MR)    $49.99
JAN171876    OUTLAW BIBLE OF AMERICAN ART HC    $39.95
JAN171877    RON ENGLISH POPAGANDA COLORING BOOK    $12.95
DEC162213    SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOL 115 KEEPERS GOLD & FORGOTTEN GOLD    $14.95
JAN172299    SKETCHING FROM IMAGINATION CHARACTERS SC    $29.99
JAN173219    WARHAMMER 40K FORGES OF MARS OMNIBUS SC    $21.00

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Book Review: WIND IN THE WILLOWS Illustrated by David Petersen

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
IDW PUBLISHING – @IDWPublishing

AUTHOR: Kenneth Grahame
ILLUSTRATOR: David Petersen
COVER: David Petersen
ISBN: 978-1-63140-343-9; hardcover, 8” x 10” (December 2016)
192pp, Color, $24.99 U.S.

The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame.  It was first published in 1908 and is one of the most beloved novels in Great Britain, according to various surveys.  The novel has been adapted for the stage, film, radio, and television numerous times.

The Wind in the Willows was originally published as a plain text book without illustrations.  However, illustrated editions of the book began to appear less than a decade after it was first published, including editions featuring illustrations by Paul Branson (1913), E.H. Shepard (1931) and by Arthur Rackham (1940), among others.

The latest illustrated edition of The Wind in the Willows is published by IDW Publishing.  The illustrator is David Petersen, the award-winning creator of the comic book series, Mouse Guard.  Petersen reportedly worked on this project for over three years, and the book contains over 60 of his illustrations, including 20 full-color plates.

I read part of this novel a long, long time ago, and what I remember from it I probably got from the Walt Disney film, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.  Half of this 1949 animated film was an adaption of The Wind in the Willows.  The other half of the film was based on the unrelated Washington Irving short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (first published in 1820).

The Wind of the Willows focuses on four anthropomorphic animals that live in a pastoral version of Edwardian England.  They are Badger, Mole, Rat, and Toad of Toad Hall.  Theirs is an entrancing, lyrical world of gurgling rivers and whispering reeds where the friends can enjoy the simplest pleasures and natural wonders that life offers.  Their adventurers will test the miracle of loyalty and friendship in a story that has likely set the standard for other animal-themed novels.

It is clear that David Petersen's illustrative work for The Wind in the Willows is a labor of love.  Heck, it is obvious as soon as you crack this book open and see Petersen's spot illustrations of Toad and Rat.  The gorgeous color plates of Mole and Rat's boating excursion make me want to stare at them all day.  The first look at “Toad Hall” as a black and white illustration is quite a treat.  The color plate of Rat and Mole (Chapter Three “The Wild Wood”) would sell someone on buying this book.

As strong as the illustrations are to start this book, the ones that illustrate the last chapters of the book don't let up.  Petersen offers some powerful art to conclude The Wind in the Willows, and that wraparound color illustration that is this book's front and back cover will wrap around your reading and buying lists.

I had not heard about this project until I saw it in a Diamond Distributors list.  I was shocked when IDW sent me a copy-for-review.  I was like, “Damn, I wish all the books I got from comic book publishers were as fine as this here The Wind in the Willows.”

There are three target audiences for IDW's new, illustrated edition of The Wind in the Willows.  They are fans of writer-artist David Petersen's Mouse Guard; fans of The Wind in the Willows; and collectors of IDW's spectacular line of art books, illustrated publications, and archival editions.

A+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

-------------------------

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: FUTURE QUEST #1

FUTURE QUEST No. 1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Jeff Parker – @JeffParker
ARTISTS: Evan “Doc” Shaner – @DocShaner (p. 1-19, 28-30); Steve “The Dude” Rude (p. 20-27)
COLORS: Jordie Bellaire – @whoajordie
LETTERS: ALW Studios' Dave Lanphear
COVER: Evan “Doc” Shaner
VARIANT COVERS: Steve Rude with Steve Buccellato; Bill Sienkiewicz; Aaron Lopresti; Joe Quinnoes
40pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2016)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

Part One: “Lights in the Sky”

A few months ago, DC Comics announced that it would publish a small line of comic books that would re-imagine and re-interpret classic Hanna-Barbera television series and characters.  Hanna-Barbera was an American animation studio that produced animated television series for American television networks, mostly for broadcast on Saturday mornings, but also for prime time.

Future Quest, the first of these comic books, debuted recently.  Future Quest brings the stars of Hanna-Barbera's action, sci-fi, and superhero TV series together.  That includes “Jonny Quest” (one of those prime time animated series), “Space Ghost,” “The Herculoids,” “Birdman,” “Frankenstein Jr.,” “The Galaxy Trio,” “The Impossibles,” and “Mightor.”

The cast of “Jonny Quest” seem to be the stars of Future Quest, and are referred to as “Team Quest.”  They are Jonny Quest; his adopted brother, Hadji; his father, Dr. Benton Quest; family bodyguard, Race Bannon; Race's love interest and spy-type, Jezebel Jade; and, of course, Jonny's dog, Bandit. Future Quest is written by Jeff Parker; drawn by Evan “Doc” Shaner; colored by Jordie Bellaire; and lettered by Dave Lanphear.  Artist Steve Rude contributes eight pages to this first issue.

Future Quest #1 (“Lights in the Sky”) finds Jonny and Hadji wearing classic Quest rocket packs and zipping around the Florida Everglades. Meanwhile, Dr. Quest receives two visitors from “Inter-Nation Security,” who have come to see him about strange anomalies popping up all over the Earth.  Meanwhile, Team Quest's arch-nemesis, Dr. Zin, suddenly appears in the Everglades and attacks Jonny, Hadji, and Race.  However, all of Earth is about to be drawn into an epic struggle that threatens the galaxy and perhaps, even the universe.

I was cynical about DC's Hanna-Barbera (sometimes known as “H-B”) announcement.  Quite a bit of the storytelling that entertained me in my early and formative years came from classic H-B series.  It is not often that comic book versions or even TV remakes of classic 1960s and 1970s H-B series have pleased me.  [I really like the Scooby-Doo straight-to-video movies that Warner Bros. has been producing since the late 1990s].

However, I'm all in on Future Quest.  Writer Jeff Parker has captured the sense of adventure, fun, and wonder that permeated classic action/superhero/sci-fi and fantasy H-B series like “Jonny Quest” and “Space Ghost.”  It does not matter that Future Quest will unite characters that have rarely appeared together, if at all.  If H-B had brought together “Jonny Quest,” “Space Ghost,” “The Herculoids,” “Birdman,” “Frankenstein Jr.,” “The Galaxy Trio,” “The Impossibles,” and “Mightor,”  I can't imagine that it would look too different from what at least this first issue of Future Quest suggests.  Also, my feeling is that Jeff Parker is doing this the right way.

I am a fan of artist Steve Rude.  He claims “Space Ghost” as a huge influence on his work as a comic book artist, especially on the comic book, Nexus, which he produces with writer Mike Baron.  It is good to see him work on Future Quest.  Rude on Future Quest is a no-brainer.

But series artist Evan “Doc” Shaner takes a backseat to no one on this comic book.  His clear line drawing style recalls classic H-B, but also captures the spirit of those wonderful European comic graphic albums that appeal to readers, young and old, such as Tintin and the Smurfs.  When Jordie Bellaire adds her magical colors, the comic art in Future Quest looks fantastic.  It evokes H-B while being something new, fresh, and vibrant.

In fact, this is what the classic, but old H-B action TV series need – a fresh take and a new beginning.  Part of me is still doubting.  Is this first issue a fluke?  Can Future Quest be as good – long term – as I think this first issue is.  I believe in Parker and Shaner.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

---------------------

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DARK KNIGHT III: The Master Race #7

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE No. 7
DC COMICS – @DCComics

STORY: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
PENCILS: Andy Kubert
INKS:  Klaus Janson
COLORS: Brad Anderson
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Andy Kubert with Brad Anderson
VARIANT COVERS: Jim Lee and Scott Williams with Alex Sinclair; Frank Miller with Alex Sinclair; Klaus Janson with Dave McCaig; Howard Chaykin with Jesus Aburto; Chris Burnham with Nathan Fairbairn
32pp (plus 16-page insert), Color, $5.99 U.S. (February 2017)

Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger

Dark Knight III: The Master Race (also known as DKIII) is the second sequel to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (also known simply as The Dark Knight Returns or DKR), the landmark, four-issue comic book miniseries.  Published by DC Comics in 1986, DKR was written by Frank Miller; drawn by Miller (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks); colored by Lynn Varley; and lettered by John Costanza.  DKR focused on a 50-year-old Bruce Wayne who comes out of retirement and resumes his crime-fighting role as Batman.

DKIII is written by Brian Azzarello and DKR's Frank Miller; drawn by Andy Kubert (pencils) and DKR's Klaus Janson (inks); colored by Brad Anderson; and lettered by Clem Robins.  DKIII finds Batman united with Superman to stop a murderous group of people from Superman's home planet, Krypton, from taking over the Earth.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 opens in the aftermath of the battle in and over Gotham City, pitting Batman, Superman, and their allies against the “master race” of Kryptonians from Kandor.  And Batman is dead... or is he?  Superman has an idea about reviving his old friend.  Meanwhile, Quar, the leader of the Kryptonians, moves to strengthen his hold on Lara, the daughter of Superman and Wonder Woman, who has sided with the Kryptonians.  He wants her to do something for him...

I have to say that I enjoyed reading DKIII #7 more than I did issue #6.  I have found DKIII to be wildly inconsistent.  It is sometimes intense and gripping; other times, it is contrived and ridiculous – often within the same issue.

What is the difference with #7?  I think that this issue consolidates subplots and relationships, as the narrative prepares to move into the final acts of the series.  This issue is the first one that clearly depicts Lara's ambivalence, but also emphasizes that much of this story is about Lara's side of the family, in particularly her father, Superman.  Going forward as a reader, an issue like this one makes me feel more confident about the eight and ninth issues of Dark Knight III: The Master Race, the final two issues.

Dark Knight Universe Presents: Strange Adventures #1 (Insert comic book)
STORY: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
PENCILS: Frank Miller
INKS: Klaus Janson
COLORS: Alex Sinclair
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Frank Miller with Alex Sinclair

I have not really enjoyed these mini-comics inserted into the center of each issue of DKIII, but I like this issue's “Strange Adventures” that focuses on Green Lantern and two denizens of Thanagar.  The interplay of the items that give these heroes their power with the mounting danger of their adversaries makes this a gripping mini-thriller with a nice ending.

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

------------------------

Monday, February 20, 2017

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for February 22, 2017

DC COMICS

DEC160244    ACTION COMICS #974    $2.99
DEC160245    ACTION COMICS #974 VAR ED    $2.99
OCT160318    ASTRO CITY #41    $4.99
OCT160319    ASTRO CITY #41 VAR ED    $4.99
DEC160255    BATGIRL #8    $2.99
DEC160256    BATGIRL #8 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160323    BATGIRL AN ADULT COLORING BOOK TP    $15.99
DEC160341    BATMAN 66 MEETS WONDER WOMAN 77 #2 (OF 6)    $3.99
DEC160253    BATMAN BEYOND #5    $2.99
DEC160254    BATMAN BEYOND #5 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160326    BATMAN BEYOND TP VOL 03 WIRED FOR DEATH    $14.99
NOV160321    BATMAN NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN HC    $24.99
NOV150319    BATMAN V SUPERMAN DOJ WONDER WOMAN STATUE    $150.00
DEC160263    BLUE BEETLE #6    $2.99
DEC160264    BLUE BEETLE #6 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160405    CLEAN ROOM #16 (MR)    $3.99
NOV160329    COSMIC ODYSSEY DELUXE EDITION HC    $34.99
AUG160371    DCTV THE FLASH ZOOM AF    $28.00
DEC160269    DEATHSTROKE #13    $2.99
DEC160270    DEATHSTROKE #13 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160273    DETECTIVE COMICS #951    $2.99
DEC160274    DETECTIVE COMICS #951 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160277    FLASH #17    $2.99
DEC160278    FLASH #17 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160409    FROSTBITE #6 (OF 6) (MR)    $3.99
DEC160359    FUTURE QUEST #10    $3.99
DEC160360    FUTURE QUEST #10 VAR ED    $3.99
OCT160303    GREEN LANTERN THE SILVER AGE OMNIBUS HC VOL 01    $99.99
DEC160289    HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #15    $2.99
DEC160290    HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #15 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160295    HELLBLAZER #7    $2.99
DEC160296    HELLBLAZER #7 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160334    INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FIVE HC VOL 02    $24.99
NOV160333    INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FIVE TP VOL 01    $16.99
DEC160235    JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1    $2.99
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NOV160339    SUPERMAN BATMAN TP VOL 05    $34.99
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DEC160322    TEEN TITANS #5 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160329    WONDER WOMAN #17    $2.99
DEC160330    WONDER WOMAN #17 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160320    WONDER WOMAN TP VOL 01 THE LIES (REBIRTH)    $16.99

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for February 22, 2017

MARVEL COMICS

NOV160963    ALL NEW X-MEN TP VOL 03 INEVITABLE HELL HATH SO MUCH FURY    $15.99
DEC160966    AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #24 CC    $3.99
DEC160927    AVENGERS #4.1    $3.99
DEC161010    BLACK PANTHER #11    $3.99
DEC161012    BLACK PANTHER #11 JUSKO CORNER BOX VAR    $3.99
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DEC160940    CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #12    $3.99
DEC160900    CHAMPIONS #1.MU    $4.99
NOV160966    DAREDEVIL BACK IN BLACK TP VOL 03 DARK ART    $15.99
NOV160976    DAREDEVIL EPIC COLLECTION TP BROTHER TAKE MY HAND    $39.99
NOV160970    DEADPOOL BACK IN BLACK TP    $16.99
DEC161043    DEADPOOL THE DUCK #4 (OF 5)    $3.99
DEC161044    DEADPOOL THE DUCK #4 (OF 5) CONNECTING D VAR    $3.99
NOV160958    DOCTOR STRANGE PREM HC VOL 03 BLOOD IN AETHER    $24.99
DEC160870    ELEKTRA #1    $3.99
NOV160979    ELEKTRA BY MILLIGAN HAMA AND DEODATO JR COMP COLLECT TP    $39.99
DEC161061    ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM #5 (OF 5)    $3.99
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DEC160932    UNCANNY AVENGERS #20    $3.99
DEC168159    UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1 2ND PTG CHARRETIER VAR NOW    $3.99
NOV160971    WOLVERINE VS DEADPOOL TP    $29.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for February 22, 2017

IDW PUBLISHING

AUG160479    ALEX TOTH BRAVO FOR ADVENTURE ARTIST ED HC    $PI
DEC160583    ANGRY BIRDS FLIGHT SCHOOL #1    $3.99
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DEC160540    BACK TO THE FUTURE #17    $3.99
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DEC160427    DARKNESS VISIBLE #1    $3.99
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DEC160450    DIRK GENTLY SALMON OF DOUBT #5    $3.99
DEC160451    DIRK GENTLY SALMON OF DOUBT #5 SUBSCRIPTION VAR    $3.99
DEC160462    HIGHLANDER AMERICAN DREAM #1    $3.99
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DEC160445    JACKBOOT & IRONHEEL TP    $17.99
OCT160547    JAY DISBROW MONSTER INVASION HC    $24.99
DEC160561    MY LITTLE PONY ANNUAL 2017 #1 SUBSCRIPTION VAR    $7.99
DEC160565    MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #51    $3.99
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NOV160386    REVOLUTIONARIES #2    $3.99
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JAN170637    SPACE MOVERS 2201 BOARD GAME (RES)    $59.99
DEC160551    STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN VOL 2 #3    $3.99
DEC160552    STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN VOL 2 #3 SUBSCRIPTION VAR    $3.99
DEC160440    STARSTRUCK OLD PROLDIERS NEVER DIE #1 (OF 6)    $4.99
DEC160514    TMNT UNIVERSE #7    $4.99
DEC160515    TMNT UNIVERSE #7 SUBSCRIPTION VAR    $4.99
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DEC160504    TRANSFORMERS LOST LIGHT #3    $3.99
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DEC160506    TRANSFORMERS LOST LIGHT #3 SUBSCRIPTION VAR B    $3.99
DEC160595    VINTAGE ROMANCE COMIC BOOK COVERS COLORING BOOK TP    $9.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for February 22, 2017

DARK HORSE COMICS

DEC160107    ALIENS VS PREDATOR LIFE AND DEATH #3    $3.99
OCT160074    EC ARCHIVES VALOR HC    $49.99
OCT160072    EDGAR BURROUGHS TARZAN JESSE MARSH OMNIBUS TP VOL 01    $29.99
DEC160127    HALO UNSC SPIRIT OF FIRE SHIP REPLICA (RES)    $49.99
JUL168360    LEGEND OF ZELDA ART & ARTIFACTS HC    $39.99
DEC160073    SERENITY NO POWER IN THE VERSE #5 (OF 6) MAIN SANTOS CVR    $3.99
DEC160074    SERENITY NO POWER IN THE VERSE #5 (OF 6) VAR JEANTY CVR    $3.99
OCT160081    VAMPIRE HUNTER D NOVEL SC VOL 25 (MR)    $11.99
DEC160047    VISITOR HOW AND WHY HE STAYED #1 (OF 5)    $3.99

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for February 22, 2017

IMAGE COMICS

NOV160705    AUTUMNLANDS TP VOL 02 WOODLAND CREATURES (MR)    $16.99
DEC160674    BEAUTY #12 CVR A HAUN & RAUCH (MR)    $3.99
DEC160675    BEAUTY #12 CVR B ZHOU (MR)    $3.99
DEC160668    BELFRY (ONE-SHOT) (MR)    $3.99
DEC160702    BLACK ROAD #7 (MR)    $3.99
DEC168140    CURSE WORDS #1 2ND PTG (MR)    $3.99
DEC160704    CURSE WORDS #2 CVR A BROWNE (MR)    $3.99
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NOV169173    CURSE WORDS #2 CVR C IMAGE TRIBUTE VAR (MR)    $3.99
DEC160706    DESCENDER #19 (MR)    $3.99
NOV169174    DESCENDER #19 CVR B IMAGE TRIBUTE VAR (MR)    $3.99
DEC160707    DRIFTER #17 CVR A KLEIN (MR)    $3.99
DEC160708    DRIFTER #17 CVR B HAWTHORNE (MR)    $3.99
DEC168139    FEW #1 2ND PTG (MR)    $4.99
DEC160710    FEW #2 (MR)    $4.99
DEC168431    FEW #2 CVR B IMAGE TRIBUTE VAR (MR)    $4.99
NOV160621    FIX #8 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160761    LAKE OF FIRE TP (MR)    $16.99
DEC160718    LOOSE ENDS #2 (OF 4) (MR)    $3.99
DEC168393    LOOSE ENDS #2 (OF 4) CVR B    $3.99
DEC160720    MAYDAY #4 (OF 5) (MR)    $3.99
DEC160721    MONSTRESS #10 (MR)    $3.99
DEC168161    MONSTRESS #10 CVR B IMAGE TRIBUTE VAR (MR)    $3.99
DEC160622    OLD GUARD #1 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160664    OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #25 (MR)    $0.25
DEC168160    OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #25 CVR B IMAGE TRIBUTE VAR (MR    $0.25
DEC160821    OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA TP VOL 04 (MR)    $14.99
DEC160764    PIX TP VOL 01 ONE WEIRDEST WEEKEND    $12.99
DEC160681    REVIVAL #47 (MR)    $3.99
NOV169170    REVIVAL #47 CVR B IMAGE TRIBUTE VAR (MR)    $3.99
DEC160733    SHE WOLF #6 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160734    SHUTTER #27 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160774    SNOTGIRL TP VOL 01 GREEN HAIR DONT CARE    $9.99
DEC160741    STRAY BULLETS SUNSHINE & ROSES #21 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160666    SUN BAKERY #1    $4.99
DEC160742    SURGEON X #6 (MR)    $3.99

Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for February 22, 2017

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

AUG161844    ACG COLL WORKS FORBIDDEN WORLDS HC VOL 12    $59.99
SEP161867    ACG COLL WORKS FORBIDDEN WORLDS SLIPCASE ED VOL 12    $69.99
SEP161399    ADVENTURE TIME COMICS TP VOL 01    $14.99
DEC161866    ANCIENT DREAMS #5    $3.99
DEC162110    ANNE HAPPY GN VOL 04 UNHAPPY GO LUCKY    $13.00
JAN171558    ARTHUR KING OF BRITAIN GN    $18.99
NOV161884    ASSASSINS CREED LOCUS #2 (OF 4) NYCC EXC (MR)    $5.00
DEC161426    BACKSTAGERS #7 (OF 8)    $3.99
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Review: JAMES BOND, Volume 1 #6 - Vargr

JAMES BOND, VOL. 1 No. 6
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT – @dynamitecomics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Warren Ellis
ART: Jason Masters
COLORS: Guy Major
LETTERS: Simon Bowland
COVER: Dom Reardon
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S.

Rated T+

“James Bond” is a fictional British Secret Service agent created by Ian Fleming, a British writer and novelist.  Fleming introduced James Bond in the 1953 novel, Casino Royale, and featured the character in 12 novels and two short-story collections.  Of course, most people know Bond because of EON Productions' long-running James Bond-007 film series, which began with the 1962 film, Dr. No.

Over the past 50+ years, Bond has made sporadic appearances in comic books, and the latest comes courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment.  James Bond, Volume 1 is written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Jason Masters, colored by Guy Major, and lettered by Simon Bowland.  The first story arc is entitled is entitled “Vargr.”

“Vargr” begins with James Bond, Agent 007 on a mission in Helsinki to avenge the death of 008, whose case load he assumes upon returning to London – mission successfully completed.  A new mission takes Bond to Berlin to break up a drug operation.  He discovers a conspiracy, but does not realize how far-ranging it is, nor does he initially comprehend the forces arrayed against him.

James Bond, Volume 1, #6 finds 007 in Norway.  There, he will infiltrate the “Vargr,” a battleship belonging to Slaven Kurjak, the mastermind behind the horrific drug/viral outbreak that could send London (and other locales) into chaos.  The brutality that it will take to complete this mission just might destroy James Bond.

When Dynamite Entertainment launched its press push for James Bond, Volume 1, Warren Ellis said that this James Bond comic book series would feature a James Bond that skewed closer to the character that appeared in Ian Fleming's writing than in the film series.  When actor Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond around a decade ago, it was announced that the James Bond film series would return to the idea that 007 was a blunt instrument used by the British Secret Service.

This newest comic book incarnation offers a James Bond that mostly eschews the cinematic theatrics of movie James Bond, and offers a Bond that is closer to the literary Bond, which includes 007 being a “blunt instrument.”

Warren Ellis offers a story that is tense and fast-moving without being a slick action-packed thriller.  Ellis' Bond is cool under pressure and cerebral, but he is also the relentless force of nature that is the cinematic Jason Bourne, as played actor Matt Damon.  Ellis builds the conflict, plot, and conspiracy with his usual mix of cutting edge culture, science, and technology.

The true stars of this series may be artist Jason Masters and colorist Guy Major.  Master's graphical storytelling and composition create a story that moves straight ahead like a grim fighter who knows that he is in the last round of a fight.  He may dodge and weave, but he can't really take a step back; he must move inexorable forward in this unforgiving fight, regardless of the injuries inflicted upon him.  It is Major, who uses a cool palette of colors, that creates the sense that this story has a consistent sense of pace and movement.  Once you start Ellis' story, Masters and Major create a visual and graphical experience that pushes you forward, right smack into the bloody end.

Damn, I can't wait for the next chapter in Dynamite's Ellis-Masters-Major Bond.  In the meantime, grab the upcoming hardcover collection of the Vargr story arc.  It will be worth the cover price.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

--------------------

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review: MOTHER PANIC #2

MOTHER PANIC No. 2
DC COMICS/Young Animal – @DCComics

STORY: Jody Houser
ART: Tommy Lee Edwards
COLORS: Tommy Lee Edwards
LETTERS: John Workman
COVER: Tommy Lee Edwards
VARIANT COVER: Paul Rentler
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (February 2017)

Mature Readers

Mother Panic created by Gerard Way, Jody Houser, and Tommy Lee Edwards

“A Work in Progress” Part 2

Young Animal is a recently-launched DC Comics imprint.  It is curated by rock musician (My Chemical Romance) and comics creator, Gerard Way (The Umbrella Academy).  The first three Young Animal titles that were released were remakes and re-imaginings of two Silver Age DC comics series (Doom Patrol, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye) and one cult property (Shade the Changing Man has become Shade the Changing Girl).

Mother Panic is a brand new comic book creation about a brand new vigilante who calls Gotham City (Batman's hometown) her stomping grounds.  The series stars wealthy prodigal daughter, Violet Paige, who returns to Gotham to clean up the city's filthy, disturbed underbelly while pretending to be a “celebutante.”  Mother Panic is written by Jody Houser; illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards; and lettered by John Workman.

Mother Panic #2 opens as Violet prepares to take down Mr. Hemsley and to trace a sex trafficking ring to its source.  First, she will have to find Hemsley, and what better place than the 2017 Gotham Victims Fund Gala.  However, Violet's mission is tied to her own troubled past, which may affect her ability to... ahem... execute her plan.  Plus, a Gotham hero makes a cameo.

From reading different web articles, I gather that the point of Mother Panic is to present stories from Batman's hometown that are too disturbing to be told in Batman comic books that are marketed to readers of all-ages.  Mother Panic is basically a quasi Batman-related title for adult readers.  I was only mildly interested after reading the first issue, but I feel different after reading Mother Panic #2.

In my review of the first issue, I said that Mother Panic might turn out to be a really good title, but I found that the first issue teased the reader and only offered standard superhero fare (violence).  However, I am starting to find Violet Paige to be an intriguing and likable character.  There is something cool about her costume and “flying” motorcycle, but there is something even cooler, Violet's emerging personality.  I am reviewing Mother Panic #2 via a PDF that DC Comics makes available to reviewers.  I feel confident in recommending Mother Panic because I will read the next PDF and may eventually start buying the comic book.

[This issue includes a bonus story “Gotham Radio Scene One: The Morning After” by Jim Krueger, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, Trish Mulvihill, and Deron Bennett.]

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2017 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

--------------------------

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: MICRONAUTS #1

MICRONAUTS No. 1 (2016)
IDW PUBLISHING – @IDWPublishing

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Cullen Bunn
ARTIST – Breakdowns: David Baldeón
ARTISTS – Finishes: Fico Ossio; Max Dunbar; Jack Lawrence; David Baldeón
COLORS: David Garcia Cruz; Joana Lafuente, Thomas Deer; John-Paul Bove
LETTERS: Tom B. Long
COVER: J.H. Williams III
VARIANT COVERS: David Baldeón with David Garcia Cruz; Gabriel Rodriguez with Nelson Daniel; Jack Rivera (photographer); Casey W. Coller with John-Paul Bove; Butch Guice with Joana Lafuente; Michael Golden; Darick Robertson with Joana Lafuente; Adam Hughes; Stuart Sayger; Rob Liefeld with Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
40pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (April 2016)

Micronauts was a toy line that now-defunct toy company Mego manufactured and marketed, beginning in the mid-1970s and ending in 1980.  This science fiction-themed line was based on Japanese toy company Takara's “Microman” toy line.  Mego licensed Microman and other similar toys to create the Micronauts, which were both repackaged Microman toys and also modified and reconfigured versions of both Microman and other Takara toys.

In 1979, Marvel Comics began publishing The Micronauts, a comic book featuring a group of characters based on Mego's Micronauts toy line and also a few original characters Marvel created to appear in The Micronauts.  Marvel ceased publishing comic books based on the Micronauts in 1986.  In the 21st century, Image Comics and Devil's Due Publishing each published its own Micronauts comics for a short period of time.

Last year, IDW Publishing, which seems to specialize in publishing comic books based on licensed properties, announced that it had obtained the license to publish Micronauts comic books.  IDW recently published the first issue of Micronauts.  This series is written (and apparently conceptualized) by Cullen Bunn.  Artist David Baldeón provides the character designs and conceptual art, and draws the breakdowns from which several illustrators provide the finished art.

Micronauts #1 opens on the planet Saqqura where five Biotrons face the wrath of the “entropy storm” that rages against the planet.  Later, on Micropolis-12, Oziron “Oz” Rael and the crew of the “Heliopolis” find themselves tempted by a local crime boss.  Soon, Oz is leading Phenolo-Phi (Space Glider), Acroyear, and their guest, an “orbital defender,” named Larissa into what is either a big score or a big trap.

From its snazzy J.H. Williams III cover to its colorful interiors, Micronauts #1 sure is a pretty comic book.  It was hard to miss it on the shelf of a local comic book shop; to me, it stood out like a pretty candle on Bay Street.  The spiffy new character designs by David Baldeón are eye-candy and are obviously influenced by animation and anime.  I like them; these designs would make cool toys.

This first issue gives the reader just a taste of the opening story line, but I'm betting that the cliffhanger ending will make a large percentage of people who bought this first issue come back for more.  [In fact, I have already obtained a copy of the recently released second issue.]  For the time being, I believe in Cullen Bunn.  I am also somewhat enamored with the art, from page layout and composition to color and graphic design, this looks to be an exciting read.

There are also “extras” and back matter in this first issue, which include a page from Bunn's notebook, 10 pages of character designs, and also a script to inked art comparison.  Yeah, the $4.99 cover price is on the expensive side, but this first issue goes far in giving readers their money's worth.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

-----------------------------

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review - KING CONAN: Wolves Beyond the Border #4

KING CONAN No. 24
DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Timothy Truman
ARTIST: Tomás Giorello
COLORS: José Villarrubia
LETTERS: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
COVER: Tomás Giorello with Jose Villarrubia
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 2016)

Wolves Beyond the Border: Part 4 of 4 “The Worms”

Conan the Cimmerian (also known as Conan the Barbarian) was born in the pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard (REH), first appearing in the magazine, Weird Tales (1932).  In 1970, Marvel Comics brought Conan to the world of comic books, and with only few pauses, Conan comic books have been published for over four decades.

One of the most acclaimed Conan comic book writers of the last decade, Tim Truman, has taken an original REH story fragment, “Wolves Beyond the Border,” and has created a four-issue comic book miniseries, King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border.  The artist for the series is one of the best Conan comic book artists of all time, Tomás Giorello, who has worked with Truman on earlier Conan comic books.  Series colorist is one of the best Conan color artists ever, José VillarrubiaRichard Starkings & Comicraft provides the lettering for this miniseries.

In King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border, Conan is the aged king of the nation of Aquilonia.  He is alerted to a conspiracy involving his longtime enemies, the PictsKwarada, Witch of Skandaga, plans to gather the various Pictish tribes to her side, a confederacy that she will use to invade Aquilonia and eventually all the lands to the east.

In order to convince the other tribes to follower her, she needs the lost “Crown of Brule,” but not all Picts will follow her, in particularly, the Wolf Tribe.  The crown, an iron circlet, has come into Conan's possession.  In order to stop Kwarada's plot, Conan forges a tenuous alliance with an “old friend,” the high priestess Nai, and the war leader of the Wolf Tribe, Bril.

As King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #4 (“The Worms”) opens, Conan and the wounded Bril travel through the forest in order to reach “Uamh-Dagon.”  There, Kwarada plans to sacrifice the boy, Brune, Bril's nephew and the next chief of the Wolf Tribe.  With the boy's life and an incantation, Kwarada hopes to raise a dark army from the bowels of the earth.

Robert E. Howard began writing “Wolves Beyond the Border” in the 1930s, but it remained a fragment that he did not finish.  Conan is mentioned in the story, but does not appear in it.  In a piece that was published at the end of the first issue of King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border, Truman wrote that he loosely based King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border on the fragment.  That may not matter to many readers.  Truman also hinted that he might use the story to connect REH's three most significant characters:  Kull, Conan, and Bran Mak Morn.  That may matter more to the fans of REH's fiction and to fans of comic books based on his work.

What really matters is that King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border is an excellent Conan comic book.  I consider Tim Truman, Tomas Giorello, and Jose Villarrubia to be the modern gold standard in Conan comic book creative teams.  How good is this comic book?  Well, I was sad when I came to the last page because I could have read at least one more issue.

Truman's sense of adventure is in evidence here, and as always, his story and script are imaginative and inventive.  Of course, Truman would never leave out the brawny storytelling that the best Conan comics require, but this isn't some phony masculine fantasy.  Wolves Beyond the Border can be enjoyed by anyone who loves Conan or the genre known as swords and sorcery.

Giorello takes Truman's script and creates the most beautiful art.  Giorello's graphical storytelling captures the essence of the world of Conan, where sullen-eyed, sword-wielding warriors, slayers, thieves, etc. tread the world.  Villarrubia's colors finish the process, adding the final touch that creates an undreamed of age of shining kingdoms spread across the blue mantle of the world like stars embedded in the firmament.

King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border #4 delivers on the promise of the first issue.  Four issues are not enough, but still, they are four great issues.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for February 15, 2017

DC COMICS

DEC160251    AQUAMAN #17    $2.99
DEC160252    AQUAMAN #17 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160322    BATGIRL A CELEBRATION OF 50 YEARS HC    $39.99
DEC160261    BATMAN #17    $2.99
DEC160262    BATMAN #17 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160328    BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS HC VOL 01    $49.99
NOV160375    BATMAN ANIMATED NBA GIRLS NIGHT OUT AF 5 PACK (RES)    $80.00
NOV160325    BATMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 02    $29.99
DEC160238    BATWOMAN REBIRTH #1    $2.99
DEC160239    BATWOMAN REBIRTH #1 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160331    CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #5 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160332    CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE #5 VAR ED (MR)    $3.99
JUL160448    DC BOMBSHELLS KATANA STATUE    $125.00
NOV160344    FUTURE QUEST TP VOL 01    $16.99
DEC160281    GREEN ARROW #17    $2.99
DEC160282    GREEN ARROW #17 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160335    GREEN LANTERN TP VOL 08 REFLECTIONS    $16.99
DEC160285    GREEN LANTERNS #17    $2.99
DEC160286    GREEN LANTERNS #17 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160293    HARLEY QUINN #14    $2.99
DEC160294    HARLEY QUINN #14 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160348    HE MAN THUNDERCATS #5 (OF 6)    $3.99
DEC160351    INJUSTICE GROUND ZERO #6    $2.99
DEC160299    JUSTICE LEAGUE #15    $2.99
DEC160300    JUSTICE LEAGUE #15 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160411    LUCIFER #15 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160368    MAD MAGAZINE #544    $5.99
NOV160277    MOTHER PANIC #3 (MR)    $3.99
NOV160278    MOTHER PANIC #3 VAR ED (MR)    $3.99
DEC160305    NIGHTWING #15    $2.99
DEC160306    NIGHTWING #15 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160353    ODYSSEY OF THE AMAZONS #2 (OF 6)    $3.99
DEC160355    RAVEN #6 (OF 6)    $2.99
NOV160358    RED THORN TP VOL 02 MAD GODS AND SCOTSMEN (MR)    $16.99
AUG160374    SUICIDE SQUAD MOVIE JOKER & HARLEY QUINN STATUE    $250.00
DEC160240    SUPER SONS #1    $2.99
DEC160241    SUPER SONS #1 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160317    SUPERMAN #17    $2.99
DEC160318    SUPERMAN #17 VAR ED    $2.99
NOV160319    SUPERMAN ACTION COMICS TP VOL 01 PATH OF DOOM (REBIRTH)    $16.99
DEC160367    TEEN TITANS GO #20    $2.99
DEC160325    TRINITY #6    $2.99
DEC160326    TRINITY #6 VAR ED    $2.99
DEC160415    UNFOLLOW #16 (MR)    $3.99
DEC160229    WILD STORM #1    $3.99
DEC160231    WILD STORM #1 JIM LEE VAR ED    $3.99
DEC160230    WILD STORM #1 LOTAY VAR ED    $3.99
NOV160342    WONDER WOMAN 77 TP VOL 02    $16.99