I Review Comics 's Profile

Location: Detroit , MI Joined: Oct 19, 2018 About Me: I created this account to share my thoughts on comics and to spotlight indie comics that don't get the attention they deserve.

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8.4
Overall Rating
9.0
10 Years To Death #1

Jan 8, 2022

I’ve read and reviewed a ton of horror titles in recent years. 10 Years to Death is the first comic in the genre that genuinely creeped me out. _ isn’t a particularly deep or complicated story but it captures the fundamentals of any great horror story, atmosphere, unease, and sense of impending dread. The story follows a prison guard who recounts a peculiar experience on his cell block. The story is eerie but pretty mundane until a new guard is transferred to the cell block. The guard isn’t like the other officers. He eats alone, doesn’t engage in small talk, and inspires absolute terror in one of the block's most dangerous prisoner. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I purchased 10 Years to Death. For comparison's sake, the story reads like an extended tale from “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. The tone of the story is consistently dark, even when nothing particularly scary is happening on the panel. Danger always feels a page away which is a credit to the focused nature of the creative team. 10 years to Death is a complete story and presented in a prestige oversized format. _ doesn’t string you along or waste time getting to the point. The story is efficient and is hard to put down once started. The book also ends in a pretty creepy yet satisfying conclusion. I can’t knock any aspect of the story since it's the perfect story to read to children or around a campfire. In Short: 10 Years to Death is a nice little scary story that harkens back to the best of the 80s and 90s.

9.0
All-America Comix #1

Jul 27, 2020

All America Comix #1was a random addition to the comics pile a few weeks ago. I had no idea what to expect aside from the fact that the lead character is clearly a reskin of America Chavez. I've never read a Miss America comic so I don't know much about her. I know she's a divisive character depending on what circle of fandom you associate with. I'm not sure Why America Chavez is being repurposed here for image comics. I'll dig into the situation after posting the review. I think it's more important to get my thoughts out regarding the actual comic than any of the background shenanigans. The comic itself is pretty good. I won't call the book woke but the character definitely has a progressive bent. I'd consider this to be the most honest and topical take on a "progressive" Superhero ever. America is described as a screenager. This means that she's been plugged into some sort of technology since she was a kid. This also means she's a product of my generation or younger. The personality type reminds me of my 15-year-old daughter so I lean younger. America and my Daughter are trying to find their way in life. They are both idealists and still believe that they can change the world. I find this to be an endearing quality in any superhero. Vasquez rebels against all authority figures or agendas but wear's the colors of her grandfather who fought in Vietnam. She tries to honor him as a reminder that there are more wars to fight. Vietnam was often seen as a war of convenience with the soldiers being called baby killers or even worst upon returning home. I doubt America Vasquez would support the Vietnam war considering she's a screenager with access to the internet and information surrounding the war. This represents a blind spot in her logic which I believe is intentional. The character is so informed by social media and her peer group. Yet pushes back against groupthink. I thought this was a wonderful contradiction as I was reading. As the story goes on she interacts with this world's version of the Avengers and Dr. Doom. She clearly wants no part of being an Avenger. She's shown to know the issues and be extremely powerful but having knowledge and power without wisdom can lead to costly and disastrous mistakes as we find our way in the world. America states that she doesn't play defense which is another way of saying that she doesn't strategize or think longterm before committing to a course of action. At one point during her encounter with Dr. Doom, he confronts her with her own naivety. Sure he's a dictator but he has zero unemployment and Homelessness. She responds yeah but his people aren't free. Her approach is simple-minded in light of a large complicated issue but you support America because her heart is genuinely in the right place. I often see liberals and progressives on twitter rallying around causes that sound great on paper but don't quite mesh with reality. When the two sides of the issue collide things immediately blow up because the most basic of Ideas are generally considered when a solution is presented. I'd like to see this take on the character grow and mature as the series goes on. There is a lot of potentials and I find America's internal monologues fascinating. She's the most interesting zoomer character I've run across in comics and I'd hate to see the character wasted. I didn't expect to like this comic but I'm genuinely interested in the direction of the series if it continues. Dustin Nguyen does a great job in storytelling and gets a lot of mileage with this material. The comic gives origin, action as well as interdimensional travel. The climax of the issue is a mindfuck that America _ is probably not gonna be able to handle on her own. This is a nice launch. Maybe I'll check out Miss American and see what the fuss is about.

10
American Jesus: The New Messiah #1

Jan 25, 2020

One of the most visionary writers working today is Mark Millar. He was one of my favorite creators in the early 2000's when he collaborated with Bryan Hitch on Ultimates. In the past couple of years, he's been on fire. I just reviewed Space Bandits #4 a few days ago and gave it a 10/10. American Jesus has a totally different vibe but it still a master class in storytelling and shows off Mark's versatility as a writer. Luciana has been having dreams of carrying the child of God since she was a very young girl. This continues throughout her teenage years. She starts dating and shortly into her relationship she inexplicitly becomes pregnant. The problem is that she's still a virgin. The story isn't anything new. We've seen Christ reborn across fiction. I'm currently reviewing two other titles centering around Christ's return in the current year. American Jesus is easily the best of the bunch. Like Chrononauts, American Jesus is the second volume of a series that I didn't read. Reading this issue I didn't get the impression that I was missing anything. The book touches on a lot of Biblical prophecies that you've probably heard of if you've been in religious circles. I was raised in a religious family so I was right at home with the material. The Characters are intriguing. Luciana feels like a real child just getting her footing in life. The most powerful scene in the book involves a very real scene you hear about but don't really see depicted. Mark rarely shies away from controversy and he's learned to pick his spots over the years. Where Chrononauts is over the top action and exploration. American Jesus brings a millennia-old story into the modern-day. Not much to say about the art direction. The pencils don't really jump out one way or another. The artist doesn't really get a lot to do in this issue outside of basic slice of life stuff so Ill reserve judgment. The script is the prime driver of this story. On another note the covers are amazing. I can't find any fault with this story. American Jesus is amazing and I left the issue mouth open and pondered potential story direction. If you haven't checked it out I highly recommend it.

8.5
American Jesus: The New Messiah #2

Mar 7, 2020

American Jesus #2 gives us a huge time jump from the last installment and drops into the '90s, presumably around the time of the Branch Davidian siege in Waco TX. Our leads have officially joined up with the cult and have been living on the compound for approximately 18 years. Catalina is seen as the second coming and is protected as such. The problem is that she doesn't believe any of the religious idealogy and even calls out the circumstances of her virgin birth as a lie. American Jesus #2 isn't as focused as the first installment and largely seems to be set up for the next issue. The come spend's it's time introduce key elements that I'm sure will play into the rest of the series. The nearest comparison I can make would be how Iron Man started the MCU, while Iron Man 2 did most of the heavy world-building. The cult is led by Ezekiel. He's clearly a take on controversial religious leader, David Koresh. None of the cultists are portrayed out of the ordinary aside from the religious conviction which I found to be unique in relation to how cults are typically portrayed. I'm sure the real world events will play into the story in some capacity. I also believe it may be possible that the portrayal of the cultists may be a commentary on how people are demonized as monsters once the media get involved are able to color the narrative. This would also feed into the conspiracy angle of the story. Speaking of conspiracy, Miller layers on more religious conspiracies into the story including the controversial subject of Jesus is a messiah in a long line of messiahs that have appeared throughout human history. When Catalina presents this information to her mother the response boils down to "It's complicated". I'm glad that no right or wrong answer is presented here. This is a very mature take on the subject matter being presented in this material. Catalina is interesting as the potential new messiah. She questions everything and seems to be the stand-in for the reader. This is good stuff but I call bullshit on her knowledge base. I'm 35 and most of my knowledge of religious conspiracy came with internet access. It's hard to believe that all of this information would be readily available in this compound. I'm not saying it's impossible but it stood out as odd especially when contrast with how secretive the cult appears to be. If you're a hardline Christian I can see aspects of this issue being annoying for you. Some of the info dumps are heavy-handed and got an eye roll out of me but overall the story works and kept me engaged. Issue #3 looks to be pretty eventful. I pray for all of the characters involved because it's not looking good for our cast.

10
American Jesus: The New Messiah #3

Mar 15, 2020

In recent years the term "Mary Sue" has been used to describe a lot of modern female protagonists. The biggest and clearest and example of the trope would be "Rey" from the Star Wars. Another modern example would be Captain Marvel from the MCU. Modern mainstream comics are full of these characters. The "Mary Sue" generally exists due to poor writing. They aren't compelling characters and normally have everything they need at the outset of the story so there isn't much room for real character development. What Mark Millar has done with American Jesus is to create an extremely overpowered female protagonist. The character technically fits the Mary Sue label but unlike most of the characters that fit the description, Mark has taken the time to establish the how and why the character is this powerful and has given her an actual purpose rather than being a walking plot device. He also sets up a compelling path forward for her and the setting. The issue starts with Luciana revealing to the Cult that she has been in communication with the Angel Gabrielle and has found Catalina (New Messiah). This book then picks up with Catalina as she tries to live a normal life with her new friends and boyfriend. This comes to a head fairly quickly when she is tracked down by her mother and informed that there has been a major tragedy back at the compound. Anyone that came of age in the '90s can take a wild guess as to what happens to the cult in this issue. What Mark does next takes all of the disparate themes established in this series and blend them with the current state of how information is disseminated. The underlying theme of this story is reality versus potential media distortion of facts. At face value, this entire story is insane and no one would believe it. What if it was true though? As I write this review the United States has gone into lockdown due to the spread of the Covid-19 Virus. Based on media coverage one may assume that we may be on the verge of an apocalyptic scenario. In looking at the actual statistics related to illness and recovery its clear that the situation is not as dire as it's being made out to be. The problem is that the coverage is skewed to sensationalize the pandemic which has led to rampant panic from coast to coast. The Cult in American Jesus is attacked in a similar fashion to the Branch Davidians of the early '90s. When you hear the word cult you immediately get images of Jim Jones, Marilyn Manson or David Koresh. What sets the real world apart from the setting of American Jesus is that none of the members of this particular cult are portrayed as dangerous at all. The situation is fantastical due to the particular nature of this story but I remember being a kid and seeing the still images of David Koresh, followed by the images of the burning compound and after putting down this comic it makes you wonder, what if? I haven't mentioned Peter Gross since issue #1's review. I'm not the biggest fan of his art style but It works really well with this series. He's a great storyteller and although his style is definitely different than my preference he gets the emotional beats of the story and never detracts from the narrative. American Jesus #3 is a great issue and the series has been an interesting thought experiment. This is a book that makes you want to talk about it. This bodes well if the series is eventually adapted for Netflix. I ordered the original graphic novel and feel like the next installment will be even bigger now that we're out of origin territory. This is easily an early contender for the best mini-series of 2020.

8.0
Aquaman (2016) #41

Oct 26, 2019

Aquaman/Justice League Drowned Earth was the DC crossover that was released in conjunction with the Aquaman movie last year. (This review is Late AF). I reviewed Justice League #10 which was the first prelude. I don't recall being all that impressed with the comic. Thankfully Dan Abnett steps it up. This issue does a great job of setting up the conflict for our heroes. Prior to seeing Aquaman last year I had no idea who Mera was. She was a great co-lead in the film and that portrayal of the character meshes well with her depiction in this issue as she takes center stage. Various ocean deities have decided to drown the Planet Earth. They have already captured Aquaman (Justice League #10). While those events are taking place Mera is left to defend Atlantis as it has also begun to be submerged. I'm not all that familiar with DC's version of Atlantis so it came as a surprise that Atlanteans can be drowned at all. The water submerging Atlantis is also turning anyone that comes in contact with it into monsters. Mera does her best to hold back the flood and as she struggles she also reached out to the Justice League for help. She makes contact with Batman who informs her that The league isn't available and that Aquaman is missing. As Atlantis falls Mera reaches out to the only person that may be able to assist, the Ocean Master. Lan and Gabe do an adequate job of conveying the tension and horror of the situation. I do think that the color choices maybe a little too bright for the story being told. The opening shot of Mera is amazing. There are also some great action and horror beats conveyed throughout the issue. The designs of the twisted Atlanteans are terrifying The main complaint I have with this issue lies with the busted continuity of the DC Universe. In this arc, the world is being flooded. To my knowledge, this event isn't referenced in any of the other DC books aside from the Drowned Earth tie-ins. Batman is also in a full-body cast. I'm behind on my comic reviews but I'm pretty sure Bruce isn't mangled in any series outside of Justice League. The continuity issues are glaring unless you just don't care. For me as a longtime reader, the total apathy in regards to story continuity is glaring. In a vacuum or as a trade I'm sure it won't matter but if you're buying these comics monthly it's jarring. The event officially starts with the conclusion of this issue. I'm more interested in the story now than before which is probably the best compliment I can give. My initial impression of the storyline from Justice League #10 is the main reason It took me such a long time to dive back in.

9.0
Aquaman (2016) #42

Feb 13, 2020

My last Drowned Earth review boiled down to Scott Snyder joggling too many plot points which led to what felt like a mess of a comic. Aquaman #42 validates my criticism. This book picks up immediately from the Justice League cliffhanger. Arthur is on the verge of death and must find his way back to our reality. The comic focuses on Arthur and the relationship he has with his father. The story also speaks on Aquaman's destiny. Throughout the issue, we see him overcome various obstacles thrown his way. We've seen this trope many times across fiction but it still manages to be effective here. Prior to seeing the Aquaman fil, I had no knowledge of Aquaman's familial situation. DC's characters tend to be more stoic and Godlike. the focus on the father-son relationship ground's the character and makes the entire issue more relatable. Aside from scenes with dad the rest of the issue pushes the Drowned Earth story forward. Diana and Aquaman confront Poseidon. The interactions between these three characters are great and are a nice change of pace. Dan Abnett doesn't have to bounce between several groups of characters so the story is easier to digest. The cover for this issue is God-Tier and pulls from the Aquaman film for inspiration. The covers for this event have been generally been great and if a cover gallery for the event is ever released. I'd buy it. Ian Medina's art also serves the story well. The event has had problems throughout. One of them has been the inconsistent art choices. Medina's character models are clear, distinct and the monsters whenever they appear are horrifying. All of these elements combine to make a compelling issue. It works as a single issue of Aquaman and also works to strengthen the Drowned Earth event. I've never been a huge fan of the character but with this storyline and the film, I at least have a newfound respect for the character.

9.5
Aquaman (2016) #43

Dec 22, 2018

Aquaman #1 is the first Aquaman comic that I have ever purchased. Admittedly the purchase was made partially because the movie was released the same week. I was curious about what Arthur Curry was getting up to in the comics. It's also worth mentioning that my main comic shop was sold out of this issue and my back-up shop was almost out as well. Apparently, this issue is a big deal.   In this issue, Arausio/Andy/Arthur/Aquaman has lost his memory and has taken up residence in "The Village of Unspoken Water". The village is having a tough time and living off of potatoes because all of the fish pulled from the waters are rotten.   ​ There is a mystery laid out in regards to why the village is having such a hard time. In the end, Aquaman is given a mission and to take one of the village residents back to her mother and possibly calm the seas.  Of the 2 other #1's I've reviewed recently (Martian Manhunter, Shazam) Aquaman was the most entertaining and intriguing. The downside of the issue is that we're dealing with another case of our hero having amnesia. This is also similar to the basis of the Nightwing relaunch as well as Hawkman. It doesn't hurt this issue in a vacuum but is strange when the publisher begins using the same trope over and over again.  ​​ The art from Robson Rocha and Sunny Cho is amazing. All of the characters have distinct appearances and the landscapes for the village are beautiful. I can easily see this simple story turning into something epic. Kelly Sue DeConnick knocks this one out of the park and I'm excited to see where this story goes from here. The entire team should be commended for such an excellent start. For More reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.0
Aquaman (2016): Drowned Earth Special #1

Feb 24, 2020

I'm finally finished reviewing the Drowned Earth story and can move on. I've been down on Snyder since the start of the event. It sucks because I generally love his ideas and concepts. I found his segments of the event to be overstuffed. Whether it's Snyder or editorial who are to blame we'll never know, but this issue meshes well with the rest of the story. It felt nice reading a Scott Snyder issue that balances out nicely. This is a decent closeout issue and even the Legion of Doom segments are integrated well. Aquaman gets most of the spotlight here which is appropriate considering the timing of the event with the film release (Yes this comic is old AF).Most of the attention centers around him and his ongoing rivalry with Black Manta. Before the event, I only knew Manta from the film. It's nice to see that the characterization from the movie grafts almost 100% here. He's treated as a worthy rival to Arthur and get's his licks in on the Justice League as well. It's not all roses though. The conclusion and aftermath of Drowned Earth came too easy for me. Considering that the earth was basically capsized during the event It's hard to imagine the world immediately getting back to normal. There's also a basic continuity problem. Based on the level of the threat, the number of heroes involved in the story should have been a lot larger. I hate when events have no lasting ramifications or are immediately retconned. We see this a lot at Marvel. It feels that aside from the new status quo for Aquaman and the continuation of the Legion of Doom storyline this event will go down the memory hole. This review is being written in 2020, do you remember Drowned Earth? Looking at the entirety of Drowned Earth I think its a net positive. The Legion of Doom segments will hurt the trade because it's tied intrinsically to the main Justice League series. Titan's #28 is a great tie-in but is ultimately unnecessary as they never appear again in the event. Aside from the gripes cited in these reviews, the event is pretty good. There aren't a ton of tie-ins so collecting the event in single issues won't break your wallet. The trade is also going for about $16 on Amazon. If you're a fan of Aquaman and Epic Justice League stories you can't go wrong here.

9.0
Archangel 8 #1

Aug 15, 2020

Archangel #8 is another AWA title that hits all of the right notes as a launch title. I probably would have changed the name slightly and just called it "Archangel" but I get it. Marvel's lawyers would have probably come knocking. The comic is a bit cliche. Almost every element in the series has been done before but Michael Moreci sells it anyway and Archangel 8 turns out to be a thoroughly engrossing experience by the end. There isn't a lot presented to the reader about the overarching plot in this installment. The book follows 8 as he prepares for an assassination run. We also aren't given much information about the target but apparently, the two men know each other and worked together in the past. 8 is visibly shaken but steels himself for the task at hand. From there get set several scenes of 8 gathering info about #####. What sells this issue is the atmosphere and the intimacy we share with the lead character. Most of the dialogue in the book is internal. We get significant details about 8. We learn his value system, thoughts on religion, and his process of preparing for a hit. We even get some philosophy thrown in for good measure. All of the details went a long way in making me care about 8 and his mission. There isn't a lot presented to the reader about the overarching plot in this installment. The book follows 8 as he prepares for an assassination run. We also aren't given much information about the target but apparently, the two men know each other and worked together in the past. 8 is visibly shaken but steels himself for the task at hand. Everything else is pretty straight forward. The action is great, there is also a decent cliffhanger that adds additional unexpected elements to the series. I brought the comic because of the amazing _ cover and hadn't actually read up on what the series was about. I recommend going into the series blind as I did and avoiding spoilers. There isn't much to hate here. The series feels like Punisher with a dash of Preacher. The action is great, the story - title character are interesting and the art from C.P. Smith is amazing. This is another win for AWA. Rating 9/10

10
Archangel 8 #2

Oct 21, 2020

Back in the '90s, someone had the bright idea to kill off the Punisher. Someone then had an even better idea to bring Frank Castle back as an avenging angel with supernatural abilities. It was an utterly bizarre idea that was quickly retconned by Garth Ennis. Today the Punisher Angel storyline serves as a nice piece of trivia rather than one that anyone takes as a definitive storyline. Archangel 8 seems to be telling a story with a similar basis but where the Punisher storyline was kinda ridiculous, Archangel 8 gets it right in a way that I don't believe Marvel ever could. The issue follows Archangel 8 as he continues his mission. The book is beyond brutal. The opening sequence highlights the price of failure in this setting. The book then shifts to our female antagonist. She's developing into an interesting antagonist/rival and we get to see her deal with a couple of assassins sent her way. The comic finally ends with one of the best action sequences I've read this year. The fight involves 8 and the cartel from the last issue. Things begin getting dicey for 8 and even worse as the other Archangels show up. Archangel 8 #2 is flat-out awesome. The MVP's of the comic are C.P. Smith and Snakebite Cortez. The comic is dark and gritty as well as deeply cinematic. The story is fictional but feels a step outside of reality. Archangel 8 contains supernatural elements but those aspects of the story have been subdued arent the focus as of yet. The script is also pretty friggin sweet. The pacing is perfect. The issue feels like a real comic and not a superfluous issue written for the trade. I love this world and the characters within the series so far. It's hard to believe but I think this is just the beginning of something epic.

8.5
Army of Darkness: 1979 #1

Nov 30, 2021

I confess I’ve never got through any of the Evil Dead movies and I only vaguely remember watching Army of Darkness when I was a kid. However, I have read a few comics featuring Ash and they have always been fun. Army of Darkness: 1979 #1 is no exception. The premise of the series is pretty simple. Ash is transported to the Bronx circa 1979. The opening of the book comic caught my attention immediately because it's an obvious send-up to one of my favorite movies, “The Warriors” which was also released in 1979. In the cult classic film, hundreds of gangs hunt down the “The Warriors” who are framed for killing a prominent Gang leader. In Army of Darkness #1979, the premise is given a supernatural twist as one of the gangs gets access to the Necronomicon and uses it to terrorize New York. Ash drops in to do his thing and shenanigans ensue. Rodney Barnes does a great job with humor and callbacks. Ash is a hilarious character, playing off the Warrior’s film and the culture of the time is an inspired choice. I recognize Rodney’s work from Killadelphia. The tone here is completely different and an impressive showcase of range and understanding of the assignment given. The art direction from Tom and Dinei also captures the spirit of the Army of Darkness and The Warriors perfectly. The gangs are all distinct and the main baddies, The Warlocks are pretty cool visually and are a legit threat to the city. Without the context of the Evil Dead franchise Ash appears to be at an obvious disadvantage. My only complaint with the comic is that it reads really fast. That doesn’t hurt the story overall but when you’re paying $3.99 and up depending on variant cover, the pacing may be an issue. If this pace keeps up my recommendation may be to wait for the trade. In Short: A must-read if you’re a fan of The Warriors and the Army of Darkness Franchise.

9.0
Basketful of Heads #1

Mar 31, 2020

For transparency, I tend to write a rough draft of my reviews in a notebook before uploading it to the site. I've written this full review twice and misplaced it. Not sure what the issue is but I lost both copies of the written reviews for this book so I'm going off of memory. This series is going to be decompressed. If that bothers you I think you may want to pick up the title in trade. The comic isn't bad but most of the story elements do not come into focus in this installment. There is definitely a basket full of heads shown in this issue but it pops up on the first page or two before time jumping back to the '80s. Basket Full of Heads #1 was the first title released under Joe Hill's Hillhouse imprint at DC Comics. The issue isn't particularly scary or creepy. This may be a negative depending on what you're reading the series for, or how you're consuming the material. What the book has going for it is really strong dialogue and characterization. I was drawn to all of the named characters. Once the horror elements ramp up the time spent developing these characters will pay off in the end. As I write this review most of the first wave series are almost over. I predict that even if the Hill House comics aren't flying off the shelves of the local comic shops, the series will do well in trade format. I've reviewed The Dollhouse Family #1 and Daphne Byrne #1 and they all seem to be telling complete stories. This is great in the long run because you'll get an entire story in a single volume. I still would have preferred that the titles be released as graphic novels. The story presented is interesting and is driven by the characterization. The supernatural elements are there but firmly in the background. Liam is interning as a deputy for the Brody Island Police Department. June is a Psych major planning on going into social work after graduation. The bulk of the book takes place at the end of Summer (1983). Liam and June have a burgeoning relationship and with Summer being almost over they are planning their next steps in life as well as their relationship. Their planning is interrupted when Liam stops to investigate a prison break. The Chief tells Liam that he has the situation under control. He wants the kids to head to his wife's home for dinner and for protection while he tracks the escapees. As time passes and the prisoners aren't caught. Additional bodies are found and the situation comes to the head as the escapee's break into the home. Basket Full of Head's #1 reads like an adaptation of a television series or film and I mean that as a compliment. We get a lot of comics that feel like bait for a streaming series or film but in this case, the characters are endearing and I can see myself being stressed as they are put through their paces. Joe has a great voice for everyone even the supporting cast. Leomac's pencils offer a cinematic vibe to the issue. I didn't know that Joe Hill was Stephen King's son until recently and looking back at the issue there are a ton of callbacks to King's stories, including staples like the reoccurring Maine setting. Shawshank Penitentiary pops up. I'm also pretty sure Ned Beatty makes a cameo in this issue. Although the issue is light on actual horror it lays the groundwork for potential greatness. Strong characters and great art go a long way here. The story isn't as atmospheric or as creepy as the first issues of Daphne Byrne or The Dollhouse Family but I believe that Basket Full of Head's is the best of the initial Hill House offerings I've reviewed to date.

8.5
Basketful of Heads #2

Aug 20, 2020

Of all of the initial offerings out of DC Comics Hill House Imprint Basket Full of Heads #1 was my favorite. It's not a particularly scary story. It feels kookier than anything. There are supernatural horror elements to the story. Those aspects combined with the great characterization and tension throughout the issue make up for the series not being all that scary so far. Daphe Byrne and Dollhouse Family are a bit scarier but Basket Full of Heads stands out because the characters feel real, relatable and are generally likable. You don't want to see them hurt or killed which is a testament to the impression left by the first issue. The comic picks up after last issues cliffhangers. The criminals are in the House and June is hiding in a clothes hamper. There's no explanation of what happened with Liam at the conclusion of the previous chapter. The implications are that things aren't good. Eventually, June comes out of her hiding spot and is immediately caught by one of the bad guys. This leads to a game of cat and mouse that leads to June getting her hands on an Axe with supernatural properties. She dispatches the bad guy decapitating him but surprisingly he doesn't die. Hence the name of the series... The linework from Leomacs is amazing. There is a cool fluidity in the action and a lot of tense emotion in the exchanges between characters. The body language of the characters is also great. There are scenes where you don't even need dialogue to know how the characters are feeling in the moment and that's always great. Comic books are a visual medium and many creators seem to forget that. The colors are also worth propping out. A lot of Horror comics are dark and drab. Basket Full of Heads is dark but the colors contrast with the dark background making the characters stand out even more. I'm not an art snob so I may be saying that wrong. Long story short I really liked the art direction for the issue. The only complaint I have is that at the end of this issue we're just leaving what would traditionally be first issue territory. Both issues could have been condensed into one. Lack of story progression is a huge pet peeve of mine and even though I liked the issue It still bugs me when editors fall asleep at the wheel. I still think the series is worth reading in single-issue but If you're waiting for the trade I wouldn't blame you.

7.0
Batman '89 (2021) #1

Dec 25, 2021

Batman '89 #1 Review - Painting by Numbers Batman ‘89 is one of the first films I remember seeing and theaters. I’m deeply nostalgic when it comes to these characters in this particular setting and have wanted to revisit them for decades now. Over the years I’ve imagined what Burton’s third Batman film would look like. The possibilities were practically endless and many of Batman’s rogues weren’t as saturated on the screen like they are today. Unfortunately, the film never happened and the world is poorer for it. Batman ‘89 seeks to give long-term fans closure by drawing from the rumored plot threads that were left open by the films as well as reported casting from the time. This issue sets up the current status quo of Gotham. Bruce is a little older and still active as Batman. The Joker gang is wreaking havoc in Gotham and now operates independently of the Joker. Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams) is given a prominent role, playing up an inevitable transformation into Two-Face. In the back end of the comic, a new vigilante is introduced that will presumably become Robin. Although the direction of the issue feels in line with a possible direction of the Burtonverse, it doesn’t feel particularly inspired. Which is the comics' biggest failure. We’ve seen the birth of Two-Face presented across media and the only difference here is that Harvey is Black. Harvey is a bit more hood than usual and has a little more swagger than I’m used to there isn’t much new ground here. The story also plays up the GCPD vs Batman angle we’ve also seen played out everywhere. Sam Hamm does a serviceable job with the script, it's just tired unless you’re removed from any Batman story that has been released in the past 30 years. The art from Joe Quinones is drawn in what can be described as a DC house style. It looks decent and conveys the story well. However, the art direction is pretty bland especially when compared to the comic adaptation of the first film. The characters don’t share the likenesses of the original actors and on top of the generic nature of the script, Batman ‘89 feels like a low effort by DC to cash in on Keaton’s return to the character next year. This is only the first issue so I won’t write off the series at this point. I hope Batman ‘89 has more to offer than a Generic Batman story. Burton’s take on Batman and Gotham is generally different from what we usually get from these characters. If the story becomes more about Sam’s take on a third Burton film than actually capturing the spirit of those movies than this series will be dead on arrival. In Short: Batman ‘89 #1 stumbles out of the gate and offers readers a paint by numbers script that even the most casual Batman fans will pick up on.

5.0
Batman '89 (2021) #2

Feb 17, 2022

I wasn’t exactly blown away by Batman 89 #1 and I’m sad to say that this issue doesn’t get any better. I had several problems with this issue. Some are personal biases others are with the story itself. The criticisms may be unfair depending on perspective but it's my blog and I gotta be honest. The first problem is that this story isn’t Batman 89 at all. Aside from Harvey Dent vaguely looking like Billy Dee Williams there isn’t much that ties the story to the Tim Burton Batman films. The second gripe is with DC comics in general. Whenever a Black Character is given a platform in a DC comic social ills become the driving force behind their motives. This isn’t an issue in itself but when you’re releasing several issues covering the same ground it gets tired, really tired. Bruce/Batman doesn’t get much to do here. Batman isn’t presented in the most heroic light. He inadvertently causes the death of a kid while on patrol. The death causes him to reflect on his responsibilities as Batman and a change in his approach to fighting crime. Harvey Dent is still attempting to catch Batman but has also taken up the BLM position against the GCPD. This causes officers to call him “Two-Faced” in his backhanded approach to law enforcement. While the situation between Harvey and Batman escalates Tim Drake gets the goofiest character intro ever. If this was the version of Robin Tim Burton was going for I’m glad the character was cut altogether. I don’t have anything positive to say about this comic. The comic has a stock art style that doesn’t stand out and as someone that lived through the Burton Era of Batman, this issue is as vapid as you can get. This comic feels more like Batman 2022 than anything from the 80s or 90s. In short: Batman 89 has been a huge disappointment so far as Current year politics continue to override any ideas Tim Burton may have left on the cutting room floor.

9.0
Batman (2016) #54

Oct 28, 2018

We often see Dick Grayson (Nightwing) as a goofball that doesn't take much seriously. It has been said for decades that the Robin character kept Batman from going over the edge.  What's often lost is that Dick Grayson is that Richard's origin is just as tragic as Bruce's. Both parents were killed in front of him and he was left orphaned with no other family to speak of. It's a wonder that Dick Grayson was able to remain as grounded and optimistic in light of the circumstances. Batman #54 shines the spotlight on the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Dick comes to Gotham to support Bruce as he deals with the pain of being left at the altar by Catwoman in issue #50.  We have interweaving scenes of the characters teaming up to take down minor villains. These scenes are interspersed with scenes of Dick dealing with the immediate aftermath of his parent's murder.  In the flashbacks to Nightwings childhood, we see that he didn't always have an optimistic outlook. He had difficulties coming to terms with his parent's deaths and even being Bruce's ward. Bruce never gave up on Richard and was always patient while he worked out his issues.  The empathy bleeds back to the present. We see Dick being patient with Bruce as he tries to ignore the pain that he is obviously feeling over the rejection. The entire issue overlaps past and present and what we're left with is Bruce Wayne & Dick Grayson that love each other and are bonded by circumstances. At times the relationship blends between father-son, partners, brothers but ultimately as a family. This issue is fantastic.  I'm not a big of a fan of the art as with previous issues but its very strong in a couple key areas. Most of the transitions in the issue begin with Grayson either as a child or present day and Matt Wagner captures the age and de-aging perfectly. There was a lot of pain in Grayson that he had to overcome and Its rarely covered in the comics. This issue provides a lot of context for the character and the relationship between both men. For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.5
Batman (2016) #55

Dec 2, 2018

So after doing a deep dive into Batman and Nightwing's relationship in the last issue, Batman #55 starts off with a night on the town with our dynamic duo.  The events of the issue are pretty mundane but beautifully rendered by  Tony S. Daniel and Tomeu Morey. The A Story builds off of the last issue. We get more character development and insight into the relationship between these two men. Batman is stoic as ever while Nightwing is constantly trolling Bruce to get a reaction.  Occasionally the mask slips and we get the impression that Bruce has fun with Dick around but it's more of a subtext than anything that is ever outright stated The other subplot involves the KGBeast making his way through Gotham and setting up shop and getting prepared for a job. The issue culminates with our heroes meeting with Commissioner Gordon as they have countless times in the past. In this instance, as Gordon gives them the rundown Dick is shot in the head by the KGBeast as he leaves the scene. I'm extremely late in reviewing this issue. The big cliffhanger is the only reason to pick up this issue. It comes out of nowhere but the impact is lessened because the solicits were already floating that Nightwing's status quo was about to change dramatically. The rest of the comic is serviceable but is kinda meh in regards to Tom King's current run. We've seen better we've seen worse. In Nightwing's series, he's had a name change and dealing with amnesia. I'm not a fan of the idea because we're just getting over a huge status quo change for the character. If there is a legit story to tell here I won't write the change off completely but. I'm just not a fan of characters being brutalized in this fashion just to shock fans and sell a few books.  This worked with TMNT when Donatello was nearly beaten to death. It didn't work when Black Widow as brutally murdered near the end of secret empire, time will tell.  For more Reviews - https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Batman (2016) #56

Jan 13, 2019

After a few decent to slightly above average issues, Tom King blesses us with a gem.  Batman #56 continues the KGBeast story arc. Nightwing has been shot in the head and is presumably recovering in his own series. I wouldn't know I haven't been following that comic.  Batman desperately searches for the KGBeast and pull on all of the meager threads he can find braving New Gods and also extreme elements in Russia to complete his mission of bringing the villain to justice.  This a beautifully composed story that bounces back and forth between Batman's search and KGBeast having dinner with his father. I feel that Tom's experience as a C.I.A. Agent helped flavor this issue as Bruce uses intelligence tactics to track down the bad guy. Tony Daniels, Danny Miki, and Tomeu Morey are our art team and as usual, they produce an absolutely stunning issue that perfectly compliments the urgency of Tom's script. When Tom King is firing on all cylinders few writers can match his output. Batman #56 is an excellent example of why he's one of the top writers in the industry today.

9.0
Batman (2016) #57

Mar 3, 2019

A couple of months ago Tom King made a Tweet about how he plots out his action sequences. It was extremely simple and didn't really provide any direction for the artist. Seeing Batman and the KGBeast doing battle in the snow with practically no dialogue and a few grunts made me think of that tweet and chuckle a bit.  Batman #57 concludes the KGBeast story arc with Batman tracking the villain to his father's home moments after he commits patricide. The comic is an amazing read even though there isn't a ton of dialogue in the issue. Just two men fighting it out in the harshest of conditions.  This isn't to say that there isn't much story here. The action is ramped up and interspersed with the brutality is an illustrated retelling of an equally brutal children's bedtime story, "The Animals in the Pit". The story narrative tells the tale of a group of animals that fall into a pit and end up eating each other. A fox ends up tricking a pig into devouring itself and becomes the sole survivor of the pit. The story doesn't say if the fox finds a way out or not.  The story is used to frame the battle and turns out to be one of Bruce's favorite bedtime stories. The fairytale may also be a general commentary on Batman and his relationship with his rogue's gallery. As Batman, Bruce is constantly battling foes bigger, stronger and generally more powerful than him but what he lacks in those areas he makes up with intelligence and cunning to stay ahead of his enemies.  The story may also be a commentary on how Tom King sees Batman's eventual end. There is a strong possibility that Bruce will never make it out of "The Pit" even if the opportunity presents itself.  The art for the issue is outstanding, Tony S. Daniel, and the always steller Tomeu Morey get a lot of mileage out of a relatively simple story which is surprising considering how limited the scope of the comic really is. The Folktale is also beautiful to look at considering how dark it gets in its conclusion.  All things considered, this is a nice arc that only falls apart when you consider that Bruce Wayne traveled to the to one of the harshest locations on the planet just to beat a guy up.

9.0
Batman (2016) #58

Mar 13, 2019

There is a huge contrast between Tom King's Batman and Heroes in Crisis. Batman has been rolling the last several issues while Heroes in Crisis has been running in place during the same length of time. The Penguin figures heavily into this issue as he actually gets more panel time than Batman.  The comic follows the villain as he grieves the loss of what I presume is a family member. After being defeated by Batman Penguin is sent to Arkham and subsequently dressed down by Bane and given the mission to kill Alfred.  The comic ends on a cliffhanger and pivots into a completely different direction than I expected initially. Hinting at a possible team-up.  As a single issue, the comic is fantastic. The art direction from Jordie Bellaire and Mikel Janin is great and atmospheric. It perfectly captures the somber nature of the issue. Penguin is given more characterization here than I've ever seen him given in any other comic. It was also pretty cool seeing him engage Batman in a fist fight. I don't remember ever seeing Penguin actually fighting Batman. ​ It's a nice introduction to the new story arc and manages to keep the momentum going that was built up from the previous issue. It escalates the overarching Bane storyline while also functioning as a great single issue. There's honestly not much to complain about here.

8.5
Batman (2016) #59

May 11, 2019

Batman #59  picks up immediately following the cliffhanger from the last issue. Penguin reveals that Bane has effectively taken over Arkham and Gotham from his cell.  The comic details the meeting with Penguin but also cuts to the present day as Batman visits Bane in Arkham and actively intimidates the Arkham guard into submission and proceeds to beat the hell out of Bane for 20 pages.  This goes on until Batman is interrupted by Jim Gordan. The commissioner claims that Bane is under his direct supervision and couldn't possibly be orchestrating anything. Unable to calm Batman down, Bruce backhands Jim knocking him to the floor. Jim threatens to put the entirety of Gotham's resources into bringing Batman down if he doesn't leave immediately.  The comic ends with Batman questioning if The Penguin is lying and we get the cliffhanger of Bane laying in an infirmary and smirking at the night's developments.  Tom King lost a lot of ground with the Batman/Catwoman wedding but the issues following have been above average to great. It's a damn shame the man has been review bombed over his depiction of Batman and the events of Heroes in Crisis. I'm way behind in my reviews for the series but with the Mr. Freeze arc, The follow-up with the KGBeast and the current quasi-team-up with Penguin it's clear that Bruce's mental state is in question.  The art direction from Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire is great throughout the issue. I really enjoyed the present and past transitions depicting the meeting with Penguin and the lighting for the scenes in Arkham.  The comic is solid but I do have some nitpicks about the writing. I don't like the idea of Batman ever threatening to attack law enforcement. It seems antithetical to the character. I understand that Bruce is under a lot of strain but the idea of him outright threatening to hurt guards is a bit much.  If he had snuck into the cell and attacked Bane without being seen the entire encounter would have made more sense to me. Outside of those general complaints, it's another solid issue. I question, I question the long term planning for the series. I want to believe that Tom has a plan that doesn't involve Batman beating Bane up again. We've seen that story before and during this run.  I'd like the stakes to be raised for Batman and his family and not with just a character getting a new status quo and new series.  Time will tell, I guess.

7.0
Batman (2016) #60

Sep 7, 2019

It's been a while since I reviewed a Tom King Batman Book. Mainly because my review schedule is trash. It's also been because Tom King's star has fallen dramatically for me in 2019. I'll still cover the series but I'm not as enthusiastic as I was when the series first started. This issue finishes the "Penguin" non-team-up. The main plot covers Batman brutalizing criminals recently released from Arkham. He's doing this in order to collaborate Penguin's story that Bane has secretly taken over Arkham. The rest of the book follows Commissioner Gordon's reaction to the trail of bodies Batman is leaving in his wake. The comic also has interludes featuring Penguin and Alfred. In a vacuum, the book isn't terrible. It covers a lot of ground and the art from Mikel Janin & Jorge Fornes contrast nicely. I'm not sure why the book needed to feature two different art styles but it doesn't hurt the narrative. The connecting tissue between artists is Jordie Bellaire who does an amazing job keeping the linework consistent throughout the book. My problem is that tonally this book is somewhat boring, especially considering my recent reviews. My last reviews have covered House of X, TMNT, Ninja-K. Comparatively, Tom King's Batman is plodding along at a snail's pace. There is a lot of action here but it's not exciting and the scenes with penguin are just weird. Why is Alfred feeding Penguin sardines by hand? The cliffhanger hints at something big and the arc started out strong but ultimately feels like a placeholder for more exciting stories to come. There are better Batman stories on the shelves right now. Batman: Curse of the White Night, Batman: Last Knight on Earth run circles around this series and it's sad because of this is technically the flagship title.

7.5
Batman (2016) #61

Oct 23, 2019

Batman #61 is the weirdest single issue I've read in a long time. Not because it was particularly hard to follow but because of the choices made by Tom King and the creative team. Issue #60 ended on the cliffhanger of Alfred being knocked out and Penguin being kidnapped presumably by Bane's henchmen. Rather than continue that story we get an odd detour. Batman is investigating the murder of "Bruce Waynes" parents. To answer the obvious question, no this isn't an Elseworlds story. The kid isn't really Bruce Wayne. Batman shakes down some guys and eventually runs down the alleged murderer. The comic ends on another cliffhanger that I definitely didn't see coming. My biggest problem with the issue is that if you're new to this story you'll be totally lost. If you started reading at issue #60, this issue will be confusing and totally out of left-field. The twist is revealed in the end but there should have been a better recap. The way the story is presented is that this rich kid shares the same name, likeness, and lineage as Batman. This is cleared up but the end but getting there would be completely jarring to new readers. What the hell is going on with Penguin and Alfred? How the hell did we jump from that story to this one? The issue isn't bad but nothing really stood out at all outside of the twist ending. That includes the art and main cover. The linework is clean throughout the issue, particularly the faces. The colors throughout the comic are also gorgeous this is a credit to Tamra Bonvillain. I don't have any gripes with the art, but the issue isn't action-heavy so most of the pages while interesting to read and look at, feel bland. The variant cover is fantastic and I wish it was the one I purchased from my comic shop. Overall the issue just an odd detour that is totally disconnected from the previous 3 issues.

6.0
Batman (2016) #62

Mar 16, 2020

My last Batman review was a few months ago. I remember being confused and not much else. I definitely didn't remember Batman being captured by Professor Pyg. This is the second book in the Nightmare arc which covers a series of dreams Bruce is having. The concept is cool but there isn't much recap which makes reading this issue in a vacuum and understanding whats going on practically impossible. Mitch Gerard is a fantastic artist and the linework and color direction are great. Most of the book revolves around Batman's fight with Pyg. It's an awesome back and forth exchange between the characters and would work great as a silent issue. What takes me out of the comic is the absolute trash dialogue and scripting from Tom King. King's use of repetition combined with the dreamlike nature of the story makes actually reading the comic a chore. Line's of dialogue are repeated over and over again with slight variations. This happens throughout the book and by the time I put it down, I wasn't just irritated I was pissed. The art is so good that it prevents me from giving the issue an absolute fail but as great as the art direction is the script is just the exact opposite. For More: GTMediareviews.com

5.5
Batman (2016) #63

Jun 20, 2020

I've settled on the reality that I'll probably never get caught up on my backlog of comics and get them all reviewed. At the time of writing this post, I'm about 40 issues behind on my Batman reviews that doesn't even include Detective Comics. I'm basically going forward for myself and as a time capsule to other readers. This issue finally gives us hints as to what's going on in this story arc. Batman has been moving from a nightmare scenario to nightmare scenario for the past three issues. The only problem with the plot device is that if you're a fan of the series or have been in and out of the loop like I have the last few issues have been incomprehensible. In this issue, the dream picks up at the wedding. In this scenario, Catwoman shows up and the two are married. John Constantine shows up out of nowhere and tells Bruce that she's another dream and at the end of the dream she's going to die. The rest of the comic is pretty bland. You get relationship stuff between the characters and more incomprehensible scenes hinting at Batman being captured by villains and tortured by Scarecrows fear toxin. The background stuff is interesting but the comic is not. This may be one of the most boring Batman books I've read in a while. The scenes of Bruce and Selina frolicking around are lame and the stuff with Constantine just feels like Tom King throwing an audience a bone. If he wasn't there this would have been another ridiculously incomprehensible issue. On a side note, I'm pretty tired of Constantine. I don't have the reverence to the character that some people do. I wasn't reading DC comics much in the 80s or 90s so when he shows up being mysterious for the sake of being mysterious and talking in riddles It feels like the writer trying to make stories deeper than they actually are. I've read 4 issues in the past year with Constantine and he pretty much plays the same role in each cameo. It's a lame and lazy way to use a fan-favorite character. Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire are wasted on this issue. The figures and colors actually great but the comic book feels more like a soap opera than an actual comic. It's a very Low - T affair especially when the comic ends the exact same way you were told it would. I'm not sure who this is for but it's not Batman Fans. There has been a gradual decline in the overall writing in this series. We're a long way from the initial I am Gotham arc. I'm not sure how Tom Lost the plot but I hope he finds it or Ill just be voicing the same criticisms everyone else had when these comics were released.

8.5
Batman (2016) #64

Aug 23, 2020

When I picked up Batman #64 I expected the continuation of Tom King's goofy ass "Nightmares" story arc. I was pleasantly surprised when I was given a break from that storyline but I was somewhat disappointed that this crossover with Flash ties directly into another flawed Tom King series, "Heroes in Crisis". I honestly forgot that this tie-in existed. My hope digging into it is that the event retroactively makes Heroes in Crisis better but I won't get my hopes up. Before getting into the actual review I want to mention that the art is fantastic. Batman is portrayed as extremely capable next to the other Justice League members. This is done at multiple points in the issue, which is a huge difference between Joshua Williamson's take on Batman and what we've been getting from King. The Sean Gordan Murphy Variant cover is also beastly. I had to use it as the cover image because It's worth the price of the comic alone. I rarely say that with variants but seriously, damn!!! The comic opens with the Justice League taking on Justice League versions of Amazo. I've never seen Amazo in a comic so I'm not sure what the threat level actually is but the League takes the robots down fairly quickly. During the encounter, Batman begins seeing distorted versions of the League and leaves abruptly. Flash chases after him and it is revealed that the two men have been working together investigating the murders at Sanctuary (Heroes in Crisis). Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen seem to be a natural pairing and it's surprising that you don't see them team up all that often. Batman is regarded as the "Worlds Greatest Detective" while The Flash is a renowned Forensic Scientist. These are skill sets that overlap and a Batman-Flash series just waiting to happen down the line. There is also a cool contrast established between Flash and Batman. Whereas Batman is all about the job at hand and secrecy. Flash takes the time to let the citizens see him in action which gives the people a chance to see their heroes. It's not stated in the comic but what visibility does is allow a connection between the characters. With Batman always dealing with misdirection and shadows it calls his motivations into question even amongst allies. The standout moment in the issue happens when Batman tries to lie about his motivations for leaving the League after the Amazo fight and Flash immediately shuts him down for gaslighting and demands the truth, why? Barry Allen isn't an idiot and it's nice to see him portrayed as more than a goofball. The comic concludes with the strong hint that the Sanctuary killer is actually Gotham Girl. If you've read Heroes in Crisis you know that this isn't the case but based on prior evidence and what was going on in 2019 she definitely had the skill set needed to kill those heroes. This is a great start to this mini-series and honestly better than anything in Nightmares or Heroes in crisis. The downside is that King is on the main series for another 30+ issues and based on all of the information out there the run never gets better. It's pretty messed up but on a positive note the art is always amazing and diversions like "The Price" make it all worth it. 8.5/10

10
Batman (2016) #65

Sep 25, 2020

In addition to Batman/Flash: The Price I'm also reviewing Peter Tomasi's run on Detective comics. Both Bat-books have been amazing so it's hard not to see Tom King as the obvious weak link dragging the character down. I have about 20 more issues of the Tom King run to review and I'm hoping against hope that It gets better but based on the reviews I've seen floating around I doubt it. I hear that James Tynion's run on the character has been great so at least there is light at the end of this tunnel of shit. Flash #64, The Price of Innocence was a beautifully written and drawn comic. It laid all of Bruce Wayne's failures with his sidekicks bare. This issue follows up with Bruce's acknowledgment of his shortcomings. The come opens with Batman and Flash taking down the Gotham doppelgangers before the situation escalates and the two men are forced to team-up and battle Gotham Girl and the recently resurrected Gotham who head to Central City and wreak havoc. Barry's frustration with Bruce's tunnel vision boils over as Flash abandons Batman to face Gotham and Gotham Girl on his own. The two took on the entire Justice League by themselves what chance does a solo speedster have? Batman #65 has a lot going for it. The pace is great, the script is awesome but the standout aspect of the comic is the art direction. The scenes of Flash Vs The Gotham kids are glorious and Batman's desperation to save Flash from getting himself killed is perfectly captured on the page. I think that the Psycho-Pirate is the main influencer behind the events of the story. That would further tie "The Price" storyline to Heroes in Crisis. The connections between the two storylines are there but this crossover could be totally removed as a tie-in and work on its own. The only knock I can give to the issue is the cover. The picture shows Flash vibrating through the Batmobile with Batman jumping out of it. At first glance, it looks okay but the perspective of Batman seems off and it got worse the longer I looked at it. I won't hold it against the comic though because otherwise, the issue is a perfect and welcome diversion from Tom King's fuckery. Rating: GOD-TIER

5.0
Batman (2016) #66

Oct 27, 2020

After two spectacular issues of Batman by Joshua Williamson and Guilliam March, we're back to the slowly unfolding "Nightmares" arc and unfortunately, Tom Kings take on Batman. The book is told entirely from the perspective of Catwoman and The Question. The story is presumably taking place in Bruce Wayne's subconscious which is old considering the circumstances. How would Batman have this insight? The comic gets worse the more you think about it. On the surface the issue is fine and if you've gone back and read this arc in trade I doubt it would stand out as a bad issue. It makes sense that Bruce would be having these dreams in light of the circumstances regarding being jilted at the altar by Selina. The problem is that the book is extremely bland and doesn't have any energy in the storytelling. Jorge Fornes provides the line work and it's as just as lifeless as the dialogue. By the end of the issue, we don't feel any closer to a resolution. We're four issues into the story arc and the entire scenario feels odd due to the lack of progression aside from a connection line here and there. I'm guessing the randomness is to emphasize the dreamlike nature of the story but this is a single issue storyline dragged out for a trade. I'm honestly not sure how Tom King got this story past editorial but it's one of the worst Batman stories I've ever read. Seriously, WTF is this? Rating: 5/10

9.0
Batman (2016) #67

Jan 1, 2022

I’ve been reading comics for over 30 years now and Lee Weeks has been one of my favorite artists dating back to his 90’s work on Daredevil. Seeing him on Batman was something I didn’t expect to see and was one of the highlights of my week as sad as that might sound. Weeks is credited as co-artist with Jorge Fornes. The two work extremely well together and it's hard to tell where one artist starts and the other begins. With that out of the way, Batman #67 continues the Nightmares story arc. Batman has been trapped in a series of dreams that have been presented as One-Shots. Of all of the issues in this arc, this one is the most interesting. This is primarily due to Tom King getting out of the way and letting Weeks conduct a lesson in visual storytelling. The story follows Batman as he chases a masked criminal from the top of the Gotham skyline to the very depths of the cities sewers. The comic is presented as an episode of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. With both characters getting the upper hand as the issue progresses. The story is primarily presented as a silent issue with sight gags all over the book. There’s a lot of energy in the art direction and the story is very easy to follow even with the lack of dialogue. There are also a few visual queues that hint at the dreamlike nature of the issue. There isn’t much else to say here. The random nature of these issues prevents any heavy discussion of themes or ideas and I fully expect some sort of twist when the storyline eventually wraps up to tie it all together. The downside of these issues being presented as one-shots is that if you’re a new reader or randomly picking up Batman to see what’s going on the story may be baffling. However, I do believe that if you’re willing to take the issue at face value it's a great read and I’d recommend it to fans of the Dark Knight or Comics in general. Lee and Jorge do a great job of translating King’s script sans the lame dialogue. In Short. If you’ve been waiting for Tom Kings Batman/Roadrunner Crossover this is the issue for you.

4.0
Batman (2016) #68

Jan 25, 2022

Batman #68 + Bruce Dreams of Being Cuckold. Writer: Tom King | Artist: Amanda Conner Publisher: DC Comics Review ✍ After giving high marks to the last few issues in Tom King’s Knightmare story arc we get this shit. The focus of this issues nightmare is the Bat/Cat respective Bachelor and Bachelorette parties. It sounds interesting considering the characters involved but boils down to Bruce and Clark engaging in a few lame activities. Meanwhile, Selina and Lois have an actual party in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, involving booze and strippers. Batman #68 is a very odd issue and represents the worst of modern comics focus on the trivial. The comic also highlights some of King’s worst writing ticks. Prior to this issue, I was tempted to write the Tom King hate as overblown but this issue didn’t help his case at all. What man dreams of being this lame? Who dreams of his wife getting a nude massage from his bestie? There’s porn out there covering this subject matter. If this story was a Catwoman/Lois Lane One-Shot the story would have worked. If this was Selina’s dream it would make sense but the idea that this is Bruce’s subconscious at work is just bizarre, even for a comic book Amanda Conner’s art doesn’t stand out and there isn’t much for her to do with this material besides tell a coherent story. Everything else in this issue is mundane and feels ultimately pointless. The best part of the book is the very last page which hints at what is actually going on with Batman. A strong explanation may salvage this storyline but I’m not getting my hopes up. In Short: Bruce and Clark get cucked on the way to the alter. For More: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

5.5
Batman (2016) #69

Mar 11, 2022

Batman #69 - Why is Bane Naked? Writer: Tom King | Artist: Yanick Paquette Cover by Francisco Mattina Review ✍ Tom King’s Knightmares is a very weird story arc. It doesn’t start with a bang, doesn’t have any shocking reveals and there isn’t much of a climax. The arc just ends like sex in a loveless marriage. As this issue progresses we get more “Bat-Simp” as Bruce uses his connection to Selina to pull himself from under the influence of Scarecrows fear toxins. This aspect of the comic is written as a below-average romance with Bruce pining after a woman that left him at the altar. The fact that even in a dream Bruce can’t get the girl without groveling is kinda pathetic. While Batman slumbers on, the rest of the issue hones in on the blooming alliance between Thomas Wayne (Flashpoint Batman) and Bane. This story is more interesting than the Bat-Cat stuff which is way to melodramatic but also has its weird shortcoming in that the two characters spar and Bane is naked throughout their scenes together. There’s no real reason for Bane to be naked here and the fact that Thomas Wayne is smiling through much of this exchange is weird. The variant cover by Francesco Mattina is fantastic. The art from Yanick Paquette is gorgeous in spots and utterly bizarre in others. The nostalgic takes on Bruce and Selina are a nice touch as they dance through the comic but these moments don’t make up for the odd sequences in this issue or storyline. It’s as if Knightmares was a throwaway storyline designed to fleece Batman readers who were looking for any sort of resolution to the Bat/Cat storyline. At a glance, there are some brief moments of imagination in the Knightmares storyline. The silent issue of #68 comes to mind as well as the Professor Pyg fight in issue #62. Those comics worked because Tom King was able to get out of his way and let Lee Weeks and Mitch Gerads do the heavy lifting artistically. The rest of the storyline had no clear direction and even the ending feels Low-T. I can’t see a new reader picking up this graphic novel and seeing it as a definitive take on any of these characters which is a shame because like comics, dreams are only limited by imagination. In Short: After 6 issues of Knightmares, I’m still trying to figure out the point of it all. For More Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

7.0
Batman (2016) #70

Sep 6, 2022

In my Batman #69 review I mistakenly listed it as the end of the Knightmare’s storyline. While #69 was the end of the dream aspects of the story, this is the end of the arc. In this installment we see Bruce escape from his fear toxin induced coma and make his way out of Arkham Asylum. Along the way we see an extremely angry batman dispatching several rogues while swearing vengeance on Bane. It is hinted that Bane is secretly controlling the rogues in this comic. I still find it weird when Batman (or any hero for that matter) beating all their rogues in a single issue. These guys tend to give Batman problems in any given issue so having him wreck several villains seems cheap, lazy, and diminishes the characters. I went back and looked at some of the reviews for this issue when it released in 2019 and fans were giving King a pass because the plot finally moved forward. On that note this issue is an improvement over the last several comics. However, the book continues to be held back by lame dialogue and the weird poetry that Tom King keeps inserting into his scripts. The art from Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes is inoffensive, but the art direction is undercut by the lack of any narrative tension in this story. I have seen an angry Batman before; this take seems forced. In Short: Batman finally escapes his nightmare’s and waltzes into his next story arc. For more: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

8.5
Batman / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: III #1

Oct 2, 2020

I read both installments of the Batman/TMNT crossovers. Both volumes had been better than they had any right too when presented on paper. Both series managed to stay true to the characters while adding depth to the overall mythos. It's a shame that both series are probably outside of continuity because It would be pretty awesome to see the Turtles and Batman regularly interact with each other's rogues galleries. If the trilogy has proven nothing else its that the grounded nature of the TMNT Rogues and the Batman Villains are a match made in comic heaven. Batman/TMNT III takes the Amalgam Comics route and mashes the franchises together. In this issue, Batman seems to be the field leader of "Clan Hamato". Splinter and Alfred have been combined and the Turtles seem to be mashed up with the various Robins. The villains are the "Smile Clan". led by a mashed up Shredder and Joker known here as "The Laughing Man". There are a couple of other combos I won't spoil but like the original Marvel/DC amalgam comics line part of the fun was breaking down the mixed-up characters. The comic is insane and the coolest aspects of the book are the mixed-up designs of the characters. I particularly liked seeing the new designs on the turtles. As usual, Freddie E. Williams II delivers the goods and produces a gorgeous comic. The issue doesn't do much aside from provide introduce us to the current status quo and hint that something is very wrong with this universe. During a confrontation with The Laughing Man Bruce sees his true form as Joker and it springboards the crux of the series which will be probably fixing and separating the timelines. We're in the setup phase of the series but there is enough meat here that the issue didn't feel decompressed or paced for the trade. We're in good hands with Tynion and Williams

7.5
Batman's Grave #1

Jun 15, 2020

I think part of the reason for the declining sales of Comic Books is that fans are starting to realize that many of the books being released don't really matter or are simply being shipped to support the additive nature of comic book readers. Even worse, it seems that the books are designed to exploit local comic shops. The true goal is to compile these series as trades and sell in book stores and eventually large chains like Walmart and Amazon. I support the idea of moving beyond the direct market but I hate to see retailers being exploited in the interim. Many of the Mini-Maxi series produced by DC seem totally out of alignment with traditional comic storytelling. The entire Hill House line of comics comes off as books that should have been released as graphic novels. There are other examples such as Niomi, Far Sector, and the Martain Manhunter series that was released last year. All of these books would have been better served if released in trade format but retailers and fans are asked to pay monthly for comics with severe pacing and format issues. Some of the comics even end in the same spot they begin with literally no story progression beyond exposition inching the plot forward. The goal seems pretty clear with DC comics pulling out of Diamond and moving into alternative distribution channels. I predict that DC will eventually transition to releasing these titles as trade paperbacks and ditching the monthly format altogether aside from core titles they consider to be evergreen. Other books like The Batman's Grave, Daphne Byrne, Metal Men, etc. will be released Digitally or in stores as graphic novels only in prestige format. Whether this is a good thing for retailers time will tell but change is in the air. I just wish DC was transparent or honest about their long-term intentions. I mention all of that because after reading The Batman's Grave I have no idea why this story wasn't tabled and released in either the main Batman book or Detective Comics. The selling point is Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch on the creative team. The two are legendary creators but unfortunately, there is nothing in this issue that feels like it deserved to be pushed into separate series. The story follows Batman after a night of patrol. Prior to going in for the night, he receives message from Alfred regarding a case that the GCPD is too overwhelmed to attend to. Upon investigating the crime scene and parties involved it appears that the case will be a lot more complicated than he was expecting. Not really much else to the issue. The writing and art are solid as to be expected from this creative team but the story at least in this issue hasn't formed yet. There is an amazing exchange between Bruce and Alfred that calls out Bruce's methods but aside from that nothing of note happens here. As usual, I'm behind on the series. The Batman's Grave #7 just released last week and aside from this review I haven't seen any mention of the series on social media. If I hadn't had the book on my pull list and been so behind I would have immediately dropped the title and waited on the trade. Readers are in for a decompressed story that will read a lot better in one sitting, which is clearly the intent. Nothing here is bad but unless you're a completionist or just a fan of the creators I'd probably stay away from the series until it's done. It may get better or become a must-read title but how much money are you gonna invest in a hunch or a maybe?

7.0
Batman's Grave #2

Sep 20, 2020

I don't remember much about The Batman's Grave #1 aside from it being weird. There was a cool scene of Alfred chastising Bruce for not taking a more productive approach to crimefighting but aside from that, the issue was pretty meh. I wanted to like the comic considering the amazing creative team of Ellis and Hitch but just couldn't connect to the material. This issue has no recap. It's been a while since I read The Batman's Grave #1 and while the action is great the opening sequence comes out of nowhere. If this issue was being read as trade this wouldn't be a problem but in monthly installments, the first half of this comic may be jarring and potentially inaccessible to new readers. Every comic is somebody's first. This issue opens with the aforementioned action sequence of Batman and a criminal given the moniker" The Eater of faces". The setpiece is great and shows Batman in an extended fight where he uses a ton of equipment. It's a fun battle to look at but it's kind of weird to see Batman having a hard time with what looks to be a common thug. Hitch put a lot of work on display in this sequence and it shows a lot of combat ingenuity from Batman. The second half of the comic isn't nearly as strong. I honestly forgot how the comic ended until I flipped through it again for this review. The comic also has another cool exchange between Bruce and Alfred that blows holes in Bruce's logic about not giving some of his technology to the GCPD. As with the previous issue, the comic just ends. There isn't a cliffhanger or anything. So far The Batman's Grave hasn't been great but there are a few decent elements that make the overall experience a net positive to this point. I can't recommend reading the comic in a monthly format though. Rating: 7/10

9.5
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1

May 27, 2020

It's been a while since I've read Batman: White Knight. It was an excellent and self-contained Batman story that ended cleanly. I never thought that the White Knight story would see or need a sequel. I feel that way regardless of how this story turns out. The Murphyverse is Sean Gordon Murphy's imprint and feels like the spiritual successor to Batman: The Animated Series. I like Murphy but I think his profile is slightly overrated by people in my #Comicsgate circle because he's not a twat on social media. This is not a slight on him as an artist. I find his art to be interesting but It's not my favorite. How the story lands for you will also depend on your nostalgia for Batman: TAS. If you're a fan of the classic stories you'll feel right at home here. The story takes place after the conclusion of the last series. Jack Napier has returned to his Joker personal and Batman is called in to take him down. We touch base with all of the key characters that have been established, Bruce, Jim, Dick, and Barbara. New elements are introduced to the story like Azrael. It's a solid narrative with very few flaws. The comic does look great admittedly and the style does blends well with the setting. The story is off to a great start although I'm not sure how many more stories are gonna be able to be culled from this setting. I can see why DC approved the series and the Murphyverse imprint though. There are very few comics that actively push the Batman mythos forward or beyond the status quo. This is one of those series.

10
Batman: Damned #2

Dec 12, 2018

My biggest problem with the first issue was that aside from the controversial "Dick Pic" the comic was pretty tame and didn't justify the Adult label. It could have been other vertigo book and felt right at home.  This is more like it.  This issue is intense and has the look and feel of an R Rated Batman experience. The art is simply stunning. There aren't too many artists in the same league as Lee Bermejo and this issue is a perfect representation of what he is capable of.  The stories focus has also been tightened since the last issue. Batman doesn't believe that Joker truly is dead an continues his investigation. He is joined by John Constantine. Etrigan the Demon, Enchantress, and Deadman are also along for the ride.  There is a running subplot relating to the troubles within Bruce's parent's marriage that add character to Bruce and why he handles situations in the manner that he does.  All of these tidbits combined with the cinematic quality of the artistry make this issue the perfect representation of what this line can be.  The ending encounter is just as shocking as the nude panel from the last issue but in this instance, it feels integral to the plot as opposed to a throwaway moment that never felt justified.  Batman Damned exceeds all expectations and I can't wait to see how this story concludes. It makes a strong case for single issue of 2018.  For more reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.0
Batman: Damned #3

Jul 12, 2019

Full disclosure, I cheated with this review. I was totally lost after reading this issue. I went back and read it again and was still fuzzy. At that point, I said f*ck it and watched Comics Explains rundown of the issue.  I typically never watch other content creators opinions prior to sharing mine for fear that their opinions may influence my own and diminish the credibility of my review.  Considering I got clarity from Rob It's only fair that I link his video.  ​​If you don't mind spoilers the link is an excellent assessment.  Batman Damned has been the most uneven series I've reviewed since I got back into comics in 2015 with possibly the exception of Bebop & Rocksteady hit the road from IDW.  The first Book was confusing and weird, introducing us to Batman's dick. The second book was excellent and had one of my favorite cliffhangers of the year to date. This issue isn't bad it's just disjointed. Batman Damned is the equivalent of reading Shakespeare in 2019. The story is great but you have to work for it.  The most consistent aspect of the series is the artwork from Lee Bermejo. This is the most beautiful book you will pick up and in my humble opinion is worth the cover price alone. ​​ My favorite aspect of the Book is the rendition of the Batsuit. The detail in the armor is great. It looks worn and I love that you can make out the armor scales in the suit. The damage that is affecting Bruce becomes more pronounce the longer that you look at the pages. The more you look the more you see and it's amazing.  On the flip side, Brian Azzarello script is possibly the most confusing story you'll ever read. The plot is hazy and to be fair it's an intentional narrative device, but it hurts the flow of the story and diminishes the impact of the project and its conclusion. ​​ Even with my mixed reaction to the series, Batman Damned does justify its existence. We also have no idea how much of the story was altered after "Penisgate". I'm not sure who to blame for the series inconsistencies, Brian or DC? ​​ I'd love to get alternate takes on the ending since apparently, I'm an idiot. I'm currently ruminating on Wacky Raceland and I'm debating on making Batman: Damned my next series to deep dive into, if only for my sanity.

9.0
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1

Aug 28, 2019

I haven't had a regular review schedule in months and in that time my pull has decreased by about 80% due to series endings or cancellation. I don't really read Marvel and DC has pulled back on its comic publishing line significantly. I have very few DC comics anymore on my pull anymore and what's left is mainly Batman related. I think I'm starting to feel Batman fatigue. Last Knight on Earth is possibly the best issue of Batman I've read this year. It's also written and illustrated by DC Darlings Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. The review is objective but I do believe that Batman is being overexposed by DC brass. The only thing I knew about the title going in was that the story would have a horror bent and that Batman would be teaming up with the disembodied head of the Joker. The story starts off playing on the idea that maybe Bruce Wayne is actually crazy. This is an idea that gets floated all the time with writers walking the idea to the ledge before pulling back. This segment of the book was my favorite but immediately gets subverted by the reality of the situation and setting. I didn't find the reveal to be all that interesting as the post-apocalyptic/ dystopian genre is also overexposed. The issue is largely setup and if you're a fan of Snyder's Batman this issue is a can't miss. Greg Capullo's art is gorgeous and his linework fits Batman like a glove. The scenes of Bruce Wayne as an Arkham patient are particularly impressive. The only knock I can levy at the comic goes back to DC's overall direction and not this book specifically. There are too many Bat projects out there. Although this is a solid launch and I wish that the publisher would put the same energy and creativity into its other characters. I feel that Scott Snyder has been somewhat pigeonholed as "The Batman guy" even though he's one of the best comic writers working today. The same can be said for Greg Capullo. There are several characters I'd love to see these creators work on but it feels like that ship may have sailed. To sum things up Last Knight on Earth is a solid start to a post-apocalyptic Batman yarn. If Bruce Wayne was a decade or two older I would call this story "Old Man Batman". The pitch and execution give a similar vibe to that classic storyline. If you're a fan of the character or creators you can't go wrong here.

8.5
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2

Nov 2, 2019

There's a lot to like about the Last Knight on Earth. The art is simply stunning and horrifying in spots. Scott Snyder delivers one of the grandest and sweeping Batman concepts I've ever read. The book keeps it interesting, constantly raising new questions and introducing new ideas on every other page. To get heavy into plot details would be to go into spoilers. We see the fate of a number of heroes and all of it is grim. We also get a decent explanation for why the world is a mess. I don't have many gripes with the issue aside from being annoyed by Joker. It doesn't distract from the story I just wish we had a different narrator. If you read the prior issue you know that the implication within the narrative is that this is not our Batman. He's a lot younger than he should be and is drawn like Zero Year: Batman. How cool it would have been if his companion had been an aged Damien or Dick Grayson. I don't think we've ever seen a version of Robin that was older than Batman. To level set the series so far it feels like a cross between Old Man Logan and Marvel's Universe X series. With Batman as the Stand-in for Wolverine and Captain America Respectively in those series. It's not a ripoff by any stretch but If you like those stories you'll be at home here. Every revelation is followed up by a pretty horrifying reveal about the setting or a character. The book follows the same general cadence throughout. I'm curious to see if the villain is really (Redacted). I doubt the concluding chapter will be that straight forward but we'll see. I love Elseworld stories and if Last Knight on Earth sticks the landing for the ending we may be looking at a modern-day classic.

8.0
Batman: Secret Files (2021): The Signal #1

Nov 13, 2021

“The Signal”, Duke Thomas is the only metahuman in the Batfamily and is also the only hero in the crew that operates exclusively during the day. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with the Secret Files series but it does do a great job in spotlighting characters and their current status quo within the DC Universe. Patrick Thomas does a fairly awesome rundown of Duke Thomas, his motivations, mission, and powerset. If you’re unfamiliar with the character you’ll be up to speed by the end of the issue. Duke has a ton of potential and I believe if handled correctly, Signal may eventually evolve beyond simply being the daytime version of Batman. The Signal has an extremely useful and powerful powerset and while reading the issue I kept thinking of potential applications of his abilities. His powers put him in the upper echelon of the Bat-Family. Batman at one point acknowledges that Duke is being fast-tracked for potential leadership opportunities within the Justice League. It’s hard to dismiss the possibilities of the character. Hopefully, DC does not drop the ball here. They are potentially sitting on a goldmine. The issue follows Duke as he investigates a Super Villain Black market operation focused on the sale of weapons that will even the odds against Superheroes. In the midst of the investigation Due runs into former allies from the “DCU “ Series, We are Robin. I didn’t read that series or recognize any of his friends but If you are into the deep lore of Duke Thomas I’d assume this would be a nice callback. Duke’s former friends see him as a sellout for working with Batman. This came off as off to me as they were running around wearing Robin costumes a year ago. The conflict between friends leads to the main plot points of the issue. A lot is going on in this comic and except for a few really cringy pieces of dialogue, I can't knock the issue. The book is well over the standard 20-22 page count and fills in The Signal’s status quo concerning Batman, The Bat Family, and Gotham. The only point where the comic falls flat is when the book touches on the overarching state of the Batman line of comics. The stuff with Bruce Wayne is confusing and if you haven’t been keeping up these sections are practically inaccessible for new readers. The Signal suit design is streamlined from what I remember seeing in the Batman & The Signal series from a couple of years back. Christian Duce’s take on the character and costume is the best I’ve seen. However, I still feel the suit is too derivative of the Batman suit and there is way too much yellow in it. I get that it signifies the daytime aspect of the character but it’s not practical at all. Outside of the costume Duke's character design is pretty generic. If you put him side by side with Miles Morales or Spencer Dales from Excellence you’d be looking at the same character. Black People don’t all look like Michael B. Jordan. Aside from the cited nitpicks you can do a lot worse than this issue. If you have any passing interest in Duke Thomas this is a must-read. If you haven’t been keeping up with the Bat-books it's still a good read but several points may leave you confused. In Short: Duke Thomas Fans will be Happy. Casual of The Batman Line of Titles may be a bit lost.

9.0
Batman: The Adventures Continue #1

Sep 8, 2020

It's been almost a decade since I watched an episode of Batman: The Animated Series in any capacity. It was one of my favorite cartoons growing up and I often debate the better series between Batman and X-Men. I saw this series on the Comichub app and figured I'd check it out. The book opens with Batman taking on Bane. Bane is quickly defeated but shortly after, a giant robot lands in Gotham City. The robot's intent is to steal technology from Wayne Tech. Batman does what he can with the machine but the robot escapes with the technology. Upon returning to the Batcave Batman vows to get to the bottom of things but the situation is further complicated when Let Luthor rolls into town. Most of the comics I review are paced for a trade paperback or are just way too decompressed to sit back and enjoy in a single sitting. Paul and Alan don't miss a beat. The book is formatted like an episode of the classic series and features a story that wraps up by the end of the issue. It hints at an overarching plot but the primary crisis raps up easy peasy lemon squeezy. This is the best short of nostalgia. The art direction is great. Designs are pulled directly from the show. I really liked seeing the Animated Series version of Lex Luthor. You can practically hear Clancy Brown's voice when he shows up. Aside from the character designs, the formatting as mentioned earlier is nearly identical to an episode of the TV show even down to the awkward scenes of Bruce trying to be normal. I had a lot of fun with this issue. It's a nice throwback to a simpler time. This is the Batman I grew up on and It's nice to see his return.

9.0
Batman: The Detective (2021) #1

Mar 19, 2022

Batman: The Detective #1 - A Dark Knight in London Writer: Tom Taylor | Artist: Andy Kubert | Publisher: DC Comics KAEL NGU Variant Cover Review ✍ Since I relaunched “GTMedia Reviews” as “I Review Comics”, the Batman titles I’ve reviewed have been hit and miss. I’m currently reviewing the tail end of Tom King’s run, as well as Joker: Puzzle box and Suicide Squad: Get Joker. Of the Bat-books, I’ve reviewed non have stood out as anything other than mediocre which is sad because: A. Batman has always been one of my favorite Superheroes. B. DC is producing so many books featuring the Bat-Family of characters. Batman: The Detective by Tom Taylor and Andy Kubert is easily the best of the Bat titles I’ve reviewed recently. The story appears to be set in the future. I haven’t read the solicits for the title or any other reviews. I am not exactly sure of the background surrounding the series. I’m not even entirely sure this is Bruce Wayne in the suit. This Batman may be Bruce Wayne, but since no one mentions him by name so I won’t assume. In any case, the character is jaded by events that the series isn’t clear about and focuses on taking Batman in a new direction away from the status quo (Gotham City, Wayne Manor, Etc.). The book follows Batman as he investigates a terrorist attack on a plane that leaves over 100 people dead and one of his allies, Beryl Hutchinson A.K.A. Knight critically injured. The opening action sequence is over the top and beautifully rendered by Kubert. It sets the tone of the series and also raises some interesting questions. Why are the bad guys wearing Batman cowls? In addition to wild action, the supporting cast is surprisingly strong. In addition to Knight, Squire is another interesting character that reminded me a lot of Robin without being a ripoff. I am interested in seeing where this story leads without having much knowledge of the series getting into it. I am curious about how Batman got to this point and excited to see Tom and Andy’s take on these heroes and villains. The issue is dynamic, has a lot of energy, and doesn’t feel like it's written with a Trade Paperback in mind. In Short: Sometimes a comic just work and Batman: The Detective #1 is one of them. For More Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

10
Batman: Three Jokers (2020) #1

Aug 28, 2020

Three Jokers was hinted at the outset of DC Rebirth during Darkseid War. During that storyline, Batman sat on the Mobius Chair (Don't ask) and obtained Godlike abilities and knowledge. He asked the chair to confirm the identity of his parent's killer, which is common knowledge to Batman in-universe and the reader. The book then threw the curve-ball the massive Joker reveal. Since that time DC Rebirth has come and gone. The Watchmen have been successfully integrated into DC continuity via Doomsday Clock. The only lingering plot from Rebirth worth mentioning is the thread involving the Three Jokers. Joker is all over the place lately and we're constantly being indodated with different incarnations of the character. I'm not sure if this version with be canonized going forward but there are enough interesting details presented that I believe that at least some of these plots threads will eventually be made official outside of this series. I won't spoil the book but what essentially is happening here is that Joker is being turned into a legacy character. We're given three distinct versions of the character. There's the comedian, the clown, and the criminal. We're also being asked to sort out what's going on. The reader is also given context clues regarding which Joker was involved at key trauma points of our heroes. This issue focuses on the Joker and the Trauma inflicted on Batman, Batgirl, and Red Hood. My favorite aspect of the issue aside from the mindfuck ending is the relationship between the three leads. The personal traumatic experiences felt by our leads drive our heroes in a desperate attempt to stop him from hurting others and in the case of Jason Todd seemingly goes a bit deeper. Batman has been dealing with the Joker since the beginning. The two men probably know each other's civilian identities and have have been playing a cat and mouse game for decades. Barbara Gordon and Jason Todd both have deep physical and emotional scars that are a result of the Joker's actions but can also be attributed to Batman's refusal to do what needs to be done with the villain. This is highlighted whenever Jason Todd appears on the page. Bruce and Jason have a strained relationship but they love each other and underneath the rough veneer are it's clear that Bruce at the very least understands Jason's point of view on things. Barbara isn't given as much attention in the issue but I suspect that will change as the series continues. She seems to be a counter-balance to the views of Bruce and Jason who each has wildly different takes on how to handle the Joker. I won't spoil the ending but this has to be one of the most intense endings we've gotten in a long time and is a masterclass in storytelling and art direction. Jason and Brad have the benefit of working with an amazing script but it can't be understated how much they contribute to the story. The comic feels timeless and at times I can feel Jason channeling Brian Bolland and Neal Adams. If you're a fan of Batman or have been in and out of the loop with the character throughout the '80s, '90s, or 00's I think you'd still be able to keep up with the events. If you're lost with what's going on you'd be able to get caught up pretty quickly with a few trade paperbacks. Three Jokers #1 isn't like some other events that seem to only exist to generate residuals. It fits in with what has been established in the continuity and builds on what's already there. If you pick up "A Death in the Family", Under the Red Hood" or "A Killing Joke", Three Joker's acts as a worthy continuation without all of the baggage we get when we follow 40+ years of continuity. Rating GOD-TIER

10
Batman: Three Jokers (2020) #2

Nov 19, 2020

Three Jokers #1 was easily one of the best single issues of 2020. This issue isn't quite s good but it's still considerably better than a bulk of the books on the shelf by a lot. The issue also had a spectacular cliffhanger. One of the Jokers is dead and the Red Hood killed him. This issue deals with the fallout of "The Clown's" murder. It also spends its time hashing out the long game of the Joker's plan. There are more grisly moments throughout the issue. Jason Todd also gets the strongest and most emotional beats in this installment. On the other side of the aisle, we gain a lot more insight into the Jokers that are left (Criminal and The comedian) and their differences. It's revealed early on that "The Comedian" is definitely the Joker from The Killing Joke. It's also suggested that "The Criminal" is the oldest of the trio. There are some amazing twists and turns throughout the book. It reads fast but is packed with enough information and detail that it reads like the comic equivalent of soul food. The comic is also drop-dead gorgeous. If you were trying to get someone into comics this would be a great place to start. Jason Fabok illustrates, action, subtlety, and intrigue with equal vigor and provides iconic incarnations take on all parties involved in this story. Legendary comic creator Gerry Conway recently suggested that monthly comics should be scrapped in favor of Graphic Novels. I don't totally agree with Gerry's assessment but I do believe that we need more stories like Three Jokers and less decompressed story arcs and events. I'm expected to read and collect over 40 issues of "King in Black" next year which will run hundreds of dollars easily and more than likely be retconned within a few years. It's a scam and I doubt the industry can sustain much more of it. I'd much rather read a short self-contained storyline like Three Joker or a graphic novel collecting the series than 70 issues of blather. Titles like Batman: Three Jokers and TMNT: The Last Ronin will be evergreen and represent a throwback as well as a possible future for the industry. We need leaner storylines, more mature titles, a lot more fun, and creators that genuinely give a damn. These are qualities that Batman: Three Jokers embody and should be celebrated. Rating: 10/10

8.5
Big Girls #1

Sep 13, 2020

I saw Big Girls #1 on the shelf of my local comic shop. I flipped through the comic and put it back down. It looked interesting but wasn't enough to push me over the edge to purchase. A couple of days later I saw a "Comics Matter" video covering the book and I decided to give it a shot. In this setting, we're not giving the reason for why things are bad, we're dropped into the middle of a nightmare. Every child born in this setting has to be registered. The fear is this world is that boys may grow into Kaiju sized monsters (Jacks) while girls potentially grow exponentially in size. The series follows "The Preserve" and the organization within it that are working to contain the threat. On the ground, there is High Marshall James Tannik and his crew. In the air, there is Ember who is one of the titular "Big Girls". The comic does a great job of illustrating the roles of the organization. We see James and his crew in what appears to be a routine mission to investigate a father trying to hide the fact that his child is a "Jack". We also see Ember in her role as a protector against the monsters as she attempts to take one down. There is a huge WTF moment that occurs about midway through the issue that cemented the series on my comic book pull list. I won't spoil it here but it shows just how far the organization will go to contain the threat. Aside from the shock factor, the comic is a lot of fun and the concept is unique. The idea that all of the male characters are a risk to destroy the city could have been a "woke" mess but men are treated with empathy and I was able to relate to the situation on a human level. It's a horrible scenario but it's also a "Is what it is" situation. Jason Howard does a good at conveying size and scale. This is very important whenever you're contrasting giant characters and their normal human-sized allies. The art is sketchy and kinda rough but is energetic and the action sequences are nice. On a side note, I'd love to see Brian Hitch's take on this material. I'm not sure how much mileage Jason will be able to get out of the "Big Girls" concept but this is a nice start to the series. It blends a few genres into a unique concept and I'll stick with the series at least through the first arc. If you're a fan of giant monsters and cheesy sci-fi, Big Girls may be the series for you. Rating: 8.5/10

10
Black Hops #1

Mar 20, 2020

I picked up Black Hops USA GI as an add on to the sequel campaign. I didn't know what I was getting into aside from the images of a cute bunny and the gorgeous art from _. Digging into the story, I think it's safe to say that Black Hops is one of, if not the best-crowdfunded books released to date. It's a unique concept masterfully executed from beginning to end. The framework of the story reminded me of the classic 80's movie trope of the retired soldier getting called back into action by the government for a final mission. If you're an 80's or 90's kid you've seen this premise before. Insert an adorable bunny and Bruce Willis cameo. You'd think that the story would be absurd and it is but Tim plays it straight. He doesn't cheat in establishing this setting and guidelines for what Hops can do within the framework of the story. This method of storytelling works for the reader because we're in the loop regarding the tools Hops has in his to deal with any emerging situation. It's like a Claremont X-Men comic. Cannonball is invulnerable while he's blasting. Nightcrawler can teleport his body weight or risk exhaustion. Black Hops is still a goofy book but the comic works because it takes a lot of inherent problems presented by the nature of the lead and turns them on their head. Regarding the story itself think of the classic G.I. Joe silent issue. Replace Snake Eyes with Hops and you'll have a good idea of what to expect in this story. I was on board with the story from the introductory section of the book but what really hooked me into the story was the art direction. This is a beautiful graphic novel. The colors are bright, the characters are adorable and the scenes no matter how grim are almost always set against a bright or vividly lit setting. Contrast to the overall light tone is the shocking level of violence on display. Once you get past the opening section of the book you're in for a wild ride into R-Rated action movie territory. Imagine Hops as John Matrix from Commando. If Hops had a voice it would be Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hop goes up against man and animal alike and all of it is beautifully rendered. The book moves at a brisk pace and none of the scenes overstay their welcome. I have Black Hops II and will check it out soon. This is a worthy addition to any collection and stands at the top of the current field of crowdfunded comics.

8.5
Blood Realm #1

Nov 30, 2018

Blood Realm #1 is proof that you shouldn't read fantasy comics while drunk. I read the issue a couple days ago and passed out confused dreaming of hellscapes. I read it again the following day and loved it.  In a last ditch effort to save the kingdom of men from total annihilation the queen of Voragoth dispatches the Sisters of Silence to obtain a relic powerful enough to stop the Evil General, Gorn. Blood Realm is a very dense read packed into a single issue floppy. At times I was lost but always intrigued by the story and imagery. If you are a fan of "Dragon Age" "Willow" or "The Lord of the Ring's" you'll be right at home with this series.   The art style is very stylistic so that may be a negative in some circles. I enjoyed it because it reminded me of the art direction from Dragon Age 2 and DA: Inquisition. The colors are a stark mix of black's, whites and reds that make the pencils stand out even more. Blood Realm is a beautifully dark fantasy setting.  There is an addendum to the issue explaining the key characters and events for the series. I appreciate the world building being done in this issue. The storytelling is very efficient which brings me to my key concern for the series. How do you wrap up a world and story this complex in a 3 issue mini-series?  I'm willing to give it a shot because I was thoroughly entertained but my god man!!! For more comic reviews: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.5
Bloodshot (2019) #1

Dec 7, 2019

I watched a recent video by Yo Boi Zack, from the Comics Matter, Youtube Channel. He spoke about Comic Publishers pushing writers over artists to the detriment of the comic book industry. To an extent, I agree. Artists like Jim Lee, Brett Booth, and Todd Mcfarlane can push units on pretty much any title they put their names on, at least initially. The downside is that once you got the book in your hands and actually read it, the comic still needs to have a good story. In the '90s, a lot of garbage writing got a pass because of the popularity of the artists of the time and rampant speculation. It was a very popular era of comics. The downside was that most of the comics from the era contained pretty pictures, but don't hold up at all. It also led to a comic book bust that nearly destroyed the comic book industry. Good art will get the reader's attention and may get the initial purchase but a good story keeps readers coming back. I have Bloodshot #1-3 but I probably won't review any more of this series unless something dramatic happens in issue #2.I've picked up three Bloodshot series since 2018. The only series that has resonated with me beyond the art was Jeff Lemire's Bloodshot Salvation. I'm still reviewing that series off and on mainly because of Jeff's storytelling was so strong in conjunction with the amazing artists that helped bring that series together. I grabbed this issue because of the preview art from Brett Booth. I didn't even read a plot synopsis. Brett is one of the best artists working today and this issue reflects that. Bloodshot has never looked better and it's pretty clear that he is having a blast on this series. Aside from the overwhelming positivity surrounding the art direction of Brett and _ this book has problems. The first problem is the cover. This is one of the worst 1st issue covers I've ever seen. In fact, I walked past the book multiple times across multiple weeks before finally seeing it and making the purchase. With Booth on the interiors, it's insane to me that he's not doing the covers as well. I hate crapping all over an artist's work but bad covers really grind my gears and Bloodshot #1 has one of the worst covers of 2019. Declan Shalvey did some great work on Marvel's most recent Moon Knight series, but he's not doing any favors for Valiant or this title. Brett's pencils are also let down by shoddy storytelling. There isn't much story to speak of. The book opens with an amazing setpiece of Bloodshot vs a group of soldiers. We get a basic rundown of his powerset and the basic premise of what we can expect from the series. Bloodshot is declared the most dangerous man on the planet which is laughable to me in light of events that have occurred across the Valiant comics line in the past few years. The story would have been great in the 1990s when cover prices were around $1.50, but with a $3.99 entry fee, I didn't have much patience for this issue. The main downside of the issue aside from the cover is that you can read the book in about five minutes. You'll read it, and put the comic down and never pick it up again. Tim tells an okay story but its really basic compared to the other Bloodshot series that have been released in past years. The simplification may be due to the upcoming Bloodshot film which is understandable. The series is clearly being set up as an easy jumping on point for the character. I'm just not a fan of selling a $4.00 book for 5 Minutes of entertainment.

8.0
Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1

Nov 17, 2018

Jeff Lemier's Bloodshot Salvation is the series that turned me on to Valiant comics and one of the reasons why I believe that Valiant is one of the best publishers producing content today. Salvation was amazing but with the new movie starring Vin Diesel (2020), the series wasn't the best jumping on point for the character.  Rising spirit represents an opportunity to reintroduce Bloodshot to a new audience without the baggage of 20+ years of continuity. In this issue, Angelo Mortalli botches a mob hit and is sent to Rikers Island. While there he joins an experimental program that transforms him into what will eventually become Bloodshot. He's run through training simulations and we get to see his abilities coming together. Bloodshot has enhanced speed, strength, stamina and extreme healing abilities.  It turns out the training sims are happening in Angelo's mind. He wakes up in the middle of a session in pain and full panic. He kills one of the soldiers and attacks the rest. Bloodshot doesn't remember his prior identity but he does remember the name, Angelo.  The comic ends as Bloodshot is finally put down with a bullet in the head and hauled off to have the entire process started over again.  Kevin Grevioux provides an excellent first issue and intro to this character. I'm not sure If this start is as strong as the last series but it does give us an adequate explanation of the characters skillset.  There is a strong Wolverine/Weapon X vibe I picked up in this issue but it's a lot better than any Wolverine story I've picked up in recent memory. The art is very strong in places but once again, I prefer the art style of the prior series. It's not bad here at all and there are points where Ken Lashley's pencils meshed with Diego's colors are just as good as anything in Salvation. There is a lot of potential with this story and creative team. I can't wait to see how this story develops.  I'll admit I'm not 100% sold on a prequel but I do understand why Valiant went in this direction.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Bloodshot: Salvation #8

Dec 10, 2018

Bloodshot Salvation is another series I've followed closely but haven't really talked about much. It's one of the best series of 2018 and is one of the better ongoing narratives I've followed for any length of time.  This isn't the best issue to jump in but it's entertaining nevertheless. Bloodshot and his dog Bloodhound enter the "Deadside" in order to save his daughter, Jessie. After the events of the last issue Bloodshot finds himself surrounded by demonic creatures but before he's overwhelmed there is a timely rescue by Shadowman. After they are safe Shadowman offers to take Bloodshot to meet "The Dealmaker, Baron Samedi.  The plot detours a bit and we're provided with an update on the ongoing subplot with Danny and Peter. Danny has been injected with the same nanites that Bloodshot has running in his veins. He says he feels more alive than ever and offers to be Peter's weapon to fix the world.  Bloodshot makes a deal with Samedi in order to save his daughter. Samedi wants someone killed to which Bloodshot agrees. When he asks who the target is Samedi's response is does it matter?  With the arrangement made Bloodshot is sent to the year 4002 while Jessie is sent to the present, no longer an infant but a young girl.  This issue is amazing from beginning to end. Jeff Lemire has a great take on these characters and the script is top notch. Special consideration goes to Renato Guedes. There is a ton of attention to detail all over this comic as well as a cinematic quality rarely seen in mainstream comics.  The Deadside is also a very imaginative concept. With scenes and panels being scrambled to give the appearance that time, space and events are being replayed over and over again.  We don't need Baron Samedi to tell us that time doesn't operate the same way in this realm. The art direction makes it clear.  This is a beautiful comic and master class in team cohesion coming together to tell a great story. The only gripe I have with this comic is there isn't much to the recap. I won't hold it against the book because the comic opens strong and ends on an even stronger cliffhanger.  Bloodshot #8 is a masterpiece! For More Reviews - https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Bloodshot: Salvation #9

Feb 5, 2019

Bloodshot Salvation was one of my favorite series of 2018. I had no real relationship with the character walking into the series but every damn issue was been amazing so far. Yes, I know the series is over but I haven't finished yet so I will continue reviewing for completion's sake.  In this issue, we get an origin for Bloodshot's dog, Bloodhound and also the glimpse into the early stages of the program that created our hero.  The story is set during World War I. Dr. Henry Fulbright offers to take his experimental dogs to battle in place of human soldiers in the front lines. The pitch is that the dogs are extremely durable can withstand the gas, some gunfire, require little sleep and can see in darkness. Fulbright offers a no-cost test run to which the Lieutenant accepts.  The experiment works and allows the British soldiers to advance and take the German position.  Unfortunately, one of the dogs gets trapped in barbed wire and Fulbright decides to move in and retrieve it. He gets support from the Lieutenant and is told that he has 30 minutes to get the dog as they are leaving.  The Doctor sends the canines out into the field. They manage the retrieve the trapped dog but the Germans retaliate. All of the dogs are killed except one and Dr. Fulbright, forgetting to put on his mask on is gassed and dies in the field.  Seeing the value in the experiment the Lieutenant takes the surviving dog back to the lab in the hopes that someone can continue Fulbrights work posthumously.   This is an amazing single issue and a complete change of pace for the series. Jeff and Ray have managed to create a series of events that extend well beyond the superhero genre but manage to remain engrossing.  I would suggest this series to anyone, even those that traditionally don't have an interest in comics.  The linework from Renato Guedes is masterful. Every page is beautifully rendered and has a photo-realistic quality. It's appropriately grimy and captures the war setting with stark blacks, grays, and tans contrasting with the otherworldly appearances of the canines.  It's a quick diversion from the main series but manages to add a ton of depth to a character that traditionally wouldn't get much spotlight. Who would have imagined that an issue spotlighting a dog would be one of the best single issues of the year?

10
Bloodshot: Salvation #11

Jan 17, 2020

For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/ It's always a pleasure to dive back into Bloodshot Salvation. Even without much information on the character or lore Salvation continues to provide a clinic on what it takes to make a great comic. The art, stakes, threat, and actions are top-notch and portrayed at a level few creative teams are able to match. Bloodshot #11 has a lot of action beautifully portrayed throughout the issue by Doug Braithwaite. The linework epic and every action sequence suitably brutal. I also want to call attention to Jordie Bellaire's colors. I've been running into a lot of comics that are bland to look at even when the pencils are great. Jordie makes sure every scene is lit properly and the variety in colors adds depth to every encounter. There fire, ice, and excitement throughout this issue and everything is rendered gloriously. Bloodshot is hit with a helluva moral dilemma. Does he kill an innocent family man in order to save his own family? The past and future settings are both great. This is a testament to the writing and pacing ability of Jeff Lemire. In the present, the action continues to ramp up when Rampage makes another appearance. We also get an extended cameo from Punk Mambo. Mambo is a cool character but she has a really shit design. She appears to be weird for weirdness's sake. Appearance aside, she plays a major role in the issue and its great to see Jeff weave other Valiant properties into the issue without being intrusive. Just like with Shadowman and Ninja-K, I want to see more Mambo stories. I just wish she would fix her hair. This issue ends on a cliffhanger that I can see going either way for our hero. He's clearly making a deal with the devil, and the devil is known to lie. Bloodshot #11 is the type of single issue that makes you realize just how mediocre comics really have become. This issue along with the rest of the series has been outstanding. If you aren't reading Salvation I suggest you either collect the single issues or pick up the trades. The series is a must-read.

10
Bloodshot: Salvation #12

May 26, 2020

Bloodshot Salvation ended up being one of the best mini-series I've ever read. I never read a Bloodshot comic before. I don't even know if I'd ever picked up a Valiant book prior to 2018. I'm finally closing out this series of reviews and looking back it's been a master class of a series. This issue covers Bloodshot finally escaping the future after completing his mission of killing an innocent man for Baron Samedi. He runs into conflict with the future version of himself recently introduced to the series. In addition to the situation in the future, we get an epic battle between Omen led by Peter and Rampage v the oldskool members of Rising Spirit. It's an amazing battle depicted from the opening page of the issue to the bittersweet conclusion. I've read the two series released after Salvation. The heart and emotional core of the character seem to have left with Lemire. It's maybe cliche to say but Jeff really gets this character or at the very least gets what makes this character work. The entire series has felt like an odyssey and seeing the character succeed despite all of the challenges and setbacks really gave me a fuzzy feeling inside. The art direction of Doug and Jordie is also incredible. I first noticed Jordie Bellaire's work in Britania and I'm impressed with every title I see her name attached to. Doug's linework keeps up the intensity throughout the issue and meshes perfectly with the action and emotional beats Jeff provides here. Very few series manage to stick the landing as well as Bloodshot Salvation. The conclusion solidifies the series as one of my favorite books of all time and earns my first God-Tier Rating.

7.0
Border Town #1

Dec 16, 2018

 If it wasn't obvious from the title, Bordertown takes place at the Mexican border in Devils Fork, Arizona. Racial tensions are pretty high in the area. The comic opens with a group of racist rednecks prepping to go hunt Mexicans in an attempt to "Make America Great Again". While this is happening a family of Mexicans is attempting to cross the border into the US. Right before a potential lynching situation is about to take place, the family and the rednecks hunting them are all killed by monsters.  The comic transitions to Frank and his family arriving to the city. Frank is the new kid in school and gets interest from everyone in the cast, including Quinteh, a large Mexican kid that wears a Lucha mask throughout the entire issue and Blake. Frank becomes fast friends with both which catches the attention of Aimi & Julietta.  During a conversation in class, Frank is asked to prove that he's not a racist since he's friends with Blake. It turns out Blake is a racist skinhead and bully. Frank says he's not a racist and also reveals to the girls  that he's half Mexican.  Word travels fast about Frank's ethnicity and after class Blake finds Frank punches him in the face. He call Frank a liar presumably about not being white and tells him to meet him after class. They both meet and square up to fight with Frank beating Blakes ass.  While the fight is taking place monsters gather at the outskirts of town in the form of the everyones greatest fears.  After the fight, Blake grabs a gun from one of his friends and pulls it on Frank but before he can pull the trigger a monster arrives in the form of a cop and bites Blake. The monster moves in on Frank but is rushed by Quinteh. The monster pulls Quinteh's Lucha mask down blinding him. It turns back to eat Frank but is shot by Julietta. The kids run off when they hear police sirens moving in. Julietta reveals that she is an undocumented immigrant and if she gets arrested it could put her family at risk for deportation.  The comic ends with an epilogue revealing that the border houses a portal to another dimension and that the monster that attacked Frank was the Chupacabra. It has been sent to Devil's Fork by and unnamed entity for presumably nefarious purposes  **Rumination** Bordertown isn't a bad comic. The premise that undocumented immigrants may not be necessarily crossing the border into the United States for a better opportunity but to escape from monsters is actually pretty clever. All of the supporting characters are interesting. I'm not really a fan of Frank, the lead character though. My issue with Frank is that he seems to be a kid out of time. He doesn't talk like a real person and seems to be a kid from a 90's sitcom rather than a kid from 2018.    The elephant in the room are the racial aspects of the comic. It's no secret that I'm a conservative. I'm not a Trump supporter though. I don't support building a wall or the idea that kids should be held in detention camps away from their parents. I do believe that illegal immigration is an issue and is much more complicated that the media will have us believe. My biggest gripe with this comic is it does a real disservice to conservatives and reduces the immigration argument to a caricature.   Another noticeable issue within the book is that it's blatantly racist. Every white person in Bordertown is presented as the worse type of white redneck stereotype. Even Frank is assumed to be racist until its revealed that he's half Mexican which coincidentally give him a pass.  If any other ethnic group was depicted in this manner the book wouldn't have made it to print but, since it's perfectly fine to hate whites no one cares and any arguments to the racism portrayed will probably be confined to the echo chambers of twitter and other social media forums.  I'm not caping for racists. I'm perfectly aware that racism does exist but in this instance, the racism within the comic seems to be over the top and unnecessary. Despite the flaws, I'm interested in seeing where the story goes. The art is bright and detailed and the colorist, Tamra Bonvillain gets kudos for the diverse color palette, especially with the skin tones of the characters. I am a person of color and this is something I really appreciate. This is a very eye-catching comic and deserves praise on that front.  Ultimately because of the racial aspects of the comic, I can't recommend Bordertown. In this instance. I will say that your enjoyment of the issue and the series will probably depend on your political leanings and what level of racism is acceptable to you.  For more reviews, subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.0
Britannia #2

Oct 21, 2018

Written by Peter Milligan Art by Juan Jose Ryp and Jordie Bellaire Publisher: Valiant Britannia #2 opens with Antonius seeing visions of his long dead wife. She calls for him to come closer as his loyal slave Bran protests. Antonius sees through the ruse and manages to attack the visage and destroy the illusion. Antonius & Bran find the remains of Fort Paulinus. Bran remarks that Paulinus has been destroyed but Antonius deduces that the Fort has not been razed but moved and that the bodies that are left are of Brits.  They walk away from the carnage they are approached by a group of Roman soldiers. Antonius lets the group know that he has been sent by Nero to investigate the situation in Britannia. The leader of the group, a huge heavily scarred soldier responds that he doesn't give a damn.  The scene transitions to Antonius reporting in with Perfect Gabinius. The previous leader had been killed and he had been forced to assume command. Perfect tells Antonius that he doesn't need the assistance but Antonius retorts that he believes that the Perfect is up against something that he doesn't understand. While the conversation is taking place they walk past a couple of Roman soldiers savagely beating their prisoner. Antonius intervenes but the Perfect tells him to stand down and also ends the attack. He tells Antonius to leave while he still can Antonius senses that there is more to the soldier's behavior than simply letting off steam. Instead of leaving he plays on Perfect Gabinius's insecurities about being  an ineffective leader. This gives the Perfect pause but has the desired effect of getting him to back off and allow Antonius to continue his investigation.  The scene shifts to Antonius and Brand investigating the bodies of two Roman Soldiers. Antonius doesn't get too far into investigating before being interrupted by another group of men. Led by the same large scarred soldier from before, the Romans attack our heroes and eventually draws the attention of Perfect Gabinius. He stops the attack and limits the scope of the investigation to the camp and advises that it has to be completed within a week.  The comic transitions to an encounter between Nero and the Chief Vestal Virgin, Rubria. He accuses her of knowing more than she's letting on about the monster that has appeared in Britannia.  They go back and forth making threats towards each other and she reveals that Antonius was chosen to investigate the monster because of his status as a burned out soldier that no one cares for. She admits that he will probably never return from Britannia. The scene ends with Rubria letting Nero know that if Antonius fails Rome may be destroyed.  Antonius and Bran bribe one of the Romans for access to the Fort but now all of the bodies have been removed. Antonius notices patterns with the dog tracks and ties it to the two soldiers from before. He says that he believes that the soldiers were killed by their own men.  He tries to use his status as a war hero to pry information from some of the soldiers but fails miserably. He is later pulled to the side by one of them and told that he should leave because it is getting dangerous for him for him to be there.  At this moment s skirmish breaks out between some soldiers and some of the locals.  Antonius approaches one of the women involved in the scuffle and questions her. Her name is Bodmall, she refuses to cooperate at all until she notices the "Wyrd" magic upon him. Before the conversation can be continued further, Bodmall is called away. The soldier says that the man calling her away is her lover but Antonius makes the observation that the relationship appears to be more like master and slave.  Later that evening in camp Antonious laments being away from his son for so long. As he and Bran chat they hear dogs barking in the distance and leave to investigate.  A young boy flees from a group of monsters on horseback but collapses. Upon hitting the ground one of the monsters pulls up on horseback and impales him with a spear. The monster then takes his mask off and reveals himself to be Perfect Gabinus. The monsters/soldiers leave when they are frightened off by something that is coming.  Antonius ponders the situation but is interrupted by the huge scarred soldier that has been stalking him. The comic ends on a cliffhanger as the Soldier raises his sword, presumably with murderous intent.  **Rumination** Britannia #2 was a really fun issue. Although it is a standard size comic it reads as if its a lot denser. The investigation widens and we see that the Romans assigned to Britannia may be possessed by supernatural forces. The overarching story is great. The art isn't as bright as in the prior issue but I believe it has more to do with the issue being set primarily in Britannia. The area is in bad shape and the shift in color seems appropriate. This is a credit to the editing on the book that it maintains its artistic cohesion so well.  The book isn't perfect this go round and I call shenanigans on a few moments in the book. The first being the scene between Antonius and Perfect Gabinus and the other being the brief scene between Nero and Rubria.  I understand Antonius is being set up to be a master detective but It seems that Peter Milligan goes a bit overboard with Antonius's abilities and his observations of Gabinus. He's able to dissect all of Gabinus's personal insecurities over the course of  2 pages. A simple explanation would be that Antonius has supernatural insight. This may actually be the case. The scene is one of my favorites from the issue but it does comes off as a bit silly. The scene between Nero and Rubria also bothered me because it was just so over the top. The book is clearly not grounded. The heightened reality is entertaining for the most part but when characters are constantly being quippy and condescending it becomes an annoyance. The scenes between the characters are very brief but if this is how they are going to be portrayed everytime they pop up on the panel it will take away from the series. I understand that Nero is paranoid and insane but those seem to be his only character traits and it's becoming a net negative for the series so far. The reveal that Perfect Gabinus is one of the soldiers involved in the murder is not surprising but the manner in which the reveal takes place is kinda sloppy. Why did he remove his mask at that particular moment? It doesn't ruin the issue but it's a questionable and a very convenient plot point.  None of the gripes hurt my overall enjoyment of the issue but I believe that that the plotting and editing may be playing too fast and loose on the detective elements of the series. It doesn't break the suspension but it does nag me a bit and prevent the series from getting a perfect score this time. For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Britannia #3

Dec 4, 2018

Britannia #3 opens up immediately following the events of last issue with Antonius battling Catila, the Roman Legionary. They go back and forth a bit before Antonius dodges a swing and retaliates decapitating the giant.  As the fight is going on the Wyrding woman, Bodmall casts a spell to find Antonius.  The scene transitions back to Antonius as he contemplates his options in dealing with Catila's body. If the soldier is discovered Antonius would be executed. To avoid this situation Antonius dismembers the body so that it resembles the other bodies found in Britannia. This tactic would make it look like it had also been ravaged by the monsters in the area. While in the middle of the task Antonius is visited by the visage of the monster from the last issue, Orkus. Orkus takes control of this mind and forces him to relive the memories of his wife's death during childbirth. The demon taunts Antonius with the initial hatred for his son and tells him that he will feed on his emotions and force him to kill himself.  Bodmall arrives and casts a spell to dispel the monster. With the threat gone they leave.  Later, the Roman Soldiers discover Catila's remains and come to the conclusion that the gods are punishing them for allowing Antonius to desecrate their bodies during his investigation. Perfect Gabinius, the leader of soldiers says that he will question Antonius in the morning and declares that the detective's time in Britannia is over.   As Antonius and Bodmall travel together she explains that in order for the people to defend themselves against the Romans she summoned the demon. She did this at the behest of her man Eryn, but they were unable to control it. Bodmall mentions that Eryn does not make requests easily, implying violence but, when Antonius offers protection she disappears into the woods.  The next Day Antonius begins looking for Eryn. He questions some of the people and is given directions but told to stay away because the home is cursed.  Upon arrival, Antonius discovers the door unlocked and finds a goblet filled with a red wine He makes the observation that the wine is better than what is typically given to the soldiers. Antonius moves to take a drink but the goblet begins to melt in his hands and then shatters on the floor. As this happens Eryn makes an appearance.  Eryn confirms that the monster was conjured to protect his people but the darkness of the Romans gave it strength. The old man calls Antonius a coward revealing he knows of the detective's son and that he hides his identity as the boy's father.  The taunts infuriate Antonius and as the detective is about to attack the old man his arm is transformed into wood. He flees the home and Eryn calls out to him telling the detective to keep his eyes off of his woman. Later Eryn confronts Bodmall and accuses her of working to undermine his relationship with the Imperials. He tells her to go to Antonius. She resists and he begins torturing her into submission.  The next day Antonius meets with Perfect Gabinius. Before Gabinius can begin his interrogation Antonius begins questioning him about the integrity of his men. This makes the Perfect uneasy and he tells Gabinius that he has two days to complete his investigation.  Later that evening Antonius contemplates the case but fears he is running out of time. Bodmall bursts into the room. She tells him that she needed to get away from Eryn and the demons. Antonius offers to help and is quickly seduced.  During their sexual encounter, Antonius gets a vision of his dead wife which gives him pause. Bodmall puts him at ease but as he begins to relax she transforms into a monster and reveals that she has been sent by Eryn. Rumination Britannia #3 is a fantastic read. The story picks up the pace from the last issue and eliminates the parts of the story that were lacking. Particularly the machinations occurring in Rome.  Antonius's ability as a detective has also been dialed back to a more believable level. In the last issue, he seemed to pull solutions out of his ass. In this comic the solutions and observations he makes seem real and I didn't have roll my eyes or lose immersion in the story. The story is a perfect blend of mystery, action, and also intrigue. The comic also provides answers which is also is lacking in many stories in recent years. Too many stories rely on the "Mystery Box" approach in storytelling where the mystery keeps growing and significant answers are never provided. (Cloverfield, The Last Jedi). The art is gorgeous and manages to impress even though the Britannia itself is a drab locale. The scenes are still varied and the pencils and colors make every page detailed and interesting to look at. I have no gripes with this comic. It came together beautifully and ended on a great cliffhanger. Can't wait for the conclusion. For More comic reviews- https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Britannia #4

Jan 4, 2019

Britannia #4 opens with Antonius Alexander defending himself against Bodmall as she has been transformed into a demonic Creature (Last Issue). As he is nearly overcome he receives a vision from Rubria, Chief Vestal Virgin. The vision insists that he survive, find the codex within himself and use it to heal and protect. The codex manages to calm Bodmall and she transforms back to normal. Upon transformation Bodmall lets Antonius know that she senses the Sister Wyrd (Rubria) on him and lets him know that the spell has been broken. As they are talking Antonius's loyal slave, Bran interrupts them. When turns back to the address Bodmall, she is gone.  Bran lets Antonius know that a heavy fog is coming and seems to be worrying everyone in Britannia. Antonius considers the circumstances and his experiences to this point and makes the connection that the fog is actually a sign that the creature that has been attacking the village is approaching. With this new insight, Antonius and Bran to once again confront Perfect Gabinus. When they arrive to the Roman camp they encounter Gabinus as he is sacrificing a rabbit to appease the approaching demon, Orkus. Antonius accuses Gabinus off sacrificing Brits and using the druid, Eryn to summon Orkus. The accusations infuriate the Perfect and he lunges at Antonius but is easily deflected. The commotion causes other soldiers to show up but they are also dispatched by Bran and The Detectionor.  While the battle is raging Bodmall appeals to an Elder Sister to assist Antonius. At first, the request is denied but the old woman relents when Bodmall tells her that he is protected by a Sister Wyrd. With his men defeated, Gabinus attacks but is unable to match Antonius's blade and is also killed. With the Perfects death, Orkus reveals that he was in possession of Gabinus's body and then threatens to take Antonius as well.  Bran suggests they hide but Antonius reaffirms that he has to find Eryn and confront him in order to protect Bodmall.  As Antonius and Bran approach the village they see it in flames. Eryn, the Druid approaches them from behind and attacks Antonius with magic. The magics darken the area and separates the two men. The Detectionor manages to follow the Druid's voice and throws his blade connecting and ending Eryn's life.  Antonius then collects Bran an tells him to leave and take care of his son for him. He then leaves to finally confront Orkus.  Antonius eventually runs into Orkus. The demon immediately attempts to drive him by making him see visions of himself committing suicide. The detectioner manages to call upon the codex again and draw the Eternal Flame. His blade finds his mark and he is able to strike down the beast.  The scene flashes forward to Rubria & Nero in Rome. Antonius approaches to their surprise and reports that the minor disturbance in Britannia has been dealt with.  Nero leaves satisfied with the result and Antonius reveals to Rubria that after he defeated Orkus, Bodmall approached and saved him with healing magic. Rubria and Antonius part ways and Antonius leaves to see his son and try to muster up the courage to reveal to the child that he is his father.  Rumination Britannia #4 is an extremely satisfying conclusion to this mini-series. Antonius close's this case and all of the threads left throughout the series are tied up cleanly. It's surprising how neatly Peter Milligan is able to weave this narrative. It's the perfect blend of action, humor and exciting reveals.  The art direction is great and it's to see the shift in tone once the book goes back to Rome. Nero shows up and is completely insane but in short doses, it's not too off-putting and I sort of missed the guy. This is one of the better conclusion to a series I've read in a while. The only knock to the comic is that It works as a concluding issue but on its own, the story is so layered I doubt anyone would be able to follow the plot. The comic would still be a fun read but having the other issues along with this one make the overall story so much better.  This series is everything great about the comics medium and I can't wait to pick up the next arc later this year. 

8.5
Cable (2020) #1

Apr 7, 2020

Before posting this review I broke one of my own rules and watched videos covering Cable #1. The reviews were down on the issue. While I do have some concerns with the book I don't think the title is anywhere near as bad as it was made out to be. My first introduction to young Cable was during Dawn of X. He's a goofy character but I've found him to be endearing. Cable's personality is slightly off. He's also kinda dumb and comes off as a less abrasive version of Kid Omega. Cable's personality along with the action-oriented nature of the issue won we over by the end. I can see myself sticking with the series at least through the first arc. The book opens with a straight-up fight between Cable and Wolverine. Cable ends up winning the fight with little effort which was great because logic alone would dictate that Wolverine would have a really hard time against a telepath/telekinetic. It's good to see the decision's made based on logic and not the popularity of the characters. The rest of the book follows Cable and his crew (Pixie - Armor) as they search for the missing mutant Fauna. During the search, they get into a massive fight with a giant monster. Ya Boi said that the comic felt like a children's book and it's during this segment of the comic that I agreed with him. I don't have an issue with the book skewing younger. This incarnation of Cable is a kid. It makes sense that the character would have totally different interests than readers are expecting. I'm a huge fan of Phil Noto's art but have never seen him do interiors. The comic looks great and he does a great job in conveying energy and the action throughout the book. It's definitely a different take on the characters but It works for the story being told. I think overall this is a great Young Adult interpretation of Cable. I also believe that this is a great 1st issue for new readers. The only hangup I have with the book is that the comic should have been cheaper. The target audience of this book may be priced out. If the book was 1.99 or even 2.99 I think it would have been a great value proposition. I can totally see kids gravitating toward this series and characters. The missed opportunities have nothing to do with the creative team or direction. It's just an indictment on the comic book industry that the hobby is only accessible to adults with disposable income and not the young men and women that the books are clearly aimed at. For More: GTMediareviews.com

7.0
Casual Fling #1

Nov 21, 2021

About 90% of the comics I purchase are within the Superhero or Horror genre. Casual Fling #1 is a bit of an anomaly in that it doesn’t fit in with any of the comics that I normally read or review. The book follows Jennifer Ryan, the youngest attorney at an up-and-coming law firm in New York. She has two small children with an active and engaged stay-at-home husband. Based on the dialogue and exchanges between the characters it becomes clear pretty quickly that Jennifer wears the pants in this family. It’s also clear that although the marriage is stable there are underlying issues not being addressed between the two. Things become further complicated when Jennifer meets a client, Alex whom she has chemistry and an obvious sexual attraction to. Before long there’s an affair and by the end, it appears that the entanglement will become messy, as they usually do in real life. Casual Fling #1 isn’t the most exciting start’s to a series yet the devil is in the details. The situation presented is very real and happens in many relationships and marriages when fractures exist that aren’t addressed. Casual Fling #1 isn’t the most exciting start’s to a series yet the devil is in the details. The situation presented is very real and happens in many relationships and marriages when fractures exist that aren’t addressed. There are aspects of the story that I wasn’t a fan of. The Business Woman sacrificing herself and family for her career is real but it’s an overused trope across entertainment. I’d love to see a similar situation play out with a blue-collar couple but that pretty much never happens. The art is serviceable but doesn’t do much to elevate the material here. I can see the story and art becoming more dynamic as the scenario plays out so I won’t judge too harshly here. Casual Fling #1 is primarily a setup issue for a series that will be eventually collected in a single volume. There’s enough material here to keep one engaged if they are into drama and suspense a la Michael Douglas’s “Fatal Attraction”. There are countless variants of this story out there but I can’t recall seeing it play out in comics. In Short: A Story story of infidelity and its fallout, the mileage may vary.

9.0
Casual Fling #2

Feb 24, 2022

Casual Fling #2 - A Little Too Close To Home.. Writer: Jason Starr | Artist: Dalibor Talajic Review ✍ I read Casual Fling #1 a few months ago and while there was a solid premise established it wasn’t exactly must-read material. However, as a person that has had a tumultuous marriage at times, this issue hit a bit close to home. After the first issues affair, Jennifer is placed in a position as her “fling” has plans that go beyond a one-night stand. Later night calls turn into daytime visits and quickly evolve into threats and extortion. The situation gets so bad that Jennifer is forced to admit the affair to her husband. I’ve been married several years now and based on personal experience, the scenes between Jennifer and Matthew are very real. Jason Starr is fair to both parties in this marriage and although Jennifer is clearly in the wrong it's hard not to empathize with her situation. Matthew is also presented as a stronger co-lead than we were originally led to believe in the first issue. In the first installment, Matt was presented as the typical current year beta-husband. This perspective changes on a dime when shit gets real and he has to take the lead on the safety of his family. I still contend that Casual Fling isn’t the most original story but it moves at a nice pace and the tension surrounding the characters is palpable. This is also a comic that could easily translate to other mediums. This is also a story that I think many professional women and housewives will gravitate towards. I gave my wife a rundown of the premise and she was immediately on board. I’m a lot more invested in Casual Fling now than after reading the first issue. I don’t believe that the series is decompressed. I do believe that Jason needed to establish the monotony of Jennifer and Matthew’s relationship before tearing their lives apart. Casual Fling has been collected as a Trade paperback. Although the series probably reads better in the collected format, it’s been a solid story in its original monthly format. In Short: Mommy does a bad thing and suffers the consequences… For More, Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

8.0
Casual Fling #3

Jul 22, 2022

I checked the reviews of Casual Fling on Comicbookroundup.com and it’s hard to believe that the series is scoring as low as it is. I have a few theories, but I won’t get into them in this review. The story picks up with Matthew meeting with is Sensei (Mentor) and doing a deep dive into his wife’s sex tape. The goal is to find out who Alex is really. The first half of the issue is great. I lie that Mattheo and Jennifer are proactive in dealing with the situation. The Sensei character is also hilarious and has the best line in the comic when she suggests that next time that the couple feels like stepping out, they have a threesome. The downside of the issue is the pacing of the second half. We learn that “Alex” has preyed on other women and they are naturally nervous about coming forward. This fine and makes sense but the act swerve comes out of nowhere and leads me to believe that the final issue’s conclusion will be rushed. Casual Fling was originally solicited as a five-issue series. This may be a mistake but based on where this issue ends, it feels like the additional issue may have been needed to flesh out some of the character motivations that are presented here. It would have been hard for any writer to top the last issue of this series. To _ credit I have no idea what to expect when Casual Fling ends but it’s been a hellava ride so far. In Short: Casual Fling #3 is another solid issue but nailing the ending will be tough. For More: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

7.0
Catwoman (2018) #4

Dec 12, 2018

Catwoman is a very hit and miss character for me. I only really can stand her depending on the writer. With Tom King being the primary writer of Catwoman for the past few years I naturally pivoted to the new series as he had a great voice for the character and I began to find her more tolerable.  Catwoman #4 moves back and forth between past and present events. In the present Selina visits her sister Maggie. Maggie has been institutionalized after her Black Mask murdered her husband and tortured her to the point where she lost her mind.  Selina recounts past events with her sister, meeting her husband and a kid from bullies at gunpoint when they were children. Salinas guilt permeates the entire issue. The comic ends as the hospital staff enter the room as Catwoman moves to the shadows to observe what happens next.  There's nothing functionally wrong with this comic. We get a pretty tragic backstory for Maggie. There is also a bit of character development for Selina. Outside of that nothing really happens the script is fine. The art is okay. The issue just didn't connect for me. The comic isn't bad. I think the problem is that this is clearly a filler issue and the $3.99 for filler material doesn't sit well with me. Not enough real estate is covered. Although I don't have any problems with the actual comic I can't recommend the issue outside of it being collected in trade.  For More Reviews - https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.0
Catwoman (2018) #5

Feb 7, 2019

After being somewhat befuddled by the direction of the previous issue, this one is pretty straightforward for better or worse. We pick up from the cliffhanger. Selina breaks up an attempt on her sister's life while the governor's wife, Raina Creel murders him and makes it look like a suicide. She injects him with the drug, Narssistrine, which paralyzes the user and thickens internal organs to the point of death.  Selina fends off a group of hospital orderlies but is eventually overwhelmed and knocked unconscious. The governor's son is given the task of giving the drug to Selina but fails when she escapes and gets the drop on him.  I enjoyed this issue a lot more than the last and based on this one I'll probably pick up issue #6 to see how the arc concludes. The conspiracy surrounding the governor and his wife is intriguing. The story draws you in and it's hard not to be invested considering how dramatic the issue is.  The downside of the comic is that it reads really quick and although the comic is interesting it's hard to justify the 3.99 price point. It doesn't feel worth it despite the beautiful art direction of Joell and Laura. This issue may simply be better read in trade.  It's a great read but needs a bit more meat on the bones. 

9.5
Chrononauts #1

Oct 30, 2019

I've been reading comics for a long time. I'm pretty sure I first started looking at comics before I could actually read them. Chrononauts is one of the most unique and ambitious comics I've ever encountered. Issues 1 through 4 are all released the same day. It's a little weird but once you start reading the book and the twist is revealed you'll understand why the book was released this way. Its a cool and original concept. Basically what you have in Chrononauts is the most interesting story of Time Travel and Gardening you'll ever read in a comic. The concept comes from the prolific mind of Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Space Bandits) and Sean Gordon Murphy (Batman: White Kight) and features excellent art direction from Eric Canete and Giovanna Niro. Our lead characters are Corbin Quinn and Danny Reilly they are best friends and also two of the world's greatest scientists. They make an odd couple but the chemistry between them makes them feel like real people. Corbin is a little more cautious in his approach while Danny is a lot more carefree and picks his spots for maximum effect and looking cool in the process. In the setting, time travel exists and the pair have successfully traveled back in time but have not been able to go forward. We get hilarious scenes in the past before launching forward into the future. Because of the nature of the story, events I won't get too heavy into spoiler territory. The comic features one of the coolest time travel concepts I've ever seen in fiction and the beauty of the story is that Mark doesn't cheat. I'm not the biggest fan of time travel. Mainly due to many lesser writers being willy nilly with how the time travel works. From the beginning of Chrononauts, it's firmly established how the concept works and as the situations become crazier and layered the rules remain in place. Corbin and Danny are a lot of fun but it's not all fun and games. Beyond the shenanigans with the timestream, the characters are layered and have motivations that are totally relatable. By the end of the series, there are multiple heartfelt moments that resonated with me. I was very happy that I was able to read the entire series in one sitting. This leads me to my one issue with the series. If someone grabs issue one with no prior knowledge of the concept or knowledge that the entire series was released at once they may miss out. There are still a lot of readers that purchase comics because of the covers and every comic is someones first. If a reader doesn't grab the entire series they may miss out on key elements of the story, especially if your local comic shop sells out. I'm not sure if I want to knock the rating down for it but It's a concern. My shop ordered a ton of the first issue but only had a few of the later issues on new comic book day. I'm sure Mark and Co will release a trade or graphic novel in the future. I'm just concerned that shops may order conservatively and fans may miss out on a great story. The ending is particularly strong. Chrononauts is totally disconnected from Space Bandits but feels like a nice companion piece. Both series have excellent fleshed out protagonists, stories and art direction. Both would translate easily to a series on Netflix or the big screen and are pretty friggin cool stories. Chrononauts tries something different and nails it. The alternative of waiting 4 months for this story would have sucked and I appreciate having the option to read the books all at once. The art is amazing, the concept is unique and the story is thoroughly entertaining. You can't go wrong with Chrononauts, I'd definitely be interested in seeing a second volume.

9.0
Cimmerian: Red Nails #1

Jun 21, 2020

I'm a fan of Conan The Barbarian. I love the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie from the early '80s but I'm not as familiar with the comics aside from an adventure here and there. Nothing has ever grabbed me as the movie did. I'm assuming Cimmerian: Red Nails is being pulled out of the public domain as the character is currently being published by Marvel Comics across multiple books. I'm not sure if the trend will continue but "The Cimmerian" is probably the best Conan comic I've read in decades. The story seems pretty organic for the character. Conan is on a mission to Darfar, a heavily forested area populated with strange creatures. Along the way, he meets a fellow warrior Valera. They eventually banter back and forth a bit but are cut short by a Dragon's approach. The comic covers a lot of ground quickly but never feels like it's rushing things. Lore is established and the action sequences are varied and dynamic. The fight with the dragon is amazing and establish Conan as more than just a brutish warrior. He's cunning, brave as well as an excellent strategist. The locales are also varied. The comic starts in a forest before ending up in a city populated by savages. The scenario isn't deep but seems true to Robert E. Howard's vision for the character. This take on Conan also feels definitive. Valeria also works as a companion and I could totally see a spinoff series spotlighting her. She looks great and seems just as competent as Conan. You know she'll eventually fall for the barbarian's charm but he'll have to work for it. Oliver and Didier's art is simply gorgeous. The colors are lush and the varied locales work to make the comic feel a lot bigger than it actually is. The structure also keeps the issue interesting. Nothing is ever boring and new elements are introduced on every page. This version is very different from the Conan currently being published by Conan and is closer to the magazines that were published in the '70s and '80s. The only thing missing from the comic was a stray boob, but you know it's coming. If you're a fan of the character or just want something different than Marvel books this publishing, Red Nails is definitely worth your time. Conan is a pulp hero so there is only so much you can do with him but with that knowledge going in this book is a lot of fun and can't miss fantasy adventure. For More: GTMediareviews.com

8.5
Cloak and Dagger (2010) #1

Sep 18, 2022

I was not reading many comics circa 2010 and missed this entire era of X-Men stories. I recently reviewed Chris Claremont and Milo Manara’s X-Women One-Shot. Cloak and Dagger #1 was also included in the trade paperback Cloak and Dagger #1 is easily the best story I have read featuring these characters. It is also the first story I have seen them treated as individuals with different motivations that don’t necessarily align with one another. Historically, both has been symbiotically tied to each other so seeing them at odds is a bit refreshing. In this one-shot we see both Cloak and Dagger seeking relationships outside from one another. Dagger seeks a new life with the X-Men. Cloak, on the other hand sees the X-Men as a group of segregationists. In his Downtime Cloak teleports to his old neighborhood and has rekindled a relationship with an old flame. Cloaks new relationship causes tension with Dagger as they both seem to want more out of life than their co-dependence to one another. The situation breaks down further when Cloak is captured by an anti-superhero group and Dagger needs to go solo to bail him out. Cloak and Dagger #1 is the sort of comic that will make you go and track down back-issues. I was not expecting such a quality story. Both lead characters are in a weird situation and their feels are valid. Cloak and Dagger have one of the most tragic origins of any superhero team. The two characters leech energy from each other, so any squabble is detrimental to both. The art from Mark Brooks is Steller. He has a really clean art style. This is complimented by the colorwork from Emily Warren. I have never seen Cloak in his human form and would love to see more of it. The story gets creepy at times. The relationship our heroes have is an odd one, but it makes Cloak and Dagger one of the most unique teams in comics. In Short: Cloak and Dagger #1 One Shot is of the best One-Shots I have read in a long time. For More: Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

8.5
Conan The Barbarian (2019) #1

Jan 3, 2019

 I read so many comics that it often surprises people when I tell them I have never checked out Jason Aaron's run on Thor. There were a lot of complaints about Jane Foster becoming Thor and Odinson being revealed as Unworthy. I didn't really care about the controversy and chalk it up more so as me just not following Marvel all that closely the past few years. I know Jason Aaron primarily from his run on Southern Bastards. Bastards is one of the most violent and poignant series that I've read in recent memory and is one of the reading experiences I swear by when I make suggestions to new readers.  When I heard Jason was taking the reigns on Conan The Barbarian I was excited because Jason seemed like the perfect candidate for the series.  The plot is pretty straight-forward for Conan. We get a rundown of who he is and the Hyborian setting. After winning a fight Conan is seduced by a woman seeking to resurrect her god. Conan manages to spoil the plot but it comes back to haunt him decades later after he becomes king.  Jason has an excellent voice for Conan. His Conan is a brute but he's not an idiot. There's a complexity brimming beneath the surface. Mahmud Asrar and Matthew Wilson are on pencils and colors. The art direction is stellar. The action is fast paced brutal and conveys a ton  of energy on every page. Even when the action slips into more mundane scenes it looks great and there is no dip in overall quality Conan the Barbarian #1is a perfect rendition of the character. In fact, the only knock I can give the issue is that it doesn't really stand out a amongst Conan stories. However, it's exactly what you want from the character. I had fun but struggled to remember plot details when it was time to write this review. That's not really a knock on the writing or art. It's speaks more to the limitations surrounding the character.  ​ The Issue is $4.99 and for once I didn't feel the need to complain. The issue is oversized 37 pages and delivers a definitive Conan experience. There is one team delivering a great story from beginning to end. If you're a fan of the character, it doesn't get much better than this. If not you're the biggest fan of Conan you're still in for an above average reading experience.  For More Reviews subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com

9.0
Crucified #1

Jul 19, 2019

Last week I reviewed Mark Russell's and Richard Pace's Second Coming. This week I'm covering Sheldon Allen's Crucified. The differences between the two titles are night and day. What's really weird is that Jesus is trending in comics in 2019. I happened upon this book randomly. Every week I ritualistically hit my Local Comic Shop and then I browse the store to see whats new. Crucified's cover immediately grabbed my attention. I rarely see Jesus in comics. It's even rarer that you see a variant of the messiah that is depicted as a person of color. I flipped through the comic and decided it was worth trying out.  This is an excellent comic and I immediately reached out to my shop and added the series to my pull list. The issue doesn't have many supernatural elements and never outright says that "The Christ" is the actual son of God. It's is however heavily implied that there is more to the man.  After quelling a 2-week old race war between Blacks and Mexicans in California, "The Christ" gets the attention of the hidden hand behind the riots. The riot was intended to be prolonged for weeks with all of the planning was thrown out of the window once "The Christ" intervenes. The Christ is seen as a potential threat to the establishment and an assassin is then hired to take him out.  One of the things I really liked about this book is that it doesn't waste time with an extended setup. By the end of the issue, we know most of the principal players and their motives. The mystery of whether Christ is the returning Massiah is interesting but more interesting are the characters and subplots surrounding him. This isn't a parody or a mockery of religion. The question is asked, What If? and in leaving the answer up in the air an interesting premise is established.  Art direction for the issue is decent at best. The linework is exceptionally clean and expressive with nothing appearing out of place. Armin Ozdic pencils remind me of Steve Dillon in that the figures looked great but the backgrounds were always sparse.  The reason I almost passed on the book was because of the lack of background and color variation. The comic looks bland and every page looks the same. It doesn't matter if it's an interior shot, outside,  or one of the few action sequences. The direction works tonally but it forces the writer to work harder to land scenes via dialogue as the story progresses. I really hate that I can't give Crucified an A+. ​​ The story is top-notch but the issues with the art direction cannot be ignored. I can easily see this story being adapted into a television series based on the first issue alone. The story is paced well, the writing is superb. The art isn't the greatest but its the story across. Despite its minor flaws, the comic is worth reading, be sure to check it out.

8.5
Crucified #2

Sep 30, 2019

I reviewed the first issue of Crucified last month and it intrigued me enough that I added it to my pull list. To Recap, after public speaker, "The Christ" single-handedly stops a riot in Compton, he angers business interests that secretly fund the conflict. In response, the powerful interests hire an assassin to take him out. It's a simple premise but it works. This issue puts the focus on a few of the individuals that Christ has brought into his circle. Collectively they are called "The Twelve" in reference to the biblical disciples. All of them have done time for some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, but have been redeemed and meet daily to spread Christ's message. A couple of members of The Twelve aren't being Christ-like and are using their connections to the messiah to secure a payday for his first television interview. One member solicits sex for access while another uses extortion tactics for similar gains. In addition, we also pick up with our assassin as he links up with a sex-worker friend to screw and discuss past conquests. Christ only shows up in 2 panels in this comic. He's not really the protagonist for the series and plays the role of prime-mover. He's the reason all other events of the series takes place. This is a little weird but is offset by the fact that all of the supporting characters depicted in the comic are interesting. The art is solid and I did notice improvements to the linework from issues #1 to #2. There are actual backgrounds in this comic which was a big plus for me. The color palette also offers more variety this time around. The panels still feel sterile and a bit too clean but at least it's not quite as bland to read. Crucified #2 is another good issue. I'm gonna stick with the series to see how the story goes. The book reads more like a screenplay than a comic but has enough going for it that it still works monthly. It doesn't feel paced for a trade. There is story progression here. We're still in the setup phase of the story but I expect the plot to really pick up going forward.

10
Crucified #3

Nov 2, 2019

One of the most interesting and unique series I'm reading right now is Crucified from Scout Comics. The Pitch sold me. Issue #2 was solid and this volume knocks it out of the park. We get to see _ assassination attempt. The attempt is interesting as doesn't go anywhere near how I expected it to go. It leaves him wondering "Is it true" is the Christ, the messiah? There is a lot of intrigue and mounting tension in this issue that left me wanting to know what the hell is going on. The fact that no answers are being provided regarding the nature of Christ makes the story even more interesting. The art continues to improve and _ seems to have found his groove. I really love the clean style as its presented and the facial expressions throughout the issue. We get a nice cliffhanger in this issue. The situation escalates with every issue and I'm definitely locked into this series. The reviews are late. I actually have issue five which concludes the series but I wanted to keep the individual reviews coming. I'll get them done if Christ allows it.

9.5
Crucified #4

Mar 7, 2020

Crucified is a predictable yet unique take on the second coming of Jesus Christ. We're 4 issues deed and there is no definitive answer regarding the divinity of the characters. The story surrounding christ is strong enough that the outcome has my attention no matter if it turns out one way or the other. After failing and hesitating in taking out "The Christ" in the last installment Lucas is hit with some severe consequences as someone close to him pays the price for his failure. With renewed resolve, he makes a second attempt on the alleged savior and manages to capture him this time around. Crucified #4 continues on as an interesting throught experiment. The book get's shockingly violent at one point and has one of the most brutal death scenes I've seen in a long time. It's possibly the worst. Things seem to go wrong for everyone involved but the only character that remains uncompromised throughout this situation is Christ. I feel that he will be tested in the next issue. The situation is very intense and could go either way for the character. I feel that the conclusion no matter how it turns out is earned. I had no idea what to expect from the series but it's been solid and even the art that I had reservations with initially has improved drastically as the series has gone on. We were barely getting backgrounds initially and now Armin Ozdic is illustrating full-on action sequences. I highly recommend checking out Crucified. I'm late on the review but if you can find the single issues or the trade I feel the series is definitely worth a read.

9.5
Crucified #5

Apr 16, 2020

Of all of the possible outcomes of Crucified, this was one that I didn't see coming. This issue gives us the highly anticipated confrontation between the assassin Lucas and The Christ. Their scenes are electric but ultimately ends too quickly and easily. The book deserves a positive review because of the overall story direction of the series but I won't lie. Sheldon doesn't stick the landing of the confrontation between the two leads. Minor gripes aside I don't want to spoil the comic. The issue is great and the second half of the book is the most rugged of the entire series. This is the first time I'd involve a story involving Jesus as Gangsta. I'm not sure if we'll ever see a sequel to this story but If we ever see a show based on this material I wouldn't complain at all. This is inspired material.

8.0
Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1

Oct 2, 2020

I don't have much experience with Mike Pondsmith's Cyberpunk franchise aside what has been released about the upcoming game from CD Projekt Red. Based on this initial offering it doesn't appear that the story here ties so closely to the game that you can't follow the narrative. I imagine you see these Trauma Units in Cyberpunk and that this story covers a slice of life for one of the characters in the universe similar to what you'd see if Star Wars pointed the camera at a random stormtrooper after an encounter with a Jedi. The comic follows Nadia and covers a mission in which she loses her squad during a rescue attempt. It's a very intense series of events in a job that would be hard to go back too. Nadia on the other hand is itching to get back into the field. I think there is more to Nadia's reasoning than simply being anxious but that's a working theory and I believe the "Trauma" aspect of the series is what the book will be focusing on. Nadia successfully saves her client in the end. The comic documents the extraction and see her psychological evaluation and redeployment back into the field with a new Trauma unit. The story is interesting and features frenetic action throughout. The downside to the art direction is that the comic has a lot going on and due to the Trauma team uniforms it's hard to distinguish the characters from one another. I'm guessing the layouts and design choices are based on level and character design from the upcoming game. It's a distraction but it doesn't hurt the flow of the book which moves at a brisk pace. There isn't much else to the comic, it's a fun 5-minute read. There isn't much to latch on too aside from getting a deep dive into where Nadia is at the start of the story. It's a decent jumping-on point into this world with a nice cliffhanger.

8.0
Damage (2018) #9

Dec 12, 2018

Damage #9 is essentially an all-out action end to the current story Arc. Damage and The Unknown Soldier battle against Colonel Jonas and her forces and do so in glorious fashion.  There isn't really much pathos to the story. The star of this comic are the pencils from Aaron Lopresti and colors from HI-FI. Hopefully, the story moves along and we get more character development for Damage beyond his being hounded by government forces. I get that the character started as a Hulk clone but he has a lot of potentials to move beyond the initial setup. The art is great and every shot of Damage in this comic is appropriately epic. The downside is that some of the backgrounds for this issue are shoddy and contrast heavily against other backgrounds that are really detailed by comparison.  Minor hiccups aside the issue is fun. Robert moves the story along and gives us enough to not feel let down by the outcome and potential direction. For more Reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Damage (2018) #10

Jan 31, 2019

I'm convinced that Damage is the book that Robert works on when he wants to let his hair down and relax.  The premise for the series is simple. The plots move fast and at worst the stories are always good.  The selling point for me is the $2.99 cover price. I firmly believe that comics really need to come off of the $3.99 and should be at max $2.50.  If that means going back to newsprint or finding another means of distribution the prices will eventually need to come down.  This was the primary reason I always supported the "New Age of Heroes" line of comics. The books are all solid despite some shortcomings. None of the series are bad and at the very least the line gave us a gaggle of new characters.  The books are all solid despite some shortcomings but none of the series are bad and at the very least the line gave us a gaggle of new characters.  Damage #10 represents Ethan's return to the place of his birth. There isn't much depth to the story but what it lacks in deep storytelling it makes up for it by simply telling an action-filled romp with great art and pacing. The comic even ends on a cliffhanger that I expect will lead to another huge action issue.  I love that Damage/Ethan's personalities are being blended. It mitigates my concern that Ethan gets lost whenever the action picks up.  At the time of writing, Damage has unfortunately been canceled. It's another case of missed opportunity along with the other "New Age of Series" cancellations. The series has been a welcome diversion in what sometimes feels like a sea of mediocrity. For more reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Damage (2018) #11

Mar 28, 2019

If this comic wasn't $2.99 I would have come down pretty hard on this issue. I read Damage #11 in about 5 minutes and during that time I thoroughly enjoyed it. The comic is essentially a slugfest pitting Damage against Green Arrow, Vixen, Guy Gardner, and Flash.  If you've followed the series to this point you know that Damage has some pretty impressive feats and as this issue rolls along he racks up even more as he takes down the Justice League in pretty epic fashion.  The issue is fun, the character is fun and even though there is little to no actual depth to the storytelling, Robert paces the issue well and the issue is still enjoyable. This sentiment is propelled by the art direction. One of the most fun aspects of the series is seeing Damage cut loose and this issue is no exception Aaron Lopresti and Hi-Fi bring it, and portray our lead character as a force of nature not to be trifled with. Each page is a joy to read and look at and the issue is worth it for that reason alone.  The downside of the comic that the cover clearly depicts a fight between Damage and Superman. Superman does not show up in the comic until the very last page and it's a cliffhanger for yet another fight. If the Comic was standard 3.99 cover price or had a lesser art team I would have been pissed.  As it stands the comic was a simple fast-paced story that is worth a read even though you'll probably breeze through it in a few minutes. 

8.5
Damage (2018) #12

Jun 23, 2019

Now I can't prove it and DC Comics will never admit it but I totally believe DC editorial messed up the sequence of covers for Damage #11 and #12.  Damage #11 Features the character going up against the Justice League. This issue features the fight with Superman promised last month. One of my complaints on that issue was that the cover was misleading. If the covers got mixed up, it makes sense.  Damage #12 is simple yet completely satisfying. The book still featured a $2.99 cover price and dollar for dollar was possibly the best value at DC the month it was released.  One of the longest-running debates in comic fandom is who would win in a fight between Hulk and Superman. We don't get a definitive answer in this issue but the outcome is pretty much what I'd expect if the crossover actually happens one day. The issue is a lot of fun and seeing the Back and Forth between the characters is simply a joy. Right now DC comics are in a dower spot with most of the major storylines focusing on villains and villainy. The characters her all feel like the best versions of themselves. Aaron and HI-FI work well together and the tone of the issue feels brighter than I remember for the series. This change is fitting since it pits Damage against DC's symbol of hope.  The ending of the comic is rather predictable if you've been following the series but its nice to see the character continue to scale up to DC's biggest powerhouses. I have no doubt that if the general health of the comic industry had been a bit better than Damage would have not been canceled.  Aside from DC fatally goofing up the cover of the last two issues I don't have any complaints. If you want to see a Superman Vs. Hulk fight pick up these two issues, you can't go wrong. 

6.0
Damage (2018) #13

Jun 25, 2020

With Damage #13 it's pretty clear that the creative team has checked out on this series. It's been a while since I checked in on the book and upon revisit Damage now feels like a waste of time and investment. The series was canceled with issue #16 and I'm not sure if the character has appeared anywhere else since being axed. I do believe that there are a couple of signs in this issue that the end was nigh. First off the cover price jumped from $2.99 to $3.99. I often joke that this series reads extremely fast. I don't think any of them take more than 5 minutes to finish. The same holds true here but an additional $1 and lack of content make this issue feel even dodgier. If I produced the comic It would be apart of an anthology series or sold digitally. The character is still fun but this is not a $3.99 comic. This issue features a confrontation between Damage and Batman. Batman tries to take Ethan (Damage) under his wing but he declines. He tells Batman that the offer is too close to what he'd already gone through with the military. He throws it back at Batman asking him how long before the Justice League drops him into a group of unsuspecting enemies. The rejection puts the two men into conflict and after one of the most surprising chains of events, Batman gets the best of Damage. We've seen Damage beat the Suicide Squad. He's gone toe to toe with Wonder Woman and mashed an entire team of Justice League members. This was all before running into Superman and putting on a solid showing against him. Having Damage lose to Batman just comes off as lazy. Normally I don't do spoilers but nothing else happens in the comic of note. The art from Aaron is nice and the fight is well choreographed but its let down by a really mediocre story. I'm a big Robert Venditti fan and it hurts to say that. Ethan's character even feels off. At one point he encounters the Justice League and he straight up turns into a fanboy. The entire comic feels like that. It's like the comic is self-aware that the sales suck and the creative said screw it, the book is getting canceled anyway. If you're a completionist the comic book may have some value but for everyone else, stay away.

7.5
Damage (2018) #14

Sep 1, 2020

I knew Damage was done when I had to get this and the final issue special ordered because my Comic shop didn't bother to stock it on the shelves. Issue #13 was pretty rough, totally undermined Damage as a character with Batman getting the best of him and dumping him on an island populated by monsters. This issue is a bit better but suffers from the hindsight of my knowing that there are two issues left and that the character hasn't appeared anywhere else since the series was canceled. This is essentially a dead series with a dead lead and the only reason to follow it is to complete the run. The comic starts with Damage crashing on the island. He's only got about 30 minutes on his timer before he transforms back to his human identity of Ethan Avery. Damage immediately gets into a fight with a Kaiju sized dragon. He holds his own but gets K.O.ed by another monster in the form of a giant gorilla. After awakening Ethan finds himself in the company of Congo Bill. Congo explains that the island is a preserve for the monsters captured by the Justice League. He also has a more intimate relationship with the monsters it seems (not like that). Damage #14 is technically a good jumping on point for the series. Ethan has been removed from the regular DC playing field. This would be a great time to explore what makes the character tick or even some of his early missions as Damage. What appears is happening is that we're moving away from Damage facing superheroes and villains to being a human-sized Kaiju taking on even bigger monsters. This would have been a cool concept and differentiated Damage from being simply a Hulk clone. Aaron Lopresti delivers some solid action and his Damage looks awesome but unfortunately, it's hard to get excited about anything knowing that the book is inconsequential. If you like Damage as a character or just have a few minutes to blow I think you'll like the issue for everyone else there are better options to get invested in. Rating 7.5/10

6.0
Daphne Byrne #2

Jun 11, 2020

Daphne Byrne #1 was one of the last videos posted prior to taking a hiatus as a Youtube content creator. I don't remember the actual review but I remember giving it a middling rating and mentioning that the book would have read better in trade. Daphne Byrne #2 is interesting but it garners the same criticism I gave to #1. This doesn't appear to be a comic with a monthly review schedule in mind. Furthermore, I question why the comic wasn't just collected and released as a graphic novel. This is a complaint I've had across the Hillhouse line of comics but it's really apparent here. The fact that the book was released this way is troubling and calls the real intent behind the series into question. I get that shops need something to sell but I can't imagine anyone picking up these two issues and being satisfied by the story. Issue #2 is simple enough. Daphne establishes a relationship with the entity/ghost that is following her. It promises her that it will let her talk to her deceased father. It also promises to help and protect her. At one point we see her use supernatural abilities against school bullies that had been bothering her. The comic checks in with Daphne's mother who seems to be pulled under the sway of mediums. This aspect of the story hasn't actually come into focus at this point another hint that this story is going to be thoroughly decompressed. The script is fine, the art is decent and atmospheric which works great with the Victorian setting. None of it is particularly horrible I'm just not blown away by any aspect of the narrative. Daphne Byrne may end up being great but the story so far has been uneventful.

8.0
Daphne Byrne #3

Aug 22, 2020

I've reviewed several issues from DC Comics in which I felt like the series should have been released as a graphic novel. Daphne Byrne squarely falls into that category. I'm starting to feel like DC knows this but doesn't have enough content to make a profit so are just getting whatever they can from these titles. I also believe that Daphne Byrne #1-2 should have been condensed into 1 issue and the series would have flowed better. The positive about the issue is that it's a solid comic. It's still not particularly scary or creepy but it's interesting. The negative is that it took three issues to get here. In this issue, we pick up with Daphne and her spirit companion. He communicates with her telepathically and it is clear that he knows more about Daphne and her mother's situation than he's letting on. It's also clear that he's hiding significant details about himself and I wouldn't be surprised if his form is a facade altogether. We also get to see Daphne exert more control over the spirits that seem to be dipping into our reality from another dimension. The other plot point in the story involves Daphne's mother. After she is accosted by a man on the street she goes back to her medium for comfort. This ends up being the worst possible situation for her as she is drugged and dragged away by the medium and her cohorts for some sort of ritual. I knew the medium couldn't be trusted but I didn't see the situation escalating so quickly. This is a well-written comic and now that we're past the setup phase of the series events should begin to make more sense and flow naturally. The last issue felt like an extension of #1 which is the fault of DC editorial pacing these stories for the eventually collected editions. I still can't say that the series is worth reading but at least we're getting somewhere.

9.0
Daphne Byrne #4

Jan 28, 2021

One of the last videos I recorded on my Youtube channel was a review ripping apart Daphne Byrne #1. Three Issues later we're looking at a story that has moved from the realm of vaguely interesting to the point of actually being captivating. I'm still not a big fan of the art but every other aspect of the series has had notable improvement. Daphne and the entity that accompanies her visit Mr. Brooke, a skeptic. Daphne's plan is to use Brooke to assist in pulling her mother from under the influence of the con-men that have taken obvious advantage of her. The problem here is that Daphne is also obviously being manipulated by demonic forces. The boy that follows Daphne has all but dropped the veneer of being an ally and at this point, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. The series will definitely read better once collected but I think that the last two issues have been solid stand-alone installments. Decompression hurts books like these, especially with new IP and characters. I'm not sure what the sales trajectory was for this series but I'm sure that based on the pacing of the initial offerings that a lot of people probably checked out from the series as it went on. Daphne Byrne hasn't been all bad and I'm expecting a decent conclusion. I just wish that DC had better editorial direction this is good series that could have been great with a few tweaks here and there. Rating: 9/10

9.0
DC/Hanna-Barbera: Deathstroke/Yogi Bear #1

Nov 18, 2018

Yogi Bear Deathstroke is an extremely weird crossover that manages to do the impossible and blend the two unlikely characters into an extremely funny and violent adventure that will continue to resonate long after the story ends. While collecting a bounty in Jellystone Park Yogi Solicits Deathstroke's services to help him locate Boo Boo, who has gone missing. As they begin their search Yogi reveals that the animals of Jellystone have changed and have become much more violent.  Yogi and Deathstroke eventually encounter Ranger Smith as he tries to save a group of people from the animals. They all team up and manage to clear the area and continue to search for Boo Boo only to get involved in a much larger conspiracy.  ​ The key strengths of this issue are that the story is smart and extremely violent. The art from Mark Texeira is detailed especially the design used for Yogi. On top of the excellent art direction, the script is smart and snappy without falling into the trap of being ironic and pretentious. Deathstroke manages to retain his personality without being dumbed down and the characters from the Classic Yogi cartoons manage to stay true to how you remember them. The result is an excellent blend that manages to entertain from beginning to end and should satisfy fans of both franchises.  These crossovers continue to impress and this issue is no exception.   For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
DC/Hanna-Barbera: Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound #1

Nov 19, 2018

Mark Russell is one of my favorite writers in comics today. From Flintstones to Snagglepuss to Lone Ranger he consistently touches on universal social conditions that are timeless, yet topical.  Green Lantern Huckleberry Hound continue his run of classic comics and delivers another commentary on modern society.  The story takes place early in John Stewart's history as a Green Lantern. After finishing a training session with his superior, Katma, John is sent back to Earth with the test of not using the Power Ring. He walks his neighborhood and see's the destitute surroundings and the brutality and struggles with simply playing at being an observer. After engaging with some old war buddies John excuses himself to go see Huckleberry Hound. Huck's in town downing stand-up. After bombing the performance Huckleberry and John bump into each other and have a chat.  It Turns out that Huck's career spiraled downward after the events of the Snagglepuss Mini-Series. He made the mistake of publically disparaging President Nixon on stage. Shortly after sabotaging his career his show was canceled and he traveled the country as a has-been celebrity.  After recounting his story Huck asks John about his time in "Nam". John tells him about his brother and their relationship. How he ended up being killed by the police less than twenty-four hours after returning home from active duty.  Huck notices the Green Lantern ring and asks John why he doesn't do anything about the injustices he sees around him.  John tells the story of a Lantern that decoded to solve all the problems of a city he was protecting. He was successful but after being called away for another mission the city ended up destroying itself. The power of the Green Lantern didn't solve the cities problems It just gave the illusion of peace.  While they continue their conversation they are interrupted by a rapidly escalating situation outside between a group of African American men and the police. The situation continues to escalate until John ends the conflict by using his ring and presumably failing his test.  After the conflict, John goes home and Laments his failure. Katma arrives and John tries to give her his ring. She stops him and lets him know that he passed the test and that one of the most important duties of a Lantern is to know when to use their powers and also when to disobey orders.  A year later John runs into Huck at a bar. They watch the Watergate hearings on television. John makes the point that change may be slow but progress will eventually come about when people are engaged. They don't need a Green Lantern lording over them.  Rumination Getting the easy gripes out of the way first. I was not a fan of the art in this issue. Rick Leonardi's pencils are sufficient enough to tell the story but lack detail, giving the story a rushed quality that feels unfinished. Its not the worst but I could think of several artists immediately come to mind that could have put conveyed this story masterfully.  My second complaint is that although it was great to see Huckleberry Jr. again he seems more like an afterthought than a co-star. You could easily substitute any random character and essentially told the same story in this issue.  The easter eggs from Snagglepuss were a nice touch but I wish the connections were either more pronounced or Huck was given more presence to balance with John.  Despite the story's flaws what elevates this issue beyond mediocre is the question of Power and the Illusion of Power. Huck asks John why he doesn't do anything to make a difference.  It's a fair question, especially in light of the tragedy that befell John and his family. It would be very easy for John to clean up his city but in doing so he would take all agency from the community and they would likely depend on him to keep the peace.  On the other hand, Johns enemies would submit to his authority but the minute he falters or leaves his post they would revert and the order that was established would collapse.  John can intervene and take out an emerging threat but that would take agency from the people he is protecting. The comic ends as Nixon is being held accountable for the events of Watergate and one of the victims of the police brutality running for city council.  John says goodbye to Huck and tells him that he's just a guy with a ring. The real change is gonna come from the community standing up for itself.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.5
DC/Hanna-Barbera: Nightwing/Magilla Gorilla #1

Nov 21, 2018

I often heap praise on the DC/Hanna Barbera Crossovers. It's no surprise that I enjoyed this comic. This is the first special time upon reading one of these issues that I got the impression that it would be even better on screen, in live action or as an animated feature.  Dick Grayson receives a call from the Hollywood agent Mel Pebbles inviting him to come to Hollywood to meet his client. Upon arrival Grayson discovers that the client is Magilla Gorilla, one of the most decorated actors in Hollywood.  Magilla wants to adapt Dick's time as one of the Flying Grayson's to the big screen. Dick declines the offer which sends Magilla into a huge rage with Pebbles. Later that evening while sitting in his hotel room Dick gets a notification that Mel has been murdered and that the prime suspect is Magilla.   This issue is amazing. The story starts off with an interesting premise and as the issue goes on the tension builds and by the end, I was blown away by how well this mystery was executed. This may well be my favorite comic starring Nightwing ever. I can't recall ever seeing Magilla before this issue but the character becomes instantly endearing and holds his own next to Nightwing as a co-star.It feels weird to say but the Co-leads have excellent chemistry. The dialogue feels real and is a credit to the excellent script. Heath Corson really has a feel for these characters  The art from Tom Grummett and Tom Derenick is varied and energetic. The scenes constantly shift locations and settings so there's always something fun to look at on the page. The artists split the issue handling the action and slower detective elements of the issue deftly.  The colors are generally bright and fitting for the Hollywood setting and colorful personalities. I'm gushing but the issue has great art direction overall.  ​​ I have nothing but praise for this issue. I really wish that the DC Hanna Barbera/DC  stories could be adapted in some other medium. Although the initial pitch may seem strange the execution is great will leave you wanting more. For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
DC/Hanna-Barbera: Superman/Top Cat #1

Nov 22, 2018

Top Cat is another Hanna Barbera character that I have no experience with. He's also another character in this series of One-Shots that I found to be instantly endearing and would like to see more of.  The story is wonderfully absurd to the point of parody and I think that's the point. People are mysteriously dying after consuming Kale. The story reveals that Kale may appear to be a green veggie, but it's really a sentient alien race that is being exploited as a superfood. (Extremely dark huh?) Superman and Top Cat team up to battle the last of the Kale species and wind up having to deal with an even more insidious situation.  Top Cat is the most fun of the Hanna Barbera characters in this series of One-Shots. He manages to completely upstage Superman. This also highlights my one real gripe with the issue, Superman portion of the comic is pretty weak by comparison. Its the opposite of the Green Lantern/Huckleberry Hound crossover I reviewed a couple days ago.   There's a hilarious scene in the issue where Superman asks Top Cat visit Clark Kent. Cat immediately sees through the disguise. Which causes him to question the intelligence of Clark's co-workers. The comic is wonderfully self-aware. We get another great Penciler/Colorist combo in this issue. The close-up to Kalien, the Kale monster is beautifully detailed and even when some of the pencils aren't as detailed, the colors still make the panel pop. The art direction for the comic makes the entire issue just as fun as the story.   For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.5
DC/Looney Tunes: Catwoman/Tweety and Sylvester #1

Apr 29, 2019

The DC/Looney Tunes Crossovers have been better than they have any right to be and this issue offers a decent addition to that trend. Catwoman/Tweety & Sylvester is a charming affair that manages to capture the spirit of the classic characters. I love Sylvester and Tweety but I admittedly haven't spent time with them in decades. The comic starts with a group of witches deciding to wager the fate of the world on a battle between Sylvester & Tweety. Sylvester literally falls into Catwoman's lap. Tweety end's up with Black Canary. The battle begins as a simple slugfest between the two women but escalates to include an entire army of cat and bird-themed characters. I picked up this comic based on the cover alone. Emanuela Lupacchino & Tomeu Morey perfectly capture to personalities of Sylvester & Tweety while also offering a new interpretation. The interiors are also gorgeous. The comic is dark and could have turned into a very macabre affair but Gail keeps the tone balanced and it never strays into any extreme, although I kinda wish that Tweety got eaten. If this book was released in 2020 I probably wouldn't have brought it at all. Hindsight is real. At the time of release, I was a fan of Gail Simone but since then my view on her has declined dramatically. This isn't the worst book of all time but it's pretty clear she's phoning it in. There is some weird repetition with dialogue throughout the book that rubbed me the wrong way. Although I think it may have been a subtle wink at Tom King, who often uses repetition to emphasize plot points. The art, on the other hand, is decent throughout and the cover belongs on a poster. The book is solid. You can do a lot worse than spending time with a 100% purebred thertified alley cat & canary. For More: Gtmediareviews.com

6.5
DC/Looney Tunes: The Joker/Daffy Duck #1

May 3, 2019

This is a borderline irredeemable comic that skates by with the slimmest of margins. Scott Lobdell has a great voice for Daffy Duck. This version fits with whatever incarnation of the character you remember in your head and probably has the same voice. The problem with the book comes from the co-lead of the crossover. Brett Booth's rendition of Joker is off and it breaks the immersion within the story. After a few pages, the Joker's look goes from being just weird and becomes a distraction. This depiction of Joker was probably done to contrast the more realistic take on Daffy but its a complete and utter failure. Sanford Greene provides the variant cover art and seems to get the spirit of both characters in a single image. Joker/Daffy Duck #1 seems to be a case of the wrong artist attached to the wrong story. If Sanford Greene or Bruce Timm were working on this project the comic may have come together visually. ​​ The art isn't all bad though and I won't pretend it is. When Brett Booth isn't creeping me out with the Joker everything else looks amazing. Booth is a legend and it shines throughout the book. The comic is energetic and the story moves at a brisk pace. Andrew Dalhouse also does a great job as a colorist. The lighting is always impeccable and there is always something visually interesting to look at. The Joker/Daffy Duck is ultimately a forgettable comic but if Brett had picked another design for the Joker I would have had no complaints regarding the art direction of the issue. The script isn't all that great either which is a shame because the pitch is really interesting. Daffy stumbles into a Joker hit. He manages to talks himself out of getting murdered and unintentionally end ups becoming Joker's lead henchman. Joker seems to be way over the top even for Daffy and it undermines the entire story. It's weird to think of Joker as the main problem with a comic but it's the truth. Lobdell seems to just be writing to collect a check and the story ends up wrapping up too fast and a bit too easily. If you're buying the comic for completionist's sake or the novelty of the Looney Tunes/DC crossover the book is worth reading and adding to the collection. I've revisited this comic three times since the initial post and it never gets better. Scott and Brett are legendary creators but this book was a misfire.

9.0
DC/Looney Tunes: Harley Quinn/Gossamer #1

Apr 6, 2020

I had no expectations for this comic but walked away from it with a sincere smile on my face. I am not a Harley Quinn fan. I find her to be overrated, annoying and in most cases incorrigible. A broken clock is right twice a day and in this instance, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Pier Brito knock this one-shot out of the park. Harley meets Gossamer after a Hurricane washes the Monster up on the beach. They become fast friends. Harley takes the monster home and attempts to give it a makeover. This works out about as well as can be expected. The failed makeover is interrupted by another giant metallic monster that has decided to attack. The story then shifts focus to find out who sent the robot after them. Harley Quinn Is the MVP of the issue. She has great moments with Batman, Joker, and pretty much any other character interaction. I also appreciate the Poison Ivy cameos in this issue. It's pretty clear that Ivy and Harley are in a relationship and it's conveyed matter of factly rather than to push some sort of political message. The characters are presented as real people that genuinely care about each other. The Harley-Ivy scenes are brief but I appreciated them nonetheless. In contrast to the other DC/Looney Tunes crossovers that were released this week the backup feature in this issue actually works great. The story reads like a standard Looney Tunes Gossamer short with Harley acting as a stand-in for Bugs Bunny. The art is beautifully rendered by David Alvarez and Sholly Fisch nails all of the character voices. I'm not sure If I will go back and pick up any Harley Quinn comics in the future but I will be less likely to dismiss her at the outset. This One-Shot proved to me that the character can work on her own and in a lead role. I know that will get a "duh" response from her fanbase but for me that's a huge compliment.

10
DC/Looney Tunes: Lex Luthor/Porky Pig #1

Apr 22, 2020

Well, this was unexpected and timely... I used to manage a Rent-A-Center in the early 2000s. I currently work in a corporate setting and often see leadership put into the compromised position of trying to please upper management and balance the position of leadership with the expectation to deliver results at all costs. If the middle management succeeds they are deemed heroes in promoting the corporation's culture and value system. If they fail they usually get the brunt of the punishment from the corporate overloads. Porky Pig is in a bad spot when this issue opens. He's has made a fortune in cryptocurrencies. The boom goes bust and he ends up losing everything including his fortune and marriage. He contemplates suicide but during a chance encounter with Lex Luthor, he accepts a job at Lexcorp, becoming the head of Luthor's social media branch. This is Porky's second chance and he's desperate to not screw up again. He begins to compromise his integrity in order to push Luthor's agenda even as it becomes clear that Luthor's plans aren't entirely above board. This comic is the inverse of the Joker/Daffy Duck one-shot that was also released. This one is actually good. his is Porky's second chance and he's desperate to not screw up again. He begins to compromise his integrity in order to push Luthor's agenda even as it becomes clear that Luthor's plans aren't entirely above board. This comic is the inverse of the Joker/Daffy Duck one-shot that was also released this week. This one is actually good. Mark Russell's writing made a hell of an impression on me this week. It's not surprising though. He also wrote The Snagglepuss Chronicles, which was my series of the year. This version of Porky is pretty sad and pathetic. The Irony is that there are a lot of people living in their cubicles every day not too far removed from Porky's position. The art is solid, Andrew Hennessy and Bradley Walker do a great job of moving this story along. Which is surprising considering how depressing many of the underlying themes of this comic are at times. The plot is also hilarious in during the fleeting moments when Porky pick isn't considering hanging himself. The mystery regarding who is is stilling lunches in the office made me chuckle. I literally bust out loud when the identity of the sandwich thief was revealed. This comic was amazing and also highlights the reason why I won't get back into corporate leadership. Yeah, the pay can be great and you get the prestige of having the " Corporate Leadership Title" but in many instances, it just isn't worth the hassle. Subscribe: GTMediareviews.com

7.5
DCeased #1

Jun 30, 2019

I am a huge fan of Robert Kirkman's Marvel Zombies and to date believe I have every one-shot and mini-series related to the event. I even have the Ultimate Fantastic Four comics in which they were introduced.  When I heard that DC was doing its own version of the zombie apocalypse, I had mixed feelings. The story feels about 10 years too late. Marvel Zombies has been shelved and The Walking Dead, also by Robert Kirkman has seen better days. The Zombie craze has waned with the exception of a few projects popping up here and there. Sony PlayStation recently released "Days gone" a triple-A new IP that was released to mixed reviews.  I'm a fan of horror and Love zombies so picking up DCeased as a no-brainer. I'm curious about the story and the direction the series would take even though my eyes were dangerously close to rolling.  What really sold me on the issue was the Yasmine Putri Variant cover homaging the 2018 version of "It". The cover is gorgeous and also gives a nod to the classic Batman: Death in the Family storyline.  The story itself is typical for the zombie apocalypse. If you've read Marvel zombies meets Ash I think you'll have a decent idea how this issue progresses. It's not a direct rip-off but you won't be shocked or surprised by anything that happens in this issue.  The angle Tom Taylor decided to take for the inciting incident that caused the outbreak is interesting and I'm pretty sure I never would have thought of it.  I also think he may be making meta contextual commentary about our culture in 2019 considering what causes the outbreak and how fast it spreads.  The art direction is creepy throughout the issue. Nothing is particularly scary but there are some pretty horrific and brutal scenes depicted and I loved it. These scenes got my attention and I'm pretty excited about what's to come.  The comic is fun and I did enjoy the pace of things. I'm glad that the setup was confined to issue one and that the story isn't being decompressed. It's a solid opening chapter even though it's nestled within a genre that is over exposed at the moment.  I will also note that if you're a casual horror fan or have not been plugged into all of the zombie content that has been released in the past decade you'll probably get more enjoyment out of this issue, I'm just a bit jaded right now.       The issue is worth a read regardless of your background and I expect the series to only get better from here. 

10
DCeased #2

Sep 5, 2019

I read Deceased #1 a few weeks back and I wasn't blown away by the initial setup. I was intrigued enough to add it to my monthly pull-list. Now that the premise for the story is out of the way, Tom Taylor and Trevor Hairsine can get to the good stuff. It's established pretty early on in the issue that no one is safe and by the end of the issue some heavy-hitting characters are infected and killed off, with "Oh Shit" moments on every other page. I really don't want to spoil this book and It's really hard to discuss the comic without getting into the body count. I may make a spoiler video of the issue If I get time. There is a particularly brutal cliffhanger that may or may not be a fakeout ending. I really want to talk about the books details but I won't do it here. Tom and Trevor have completely sold me on this project and I'm excited to see how far they go with this story. Clearly no one is off the table to be infected or murdered and it's an exciting prospect in an Elseworlds story. DC has gone really dark in the past year and in most cases, I haven't been receptive. DCeased channels the darker aspects of DC Comics into a fun event and for that I have nothing but praise.

9.0
DCeased #3

Apr 16, 2020

Dceased was one of the top-selling series of 2019. It's easy to see why. Zombies have been a fan favorite of the horror genre for years now and Superheroes are the king of American comics. The combination of genres is a no-brainer. I won't pretend that Marvel Zombies doesn't exist or that it didn't come first but DCeased has been a better series so far. This installment of DCeased feels like a filler issue. There's a couple of major deaths and Zombies revealed in the comic but nothing that caught me off guard. You're basically here for the atmosphere and story progression. It's an excellent single issue but I don't really have much to say without giving away reveals about deaths and potential spoilers. The story is engaging and the pacing is great. The art is solid and this is another pretty installment from Trevor Hairsine. If you haven't read DCeased yet the situation is pretty bleak but its worth a read especially while we're on lockdown.

10
DCeased #4

Oct 7, 2020

DC Comics DCeased is messed up and I love it. DCeased isn't the deepest or complex story but it does a great job of putting existing characters in rough spots and staying true to what makes them tick. Tom also does a great job of establishing tension and raising the stakes in each issue. This issue we see things continue to go from bad to worse for our heroes. In a shocking turn of events, the opening segment of the issue depicts Captain Atom as he is mortally wounded by The Atom. Ray Palmer, infected by the Anti-Living virus and in his minuscule form begins ripping at Captain Atoms' heart creating a meltdown situation. I would normally consider info a spoiler but since this happens at the outset of the issue it's hard not to discuss the rest of the comic without getting into it. By the end of the issue, Captain Atom explodes causing the largest loss of life we've seen too in the series too date. It's a pretty horrifying way to go and makes you think about how much worse can it get with two issues left? Between the beginning meltdown and subsequent explosion the comic shifts and touches base with heroes and villains dealing with the crisis of their world ending. It's emotional and has some great action beats. Tom Taylor's script is tight and focuses on what matters. DCeased definitely isn't a comic where the heroes sit around eating shwarma. I'm really enjoying this series and think I'm gonna bump the series up in my review schedule and have this series of reviews completed by Halloween. It's sort of obvious where the story is going but the ride is half the fun. I love the art direction of the series. Hairsine and Beredo get to put together a series of disgusting events that you'd never see in DC proper and it works beautifully with the grim tone of the narrative. Even though you'd never see Cyborg blow ##### head off in a regular DC comic you feel like this story could take place in regular continuity. That's one of the strengths that this series has over something like Marvel Zombies. That series never felt like it took place in the regular 616 comic universe and eventually turned into a parody of itself. I don't have any complaints about this issue. If you're a fan of horror or are just a sadist that likes seeing your favorite heroes get literally ripped apart this is one of the best series to sate your appetite in recent years, pun intended. Rating 10/10

10
DCeased: The Unkillables #1

Nov 27, 2020

Tom Taylor has created one of the most unique Zombie Apocalypse scenarios I've ever seen across all media. The beauty of the Anti-Life virus is that if this virus hit our world we'd be phucked. The virus is transferred by screen technology. This mean's that your cellphone, tablet, computer, and television are potential agents for this thing. I'd imagine that western society would be taken out within a day or so. The severity of the situation is perfectly exemplified by the opening pages of this comic. Deathstroke is in the middle of a job. He realizes the job is bigger than he expected and calls his employer. At this point, Deathstroke is immediately infected. The only reason Deathstroke survives at all is because of his Healing Factor. The implication from the opening interlude is that this world is as good as dead. How many screens do you interact with within a day? How long would you last in this world? DCeased: Unkillables follows two groups. One set of heroes and another group made up of villains and anti-heroes. The first group features the remaining members of the Batfamily including Red Hood, James Gordan, and Batgirl/Cassandra Cain as they try to get out of Gotham. The second group features the aforementioned Deathstroke, his daughter Ravager, Mirror Master, Vandal Savage, Captain Cold, and a few other not so good guys. The Unkillable aspect of the series seems to be that these characters have unique advantages that allow them to survive in this world. One example is Deathstroke's healing abilities another is a unique set of lenses produced by Mirror Master that blocks out the signal of the Anti-Life Virus. Both factions are presented in a fun way. The book is just as macabre as the main DCeased series but the difference is tone. There is a lot of levity in this issue and the lighter tone is reflected in the art and color palette. The action sequences are dynamic and the staging of the action sequences are pretty awesome throughout the book. Unkillables is clearly a tie-in and maintains continuity to the main-series but the flavor is totally different and I really dig it. In short, DCeased is the comic equivalent of Dawn of the Dead and focuses on a world falling into ruin. Unkillables feels like The Walking Dead and focuses on the survivors. The world Tom is building at DC comics has a lot of potential and continues to be one of the brightest spots at the publisher. Rating: 10/10

9.0
Deathstroke (2016) #36

Oct 23, 2018

Now that the paternity situation has been resolved, Deathstroke #36 opens with our anti-hero brutally murdering all of the Arkham inmates.  The sequence of events turns out to be a dream.   We get the revelation that Slade has somehow been captured and has been in Arkham for a few weeks. His powers have been suppressed and he may or may not be hallucinating his friend Wintergreen in his cell. Wintergreen tells Slade that he has blueprints of the asylum and that they can escape.  Wintergreen appears to be real but none of the Arkham sensors seem to pick him up.  During a VR group therapy session one of the patients, Devon claims to have been teleported out of the hospital and experimented on. None of the other patients seem to take him seriously.  Deathstroke tells the therapist about Wintergreen being in the cell but its waved off. Hugo Strange chimes in and and states that the best way to cure a delusion would be to test it.    Later that evening Slade and Wintergreen attempt to escape but are stopped by Devon. Devon tells them to turn back but instead of listening, Slade grabs Devon and they escape together. Wintergreens directions work but the comic ends with Deathstroke and Devon picked up by a bright light and abducted.  Deathstroke #36 reads more like a Moon Knight story than the typical Deathstroke book and it's just as entertaining. Over the course of the issue, we get a solid mix of action and mystery that never lets up. Even the cliffhanger is a head-scratcher. I'm totally onboard with the story that Priest is setting up. This is a nice change of pace from the Batman V Deathstroke ark that just finished up. The art is a bit on the dark side but none of the attention to detail is lost when the action shifts from action to exposition. You can't go wrong with Deathstroke Arkham. This is a great start.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.0
Deathstroke (2016) #37

Jan 26, 2019

Wow! It's been three months since my last review of Deathstroke. This is a strange story. At the end of the last issue, Slade and Devon had escaped the Asylum and the cliffhanger was that they were presumably abducted by aliens. This issue opens up with Slade back in his cell with no one acknowledging the escape. Devon has also gone missing. No one remembers him except for Hugo Strange. The Doctor denies that it happened at all and asks that he retrace the steps used to escape.  After failing to find a way out of the Asylum. Slade is sent to a virtual group therapy session where the goal is for the Arkham inmate's to team up and kill Batman. During this session, Deathstroke makes a connection with Two-Face as he offers to help him out. It's so strange that I have all of these comics with Two-Face as the villain. I'm also reviewing the current run of Detective Comics and Harvey Dent features heavily. He's one of my least favorite Bat-Villains but the dynamic between the characters is admittedly interesting.  While this is going on the perspective shifts to Deathstroke's children as they work to complete a hit in Arkham.  The entire issue is strange and closest comic I can compare this arc to is Jeff Lemire's, Moon Knight. The story is interesting but a bit hard to follow if you haven't been following the series closely. I imagine you'll get more out of this issue and series if you've been following monthly. The issue looks great. Fernando Pasarin is really good at portraying these characters and action within this issue.  Christopher gives him a lot of material to work with. The aesthetic of the issue is appropriately dark and confusing. I would normally complain at this point but since the issue is telling the reader that the setting is not what it seems I'm totally onboard. I'm having fun with the comic because of the sheer insanity of the events but I'm not sure if I should be recommending it. It seems like an arc that may be better enjoyed in trade. That may be why it took me so long to review the second issue. This may be an arc I cover in video form once I have all the details. It's not a bad arc. It's just really strange.

8.0
Deathstroke (2016) #38

May 4, 2019

It's been a minute since I revisited the Deathstroke Series and I don't really have an explanation for why. It's on my pull and it's never a bad reading experience I'm just never blown away by anything happening in the series. Furthermore, its really underwhelming that we're looking at yet another series with an extended story arc featuring Harvey Dent, Two-Face.  Harvey has his moments but after recently completing a really terrible arc in Detective featuring the character I'm really tired of the Harvey Two-Face at the moment. He's better utilized in this series and has a fight with _ that is more interesting than anything that happened in the Batman storyline.  This issue continues the Deathstroke Arkham story arc. We're provided with more insight into what happened during the period of time in which Slade managed to escape and was abducted by Aliens.  The plot thickens as it turns out the that during the abduction period Deathstroke and Devon were apparently involved in an intergalactic war.  Its really interesting stuff and the question is whether Slade is telling the truth or if he's really delusional.  The weakest aspect of the series for me has been the B-Plot with Slade's family. I never seem to care and none of it seems as interesting as the main story. I find myself bored whenever Slade isn't on the panel.  The art is also really solid. The Deadshot _costume that Devon wears looks especially cool. The comic has a lot going on for it and I'm 100% sure this arc will read 100% better in trade.  It's an interesting story just not as exciting as I would like. I want to know what happens next but not that interested in putting the book on the top of my review list. 

8.5
Deathstroke (2016) #39

Dec 15, 2019

It's been so long since I reviewed a Deathstroke comic that I almost forgot that it was on my pull list at one point. Issue #39 continues the Arkham storyline. Slade is an inmate in the asylum and while that much is certain, everything else in the comic is questionable. The closest analog to Deathstroke in this arc is Jeff Lemire's Moon Knight (another excellent series). On the one hand, you have Deathstroke's unofficial sidekick Devon trying to get Slade out of the Asylum so that they can stop a potential alien invasion that only they know about. On the other hand, you all of that may be bullsh*t and Slade has just lost it. I think the truth is between those extremes. Carlo & Fernando put together a great book. Everything looks perfect from the action beats to the quieter moments between characters. Even when something mundane is happening on the page the art direction either makes the panel look cool, dynamic or humorous. There is also some pretty horrible stuff going on at Arkham if taken at face value. I loved the linework and colors throughout the book. When you combine the excellent main plot and the art direction you have a great single issue. Devon AKA Death Dasque is becoming this arcs standout character. He's essentially a Black Deadpool and is the only one that believes in the alien invasion. He has a cool look in or out of the mask and I hope he gets mileage outside of this story arc. There is also the Two-Face - Rose subplot but that aspect of the comic didn't really do much for me so I won't spend too much time on it. I'm curious as to how this story will play out because this entire arc has been a mindf*ck. Here's my theory as to what's going on. I believe that everything that is not involving Deathstroke directly is real. This means that Devon's story about the invasion is real and that Two-Face really has kidnapped Rose. I think that the stuff in the Asylum is in flux because of the medication that Slade is on. There is also a possibility that the invading aliens have taken over the asylum which would explain how there's a Two-Face in the institute and also with Rose. If Devon's story is real it doesn't really make sense that the Villains stopped an invasion and ended back in the asylum a couple of weeks later. I don't trust any of it and it should make Issue #40 even more fun when all is revealed. Overall a pretty solid issue, fun story, great art my only real knocks on the issue are that the running subplot with Slade's kids isn't as interesting as the main story and throw the pacing at times. I'm also really burned out on Harvey Dent, dude needs a vacation.

7.5
Deathstroke (2016) #40

May 15, 2020

I've read the last couple of Deathstroke arc's and I never really felt like I had a firm grasp on the series. I love the character but can't get into his supporting cast. I never walk away from the book with a bad experiment but I'm never excited by the next installment. This issue finishes the Arkham installment and I still don't know quite know what's going on. What I do know is that the arc is over and whatever was going on with Hugo Strange has been foiled, at least I think it is. Even the alien invasion plot with the Pulorian is unresolved. At this point, I don't even know if Devon, Deathstroke's unofficial sidekick is real. I guess I could keep going with the series but I'm not. I'm a fan of Christopher Priest. I also enjoy the atmospheric art from Fernando and Carlo. I'm just not enjoying the comic enough to continue. There is a lack of energy and excitement in the series that prevents greatness. I can see the story being a great arc in some circles and will probably read better in trade. I didn't hate the story but I'm glad to be over it.

7.5
Decorum #1

Apr 3, 2020

I find Johnathan Hickman's X-Men to be uneven at best and overrated at worst. The fact remains that he's a great writer when he's firing on all cylinders. Hickman is the reason I got back into X-Men comics. I saw the solicits for Hickman's creator-owned project Decorum and got excited because I wanted to see what he could do when he wasn't constrained by 50+ years of Marvel continuity. Decorum #1 is a good, not great comic but you're gonna have to work for it. I first read the book while semi-drunk and didn't like it at all. I read it again while distracted and a lot of the story went over my head. The next day I read Decorum again and had a eureka moment. Decorum is a decent comic but its definitely a case of Hickman indulging himself. In the first half of the book, Hickman does his share of worldbuilding in a style that should be familiar to fans of his X-Men titles. There are a ton of infographics as well as panels fleshing out the setting. In this instance, I believe that the info dumps probably should have been placed in the back of the comic or in a different book entirely. I think it's cool that Hickman intentionally broadens the reading experience but he doesn't land the execution this time. What I did enjoy about Decorum were the actual characters and their interactions. These scenes actually save the comic and should have been the primary focus of the issue. Neha is a courier and apparently one of the best. She's down on her luck and pressed into taking an extremely complicated and potentially dangerous job. After this segment of the book the scene shifts to Morley a member of a rapidly expanding guild. She has an extended tense encounter with Doman D'vorth IV and his men. This goes on until Neha shows up and all hell breaks loose. If the infographics were removed entirely from the issue I would have rated the comic a lot higher. Neha and Morley badass characters but they don't show up until the back half of the book and by then I had checked out. I'm not sure if I'm gonna stick with the title. First impressions are everything and although there is some good here. I'm not sure if it's worth the investment. For More, GTMediareviews.com

8.5
Decorum #2

Sep 5, 2020

I often feel kinda dumb after reading a Jonathan Hickman comic. It has nothing to do with the writing or art direction of his work. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around some of his ideas and concepts. I read Decorum #1 and while I wasn't the biggest fan of the material, I believe series like Decorum and Excellence go a long way in pushing the medium forward from a design and storytelling perspective. Some books work better than others but what's not up for debates is that in a world where comics are $3.99 and up Decorum is a great value proposition comparatively. The page count is significantly more than a standard comics and although the additional content is made up of prose and infographics, they go a long way in making for a more fulfilling and meaningful experience than a 22-page pamphlet with ads. There is a lot of content to digest here and most other books can't compete. The flip side of the coin is that half of the time I'm not what the hell I'm looking at? This comic reminds me more of the Hickmans Powers of X series than anything. The vibe hit me so hard that I started thinking that this may be a meta sequel to that series. The comic opens up in the far future with entities discussing the birth or rebirth of their God which seems to be imminent. Another faction also detects the stirring of the egg and moves into action. We're told that multiple attempts have been made to retrieve the egg but they have all failed. Nevertheless, the entity known as Chi Ro Chi Ro Chi has been tasked with obtaining it. The Book then shifts and we're introduced to Mr. Morley and gain insight into his relationship with Lady Morley, the Bounty Hunter introduced in the last issue. He discusses a dream he had in which he influenced his past self to make a deal. It's a heavy concept that lost me about halfway through but was interesting to read. I actually read it out loud to help with my comprehension of the material. The story then moves to Lady Morley and Neha from the last issue. They have a brief exchange and the scene ends with Neha deciding to go with Morley as her protege. Finally, the comic ends as it begins with the caretakers of the egg working desperately to stop it from hatching prematurely. We learn that this process has been repeated 6000 times over the course of a hundred thousand years. The book has a lot going on but is slightly easier to follow than the first issue. There aren't any particular standout moments, but this may be one of the most beautiful sci-fi comics I've ever had the pleasure of looking at. The art reminds me of the wildest stuff I've ever seen from Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko but is its own thing and is a triumph in graphic design. I've never seen a comic look this good. The art and design are very organized and stark. I believe this is intentional and feeds back to the decorum of the series and the politeness of the main characters. Sasha E.Head is listed as a designer in the credits and I believe the organization of the material is probably her contribution and should be propped out in addition to the stunning linework. I can recommend Decorum on the art alone. The story doesn't feel decompressed but I don't feel any urgency to read review the series. I did drop the title from my pull list but I may collect the series in trade which is rare for me. It's a gorgeous comic that pushes the medium but it's not necessarily the best comic to follow monthly. It's a hard concept to review but at the end of the day, you can do a lot worse with your $3.99.

9.0
Decorum #3

Oct 25, 2020

Decorum #3 dials back the otherwordly elements and gives us a pretty straight forward issue. One of my biggest complaints to date has been that the more out-there ideas have been hard to follow. This comic is easy to read and as a consequence is the strongest issue of the series to date. The book picks up with Lady Morley and Neha as Neha goes through the application process for entry into the "Sisterhood of Man". She's there with several other assassins that have all amassed a considerable body count. Neha on the other hand has never killed anyone which makes her an odd choice in the eyes of the interviewer. I'm really starting to like these characters. Lady Marley's relentless politeness in light of her brutal profession is a nice contrast to everyone else we've encountered to this point in the series. It's also unnerving to Neha who like most people see it as pointless posturing. It's also worth pointing out that of all the characters introduced in the series Neha is the closest we've seen to an innocent., She's not, but objectively she's nowhere near as bad as the other criminals. As with House of X and Powers of X, I enjoy the more grounded elements of Hickman's writing. The singularity stuff is interesting and beautiful to look at but it's easy to get overwhelmed. This is the first issue of Decorum that I didn't need to read several times to understand. The art style is sketchier and I imagine that this was a lot quicker issue for Hiddleson to draw than previous installments. I'd be lying If I said that I thought the pencils were better in this issue but where the art takes a step back the script easily makes up for it. I initially dropped Decorum from my pull list but after reading issue #3 I decided to continue collecting the series. It's simply stunning to look at and the story is developing nicely. In a world where concepts are rehashed over and over again, Decorum is a nice change of pace and worth digging into. You just gotta stick with the series to get something out of it. Rating 9/10

8.0
Dejah Thoris (2019) #1

Mar 22, 2020

Truth be told I'm a very shallow reader and will readily admit I picked up Dejah Thoris #1 because the cover was absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful cover aside, this is my first time actually consuming any material set within the John Carter from Mars Landscape. Every concept presented in the comic is foreign to me aside from seeing the character occasionally in pinups. The story does very little to fill in the blanks and due to the presentation of the comic, I felt like I was jumping into the middle of a story arc rather than the beginning. Because of the lack of any recap, the story is locked off from the highest marks in this review. What I can say is that the comic is solid and that if you do have prior knowledge of the characters or setting that you may get more out of this book. My opinion may change as the series develops but I'm currently in wait and see territory. The comic opens with a brief rundown of Dejah's basic characteristics. She is a Wife, Mother, Princess of Mars, Scientist and Warrior. She's on a dying world of Barsoom investigating why the situation has accelerated. There is an opening action sequence in which she takes down a snow creature. She is joined by Kantos Kan, a masterless Warrior that pledged to protect her a bit too late. They leave the planet and seek an audience with Jeddak, Lord of Helium. She is granted permission to investigate whether the situation on Barsoom is being accelerated by overproduction by the factories there. She leaves with Kanto's not knowing that political forces are in play seeking her death. The comic is interesting but I feel that newcomers may feel alienated by the story. The environmental angle of the story is a bit too topical but it works well enough. The character also has a lot more depth than the pin-up art floating around would suggest. Dejah is well established but most of the political intrigue went over my head because it's really hard to do significant worldbuilding in 22 pages. Imagine jumping into the middle of Game of Thrones season 8 with no prior knowledge of the characters or setting. It would be pretty hard for noobies. The art from Vasco Georgiev is solid. We get a variety of scenes ranging from frigid worlds to Throne room's and industrial complexes. The landscapes are also sufficiently detailed and are a credit to the overall art direction for the issue. It's too early to tell where the series will go from here. I just wish that the series did more establishment. Ironically, I just reviewed Jonathan Hickman's Decorum #1 and he has the opposite problem in his story. A House of X style X infographic would have been great here.

7.0
Detective Comics (2016) #989

Dec 26, 2018

I haven't really followed Detective Comics in a while and wasn't sure where to pick up reviewing the series again so I figured start of a new arc, what the hell.  Detective Comics #989 is a pretty straightforward Batman comic, covering pretty standard mystery, and a pretty standard villain. This is the second issue for the current arc involving Two-Face. Batman confronts the villain after gathering clues. We get the revelation from Harvey that the situation is Commissioner Gordon's fault and that is where the comic ends...  The main problem with this comic is that it's not memorable. The story isn't terrible, the art is okay the book just doesn't feel like the best use of my reading time. I'm also not a fan of the voice chosen for Batman in this issue. He comes off as annoyingly arrogant under the pen of James Robinson. Bruce is an asshole at times but something about this portrayal seems off.  In short, I don't really have much to say about this comic. Hopefully, this isn't a trend going forward. You can't win all the time. Even when you're Batman.  For More Reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.0
Detective Comics (2016) #990

Jan 21, 2019

Detective Comics #990 continues the "Deface the Face" story arc. I'm not a fan of this story so far or its depiction of Batman.  This Version of Batman is a bit too arrogant and snarky. It seems that James Robinson does not have a good grasp of the character and it doesn't appear that this is the same Batman that is being written across the line. This speaks more to the editing of the series than the writer.  This Two-Face also seems weird. He blames Gordon for the current situation but turns around and saves him later in the issue.  There's not much else going on here. I read it in about 5 minutes and aside from some great art in spots by Stephen Segovia and Ivan Plascencia the book isn't really worth the cover price.  I'm still way behind on Detective Comics. I hope that James is the fill-in writer because the series has taken a huge step back in recent issues. 

6.0
Detective Comics (2016) #992

Mar 21, 2019

I normally don't read back to back issues of the same title but I was motivated to press on because I'm really disliking this story arc. To be perfectly transparent, If I wasn't so far behind in my pull list I would have probably dropped detective after the last issue.  This issue continues the Kobra story arc with Batman and Two-Face teaming up to take down the Cult. The story is pretty straight forward with the duo defeating the enemy fairly easily. They then discover that the plot is going to be a lot more complicated than pummeling the bad guys into submission. The issue is barely passable and the internal logic of the story is flawed. Batman and Two-Face have practically the same voice and when speaking to each other you'd be hard pressed to find much distinction between them. Another major problem with the issue is common sense characterization. Batman does not use guns and tell's Two-Face not to kill anyone. So why is Two-Face in turn running into the fight with two Pistols blazing.   ​​If Batman was really concerned about anyone being killed he would have disarmed Harvey prior to engaging the enemy. Two-Face is a villain and is about as unstable as you can get. This is sloppy storytelling and reflects really poorly on the editorial direction of the issue. The comic also catches us up with the rest of the outsider team as that storyline continues to develop. The art for the issue continues to be serviceable but there aren't any standout moments. ​​ The action is there but with the script being so bland and the locale being confined to one setting the entire issue is a muddy and miserable experience. Batman deserves better.

7.0
Detective Comics (2016) #993

Mar 23, 2019

Detective Comics #993 is an example of a comic snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The comic starts strong, really strong dealing with the presumed death of Two-Face and then fumbles in the endzone leaving me questioning the $20 I spent on the last 5 issues.  The writing is sharp and the scenes of Batman and Harvey are well paced and constructed. I'm still not a fan of Batman teaming with Two-Face while he carries a pair of handguns designed to kill but this is the story we're getting so, oh well. The art is energetic and I can tell that Carmine and Ivan are having fun in this issue as the art direction is genuinely fun to look at. So what went wrong? The second half of the issue it's revealed that Two-Face faked his death and that the whole first half of the issue with the funeral was a complete waste of time. Even worse Batman, knows it's Bullshit and goes through the motions anyway. The comic ends with Batman fighting Two-Face and the status quo remains the same despite 5 issues of teasing otherwise. This issue on it's own is slightly better than the last 4 but its still nonsense.  I've been reading DC comics regularly since Rebirth began and I have to say this is easily the worst arc I've read since Chuck Austin's X-men from the early 2000's. It could be a symptom of the bi-weekly release schedule but there has been a lack of quality control during this arc and for now, I'm glad it's over. Comics like this make me question the time and money I invest in the medium...

10
Detective Comics (2016) #994

May 18, 2019

It's been a long time since I thoroughly enjoyed reading a Batman comic. The last one that really stood out to me was Batman Damned: Book Two and that was in 2018.  The last Detective Comics arc was dog shit. The Batman who laughs has been meh and Tom King's Batman run has been uneven, to say the least. The run is consistent King doesn't have the most exciting take on the character.  Peter Tomasi seems to be a natural fit for the Dark Knight. Unlike other depictions of the character. Bruce feels grounded and most like a normal person despite the extreme circumstances.  Most takes on Batman either focus on deconstructing him or Amping his character and abilities to the point of parody. Tomasi's Batman feels like a guy. He's extremely capable, but just a guy.  In this issue, Bruce is investigating a double murder. A typical night for Batman, right? Wrong, the twist is that the victims have been staged to look like Thomas and Martha Wayne. The alteration has been so extreme that the victims have even been subjected to cosmetic surgery so that they look even more like Bruce's parents.  Bruce is obviously affected by the events but keeps a cool head during the forensic examination. The scenes are much less superheroics and highlights Batman in his natural element as the world's greatest detective.  The second half of the comic pivots in a more action-oriented direction. Batman attempts to save the life of longtime friends and ally Leslie Thompkins as she is attacked by a massive beast.  The issue ends on a heartrending cliffhanger and left me excited to see what happens next. That hasn't happened in a while with this line of titles.  The art provided by Doug Mahnke and David Baron is consistent throughout the issue and work in the slow scenes as well as in the back half of the issue when the action picks up.  The pace of the issue is also great. It's quick but not to the point where I finished reading in less than 5 minutes.  Overall I can't really complain about anything here. There is really a night and day difference between #993 & #994 which is great because DC is stagnating across the line. I know this review is late and DC's focus seems to be centered around Batman but nevertheless you can't get much better than single issues like this one. 

10
Detective Comics (2016) #995

Nov 8, 2019

The difference between Peter Tomasi's Detective Comics and Tom Kings Batman is night and day. While I usually expect Tom King's Batman to be hit and miss. Peter's Batman is a beast. This comic picks up on the cliffhanger of the last issue. Leslie Thompkins unfortunately succumbs and dies after being infected by a modified Joker Toxin. The comic goes on from there and we get another devastating attack on Bruce's family a couple of pages later. From here we get one of the most badass Batman cliffhangers I've read in years. The sense of urgency is the greatest strength of this issue. Batman isn't moping or monologuing to himself. In Detective comics he's efficient, and getting shit done. Doug Mankhe and David Baron do a great job on art detail. Translating the urgency and desperation of the script to the page. I don't think the effects of the Joker Toxin has ever been more horrifying. The comic reads quickly but not too quick to feel cheated. There are no wasted panels. The book ends with an angry Batman seeking answers and there's nothing better than that.

10
Detective Comics (2016) #996

Mar 18, 2020

I just reviewed Batman #62 from Tom King and it's almost surreal how different the take on the Batman character is in this series. Whereas Tom's Dark Knight almost feels ineffectual and weak, Tomasi's Batman feels like one of the toughest and capable bastards you'll ever run into. It's really striking especially reading both books back to back. This issue follows Batman in the aftermath of a brutal takedown of his rogues in Arkham. I really wish we could have got to see the fight but I'll give the omission a pass because this issue is generally awesome. The rest of the issue remains focused on Bruce's investigation of the attack on Alfred in his home and the murder of Leslie Thompkins in the previous issue. The comic takes Bruce around the world as he encounters Henry Deckard, the man that trained him to track enemies. He also has a really cool scene in one of the monasteries in which he learned how to fight. The issue features another cool cliffhanger as the excitement ramps up toward the #1000 anniversary issue. The art is great and the pacing of the book is perfect. How Tomasi isn't the writer on the main Batman title is beyond me. I will pick up the pace on my Batman reviews, at least on Detective comics. It's not a slog like the Tom King run has been. Now that we're past that god awful Two-Face arc the last few issues have been perfect.

10
Detective Comics (2016) #997

Jul 26, 2020

A few issues ago (my time, this review is Late AF). I was totally on the edge of dropping Detective Comics. The previous arc nearly broke me and If I never see Two-Face as an antagonist again It would be too soon. Flash forward da few issues and Peter Tomasi is providing the blueprint for how to tell a great Batman story. Peter's Batman isn't perfect or infallible but he's one of the most competent men on earth. If Bruce doesn't have a solution on hand he has the drive, resources, and contacts to make something happen. That's Batman's Superpower, it goes a lot deeper than simply being rich. The comic opens with Batman and Thaddeus Brown, the original Mr. Miracle just waking up from the last issue's cliffhanger and stuck in an old-school death trap. The room fills with water. Things quickly escalate as they are submerged and then sharks are released into the room. Thaddeus attempts to keep up with Batman but in his aged state, he barely hangs on, losing oxygen and exerting a ton of energy trying to help Bruce. The two men finally get a handle on things and then Pirhanas are released. That's just the first half of the comic book and things get even crazier. This is a very intense comic and it's great seeing Bruce's ingenuity on display as he works his way through the trap. I'm not a fan of the "I'm Batman" version of the character. The Batman that instantly has a solution for whatever situation pops up. This is the version we fell in love with when we watched Adam West and Burt Ward work their way out of traps. The difference is that this Batman leaves the camp behind and has a testosterone boost. I'm not familiar with the original Mr. Miracle, Thaddeus Brown but I enjoyed his role in the comic. I also think his portrayal may have been a slight dig at Tom King's more indecisive takes on the characters. Kings Mr. Miracle may be younger but Thaddeus would be the guy I called in a pinch. The art looks amazing and there is a ton of action from beginning to end of the issue. The events of Detective Comics #1000 have been spoiled for me but I'm still enjoying the leadup to the milestone and will review the book when I eventually get there. This is a sterling example of what Batman can be in the right hands.

8.0
Detective Comics (2016) #998

Sep 14, 2020

I own a Facebook Nerd Group that has over 260,000 members. The group touches on DC comics from time to time and we often see "Versus" posts. One of the verses matches that comes up often is who would win Batman in the Hellbat armor vs. Iron Man? Batman #998 is the first time I've seen the Hellbat armor in action. After reading the issue I wasn't all that impressed and honestly think Iron Man would make light work of it. The Hellbat armor does look cool though. The issue picks up with the cliffhanger from #997. Batman confronts Hugo Strange who has no idea what's going on. Strange offers to help but Batman declines, slaps the shit out of him, and then leaves. At this point, Batman calls don's the Hellbat suit and checks in with Etrigan: The Demon who is currently under attack by another monster that is apparently a physical manifestation of the fear Batman has created throughout his career. Detective #998 is another solid issue in the leadup to the #1000 milestone. The art direction and action are great but this is the first issue in this arc that felt padded. I've read stories featuring Etrigan over the years and have never been a fan. It was interesting to see his interactions with Bruce and their relationship but this entire segment of the book feels more like an extended cameo than something that was necessary to push the story forward. The issue deepens the mystery of who is targeting Batman as well as my knowledge of Batmans circle of allies. I had no idea of Batman's relationship with Etrigan nor did I know that _ Stone had provided Bruce with technological support early on in his career. All of this insight is great but I feel like its time for answers. The arc has been running for a while now and I know the ultimate will be provided in issue #1000. I just hope Detective #999 will have more to offer than another extended Boss Fight.

8.5
Dick Tracy Forever #1

Jun 15, 2019

Dick Tracy Forever #1 is the follow-up to IDW's Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive that wrapped up a few months back.  The biggest selling point I've seen for the series is that it's being written and drawn by Michael Avon Oeming of Powers fame. Comparing each series, this Dick Tracy feels similar to the previous series but slightly tilted and less over the top than the tough guy antics of Dead or Alive. Tracy Feels more real than I've ever seen him aside from the 90's movie. I appreciate this shift because most stories portray the character as one dimensional and single-minded almost to the point of parody.  What's really interesting is the creative direction Michael has decided to take with this story. This issue is broken into 3 complete vignettes with an overarching story tying everything together.  The art is also very busy, which give the reader a ton to look at on every page. Each segment also has a puzzling interlude which I thought was cool and high concept. The way the book is laid out gives the illusion that the comic is bigger than it actually is which is really cool but highlights a complaint I have with the comic.  The book is presented in premium format with high gloss paper stock. It's clearly a collector format. The presentation is cool and pretty innovative but I think because of the puzzle aspects and the creative direction that the issue would have worked better in newsprint.  It may not be a big deal to most readers but as a collector, there is cognitive dissonance here. The book wants me to mark it up but quite frankly I'm not marking up a 4.00 comic. I touched on the art above. It's very busy, panels and backgrounds are filled with content. It's not as bright as I'm used to for a Dick Tracy comic but the stripped-down color scheme Taki has decided to go with works for the story being told.  The shift in creative direction answers my main complaint with the art for the previous mini-series. The pencils were great but the backgrounds were completely barren in many instances.  In Dick Tracy: Forever, stuff is literally everywhere and I really appreciate the change. It's also cool to see Tracy wearing something other than his trademark yellow jacket and fedora. This goes along with the aforementioned more realistic take on the character. Why wouldn't the detective wear another jacket from time to time? Overall I think that this issue is a worthy follow-up to Dead or Alive. Issue #2 will be set in 1951 so it will be interesting to see what a time jump does for the character. I wish more comics were as creative with its layouts and ideas as this one is. Comics are a visual medium limited only by the imagination of the creatives involved minor gripes aside I appreciate what the team has accomplished here. 

7.5
Dick Tracy Forever #2

Jul 14, 2019

Dick Tracy Forever #2 moves the classic detective further along in the timeline. Time Changes but crime remains the same. The story is again broken up into a couple of vignettes. The first is a simple story that plays off of the mythology surrounding Dick Tracy's 2-way Radio, it's a fun intro and blends right into the second story.  The second story follows Dick Tracy as he questions  Broccoli Rabi, an informant about a Nazi plot potentially brewing in the city. It turns out the Nazi's have already infiltrated and are in league with Pruneface and The Brow.  ​​ Broccoli has a cool design. We also get the appearance of a new Detective by the name of Bricks. He fits right in with Tracy right down to the hat, fedora, and wristwatch. The difference between the two characters is that Bricks wears purple, is Black and his watch is a camera, it's a nice subtle way to show the progression of time. Bricks are also unnaturally strong which fits nicely with the mythos surrounding Dick Tracy. The only weird aspect of the art direction is that Dick Tracy doesn't appear to have aged but Pruneface is noticeably older. ​​ It doesn't appear that we're ever going to see much depth in a Dick Tracy Comic. The story is entertaining but with the stories being so simplistic I question why Dick Tracy Forever wasn't just released as a Graphic Novel. I know IDW wants revenue from floppies but this feels overpriced. The page quality and design elements are appealing but it doesn't make me feel any better about the 3.99 cover price.  If you're a fan of Dick Tracy the issues are worth reading. If you're a casual fan I'd wait for the trade it's really that simple. If the book was a dollar cheaper I probably wouldn't have had any problems with the comic at all. Go grab an Alterna Comic instead and wait for the collected edition. 

10
Dick Tracy Forever #3

Sep 4, 2019

Dick Tracy Forever has been an uneven series so far. The art is superb but the problem has been the story structure. The story has either been broken up into vignettes or paced to read in less than 5 minutes. The book will probably be great in a 9.99 trade, but the floppies haven't really felt like a great return on investment. That changes with this issue. The story is set current year. Dick Tracy and Tess Trueheart are dealing with their son Junior's coma. He's been diagnosed with an unnamed disease. All seems lost to save their boy aside from a genome altering drug that has been banned and fallen into the black market. The drug GEK (Gene Altering Kit) may save the boy, but many of the users become hideously deformed. Dick, Tess and the rest of the police force plan a raid involving GEk. Tess wants to use the drug to potentially cure Junior. Tracy says that it's simply too dangerous to chance. Tess replies you mean illegal. During the raid, Tess gets her hands on the GEK and tries to convince him to see that the drug is their best chance to save Junior. What follows is a fundamental break between the couple with Tracy being unwilling or unable to bend on the rule of law, which puts them in conflict with each other. This story was great and I think highlights one of the weaknesses of Dick Tracy and many other golden age characters. They work great during the times they were created. The good guys were simple and the villains were clearly defined. In a world where the moral choice isn't quite black or white characters like Dick Tracy suffer. This isn't a knock on the character, it just highlights how much comics have evolved since the 1930s and by extension just how ugly our world has become. The arguments presented by Tess and Tracy are both equally valid. Tess is concerned that Junior may never wake up. Tracy's motivations aren't as clear, but he doesn't want to risk using the drug on Junior. I suspect that the underlying issue though is that Tracy simply cannot break with the law even if doing so may benefit his family. I think back to Rorschach at the end of Watchmen. Even with the world saved Rorschach can't live with the cost. I believe Oeming is making a similar statement with Tracy. Flat-Top robbing a bank is simple. Big Pharma possibly profiting in the black market by putting GEK on the streets is infinitely more complicated. The story is set in modern times but the art is just as timeless. Tracy doesn't appear out of place and the changes with technology blend well with the character. The last page of the issue hints at what may be going on and why there have been so many time jumps. I recommend the book whether you've been reading the series or simply as a one off issue with is something I rarely do when a comic is being sold as a mini-series. The issue stands on its own and is a must read if you're a fan of the character.

8.5
Dick Tracy Forever #4

Dec 1, 2019

Dick Tracy Forever started out simple but transitioned into being the most complex story involving the detective that I've ever read. The story also goes from being an examination of modern-day white-collar crime in issue #3 to an eerie sci-fi scenario that feels more plausible than most would care to admit in this final installment. My reaction to this series has been mixed but I've enjoyed it for what it was. My biggest issue with the title has been that the books have been so loose narratively that this did not feel like a title that justified the $3.99 cover price. Although I still cannot recommend buying this title in floppies, I do believe that if IDW had released the series as a Graphic Novel or presented "the twist" earlier in the series I would have enjoyed the earlier issues a bit more. Due to the nature of the reveal, I won't spend too much time explaining the plot. Doing so would ruin it for anyone that has been patient with the series so far. What I will say is that you will get definitive answers. Michael has not just been pulling random Dick Tracy stories out of his ass and there is a reason for all of the time jumps and weird continuity errors presented throughout the series. It's clever and now I want to reread the series over again to see if I missed any other details that That Michael may have slipped in. The art isn't really my cup of tea but it was nice to see Michael cut loose in a future setting. He's clearly having fun here and it comes across in the linework. You'd think that Dick Tracy would stick out like a sore thumb in the future but he doesn't which reinforces the timelessness of the character, and his appeal. Overall this issue was easily my favorite of the series. It's a nice detour from the regular comics on my pull list. I'd argue that the title should have shipped at $2.99 or less in this format. I wouldn't recommend single issues unless you're getting a break on the cover price. If you can read the series in one setting do so I think it will work out better that way. I'd still like a gritty realistic take on the character or at least something in the mode of the 90's movie. One thing that is clear is that Dick Tracy doesn't have to be confined to the Golden Age of comics. His worldview may seem too black and white in regards to our modern sensibilities but It's part of the reason I find the character so endearing and also the reason he'll be around forever.

9.0
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #2

Nov 22, 2018

So after the wonderful setup in issue #1 the premise of the series is laid out here. After Big Boy is arrested all of the assets used to bribe the crooked officers dry up until a new mob boss arrives to consolidate power.  The new boss starts funneling money back into the hands of mobsters and the bribes resume causing Tracy to lose support amongst the ranks of the officers.  Eventually, Tracy is informed of a conspiracy to turn the police against him and given the advice that he should run.  ​ Dick Tracy DOA #2 is another great read. The plot and art seem simple but the story is an example of classic storytelling. The heroes are heroes and the bad guys are clearly bad guys with few exceptions.  The art continues to impress and the script is fast paced and hilarious. The opening pages of this issue got a laugh out loud reaction from me. The stakes are raised in this issue and it will be fun to see how this story develops. This story is relatively simple and straightforward. It's not the deepest premise but it's true to the character and fun.  Dick Tracy isn't going up against deformed Monsters anymore. He's fighting his own kind.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.0
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #3

Feb 2, 2019

DOA picks up immediately after the conclusion of the last issue. Dick Tracy is on the run from the law after being framed for the murder of a fellow officer.  The strength of the series is the heavy nostalgia for the character and look and feel of the comic. The absurdity of the situation also contrasts hysterically at times with the straight nature of Tracy. Dick Tracy is the perfect straight man in an insane world.   This issue ramps up the action and violence and we get some answers behind the "Big Bads" plot. Dick Tracy actually guns down a couple bad guy's this issue. Both instances raised my eyebrows because to this point there have been a lot of threats but no real casualties. Dick Tracy does not play around.  Despite the ramped up action the issue at times feels like filler and in other spots feels rushed. One of the villains introduced the last issue gets killed off this one and it kinda feels like a wasted opportunity to develop worthy foe for Dick.  The art direction for the series is great. If you've ever had a passing interest in the series or character the issue is visual candy. Rich Tommaso and Michael Allred shine on pencils/inks but Laura Allred is the MVP as colorist for the series so far. This issue is no exception.  I'd love to take a deep introspective look at the issue but I can't. The plot/script doesn't have much depth at all. What you see is what you get. I love everything about the series It's a nice throwback to the golden age but it still feels like a large portion of this issue is padded. DOA is a nice diversion but it's in real danger of wearing out its welcome. 

9.0
Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #4

Mar 27, 2019

Dick Tracy: DOA #4 wraps up the Mini-Series nicely leaving practically no loose ends or unanswered questions. Overall the series is a nice walk down memory lane. IDW has already announced a new series from Michael Avon Oeming (Powers) so I'm assuming DOA did pretty good with sales. I appreciate the straightforward nature of the series and hope to see more takes on the character in the coming years.   There really isn't much to say plot-wise The story is really simple. The villains are defeated. Tracy is cleared and reinstated. These aren't really spoilers and were a foregone conclusion to be perfectly honest. What is surprising is how much Big Boy factors heavily into the conclusion of the story and finally delivers a credible threat to our hero.   The art in the comic is great and a step above the last issue which seemed somewhat rushed.  ​ Dick Tracy DOA was a nice little diversion. I enjoyed the series and I think that the series will read even better as a trade paperback. I highly recommend the series. Not every comic has to be overly dramatic or complicated. Sometimes you just want to see the heroes beat the villains and in this instance that's enough for me. 

9.5
Drawing Blood Spilled Ink #1

Jan 4, 2020

A few months ago I reviewed Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls, a one-shot clearly inspired by Mirage Studios and the original incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Drawing Blood #1 was initially released as a companion to the RRRR one-shot. It does something I've never seen in my 20+ years of reading comics. It builds a fictional setting within another fictional setting. Drawing Blood feels like a semi-autobiographical take on Kevin Eastmans' life and career as a comic book creator and publisher. I'm pretty sure a lot of the story is fabricated as in most comic book fiction is but it would be interesting to dissect just how much of Eastman's truth is in this book. The comic follows Shane Bookman, Co-Creator of Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls. The book takes place after the rights to the characters were sold and _ has fallen on hard times. It doesn't help that his partner commits suicide leaving a 2 million debt that Shane is being held accountable for. What I really liked about the issue is the meta-narrative. Retroactively this comic makes RRRR better. You see the inspiration there and when reading together, it makes Drawing Blood sort of a mindfuck. At one point in the comic, you see an advertisement for the Ragdolls movie and its surreal because you're more than likely reading this book knowing the history of TMNT just how big it was at one point. The dialogue is also a lot of fun. The exchanges between characters come off as silly at times but it's not overblown and never hinders the book. Toward the end of the book, it's mentioned that Drawing Blood was originally conceived as a movie or television series. I can see it becomes the book reads and is paced like a TV show. There is also a surprising amount of action here. I doubt Kevin Eastman was involved in shootouts and drug deals in the 90s but after reading Drawing Blood I'm 100% sure. There's a lot of variety in this issue and it allows Ben Bishop to show off his abilities as a storyteller. There's a fair amount of sex, violence, drugs and straight-up flashbacks to the Mirage Studio house style of art. It all adds up to a book that feels like a legit passion project instead of a cash grab. There is a lot to love here and although it's off of the beath path Drawing Blood #1 is a solid read and when reading along with RRRR it makes an enjoyable experience even better.

8.0
Drawing Blood Spilled Ink #2

Jan 2, 2021

Usually, when someone says that a comic is tailor-made for television/streaming series it's in a negative light. Drawing Blood is streaming series waiting to happen but it's also one of the most unique and meta comics I've ever read. Quick recap, Drawing Blood is a semi-autobiographical comic from the mind of Kevin Eastman and co-written by David Avallone. The book follow-s Shane Bookman and details his rise and fall after selling the rights to the breakout hit "Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls". This issue picks up with the cliffhanger of the last issue. Bookman is surrounded by gangsters and threatened at gunpoint if he doesn't pay the debt his deceased business partner left behind. He's also forced to provide an autographed picture of one of the Ragdolls. After a timely de-escalation, the comic transitions to auditions for one of the plays that Bookman is working on. The comic reads like a slice of life for our lead character. The story is funny and has great pacing and quite frankly is a solid reading experience. I think you'll find enjoyment whether you're reading this as a fan of TMNT or have no interest in the classic franchise. I also think the comic works in a single issue which is surprising in light of the subject matter. It would be very easy for Drawing Blood to be a decompressed talking head comic but it never goes that route and I really appreciated the storytelling while reading. Shane Bookman is a lovable loser who seems to be being set up for a redemption arc but it's too early to say. He could easily wind up face first in a gutter somewhere. In any case checkout Drawing Blood or Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls. When the series pops up on HBO MAX just know I called it.

8.0
Electric Warriors #1

Feb 9, 2019

This book should have been released under the Vertigo umbrella. Not sure why it wasn't but that was the general impression I got after reading it for the second time. One thing I do appreciate from DC Comics is that instead of pushing huge line-wide events every few months they push smaller scale mini-series highlighting characters or concepts that would not have received any attention otherwise.  Electric Warriors is one of those series. It has no obvious connections to any current ongoing outside of tangential references here and there. I now sure how successful the series will be but the premise is interesting.  At some point in the future, there was a universal calamity that leads to the Animal kingdom gaining dominion over the planet and humanity being enslaved. The book opens with humanity being given the opportunity to represent Earth as one of the Electric Warriors. A collection of planets inhabitants that are giving political clout via competitive combat. Our lead, Ian has a xenophobic abrasive personality and hates the animal for their past misdeeds.  His brother, Oscar Navarro is slated to represent humanities as co-holder of the electric seed with a representative from the Octopus Tribe. Oscar and Ian are often mistaken as twins although they were not born at the same time.  After, failing to talk to his brother out of leaving the family, Ian has Oscar attacked. He then takes his place in an attempt to avoid his mother losing her "Good" son.  This is a really good story and I like that it's presented as a stand-alone miniseries as opposed to an ongoing. Its a risky proposition considering the current state of the comic industry.  The characters and designs are all cool with the exception of the lead character design. It looks weird and not in a good way. The colors pop and really mesh well with the futuristic setting. It's a nice overall package that's off the beaten path in comics.  I get the impression that Steve Orlando definitely has a story here. With slight changes here and there this series would feel right at home coming from Image Comics. I can tell he's relishing this opportunity.  It's a decent well-written start and despite minor gripes here and there with some of the designs, I can't really fault the series. There aren't any standout moments in this issue but the series has a lot of potential for greatness going forward. 

10
Excellence #1

Jun 8, 2019

I had no idea who Brandon Thomas was before reading Excellence but now he has my full attention. I'm generally not a fan of stories involving magic or sorcery but this is probably one of the coolest takes on the genre I've ever run across. The fact that all of the named characters are Black is also special to me because I don't usually see "My Folks" in fantasy settings.  This story centers around Spencer Raymond Dales and follows him from birth through his development into a young man. He comes from a line of Magicians tasked with protecting humanity. We the bulk of the issue is split between world building, Spencer's relationship with his family and his trials.    The World-building is excellent I dare you to read this issue and now walk away not wanting to know more about the setting and how this system works.  The art from Khary Randolph is on point. The pencils are very expressive and energetic. Khary makes every panel look interesting whether he's conveying an action sequence, intense emotion or even something as mundane as Spencer getting his haircut by his grandmother.  I've seen Khary's work over the years and it's really cool to see that he's continued to evolve in his craft. This is probably the best work I've seen from him and if this is the shape of things to come I can't wait to see what he comes up with over the course of this series. Khary is perfectly complemented by Emilio Lopez' colors who share credit in breathing life into this world. All in time the art direction is solid and you can feel the synergy between the creatives involved here. It definitely comes through throughout the issue. It's' also awesome that we're looking at some truly inspired designs for these characters. Khary gives us a variety of Black Characters from the full lips, kinky hair, and general swag. Most Black characters are conveyed as cool but these characters take it a step forward and feel natural.  I also really appreciate that I'm making a bigger deal about race than the book actually does. It's actually a breath of fresh air to see  Black Characters that have identities and personalities that aren't just extensions of their melanin count. I know it's only the first issue but I feel safe with these characters and their portrayal.  The book is primarily about Spencer's coming of age but it's also about family.  his family dynamic pushes the narrative and it will be interesting to see how these relationships shape the series as time goes on.  There is an excellent quote from Brandon on the letters page that stuck with me most of the day after reading this issue.  "How do you create a real, enduring mature relationship with your children when you were denied the best example?" I had a very strained relationship with my father that ranged from distant, to dismissive to apathetic. When I had my children my goal was to be a Great Father but it's kind of hard to be great when your baseline example for what a good father kinda sucks. The quote hit me to my core because I was never able to reconcile my relationship with my dad. He died and I don't even remember if he got to meet his grandchildren. Typing that last line was rough and one of the reasons I I feel safe with this series and these characters. Excellence doesn't feel like a gimmick. There is some legit passion in the art and storytelling and it comes across on every page.  With all of these positives in place, I really can't find fault with this book. It's a fine single issue and one of the best starts to a series I've read in a very long time.  Brandon and Khary have definitely made a statement and I'm here for it. 

10
Excellence #2

Nov 30, 2019

One of the saddest parts about reviewing comics is that you'll regularly hit a string of mainstream comics that get a lot of attention but are ultimately mediocre. Reviewing these books are a chore but you push through because you're a reviewer, it's kinda your job. On the other hand, you'll review a good book or great indie comic and nobody will read the blog or check out the comic. It feels like you're writing for no one and that even though you're spending time on a quality product, your audience would rather you spend time ragging on Tom King or the next ill-fated Captain Marvel relaunch. Brandon and Khary have put together a straight forward coming of age story and blended it into a fantastical world of magic and intrigue. The story is mature, nuanced and the art direction is immaculate. If I had to compare this issue to a genre film the nearest comparison I came up with was Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Spencer, the lead character defies his father and the rules of the order to steal a healing spell that may potentially save his grandmother. It's a relatable situation especially for anyone that has lost a loved one. His father rejects the idea and due to Spencer's youth and rebellious streak, he sees his father as a coward. Because the setting has not been fleshed out as of this issue it's not readily apparent which course of action is the correct one. What is apparent is that Aaron's motivations are entirely guided by his emotions which in many cases can lead one down a path of destruction. The writing for the issue is particularly strong with our characters and their interactions. There is also some very clever worldbuilding done on this issue. I loved the use of color in this book. There is a scene between Spencer and his father where it's established that in a specific location that you can tell the power level of a magician by the colors that manifest when they are in proximity. This is a cool reveal that would only work in a visual medium. It means that you'll be able to anticipate a character standing or threat level simply by which colors appear on the page. It's a great use of passive storytelling. It also works in the same way that lightsaber color can generally be used to identify a character's role within the Jedi order or Light/Dark side affiliation. Doubling back to Spencer, he's a good kid, but he's an asshole. I can relate to the guy but as I'm reading the book I want to reach out to him and say, dude, take a breath. He's a typical teenager, he thinks he knows everything and although he has some valid points, his bullish attitude will more than likely do more harm than good as the series progresses. There are even elements of Afro-Futurism throughout the comic. Some of the panels in this issue are so well executed I could see a clothing line springing up inspired by this artwork an some of the dialogue. Perfectly complementing the linework and script are Emilio Lopez's colors. Although the overall tones lean heavily on greens, tans, and golds, every page is still striking. Lopez's color choices are spot on and work during quieter moments and also offer a nice contrast to the action beats as the pace picks up and spells are being cast. In short, Excellence #2 is a great read. The story is extremely interesting and the art is amazing. I'm about four issues behind and will assume that the trade is out or will be soon. In any case, give the book a shot it's easily one of the best series to be released this year.

10
Excellence #3

Jun 30, 2020

The problem with having so many gaps between reviews is that you forget bits of the previous issue which provide context for the content you're about to consume. I'll have to go back and read Excellence #2 but even without the context Brandon and Khary drop another excellent installment. Spencer Dale has become a tool of Aegis after the fallout of the last issue. As punishment, he's sent on missions to investigate the unauthorized use of magic and magic users that have gone rogue. We see him take down a couple of low-level magicians. Spencer is also working on his own agenda behind the scenes. Things get complicated when Spencer's father gives him a mission to take down Aaron. Aaron has fallen in love with the woman he was assigned to steer along the path assigned by Aegis. This is another great issue with many solid moments including a great interaction between Spencer and his Grandmother Gi-Gi. She's lost her faculties but Spencer uses a low-level spell that grants him a few precious moments with her without the impairments. These are powerful scenes that I feel will resonate with anyone that has parents with Alzheimer's or dementia. I lost both parents and the idea of having them back for any length of time would mean the world to me. I totally get Spencer's motivation here. When Spencer finally encounters Aaron we're given another cliffhanger. It's clear that the men don't really want to fight but are being pitted against each other by the system they operate under. This is a case of free-range slavery. The only difference between the comic and the real world is that the characters in Excellence know who their masters are. Khary and Emilio provide amazing art direction. It's a Godsend to have an artist that can draw Black People and not have them look weak or ineffectual. The action sequences are great and the scenes between punch-ups are just as good. I love the energy given to every scene here. Too many comics have artists that only excel in body language or action. Khary is the total package and no matter what's happening on the page it's always interesting and engaging. The background worldbuilding is complex and the comparison to Hickman's X-Men is undeniable. The infographics give a lot of passive information that comes into play The main difference is that whereas Marvel and Hickman are juggling 19 titles, Brandon can focus on this one and the narrative is stronger for it. Excellence is a great example of not diluting your storytelling.

10
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2

Oct 27, 2018

Snagglepuss #2 opens with Gigi Allen meeting with some of the countries leading playwrights. She tries to bring the writers onboard with her plan to infuse entertainment with nationalistic propaganda. She says that war was inevitable and "when lives are dependent on one man's decision to drop a bomb or not, you want that man's decision based on the wholesome ideal of America and not its dark underbelly." The scene shifts to Snagglepuss in his normal element, dealing with producers and actors. Peter, Snagglepuss' lead actor, is struggling with his role and is laying in the middle of his dressing room trying to find motivation. SP tells him that he does not have time to help him at the moment but wants him to meet a friend later. Snagglepuss leaves to volunteer at an elderly home. "The Florello La Guardia" - home of the old & friendless. In an interesting exchange, Snagglepuss speaks with an elderly gentleman with a pretty crappy attitude. He inquires about SP's background to which he reveals that he's a playwright. The man says that theater is "just a bunch of boys and syphilitics getting back at the world for not accepting them." This raises Snagglepuss' eyebrows and he asks the man about his prior profession and he finds out that the old man was once a judge. Later that evening Snagglepuss and Peter meet with Huckleberry Hound. SP asks Huck why he's suddenly back in town after being gone for a year. Huckleberry says that he and his wife have stopped seeing each other after she found out that he was having an affair with another man. She agreed to leave the police out of the situation if he left them. What follows is one of the most awkward series of panels I've ever read in a comic. Huck attempts to pick up some random guy, gets beaten up, and called a deviant. Snagglepuss tells him that the scene was like watching a parachute fail to open to which Huckleberry responds that "to live is to suffer from one's appetites." After leaving Huck, SP meets with a fellow playwright Lilly, who is leaving the country after she suspects that she has been blackballed. She refused to play ball with the government hearings and now no one will produce her plays or films. She notes that the rejection letters all have the same typo in the same spot. She tells Snagglepuss that the first hearing is to try to get you on board and if you refuse to comply, the second hearing is to ruin you. In the climax of the issue, Snagglepuss meets with Gigi Allen. She tries to recruit SP for her plan to use entertainment for propaganda purposes. They go back and forth but SP denies the request stating that he cannot give up his pen because it is all that he has. We follow-up with Peter. He has found his motivation after spending time with Snagglepuss and Huck. He gives a beautiful ad-lib performance that goes over well with SP and his producer. The issue ends as Snagglepuss receives a letter from the House Committee on Unamerican Activities. Exit Stage Left #2 is a great issue that further establishes the world and atmosphere that Snagglepuss resides in. The inclusion of Huckleberry Hound is inspired. His pain is palpable and relatable, he seems to be punished whenever he allows himself to give in to his passions. At one point in the issue, I wondered if Huck would commit suicide. His situation seems relentlessly depressing. Huckleberry Hound's plight is summed up at the end of the issue by Peter when he does the final scene of the play (quoted below). The writing is beautifully tragic but sums up the pressure that Huck and many of us in modern society deal with daily. "The Life of a dog has to be more than this. A dog's life must be more than what can fit in his suitcase. I suppose I am a victim of my youth as we all are. But as the years have passed I have become a walking accumulation of regret. Nothing but a cheap vase for the lives wasted on me. Even as life pushes me relentlessly forward, I find it impossible to live. I am trapped in a fascinated horror, like a rabbit in the jaws of a wolf. Unwilling to resist if only to feel what it is to be eaten by God. Do you see me, lord?! This shattered vessel? Do you see your reflection in the shards of my brokenness."

10
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #3

Nov 7, 2018

We open the issue with Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound on the Moe Franklin Show. The opening panels seem inconsequential but give a lot of insight into Snagglepuss and the motivations behind his work. He goes on to explain the difference between theater and television. Snagglepuss says that "Television is about creating Stars while the theater is for the development of Actors". The difference he says is that a star shows people who they wish to be while an actor shows them what they truly are.  The segment ends and we see Snagglepuss relaxing at a pool. Peter Potamus calls him irate because his new actor is terrible and having issues reading lines. Puss tells him he will deal with it and ends the call.  Shortly after Snagglepuss receives another call from his friend Arthur Miller. Arthur swears Snagglepuss to secrecy and needs him to come over to his place. Snagglepuss agrees and upon arriving at Arthur's home, we find that the secret is that he's been carrying on an affair with Marilyn Monroe. He's afraid that her beau Joe Dimaggio will kill him. Somehow Joe has found out that Marilyn has been seeing a playwright. The plan is t have SP cover as the guy that Marilyn has been spending her time with. When Snagglepuss asks why him, Marilyn chimes in and says "because everyone knows you're a Sugarfoot." Joe Dimaggio sits in a diner explaining to the attendant what he sees in Marilyn. He says that while he's accepted at the end of the day he will always be seen as an immigrant no matter his accolades. There's a difference between being loved and belonging.  Marilyn is America's sweetheart, everyone loves her. Joe postulates that Marilyn represents everything he will never be and that he will kill the guy she's been seeing.  Joe is interrupted by Marilyn as she sneaks up on him. Seeing Snagglepuss as the guy that drops her off instantly defuses the situation. After leaving the diner, Snagglepuss calls Arthur and tells him to never ask him to do anything like that again. Huckleberry Hound asks if everything is okay. SP says he's fine and says he wants to take Huck somewhere. Snagglepuss asks Huck what he thinks of New York and Huckleberry says that he's lonely and inquires how a city with so many people can feel so lonely. Snagglepuss responds and tells Huck that people come to New York to either disappear or to live the life they were always meant to. With this statement, they enter The Stonewall Inn. Huck is flabbergasted that a place like this can exist. Snagglepuss tells him that it's the only place like it in New York, possibly even the world. While at Stonewall Snagglepuss meets up with his lover, Pablo. They enjoy each other's company until Pablo gets excited when he sees on television that armed resistance is happening in his home country of Cuba. Snagglepuss tells him that he is happy that he isn't out there fighting. Pablo takes exception to this statement. He tells SP that what he really means is that he should be grateful that he's a kept man and other people fight for him. Pablo storms off angrily.  Snagglepuss and his wife Lila visit the old Judge in the retirement home from the last issue.  Puss tells his wife that the Judge has a son in theater. She asks what projects that his son is working on but he says that they don't talk anymore since his wife died. The judge says that his son was the one that killed her. The judge tells her that his wife was sick and lived to hear her son speak to her about his day and all of the things he had seen in the world. The boy left to find his place in the world leaving behind a note saying that he had to leave or the situation would have destroyed him.  After leaving the hospital, the SP and Lila attend a party and meet Huck and his new boyfriend. Huck tells Snagglepuss that he may be in love and that he has never had a place where he could be at ease with himself and that SP may have saved his life.  Snagglepuss also runs into Marilyn again at the party. She apologizes about the situation with Joe and they talk about her relationship. She says that Joe's sadness draws her to him but he never allows her to be herself and being Marilyn all the time is exhausting. She says she didn't intend to be a star, she just wanted to act but realized that men either worshiped Marilyn or Salvaged her. She says she doesn't know how long she can go on being Marilyn and that's what drew her to Arthur. He allows her to be herself. She doesn't even think that he's seen any of her films. Snagglepuss leaves and thanks Marilyn for allowing him to see the part of her that no one else gets to see.  Snagglepuss goes back to his set and we find that the actor that Arthur that was having problems with earlier was a young Clint Eastwood. Snagglepuss tells Clint that he doesn't think that he should be an actor but he does have a future as a star in the business. He leaves Clint with the line that "People remember a good actor, but a star is someone you never forget." The book cuts back to the Moe Franklin show. Snagglepuss postulates that we need stars in the same way we need Gods. We see in them the moral simplicity that we lack in ourselves. Snagglepuss then reveals that the purpose of his plays is to admire people in their broken complexity.  "Every character should be loved if only by their creator because we are all loved despite each of us being despicable in our own way". -RUMINATION- When I first glanced at this issue a few weeks back I didn't love it. It seemed like a cheap story in the vein of "Forrest Gump". A romp of Snagglepuss interacting with the celebrities of 50's New York. I picked up the issue again a couple weeks later and fell in love. The main theme of the issue is identity. Do we hide our identities out of fear and adapt the personal projected upon us by the world or do we learn to accept our flaws and be happy and comfortable in our own skin.... The parallels of the identity theme are drawn in the presentations of Joe Dimaggio, Marilyn Monroe, and Huckleberry Hound. Huck appears to be on the verge of suicide until he is presented with the opportunity to finally be himself, a homosexual man after visiting Stonewall. Joe Dimaggio is ashamed of his family history. His personal insecurities attract him to Marilyn. Upon finding her, he objectifies her by placing her on a pedestal. He doesn't even know her outside of the Marilyn persona that has been projected upon her.  Marilyn is being torn down by the constant objectification from Joe and the industry at large but stays with Joe because he needs her, Marilyn. This gives her some fulfillment but not enough to keep her happy which leads her into the arms of another man. Arthur would obviously be better for her but because of her status as a star, Marilyn embraces the identity that is assigned to her. At the end of the issue, we see a shot of Marilyn and Joe on their wedding day. In the context of the issue and her real life, we know the outcome of Marilyn's story. Life is too short to spend it wearing someone else's skin.  The tragedy of life is that we often end up spending so much time trying to make everyone else happy that we end up miserable or depressed by the weight of the "Role".  We essentially become actors in our own play. This is what Snagglepuss means when he says that in theater we see a person as they truly are. Who is at fault? Is it society for placing the individual in a box or the individual for allowing it to happen?

6.0
Fallen Angels (2019) #2

Jul 2, 2020

Fallen Angels was my most anticipated Dawn of X title. The hype wasn't over any of the characters or the pitch. I'm a huge Brian Edward Hill fan and after his run on Detective Comics and Killmonger the Idea of the creator on an X-Title just seemed like a money move. Fallen Angels is shaping up to be the first misfire in his catalog, at least in my eyes. The first issue was a mixed bag that ended up being a net positive. This issue devolves into a mess by the end. The biggest problem with the issue is the art direction. The book is way too dark. I don't mean tonally. What I mean is that you can't make out what's happening on some of the pages. I know the choice to keep the lighting dark is intentional but it takes away from the story. This is especially true when you're trying to make out what's happening during an action sequence. The script also feels a tad pretentious. Its almost as if every line of dialogue is supposed to be deeper than it actually is. It worked in the last issue with Sinister. He's a theatrical character but when every piece of exposition feels overly dramatic it veers into a writer being self-indulgent. The comic focuses mainly on Kawanna's (Psylocke) interactions with X-23 and Cable. She's cryptic and mysterious throughout the comic. These scenes are interspersed with flashbacks to Kawanna's time before her life with the X-Men. These sequences are lit so poorly I almost missed that the character we were following was Kawanna. These are the most interesting parts of the book but are held back by the art and really overblown dialogue. You combine all of these elements and it feels like the series is a bit superfluous. Fallen Angels is currently on hiatus but I think it was canceled based on the premise not having enough gas to sustain a series. We're two issues deep and I'm already bored and asking what's the point? It may turn into a solid series before the end but I'm not surprised at all that it's been canceled.

5.0
Fallen Angels (2019) #3

Feb 17, 2021

Fallen Angels was one of the first real duds in the Dawn of X line of titles. In hindsight, it should have been a red flag to the fanbase. The series is a footnote at this point and has probably been memory-holed unless you spend your restless nights reviewing old comics as I do. Before getting into any actual review of the comic it's worth mentioning that the cover has nothing to do with the actual content of the book. I know there are a lot of comics that have bad covers but this one is particularly off because it doesn't give you an idea of what the series is about. It's just one woman looking at another, compelling stuff I know. There isn't much going on in this issue aside from the fight between our trio of heroes (Psylocke, X-23, and Cable) and Apoth. The comic is immediately let down by the art direction. The pages are too dark and it's nearly impossible to make out what's happening on any given page. I'm not sure why Szymon chose to use this style for this material but the editors should have stepped in and made an adjustment. The story is also a letdown and it's pretty clear that Brian is phoning it in at this point. I know he has a lot going on but this material is way below his writing caliber. The dialogue is pretentious and the characters will way off. The most egregious point aspect of the series has been Psylocke and the training that she puts Cable and Laura (X-23) through. The characters are young but the idea that Psylocke is giving them basic combat training is laughable unless you're a total noob and never read a story featuring these characters. Young Cable is once again humiliated and never seems to land as a character regardless of the series he's in. I wasn't reading X-Men when he showed up initially but every comic I read featuring the character makes me miss the old version. The series hints at a potentially interesting conclusion but Fallen Angels has been a slog. At best this is a series that should have been edited down to a one-shot. I have the rest of the series so I'll eventually review it but the title is one of the least exciting series I've read since launching this blog. Rating: 5/10

10
Fantastic Four: Grand Design #1

Jun 13, 2020

I discovered Tom Scioli with IDW's Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe series. I also really enjoyed the reimagined Go-Bots series that dropped last year. This is my first time seeing Tom on a Big 2 comic and the results are glorious. Fantastic Four: Grand Design follows the footsteps of Ed Piskors X-Men: Grand Design in that it reframes the original books along with the broader Marvel Universe. This acts to make the entire narrative even more cohesive than Stan or Jack could have done. That's not a slight against the original creators. It's just that stories like these benefit from having 70 years of hindsight and continuity. Special consideration must also be given to Chris Robinson who had the gargantuan task of editing this project. The issue dives into the character's lives pre-Fantastic Four as well as the broader Cosmic Universe. It then shifts focus and covers issues #1 through the "Coming of Galactus" storyline of the original series. The characters feel true to themselves and the voices given to them by the original creators. When I see Scioli's art style I immediately think of Jack Kirby. Jack is one of my favorite artists so when I saw that Tom was attached to the project I added it to my pull list immediately. I saw the Kirby influences all over this issue but I've also read enough of Tom Scioli's work to see the distinction in the material. The attention to detail is almost overwhelming but I believe it adds to the readability of the title. Fantastic Four: Grand Design is a book I believe that fans can pick up and probably see something different every time. This is an exceptional love letter to Marvel's First Family and their early adventures.

8.5
Fantastic Four: Grand Design #2

Aug 20, 2020

Tom Scioli and the editors deserve a lot of credit for condensing 70+ hears of Fantastic Four history into two issues. Way too many titles feel decompressed and padded to exploit retailers that need products to sell and take advantage of the eventual collected Graphic Novel. This one will work as a single volume but there is so much content here that I appreciate that it been broken up into chapters. This installment covers "The Coming of Galactus" storyline and concludes post-Marvel Super-Heroes Secret War. There is a lot of direct references to the comics from those eras and Tom even homages significant covers and panels from the comics he's pulling from. This translates to beautiful reading experience for fans of Marvels First family if you're a longtime fan or new to the Franchise and just want the cliff notes of their history. I do have a couple of gripes. I believe I mentioned Alicia Masters being retconned into a Black Woman in the last review so I won't spend too much time on it here. It's weirder than anything and I believe the change was primarily a consequence of the Fantastic Four being a 95% Caucasian franchise. I also don't recall Sue Storm ever having Sue Storm having a long-running affair with Namor or the subplot of Namor being the father of Franklin Richards. It's a cool what-if scenario but I think it takes from the Grand Design format when it adds retcons into the mix. The changes don't really add anything and just seem odd if you are familiar with the material. I see this a Tom just having fun with the reader's expectations but I would have preferred he play it straight. Toward the end of the comic, the reader is hit with so many different storylines that the conclusion feels kinda rushed. I won't hold that against the book although I think it could be better served with a third issue. Complaints aside, compiling Fantastic Four: Grand Design had to be a herculean effort, that can't be understated. I highly recommend this series for fans and collectors alike. The Fantastic Four is often treated as an afterthought behind X-Men and The Avengers. It's nice to see Reed, Ben, Sue, and Johnny given the spotlight they deserve.

10
Fist of the North Star #1

Feb 20, 2022

I love comic books. It's the primary reason I write long-winded reviews of books no one will ever read on a site that no one will ever see. One reason western comics are losing ground to Manga is the idea that every comic is someone’s first. It’s often hard for new readers to jump into a 700+ issue ongoing series. The question is often where do I start? There’s also a sense that most comics and mini-series don’t matter. Comics are constantly shifted in unpopular directions by unpopular writers which kill enthusiasm within the core fanbase that cares about the character and their continuity. Both positions cited above are contradictory at first glance. However, a nice jumping-on point will often entice new readers to invest in previous volumes of a popular ongoing franchise. This doesn’t work when you’re reading a reboot of a reboot of a reboot. This is the main reason I don’t review a series I have a working knowledge of or have Issue #1 on hand. Fist of the North Star Volume 1 is my first Manga. I’d seen images of Ken floating around for decades and did watch a few minutes of the Anime. I still had no idea what the story was about or idea of what I was getting into. Once I settled myself into the differences between manga and western comics I was immediately hooked on the Story of Kenshiro. This isn’t a deep story. However, I did appreciate that there weren’t 50-word balloons on every page. It’s also cool reading a story where the writer's political views aren’t driven home on every page. Fist of the North Star reads a lot like a classic western blended with Mad Max. There is a narrative through-line that develops between segments of the story but each segment stands alone and begs the reader to keep going. Most comics I review lately don’t seem to value standalone storytelling. If you pick up a random issue of a random comic book you’re probably going to be lost. This is a symptom of story decompression. In fairness, a 6-issue storyline will generally tell a complete story but jumping in is almost impenetrable, especially within a meandering story. Fist of the North Star does not have this problem. Each segment of this volume starts with Kenshiro stumbling into a bad situation. By the end of the installment, justice is served in the most violent way possible. Stories are presented in a simple episodic format that makes this material easy to adapt across genres. In addition to Buronson’s stellar narrative focus Fist of the North Star is a beautiful book. Tetsuo Hara’s characters are stylized and presented in equal parts power and menace. Kenshiro is a hugely powerful man. He’s often matched against threats that tower over him. This gives the impression that Ken is an underdog in the same sense that Hulk Hogan would be seen as an underdog against an opponent like Andre The Giant. I loved Fist of the North Star Vol: 1 and its format. I’ve been reviewing the latest volumes as they are released. I'll also be checking out more Manga including Golgo 13 and Akira. It is also nice to read a story that offers genuine escapism and not get dragged into whatever social ill is up the writer's ass this month. In Short: Fist of the North Star Vol: 1 is your favorite Western blended with Mad Max and presented in a brilliant package.

9.0
Flash (2016) #58

Jan 31, 2019

Whenever anyone asks who my Favorite DC Hero is The Flash is usually in my Top 3. I shuffle them sometimes but it's always been Superman, Batman, and Flash. So it's pretty ironic that I've never consistently followed the character or collected his series for any length of time.  I picked up this issue solely the strength of the Karl Kerschl variant cover. The last Flash book that I actually read was during "The Button" crossover with Batman over a year ago now.  Flash #58 is a solid comic that seems to be a reasonable jumping on point for the series. Barry Allen is on vacation with Iris. While there they run into a pair of super-powered criminal's calling themselves "The Gemini" The two manage to distract Flash for a second and use the opportunity to get the better of him and escape.  Gemini's power-set allow them to absorb the powers of their enemies. Having a taste of Flashes powers they vow to hunt Barry to the ends of the earth to obtain it.   The comic ends with the Speed force pulling Barry to Gorilla City where a bigger mystery is developing.  Flash #58 is an example of where a reread can make a comic better. When I first read the comic I walked away feeling meh but upon a second look, I can't really find any fault in the comic.  If you have any measure of interest in the character or seeing Flash in action you can't go wrong here. The story is fun, the villains are intimidating and the art is glorious.  Plus it seems that the lore surrounding the "Speed Force"  is being expanded similar to the color variants of the Green Lantern rings.   The art direction from Rafa Sandoval and Tomeu Morey is stunning. The action is fluid and dynamic. They cover a lot of real estate as the story moves from the fictional Port of Trueno, Badhnisia to Gorilla City. The colors are upbeat and combined with the well paced script by Joshua Williams this is a very well constructed single issue.  For more Reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Flash (2016) #64

Sep 7, 2020

Although "The Price" crossover is billed as a "Heroes in Crisis" tie-in, it works entirely on its own. It references the events of that story and weaves them into the mystery here but is simply executed better than the main series. In fact, after reading the first two parts of "The Price" I wished that Joshua Middleton had handled the entire Heroes in Crisis storyline. This issue continues The Flash and Batman's investigation into the Sanctuary killings. The heroes also investigate Gotham Girl's attack on the Flash Museum in the previous chapter. The comic gives even more insight into the two men and their approaches to detective work. Bruce considers Barry to be the world's greatest detective while Barry doesn't believe that he'll ever be on Bruce's level. As the story progressed I became more inclined to agree with Barry as he points out several basic observations that Bruce has missed in regards to Gotham Girl as well as his other proteges. Bruce doesn't human well which causes him to miss key details about the situation that Barry keys into immediately. This is an amazing contrast between the two characters. Bruce may know criminals inside and out but he misses the underlying motivations and passions of his friends and allies. It appears that "The Price" is developing into a referendum on Bruce and his responsibility toward those he brings under his wing, directly or indirectly. This issue is drawn by Rafa Sandoval. He does a great job and the comic looks great but I would have preferred the same artist to cover the entire crossover. Tomeu Morey continues to provide the color direction so the comic looks consistent even with the change in with the penciler. I actually prefer Rafas takes on the characters at several points in the issue so it's not like there's a talent dropoff or anything. This installment gives the reader a lot to think about and will work as an amazing single issue or as part of the overall crossover. I was quite simply blown away which is something I haven't said about a Batman or Flash comic in a long time. Rating: God-Tier

8.5
Flash (2016) #65

Oct 16, 2020

I fast-tracked "The Price" on my review schedule after reading the first installment and thoroughly enjoying it. I also picked up a new favorite writer along the way in Joshua Williamson. I'd only reviewed one issue of Flash prior to this arc so I don't have any deep knowledge of anything happening in that title. This time around we get a decent issue and closeout chapter. The Price of Loyalty isn't quite as strong as previous installments but closes the loop on the event and ties back to Heroes in Crisis even though it really doesn't feel like a tie-in other than references to "Sanctuary" here and there. The bulk of the comic covers the rapidly escalating fight between Batman, Flash, and Gotham Girl. Batman and Flash desperately attempt to talk Gotham Girl down before she burns herself out and dies due to overuse of her powers. This is a pretty rough scenario but about midway, through the issue, the fight just ends. The story transitions to a very intense argument between Bruce and Barry which boils down to an ideological debate regarding the accountability they share toward their families and the heroes that fight in their names. Both characters have a seemingly ever-expanding extended family so it makes sense that these particular characters would be having this discussion. They both make valid points along the way to the conclusion of the issue. The problem is that the voices the characters have in this segment feel hollow. Bruce and Barry have both suffered extreme losses. The price is that wearing the tights or the cowl doesn't shield those around you its something you'd think this would be an aspect of their lives that would lead to common ground. The problem here is that they basically end up yelling at each other and go to their corners. It's a huge letdown that undermines the overarching theme of the crossover. I can't criticize the issue too harshly though It handles its story a lot better than Heroes in Crisis ever did. Aside from the nick picks here and there the series looks great, reads well, and aside from an ending that doesn't quite land the story advances the ongoing stories for both heroes that's worth checking out even if you aren't following either hero currently. Rating 8.5/10

9.0
Freedom Fighters (2018) #1

Feb 14, 2019

I literally had no idea what Freedom Fighters was when I picked it up last month. I saw that Robert Venditti (Hawkman, X-O Manowar) was the writer and had the fierce visage of Uncle Sam staring me down and I was sold on the look alone. The book is extremely dark. I hazard to say its the darkest comic I've read since X-Men: Age of Apocalypse storyline from the '90s. This series is also set in an alternate timeline. In this scenario, the Nazi's won WWII and in doing so extended it's the sphere of influence to America. All seems lost until a new group of Freedom Freedom fighters reveal themselves publicly. If you're a fan of historical fiction you've seen or heard of this alternate timeline before. Think Wolfenstein with Superheroes and you have Freedom Fighters. I am reading this issue a month after the book was released and still want to be purposely vague about plot details. That being said the opening of the series totally subverts expectations and delivers us into an extremely grim situation by the end of the issue.  Freedom Fighters #1 was a great read and I'm totally on board with seeing how this story develops. The designs from Eddie Barrows are imaginative. The world is bleak and the art direction completely captures the atmosphere of the setting. The creative direction for the issue is amazing. It's not a unique plot but it grabs you by the throat and forces you to pay attention. I'm pretty sure I've read similar stories before but Robert does a great job pitching this world and I've always been a sucker for a good pitch. 

10
Freedom Fighters (2018) #2

Apr 7, 2019

Remember when the X-Men used to have a hard time dealing with one Omega Class Sentinel? Pepperidge farm remembers. Freedom Fighters #2 captures the feeling of a classic X-Men comic without actually being an X-Book. The issue continues laying the groundwork from the first issue as our heroes matchup against the Iron Polizist. A monstrous mech similar to the Iron Giant or the aforementioned Sentinel from X-Men. This is a straightforward comic with the bulk of it being the new Freedom Fighters coming out party against the Reich. The set-piece covers about 90% of the issue and is pretty much what I've come to expect from Robert Venditti. The art is for the issue is great and deeply atmospheric. The linework and color choices sell the epic nature of the battle taking place. We get a glimpse into how something like this will affect the populace as well as the Nazis in power. The team coordinates well and it will be interesting to see how these heroes came together as the series goes on. All of the Freedom Fighters get a moment in the spotlight with the standout character being the Human Bomb. I don't have much insight into the character but without giving too much away he's awesome. There's not much else to the issue which is a running weakness across Rob's books. Venditti is one of the best in the industry and his action setpieces are second to none. I just wish there were more than a page or 2 dedicated character development. This is another in a trend of DC comic where the action depicted on the cover doesn't actually take place in the book. The evil Plastic Man is shown on the cover but he doesn't appear until the very last page of the issue. It doesn't matter if you're writing for the eventual trade but if you're a monthly reader you're expecting the cover to preview events in the comic. A better cover would have been the Freedom Fighters vs The Iron Polizist. If you're following my blog this has happened in my last 2 DC reviews. Damage #11, Silencer #10, this is a really crappy sales tactic and needs to be reigned in immediately. The cover is decent but it borders on false advertisement. Despite the gripes, the actual issue is amazing and is actually the best mini-series DC is producing right now including Heroes in Crisis and Doomsday clock. I look forward to seeing this series develop its been something special so far. Rating 10/10

10
Freedom Fighters (2018) #3

Apr 22, 2020

One of the hardest and visually shocking comics on the shelves is Freedom Fighters. It's almost criminal that I'm this late posting reviews but I will get through the series, promise. Robert Venditti is one of the few writers out there that will write a single issue that reads fast AF but carries the emotional weight of most entire series. You may get through the comic in 5 minutes but you'll never feel ripped off or like you've wasted your time. This issue opens with the death of Adolph Hitler, which happens to coincide with the anniversary of the brutal executions of the original Freedom Fighters team. Adolph's son takes over as Furer and the book flashes forward to the series current events. As mentioned above the book reads fast but is deeply atmospheric and delivers a powerful narrative. The opening scenes with Hitler and the executed heroes carry the same weight as the previous issue and is just as jarring. The rest of the comic follows a desperate mission and also spotlights Black Condor's origins. The pain and regrets he feels for abandoning his family to break generational curses of oppression are very heavy. As an African-American and first-generation college student, this subplot resonated with me a lot. The Idea of having the ability to cut loose and do damage to the system but still being forced to hold back for the sake of the mission frustrates Black Condor even as he's ripping Nazi air support apart. The reality is that this is a small group versus the Nazis. Their mission is to save an entire nation that has been humbled by the Reich. I'd really love to give a blow by blow of the issue but the story is almost entirely shaped by key events. I'd rather the reader experience the story and not spoil the book here. Robert Venditti is one of the best writers in comics and he deserves the space to tell his story without being ruined.

8.5
Frontiersman #1

Oct 30, 2021

Frontiersman co-creator Patrick Kindlon, bills this book as "The best Superhero comic on the shelves". Based on the last few books I've read and declined to review, he may be right. The book follows The Frontiersman, a retired environmentalist-themed hero. He's settled down in the middle of nowhere and spends time as a survivalist and scrapper of villainous robots that occasionally appear. The situation changes when a young activist appears and attempts to sway the Frontiersman out of retirement and into the role of spokesman for the cause of saving Pacific Redwoods that are now on the chopping block by a ruthless developer. The request puts our hero in a bind as he's older, out of touch, and not sure if he's up to being the face of this movement. I liked this comic. It took me back to my childhood and the days of Watching Captain Planet on Saturday Mornings. I was a lot more idealistic back then and the idea of fighting corporate interests intent on destroying the planet is an easy issue to get behind when it's not heavily politized. The comic is a lot more mature and jaded than Captain Planet and feels like an environmental take on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. There are a few rough panels but for the most part, Frontiersman is a great-looking comic. There is a ton of energy in the action sequences and the worldbuilding is great. There are also some cool characters and concepts that harken back to the genuine creativity we used to get from Marvel and DC. There are a lot of positive vibes throughout the issue and I appreciated the nuanced environmental discussion presented here. I often end up taking conservative positions but series like this makes me consider the possibility that "progress" may have just left me behind. I hope Frontiersman has a long run. It's a fun comic that has something to say. I can't concede that the series is "The best comic on the shelves" but it's definitely off to a great start. Recommendation: Great Jumping on point

8.0
Frontiersman #2

Jan 4, 2022

Frontiersman #2 moves the overarching plot forward with our hero deciding to come out of retirement as a climate advocate. The series seems to be setting up the angle that Frontiersman’s return to the public is also drawing his friends and foes out of retirement. In this sense, this issue reminded me a lot of Frank Miller's set up in “The Dark Knight Returns”. The comparisons of Frontiersman and The Dark Knight end there as the plot and flavor of the two series in tone and direction. Patrick Kindlon’s script is nowhere near as bleak as Franks. The characters of Frontiersman are also more nuanced than you’d get in most stories covering this subject matter. The majority of the issue features our hero battling one of his old rogues, Galaxie. The interactions between the two characters highlight but book but the fight seems more overblown than necessary. It’s also revealed that Galaxie is non-binary but the way it’s handled is a bit too cringey for my liking. Once Galaxie's, status, and pro-nouns are confirmed we’re left with a mature conversation between two characters that have been at odds for most of their history together. This aspect of the book comes together well and elevates the story beyond being a cringey punch-up between hero and villain. The weakest aspect of the issue is the cover which is a bit too messy for my tastes. I’d already committed to the first story arc but If I was randomly strolling through my Local Comic Shop I probably would have passed the title without a second glance. Aside from the cover, interiors are solid and energetic for the most part and when the book finally slows down Marco provides his best work. The last page in particular is awesome. In Short: Frontiersman #2 delivers in Action and Worldbuilding and never forgets the assignment of telling a compelling superhero story.

7.0
Future State (2021): The Next Batman #1

Jan 21, 2021

DC Future State is upon us. I'm not sure what to expect from this series or the overall event but I know one of the biggest talking points was that we'd see a "Black" Batman. After reading the issue I wasn't all that impressed. John Ridley doesn't really give us enough to go on and I'm not quite sure why the series exists after the first installment. The Next Batman #1 is actually three stories in one comic. The overall plot seems to be that in Gotham "Masks" are outlawed. Bruce Wayne is MIA or causing trouble elsewhere and a few other vigilantes are operating as a resistance. The issue doesn't give much away regarding how Luke Fox gets the cowl and without context, the segment featuring Luke reads like a standard Batman story in a slightly futuristic setting. Yes, there are some hints about an inflection point in the past but nothing concrete is provided. Sadly without the hype about the Batman race swap this a pretty ho-hum first appearance. The series may come together but that's where we stand after the first outing. What manages to save the comic are the backup stories. They add readability and more world-building regarding the overall happenings in Gotham. All of the segments are pretty standard but they add scale and bang for the $7.99 you're paying for in this book. The first Backup features Outsiders "Katana" and "The Signal". It shows just how fascist Gotham has become. This is the strongest of the three segments and the one I'm most interested in going forward. Not a big fan of Katana's costume design but everything else is exciting and I generally liked the energy of Sumit Kumar's art style. The second backup story features a group of former Batman Rogues banded together as a team of heroes designated "Arkham Knights". This is the most far-fetched Future State story I've read so far and the one that resonated with me the least. The art in the segment is the strongest but the Idea of Two-Face and Victor Zsasz as costumed heroes is a bit much. The Next Batman is billed as a 4 issue series so I'm sure by the end we'll have a complete and respectable story for these characters we just aren't there yet. I appreciate the format and the increased page count but I'm not a fan of the price point in this instance. I think The Next Batman may have benefited from the Dawn of X/Hickman style of storytelling where text and graphic elements are used to do the heavy lifting regarding world-building. There is enough content to justify the price point but I also think the price could have been dialed down and some of this could have been explained in a few blurbs. I also feel that the "Future State" setting may have benefited by having a launch issue that established the status quo a bit better. I've also read Future State Harley Quinn and it does give part of the Gotham story but it feels like we're dropped in the middle of a story and not in a good way. When events like these became the norm with stories like "The Age of Apocalypse" or "Onslaught" there used to be an Alpha and Omega issue to open and close things out. I thought the opening chapter would be "Generations Shattered" but that story seems to be standalone and doesn't really foreshadow anything that we see here. If you're willing to invest in this story The Next Batman may turn into something great but as it stands it's too early to say. I do like that DC is experimenting with different story concepts and trying something different. I just think the editorial may have fumbled the rollout of this event. Rating: 7/10

6.5
Future State (2021): Harley Quinn #1

Jan 23, 2021

Since I started reading DC comics regularly I haven't been blown away by any mainline Harley Quinn comics. The "Black Label" Harley Quinn stuff has been great (Harleen, Criminal Insanity) but the regular DC Harley is basically the DC's version of Deadpool. Future State: Harley Quinn exists in the Future Gotham status quo and somewhat dials back the goofier elements of the character. The story isn't bad but it's nothing to write home about either. The book follows Harley after she has been incarcerated by the Magistrates and their agent Jonathan Crane (Scarecrow). Crane offers a lesser sentence if she agrees to take down some of Gotham's most wanted. Harley reluctantly agrees to work with the Magistrates and performs admirably in her tasks. We see her use her skills as a psychologist in matching wits with Professor Pyg, She eventually gains favor with Crane and is sent out to take down Black Mask which weirdly makes a connection to DC's Birds of Prey Film. The issue is okay but the art direction prevents it from getting high marks. Simone Di Meo is providing linework and If you've followed my blog you may know that he is my favorite artists working today. The problem is that Tamra Bonvillain uses a bright but muddy color palette that detracts from the overall art direction. At one point Harley lays out a plan to take down Firefly. The encounter between the magistrates and the villains is conveyed in the background but the colors get so murky that it's hard to make out what is actually happening. This isn't usually an issue from Simone based on my experience with his work, I'm guessing it's just the wrong artist/colorist combo. This isn't a horrible comic. The story is decent enough and the art while not Simone's best isn't the worst. The story does provide more context for what's going on in Gotham in the Future State landscape. There also wasn't much provided when I read The Next Batman #1. This is a growing criticism with the overall Future State project You may get more out of the issue if you're a Harley Quinn fan but I'm not sure that this comic needs to exist aside from editorial mandates. Rating: 6.5/10

7.0
Future State (2021): Superman of Metropolis #1

Jan 26, 2021

Back in the 90's Marvel and DC comics mashed up their characters and told stories in a combined "Amalgam" Universe. The comics were all One-Shots and the most standout aspect of the mashup besides the characters themselves was the illusion that the Amalgam universe was longrunning and had a long-established history. This is my third "Future State" review and I'm starting to see a lot of similarities between this event and the Amalgam Universe. The main difference I'm seeing between the two universes is that the stories aren't one-shot and that there appears to be a push to integrate some of these characters and concepts into the mainline DC Universe. Superman of Metropolis feels the most like an Amalgam comic in how the stories are presented. Superman of Metropolis is another 3 in 1 comic book. All three stories touch on the situation in Metropolis and the presentation is similar to what was done in "The Next Batman". The main story features Jonathan Kent in his role as Superman. The backup stories feature new incarnations of Mister Miracle and The Guardian respectively. It's next to impossible to discuss the backup stories without spoiling the main plot point of the issue. How much you enjoy this series will be tied to how much you're willing to accept Jon's decision making in the issue. In my opinion, it's pretty dumb and hurts the overall narrative. We learn immediately that Lex Luthor has been exiled and Lexcorp has been supplanted by Andrej Trojan and Trojan Solutions. Trojan Solutions has been combining human DNA with Nanotechnology and supporters of the initiative have declared Metropolis "The Free Republic of Metropolis". This is clearly a succession scenario and forces the hand of the United States Government as they begin clashing with the citizens of Metropolis. The Nanotech is called "Braincells" and is created from remnants of Brainiac after he was shut down. Long story short, the people of Metropolis have been integrated with Brainiac technology. I got serious Mass Effect 3 vibes when reading this issue and was wondering if this scenario was what Bioware was going for in that game when It was released. The Miltary moves in to destroy "Brain Cells" which would put the people integrated with the technology at risk. In order to protect the people, Jon uses Brainiac's technology to shrink down the City and bottle it in the "Fortress of Solitude". This puts Jon in direct conflict with the Military and Supergirl. It also becomes clear that Jonathan may be playing into the hands of outside forces that he's not aware of. The setup for Superman of Metropolis is actually pretty cool. It's standard futuristic sci-fi stuff. The problem is that Jon unilaterally deciding to shrink Metropolis and its population against their will essentially makes them prisoners. It's a fascistic move and would frame Jonathan as a villain depending on who's telling the story. I'm not sure how anyone can see his decision as the right one objectively. The art direction for the issue is fantastic. I especially loved the updated designs for Jon and Supergirl in the comic and hope they carry forward beyond Future State. The action is also pretty dynamic and although I have an issue with the script everything else about the story looks great. I look forward to seeing more from John Timms as he's a talent I haven't seen before. In addition to my gripes with the script, the backup stories aren't much to write home about. Not much information is given about the New Guardian and Mister Miracle aside from the fact that they are also trapped in the bottled city of Metropolis and doing their best to maintain order. The art for these segments ranges from bland to meh. It seems that these backup stories were done to justify the $5.99 cover price. I appreciate more bang for the buck but I would have been satisfied with the main story for $3.99. The other obvious thing is that the characters of Guardian and Miracle have been race-swapped. The characters are pretty bland in this issue. Hopefully, this changes as the stories are fleshed out. This issue only works if you understand and agree with Jon's decision. I'm assuming that the situation will be fleshed out more as Future state rolls on but as it stands Superman of Metropolis #1 is a pretty comic but it has problems under the hood that should have been caught at the concept stage. Rating: 7/10

9.5
Future State (2021): Swamp Thing #1

Jan 30, 2021

Swamp Thing is one of the few established mainstream characters that I've never seen involved in a bad comic. That doesn't mean that they don't exist I just haven't read them. I'm happy to report that this issue doesn't let me down and is actually my favorite Future State title so far. I'm not 100% of the exact timeframe Future State falls into but If appears that Swamp Thing is even further along in the timeline. and exists in a post-apocalypse scenario. The setting reminds me a lot of The Walking Dead. Swamp Thing is still alive and has created a group of Swamp creatures that exists with their own distinct personalities. They travel the world and act as his family and tribe. He leads this group in the hope of finding any signs of human survival. Something has caused them to disappear while leaving behind the traces of their society. Some of the tribe agree with Swamp Thing as he is their elder. Others see him as delusional and feel that he loves humanity more than he loves his creations. The search continues until the group happens upon a frightened Human that manages to kill one of the group members. I liked this issue a lot and think the next issue will be even better. I watched a "Comics Matter" video which basically spent 10 minutes calling the pitch "woke" or "SJW" I didn't pick up on that at all while reading and if you did please point it out to me. The cast is very diverse in appearances and personalities. Even with the knowledge that the group is basically an extension of Swamp Thing himself you get a lot of different perspectives on the journey they embark on. We've seen similar scenario's before in Tom King's Vision run and even more recently in Dan Didio and Shane Davis's "Metal Men" mini-series. The comic also includes painstakingly intricate art detailing the anatomy of Swamp Things creations. The infographics provided by Ram V/Perkins reminded me of what we get in Jonathan Hickman's "Dawn of X" run at Marvel. The focus here is a lot better than what we're getting in other books that attempt to use the storytelling format. I felt Iike I was reading the notes of Victor Frankenstein as he detailed the creation of his monster. The cliffhanger of Future State: Swamp Thing #1 promises more action but earns the switch in tone as the setup and payoff in this issue is actually great. The art also shines as Mike Perkins makes all of the Swamp Things distinct in appearance. He also manages to explore several abilities that I didn't even know the character had. All of this comic goodness is housed in a pretty bleak setting which begs the question of what the hell is going on. I can't wait for the second issue. Swamp Thing is definitely at the top of the Future State pile. Rating: 9.5/10

10
Future State (2021): Dark Detective #1

Feb 2, 2021

There have been several attempts in recent years to bring Batman and by extension Bruce Wayne down to earth by removing his wealth and resources. This makes sense considering that Batman's status has been raised to the point where he is sometimes seen as being on the level of Superman and Wonder Woman even though he's basically just a rich guy with an amazing skill set. Future State: Dark Detective #1 is the first comic I've read that seems to get what a "Grounded" Batman looks like. What's more surprising is that the story is set a few years in the future so the contrast between what we know of the character and the setting is a bit jarring but in a good way. The story also gives the best rundown of what's happening in Future State: Gotham, at least from the books I've read so far. At some point in the near future, Bruce Wayne at the end of his rope and finances is shot and presumably killed by the Magistrates that have outlawed masked vigilantes and those associated with them. Unbeknownst to the Magistrates Bruce survives the shooting and goes underground watching the news of his death and the occupation of Gotham play on the 24-hour news cycle. Bruce struggles with the new status quo and this comes to a head as he steps out of hiding to save some citizens being assaulted in the streets. Batman is dead and the Dark Detective is born. Future State: Dark Detective #1 is a perfect Batman story. It also reminded me a lot of the recently released "The Last Ronin". We get a weathered version of the hero we know and love in a future setting and forced to come out of hiding to set things right. The comic is also beautiful to look at. Dan Mora and Jordie Bellaire really do a great job capturing Bruce's emotional state as well as making Gotham feel alive. Gotham gets updated with a futuristic touch but maintains the cities status as one of the principal characters of the story. The Dark Detective costume is also slick. It's rare to see a take on Batman that works without the cape but I really dug the costume in the brief moments we get to see it. The mystery of how Batman got to this point seems to be an extension of what is happening in the main series post "Joker War". It also seems to be a natural path for the character without having everything spelled out to the reader. Dark Detective also retroactively makes "The Next Batman", and "Harley Quinn" better comics because it takes the time to lay out the status quo of Gotham and motivations from the perspective of the Magistrates. The backup story featuring Grifter was also a nice addition to the comic. I haven't read a comic featuring the character in decades and forgot that Wildstorm was apart of the DC Universe now. The story is a lot of fun and also features Luke Fox (Batwing) as he recruits Cole Cash/Grifter to help him get out of Gotham. The two characters have great chemistry and Matthew Rosenberg injects some decent humor into the script which makes the segment a joy to read. Grifters also has an excellent pace and nice action setpieces which allows the comic to feel like a double feature instead of a comic with a meaningless backup story to pad the page count. The main story and backup of Dark Detective justify the $5.99 cover price and I feel comfortable recommending it to anyone interested in what Future State is about. I believe that DC should have led with Dark Detective instead of "The Next Batman" because it does the job of worldbuilding that has been somewhat lacking elsewhere across the Future State landscape. Rating: 10/10

7.5
Future State (2021): The Flash #1

Feb 4, 2021

Prior to diving into a mostly negative review, I'd like to mention at the outset that this issue isn't terrible. The story is competent, the art is decent and in line with most books using DC's house style. If this was my first experience with The Flash I can't say I'd dislike the issue. Every comic is someone's first and I try to keep that in mind when I'm reading a comic or posting a review. I can see a portion of the audience really enjoying this comic for what it is and maybe even seeing it as a great start to a two-part story. I also would like to mention that this was also my stance on the Wally West depiction in Tom King's Heroes In Crisis. I saw that series as a legit character assassination but If you didn't have much experience with the character It probably wasn't a big deal. Heroes in Crisis was still a crappy series but you probably didn't lose sleep over Wally's fall from grace. Wally is probably the only Flash that many comic readers know. He's been a staple in comics for decades and Is the version of the character I have the most experience with. When I started reading comics Barry Allen had been long dead. I didn't really read DC comics in the '90s but I did have a few issues of Mark Waid's run on the character and Wally West always stood out as one of DC's finest. He's my favorite DC character next to Batman and Wonder Woman and I know a lot of other people feel the same way about him. Wally's been featured in hundreds of comics so It's bewildering to me that in the past few years DC has gone out of the way to destroy this character and his legacy with fans. In "Heroes in Crisis" the big twist was that Wally West was the Sanctuary killer and that his endgame was an attempted suicide (Yikes). The twist didn't really make sense to fans of the character and turned many readers against Tom King. Tom was already on a downward slide as a result of questionable decisions made during his run on Batman. I'm told that Scott Lobdell did a lot to rehab the character in his "Flash Forward" Mini-Series. Unfortunately with Future State, the assassination of Wally West's legacy continues. The comic opens with tragedy as it is revealed that Wally has stolen part of the Speed Force from members of the Flash Family and was also responsible for the death of Kid Flash. To accommodate for the loss and even the odds against Wally. Barry Allen assembles a team of speedsters to obtain the weapons of the Flash Rogues gallery. The team launches a raid on "The Calculator" in order to obtain his Thinking Cap. The heroes obtain the cap but one of the speedsters is killed in the process. After the loss, we're told that the plan is to modify the Thinking cap to allow the team to locate Wally within the Speedforce. The team does manage to find Wally but the plan goes horribly wrong and yet another speedster is killed in the process. If you're totally disconnected from Wally's history, this is simply a pretty dark and morbid Flash comic. If you're a fan of Wally West this is another giant Fuck you to his fanbase. It's always a bitter pill to see a beloved hero turned into a twisted psychopath and this seems to happen to Wally on a semi-regular basis. Rating this issue below a "7" wouldn't be fair to the creative team. The story is pretty dark and disturbing in spots and as a fan of horror, I can appreciate what Brandon Vietti is going for. I just wish that Wally West wasn't constantly being used for these sorts of stories. I'll try to dial back the criticism when I get to Future State: The Flash #2 but I had to get the feelings off of my chest. What DC has done with him has been a total disservice and I hope they figure it out before they damage the legacy of this character even further. Rating: 7.5/10

9.5
Future State (2021): Aquaman #1

Feb 17, 2021

I've never read an Aquaman story that really resonated with me. The film made me a fan of the character but none of the material I've consumed since the movie dropped made me want to actually invest in the character. The Irony is that Future State: Aquaman is the best Aquaman comic I've ever read and Arthur Curry doesn't even appear in the book. The comic follows Aqualad who has graduated to the role of Aquaman. I've never read an Aqualad story either so this issue was my first experience with this character aside from seeing screenshots from the Teen Titans animated series. In this issue, he acts as knight and protector for Aqualass the daughter of Arthur Curry and Mera. The comic moves back and forth within the Future State timeline and starts post encounter with Black Manta who also happens to be Jackson's Father. The comic immediately establish their relationship with one another but doesn't give much insight into what has happened to her parents. What the comic does do is establish Jackson as an A-List character and firmly establishes him in the title role. The two characters are split up early on with AquaWoman being MIA most of the issue. In the Future State Landscape Jackson has been imprisoned and although he attempts to escape his captors he fails constantly. This continues until he receives a hint that Aquawoman is alive and renews his vigor in order to reunite with her. This is a beautifully written story. The pacing is also solid as the creative team strings along several strong moments in the issue. Brandon Thomas is the writer/co-creator of "Excellence" over at Image Comics. Excellence is one of the best books out there so although I had little knowledge of what to expect from this issue there was little chance that the story was going to suck. I love Brandon's take on the new Aquaman. Jackson is a strong, earnest and extremely loyal character with flaws but feels fully realized in a way that Black characters in 2021 are lacking. He's suffered immensely over the course of the issue but once he receives a glimmer of hope that Aquawoman is alive he reverts back to his role as Knight and protector. These a powerful moments in the issue and a ton of depth to the character as the story goes on. The book is also beautiful to look at. There is a lot of variety in locals and the character models look great. I loved the updated look for Jackson. He fits the role of Aquaman nicely but maintains enough distinction to differentiate him from Arthur. I don't know a lot about the character but Future State gives enough insight into the current situation that I never felt the need to dig into the backstory of either lead. Daniel Sampere also does a great job of visually showing the transition of Jackson's progression from Aqualad to Aquaman. In the flashbacks, we're clearly not far removed from the current DC timeline and the little bit I do know of him. As the comic flashes forward we see Aquaman has aged and filled out which makes the story feel like a coming-of-age story filled with traditional superhero elements. The only weak link to the comic is the cover. If I hadn't subscribed to the Future State event I probably would have passed on the book altogether. It really doesn't sell the story or concept of the issue. The variant cover isn't much better. This is unfortunate because the book is one of the best that Future State has to offer. The content of the book is proof that you simply can't judge a comic by its cover. Aquaman hit's hard and promises to deliver even more action and solid characterization in the next installment. This is a perfect intro for these characters and I hope the story has a life beyond Future State.

9.0
Future State (2021): Batman/Superman #1

Feb 19, 2021

So far I've reviewed several Future State comics. Most of which has been covering the events in Gotham city. The stories have had varying degrees of success. The main problem across the Future State line of titles is the feeling that we've been dropped into the middle of an existing storyline with no preamble or recap. Batman/Superman #1 acts as a prequel and is tasked with filling in the gaps left by Dark Detective #1, The Next Batman #1, and Harley Quinn #1. In this issue, Gotham has not fallen completely into a fascist state but the writing is on the wall. We get to see Bruce before his fall and Clark before his exile within the Future State landscape. Bruce mentions the magistrates but they appear to be an emerging threat as opposed to the all-encompassing force we've seen in the other series that have dropped so far. The story begins with Superman investigating a new drug that allows the user to take the appearance of an animal. Unfortunately, the drug has the side effect of permanently altering the user's physical appearance. The investigation leads Superman to Gotham and Batman who knows about the drug but already has his hands full dealing with the Magistrate. There are several solid elements in this issue. I absolutely loved Gene's depiction of Superman. Clark feels like an updated version of Christopher Reeve's portrayal. The depiction caught me off guard because I've been reading so many depressed and damaged heroes lately I forgot what a traditional take on heroism looked like. Superman is contrasted nicely against Batman who is clearly distressed throughout the issue. He eventually puts his own mission on hold to assist Clark. The two are good together and it's a great setup issue considering what has happened across Future State. I feel like a couple of series like Batman/Superman should have been set up Future State a bit better but better late than never. The art direction from Ben Oliver and Arif Prianto also looks great throughout the issue. Superman is the highlight for me as well but the issue is also layered with some nice action, splash pages, bright colors, and seeing humanoid penguins are always cool. There is a massive cliffhanger at the end of the issue and it looks pretty bleak for our heroes. This isn't a shock considering how the issue opens. I appreciate what Gene has done here. Future State Batman/Superman #1 provides some much-needed context for the event and by extension makes all of the Bat-Family tie-ins much stronger. Rating: 9./10

7.0
Future State (2021): Wonder Woman #1

Mar 9, 2021

Based on all of the info out there about Yara Flor I expected to be blown away by Future State Wonder Woman #1. Although there is a lot to like about DC's New Wonder Woman and the potential of the series I wasn't impressed by the issue. On a positive note, I love Yara's character design. Aside from the obvious race swap, there are some cool references to a mythology that doesn't get much attention in most mainstream books. It was also nice to see creatures pulled directly from Brazilian culture. Yara's costume is cool. Her weapons and toolset are distinct enough to make the character feel like more than a palette swap from Diana. As far as legacy characters we've seen a lot worse in recent years. The story itself didn't resonate with me. I understand comics not taking themselves too seriously but the story has no narrative tension. The humor doesn't land and the pitter-patter dialogue took me out of the story at several points. None of my gripes may damper your experience while reading. I can totally this character taking off and potentially becoming more popular than the mainline Wonder Woman. The character is new and looks cool but aside from the branding name and aesthetic this one feels like another generic legacy character at least at this stage. There is a lot of action in the issue and the fantasy elements are a nice touch. For what it's worth the art looks amazing throughout the issue. I see why the character has gotten positive feedback. There's nothing egregious or offensive about the issue. Future State Wonder Woman #1 just didn't stand out amongst the stack of comics in my pile this week. Rating: 7/10

10
Galactic Rodents of Mayhem #1

Dec 31, 2021

The introduction to GROM (Galactic Rodents of Mayhem) states that the biggest influence on the project was Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These are two of my favorite franchises and what immediately sold me on the Indiegogo campaign. In an age of constant reboots, rehashes and rip-offs, GROM represents something new but also pulls many elements from the cartoons we grew up watching in the ’80s and 90s. Off-hand I can remember several cartoons that capitalized on the TMNT format. There are Street Sharks; Biker Mice from Mars; and Stone Protectors to name a few. The influences of TMNT pervade this title but it never veers into parody or rip-off territory. In fact, Galactic Rodents of Mayhem is the first take on the formula that I’ve seen work since the 90s. It’s clear that Gilly & Sebastian love this era. They are also great creators in their own right and that goes a long way in establishing GROM as more than Ninja Turtles with Capybaras as stand-ins. The main characters of GROM are Bash, Ripple, and Mona-Lisa. The capybaras are joined by their Mentor/Father Figure Gan-Gon. The story opens with a brief but impactful original story. As Children, the mother of the Capybara’s is killed in a bounty gone wrong. To atone for the mishap Gan takes the children and raises them as his own. The book then jumps to the present. The team has become bounty hunters themselves now calling themselves the Galactic Rodents of Mayhem. There are several nods and Easter egg’s that I noticed in the comic. TMNT is obvious but I also noticed cameo’s from newer franchises like Tim Lim and Mark Pellegrini’s Black H.O.P.S. I’m not as plugged into pop culture nowadays as I used to be, but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of details I may have missed going on in the background. The villains of GROM are appropriately relentless, grandiose, and badass. We get evil cybernetic sharks, snake-men, and even an evil emperor of shorts in the wings of the story. A lot of thought went into these characters and their designs so there’s always something cool to look at on the page. Another thing I’d like to call out is that if GROM was an animated series back in the day, the toy line would have been awesome. The Konami arcade game would have probably been just as epic. The comic works on a pretty basic level when it comes to marketing and I feel like Gilly may have been born in the wrong era because the material here connects so well to what’s come before. I remember the Indiegogo campaign for GROM being somewhat late and some chatter about Gilly crapping on his supporters by having the comic published by Scout. I understand the concern but these campaigns are start-up operations for most creators. Making money and getting as many eyes on a project as possible shouldn’t be seen as a negative. These creators always have room to grow but Gilly has fulfilled several campaigns now is also selling in comic shops. I think he and his team are a solid bet. It is also worth pointing out that the crowdfunded version of Galactic Rodents of Mayhem is presented in an amazing oversized format and contains over 100 pages of content. Sebastian’s art pops on every page and you’re getting a complete story. There’s obvious franchise potential in GROM but it's not like the creative team is releasing this story half-assed while baiting a sequel or event. In Short: Galactic Rodents of Mayhem is a beautiful comic and harkens back to simpler times while delivering something new for the young and young at heart.

10
Generations (2021): Shattered #1

Jan 18, 2021

Generations Shattered has a similar format, price point, and page count to the other Anniversary comics that DC has put out in the past year. The difference between those projects and this one is that Generations Shattered maintains narrative and artistic consistency throughout and provides the single best DC comics reading experiences that I've had in a long time. I've never been the biggest DC lore guy but I've read most of the major events of the '80s and '90s. The issues tagline says that the series spins out of Dark Knights: Death Metal but It honestly feels like a spiritual successor to the original "Crisis on Infinite Earths" with flashes of the publisher's bests eras blended into something new and fun. The elevator pitch is that various universes are being erased. In a last-ditch effort to save reality "Old Man," Booster Gold travels across time and space to recruit a team of heroes from different periods in DC history. You've seen this story before across media but it's a trope that works whether it's "Crisis" or "The Never Ending Story" so why reinvent the wheel? The coolest aspect of the comic is seeing the menagerie of heroes interacting with each other. There's Superboy from his stint with The Legion of Superheroes. Golden Age Batman is there although I'm not sure if this is the version that packs heat and murders criminals. We get two versions of Booster Gold. Starfire is recruited shortly after the launch of the 80's Teen Titans series. Sinestro is pulled into the team prior to his fall to villainy. Steel is recruited into the mix circa "Death of Superman". Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth also gets a huge role in this issue. Some of the interactions between the heroes are tense and become violent but it's more a consequence of not knowing each other than anything else. These dynamics are cool to see considering the long histories some of these characters will end up developing amongst each other. I also imagine you'll get more enjoyment from the issue if you are familiar with the original storylines. There are a lot of egos and personalities forced together but the book works a lot better than you'd expect. That's a credit to the script and respect the creative team has for these characters. I haven't read Dark Knights: Death Metal yet so I'm not sure how this series spins out of that one. However, I never felt a loss or need to stop reading and get caught up on how we got here. Generations Shattered is just a story of heroes stepping up in the midst of the crisis and that's enough for me. I was also pretty excited to see Sideways, Silencer, and Damage appear in the comic if only in passing reference. I'm generally not a fan of $9.99 comics but considering that Generations Shattered is about 80 pages vs. a standard 20-page floppy and features top-notch art and a solid script I think the book is worth supporting. If DC pared down their line of titles to about 10 or 15 books and maintained the quality of this issue I wouldn't mind subscribing to them all. I'm not sure if this is the future of DC comics but it definitely should be. Rating: 10/10

9.0
Ghostbusters: Year One #1

Apr 4, 2020

I've got my hands on some decent Ghostbusters titles lately. I'm a big fan of the Transformers/Ghostbusters: Ghost of Cybertron crossover and the trend continues with Ghostbusters: Year One. The series is advertised to cover the scenes between the scenes of the 1984 film. Each issue will spotlight a different Ghostbuster. This issue spotlights Winston Zeddemore. It wouldn't be a Ghostbusters review without dragging the art style. I won't spend too much time on the art but there is a section of the comic where Dan Schoening draws the side characters and they actually resemble the film incarnations. It's really weird that the Ghostbusters are caricatures of the film and animated version but the side characters actually get a realistic look that respects the source material. Now that the negative is out of the way we can discuss just how great the rest of the Comic is. Winston Zeddemore is my favorite ghostbuster. This has been the case for years now and my fondness for the character only grows as time passes. People diss him for being a stereotypical black character and being the only character that wasn't a doctor but that just makes him more blue-collar and relatable than the other guys. He's the only normie of the 4 heroes and acts as the defacto POV character. Erik Burnham layers in a lot of cool elements to the character and without saying it outright Winston may be the most capable member of the team. He's a former marine and that comes in handy when wielding a proton pack. Winston is also easy to deal with and doesn't rattle easily under pressure. Ghostbusters: Year One #1 is a great deep dive into Winston's character and treats him with respect and reverence rarely seen in the supplemental material. If you're even a casual fan of the IP I suggest checking out this series. It's a great time if you can get past the art style.

9.5
Ghostbusters: Year One #2

Oct 4, 2020

Ghostbusters Year One is a nice companion piece to the 1984 film. It's not must-read material but Erik Burnham does a great job in filling in gaps if you're a fan of the franchise in any capacity. Erik has a great voice for these characters and while I'm always critical of the IDW character models, the script for this issue is bulletproof. The issue picks up with our interviewer as she makes contact with Ray Stantz, the heart of the Ghostbusters. We learn how he met up with Pete and Egon in college and how they discovered the emerging field of Parapsychology. This segment of the book also shows some of the Ghostbuster's technology in the conceptual phase. The book then takes a surprising turn and follows up on the original ghost encounter from the 84 film. The interviewer asks if the library ghost was ever captured. Ray is taken aback by the question and replies that no one had ever asked him before and proceeds to fill her and by extension the reader in on what actually happened. I won't spoil what happens next but the scene is perfect and falls in line with the film and what would be expected from the characters. Ghostbusters Year One feels like a definitive Ghostbusters story. This is a story I can see collected into a coffee table edition along with the original film. This was a fun and insightful trip down the memory hole that provides some nice solo time to Ray and insight into his character beyond the film. The only knock I have as usual are the character models. The art direction and action are generally good but it gets really irritating when the Ghostbusters only have several facial expressions each regardless of circumstances. This is especially annoying with Peter who seemingly has the same shit-eating smirk whenever he appears. Aside from the same general complaint I have about the art direction of the series, the issue is a perfect blend of new and old. I can't see anyone reading this not finding something to love. Rating: 9.5/10

7.0
Giant-Size X-Men (2020): Nightcrawler #1

Jul 10, 2020

I remember sitting down and reading the House of X - Powers of X mini-series and thinking these were some of the best comics that I've ever read in my lifetime. I added every one of the Dawn of X books to my pull list just to avoid possibly missing something important. What I've seen month after month is diminishing returns and quality in the X-Titles. On top of the very mediocre quality of some of the books the line exploded and now includes over a dozen comics. There is an event on the horizon and at this point, I can't help but feel that the wrong lessons were learned from the success of Hickman's initial mini-series. If this keeps up I will begin dropping titles. It's just a lot of money being spent on books that barely spark any interest in ongoing storylines. I'm not a fan of the 80's or 90's Excaliber. It always felt like a series shoehorned into the X-Line of titles because Marvel didn't know what to do with it. I also never got into Alan Davis's art style. It's a perfectly fine style that is just not that exciting in my opinion. The reality is that Excaliber ran over 100 issues and has a large fanbase nostalgic for the team and characters. For me, however, Giant-Sized Nightcrawler felt like a throwback to comics I didn't really connect with growing up. Kurt and a team of X-Men arrive at the old X-Mansion to investigate disturbances at the Krakoan gate there. Since Mutants are the only beings able to interact with the gate it raises a red flag. Things get even weirder when dead mutants and older incarnations of X-Men begin appearing at the site, spooky... I don't want to shit on the comic so at the outset of my rant, I want to say that the book is perfectly fine from an art/storytelling perspective. If you're a fan of Hickman, Davis, Excaliber, or even just like to see Nightcrawler on his own your enjoyment may fall in the decent to great range. Still here? Let's get to some redundant criticism. My primary concern is that Giant-Sized Nightcrawler doesn't justify it's existence or bump in cover price. There are additional pages but a solid editor could have condensed this into a single issue or a two-part arc in the main title. I got the impression that any of the X-Men could have been inserted into the book as the lead and not much of the story would have changed. I didn't feel any passion for the project or that it needed to be told. This may change as Hickman is a solid dungeon master. This is a cynical assembly-line approach to a comic line. The book ultimately exists because Marvel wanted another book on the shelves. It's creation didn't have anything to do with demand. Rating 7/10 Note: it didn't seem fair to rate the comic less than a 7 regardless of how bleak my review was. If you have an extra 4.99. you may like the comic. If you have read the issue let me know what you think.

10
Giant-Size X-Statix (2019) #1

Apr 1, 2020

X-Statix was the strangest X-Series on the shelves at the time of its release. It's also one of my favorite titles of all time. The title was an underrated gem and worth tracking down if you can get your hands on the series. One of the selling points of the original run was the team's body count. New characters would be introduced in one issue and be killed off in the next. The book famously began as an X-Force relaunch with the entire advertised team killed off in the first issue. This issue picks up some time in the future. Some of the team members remain dead. Others have retired and have moved on. In some instances, the children of the original X-Statix team have taken on their parent's mantles. The plot reminded me of Tekken 3 but we can leave the comparison there. It's been a really long time since I read the last issue of X-Statix so I'm a little foggy on some of the plot points. I vaguely remember the daughter of U-Go-Girl, Edie Sawyer. She's a big focus of this book and a majority of the comic centers around her coming to grips with her origins. A reassembled X-Statix team attempts to recruit her to take on a new threat but she wants no part of her mother's team or legacy. As goofy as the comic is it's also surprisingly poignant. Giant-Sized X-Statix is a love letter to the original run and aI found myself feeling really nostalgic while reading and I'm glad to see that _ have lost a step at all. It was also great seeing The Orphan and Doop again in their classic roles. The new characters also blend in with the old so well that it almost feels like the series never ended. I'm not sure how readily available this One-Shot is or if the advertised relaunched series, X-Cellence is still being produced in light of Hickman taking over the X-Line of titles. If not I'm fine with this issue being a capstone to a great series. It was fun to revisit this world. Giant-Sized X-Statix is the best type of nostalgia. It's the type that gives you want as a fan and does not subvert expectations yet exceeds them.

10
Go-Bots (2018) #2

Jan 2, 2019

The first comic I read of 2019 was Go-Bots #2. It picks up immediately after the first issue with Cy-Kill's forces coming together and making short work of humanity.  People are being eaten, football punted, and gunned down by killer robots.  Leader-1manages to survive the events of the last comics and escape his captors. Another group of heroic Go-Bots meets and plan to fight back.  We find out that the bloodlust levels of some of the Go-Bot's were increased to make them willing to fight each other but there were other Go-Bots that had already been tampered so that they could be used for military operations. The plan backfires and the safeguards installed in the Go-Bots to protect humanity fail as the more aggressive aspects spread through them like a virus.  The factions come together simple skirmishes turn into a full-scale war.  Tom Scioli is magnificent. There is so much happening on every page that it's easy to lose track of everything. It's a simple art style yet surprisingly complex and contrasts well with the very dark undertone of the series.   The story ends on a cliffhanger and the status quo will likely shift dramatically next issue. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here as there is a definite conclusion to this conflict.  There are no complaints here. I never expected that the most anticipated series on my pull list would be Go-Bots

9.5
Go-Bots (2018) #3

Feb 3, 2019

I read Go-Bots #3 right before reading Heroes In Crisis #5 and the reading experiences were night and day. Three issues in and the series has covered an exceptional amount of ground.  1. The conflict is established. 2. Civil War breaks out. 3. The aftermath, time skip, and an even larger mystery is established.  The series is scheduled for 5 issues. Tom Scioli has firmly established the plot, pace, and rules for the setting during this time. This is great because most readers are probably fans of the original series, and at the very least probably hasn't followed the characters in a couple decades. It's nice to get a clear and concise story rather than one that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.  In any case, the layered visual storytelling has been building in each issue and has suddenly moved into an entirely different direction than expected.  Following the ending of the previous issue, an indeterminate amount of time has passed. Leader-One has assumed leadership of Gobotron, a planet of Go-Bots.  There are still factions afoot, Cy-Kill is still causing problems. As well as another Go-Bot on an expedition from Earth.  I called the ending for this issue before it ended. Although I wasn't surprised at all by the cliffhanger. I was intrigued as to how we got to this point in the series.  It's funny comparing Go-Bot's to a series like Heroes in Crisis. In one series we see a book that's been running in place for months and in Go-Bots we have another series that has been continually ramping up the stakes in each issue.    Go-Bots #3 is absolutely worth a read. At times, it's easy to get lost following the plot. There is just so much detail on every page. The series I can most closely compare this to is Liam Sharps recent work on Green Lantern. The art styles are totally different but the imagination and work ethic behind the linework is just as pronounced. I notice new details whenever I flip through an issue. It's great to see a creator taking full advantage of the medium. We need more creator's swinging for the fences like Tom Scioli does within this series. 

9.0
Go-Bots (2018) #4

Mar 23, 2019

I picked up a Planet of the Apes vibe from this issue. Go-Bots run the planet. Humans have devolved during the interim and Leader-One maintains tenuous leadership despite constantly being challenged by Cy-Kill and his forces.  The main plot of the issue is that Leader-One and his team plan to take down the massive Go-Bot, Zod. As this goes on a group of rock-like creatures are introduced and Cy-Kill continues his machinations.  As usual, the biggest selling point for the issue is Tom Scioli's art. It's simply amazing how much detail he puts into this issue. It gets to be a bit much this time around as it appears that the book has to cover too much ground with one issue left and at times I got confused.  I this may not be an issue for longtime Go-Bot's fans but I'm a filthy casual. New characters weave in out of the story sometimes for only a few panels and then are gone leaving me wondering what the point was.  Cy-Kill gets another really disturbing scene in which he tries to get the devolved humans to combine and transform as Go-Bots do. This may be a meta-commentary on children and the childish activity of playing with toys like Go-Bot's and Transformers and making them transform at their whim. Cy-Kill sees humans as akin to bugs or toys to play with. I thought of the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal that happened post 9/11. It's some really dark stuff going on in this comic.  The heroes aren't quite as interesting as the villains but they are also given a surprising amount of depth. Turbo has become the defacto protector of humans. Scooter has been driven mad after being forced to kill his handler. Leader-One is the stoic leader playing the role of defacto king of the Go-Bot's. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. He's see's visions of this death as he proceeds with his plan to take down Zod.  The issue is great and despite having an insane amount of stuff going on at times feels like a worthy addition to the rest of the series. Go-Bot's along with The Lone Ranger are my early contenders for best series of 2019. This issue continues to make that case for me. 

10
Go-Bots (2018) #5

Mar 31, 2019

Tom Scioli's Go-Bots may end up being the Best Mini-Series to be released in 2019. It's heads and shoulders above any Mini series released from the big two with the exception of maybe Marvels Killmonger and is about 95% better than most of my pull list.  This series has been better than I could have ever imagined and has one of the best concluding chapters I've ever read in a comic. From a design perspective, there are some page and panel layouts in this issue that are simply genius.  At one point in the comic, I stopped reading and had an audible reaction to the pages depicted below. In the scene, Turbo Pulls into the Go-Bots base and makes a desperate attempt to save his friend, Scooter. The page begins with a diagram of the base being infiltrated with Turbo situated in the bottom left corner. As the assault beings, Tom gives context clues from panel to page so you know exactly where Turbo is in relation to the base and to his goal of reaching the top floor.  The two-page spread is amazing and gave me vibes relating to Tim Burton's Batman "89" as well as any number of Video Games that have also used similar devices. The tactic is just as effective here and even more so because it takes advantage of comics as a visual medium. This segment is essentially comics as a visual diorama.  There are also various allusions to other stories that I picked up on in this issue. There are probably several more that I didn't catch. There is a nice nod to Frank Miller's Dark Knight, Planet of the Apes, and there are hints throughout the issue that the Go-Bots are the progenitors of the Transformers which may be a meta-commentary on the fact that the Go-Bots line of action figures debuted in the real world 5 months before Transformers before fading into relative obscurity.  The "Endings" for this issue are open to interpretation and you can endlessly speculate as to happens next.  The series is also great in that it makes you want to know more about the lore and characters. In issue #4 a massive Go-Bot makes an appearance in the shape of a T--Rex. The Go-Bot's name is Zod and it seems totally out of place with the rest of the series. After reading the book I was curious about the character and after a few keystrokes I found out that the character was real and I managed to find him for a pretty reasonable price on eBay (Steal!). I had a similar fascination with the lead Villain Cy-kill, who may also end up being one of the top villains of the year. He's evil and his eerie unexplained fascination with humanity takes elevates him to another level.  We're given clarity regarding Scooters madness and we also get to see Turbo slide into the role as de facto hero of the series.  It would be criminal for a series like Go-Bots to fade back into obscurity after the masterclass that Tom Scioli puts together on this series. The series is ripe to be adapted into an animated series or movie. I'd love to see a live action adaptation of this material but that may be hoping against hope.  I mention expanding the Ip in light of the dire financial straits that IDW Publishing finds itself in. This week I finished Dick Tracy: DOA and also follow Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Faithfully. TMNT, in particular, is my favorite ongoing series and has been for a while.  It's a damn shame that IDW is facing these issues with the amount of talent available to the publisher.  I'm not sure if the situation is as bad as the reports are making it out to be but I would strongly suggest leveraging the talent available into the creation of original IP.  Tom Scioli is clearly a master storyteller. Kevin Eastman and Tom Walsh are producing epic content monthly and The Allred's are just as imaginative in 2019 as they were when they did a complete teardown and rebuild of Marvel's X-Force.  The talent is there and actively working for the company. The leaders just need to start eating their own Dog Food and be the success I know they can be. Lowering the pricing point of offering and spending money on developing a legit social media presence would also go along way in strengthening the line. 

9.0
Green Hornet (2020) #1

Oct 12, 2020

I don't believe I've ever read a Green Hornet comic or watched an episode of the TV series. I know I've never seen the Seth Rogan movie that came out a few years back. I recognize the character of Green Hornet and Kato when I see them but that's the extent of my knowledge base. This comic serves as an excellent introduction to the characters in and out of costume. The closest character I can compare the pair too would be the other obvious dynamic duo of Batman and Robin circa 66. The only real difference I see between the characters is that Britt Reid doesn't have the tragic backstory that defines Bruce Wayne's identity. The comic begins with the Green Hornet and Kato apparently under attack from the military for as of yet undisclosed reasons. The book then flashes back 24 hours and pretty much runs down the history and motivations of both heroes. The comic isn't heavy-handed and doesn't spend a lot of time in origin territory but it's a nice primer if you're like me and don't have much history with the characters. About midway through the issue, the comic jumps back to the present situation and we get some tight action and a pretty awesome cliffhanger that comes out nowhere. The art direction of Anthony Marques was really cool. I loved the simple washed out panels and thought the green tinge added to the pages was a nice touch. The retro pencils are reminiscent of Daryn Cooke without coming off as a direct clone. It's a timeless style and adds to the overall aesthetic of the material. I'd love to see all of these golden age superheroes in a shared universe. I can imagine a world where Green Hornet, Kato, Rocketeer, The Phantom, Tarzan, and The Shadow are operating in the same setting. I'm sure Dynamite could make it happen and toss Bettie Page into the mix for good measure. Wishful thinking aside this was a great #1 issue. I'm not sure I could have asked for a better introduction to The Green Hornet. My only overall gripe with Dynamite is that series like Green Hornet tend to end after one arc, usually with lingering questions that will never be answered. We'll see how things go this time around but it's too early to tell. Rating 9/10

8.5
Green Lantern (2018) #1

Nov 10, 2018

To be perfectly honest I've never been a Green Lantern fan. It's not that I dislike the character, more so that I could never find a point during the characters run that was suitable to jump in. That changed this week when I picked up Grant Morrison and  Liam Sharp's Green Lantern #1. This comic is fantastic and although I'm still somewhat confused by some of the lore and how the Green Lantern Corps operate, it's a great jumping on point for the series and character of Hal Jordan. He's an experienced space cop with a power ring, nuff said.   The story leads with what appears to be a routine Lantern mission in space. Some criminals are captured and while being transported the ship crashes on earth. Hal Jordan happens upon them and manages to kick their asses without falling back on his powers. In this sequence, We're quickly given a rundown of core qualities of Hal's character. He's an experienced pilot, he's a fighter and fearless. Once he's back in action as a Green Lantern he's shown to be simple yet efficient with his ring. He doesn't use more energy than is necessary to get a Job done. By the end of the issue, Hal is back into his familiar role as Earth protector as a looming threat approaches. ​ The story here in this issue is simple yet dense with content.  It's full of weird and unique characters as well as interesting landscapes and locales. Liam gets a lot to work with and rises to the occasion, nothing is ever boring.  ​​ My only complaints are that in some spots there seems to be too much going on. It's nothing major but as a noob to the GL in general It was somewhat overwhelming in a single issue. The other gripe is that the paper quality of the the comic seems to have taken a step backward. It doesn't hurt the comics overall but the colors supplied by Steve Oliff don't  pop as much as you would expect considering the scale that that the issue attempts to convey.    It will be interesting to see what the team comes up with going forward.  The scope is a lot grander than what I'm used to seeing in my usual DC comics. I can't say I'll be sticking with the series long term but the first issue has piqued my interest in the character and to see where the story goes.

8.5
Green Lantern (2018) #2

Dec 14, 2018

I wasn't excited walking into this issue. The art was great but I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I'm not the biggest Green Lantern fan and that this would probably be my last issue.  I'm happy to report that this comic is just as good as the first issue and that the charm of the characters and setting are beginning to win me over.  I'm a fan of western's and procedural crime dramas and this series walks the line between both. From scene to scene Hal Jordan walks about with the heroic swagger of John Wayne but is a bit of an asshole and it's hard to pin down which Hal Jordan you're going to get on any given page.  The alien designs are wonderfully imaginative. This makes the conversations even more hilarious when Hal is interrogating a spoiled rich girl that happens to resemble a giant spider or a fellow Green Lantern that has a head that resembles an exploding volcano. It's goofy but being that the setting is fantastical it's nice to see the team really willing to cut loose. Liam Sharp doesn't get to draw a ton of action this time around but the landscapes that are rendered are breathtaking. One page even got an audible reaction out of me.  This issue is mostly setup and worldbuilding. Other than that the story moves at a steady pace. We do get a jaw-dropping cliffhanger though. The excellent storytelling and visuals have kept me invested and I'm curious to see how this story develops and goes forward.   For more reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.0
Green Lantern (2018) #3

Feb 7, 2019

I saw the cover for this issue and chuckled. Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp have a lot of balls. It's hard to stroll past a cover in which Green Lantern is staring down a god and declaring him under arrest.  The story is just as insane. The planet has been shrunk down and sold in an auction to an alien slaver that resembles the Hebrew God of the old testament.  The Green Lantern Corps breaks up the illicit activities but the twist is that the earth's inhabitants are perfectly fine with being enslaved. I'm sure there is some meta-commentary here somewhere.  Even after the Slaver is revealed to be a hideous Lovecraftian monster the planet's leaders still remain enthralled which leads to Hal putting the earth under house arrest until it comes to its senses.  This issue is dense and there is a ton of action, humor and plot advancement swirling about. I admire the audacity of this creative team. I read most of the book mouth agape at the proceeding events. Hal Jordan as the straight man is hilarious and this take on the character grows on me with each passing issue.  Liam Sharp and Steve Oliff are magnificent in this issue and are quickly becoming one of my favorite creative teams. Liam's style reminds me of a blend of Neil Adams and Ethan Van Sciver. It's great company to be in league with. There have been so many ideas and unique concepts presented in these three issues that it may seem overwhelming. This can be good or bad depending on your storytelling preferences .  All in all, this is a fun read and one of the most unique series on the shelves today. 

8.0
H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau #1

Oct 5, 2019

When I was a kid my mom used to pick me up every Monday from school and we'd go to the Movies. Looking back, these times probably were my most cherished experiences with her before she passed away a few years ago. I remember seeing the trailer for The Island of Dr. Moreau film starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer. I wanted to see it but my mom thought it was a bit much and we never got around to it. I didn't know that the film owed it's namesake to the H.G. Wells novel at the time. (War of the Worlds), but the Idea of Man playing God and splicing the human form with animals has always intrigued me. It's basically Frankenstein but with animals being vivisected instead of human cadavers. A few months ago I saw the solicits for this comic adaptation of the novel and figured now was as good as ever to take the plunge into the series. Ted and Gabriel do a great job of setting up the world. The linework is very cinematic in presentation and the pencils are wonderfully complemented by Nelson Daniel who provides colors. The creatures are all visually interesting to look at. All of them are disturbing, but maintain enough humanity in the details that it's hard not to feel sympathetic to what has been done to them. The question in seeing the results of Moreau's experiments is where does the man end and the animal begins. I've never seen the movie or read the novel so I'm going into this series blind aside from basic knowledge of the material and second-hand knowledge. The story feels topical. We're always hearing about new breakthroughs with genetics involving splicing man and animal DNA so the Material presented in this comic isn't as far fetched as it probably was in the time that the original novel was published in 1896. The lead character, Ellie Prendick survives an attack at sea and ends up rescued by the inhabitants of the island. She's nursed back to health by a man named Montgomery. He explains her situation to her and how she was near death when he found her. All the while she constantly hears howls of pain from the creatures. Montgomery writes the sounds off as howls of a Puma but Ellie gets suspicious and begins wandering. Eventually, she is confronted by Moreau and quarantined supposedly for her own safety. Ellie recalls her knowledge of Moreau and how he was exiled for his inhumane experiments on animals. Time passes and a figure resembling a man delivers her lunch. She sees his hands and notices that they are the hands of an animal. She confronts Monroe and asks about the man but he brushes off her concerns. After then leaves and begins to explore the island. It's at this point that we see one of the creatures up close. It resembles a Leopard spliced with a human being. Upon further exploration, she runs into more creatures. The Leopard man approaches her but she knocks him out with a sling and takes off running. She accidentally runs into Moreau's lab and accidentally interrupts one of his experiments. A creature being grafted together. She continues running and encounters a friendly creature that recognizes her from the boat. He takes her to a gathering of a large group of them in the midst of a religious gathering. The comic ends with Dr. Moreau approaching the group and telling the creatures to bring Ellie to him. The story is fun visually and visually horrifying. The presentation is great and gets more interesting the longer you look at it. There is a lot of attention to detail in this comic. Moreau's creatures are literally on every page but I didn't notice it until a reread. I don't have many complaints about the book. It's a great adaptation and once you consider that Moreau has been creating all of these monsters with no oversight it gets even more disturbing. My only real gripe with the comic is that the lead character has been gender-swapped. I mentioned earlier that I'm not all that familiar with the source material. With that knowledge, I can't get into the full extent of how the change affects this comic. I will say that the change is probably affecting interpersonal relationships between characters. At one point Montgomery mentions that if Ellie was a man he probably wouldn't have saved her. At another point in the story, he mentions that he hasn't seen a woman in over a year and approaches her in a manner suggesting he's looking for sex. Considering the story was written in 1896 I doubt H.G. wrote a same-sex relationship. I could be wrong. The Gender-Swap doesn't affect the story but it calls into question just how faithful this adaptation actually is. Aside from that concern, I don't have any real issues with the story. I added the series to my pull and I'm definitely interested in seeing where the story goes from here.

8.0
H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau #2

Jan 18, 2020

For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/ I didn't know at the time of reading the first installment that this was a two-part series. If I had known this at the outset I would have held off on the purchase and reviewed the comic once it had been collected in trade. The story wraps up in this issue but suffers some serious pacing issues most likely due to the process of condensing a 209-page novel into a 53-page series. The comic book picks up immediately of the cliffhanger of the last issue. Ellie has the creatures at her back and Moreau's men closing in. Ellie eventually is convinced to back down after the doctor tells her that he sent his men after her not because he wanted to do her harm but because the creatures are unpredictable. Later on, the two engage in conversation and discuss Dr. Moreau's philosophy and why he conducts his barbaric experiments. I won't get into the details to avoid spoilers but I found the exchange to be fascinating and the best part of the series. The problems start at this point as the story begins moving at a breakneck pace to its conclusion. The book also suffers due to its format. Every page is broken into a 2-page spread. The format emphasizes the action and movement which seems to be the strength of Gabriel Rodriguez. What is lacking is plot and story details that could have been better conveyed with a traditional style of panel-layout. Going back to my Star Trek review, it had its own set of problems but one thing that it did great covering enough of the plot so that the reader didn't feel that anything was missing. This story works in broad strokes but I get the impression that a significant portion of the book was lost. I mentioned in the last review that the lead character Ellie was gender-swapped. The reason given was for diversity. Apparently the ending was changed as well. I didn't read the novel so I'm not sure what the ending was. I don't have a problem with the changes but I feel that the book should have been sold as a reimagining rather than an adaptation of the source material. I also don't see any real reason to change the lead character into a woman. It doesn't change any aspect of the story significantly. Her gender is mentioned one or two times and one of Moreau's men tries to sleep with her. Those exchanges could have been cut entirely and the overall tone of the series wouldn't have changed. The swap just feels arbitrary and bizarre. Gabriel Rodriguez and Nelson Daniel do an amazing job with the art direction. The energy here is intense whenever the action picks up and the monsters look great and varied. I wish that the series was expanded an issue or two because I would have loved to see more creature designs and action. Many of the beasts end up standing around and don't get much dialogue. I don't blame the art team as it seems more like an issue with the editorial direction. Overall The Island of Dr. Moreau is definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of the source material or were like me and had very little knowledge of the book. Strange editorial decisions aside, it's a pretty comic and the story is solid. I would recommend waiting for the collected edition though and reading it in one sitting.

9.0
Hardware (2021): Season One #1

Feb 2, 2022

Hardware: Season One: #1 - Not Just a Black Iron Man Writer: Brandon Thomas | Pencils: Denys Cowan | Publisher Milestone/DC Comics Review: I didn’t read many Milestone comics in the ’90s. During the Milestone heyday I had limited income and except for Static none of the character designs stood out to me and the diversity of the cast of heroes wasn’t enough to pull me away from X-Men or Daredevil. I’m older now with a little more disposable income and figured I’d check out the 2021 incarnation of Milestone. First impressions can make or break a title and although the Black Iron Man tag fits Hardware, the character isn’t a reskin or ripoff. Curtis Metcalf is a prodigy with a humble upbringing. This catches the attention of Edwin Alva, who gives him all of the resources necessary to succeed in life. He also sees Curtis as an investment, which eventually bears fruit as he introduces tech innovations that could potentially change the world. The book flashes forward to the present as Curtis has been framed for initiating the ”Big Bang”. The event which creates the Dakotaverse. The rest of the comic pits Hardware against Alva and his forces. Brandon Thomas does a great job setting up this series. I have a nice understanding of what Hardware can do in a fight. The motivations of lead characters are also laid bare in this issue. I appreciate that the creative team didn’t drag the setup for the series out several issues for a trade. This is almost unheard of in the current landscape of mainstream titles. The design of Hardware is a unique, powerful, and imposing figure among modern superheroes. The character design isn’t my favorite but it works and Denys Cowan’s frenetic style makes blends perfectly with the script which is already engaging in its own right. The only knock I have for the issue is how race is used in the issue. The race of the leads is pointed out several times in the story. My problem is that the racial element is obvious. Comics are a visual medium and the power dynamic between Metcalf and Alva is obvious. The narrative would be even stronger if readers were able to come to these conclusions for themselves, sometimes less is more. The racial angle also feels out of place because both characters acknowledge the Surrogate Father/Son relationship between the two. As a father in a blended family, I’d never look at my child as my “White” kid in any serious way. The material would work better if the rift was a break in between Father and Son. Aside from the current year gripes, Hardware: Season One #1 is a solid introduction to Milestone and this character. The issue is a lot of fun and I’m excited to see where this story goes. There is a lot of interesting material here and the action is top-notch. You can do a lot worse. This is a lot more interesting elevator pitch of a Black Iron Man story. In Short: Hardware Season One: #1 delivers a lot of action and intensity. giving us a new take on an Iron-Clad classic.

10
Harleen (2019) #1

Dec 10, 2019

The only selling point I had for this series was the art by St Jepan Sejic. I'm not the biggest fan of Harley Quinn to start and never got the appeal of the character beyond simply being Jokers sidekick. Her background as a brilliant psychotherapist was generally played for laughs or during brief moments of clarity. Harleen: Book 1 provides a definitive look at Harleen Quinzel and is the most mature and thoughtful take I've seen on the character. The book is entirely from Harleen's POV and the impression I gathered was that the book is generally being honest about her past and origins which is a big contrast to deep dives to Jokers origins We get a look at Harleen's early life before we finally get into her first encounters with the Joker. What surprised me as I was reading was the reveal that Harleen became a villain at the age of thirty. I don't know why but I always saw the character as early to mid-twenties. It may be a throwaway line to most but it stuck out to me because setting the character at thirty works to give her a bit more agency in her decisions. This isn't a wide-eyed girl being groomed by the Joker. Harleen was a grown-ass woman prior to her journey into madness. Sejic also establishes a pretty basic and relatable reason for why Harley may have been drawn to a destructive personality like the Joker's in the first place. Speaking of the Joker, I had a friend mention that Sejic's take on the Joker was ridiculous. Speaking of the Joker, I had a friend mention that Sejic's take on the character was ridiculous. I agree that Joker's look is definitely different, but with the story being from Harleen's POV it stands to reason that we're looking at a romanticized version of the character. During the scenes where the characters interact, Joker's personality was in line with most interpretations of the character. I just took the sudden good looks as emblematic of Harleens infatuation with him. I loved everything about this book. It's honestly the best Black Label book I've read since the line was launched. The 6.99 cover price is more than a standard comic but the book is square-bound, fits nicely on a bookshelf and clears 64 pages. The art is stellar and really complements the writing without overpowering it. I rarely draw attention to a book cover but this is one of the best covers I've seen in a long time. It definitely jumped out at me as the fractured mask of the harlequin reveals a broken woman beneath. The cover is a story in its own right. I follow Stjepan Sejic on Twitter and Deviantart. I'm familiar with his art but I had no idea he was also this great a writer. On the strength of this book, I decided to order a couple of his other projects. Harleen is near the top of my list of 2019's best.

10
Harleen (2019) #2

Jan 3, 2021

Of all the different versions of Harley Quinn out there, Harleen presents the most realistic, relatable, and honestly pitiful takes on the character. Harleen doesn't tread new ground. This is the Harley Quinn origin we've seen floated for about 20+ years now but the book still comes together nicely on the strength of the writing and art direction. StJepan clearly gets this character and treats her seriously. Other writers tend to treat Harleen like a broken clown and never really dive beneath the surface of the Harley Quinn tragedy. Although I think we all know where the series is going I appreciate that StJepan doesn't portray Harleen as a victim or brainwashed groupie. We all have our vices or hangups. Harleen's problem is that she makes shitty decisions. She also has the unfortunate hangup of being attracted to and attempting to rehab broken men. How many people can relate to the destructive behavior that comes along with those personality traits regardless of gender or sexuality? Unfortunately for Harley, she falls for the worst guy available in The Joker. What makes Harleens fall so tragic is that she literally has everything going for her aside from her unresolved personal issues. She's great-looking and is the model career woman but still falls short. This is the type of role I'd really like to see taken up by Margot Robbie eventually. The story details Harley's fall but never takes agency from her or her decision making. This is what we also see in most modern takes from writers trying to soften Harley Quinn into an anti-hero. The book focuses on Harley and her growing infatuation with the Joker. The title also continues detailing the parallel origin of Harvey Dent aka Two-Face. This is also one of my favorites depictions of the character that I've read since getting back into comics. The presentation here is flat-out gorgeous. Stjepan and Mike Mayhew are the only writers working today that seem to be able to draw realistic characters without hitting uncanny valley territory. I've seen some complaints about Joker being too handsome but considering that the book is written entirely from Harleen's perspective it makes sense that Joker isn't presented as a twisted monster but as an idealized version of himself. I have one more issue of the series to review and I expect the transition from Doctor to Supervillain will be completed by the end of the series. The script is solid and the story is as heartbreaking as I expected it to be walking into the series. The origin of Harley Quinn has been retold countless times over the years but it never becomes less tragic. There are a lot of Harleens out there and I think the series is doing an amazing job of highlighting how lust and infatuation can lead to self-destructive outcomes. Rating: GOD-TIER

9.0
Hawkman (2018) #2

Oct 26, 2018

What if Indiana Jones was crossed with the most interesting elements of Wolverine and made into a bonafide Superhero. That's the premise of DC Comics new Hawkman series. That may have always been the premise but my first experience with the character outside of the working knowledge that he dies and reincarnates over and over again along with the fact that his backstory is convoluted. Hawkman #2 is an amazing read. Hawkman is revealed to have been reincarnating across time as well as space. This beautifully and simply explains every incarnation of Hawkman that has ever appeared and also makes adds weight to Carter's backstory as an archeologist. Like Indiana Jones, we can pop into any time in history and run into an interesting Hawkman story. With Carter's memories of his past incomplete, Robert Venditti also establishes mystery. The audience and the protagonist are in the same position, seeking discovery and the story is better for it. In this issue, Carter documents his discovery for Shiera (Hawkgirl) and seeks answers in the Horus caged exhibit in The British Museum.  While investigating the exhibit, Carter is mysteriously transferred back to ancient Egypt in full costume and encounters one of his former selves Koufu. Koufu has been waiting for his arrival and attacks. Hawkman is eventually able to calm Koufu down by mentioning the the "Kalmoran". Koufu mentions a map and wonders if Hawkman is meant to fight the "Deathbringers". At this point  Hawkman is sent back to the present. He discovers the map in one of the museum columns. Following the map, the comic ends as Carter prepares to head to Dinosaur Island.  This comic is fantastic. Robert clicks all of the checkmarks you expect from an adventure. Brian Hitch's art is detailed and every panel is full of energy and urgency. This melds the story and art because nothing is wasted in this in this book as it moves from one locale to the next. My only minor gripe is that although the characters are incredibly details. The backgrounds for most of the comic are kind of bland. It is not a huge issue but I remember reading Hitch's ultimates and recall a lot more intricacy in the art. I'm assuming the change in art style was done to get the book out quicker but it is noticeable.   Outside of the minor gripe. I thoroughly enjoyed this issue and can't wait to read the next.    

10
Hawkman (2018) #3

Dec 17, 2018

Hawkman #3 opens with our titular hero fighting a m@therF*cking T-Rex.  Rating A Just kidding, there is a ton of energy in this comic which makes every page exciting. Carter's quest for discovery is even greater because he takes the reader along for the ride.  The pace of the issue is quick and the script is amazing. This is an awesome stretch of content throughout these first 3 issues. There is no filler material and Bryan Hitch continues to flip from locale to locale with ease and little if any drop-off in quality.  The issue is pretty straightforward. Carter Hall (Hawkman) continues to follow leads throughout history to discover his true origins. The dialogue mostly told through internal monologue gives a lot of insight into this character. This is especially important to a reader like me that has no real experience with the character outside of just knowing who he is.  There is another action set piece toward the back end of the issue as well as another well-placed cliffhanger. Hawkman continues to be a beautiful experience and once of the best DC comics on the shelves right now.  The rating above was legit so I won't repost, this issue is awesome!!! For more Reviews, subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Hawkman (2018) #5

Feb 19, 2020

It's been a minute since I've read a Hawkman comic but diving back in I felt right at home. I don't remember most of the details this arc aside from Hawkman encountering different versions of himself in different locales across time and space. In this issue, Robert Venditti gets you up to speed quickly and gives a concise refresher on the relationship between Atom and Hawkman. I've never read any books featuring the two characters but they seem to have a real bond. I totally buy that the characters have been friends for a long time. The issue focuses on their relationship as they try to figure out what the hell is going on with Hawkman's situation and memories. The first half of the book is exposition-heavy the second half is action-driven. Bryan Hitch is the artist and during the second half, there's a splash page that gave me chills and reminded me of The Ultimates. For that reason, the comic gets high marks. Hawkman #5 was a solid filler issue. I don't have much to say about the comic despite all of the praise. This has been an excellent series to date.

9.0
Hawkman (2018) #6

Feb 3, 2021

It's been a while since I reviewed a Hawkman comic. It's unfortunate because Hawkman is one of the best traditional mainstream Superhero comics I've reviewed in recent years. Lack of reviews has less to do with the quality of a title but based on what I have at the top of my pile at any given time. I forget how we got into this situation but Hawkman and The Atom have shrunk down into the Microverse in an attempt to obtain a weapon/artifact to help Carter Hall (Hawkman) on his quest to restore his lost memories as well as stop the Deathbringer's on their path of destruction. The strength of the issue is the bond between Hawkman and The Atom. Their relationship feels genuine. They give each other crap but also have mutual respect and understanding for one another. The other major positive for the issue is that action on the page. All of the action sequences are wonderfully choreographed by Bryan Hitch and it's fun to read and look at. The urgency never leaves the comic and the creative direction does a great job of conveying a rapidly escalating situation on the ground and in the air. The only problem I have with the issue and the series overall is the pacing. Hawkman doesn't have a decompression problem. The books just read too fast. The pace makes the argument of reading a series in chunks or collected editions. I normally don't do trades but I can see this series sold bi-monthly for a slightly higher cover price. Hawkman #6 is another solid issue in what has become a thoroughly underrated series. Rating: 9/10

9.5
Hellions (2020) #1

Nov 20, 2020

I thought I was done with Dawn of X but after a few solid recommendations, I decided to check out Hellions #1. While the issue isn't strong enough to draw me back into the X-Line of comics it is a great first issue. If you're still reading those books at least it has one series that works...for now. The comic opens with Havok and Nightcrawler in what appears to be a pretty basic mission. Things go horribly wrong for the heroes and Havok loses control of his powers. He causes massive property damage and nearly kills innocent bystanders. This leads to a "Quiet Council" meeting to discuss the situation. It turns out there are several mutants on Krakoa that have been out of sorts. Mr. Sinister has the idea to collect these misfits into a group and sonofabitch, the Hellions are born. The makeup of the team is pretty weird with Nanny and Orphan Maker being the oddest choices. I hadn't seen either character since the 80s but I always found them to be fun characters. Wildchild also makes an appearance. He's been around for decades but I have fond memories of the character from "Age of Apocalypse" and when he was a member of X-Factor. Havok is one of my favorite characters but the standout member of the team in this issue is Scalphunter. Scalphunter now goes by John Graycrow. The character has also been around for decades and is most notable as one of Sinisters original Marauders group. I don't believe any of the Marauders were fleshed out so Graycrow comes off as a blank slate. He's cool, gruff, and gets the issues best moments. I like the cast and the creative team does a great job establishing the tone of the series.. Some of the characters have regressed it seems. I'm pretty sure Havok mastered his powers a long time ago and I'm also fairly certain that Wildchild wasn't this feral the last time I'd seen him. Aside from the nitpicks the issue is fun and is easily the most entertaining Dawn of X book I've read in a while. The series has a lot of potential going forward. Rating: 9.5/10

7.5
Heroes In Crisis #2

Nov 3, 2018

****Spoilers***** Heroes in Crisis #2 meanders a bit but manages to remain one of the better reads on the shelves this week despite its flaws.  The bulk of the comic covers the Trinity (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) and their investigation following the murder at Sanctuary and their confrontation with Harley Quinn. The rest of the issue follows Booster Gold as he conducts his own haphazard investigation. Boosters search for answers goes about as well as can be expected as he totally botches enlisting Flash to help him.  Harley, on the other hand, manages to get the best of the Trinity with relative ease. I'm not sure I buy the believability of the scene. In fact, I call bullshit. We've seen Tom King pull this trick before with Catwoman taking down 3 speedsters over the course of a few panels. Its a narrative cheat to establish a character's ability. It trick works in a vacuum but it strains the comics credibility when Harley almost immediately takes down Batman like a chump.  None of the patient interview scenes are quite as interesting or poignant as the previous issue. It's not Tom King's fault that the first issue was so great but it really makes this issue feel lackluster in comparison.  Outside of the gripes, Clay Mann and Travis Moore's art continue to impress. Penguin makes a cameo and looks just like Danny Devito from Batman Returns. This got a huge grin out of me. It was also cool to see Harley Quinn in her original TAS costume.   The good thing is that the issue isn't bad just mediocre and could easily return to form next issue. Let's hope that is the case. The premise is interesting, the art is great and the writer is gifted. I'm sure that this issue is a minor hiccup and the series will bounce back....  Rating C + For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/ ​​

5.0
Heroes In Crisis #3

Nov 28, 2018

I'm beginning to lose my patience with Heroes in Crisis. It's not horrible but I'm questioning the point of the series. I was willing to give the creative team the benefit of the doubt. King has a decent track record and is one of the best comic writers scripting comics today. The art from Clay Mann and Lee Weeks is just as good as prior issues but the events found in this particular series can be best described as the following: meh, middling, mediocre, or meandering at best. We get to see more heroes in even more depressing situations. We also get more insight into their mental states as well as the events leading to the deaths at Sanctuary. I have a theory regarding what's actually going on at sanctuary but I'll keep that to myself for now. The main problem while reading the issue is the uneven tone. The situation is pretty bleak for all of the heroes at the sanctuary. Half are down and depressed the rest seem to want to die. Considering the hopeful demeanor of some of the heroes involved here, Heroes in Crisis almost feels like a deliberate character assassination. In addition to being a thoroughly depressing read at points, you also have the weird repetitive dialogue that Tom King is using over in his Batman run. He also mixes in humor that doesn't land because it doesn't fit the rest of the book. It's not fun and after several pages, the whole book just became an uneven slog to read. I read comics for a lot of reasons. None of which are to see heroes that I've grown up reading debating suicide. Some may say this makes for a better hero but it feels wrong to destroy existing characters in this way. Heroes in Crisis #3 is a beautiful comic but this seems like the wrong story for the heroes being used to tell it. Rating: 5/10

8.0
Heroes In Crisis #4

Jan 5, 2019

After a pretty meh 3rd issue Tom King manages to get the book back on track by further escalating the Sanctuary situation. I'm not sure I even buy the ending. There's a huge cliffhanger but it seems like something that shouldn't logically happen the way it does.   Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey continue to be a glorious 1-2 punch on art. Clay gets a lot of flak for sexualizing his female characters but I'm not seeing anything here worth getting worked up over. The women are hot, deal with it! I'm expecting a change of pace soon because this is probably the "dryest" event I've ever read. It's well written, characters get cool moments like Blue Beetle and Booster Gold staging a jailbreak but the series just isn't all that exciting. There seems to be a tonal issue for the series overall that isn't resonating with me. The only aspect of "Heroes in Crisis" that really jumps out to me is Harley Quinn's ability as a fighter. She's presumably gotten the better of Booster, Flash, The Trinity (Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman) and anyone else that's gotten in her way. It's become apparent that something else is behind her success. I'd really be surprised if King is playing this 100% straight.  Overall, if you're enjoying the series through this point this one is better than the last issue. This one won't break your experience. If you haven't picked up any issues so far or on the fence. This one may be a better read in trade. I don't really have a lot to say with this review. Not a lot happens in the issue. The pacing isn't to the point of meandering but its woefully decompressed. For more Reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

6.0
Heroes In Crisis #5

Feb 2, 2019

The really sad part of Heroes in Crisis going off of the rials is that the premise is such a no-brainer.  A murder takes place at a superhero trauma center, whodoneit?  The series has arguably the industry's best creative team on this series and yet is still bombing hard.  So what's the problem? Don't worry I'll get to the review eventually but don't expect much. I need to get this off of my chest.  Heroes in Crisis is not an event and should not have been sold as such. It's a mini-series on par with Justice League Odyssey. It's not terrible but it's not all that great either. The comic could have worked but only if it was sold as a graphic novel or in trade.  We're 5 issue into this series and there has been next to no progression or development for any of the lead characters. There has been little to no action outside of a few head-scratching sequences. There is no urgency or payoff in sight. What we have is essentially a series of events tied together by a premise that has been clearly overthought. Heroes In Crisis should have been easy to love but it fails in every step it takes along the way.  Even worst, the series is broken up into 3.99 segments, excluding tie-ins this series will total about $36. If it was a graphic novel it wouldn't be so bad as it stands Heroes in Crisis is an obvious grift from DC comics. I hate saying that DC Comics is ripping off its audience but it's becoming painfully obvious with this book. If issues 2-4 were excluded from the series you wouldn't have missed anything. Heroes in Crisis #5 continues the meandering. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle search for clues regarding the murders at Sanctuary. Harley Quinn & Batgirl search for Booster and Superman gives a speech. That's it... Admittedly the speech from Superman is the standout moment from the issue. The fictional heroes mentioned could easily be substituted with real-world Soldiers that sacrifice all to protect and defend the nation from enemies foreign and domestic.  It's legitimately a great speech and the only reason I didn't drop the score to an F.

5.0
Heroes In Crisis #6

Mar 13, 2019

I was gonna make this review into a rant but I reread Heroes in Crisis #6 again this morning and although It's not a book I'd personally recommend it's not worth having a bitch fit over. The issue follows Harley Quinn, The Flash (Wally West), and Gnarrk as they work through their various problems. There isn't much action in the comic and the dialogue is about as dry as an incels phone. The bland tone of the issue extends to the art direction. Mitch and Clay's art looks great as usual but their talents are clearly being wasted on this material. Gnarrk is dealing with being a man out of time. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy reconnect over her past abuse by The Joker. Flash has the most poignant aspect of the issue as he uses Sanctuary to deal with the trauma being brought back to the Rebirth universe without his wife and kids. During his particular segment of the issue, we're given a potential clue regarding the event as Psycho Pirates mask reappears. The problem with the series is that it feels like every issue after #2 has been inconsequential and I wish Tom King would get to the point. Reading this series monthly is a chore but I do think that if you read the series in a collected edition it may be better for you. That's if you can get past King's pitter-patter dialogue style. I would really love to give Heroes In Crisis a deep assessment but there really isn't much revealed other than another potential fake-out ending. Earlier this week Bleeding Cool reported that DC Comics would refocus on single-issue stories and less decompression for the trade paperback. I doubt it happens as the writing style seems to have become an industry standard at least in mainstream titles. Heroes in Crisis is probably the most meandering event that I've ever read. On top of the lack of story progression, the 4.99 price point really hurts seems feels like overkill for what we're being given. There are momentary sparks of inspiration and the art is fantastic at times but the lack of momentum is maddening. It's like Tom King is taking joy in trolling the readership. If I wasn't 6 issues deep into the series I would have dropped the title. I'm hoping for a helluva twist to make this all of the pretentiousness worth it but based on what we're seeing from Tom King in his other projects lately I may be expecting too much. Rating 5/10

7.5
Heroes In Crisis #7

Mar 31, 2019

It took about 5 issues but we have finally got some story progression in this issue.  If there ever was a case to be made against decompressed storytelling in comics, Heroes in Crisis would be the sterling example. Harley Quinn, Batgirl, Booster Gold, and Blue Beetle stop fighting and resolve to find Wally West (Flash) as it seems he may not be dead after all.  While this is happening Batman and Barry Allen seek to find Wally in their own way. By the end of the issue, they get a bead on Harley and Boosters location and we get a cliffhanger that may or not be relevant in the next issue.  This issue isn't particularly great but I'm willing to give it a mulligan. With 2 issues left, I'm not sure if I'm more excited for a major revelation or just for the resolution to the story. The art is amazing as usual, but I feel like we've seen too many variations of the same scenes and moments. Tom King is big on repetition in his scripting to emphasize key points in his stories. It seems that this trait has now extended to the art direction.   It feels as if Harley Quinn has been beating up Booster forever now and it's getting old. We're in the end game now and the pieces are being set in place. Tom King is in the unenviable position of wrapping this story up satisfactorily. It's possible but feels like a 4-5 issue mini-series that has been stretched to 9 issues for...reasons.  Rating C+ **Addendum** 1. Heroes in Crisis 2. The Batman Who Laughs 3. Doomsday Clock All of these DC events are running concurrently and all seem to have similar problems. They all seem to be decent enough Ideas that have been stretched too thin with editorial falling asleep at the wheel.  There is definitely something happening at DC Comics with regards to overall quality and its worth keeping an eye on as its trending across the line. 

9.0
Heroes In Crisis #8

Apr 26, 2019

For more reviews subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/ We've arrived at the point in the month when I read Tom King's Heroes in Crisis and Tom Scioli's Go-Bot's. Unfortunately, Go-Bots has ended and we're left with is Heroes in Crisis.  I visited my Local Comic Shop late this week and by the time I got there, the ending had already been spoiled. Actually, I'm not sure if you can really talk about this comic without discussing the reveal so Ill get it out of the way.  Wally West, traumatized from the events of DC Rebirth and the loss of his wife and children has snapped and is revealed to be the murderer behind the events at Sanctuary.  So my working theory walking into this issue was that HIC was an Elseworlds story. After reading the series I don't believe it's an Elseworlds story at all. I think there is more to the story than the explanation we're given but I don't believe we're in an alternate reality anymore.  My theory after reading the issue is that the trauma is really but Wally was being influenced by the Psycho-Pirate Mask. I'm not sold on Heroes in Crisis, a matter of fact if you've been following these reviews you know that the series kinda lost me after issue 2. I feel that there are other stories to be told that can be just as compelling without being oppressively dark or macabre HIC, The Grim Knight, DCeased, Dark Knights Metal are all solid stories but give the impression that the publisher is currently in a bad head space at the moment and needs counseling. I'm not sure if the current mood around the DC line is a result of the cutbacks to the number of books being published but something is definitely off and series such as this one is sure to alienate long term fans.  All that being said this is easily the best issue of the series to date. Wally has lost everything, his wife and kids are gone and he's currently stuck in an alternate reality where everyone is basically a shadow of the people that he loved and grew up with. Imagine if you were in this situation? This is Wally's life right now and there is no going back. The anger I'm seeing toward the issue on social media is that Wally has been destroyed. I don't really have an argument against the claim but based solely on the fallout from "rebirth" I get why Tom went this route. If Wally wasn't dealing with any lingering issues relating to the loss of his wife and kids it would have been just as jarring.  One of the appeals of an "Elseworlds" or "What If" scenario is that you get to see an alternate timeline and see how slight changes could have resulted in a different outcome (usually catastrophic). In this instance, this is Wally's life. I'm not sure if Heroes in Crisis is an indictment of the optimism that Rebirth endeared with the character and the line in general but it sure feels like it. One that note the twist is actually pretty clever and puts a real-world spin on a fantastical situation. I'm not saying this is the story I would have landed on but I understand.  The biggest issue with the series is the decompression. This could have easily been issue 4 of 5 but it's been padded out to an insane degree for whatever reason. The stuff with Superman probably could have been cut altogether. The Batman/Flash stuff seems irrelevant. What the focus should have been squarely on since the series inception is Wally West and what he has been dealing with every day. The writing for this issue is very strong and it easily one of the best written issues of the year. I suffer from high functioning depression and have lulls throughout the week. Not to the extreme that Wally has, but I understand wearing a mask of optimism publicly while struggling with internal demons. We started getting glimpses of this in the previous issue but it should have been the throughline. in Hindsight the stuff with Booster/Harley just seems silly. The way the story is being told is also strange because the characters feel off and not quite human.  One thing that isn't in question is the art direction. Mitch Gerads and Travis Moore's are amazing. Every page is jaw-dropping and worth the price of admission alone. It doesn't really stand out as much because the issue is so melancholy but the pencils throughout the issue are amazing. Once you get past the shock of the events I implore you to go back and look at the issue again, it's simply stunning.  This is a prestige format but and DC kept the cover price to 3.99.  I appreciate that.  I feel like DC editorial failed Tom in this series.  There are flashes of greatness throughout the series but the focus seems to be all over the place. You have the Silliness with Booster and Harley undercutting the real meat of the event. I'm not sure what went on behind the scenes at DC Comics but if the focus had been entirely on Sanctuary and the events there I guarantee the series would have gone over better with fans. Decompression hurts comics. Heroes in Crisis an Doomsday Clock are prime examples of why decompressed storytelling needs to be put to pasture. It really hurts these stories and ends up feeling like uneven cash grabs because of the sheer amount of filler or irrelevant material. There is a great story in this event but it's buried in the minutiae.

6.0
Heroes In Crisis #9

Jun 1, 2019

Heroes in Crisis is finally over an what are we left with? What was the point of it all? I've reviewed all 9 issues of the series and my enthusiasm for the event and conclusion had all but waned. Likewise, my reverence for Tom King and his writing has been replaced with open skepticism.  Tom King was in the news a lot this week. First, he was dropped as lead writer of Batman. It was then announced that he would be getting a new series featuring Batman & Catwoman. This gesture is presumably a courtesy to the creator and a way for him to finish his long-running story although he will not be writing the flagship Batman title anymore.  The biggest news for Tom King this week was that he would be Co-Writing a "New Gods" movie with Ava DuVernay of Selma and A Wrinkle in time. This is either a good idea or a Bad one depending on who you talk to.  All of these announcements are worthy of attention in their own right and I only mention the timeline to say that whether you're a fan of Tom King or not, he's not going anywhere.  Heroes in Crisis isn't even an uneven series. At best it's mildly interesting at worse its unreadable. There are large segments of this issue that are simply terrible. It got so bad that I had to put the book down and come back to it.  The Flash situation resolves itself as our team of heroes (Harley Quinn, Booster Gold, Batgirl, and Blue Beetle) finally catch up with Wally West before he kills himself. The comic resolves itself with an intervention for Wally.  The barebones premise of the series and this issue is solid but the execution of the script and plot is rough. The tone is all over the place ranging from cutesy to deadly serious over the span of a few pages. In this issue particularly, It seems that all of the heroes have the same voice. The voice I feel hanging most heavily isTom Kings and less the voice of our heroes and Tom's voice seems bored and disinterested during these segments.  There is a heartfelt undercurrent to the issue but the script feels like it needed another draft or another editor to pull the threads together.  Heroes in Crisis is sad because if the story had been condensed by about four issues and the Focus had been on Flash and less about the murder mystery we probably would have had a compelling and memorable event. What we ended up is a bloated mess of an event that leaves a dark mark on Tom King's legacy and will forever be remembered as "That Story" if at all.  The issue does have some positive aspects of Heroes in Crisis. My favorite part of the event has been the Polaroid Variant covers by Ryan Sook. They all highlight a traumatic flashpoint in DC history, framing them as a Sanctuary casefile. Who the hell took the pictures? In all seriousness, the covers are just cool and are a nice Easter Egg for long-time fans.  Another positive is the overall art direction for the issue. Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey have crafted a thing of beauty here with this issue. If you're an art snob the issue may be worth it alone for the art. The art has been the strongest art of the event despite the story constantly letting them down. I can't wait to see Clay on another series that lives up to his talent level he's one of the best artists working today and should be acknowledged as such.  Despite my praise, for the artistic side of the issue, I'm glad this event is over.  I started this blog a little less than a year ago and I've been marking each month with an issue of Heroes in Crisis followed immediately by a book that is a lot better. To be perfectly honest I feel like I've given this series and Tom King more attention than they deserve.  Heroes in Crisis also highlights a growing problem with the overall direction of DC comics. The books being promoted all seem to be dark, pessimistic and overall villain-centric. I know we're in the middle of DC's Year of the Villain event but what should be a fun reading experience has become oppressively cynical. As a fan, it's hard to get excited when my heroes are constantly being traumatized, beaten and deconstructed.  **Bonus I mentioned earlier that I've been reviewing Heroes in Crisis for 9 months now. The series is bad, Rainbow Brite bad.  Here are some suggestions for you as alternatives if you're interested in picking up a series or trade that doesn't have the baggage of being a product of its creator's mental health situation.  I read/reviewed Heroes in Crisis so you didn't have to.  1. Go-Bots by Tom Scioli (IDW) 2. Unnatural by Mirka Andolfo (Image) 3. BloodRealm by Robert Geronimo (Alterna comics) 4. The Lone Ranger by Mark Russell & Bob Q (Dynamite) 5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Macro Series by Various (IDW)

9.5
Hollow Heart #1

Dec 8, 2021

I walked past Hollow Heart several times for several weeks before grabbing the collected Graphic Novel. The chief draw was the cover art which depicted a monster that strongly resembled my favorite Scooby-Doo monster, “The Spooky Space Kook”. The monster looks so much like the classic character that I’m surprised that Hanna Barbara hasn’t sent a cease and desist letter. Besides the familiarity with the creature design, the story doesn’t compare to anything I’ve read before in any comic. Addressing the elephant in the room. This is a queer-coded story. About 90% of the characters and relationships depicted are on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. It’s not important to the story and I appreciated the “In-Universe” attempt to not make the orientation of the characters a big deal. What is weird to me is the marketing across social media doesn’t mention much about the actual story aside from “representation”. Hallow Heart isn’t the only culprit in this respect so I won’t beat the creative team up over it. Marketing around the comic book industry generally sucks. The central figure in Hallow Heart is EL. EL is a scientific experiment involving a bundle of organs given life and placed in a High Tech suit. El’s existence is extremely painful to the point where it makes repeated attempts to escape the facility it’s housed in. The problem is that escape means death and El knows this. Enter Mateo, Mateo is one of the mechanics at the facility. He’s called in to repair El’s suit after a failed escape attempt. This interaction takes both characters down a rabbit hole that neither may be able to escape from in the end. Hollow Heart hones in on challenges giving a person what you think they need vs what they want. As a person that has received plenty of crap Christmas gifts over the years, I could relate. El and Mateo’s relationship is a lot heavier than anything in my life but the underlying issue is still there. One of the characters wants to die and another offers an alternative that may not be possible. The story works on a few levels. If you’re into body horror and psychological thrillers or just weird shit, I think you’ll enjoy this story. The book is billed as a love story but I don’t think that assessment holds up once you understand the nature of the characters and the circumstances behind their relationships. However, Hollow Heart is a very mature story that cuts across baseline infatuation and into some seriously dark manipulation. The story is a tragedy and by the end, all of the characters get what they deserve except for a victim, who didn’t ask to be there in the first place. Take from that what you will. The art direction for the story is consistent throughout and Paul Tucker does a great job of visual storytelling. There is a lot of material provided in the script but a lot of what is going on in Hollow Heart is left unsaid and open to interpretation. This open-ended aspect of the narrative structure made it stronger for me and also made it more interesting to go back to upon reread. Hollow Heart is genuinely interesting and I was hooked from the start. Its also a story that could easily translate to other mediums. If there’s eventually a Hollow Heart series or film produced I wouldn’t be surprised at all. In short: Any relationship built on a lie isn’t much of a relationship at all but it may lead to great comic

10
Hotell #1

Aug 20, 2020

On the strength of Red Border, Archangel 8, and Resistance I added the entire line AWA titles too my pull list. I recently dropped several titles from my pull list and had some slots open. The cover from a distance seems innocuous but gets more bizarre the longer you look at it. Aside from the AWA branding, I had no idea what to expect from the comic. It appears to be an anthology series with the Pierrot Hotel acting as a backdrop. This is a one and done story so I assume each issue will cover a different horrifying event occurring at the hotel. The closest descriptor I could give would be Silent Hill blended with The Night Gallery. This story follows Alice, a pregnant woman on the run from her abusive husband. She drives until exhaustion and stops at the Pierrot. She gets rest but begins having dreams of her unborn son. The begin comforting enough but there appear to be more to than flights of fancy. She also finds that when she wakes up her breasts are bleeding. She writes this off as scratching herself in her sleep but she also notes that she can't bring herself to leave even though staying at the location puts her and her baby in mortal danger. The conclusion of the comic caught me completely off guard and made me stop reading and say "What the Fuck!" At that point, I was sold on the concept and glad I added the series to my pull list. The art is moody, atmospheric, and keeps the focus on the important details. The story is also efficiently told, unlike other horror titles I've reviewed lately. This is exceptional horror and storytelling. Alice is in a bad spot and the situation gets progressively worst as the situation develops. I implore you to check out this comic. It's an amazing standalone issue that works better than pretty much any other title I've reviewed on this blog. AWA deserves your support, this is why we read comics.

9.0
House of X #1

Aug 3, 2019

House of X #1 is the highly anticipated X-Men Comic from Jonathan Hickman, one of the greatest writers in modern comics. The comic is really good on its own merits but wasn't quite what I expecting. House of X #1 Feels more like a Zero Issue or -1 than an actual #1 The general premise is that Xavier has discovered a Miracle drug and will exchange it with humanity in exchange for a sovereign state for mutants.  ​​ Right off of the bat we've seen shades of this story before, Most notably when Mutants operated out of "Utopia". What sets this story apart is that Hickman is a truly special writer. The narrative is so dense it's hard to not to be entertained and also intrigued by the morsels dropped throughout the issue. The comic is broken up into segments and separated by Lore dumps. I found these segments to be the most interesting aspects of the book.  ​​ Sidenote: I'm reading Excellence by Brandon Thomas. He and Hickman use similar narrative structure in their storytelling. Most of the lore segments of House of X reminded me of Excellence. It's not really relevant at all as the stories presented in these series are totally different. As a narrative device though, it's really cool because it makes the comics feel bigger than they actually are, and add a lot of world-building that would otherwise be untold or pushed into another mini-series. Excellence, by the way, is one of the best comics on the shelves and the narrative structure of both series is part of the reason I think that these comics have immediately connected with an audience. ​​ Most of the chatter surrounding this comic revolves around the official listing of Omega Level Mutants in the 616 Marvel Universe. People have been debating the "who's who" of omega level mutants for years and although I understand the excitement, this isn't really all that interesting or surprising to me at all.  ​​ When Omega Level mutants were first introduced in the 90s it was simply a means of categorizing mutants that had such an extreme level of power that they could potentially affect the planet if they were left unchecked in the use of their abilities.  Beta: noted mutants that had abilities that were inherently physical in nature. Colossus, Wolverine, Beast, Forge.  Alpha: would be characters such as Cyclops, Dazzler, Gambit because their powers manifested externally and could affect the environment, etc. The Omega list is pretty much what I expected it to be and I'm not sure why anyone that was a fan of X-Comics would be surprised by the listings. It's cool to debate who's more powerful, but at the end of the day why people are so intrigued by the list.  ​​ My favorite scene of the book involved Cyclops and the Fantastic Four. Sabretooth, Mystique, and Toad steal a device and in the midst of escaping Sabretooth kills several guards. Being that the conflict takes place in New York it draws the attention of the FF. Mystique and Toad escape but Sabertooth is captured by the Invisible Woman. Cyclops arrives and asks to take Sabretooth off of Reed's hands and Reed rightfully refuses. Rather than fight, Cyclops allows the Fantastic Four to take Sabretooth into custody. it's a simple scene but it works because it establishes respect and history between these characters. It also allows Cyclops to deescalate a situation without conflict. Cyclops is a warrior but is also one of the de facto leaders of the mutant race. Seeing him score a victory here diplomatically was great.  ​​ Under a lesser creator, the scene could have descended into ideological warfare or an outright fight between the heroes. Here we have a beautifully written scene and ends with a cherry on top of Cyclops inviting Franklin Richards home to spend time with his Mutant family. I also really liked seeing The Fantastic Four matching up against some of my favorite Mutant villains.  There are some other nice scenes with Magneto but there isn't much action and Pepe and Marte don't get much to do outside of set the table for the rest of the series. Pepe can clearly convey action as noted in the brief Brotherhood vs Fantastic Four scenes and If this is a sign of things to come we're in great hands.  I enjoyed the comic for what it was and can see a significant portion of the fandom reading this issue and enjoying it while another segment decides to hold off on the rest of the series until the trade drops. Not because it's bad because of the story decompression. ​​ House of X feels more like an alternate take on X-Men than an actual X-Men Story.  If you're looking a classic X-Men story in the vein of Joss Whedon, you won't find it here. This issue feels more like an extension of the Grant Morrison run with its characters and depictions. It's a good company to be in regardless. The Morrison run was different but it was also amazing.  This issue is oversized and is about double the size of a normal comic. I believe the comic justifies the cover price. It's not exactly what I was looking for, but it's an undeniably good comic. Check out House of X #1 and judge for yourself.  Rating A Addendum: My theory is that these are not the Real X-Men and that we may be looking at an invasion of the Body Snatcher's situation. I also believe that this is not Xavier and that the villain behind this series is The Maker. It's actually kind of obvious. Let's hope Hickman subverts expectations with the reveal.  Let me know what you think. 

10
House of X #2

Aug 25, 2019

It took me a minute to get into it but once I figured out Hickman's angle I had to concede, House of X #2 may go down as the best single issue of 2019. It will be nearly impossible to discuss the issue without spoilers. Moira _. Is a mutant and has been influencing the direction of the X-Men since its inception. What's really interesting is that this massive retcon doesn't break any of the characters or lore. The reveal actually deepens the lore and adds to the X-Men's already expansive history. The change also gives an explanation for why our heroes are behaving so differently from other depictions. Moira's mutant power is reincarnation. If she dies she comes back with full knowledge of her previous existence. She also appears to be stuck in a perpetual time loop. The reincarnation part makes sense to me but the time loop aspect of her power seems a bit too convenient to the story. There are so many cool moments in this issue that it's hard not to discuss them without really spoiling things. What I will say is that Hickman has turned Moira into a "Certified Badass" and the oh shit aspects of the script are perfectly illustrated by Pepe Larraz. He gets to draw a ton of epic panels reimagining key moment's in the X-Men timeline. The standouts for me are Moiras encounters with The 80s's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants A.K.A. The Freedom force. There is also an awesome segment featuring Apocalypse. I started reading comics back when Mystique was the leader of the Brotherhood. It was nice seeing this version of the team again along with the Long dead Destiny. Who recognizes Moira's power because of her own ability to see the future. The writing for this issue can't be understated. It's been a very long time since we've seen a creator put this much effort into the X-Men. This isn't the most in-depth review but I highly recommend this issue. It's sold out all over Detroit so you may have a hard time getting it. The comic is also going for 20+ dollars on eBay right now. If you can find the issue it's definitely worth your purchase.

8.0
House of X #3

Sep 6, 2019

I'm currently in the midst of a love-hate/relationship with this series. House/Powers of X is easily the best X-story that I've read since the Joss Whedon run of the early 2000s. The writing is great. The art is God - Tier. I just don't think we're getting enough content in each issue. The text pages fill in the lore of the setting and are greatly appreciated. It's also a cool design choice because it stops the reader from finishing the book in 5 minutes. The downside is that without the lore segments you'd finish the book in 5 minutes. Whenever something cool happens the scene is broken up with lore. It was cool the first few times it happens but now it's starting to feel like padding. What we're left with is about 6-10 pages of comic, 5-6 pages of lore and the rest is ad space. It's not infuriating because the writing is so strong but I feel that Marvel could have given us the same series without bumping up the cover price. "Excellence" from Image comics does the same thing but isn't charging an additional dollar per issue. I know to some it seems nitpicky but it really bothers me. The issue picks up from Powers of X# 2 with Cyclops assembling his team to take down a Mother Mold. A giant sentinel that produces Master Molds. What I appreciate about these segments is that it firmly establishes Cyclops as the capable leader we know him to be. The scenes also set up the stakes and ruthlessness of the opposing forces. Running parallel to the main plot is the situation with Sabretooth. In House of X #1, Sabretooth was captured by the Fantastic Four and released to the proper authorities. In this issue, Sabretooth is freed after intervention from Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos. This entire segment raises red flags for me. Creed is an obvious monster. The setting is different from the timeline we know but the impression I've gotten from earlier scenes is that the X-Men are still heroes in this world. Why are they pushing so hard to keep Creed out of prison for his crimes? I'm sure the answers are forthcoming but the X-Men seem off. The situation with Sabretooth is just another hint that something is very wrong here. The story is intriguing and although the cover price situation is nagging me the mini-series are still entertaining. The cliffhanger is great and I'd gather that it would be really hard to put down this issue and not be interested in what happens next.

10
House of X #4

Sep 14, 2019

I would have given Powers of X #3 an A+ but it didn't feel quite right after reading this issue. This comic is fantastic and is yet another single issue of the year contender. Hickman once again minimizes the annotations and tells the story of the X-Men's last stand. The assault on the Mother Mold. Things immediately go bad for our heroes as foreshadowed in last issues cliffhanger Multiple X-Men are killed at the outset of the assault, but rather than abort the mission Cyclops makes the call to push forward. Cyclops shines in this issue and it's great seeing him put his team in position even though things are dire. He's my favorite character so these moments brought a smile to my face. Suicide missions like this make up my favorite books, but its a rare breed of comic that gets an audible reaction out of me. The storyline that this issue reminds me most of ironically is Days of Future Past and although the scenario is completely different, the outcome is practically the same. Unfortunately for our heroes, the human opposition along with the Omega Sentinal are just as capable and determined in their efforts to stop them. Unfortunately for our heroes, the human opposition along with the Omega Sentinal are just as capable and determined in their efforts to stop them. Hero after hero fall in some pretty brutal and shocking ways and by the end of the issue, the Mother Mold is knocked offline. Pepe gets a lot of great scenes to pencil this issue and his attention to detail, particularly body language deserve a lot of praise. A lot of high stakes decisions are made by the characters in this issue and the comic wouldn't have been half as good if the art direction wasn't as solid. The creative team knocked it out of the park with this issue. This issue is an emotional gut-punch the further you get into it. At one point in a fit of desperation, the Mother Mold is activated. Cyclops and Xavier have an exchange that broke my heart because we know as readers "Whatever it takes" means in this scenario. House of X #4 is easily the best issue in this series to date. It's a solid midpoint for the story and its hard to even imagine what Hickman has in store for us to top this. Bonus: My thoughts After reading House of X # 4 I really want to know if this is really Xavier. I feel like a fakeout is coming. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Xavier may really be Sinister. I also think it's pretty safe to conclude that this is not Marvel 616. The characters look the same but there are too many circumstances going on with this timeline that feel out of alignment with the rest of the Marvel Universe. I know the easy answer is that Moira is reincarnating and affecting the outcome of each timeline. I just think there is another factor at play that hasn't come into focus yet. I could be entirely wrong. The reincarnating in a time loop is what keeps wrecking my brain. I understand the power of reincarnation but I don't get the loop. The creators of the Mother Mold are still alive, with so many of the X-Men lost what does that mean for our heroes going forward? What's to stop the project from being restarted with renewed resolve. Especially considering that the creation of the Mother mold was a joint venture by the world's governments to handle the mutant threat. The assault by the X-Men may be deemed an act of war. What will Xavier's and Magneto's response be in House of X #5? Xavier Proclaims declares "No More" by the end of the issue but is this something that even he can impede? How will the X-Men return? I've seen the solicits for the new series being launched this fall. Some of the fallen character's, most notably Cyclops and Wolverine are featured. How will they return? Are they pod people grown by Krakoa? Here on out Ill be reviewing the series weekly. It definitely has my attention.

9.5
House of X #5

Sep 24, 2019

I wasn't a fan of the Bendis era of X-Men. I absolutely hated what he did with Avengers Vs X-Men. I also wasn't really a fan of the Young X-Men being pulled forward into the current timeline. It was a really lame idea that hung around way too long. One of the characters Bendis has introduced that I found to be extremely goofy was Goldballs. He was given a ton of attention but seemed to be more of a favorite of the creator than the fans. If you told me that Goldballs would be immensely important to the House of X storyline I would have told you to GTFOH but Hickman makes it work. Hickman also brings other lesser-known characters to the forefront like Elixir, Tempest, Hope Summers. He also brings classic villain Proteus into the mix. Collectively these mutants are known as "The Five". Their job collectively is to resurrect fallen Mutants. Goldballs "Balls" are now revealed to be eggs that aren't viable. Proteus uses his reality-warping abilities to make the eggs viable. Mutant DNA is injected into the eggs and Elixir fertilizes them. Hope keeps the other mutants in sync ensuring that the resurrections are successful. The Five are able to bring back the Mutants killed in the previous issue. The second half of the issue features the mutants celebrating the return of the heroes and the destruction of the Mother Mold. During this segment of the book, we also get a number of callbacks to classic X-Men moments. All of the callbacks made me smile as Storm has the resurrected X-Men verify that they are the returning heroes that had died. This aspect of the comic has been divisive. Many have called out that the behavior of the characters during this segment as cult-like and somewhat off. It left me with more questions than answers. I've spoken to various fans in the community. I'm in the minority that believes that this is not Professor Xavier. The cloning and resurrection aspect of the book reminds me more of a Sinister plot than something Xavier would sign off on. The stockpiling of Mutant DNA and the backing up of Mutant consciousness via Cerebro seems to be a gross overreach by Xavier. If the story presented in this comic is 100% straight forward I'd be surprised. The comic also sees Xavier allowing most of the X-Men's rogues to Join the Nation of Krokoa. Wolverine is the only X-Man to voice a dissenting opinion here which makes me even more convinced that something is wrong here. The behavior of the X-Men feels like too much of a hivemind which is a bit too similar to the singular voice seen from the Sinister clones seen in Club Sinister (Powers of X #4). It's really cool to see Xavier building these bridges. Seeing Apocalypse here is especially shocking. The tone of the book is presented in a way to convince the reader that Mutants are more united in ever. The comic feels more like propaganda which is concerning. Time will tell as the story develops.

6.0
I Am Batman (2021) #0

Jan 9, 2022

I’m not a fan of current year politics in my entertainment. It’s not because I’m conservative or closed-minded. The problem tends to boil down to writer's virtue signaling to a hot button issue that they aren’t equipped to discuss with the complexity, nuance, and maturity needed to sway an audience one way or another. I do lean conservative so take this review with a grain of salt. However, I did grow up in a Democratic household and can usually relate to topical arguments as long as they are presented in good faith. I mention my political leanings to say that “I Am Batman #0 opens with one of the most ridiculous sequences I’ve ever read in a comic book. The comic opens with a confrontation between the GCPD and a group of “peaceful protestors”. The situation seems to be escalating on both sides of the conflict as protestors begin throwing projectiles and the Cops begin to move in. Whether you’re on the side of the Cops or the protestors is irrelevant. The scene is written clumsily and gets worst when the lead officer is fired for doing his job. Commissioner Montoya says that “People hate cops but cops don’t hate people”. No context is given for why the police were at the protest in the first place and the only impression left to take is that Police bad, protests/riots are good. Once the weird opening segment is out of the way we’re presented with a flashback to Tim Fox’s time in Japan before changing his name to Jace. It turns out this is his war name and his primary motivation is to Fight “The System”. The book flashes to the present day and we see Jace’s first attempt to break into the Batman armor. He sees people like Bruce and his Father as thinking they are above the law and wants to use the technology to show them that their strengths can be turned against them.While repurposing the armor, Jace is informed of a false flag operation to infiltrate the protest group and turn it into a full-blown riot to justify government forces moving in. This aspect of the story is the most interesting and should be relatable no matter your position on the nation's current political climate. The book ends with Jace Fox hacking the Bat-suit and showing up at the protests. He’s able to take down the provocateurs but amid the chaos, he’s targeted by the cops due to his vigilante status. The incident also goes viral as protestors unaware of the False Flag get a glimpse of Batman attacking protestors.I am honestly confused about why anyone thought this pitch was a good idea. Jace Fox has daddy and identity issues. He changed his name from Tim to Jace to solidify his place as a revolutionary. He’s also using the Bat-suit to repurpose what Batman stands for. It’s an odd foundation for a series that I don’t believe comes off as the Ridley is intending. The series feels like there was a mandate in the DC office to create a Black Batman that had little to no ties to Bruce Wayne or the Bat-Family. The downside to this story is that it feels like Jace is stealing Bruce’s gear and identity to work out the issues with his own. I think the story would have been better served by Jace taking the Wayne/Fox tech and carving out his own identity. We’ve had a similar storyline in the past when James Rhodes transitioned to War Machine over at Marvel. Even then, James had a long history with Tony before he ever wore the armor. Duke Thomas seems like the perfect candidate to take on the Batman Mantle if DC was hard up to have a Black Batman. Putting Jace in the role feels wrong. Jace doesn’t benefit from an established relationship with Bruce or the Bat-Family which makes this entire scenario seem off. In Short: There are some bright spots to the issue but the foundation of the series is flawed. I cannot recommend this series at this time.

7.5
IDW 20/20: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

Feb 3, 2019

Last Week I reviewed Ghostbusters: IDW 20/20 and said that with context the One-Shot would have been a better reading experience for me.  This is where the context comes in TMNT 20/20 is set presumably 20 years down the line and seems like a plausible yet somewhat sanitized view of the future of our mean green machines.  The Utrom's invaded earth and Europe was destroyed. The Turtles along with Sally Pride and her army have assembled to provide resistance.  A lot of inferences can be made by the holes in the plot. Where is Casey April, and Splinter or the rest of the Mutanimals. It's easy to assume the worst over a 20 year period.  It's a simple story but a lot of natural progressions are factored into the narrative. Leonardo is no longer the leader. Michelangelo has moved into the role and based on the direction of the Main series I'm not surprised at all. Leonardo has become a mystic, tapping into the astral plane and becoming a key infiltrator. Raph has become a general in the army and Donatello is a negotiator/diplomat. This is a nice side story but it has some serious problems preventing it from being great. The first is that being that since this future is clearly never going to come to pass it hard to feel any connection to the events in question. It's a well-scripted story but I'm not a fan of the narration. I sort of feel like the events recounting past should have been the actual one-shot. Another problem with the story is that it's 20 years into the future and the turtles look identical to how they look now. It's a superficial complaint but it is jarring. There are no scars, no wrinkles or anything outside of a couple references. It's such a glaring omission that it almost feels intentional.  The biggest issue is that the story doesn't justify its $4.99 cover price. The total disconnect between any current story beats makes the story seem inconsequential. It's a good story and the art is nice despite my complaints. I'm just not sure anyone would be missing anything if they gave this issue a pass.

6.5
Ignited #1

Jun 14, 2019

The last video I made was about Ignited the first offering by indie publisher H1. Ignited is written by Mark Waid in collaboration with Kwanza Osajyefo. I wasn't too keen on the idea of a comic that uses school shootings as the launchpad for a superhero comic. Being objective though most of the clickbaity articles and videos online made the idea seem a lot worse than the book actually is.  Is Ignited bad? Yes, yes it is. It the comic outright horrible? That will depend on your political leanings and what you consider entertainment when it comes to comic books.  Ignited falls into a couple of traps that prevented me from enjoying it and most of it had nothing to do with the basic premise.  The first issue I had immediately was the bland ass cover. If Karen's potato salad had a comic book cover equivalent it would be this one. Marvel gets away with bland pin-up covers because it's Marvel. The characters sell the book. Ignited isn't an established IP. Having a bland ho-hum cover that tells you nothing about what the series is about is unacceptable. In fact, I walked past the book 3 times before seeing it on the shelf.  With the cover being so shockingly bad the only thing the book has to sell itself on is a divisive premise and the creative team. Mark and Kawanza are both divisive creators. This further splits the fanbase and potential audience for this book. If you aren't already fans of the creators and you aren't offended by books capitalizing on School shootings than I guess this is the book for you.  Getting into the meat of the comic, The school shooting is not the inciting incident. People all over the world are getting superpowers for some reason.  I forget the creator that said it but paraphrasing. The X-men was one of the laziest ideas ever because rather than come up with an origin you could always fall back on the characters just being born differently. I love the X-men but I understand the complaint.  Ignited takes it a step further, the characters have powers because... Trump became president. Just Kidding but there isn't a compelling reason for the kids to have powers, they just do.  The next issue with the comic is that the comic is going to be decompressed. I just reviewed Doug TenNapel's BigFoot Bill and one of the areas I praised it for was for telling a concise story with a beginning, middle and end point.  Ignited feels like it should be either a graphic novel or a maxi-series at best. This is not a strong enough idea to warrant anything more than a couple of story arcs.  The story is told in flashbacks. At one point in the issue we see the characters in the present using their powers but the bulk of the issue an is set in the past to presumably give our characters an origin.  There is nothing wrong with an origin story especially for new characters but it's very annoying when Issue #1 ends and we're setting up the series. This is one of the biggest problems I have with the industry right now. Comics are way too expensive for comics to be this uneventful. Stuff happens, to be honest, it's not the most exciting and leads to my second biggest complaint.  The political angle is too on the nose and hurts the narrative. The politics of the story is why I'm not picking up Ignited #2. The comic opens with an Alex Jones stand-in claiming that the school shooting was a hoax.  The idea was offensive in real life and it just feels just as uncomfortable to read in comic. Not because it's offensive but because it's cringy AF.   Alex Jones has been de-platformed in real life for his stupid remarks and was nearly universally condemned for his statements. In the comic's the lead characters actually blow the guy's house up. It's supposed to be a powerful opening statement about the characters but in reality, the sequence just feels weird.  There isn't much action in the book in the book and the narrative isn't nuanced at all. If you're a left-leaning comic fan or a gun control advocate I can see parts of the book resonating with you but even then I can't see anyone getting entertainment value from this.  This is often the case with left-leaning books. It's the same with Nitehawk from Marvel or Bordertown from DC Vertigo. There are ideas that could work but fall apart because the stories feel places the need to push political propaganda over actually telling a good story.   I can't imagine a school shooting victim reading this and thinking hell yeah! this is empowering. It's not and feels more tone deaf than anything.  A better Idea would have been to drop the fantastical elements altogether and have the kids work within the system to make a change. There were ways to make this idea work but Mark and Kawanza took the worst possible avenue they could come up with.  The one positive aspect of the comic is the art from Phil Briones. I'm not familiar with his work but the comic looks great. I'm interested in seeing more from him but even his work can't overcome the flaws in the premise and execution of ignited. This is the last 3.99 that this series will get from me.  For More - https://www.gtmediareviews.com/home

9.0
Inferno (2021) #1

Nov 28, 2021

The promise of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men inspired me to dip my toe back into Marvel Comic’s after a long layover. The House and Powers of X series were brilliant and seemed to be a jumping-on point for the comic line. Hickman reintroduced high concept storytelling to the X-Men and also presented fresh ideas that went well beyond the constant rehashes of popular storylines that were overdone a decade ago. After a year of a meandering and stalled storyline, I felt myself checking out of the X-Men again. It was pretty clear that something had gone wrong in the X-Office and that the core concept of Hickman’s House of X had been warped. I don’t want to get into the rumors swirling about the creative direction of these books. It’s relevant but I’d rather focus on the titles themselves on this platform. Inferno intends to resolve the longstanding plot thread involving Mystique and the resurrection of her Wife, Destiny. Inferno #1 reveals that Destiny is still alive. Inferno #2 reveals how it was done without Magneto or Xavier’s knowledge. The moments between Mystique and Destiny are awesome and easily the best-written parts of the issue. The problem here is that many of the best parts of Inferno #1 are the scenes that were literally written years ago in House of X. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is held back by posturing between factions and a lot of faux political intrigue. If you’re reading X-Men for the Game of Thrones - Quiet Council elements. This issue may be great. If you’re like me this stuff is a chore to slog through. It’s also a huge pet peeve for me when a comic ends in the exact spot that it opens, at a council meeting. The meandering aspects of Inferno are the reason I dropped the X-Books from my pull list in the first place. Inferno #1-2 could have easily been compressed into a single setup issue with #2 dealing with the fallout from the revelations presented here. Aside from the Quiet Council elements, there is a developing plot by Orchis and the human faction. It appears that they are gearing up to attack the Mutants on Mars. It also appears that Moria, Magneto, and Xavier are about to be exposed to the rest of Krakoa. The series hit’s at a few high profile deaths and resurrections at the start of the series. Inferno touches on a few decent plot points but ultimately, nothing happens here. The scenes that seem to deserve more attention are blown past and we keep ending up in Quiet Council meetings. I was excited to see how Hickman completed his run on X-Men and so far there’s a lot of hype and no substance. In Short: Inferno over promises and under delivers…so far.

6.5
Inferno (2021) #2

Nov 28, 2021

The promise of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men inspired me to dip my toe back into Marvel Comic’s after a long layover. The House and Powers of X series were brilliant and seemed to be a jumping-on point for the comic line. Hickman reintroduced high concept storytelling to the X-Men and also presented fresh ideas that went well beyond the constant rehashes of popular storylines that were overdone a decade ago. After a year of a meandering and stalled storyline, I felt myself checking out of the X-Men again. It was pretty clear that something had gone wrong in the X-Office and that the core concept of Hickman’s House of X had been warped. I don’t want to get into the rumors swirling about the creative direction of these books. It’s relevant but I’d rather focus on the titles themselves on this platform. Inferno intends to resolve the longstanding plot thread involving Mystique and the resurrection of her Wife, Destiny. Inferno #1 reveals that Destiny is still alive. Inferno #2 reveals how it was done without Magneto or Xavier’s knowledge. The moments between Mystique and Destiny are awesome and easily the best-written parts of the issue. The problem here is that many of the best parts of Inferno #1 are the scenes that were literally written years ago in House of X. Unfortunately, the rest of the book is held back by posturing between factions and a lot of faux political intrigue. If you’re reading X-Men for the Game of Thrones - Quiet Council elements. This issue may be great. If you’re like me this stuff is a chore to slog through. It’s also a huge pet peeve for me when a comic ends in the exact spot that it opens, at a council meeting. The meandering aspects of Inferno are the reason I dropped the X-Books from my pull list in the first place. Inferno #1-2 could have easily been compressed into a single setup issue with #2 dealing with the fallout from the revelations presented here. Aside from the Quiet Council elements, there is a developing plot by Orchis and the human faction. It appears that they are gearing up to attack the Mutants on Mars. It also appears that Moria, Magneto, and Xavier are about to be exposed to the rest of Krakoa. The series hit’s at a few high profile deaths and resurrections at the start of the series. Inferno touches on a few decent plot points but ultimately, nothing happens here. The scenes that seem to deserve more attention are blown past and we keep ending up in Quiet Council meetings. I was excited to see how Hickman completed his run on X-Men and so far there’s a lot of hype and no substance. In Short: Inferno over promises and under delivers…so far.

9.0
Inferno (2021) #3

Dec 28, 2021

Inferno #3 is the penultimate issue in Jonathan Hickman’s run on X-Men. The quality of the Hickman era has been hit and miss from the moment the line expanded beyond House and Powers of X but when Hickman is on he’s on fire and that’s what we get in this issue. Inferno #3 goes a long way in redeeming this series. I’ve gave the first two installments a middling review this issue reflects a night and day difference in tone and focus. Thankfully, we’re not spending half the issue in a quiet council meeting. The Quiet Council space has been replaced by several legit bombshells as the comic progresses. We learn that Cypher’s relation to Krakoa is much deeper than initially suspected. Omega Sentinel gets a huge reveal tying to the greater X-Men lore. Moira gets taken off the board in a particularly violent way. It also appears that Xavier and Magneto won’t survive this series. The linework from the creative team is consistent with the rest of the series and if you’ve liked it so far you’re getting more of it here. This is one of the best looking X-books I’ve seen in a while and the the impending sense of dread carries throughout the book and hits a crescendo as the book climaxes with a pretty big cliffhanger. I really hate that Hickman’s run is over. Its clear that he had a plan going in that got screwed up by Marvel editorial. It also sucks that a lot of these concepts weren’t fleshed out in an ongoing. I read a lot of Dawn of X before getting frustrated and dropping all of the X-titles. If these were the concepts pushing the line forward I would have continued reading. At this time I’m jaded and once Inferno is over I doubt I come back to the line unless Hickman comes back to finish what he started. In Short: With Inferno #3 Hickman finally delivers the goods.

9.0
Inferno (2021) #4

Feb 5, 2022

Inferno #4 - An Ending Writer: Jonathan Hickman | Artists: Valerio Schiti & Stefano Caselli Review ✍ With Inferno #4 the Jonathan Hickman era of X-Men is finally over. This series isn’t a triumph or tragedy it is simply an ending. The Mystique/Destiny subplot is resolved. Moira X is outed and we get a fairly epic confrontation between Xavier-Magneto and Nimrod and Omega Sentinel. The issue also sets up the status of the X-Men going forward. Inferno #4 is entertaining and makes up for the series lackluster start. Although I’m happy with the resolution of the series I can’t say I’m interested in this overarching storyline without Hickman. The main reason that I dropped 95% of the X-Men line was that the Dawn of X storyline got too big and didn’t seem to have a firm direction. Many of the writers weren’t up to par and Even Hickman checked out over time. With over a dozen titles and muddied direction, the investment in the Krakoa age of X-Men didn’t seem worth it if this was the outcome envisioned. If you loved House/Powers of X, Inferno is a worthy follow-up. There are some genuinely awesome moments. The standoff between The Mutants and Orchis may be one of the most memorable fights I’ve seen in years. The book also pays off with an amazing cliffhanger that I won’t spoil. Nimrod is as menacing as ever and is one of the few villains that maintains intensity just by appearing in a panel. The intensity of the Orchis fight is perfectly executed by script and art direction and the main reason I won’t sell this book short on merit. Inferno shows Xavier and Magneto at their Apex and it's beautiful to see if you’re a fan of these characters. If you’re happy with the current direction of X-Men you’ll be getting more of it going forward. I wish I could be more excited about this issue but the overall story feels disjointed. and rushed. I’m not a fan of this incarnation of X-Men as many of them have been acting out of character for years now. Figuring out why the X-Men were acting so weird was one of the most interesting aspects of the for me and now it seems that it will never be resolved. The creators are too invested in the underlying socialistic utopian theme that Krakoa represents and aren’t gonna let it go anytime soon. In Short: Inferno #4 The end of an uneven era of storytelling For More: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

7.5
Ironheart #1

Nov 30, 2018

RiRi Williams is one of the most divisive characters in comics. She's cited as a diversity hire and one of the key targets when discussion comes up regarding identity politics at marvel comics or comicsgate. What do I think about Riri? She's okay, in fact I think the whole identity politics debate happened more as a reaction to all of the changes at marvel circa 2016 than Riri Williams herself.  What do I think about IronHeart #1? It's okay. The comics manages to be functional and does everything right but still didn't really resonate enough to keep me interested in the character or series.  Eve Ewing was lambasted in certain circles for being a meritless hire. Coming off of the street and given a series of prominence. The truth is that the writing for IronHeart is solid and right in line with everything else at Marvel in 2018. Riri is an introvert. She works better alone. She has a lot of trauma in her past and has a really hard time relating to people around her because of her extreme intelligence. Being a superhero and inventor is her outlet.  We get a new villain and a reference to an old one that will be fun to see Riri deal with if Marvel plays their cards right.  The art from Kevin Libranda and Luciano Vecchio make Ironheart and her world look distinct but nothing really stands out. Riri does looks great outside of the suit. I'm not a fan of the suit design as it looks more like an article of clothing than a suit of armor. There's even a panel where he costume transitions and underneath you can clearly see she's wearing a pair of converse.  I guess the suit is in line with Tony Starks bleeding edge armor but I'm not really a fan of that either so, shrugs. My other complaint is that I'm really tired of the teen hero super genius trope. Marvel currently has Iron Heart, Moongirl and Shuri and they are essentially permutations of the same character. I'll never say that Riri doesn't deserve to exist. There are people  just like Riri in the real world but when you see the same concept over and over again it feels lazy.   Overall if you're already a fan of the character you'll probably get more out of this issue than I did. For me the comic was bland. The issue looks good but overall the comic lacked any tension, danger or any "oh Shit" moments.  It's a solid first issue and sets the foundation for the character. I may revisit the series when the first arc is collected into a trade. It's not a bad start you can do a lot worse.  For More Reviews: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
It Came Out On A Wednesday #3

Dec 10, 2018

It came out on a Wednesday is an anthology series in the vein of Marvel's 90's comic series "Marvel Comics Presents" or classic series such as Heavy Metal or EC's Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror.  It's hard to really critique a series that is possibly the best value proposition on store shelves. That being said the issue is 48 pages with ads for the price of 1.99. Simply put, you can't beat this deal.  This issue contains has a beautiful Jack Kirby style cover from Bernie Gonzalez and features 6 stories that break down into  1. Emergence • Jordan Hart (Author) • Emmanuel Xerx Javier (Pencils) Emergence follows a World War II pilot that has fallen through into a parallel universe and winds up 70 years into the future. He discovers that he may be the world's last best hope. 2. Inosculation  • Cameron Riddle (Author) • Kostas Pantoulas (Pencils) Jack's Mother always warned him not to wander off into the woods. It turns out the reason was more horrifying than he could ever have imagined.  3. Mr. Crypt • Troy Vevasis (Author) • Aleksandar Jovic (Pencils) Mr. Crypt & Baron rat celebrate Halloween shenanigans ensue.  4. Hellgorythm • Jeremy Ferretti (Author) • SickJoe (Pencils) The enemies are closing in on Xar and Sid. Will they survive? Loyalties will be tested. 5. The Highest Bid • Eric Gahagan (Author) • Halil Mete (Pencils) Edward and Jennifer shared a passion for collecting until Edward becomes the highest bidder on a painting with a haunting secret.  6. The Wicked Righteous • Terry Mayo (Author) • Dave Swartz (Pencils) A prisoner in an abandoned cell block prays to his god for a sign. Will he take the opportunity when it presents itself.  All of the stories in the issue are interesting with the standouts being the "Emergence" and the "Inosculation". Emergence covers classic sci-fi tropes in an exciting way. Inosculation is simply horrifying.  Credit to all of the creators involved in this project. A series like this from the Big 2 (Marvel DC) would be $10.00 and that's not a hyperbolic statement. With mainstream publishers pushing monthly issue prices higher and higher to grift customer's and satisfy investors, Alterna Comics is a godsend.  For More reviews: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1

Jul 30, 2020

I shy away from about 90% of Harley Quinn's stories. I had a hard time getting through Injustice 2 whenever I had to play as the character. I had no interest in the Birds of Prey film because the character is the epitome of being loud and over the top. I also find the character to be painfully unfunny in most instances. Shockingly, I'm a big fan of the DC Black Label versions of Harley Quinn. They let me know that there is a great character buried underneath the fluff. I just wish DC would choose either the Criminal Sanity version or the one from Stjepan Sejic's Harleen and make it canon. The Deadpool lite version of Harley Quinn was old about a decade ago and at this point just burns my soul. Kami's voice for Harley is great. The character feels competent and a lot of the uncertainty or underlying weakness you see in regular takes on the character are gone. I couldn't imagine this version falling for the Joker. The story could end up going down that path but I doubt it. Criminal Sanity is one of the few serious takes on the character. The book puts her in the role of profiler trying to take down the Joker. These are also some of the most unique takes on the characters mainly because they seem so realistic. This feels like the world outside your window. It's so realistic that when Batman shows up in an obligatory cameo it feels out of place. Joker doesn't actually show up in the issue but his presence looms heavily throughout the installment. He's depicted as a serial killer who dismembers and stages their bodies like marionettes. There is some really disturbing stuff in this book and I loved it. The illustrations are heightened even further by the hyper-realistic art from Mike Mayhew and Mico Suayan. I'm not sure if there is a realistically portray Batman but I can't wait to see what they come up with. The book reminds me of "Dexter". The way the bodies are staged reminded me of the storyline that ran through that series when John Lithgow showed up. It's my favorite arc of that show. I don't know that this series was taking swipes from that one but if it does I wouldn't be mad at all. DC Black Label has always been a great concept and the line has been solidified with every release. The imprint seems to have the best writers- artists and the format just feel right. We may be looking at the future of comics. Criminal Sanity is off to a great start and we may be looking at a modern-day classic.

8.5
Jook Joint #1

Nov 14, 2018

Juke Joint is a Strange Bird. It is a shockingly brutal comic that has a great premise. if it tightens up in a couple areas it may be one of the most memorable reading experiences of 2018-2019.  The story follows the happenings of a Louisiana Juke Joint. It's run by a group of women that seem to have a supernatural bent and prey on men that abuse women and violate the rules of the Joint. The comic doesn't really spell out what's going on with the residents of the Juke Joint but I'm sure we'll learn more as the story develops. They share traits of Vampires but the lead character, Mahalia is able to travel during the day so that throws the Vampire idea into question. During a wild and horrific night in the Joint Mahalia takes interest in one of the Patrons Heloise. Heloise and her daughter are victims of domestic violence.  After conducting a ritual to influence her, Heloise is drawn to Mahalia the next day. Heloise asks for help and is given a protection bag to put in her window. Mahalia continues to influence the woman by pushing her into the direction of killing her husband.  The comic ends with Heloise following the directions of Mahalia and wondering if she's done the right thing.  Tee Franklin acknowledges the fact that she was the victim of domestic violence. This series comes out of her writings while she was going through therapy. Seeing that this story was inspired by such a dark experience, it's understandable that the comic is so brutal. The women of Juke Joint are Alpha predators. The violence isn't pretty and a couple scenes actually made me wince. The only issue I have with the script is that I think the story should have been slightly longer. I suspect that there is a better cliffhanger a few pages away. After reading the comic I handed it to my wife and she loved the strength of the lead character. We had an interesting chat about the comic. It was a great experience because I rarely share my hobby with her.  ​  Alitha E. Martinez is the artist of Juke Joint. She's amazing and gets point for making all of the characters look distinct. I also appreciate that the Women of Juke Joint come in all shapes and sizes. My only gripe with the art direction here is with the colors and inks. Considering that the story is set in a "Juke Joint" I would expect the colors to be more distinct and vibrant. I'm sure this is an artistic choice due to the horror elements but there are a couple of panels throughout the comic where hard to make out what's happening. At one point one of the men fall under the influence of voodoo doll but without any context, I had no idea of what was going on.  Aside from technical gripes Juke Joint is great and could easily translate to a television series or a movie. I'm interested in seeing where the story goes. The premise is interesting and if the relevalations continue to be imaginative the series may develop into a classic. 

8.5
Jook Joint #2

Dec 6, 2018

I enjoyed Jook Joint #1 and was pretty eager to jump back in to see where the story was going despite some reservations. We get some revelations regarding the women of the night spot. They are undead sirens brought back to life by Mahalia after being murdered by men who had wronged them in life.  The last issue ended on a cliffhanger as Heloise contemplated having her husband murdered. Instead of being killed, he is captured by Mahalia, The madame of the Jook Joint. Her goal is to empower Heloise with the strength to kill him herself.  Heloise offers to make other men suffer but doesn't have the resolve to kill her husband. After her daughter questions her about her father's disappearance Heloise begs Mahalia to set him free. She doesn't want to lie to her daughter anymore.  Mahalia responds to her pleas by showing her a vision of the future in which she is dead at the feet of the man that is abusing her. I had a really hard time writing this review. I want to love the story and in a sense I do. It's really different and brave. I do have some reservations despite the high praise I'm about to give.  It would be really easy for Mahalia to ride in and solve all of Heloise's immediate problems by getting rid of her husband but it wouldn't really empower her or solve the underlying problem.  More than likely the next guy would do the same thing or worse. Heloise is weak plain and simple. Its very easy to be the hero passing judgement on others but it's another thing in having the strength of your convictions. There is a scene in this issue where men are being brutalized but Mahalia won't allow Heloise to participate saying she's not ready. I don't believe that Heloise is not ready to kill. She clearly is angry but she's selfish in that she isn't ready to take on the same loss that she's willing to inflict upon others. For that theme, I can't praise this issue enough.  My gripes are technical in nature. The premise is excellent but some of the writing for this issue is choppy especially for the men that fall victim in this issue. I'm not expecting much from these guys, they are clearly assholes and don't deserve sympathy.  My concern is that when every man outside of the establishment is portrayed as a one-dimensional asshole it becomes a farce and takes away from the overarching message of the narrative. This is also an issue I took with Bordertown, another series with a heavy social justice message. It's not as bad as that series but it's in there. I also didn't quite understand the point of the sex and nudity. It really jumps this time around. Maybe not pointless but totally unnecessary to the progression of the story.  The art direction seems to be more consistent this time around. The gripes I had about detail and not being able to make out certain scenes are all but gone. Despite the hiccups, the overall plot is fine and if tightened up slightly could make for an amazing overall series. I have faith we'll get there.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Justice League (2018) #5

Dec 5, 2018

I haven't been giving the latest run of Justice League the attention it deserves and I promise to get better going forward. Its been great so far and I figured I'd start at the point where the plot came into focus.  Justice League #5 gives us the origin of this incarnation of the Legion of Doom. After traveling 1000000 years into the future Lex discovers that he was correct in his core belief of self-reliance. His stance inspires humanity to stop depending on superheroes and eventually conquer the universe.  Taking this knowledge back to the present Luthor doubles down on his efforts in an attempt to see the fruits of his labors in his own lifetime.  As an origin story, this issue is great. It's always fun to get the story from the antagonist's perspective. The scale of the story is appropriately epic in scope. Its cool to see the Legion of Doom setup as a counter to the Justice League as opposed just being evil for evil's sake.  The art direction from Doug, Jaime, and Wil is top notch. They manage to render deep pace, 1000000 AD, and the incidental scenes on earth with the weight needed to get the point of the issue across. Lex Luthor is about to take over the universe and we're all F*^ked. There is a synergy with this creative team that simply doesn't get enough attention in modern titles. My only knock to the issue is that when the overarching plot comes back into focus its continuity heavy and may put off new readers. Every comic is someone's first and in this issue, it references Justice League: No Justice as well as the 4 previous issues. I have them all so it doesn't bother me but if you're a new reader it may be a bit much to keep track of.   For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.0
Justice League (2018) #6

Dec 25, 2018

The cover for Justice League #6 is a bit of a red herring. It depicts a potential slugfest between Wonder Woman and Aquaman orchestrated by Gorilla Grodd. Even though the cover isn't really a representation of the comic, the issue does manage to be pretty awesome in its own right. Standout characters in the conflict are the Joker and Lex Luthor. They both seem to be operating on another level right now and it's good to see human characters able to cause the JL so much trouble.  The Legion of Doom is on the verge of winning as the Justice League desperately try to stop them. Every time that the League appears to be gaining any sort of momentum, they come up short.  The issue does a great job of subverting the reader expectations of a predictable outcome while also raising the stakes going into the next issue.  The cliffhanger promises to even further escalate the situation and I'm not sure I'm ready for whatever shenanigans Snyder decides to pull out of his bag of narrative tricks next issue. Jorge Jimenez appears to be having a blast on the art this issue. I'm in awe of his talent in laying out a scene and the energy throughout the issue is amazing. The legion of doom has never looked this powerful or competent. Credit also to Alejandro Sanchez for bringing this world to life. Nothing is boring to look at or read in this issue and the synergy among this creative team is top notch.  Great issue!!! For more reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.0
Justice League (2018) #7

Jan 26, 2019

If Justice League #7 could be described in one word it would be "Big". The comic is a climax to the first arc but also an ongoing theater in a developing war. This is what I imagine a Justice League Story is supposed to feel like. The heroes win and the villains are forced to regroup.  There are plenty of "Oh Sh!t" moments but the standout is an encounter between Lex Luthor and Hawkgirl. I'm not as familiar with her as I probably should be but she puts on an excellent showing. I also always love to see Lex battle anyone besides Superman. What this does is continue to scale the League with the Legion so that the impression is that neither side has a huge advantage in this war.  There are also quieter character interactions and development throughout the issue. The characters feel like real friends, an actual team instead of just an assorted collection of heroes.  The pencils from Jim Cheung continue to impress and the constantly shifting script is matched on the artistic front. Tomeu Morey is spectacular here. The colors pop and complement every other aspect of the narrative.   I appreciate that pace of the issue. Too many writers rely on the artists to fill in too many gaps in the story. Which leads to comics you can breeze through in a few minutes. This series has benefited from the collaborative efforts of the team. It's worth the cover price and bodes well for the series going forward.

8.0
Justice League (2018) #8

Mar 3, 2019

Justice League #8 picks up immediately with the cliffhanger that the previous issue ended on. Lex Luthor has imprisoned The Batman Who Laughs beneath the base of the Legion of Doom. The issue is primarily a dialogue between the two villains. It's not an action-heavy issue but still manages to be interesting. The Batman Who Laughs is a fun character and it's interesting to see James Tynion's take on the character. The downside is that in this issue Bruce sounds more like Joker in a Bat suit rather a Jokerize Bruce Wayne. Nevertheless, the issue is solid as the series pivots into its second major story arc. I'm still unacceptably behind on this comic which is a shame because every issue has been really good.  The art direction is on par with the rest of the series. There isn't much action in the issue but what's there is fantastic. There is an amazing scene with Black Manta and Cheetah that deserves mention. The colors are great and although the book does have some lull's the issue is worth your time. Nothing is particularly bad, the comic just seems uneventful despite the hype surrounding the interaction between Lex and The evil Batman.

7.0
Justice League (2018) #9

Apr 23, 2019

Just like Justice League Dark #5, this comic is a transitional issue between story arcs. It sets the table for our characters but beyond that, it's not a memorable comic book at all. I read it twice last week and glanced at it again as prior to writing this review. There is really nothing special to this issue. That's not to say that the art or writing is shoddy but it's a really uneventful experience that you won't remember after a few days, if ever.  ​​ The throughline of the issue is Superman's reassembly of a moon and his encounter with an alien race of solar vampires known as Coronavores. Interspersed with this engagement we check in on all the characters dealing with the fallout from the last battle with the revitalized legion of doom. Batman is recovering, John Stewart and Flash have lunch, Wonder Woman and Aquaman rebuild. There is a lot of character building throughout but the most interesting exchange comes when Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter get into a small skirmish related to their time in the source wall. ​​ There really isn't anything else here. If you were inclined to skip an issue of the series this would be the comic to do so. It's a slice of life with the League and a weak issue systematic of the larger problem with the bi-weekly publishing schedule. The comics isn't bad just about as uneventful as you can get.   

7.5
Justice League (2018) #10

Jun 24, 2019

How sad is it that I'm still reviewing comics from 2018. I know its weird but I truly feel that It's worth my time because comics are in a rough spot in 2019, and maybe you've missed this issue or any other on this blog. Maybe it inspires you to visit your local comic shop and pick up the issue or trade.  Drowned earth is a pretty obvious Aquaman centric story. This issue was released in advance of the Billion dollar movie and works as an introduction of the character to new readers and advance the Justice League vs Legion of Doom that has been going on since the beginning of the series.  I've never been a big Aquaman fan. Not because I dislike the character I'm just fairly new to DC comics and never got into him. The material I've seen featuring the character has been decent and this issue is no different.  The gist of the plot is that invaders from cosmic oceans come to earth to invade and begin flooding the planet. Aquaman and the League must deal with it.  It's a serviceable plot and nothing stands out as bad but the story feels kinda generic. I feel like we won't remember drowned earth about a year from now other than as a random arc.  As an intro its solid. I had fun seeing Adam Strange and Firestorm even though they don't get much to do. They get the best lines of the issue. The art is okay but nothing depicted in the issue is particularly memorable. The story may get better but I'm not expecting much. The issue feels like filler and I'm getting the impression that the arc may be as well.  Sorry, I can't give much of an in-depth review but there isn't much here other than a McGuffin search and a cliffhanger ending.  Hopefully, we'll have more meat to discuss in the next part to this story arc. 

7.0
Justice League (2018) #11

Feb 8, 2020

The Drowned earth event has been pretty solid. The story is decent and the villains have been fun. The weakest link in the chain has been Justice League. I'm reading this series as well as Undiscovered Country, I had similar concerns with both titles. Both titles have cool concepts and are content-heavy but feel overstuffed. One of the primary criticisms of the Disney Star Wars films is that the characters are always running around like a chicken with their heads cut off. Justice League #11 feels like that and lost a lot of entertainment value about midway through the issue. It's not the worst comic on the shelves but its easily the worst title for me in this event. The book focuses on three fronts. Batman in the Hall of Justice. The rest of the issue splits time between Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Superman, Flash, and Mera. The villains show up and are menacing but there isn't enough time spent on any one element and it makes the entire issue feel like a mess. This is an event that probably needed more space. The Batman stuff could have been pushed to a Batman: One-Shot or mini-series. This would have given Snyder enough room to focus the story on a couple of elements rather than several. I don't want to be a total downer. I wasn't a fan of the interior linework and won't spend time on it The Francisco Mattina variant, on the other hand, is God-Tier. If the poster was available I would buy it immediately. The event is somewhat uneven but even with the lesser titles, Drowned Earth has been a net possible so far.

7.0
Justice League (2018) #12

Feb 16, 2020

Justice League #12 is proof that the problems with the JL Drowned Earth tie-ins aren't Scott Snyder's fault. The problems fall almost entirely on the editorial group assigned to this title. This issue is loaded with locations and sub-plots. The large cast, constant shifts in location and plot point have led to a mess of an issue. I don't want to blame the writers. James Tynion IV and Snyder do a decent job coordinating things but there is simply too much going on in a 22-page comic. The Legion of Doom - Batman subplot is particularly jarring when contrast with the rest of the Drowned Earth plot. It has next to nothing to do with the main story and feels like more of a distraction than anything. It should have been put on hold or segregated to its own mini-series or one-shot. The issues would have read better that way. The book splits time between Batman and the Legion of Doom; Superman, Mera and Flash; and Poseidon Aquaman and Wonder Woman. The heroes do battle with the space gods and actually gain some ground in this issue. The comic isn't actually bad but readers picking the comic up may be overwhelmed. The book doesn't stand up as a single issue. The art for Justice League #12 is solid. The scenes in the Hall of Justice with Batman fighting off the Legion of Doom are drawn in a traditional style by Bruno Redondo. The rest of the book is drawn by Frazer Irving. These segments have a beautiful otherworldly quality. The two styles don't mesh well and I wish that one style was chosen over the other, preferably Irvings. The mashed-up art styles reinforce my belief that the editors were out to lunch when this issue was put together. The comic Isn't the worst on the shelves but the cramped nature of these Justice League tie-ins are definitely holding this event back from greatness.

10
Justice League (2018) #13

Sep 2, 2020

It feels like I'm reviewing a lot of Joker content lately. The character is extremely hot right now and it's not hard to see why so many talented creators have lined up to write him. All of the takes on the character I've reviewed are different. That extends across comics and into other forms of media. This isn't the traditional Joker I'm used to that gleefully beats kids too death with crowbars. This Joker is a potential threat to the DC universe which is hard to reconcile when you see the more grounded takes found in the depictions of Batman: Three Jokers or the Joker Graphic Novel. I'm not sure exactly why I stopped reading Justice League. I'm guessing it was because the series was shipping biweekly and I just couldn't keep up. I'm pretty sure that I would have stayed on board if I'd read this issue before dropping the title from my pull list. With Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth being over we're back to the overarching Justice League vs. Legion of Doom storyline and Lex Luthor's quest to obtain God-Like power. This issue sees Lex and his dealings with Joker and The Batman Who Laughs. As seen in previous issues Lex Luthor has The Batman Who Laughs held captive in the Legion of Doom base. Lex Makes the agreement with the insane Batman not to interfere with each other's plans going forward. The situation escalates pretty quickly for Luthor when it's revealed that prior to meeting with The Batman Who Laughs he made a "him or me" arrangement with the Joker. Joker finds out about the lie and proceeds to make Lex's life a living hell for the rest of the issue. If you want a "Peak" Joker experience and evidence of why he belongs in the Legion of Doom I submit Justice League #13. James Tynion IV has jumped to the top of my list of best comic writers working today and is on par with Jeff Lemire. This issue is easily a masterpiece and one of the reasons I started reading comics in the first place. The comic is wonderfully illustrated by Guillem March who beautifully illustrates the grimy streets of Gotham and the cosmic elements that come into play. He also makes the Joker look like an absolute beast by the end of the issue which is a credit to the art direction and script of the issue. Tynion is currently producing Joker War for DC comics. I have no idea how long it will take me to get there but I'm definitely excited to see what he has in store for the character. On the strength of this issue, I'm going to try to get caught up at least through the end of the Snyder Run on Justice League. This is the highest compliment I can give regarding the creative direction of this issue. Rating: God-Tier

10
Justice League (2018) #17

Feb 9, 2019

Previously in Justice League... Back in the 90's there was a running subplot in X-Men: The Animated Series in which Magneto and Professor X were depowered and stranded in the Savage Land. They were forced to work out their differences and survive in a hostile environment. It was one of my favorite arcs of the series and was totally detached from the main plot during the season it aired.  In Justice League #17 we are presented a similar situation with the unlikely pairing of Lex Luthor and Martian Manhunter. Without hyperbole, we may be looking at a strong early contender for the best single issue of the year. I know the spoilers for the issue are everywhere but out of respect for the creators and the major twists found within I will avoid a bulk of them here. These are two characters I most certainly would have never paired together. It was hard to imagine at the outset of the issue that it would come together so well. Even the scheme of the cover hints at a deeper connection with the greens and purples bleeding together into a beautiful tapestry. There is a lot of character building, world building, menace and revelations throughout the issue. The comic is extremely well paced and even though there is a ton of info dumped throughout the book, it's never boring. I was initially concerned when Snyder switched from writing Batman to taking over DC's Flagship team book but the series has genuinely become one of the highlights of my weekly pull list.  Justice League reviews and I mean it. The inks here also flesh out the atmospheric personality of the issue. I rarely call out the inkers but this exceptional issue. It's a very bright yet surprisingly dark comic and the inks punctuate every panel found within the book. All involved need to be mentioned.  Tomeu is the best colorist working in comics today and he deserves special praise for his work elevating every series that he's attached to. Rather than spoil the comic here I will post a video addendum next week and go in-depth into the issue. There are a lot of potential ramifications for both sides of this conflict. I'm still a relative noob to DC comics lore but this one caught me completely off guard.  Kudos to all involved this was a great ride.

9.0
Justice League (2018): Drowned Earth Special #1

Feb 1, 2020

It feels really weird reviewing this book for a number of reasons. First off, its another book from 2018. It's also technically the first issue in the event even though I've already reviewed three of the tie-ins. The reading order for the event has been weird but here we are Drowned Earth started awkwardly in Justice League #10. It's gotten progressively better as the event has gone on. Titans #28 was a solid prelude and from a storytelling perspective, this issue is great. Space Gods have decided that now is the time to take revenge on the earth based on actions taken in the distant past by Poseidon. The premise is simple but gives the League threat worthy of their powerset. The story also works as a nice primer for the Aquaman film which was released around the same time. 'm gonna get the major complaint out of the way first. I'm not a fan of the art style. Howard does a decent enough job with the backgrounds and landscapes but when he has to draw the heroes and villains some of the character models and face's get rough. I'm not gonna say the art is trash but I wouldn't have chosen him to man the first part of this event. I remember reviewing Justice League Dark/Wonder Woman: Witching Hour last year. That event felt rushed and confusing. Drowned earth is clear, concise and easy to understand. If you can ignore the slow start this is one of the best starts to an event I've read in years from a mainstream publisher. The villains are all appropriately menacing and worthy of the League's attention. We see Atlantis, Gotham, and Metropolis fall by the end of the issues and it's hard to imagine a quick recovery after the event is over. I know the review is late and the event has largely been forgotten but in hindsight, the story was pretty good and should be a really big deal in relation to DC's continuity. We'll see how it goes, so far so good.

10
Justice League Dark (2018) #3

Nov 18, 2018

I wasn't a fan of DC Comics until DC Rebirth. I liked Batman and Flash but I was never an avid reader of the publisher.  One of the unexpected consequences of that distinction is that everything feels new to me. I haven't really run into a character, story arc or perspective character that didn't feel fresh.  I make the statement above to preface the fact that this may be the best single issue I've read since I started reading DC In this issue, the team is confronted by a powerful entity from another dimension known as the Upside Down Man. He quickly makes short work of the team's heavy hitters including Swamp Thing and John Constantine.  All seems lost until the villain confronts Wonder Woman. He seemingly unlocks some previously unknown magic within her. With Zatanna's guidance, Wonder Woman is able to channel the Magic and push The Upside Man back to his home Dimension as he vows to return.  What sets this issue heads and shoulders above most on the shelves is the Villain and art direction. Even with the colors being dark the panels are still vibrant and contrast nicely. I've been complaining a lot about bland colors in horror-based comics and in this instance it works nicely. In most comics that I read the villain is just an obstacle and not an actual threat. The Upside Down Man has a unique and truly unsettling design which it goes a long way because the look is so contrary to what's expected. We see our heroes going all out to put him down and still failing. We also get some very disturbing visuals as one of our heroes is melted.    Even with the eventual victory the Villain brushes it off as a minor setback and vows to return.  There is some interesting character progression within the book especially with Zatanna and her father. We also get the revelation that Wonder Woman is somehow to tap into magical forces. I also got a chuckle out of John Constantine. This book has it all and is a great barometer of what DC comics can be when it's firing on all cylinders. If this is the shape of what's to come Justice League Dark may eventually wind up being the premier DC team Book.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.0
Justice League Dark (2018) #4

Feb 13, 2019

Justice League Dark #4 continues as the 3rd part of "The Witching Hour" story arc. Wonder Woman harnesses the power of the "Witchmark" and uses it to confront the Hecate and her champion Manitou Dawn. The bulk of the issue portrays a huge confrontation between the League and the Hecate. The linework for the issue is outstanding which is par for the course for this series. My only complaint is that the color palate for the issue doesn't really have much variety and even though the pencils are incredible nothing portrayed in the issue really stands out. The script is dense and packed with exposition but nothing within this issue really surprised me at all. I even called the ending before it happened. It's not a bad comic but it's definitely filler and a step back for the series. 

7.5
Justice League Dark (2018) #5

Apr 23, 2019

With my review of "The Witching Over" storyline finally ending, the series gets back to normal, whatever is normal for Justice League Dark. The comic shines the spotlight on Detective Chimp as he mourns the death of his friend and mentor, Nightmaster. After Nightmaster dies Detective Chimp is left with the bar, The Sword of Night and given responsibility to protect the Realm of Myrra. He drowns his pain in liquor before being interrupted by Wonder Woman and Zatanna. They bring a new mission and requires his assistance. The sword is needed to travel to the realm of Myrra. A realm that the Chimp wants nothing to do with.  As this plot is going there is a B-Plot in which Swamp Thing and John Constantine have a brief fight with Dr. Fate The book isn't the most "High T" comic, and is actually kind of a downer. It's also not the most accessible issue. If you've been reading the series to this issue you'll have some familiarity with the characters you won't be completely lost but if you're casual to the greater DC Universe the events here may still be kinda confusing. There is a lot going on in the comic and sets the table for the next story-arc.  The highlight of the issue is the Detective Chimp segments. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite DC characters. The writing for these segments of the comic is extremely strong, exploring the grief of a guarded individual touched me because I'm also an introverted individual and don't share my feelings easily. The other moment that stood out to me was the fight between Dr. Fate and our heroes. I don't know these characters well but it's cool to establish power level tiers amongst characters. I now see Dr. Fate as a step above Constantine and Swamp Thing. The Phantom Stranger also makes an appearance and I'd wager he's a step above the rest. The art provided by _ is excellent but is sort of let down by the downcast script. Even the scenes that you'd guess would be exciting, feel meh. It's not the art direction that is letting the issue down. It's the lack of energy in the plot. Aside from these observations, the issue is okay and a solid start to the current storyline though I wish the comic was a bit more fun.

8.5
Justice League Dark (2018) #6

Jun 27, 2020

I don't remember why I dropped Justice League Dark from my pull list but clearly I shouldn't have. I don't even remember most of the previous book aside from Bobo (Detective Chimp) monologing and drinking. This issue picks up with Detective Chimp captured and still morose over the death of his partner, The Nightmaster. He is eventually set free by Wonder Woman who convinces him to carry on and live up to the faith that Nightmaster had in him. The comic checks in on the rest of the team. Swamp Thing and Constantine witness a huge battle between Swamp Thing and the Phantom Stranger. We also get to see Zatanna investigating how Bobo got them into the situation in the first place. This is a solid chapter in an ongoing series. I really was down on Constantine in my review of Batman #63 but here he feels like a real character. I still think he's a bit overrated. The entire team dynamic works better than expected with the exception of Manbat. I still question what the hell he's doing here. I have a suspicion that he's probably someone on the creative team's favorite character. The art is perfectly paced with the script. There are huge action beats and introspective moments, particularly between Bobo and Dynamic. The characters have chemistry and you buy their relationships as friends and teammates. There's a lot to love in this issue and it looks like I'm gonna have to track down issue #7. I'm sort of invested in the outcome of this story arc now.

10
Justice League Dark (2018) #7

Nov 25, 2020

I'm a big fan of classic horror magazines like Erie, Creepy, and Tales from the Crypt. Justice League Dark #7 is the first mainstream comic I've seen that takes the horror format from those comics and applies them to a mainstream book. The comic is framed around Man-Bat who acts as the host of the comic. He's been my least favorite member of the team so far and hasn't had much to do to this point in the series. Langstrom (Man-bat) details several JLD casefiles involving their investigation into "The Other Kind". The stories are all creepy and end with a bit similar to the aforementioned horror magazines. It's a lot of fun and one of the more imaginative comics I've read in a while. I reviewed JLD #6 and this issue doesn't appear to be a continuation of the previous storyline. Although I loved this issue it's a jarring transition between issues. The atmosphere of the issue is also pretty awesome. The art direction is spot on for this sort of homage. There is a lot of variety in the stories being told Alvero and Brad knock it out of the park. There are ghost stories, body horror, horrific implications. Even classic characters like Frankenstein make an appearance. You can probably guess that I loved this comic and the creative approach it takes. It also hit me with nostalgia pangs for more stories like this. With comics being a visual medium I always appreciate when a title thinks outside of the box. If we had more comics like this the industry would be a lot more interesting and healthier. Rating GOD-TIER

9.5
Justice League Dark (2018): Witching Hour #1

Feb 24, 2019

After a couple of middling issues, The Witching Hour ends up nicely with one of the strongest conclusions to an arc I've read in recent memory.  Let's start with the negatives. I feel that the Witching Hour event probably could have been reduced to 3 parts or have been released as a single graphic novel. I know that these crossover events are designed to increase interest in multiple titles but when the story starts to fill padded fans notice and with comics costing between 3.99-4.99, filler issues are almost painful. If Wonder Woman #57 and Justice League Dark #4 were removed entirely I'm not sure how much content would have actually been missed from the story. The key strength of the series is the strengthening bonds between our heroes. Zatanna and Wonder Woman are both strong and extremely powerful. They feel like co-leaders and it feels great to see character growth and rapport as the series moves forward.  The Hecate is given a truly sad and tragic origin story. Her motivations are understandable and relatable. She was worshipped for her magical abilities and then imprisoned when the wonder assigned to her prowess turned to fear.  ​​ I think that the defeat of the Hecate was plausible but with the JLD going against god-like entities the solutions to these crisis's need to be more imaginative. Plot armor isn't a serious problem yet but could easily turn into a crutch if the threats continue to escalate. The art is on par with the rest of the event. Everything looks great but there aren't any blockbuster moments rendered. Nothing jumped out as offensive either. It was nice to see the upside-down man again as he is one of the creepiest villains I've seen In a DC comic to date.  ​​   Overall The Witching Hour was a serviceable diversion. It works in solidifying the direction of the Justice League Dark team. I appreciate that DC comics contains these events to one or two series and not pulling the entire line into the mix. If The Witching Hour had been a Marvel event there would have been 50 meaningless tie-ins and 100 variant covers.  ​​ This issue was great and despite the stated gripes, the comic worked to tie the entire event together into a satisfying conclusion. It also works as a great double sized single issue. Not sure how memorable this event will be long term but its a sterling reflection of the potential of the series and characters therein. 

9.5
Justice League: Odyssey #1

Oct 22, 2018

JUSTICE LEAGUE: ODYSSEY #1 Joshua Williamson (Author) • StJepan Sejic (Artist, Cover)  •Publisher: DC Comics I picked up Justice League Odyssey #1 after seeing one of Richard C. Meyer's videos at Diversity & Comics. Although I didn't enjoy the issue as much as ya Boi Zack, this is an excellent jumping on point. New readers and anyone that is interested in some of DC's lesser known heroes will find enjoyment here. Justice League Odyssey spins out of the DC's  "No Justice" event a few months back. It picks up with Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz fighting boredom and patrolling the Ghost Sector. This continues until she's alerted to Brainiacs ship's breaching the Ghost Sector.  What she doesn't know is that the ship's passengers are Cyborg, Starfire and Azrael, who has also stowed away.  Jess approaches the ship not realizing that the extreme radiation in the sector can possibly kill her even with her ring protecting her. Starfire leaves the ship and manages to save Jessica before she takes on too much damage.  ​  Jess threatens to arrest them all but they are attacked by a creature in the sector and have to escape. Azrael takes over the ships controls while Starfire uses her energy powers to amp Cyborg who is has integrated into the power source. With the amp in power, the ship has a enough power to propel itself away from the monster. The ship crashes and its revealed this is an unsanctioned Justice League mission.  Cyborg started receiving signals to come to the Ghost Sector. Azrael and Starfire also felt a pull to participate in this mission.  The comic ends as its revealed that the three were drawn to the location by Darkseid to fulfill a prophecy to save the Ghost Sector.  ​​ Justice League Odyssey is a great read that appears to be setting up a pretty epic story. The team itself is a cool and has some inspired choices, including a nice mix of new and old characters. Azrael, Firestar, Cyborg, GL - Jessica Cruz & Darkseid are all interesting choices. Using Darkseid to bring the team together is very interesting counter programming and it will be fun to see his interactions with these characters.  The art by StJepan Sejic is simply jaw-dropping. I've followed him for a few years now on deviantart and it's exciting to see him doing interiors. My only complaint with the issue is that the voice for Jessica Cruz is somewhat cheesy. It got really annoying really quick. I hope there will be an improvement with the characters dialogue and less quips but it seems like this may be the voice that the comic goes with.  Minor Gripes aside the issue has a solid foundation and I'm excited to see where the story goes from here.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.0
Justice League: Odyssey #2

Feb 2, 2019

After an extremely long layover between reviews, we pick up with our makeshift Justice League team (Azrael, Cyborg, Starfire, and GL Jessica Cruz) as they battle Darkseid.  JL Odyssey #2 is a decent read. The art is amazing the plot is interesting but the dialogue, particularly in the first half is very choppy. The confrontation between Darkseid and the League goes about as well as can be expected as he quickly dispatches Azrael, Starfire, and Cruz. Cyborg manages to hold his own against Darkseid which leads him to draw the conclusion that something is wrong with the Lord of Apokalips.  Darkseid pulls Cyborg to the site of a temple littered with the bodies of the planet's inhabitants. Curiously, there is also a large statue dedicated to Starfire.  Darkseid offers Cyborg a truce but when the rest of the League arrive at the location, he disappears. A survivor appears and reveals that the planets inhabitants dedicated themselves to the worship of Starfire. After a series of calamities, the populace of the planet was apparently slaughtered by angels. The man takes them to a multiversal key. When Starfire tells him that she can't read the language he then transfers his knowledge to her. This allows her to read the mysterious text but also destabilizes the planet and overwhelms her with darkness. The back half of the issue presents an intriguing scenario but I'm not sure that the mystery is interesting enough to sustain an audience for an entire series.  The art is great but there are no standout moments in regards to art direction or the script. The fight with Darkseid ends quickly and ultimately is inconsequential.  All of the elements of a great series are here but the thread tying the disparate elements together appears to be missing. 

7.0
Justice League: Odyssey #3

Jun 20, 2019

One of the hardest parts of being a comic reviewer is encountering a string of mediocre comics. Good comics you're typically excited to get your feelings out there. Bad comics tend to be easy to poke holes into and format into a review. With books that fall into the meh category, it's hard to find motivation at all.  I actually forgot I owned this comic, it got mixed up in a long box by accident. I guess I know why now. Justice League Odyssey #3 isn't terrible, it simply exists.  ​​ The comic picks up after the cliffhanger of the last issue with Starfire being out of control and the makeshift Justice League having to deal that.  Sadly the cover and first few pages are the most exciting aspects of the issue. The rest of the book features continues building the setting of the Ghost Sector and also focuses in on character development and interactions within the team.  It sounds good on paper but the book isn't terribly exciting. We're three issues deep and the series is still in setup phase which means we're officially pacing this series for the trade.  ​​ Ironically, I just finished reading Transformers #2 from IDW. The book is totally different but feels similarly paced but that series feels fresh while this one feels as bland as Karen's potato salad.  The art from Philippe Briones is detailed and varied throughout the issue but something isn't landing for me. I think it's more to with the generic story being told here than the art direction. A new villain is introduced in this issue by the name of Rapture. Not much information is given about him but he seems to have a connection to Azrael. ​​ The series actually reminds me of X-Treme X-Men, a series that followed a group of X-Men operating independently searching for the diaries of Destiny. A villain that could see the future. That series was also pretty bland and didn't last long by the standards of the time.  The story of Justice League Odyssey plods along similarly and ends on another cliffhanger. I want to like this series, I may finish the first arc and see how it turns out but it's not holding my interest. It's too early in this series lifespan to be firing off filler content. Also, despite the cool Stjepan Sejic cover's suggestion, Darkseid does not appear in the book. 

7.0
Justice League: Odyssey #4

Jan 26, 2020

When DC comics split the Justice League into three titles (Justice League, Justice League Odyssey, Justice League Dark) I was pumped. I added all three titles to my pull list. I got back into comics in 2015 and hadn't found a team book that worked for me. The best of the bunch was Justice League Dark but one of the nagging issues with all three titles was the decompressed storytelling. This hits JL Odyssey particularly hard because I'm not familiar with most of the team and they are in a location I know even less about. Decompressed storytelling only worked in books that are manned by top tier writers who are great at pacing. Decompressed books also need to be affordable or readers will either wait for the trade or drop out of the title entirely or begin pirating. This is where I am with this series and I think this will be my last review for this title. Justice League Odyssey has a couple of pages of excitement but the plot still moves at a snail's pace. The Stjepan Sejic cover is great and does the job of selling the book. Its also worth pointing out that the events portrayed on the cover happen in the comic, sorta. Philippe and Jeromy do it a fine job with the art direction. The backgrounds really stood out to me this time around. I've read comics recently where backgrounds were a complete afterthought so its nice to see artists that give a damn. The story picks up with Cyborg and Azrael discovering that they are also being worshipped as gods. Some of the populace do not believe and force them into a fight. The battle is the best scene of the book, but the fight ends too quickly. Elsewhere the rest of the team investigate the plot. The issue also touches base with Darkseid and his plot. The issue works on its own but if you've been reading since issue #1 it feels like nothing has really happened to progress the story. This works when the book has a lower price point, but at $3.99 an issue the book doesn't feel worth the money or my time. There are some pretty pics and the plot may eventually come together but I'm not gonna keep throwing money at the series hoping that it eventually comes together.

7.0
Kane and Able (2021) OGN

Nov 4, 2021

I read Kane & Able about a month ago while High. I didn't remember much of it aside from its oversized presentation. I reread the graphic novel last night and although I can give an honest assessment of it now I'm not sure who the book is for aside from fans of Batshit crazy anthology series. The closest series I can compare this book to would be Heavy Metal. The comic features several short stories crafted by creators Shaky Kane and Krent Able. I've never heard of either creator and although there are a few aspects of the book that didn't land, I did admire the imaginative nature of the project and would like to see more of this down the line. Some of the vignettes went over my head including the main storyline featuring a Jack Kirby Stand-in and a magic Pen. These sections of the book are cool Easter Eggs especially if you're fans of the comics medium and its founding fathers. I'm also sure there are a lot more Easter eggs in the book than what my mind could process. The Standout Segments of the Graphic Novels feature Black Fur, a humanoid Bear versus a Kaiju sized Non-Binary monstrosity. This story was hilarious and totally caught me off guard with it's absurdity. Another cool segment features a character named Nightmare and his sidekick Creepy as they investigate a suspected horde of monsters. The comic is 72 pages and maintains a retro vibe throughout. This gives the graphic novel a distinct look against other titles out there. The only downside of the book is that its hard to understand the point of it all. There's also the possibility that there is no point to the series and its just a an exercise in the creative process. I'd imagine if you're a fan of these creators this would be a gem of a title. If you're like me and going in blind there are too many lulls in between the bright spots to recommend the book at cover price. If you catch it on sale or are looking for something off the beaten path Kane & Able may be the book for you. In Short: Worth Checking out but not at cover price.

8.0
Kane and Able (2021) #1

Jul 15, 2022

I read Kane Abel about a month ago while stoned and didn’t remember much about it aside from its presentation being akin to a fever dream of ideas. I reread the original graphic novel again today and though I can recall the events of the book, I’m not sure who the book is for aside from fans of batshit crazy anthologies. The closest series I can compare Kane & Abel to would be Heavy Metal. The comic is an anthology featuring several short stories crafted by creators Shaky Kane and Krent Able. I’ve never heard of these creators, but I’d love some of what they were smoking while writing this book. Although some aspects of the book didn’t land for me, I admire the presentation and imaginative nature of the project. Even upon the second read some of the stories and concepts went over my head. Including the main narrative through-line that features a character suspiciously bearing a resemblance to Jack Kirby. These sections of the book are nice, and I appreciated the Easter eggs I did pick up on. I’m also pretty sure that there are a ton more that I missed out on. The standout section for segment of the book features “Black Fur” a talking bear vs A Non-Binary kaiju sized Monstrosity named Lady Death Roach. The segment totally caught me off guard by the sheer absurdity of it all. This story has it all, including a pair of infants wielding chainsaws. Another notable segment features Nightmare and his sidekick, Sleep as they investigate a possible vampire infestation. The story isn’t as out there as Black Fur and Death Roach but it’s just as imaginative and has a pretty slick twist ending. Kane & Able is 72-pages and features a 12.99 cover price. The book was released by Image Comics over a year ago so you may be able to catch it on discount. The title has a retro style like classic horror magazines from 60’s and 70’s. The characters are also presented in a nostalgic way that makes them feel vintage and familiar even though I had never experienced them before. The only real downside is that stories felt totally disconnected from each other. I know there is a through-line that readers familiar with these creators may pick up on but I couldn’t and It left me feeling a bit frustrated. I also found myself asking the point of this project? The point could also be that there is no point at all. In Short: Kane & Able is a nice anthology to pass time with but the disparate nature of the stories and events may make the project inaccessible to mainstream readers. For more Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

6.5
Kick-Ass (2018) #8

Nov 4, 2018

I'll admit that I picked up Mark Millar's rebooted Kick-Ass series because the lead character was black. It's a shallow reason but it's true. I was a fan of the original series because of the over the top violence and was interested in seeing what fresh perspective Mark could come up with now that the lead character was a Woman of color. Mixing the gender swap with the fact that she's a Veteran and single mother engaging in super-heroics is what piqued my interest beyond the race of the lead character. The problem is that the series has been drained of all tension and what we're left with is a bland version of Kick-Ass without any of the stakes of the original series. Patience (Kick-Ass) made it through the first arc unscathed and managed to be a neighborhood kingpin. I wasn't over the moon over the initial premise but  I thought the hero being an actual drug lord was inspired. The problem is the book is still just as bland. In issue #8 we open with the routine situation of Kick-Ass being pinned down by gunfire. Escaping the scene in the most violent way possible. She then laments being broke even though she funnels millions of dollars weekly. The story stumbles out of the gate and never feels like a fully realized idea. Sort of like a pitch that is being developed as they go. In another medium, this story would be great. As an ongoing series, this comic doesn't work. Once you get past the fact that there is a New Kickass and it's a Black Woman you're left with DC's Silencer without superpowers. There are places where the series can go but there's no depth here for me to sink my teeth into.  I'll pick up issue #9 and make another review but if things don't improve It will be my last issue.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.5
Kick-Ass (2018) #9

Apr 15, 2019

After a long layover, I'm back reviewing Kickass. This series is one of those along with The Silencer that I've been down on and found myself writing the same review over and over again. They also have similar issues in concept and even share the same creator in John Romita Jr.  The main difference between the two characters is The Silencer has superpowers.  Both characters are really shallow once you remove the masks and a lot more interesting when they are able to cut loose in their superhero personas.  Silencer has been canceled and I'm not sure how much longer this series is going. Both have potential but have been marred by a lack of vision for the characters.  Silencer #9 starts with our lead clearing out a mob den. Ass he plans her next move. Her main target, Hector Santos drops off the body of one of her men outside of the door with the promise that this is what will happen to her.  Kickass compensates her man handsomely to find Santos and fight the war on her behalf. Eventually she tracks down one of Santos right-hand men, Wallace to a fancy restaurant. After a brief exchange, he shocks her by putting his steak knife through her hand and sends his goons after her.  I won't spoil the cliffhanger but suffice to say it's basically another firefight. The issue is a marked improvement to the last few which can be accounted to the focus being on Patience's Superhero personal. The problem I had this time around is that this issue reads extremely fast. I was done in about 5 minutes. The standout scene is the confrontation between Kickass and Wallace. The scene is short and seeing him stab her caught me off guard.  Issues like this are fine in trade but I'm not sure if they are worth the cover price. They have little to no depth but part of a larger narrative add flavor to the material. The downside to Kickass is that outside of costume Kickass is pretty lame.  The art direction in the issue is nothing special. The scenes are laid out in a fashion that is competent but nothing in particular, stands out. The pencils are solid and the colors are muddy which makes the entire issue feel bland. Nothing is terrible but nothing jumps out as particularly exciting either.  I hate to go with my initial complaint about the character but it honestly feels like the Pitch was to make Kickass a Badass Black Woman and figure out the plot as they go. I have the next few issues. I hope it gets better and I don't have to keep writing the same review over and over again. 

8.0
Kick-Ass (2018) #10

Jan 20, 2020

It's been a very long time since I reviewed issue #9 of Kickass. I remembered the cliffhanger of the last issue and Kick-Ass being stabbed through her hand but not much else. I haven't been too keen on this series but I'm not sure if it's just absence making the heart grow fonder but this issue wasn't that bad. This comic picks up with Kick-Ass retreating from the scene of the attack, ditching her costume and resuming her civilian identity she gets treatment at the local hospital. From here she touches base with most of the supporting cast. They don't get much beyond surface-level attention but something about the comic is more endearing. I found myself interested in them which is a feeling I don't recall having at all during this run. I was also interested in seeing what the villains were up to. The only problem I have with the book is the problem I've had with the series since it's inception. Patience's origin is garbage so it leads to scenes that simply don't make sense. She's pressed for cash yet she's technically a mob boss funneling millions of dollars. It's goofy, but thankfully only comes up once in the issue. The sooner that this mob boss sub-plot is resolved the better. Trying to play both sides doesn't work for this character. The logic is that she's a Robin Hood type character but it doesn't work. She's a killer and pays killers to commit crimes. Trying to reconcile those two facets of her character isn't working and just makes the story not work when she can just leave. Complaints aside, the issue solid and keeps the focus on the supporting cast. The book reads a bit too fast but nothing in the book feels rushed or wasted. Kick-Ass #10 is a bottleneck issue. Action will undoubtedly pick in #11. I can't see anyone invested in the title being disappointed in this issue and I can't see new readers being turned off. It's a decent enough issue and I'm not sure I could have asked for anything else.

8.0
Kick-Ass (2018) #11

Aug 16, 2020

I hate constantly comparing "Kick-Ass" to DC Comics "The Silencer". It's mainly due to the timing of the series release as well as mutual co-creator John Romita Jr. The characters also share many of the same strengths and weaknesses. They are both interesting characters with a ton of potential but unfortunately are bogged down by being planks of wood when they aren't in costume. Where Silencer 1ups Kick-Ass is that her backstory works because she's an assassin. Kick-Ass is bogged down by one of the most nonsensical backstories I've ever read. I won't get into it here because we've been down that road before. The creative team for "The Silencer" has been working out the kinks for that character and she's one of the most compelling new characters I've seen since I got back into comics. Kick-Ass is a tougher nut to crack but the series is getting better as time goes on. This issue opens with a rematch between Kick-Ass and Wallace. In their last encounter, Wallace put Kick-Ass on her ass and had her on the run. This time around she gets the upper hand almost immediately and dismembers him, cutting off one of his hands. She promises to call him an ambulance if he gives her his boss which is also done, immediately. At this point Patience (Kick-Ass) assembles her army and moves in on the big boss. It becomes really clear that she's moving into a trap and gets even worst as her men are massacred and she's forced to face Hector and a new enemy alone. The comic is a dramatic improvement from where we were a few issues ago but my primary gripe is that everything comes too easy for Kick-Ass which deflates all of the tension during each encounter. Every issue has a cliffhanger that she escapes from within a couple of pages and it's hard not to see her as a Mary Sue. I won't rag on the series too hard its decent and the cliffhanger makes me want to check out the next issue right away. I just wish the series was infused with more tension because it hurts the character as much as the lame backstory.

9.0
Kick-Ass (2018) #12

Sep 4, 2020

This may be the fastest turnaround for a Kick-Ass review since I started the blog and covering the series. The quick follow-up was mainly due to the ending of the last issue was so good that I didn't want to wait around too long to see how the arc ended. The issue picks right after the last issue's cliffhanger. Kick-ass's men have been killed and she's surrounded by Santos, Wallace, and Violencia who is now donning Juggernaut style armor. Queue up several pages of tense action in which the character finally has to put some real effort into figuring out how to beat an enemy. The action and cliffhanger are great and I liked the fight choreography in the linework. The action is fluid and really the quick thinking of the character. Though there was literally no chance of Kickass being in any real danger the setpiece was still fun to see play out. With the conclusion of this issue, It feels like we're finally out of the setup origin phase of the series. My primary concern with the ongoing direction of the book is that Kickass is clearly a Mob boss. We (the reader) are supposed to accept that Patience (Kick-Ass) is a good guy or Superhero but at the end of the day, she's a crime boss. The book doesn't portray any of her actions as particularly bad, or heinous. There is no accountability with this character. Her God-Tier plot armor also doesn't help the situation either. Concerns aside, this has been the best issue of the series so far. It's the last comic that I had on my pull list before dropping the title. I may peek back in to see how the story developed in the next story arc. I do have the Kick-Ass vs. Hit-Girl series preordered so I'll be revisiting the character one way or another very soon. Rating: 9/10

9.5
Killadelphia #1

Jun 10, 2020

Killadelphia comes highly recommended by a couple of sources I highly respect in comics Twitter and Youtube. Unfortunately, I was drunk while reading the book and didn't get the comic at all. I reread the book today and it was so good I actually reconsidered alcoholism. Killadelphia follows Jim Sangster, Jr., a man walking in the footsteps of his father, literally and figuratively. After his father dies under mysterious circumstances Jim finds his father's journal and discovers an entirely new mystery. The plot apparently involves John Adams and a sect of vampires operating in the shadows of Philidelphia. The art direction and tone of the issue are deeply atmospheric which is a credit to Jason and Luis. Most of the linework and colors have a dreamlike quality and it calls into question if the events described are even real. The writing is also top-notch. At the time of review, Killadelphia has been optioned as a streaming series, and it's pretty easy to see why. This particular story would translate well on Netflix or even as a feature-length film based on the first issue alone. Further discussion would get into spoiler territory so I'll hold back. The issue is solid especially if you're a fan of horror or crime drama. Killadelphia is a must-read.

9.5
Killmonger (2018) #1

Dec 5, 2018

Okay, Mr. Hill, you have my attention.  I rarely read Marvel anymore. Too many events, too much hype, too many relaunches, too many cash grabs. Killmonger #1 is easily the best Marvel comic I've read in years. It capitalizes on the strength of the Black Panther film yet feels right at home in the 616 Universe.  The writing is very strong and grounded. Even as the fantastical happens around him Erik feels real maybe extreme but he feels like a real person with nothing to lose. Brian Hill has a firm grasp on this character's voice and I'm excited to see more. This will be the first Marvel series I add to my pull list since Secret Empire and I'm genuinely excited at the prospect. The art for the series is dark, gritty and violent. It perfectly meshes with the story being told and the stakes for failure. The action is quick and brutal with the blows being hard-hitting and bloody. One particular sequence made me wince while reading.  It will be interesting to see how this story develops since it apparently takes us so far into the characters past. The comic opens with Killmongers defeat of T'Challa and the reclamation of his birthright. I'm curious to see if we'll see much beyond that moment or if this series will just fill in the gaps up to that point. In any case, I'm totally onboard. The character has been criminally underrated in the past and it is nice to finally see him get the attention he deserves.  For More Review: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.0
Killmonger (2018) #2

Mar 19, 2019

I reviewed Killmonger #1 a few months back. I remember thinking it was a great start and then I fell off for whatever reason. What The hell was I thinking? This issue is amazing.  The issue picks up after a time jump. Erik is firmly entrenched in the crew. The bulk of the issue covers our crew as they plan and execute a brutal hit for the Kingpin. ​​ The plan goes without a hitch but King (The Leader) wants Erik to have a plan beyond simply being angry. He tells Erik that anger can be great but it's hit and miss and can only take you so far. The interactions between Erik and King are the best parts of the comic and come off as a kid talking to someone that has experience and simply knows better. ​​ The issue ends on a cliffhanger as the crew is given the task of going up against Bullseye. King decides that this is a suicide mission and wants no part of going up against such a skilled target. The situation blows up even further as Bullseye interrupts the meeting.  The art direction of the issue is simply amazing. Juan and Eduardo bring it and it's hard to believe you're reading a Marvel book in 2019. I like the wet behind the ears look of Killmonger and the layout and color palette of of the issue in particular. There's a lot of energy to the book and it feels like a cinematic experience. The club scenes and the quieter moments are just as poignant as the execution in the middle of the issue. The scene is actually shocking and further establishes Killmonger as a villain.  ​​ Erik is a Bad Guy. You can sympathize with him but it doesn't change who he is. Bryan has a great voice for this character and its really cool that he keeps the edge to the Killmonger when it would be really easy to make him a sympathetic anti-hero.  Bringing Bullseye into the mix escalates the threat hear but contrasting a masked villain with the street level characters seemingly so entrenched in the real world seems silly. I wish that the issue used the version of Bullseye from the Bendis run that operated without the costume.  ​​ I'm not knocking it but it's the only part of the issue that doesn't quite fit.   I have the entire series and will pick up the pace of reviewing the comics from here. The issue is great. I don't read much Marvel and even with that caveat, this issue is worth your attention. 

10
Killmonger (2018) #3

Nov 3, 2019

It's often said that a good villain needs to be more interesting than the hero he's put up against. What happens when the comic you're reading is full of bad guys. Killmonger #3 is excellent. It one of the best single issues I've read this year and the series shaped up to be one of the best mini-series of the past decade. I originally read the book a few months back but lost track of the issue when I moved. I reread the comic again so it would be fresh in my mind. The issue picks up immediately following the cliffhanger of the last issue. Bullseye makes his presence known causing Killmonger and his crew to scatter. I absolutely loved Bullseyes portrayal during this encounter. He's the bad guy that scares bad guys. This is incredible considering the skillset of the abilities of the team he's up against. King, for example, is telekinetic. You'd think that fighting a street-level character like Bullside would be a cakewalk. It's not, and the team breaks up after barely surviving the encounter. Sidenote, we need a Bryan Hill Taskmaster series. The interaction between Erik and Bullseye is also interesting in that it level-sets Killmonger's abilities at this point in the story. We know that he eventually steels himself and beats T'Challa but he's clearly not there yet based on the outcome of this encounter. He is nearly killed multiple times during this fight. It will be interesting to see what takes Killmonger to the next level. Another standout scene from the issue is a conversation between N'Jadaka (Erik) and the spirit of his mother. The scene is power in that it establishes that there is no satiating his rage and that peace with is enemies is not an option. It's a beautifully sad scene but firmly establishes how deeply rooted his hatred for T'Challa is. The rest of the issue is also really good thanks to Bryan Hills script and Juan Ferreyra's linework. The art direction is great and I could easily see the comic adapted to screen and directed by Michael Mann. Special consideration should also be given to Eduardo Ferreyra and his work on colors. Even though most of the scenes in this comic are set at night or in dark spaces, the book never feels drab. The comic is lit perfectly especially the scenes with Bullseye. There is also one particular scene in which Erik tells his love interest of Wakanda. The page is bright and vibrant and is one the single most beautiful page within the book. It gets more interesting the longer you look at it. I don't think Eduardo could color a bland page if he tried. I'd personally hang this piece on my wall If it was available for purchase without the word balloons. Disney needs to greenlight a Killmonger prequel or Disney+ series. It would be a real shame to leave this material unadapted. I've never been a big fan of Black Panther. I even think the movie was grossly overrated. Killmonger and the charisma of Michael B. Jordan carry that film. Erik Killmonger is firmly planted here and is strong enough to carry a series indefinitely without T'Challa. We need more villains centric stories as thoughtful as this one. Killmonger #3 was wonderful.

9.5
Killmonger (2018) #4

Feb 28, 2020

Killmonger #4 is a watershed moment for this character and marks one of the saddest villain origin stories I've ever read. Comparatively the only project I can think of recently that comes close would be Todd Philips and Joaquin Phoenix's take on Joker. It's almost as if Erik is destined to become the villain. By the end of the issue, the character's path is pretty much confirmed. Erik Killmonger is portrayed in his calmest state since the start of the series. He's still not a good guy but you can clearly see the fork in the road for the character. The book centers around Erik and Knight as they confront King. Erick wants to figure out an escape plan for them all but Knight doesn't see reasoning with King as an option. Things go about as well as can be expected for a group of mercenaries and then the situation gets tragic. Erick Killmonger is a heartbreaking character. He has all of the tools needed to be the hero but it is almost as if his path to the light is blocked. I found King to be very interesting here. He reappears in this issue with a wife and that complicates things further. His rapport with Erik is one of the strongest throughlines of the series and it factors into the story as we see Erik's loyalty tested. The art is a lot more subdued in this issue mainly because we're confined to a snow-covered landscape. It still looks great and looking at the series overall there has been a ton of variety. I appreciate the varied landscapes, action sequences and the grounded nature of the series. None of that would be possible without Juan Ferreyra. Knight is a mutant with enhanced strength. Her powers aren't the flashiest but compared to Erik she may as well be The Hulk. Killmonger is crafty and skilled but he's outclassed in nearly every encounter we've seen during this run. His drive, determination, and thirst for revenge are what levels the playing field. Killmonger #4 is a great read and one of the best villain origin issues I've encountered in recent memory.

9.5
Killmonger (2018) #5

May 31, 2020

"I offered you a kingdom. You wanted to be a slave. Slaves do what they're told" -Killmonger We're finally concluding this series of reviews of Brian Hill and Juan Ferreyra's Killmonger series. The comic picks a year after the events of the last issue with Erik fully embracing his Killmonger persona. Erik's depiction here is night and day from the first installment and it's wild considering that this is still just the beginning of his journey as a character. He's more competent and cunning here than he's been shown in the series and it pays off in a big way across multiple scenes laid out in this issue. There are plenty of breathtaking moments laid out by Juan and Eduardo Ferreyra over the course of the series. This issue is no exception. It's hard to discuss this book without getting into spoilers but we do see a resolution to the plotline with Knight as well as confirmation of whether Erik makes it to Wakanda or not. I won't say what happens but if we get a sequel I would like to see a follow-up covering the immediate aftermath of this series with the same creative team. This is a truly tragic situation for the character and the outcome appears to be more of a case of fate than agency from the lead. The series has been brilliant and if any character deserves the Disney+ treatment its Killmonger. A direct adaptation of the comic would be Ideal but it's hard to imagine the series being greenlit, and even if they did I doubt the show would be as raw as this title has been. I love that Bryan has taken the nearly blank framework of Erik's origins from the comics and Marvel cinematic and filled it in. The material would work as canon in either universe. I also think that with a few tweaks here and there the comic could have worked as a wholly original IP. I mention that because I know that many in my circle do not read mainstream comics anymore. Even if you aren't reading Marvel comics anymore or are unfamiliar with the character I think you'll enjoy this series. That's the highest compliment I can give to the series, it's been amazing and I'd love your thoughts on it.

8.0
Leave the Light On #1

Aug 3, 2019

Leave on the Light #1 begins like most classic Slasher films, with a murder. After the opening massacre, the comic shifts and introduces the reader to the principal players and sets up a potentially supernatural case for our lead detective.  The comic is a lot of fun, especially if you're a fan of horror and the macabre. Gary, the gruff, tough as nails Detective has seen murders like this before but lament's that it's impossible because the killer was executed months ago.  Has the killer returned from the grave or are we looking at a copycat situation? ​​ The covers paint a grim picture and the interior art is just as brutal. The dialogue gets cheesy at times but the comic is still entertaining, especially if you're a fan of horror movies from the late '80s, early 90s.  I genuinely want to know where the story is going. I feel a misdirect coming, but I'm not 100% sure. In any case, Leave On The Light is worth a read if you can find a copy. 

4.0
Livewire (2018) #1

Dec 26, 2018

Full disclosure this is probably the worst single issue I've read of 2018. It's probably one of the worst #1 issues I've ever read in my 20+ years as a comic fan.  Livewire #1 takes place after an event. Our hero Amanda McKee (Livewire) in an act of perceived terrorism took control of the nations power grid making her public enemy #1. I assume that this is what happened because the issue doesn't really spell it out. Amanda meets with her friends but they call her out for her actions. One of the citizens makes her in the crowd and she is forced to leave.  Later that evening Amada is attacked and eventually captured by bounty hunter...thats it.  The event that made Livewire an enemy of the state is not in this issue and it's glaring because if you have no experience with this character you feel like you're missing part of the story and this issue feels like more of a second issue than a first. We see Livewire using her powers but its really vague what she's doing and it's hard to gauge what her skillset is. Sure, its mentioned in the rundown but its another thing entirely when the entire book really depends on my working knowledge of the character. It also seems that the narrative will be decompressed so it may be a few issues before the story really comes into focus. If that's the case this issue also fails because I have no idea what's going on to keep me interested.  There are supporting characters but they really don't have much to do in this issue and essentially show up to yell at Amanda.  The only praise I can give the issue is that I'm a fan of the color palette used for the issue. I'm not a fan of the linework. The character isn't too bad but there are pages where the backgrounds are incredibly sparse and it really jumps out because the panels are incredibly clean. I don't really want to blame the writers' and artists for this issue's failure it seems that it would fall firmly on the editors here.  My suggestion for this issue would have been to keep this issue and make it double-sized. Valiant should have reprinted the comic that lead to this issue and included it here. Without the context of why Amanda is on the run, this issue is an utter failure and I cannot recommend it. Every comic is someone's first issue and its nearly impossible to get excited for a comic if the entire experience depends on knowing what came before. I will pick up the second issue to see if the comic course corrects but if the current path is the path the series is taking it will be my last issue. 

9.0
Lone Ranger (2018) #1

Nov 11, 2018

The Lone Ranger is one of those characters that has been around forever. You know him when you see him but that's probably the extent of your knowledge of the character unless you're of a certain age. He first appeared in the 30s and tends to be rebooted every few years. His cultural relevance diminishes with every passing generation. With Mark Russell (Snagglepuss, Flintstones) at the helm of this series, it's pretty safe to assume that we're going to see the classic lawman in a new light.   The comic starts relatively simple and quickly gets a lot more complicated. The Ranger hears gunshots and upon investigating stumbles upon a conspiracy. A corrupt politician running for Senate intends to expand the borders of Deaf Smith County Texas. The plan would encroach into territory still claimed by Native Americans and Lone Cowboys that have made lives for themselves in the location. The plan would also wall off the area with barb wire likely causing a war if the plan is successful. The Ranger manages to get out of the situation after a brief firefight and realizes that the circumstances are bigger than he can handle on his own. The issue ends with him reaching out to Tonto for help. If you're a fan of The Lone Ranger or westerns in general Lone Ranger #1 is a great starting point. You don't get a ton of backstory on the character in this issue but a lot can be inferred. I had a lot of fun reading this issue and also enjoyed the western setting. I'm also playing Red Dead Redemption 2 and enjoying it immensely so I'm somewhat biased toward this issue.  The art is great there is a lot of energy in the action and the colors accent the scenes nicely as the books shift from daytime to evening. There are underlying political themes here that may turn some folks off depending on their worldview but  If you aren't put off by the politics in the issue. I can't recommend this comic enough.  For More: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Lone Ranger (2018) #2

Dec 26, 2018

Lone Ranger #2 is a quick read but also manages to pack a lot of fun into its 22 pages. This comic gives a proper introduction to Tanto. We get some character background and its quickly established that he is not going to be some silly sidekick or lackey for the Ranger. He may play the fool but he isn't one by a long shot. He's educated and may actually be more in touch with the setting than the Ranger is. The issue continues the land plot. Corrupt politicians decide to move forward with securing property records until the land is fenced in by Barb Wire.  The premise sounds absurd until you look into the matter further and find out that the story is based in actual Texas history. Mark Russell is a master of weaving history into his comics so I should have caught on sooner. All I could do was shake my head and smile. The action sequences and the tension involved also make up a big portion of this issue. These segments continue to be beautifully rendered and work perfectly with the overall tone of the story. This issue works well as a single issue but I'm getting the impression that the decompression of the story may make this one a better read once the story arc is completed and the trade is available. This isn't a knock as there is never a dull moment in the story to this point. The series is setting up a new status quo for the characters involved and if you're a fan of the Lone Ranger or Comics, in general, you won't go wrong with either option.  For More reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.5
Lone Ranger (2018) #3

Jan 26, 2019

I definitely got a Dark Knight vibe from The Lone Ranger #3. It's not as dark a story as the Nolan Film but some of the story beats are similar.  After dealing our corrupt politicians a series of staggering blows they decide to bring in Conner, a depraved, cannibal bounty hunter.  This issue was simply a joy to read. The dynamic between The Lone Ranger and Tonto is fun and I get a chuckle whenever they put a plan together. ​​ Mark has a great voice for these characters. Tonto's simple delivery underlies a very complex character. Although he's not the title character. Tonto is definitely the MVP of the series so far.   It will be interesting to see what develops as Conner is presented as being a refined monster. I immediately imagined a cross between the Joker and Hannibal Lecter.  The art is more subdued this issue. There aren't as many action sequences but the humor carries it forward. This is a nice change of pace especially knowing that our heroes are about to be haunted by a credible villain in the coming months. 

9.5
Lone Ranger (2018) #4

Mar 17, 2019

Well, that was intense.  Last month we were introduced to Conner. A well mannered, cannibal who was hired by our villains to take out our heroes. His impact was is immediately felt as he uses available evidence to get the drop on Lone Ranger and Tonto.  Conner is a Bad-Ass villain. He matches up well with our heroes and even manages to pick Tonto out of a crowd, catching him off guard. The encounter between the two characters manages to be one of the most intense matchups I've seen so far this year.  ​​ Conner is also given a backstory that is just as tragic as it is horrifying. Even though he's shown to be a monstrous individual, I still felt sorry for the guy.  As usual Tonto gets the best lines and moments in the comic. I almost feel like The Lone Ranger was an afterthought and that Mark Russell would be more interested in making a comic about Tonto. I'm not complaining but the lack of any real engaging moments from The Ranger is glaring.  ​​ The back and forth between Tonto and Conner sent shivers up my spine. Mark has a flair for dialogue and it shines during this encounter. During the brief scene between the two, the closest comparison I could come up with would be any of the interrogation scenes from inglorious bastards. You know that Conner is a monster and the cannibalistic aspects of the character just make the situation worse. Bob Q is great with quiet moments and the bombastic action sequences. Seeing the scene quickly transition from a quiet conversation to a full-on action sequence was the highlight of the issue for me.  ​​ I thought that The Lone Ranger was an ongoing series but its not. We got one issue left. It's really sad because this series has been a wild ride. Hopefully, we get a second volume because this has been one of the best series I've read in recent memory. 

8.5
Major X #1

Apr 7, 2019

Anyone that follows my blog or my various musings across social media platforms know that I don't read Marvel Comics much. Without being too pretentious I consider this a passive boycott.  It's been this way for a few years now. This was even before comics consumer revolts like #Comicsgate became a thing. I say passive boycott because I will actually read a Marvel comic if its highly recommended by a someone in my circle or I respect the creator behind the story.  Major X falls into the latter category.  Major X is from Rob Liefield, creator of Deadpool, Cable, Domino, and X-Force. The man is a legend in my opinion and is probably the most important creator that has come to prominence in my lifetime.  If you were a kid reading comics in the early 90's you were one of Liefields children.  Major X is revealed as a new character and falls in line with other prominent Liefield creations. The exception being that Major X is subdued. The Liefield trademark of huge guns and pockets everywhere is gone from Major X. The character actually looks like a cross between Deadpool/Cable and they both make appearances in this book.  ​ The book takes place across time and space. In the future, Mutants apparently, have left earth for an alternate realm created by an entity known as the X-Ential. Major X searches the setting for cracks in the realm and has the mission of preserving the status quo. (If this interpretation of the future is off or I'm missing something let me know.) While on patrol the Major is interrupted by M'Koy (Beast?) and reality begins to crumble around them. The characters escape and teleport to the past, which happens to be a variation of New Mutants #98. The first appearance of Deadpool. ​​   It's during this sequence that Rob artistically lets his nuts hang. He is often criticized as an artist. Some of the criticisms are valid but none of those complaints exist in this issue. The art is fantastic and Rob gets a lot of mileage out of the locations and action sequences. Every page is interesting to look at and the highlight of the comic are the homages to New Mutants #98. The book even features direct callbacks to the issue. What's interesting is that we see Major X. Stand up convincingly up to Cable, Deadpool, Wolverine and the entirety of the New Mutants. The comic ends on a nice cliffhanger and we get the reveal the man behind the mask.  ​​ The only weakness to the issue is that the dialogue is wonky in spots. I wasn't expecting Alan Moore but some of the lines are eye-rollingly cringe.  The issue is an above average reading experience. I'm glad I put aside my passive boycott and picked it up. The book is worth it for the art alone. The story is interesting enough to pique your interest for what's to come. Rob Liefield has sold me on his concept and now I'm hooked and along for the ride.

7.5
Major X #3

Nov 4, 2019

It's been so long since I reviewed Major X #2 that I barely remember what happened in it. That being said, you don't need to read that volume to have a decent time here. There's a lot of action. A ton of beautiful art from Whilce Portacio and some cool character dynamics explored. The book opens with a sparring session between Wolverine and M'Koy who for all intents and purposes is Beast. The alternative is that its a clone of Beast, Dark Beast or a version of Hank Mccoy that did some deep experimentation on himself. With that mystery established the rest of the book covers Major X and M'Koy on their mission into the timeline to save the X-Istence and the X-Ential. They run into Dreadpool (Deadpool), his cohorts and the book ends on another cliffhanger. The art direction of this book is fantastic. I haven't seen Whilce work on a book in ages and its nice to see he hasn't lost a step. The line art is beefed up by Romulo Fajardo, Jr. who provides a slick color palette throughout. The fights all look good and if you're here solely for the art and nostalgia you'll get a lot of mileage out of this issue. Three issues in and Whilce provides the best versions of these characters yet (sorry Rob). The weakest aspect of the book is the character names. This is beyond rubbish and makes me wonder what Rob was smoking when he came up with them cause I want some. Personally, the book isn't bad but I wish there was a bit more substance. The 90's nostalgia can only take me so far. There are a lot of solid ideas in Major X and a better writer could give us a great story. Rob's doing his best and I won't knock him for it but I just expect a little bit more than great art nowadays. I'm sure the series will read well in trade but the single issues are somewhat lacking to date.

6.5
Major X #4

Mar 7, 2020

Aside from Jonathan Hickman's Dawn of X line of books the only X-Men books I've been reading have been Mutant X. It's not the worst comic on the shelves but aside from the novelty of Rob Liefield running the ship, the series has been extremely mediocre. The story feels out of continuity and it isn't really clear if any of these characters will ever appear again which begs the question, what was the point? We're 4 issues deep and Rob's still introducing new characters. At this point, you'd expect the story to be winding down. The pace is fast, boom, boom, pow, cliffhanger and we'll see you in two weeks. If you're a fan of the more excessive aspects of 90's comics this series may be great for you. There's just not enough meat on this story to keep me interesting. Brent Peeples does a great job on pencils and it's easily the best part of the comic. It's simply not enough depth to this story. I'm happy to see that Rob Liefield is still getting work and contributing to the comic book industry but I'm not sure if Major X will make an impression on anyone not blinded by novelty or nostalgia. For More GTMediareviews.com

5.0
Major X #5

May 29, 2020

Marvel is often accused of flooding the shelves with series that have no real merit or reason to exist. Major X is one of those series. When I picked up Major X #1 It was sold on Rob Liefields return to Marvel and working on new characters. Five issues deep and we're looking at a hot mess. Is it the worst title on the shelves, possibly. In this issue, we see Major X, M'Koy, and The X-ential travel to what I assume is the 616 universe. There is exposition and action but not much in the way of substance. It's an issue that makes you question your thoughts on the 90's comics. By the end of the book, we get further revelations about the Majors parentage which left me with a resounding meh. There is some decent art throughout the issue. Brent Peeples does his best to keep things interesting but when he's not drawing an action sequence the characters all feel stiff and static. This happens even when the characters are fighting. The linework feels like an artist posing action figures. This is one of those series that should have been released as a graphic novel or potentially online only. It would probably read okay in one sitting instead of breaking it into meaningless installments. The plot is mediocre at best and straight nonsense at worst. It hurts because I wanted the title to succeed but a win for Major X is a loss for the comic book industry. Would, Major X fit into the current Marvel Comics landscape, Hell No! It's almost like Rob Liefield is trolling his fanbase and Marvel. This issue was dogshit.

6.0
Major X #6

Nov 18, 2020

a Boi Zack of Comics Matter Youtube is giving up regular comic reviews going into 2021. Zack says that the interest in modern comics just isn't there and ultimately nothing coming out of the mainstream matters anymore to its target audience. I somewhat disagree, there are some good books out there but with series like Major X, it's hard not to see where he's coming from. Now that Major X has ended you'll never see these characters again. Major X isn't a horrible character he's just redundant. He's a throwback to the 90s and doesn't fit in with anything going on with the X-Men post "House of X" - "Dawn of X". He feels like a relic and I doubt that Major X would have caught on even if he was created during Rob Liefield's creative prime. This issue sees the Major, Deadpool, and an alternate version of Cable take on alternate Namor and Dreadpool. The battle takes up a bulk of the issue. Heroes win and villains lose before saying goodbyes and hinting at further adventures to come. I'm not sure who the Major X audience is beyond hardcore Rob Liefield fans. His art is pretty good but the series has been utterly forgettable. The book's most surprising revelation is that Major X is the son of Cable and Storm. You'd think that the comic would spend some time on the reveal and that it would have long-term ramifications on Storm and Cables relationship in regular continuity. More than likely their union will probably never be mentioned again. Major X is ultimately a waste of time. It started out with modest potential and descended into gutter trash as it went on. It's pretty sad because I love Rob Liefield and credit him as the father of modern comics. This was a swing and a miss but I'm sure he'll be back up to bat in the near future.

9.0
Man-Eaters Vol. 1

Jun 27, 2019

I first heard of Chelsea Cain's Maneaters via comicsgate. Around the time of the release, there were videos floating around reviewing the book and ripping it to shreds for being awful, gross and pushing feminist propaganda. I even considered joining in on the act and picking the book up for some of that easy, sweet, sweet clickbait.  I decided against it mainly because  I just didn't have the interest in investing time into a series. The preview images and covers gave me an Ewww vibe I couldn't get past.  The videos came and went and for whatever reason, the book and creator kept coming under fire, specifically from the trans community.  This got pretty ugly and eventually, after months of back and forth, Chelsea said screw it and decided to leave Twitter.  At this point, I was intrigued. I'd never heard of a project that was scorned by mainstream audiences and comicsgate. I decided to check out the series and had my Local Comic Shop add Maneaters to my pull list.  I had to know if it was bad as everyone was making it out to be. The story focuses on an awkward young girl on the verge of adolescence. Unfortunately, in this setting young girls have a host of problems more serious than acne or getting attention from pimply faced boys.  In this particular setting Toxoplasmosis X exists. Toxoplasmosis exists in the real world but in the setting of Maneaters, it interacts with the XY chromosome specifically and causes some girls to transform into panther-like creatures and eat people, hence the title.  One of the tell-tale signs of danger is menstruation. In fact, the fear is so real that at the first sign of menstrual blood kids are sent to be treated and possibly quarantined.  On top of this, chemicals are pumped into the water supply to prevent menstruation altogether, further demonizing the natural progression of childhood to adulthood in young girls.  The setting is horrifying and would be even darker if Chelsea had had not chosen a cheeky tone for the characters.  I'm not gonna come in and shill and say that the story of Maneaters is a masterpiece. What I will say is that the comic at least the first Volume is one of the most unique Ideas I've ever seen in comics and should be applauded for swinging for the fences.  Once you get past the initial shock and unapologetic feminist perspective the story is pretty good.  The jabs at the patriarchy seem out of place considering most of the of them come from a 12-year-old. Do 12-year-olds feel oppressed by anyone outside of their parents? The characters are all likable and relatable. Maude's parents are divorced. They both work in law enforcement and are investigating Cat Attacks, not knowing that a potentially dangerous situation is developing right underneath their noses.  Dad was called out as being a stereotypical soyboy by some critics but I disagree. My marriage is often shaky, I still collect comics, action figures and Drive a Yellow Fiat SUV. Objectively I'm in pretty much the same situation as Maudes father. I even have a 13 year old daughter that recently started having regular periods.  Please Pray for Me.  The art is also cool throughout the series and perfectly captures the tone Chelsea was going for. As mentioned earlier if you change a few lines here and there and bring in Greg Capullo this is a full-on horror story but it works nevertheless.  There isn't a lot of action in this volume but Chelsea substitutes action with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships between characters and setting up a constant air of danger in the background.  What elevates the book for me is the auxiliary material. Throughout the book, there are a collection of poems written by young girls. These poems are cute, funny and often inspiring.  I also loved that the story isn't caping in hoping to appeal to a male audience. This comes across very quickly. At one point there is an entire page that painstakingly details how to use a tampon. Initially, I have completely grossed the hell out but I thought of what my daughter goes through monthly and stuck with it. The story just grew on me as it went on.  There are also a series of parody ads throughout the Volume. Issue #4 is full of them and they are all disturbingly hilarious. The advertisements reminded me of the parody ads in classic films such as Robocop and Starship Troopers. They also belie an undercurrent that strong women are to be feared.  The elephant in the room is the outrage surrounding this project. The trans community came out in full force to demonize Maneaters and Chelsea Cain over her lack of inclusiveness within this series.  On a purely biological level, they simply don't fit into the story. This a young woman's coming of age story. Forcing the issue or playing identity politics here would only diminish the story being told.  The Trans experience is not the same as a young girls experience and we need to stop ignoring the obvious. There are elements here that we can all relate to. The feeling of alienation. The feeling of awkwardness during puberty and the finding of one's voice in dealing with overbearing parents.  That's what's important here. I hope to one day read a story that captures the transgendered coming of age experience. This story simply isn't it.  Overall there is a lot to unpack in the setting and I enjoyed Maneaters vol: 1. I'll be picking up Vol: 2 in a few weeks and seeing how the series develops.  If the blatant digs at the patriarchy weren't in the book I would have given the book a perfect score. The setting itself makes the point clear so the obvious jabs are unnecessary.  On that note, the story has some minor issues but the concept is unique and its heart is in the right place. The art is solid and the presentation is excellent.  I recommend Maneaters despite initially being grossed out. I read the book and immediately gave it to my daughter who loved it. It's a good comic, saying anything else is being disingenuous.  I've read bad books, terrible books (Heroes in Crisis), this ain't it chief. 

9.0
Maniac of New York: The Bronx is Burning #1

Aug 29, 2022

"80's Slasher At its Finest" Maniac of New York: The Bronx is Burning - #1 Writer: Elliott Kalan | Artist: Andrea Mutti | Publisher: Aftershock Comics **Review** Maniac of New York: Bronx is Burning is a homage to the 80’s slasher film. It is also the sequel to an indie comic I never knew existed. Like most true horror movie sequels from my youth Elliott Kalan and Andrea Mutti invite you to revisit past events while moving the story forward. The community is still reeling from the events of the prior series. Entire task forces have been created to deal with the Maniac if and when he shows up again. The problem is nothing work, and he shows up at a local public school. The Bronx is Burning #1 is not a deep or complex issue, but it is a lot of fun especially if you know the formula. Everyone in-universe is freaked out by The Maniac. The situation is so bad that copycats are using his visage to take advantage of the fear spread across the city. The art direction from Andrea Mutti is gritty, brutal, and transitions well from the mundane to horrifying. The Maniac himself is this universe of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees an unkillable force of nature. In fact, it would be quite easy see The Maniac as a Jason rip-off. However, I will allow it since we have not seen a proper Friday the 13th film in ages. In Short: Maniac of New York: Bronx #1 Bronx is burning nails the tone and atmosphere of every classic slasher film you have memories of. If you grew up in the 70’s and 80’s this series is the perfect send-off. For More: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

9.0
Marauders #1

Nov 4, 2019

So with House of X, Powers of X and X-Men #1 out of the way we get the first X-Book under the Dawn of X banner not written by Johnathan Hickman. I was gonna review X-Men #1 but I didn't care enough to throw 1000 words up about it so I figured I'd start here. I could have also reviewed Excaliber #1 but, fuck that book. I was nervous about reading the non-Hickman X-Men books. It's been hit and miss but Marauders #1 was pretty good. The biggest change for me was seeing Kitty Pride A.K.A. Kate as a badass. She's had some ninja training since the '80s but she's never really embraced the role as she does here. I like the dynamic that is quickly established here between Kate and Emma. They don't have the best relationship but its nowhere near as frosty as it was in the '80s or the Joss Whedon run on Astonishing X-Men. The premise of the title is that although the Nation of Krakoa has been granted sovereignty, some nations are still holding out. The Marauders are basically pirates. Their goals are to extract Mutants from hostile nations, obtain supplies for Krokoa and establish a Black Market for those looking to trade with the new nation. The team consists of Kate, Bishop, Storm, Iceman, and Pyro. Pyro was one of my favorite villains in the 80's so it was really cool to see him here, if not a bit random. It will be strange seeing him as a good guy but I guess not as weird as seeing Apocalypse in a suit. Iceman is probably the most prominent character featured in the book besides Kate. I'll always love Bobby, but I'm not a fan of the GAY AF version of the character. He's still cool and has his moments but the writers go overboard with it. He feels like a caricature of a gay man rather than a real fleshed-out character. I'm pretty sure Iceman used to date Kitty so when he makes jokes about meeting "Top Men" it seems odd. I get the joke but it feels awkward considering the character's history. The art is okay for the most part. I like most of the character designs with the exception of Bobby's Ice Form and Storm. I'm not sure what's wrong with Ororo's current design but it seems off. I hope they find another look for her and soon. The action sequences are amazing Kate gets the best moment as she literally walks through a group of soldiers and takes them down in brutal fashion. I wasn't expecting to see this version of Kitty Pride but I love it. Of the Dawn of X titles, the only one I've added to my pull is Marauders. I'm gonna read all of the first issues at least and I'll probably stick with X-Men as well, but with Marauders being a hight point and Excaliber being low it's probably best not to make blind purchases. The Dawn of X launch hasn't been the smooth landing I expected it to be.

7.0
Marauders #2

Jan 12, 2020

I enjoyed Marauders #1 more than a lot of other reviewers out there. This review is coming late and issue #5 is sitting on my shelf. The series isn't bad but I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep the series on my pull list much longer. Issue #1 was a fun read but was definitely one of the lighter X-titles I'd read in a while. This is especially true considering the direction and tone of HOX and POX. Marauders #1 established the team and their mission statement. I didn't have much reason to complain. Marauders #2 is more of the same but whereas the first issue got a solid recommendation from me, this issue gets an enthusiastic meh. The problem is that this incarnation of Kitty Pryde is rubbing me the wrong way. This is not the Kitty Pryde I grew up with and it appears that another personality has been grafted onto the character I knew and loved. I understand the adjustments for the series but I question why have Kate in this role at all? After reading the issue the character that immediately comes to mind to lead the Marauders was Callisto of the Morlocks. I realize the choice isn't the sexiest or most marketable choice but it makes sense from a setting and in-universe perspective. Callisto already has experience leading a nation of mutants. She looks like a pirate, fits the antihero vibe and has a long history Kitty Pryde and Storm. With the case presented, Callisto seems like an easy pick to be Emma's choice as Red Queen. The book itself is okay but the tone is a bit too snarky and goofy to be taken seriously. The opening action set piece has the Marauders going up against Batroc The Leaper and his crew. He gives the team a lot more trouble than he should have considering that Storm and Iceman are a part of the group. Kate gets more great moments showing off her combat abilities but aside from her everyone feels like background noise. While the marauders are doing pirate stuff Sebastian Shaw and Emma Frost discuss business and how Sebastian has been screwing up the books. I'll spare the details to avoid further spoilers but I will say I thought their scenes together were boring. I'm also not a fan of Shaw's depiction in Marauders and X-Men. It's hard to believe that back in the '80s this guy was capable of nearly taking out an entire group of X-Men on his own. In Marauders Shaw can't handle his finances and in X-Men, he's getting beat up by old women. The scenes are written for laughs and ultimately undermine one of the X-Men's strongest villains. If you're a new X-fan and don't have the years of history with these characters you may find the comic serviceable, even good. From my perspective, many aspects of the book are just bad. I can't recommend the issue for anyone except for die-hard X-Men fans and completionists.

6.5
Marauders #3

Jul 1, 2020

I'd love to blame COVID-19 for lack of reviews of the Dawn of X line of stories but the truth is that the current run of X-Men comics is a mixed bag and there are better books out there. Marauder's #3 feels like a setup or filler issue with the bulk of the book following Sebastian and the newly resurrected Shinobi Shaw, his son. I hadn't seen Shinobi since the '90s. I always thought he was a cool character I just wish he showed back up in a better book. Sebastian spends this issue reacclimating Shinobi to the world and the Hellfire Trading Company. Shinobi, still coming to terms with the situation openly speculates whether he still wants to kill his father. There is a lot of plotting and foreshadowing in the issue that will probably pay off down the line. I hate to say that the book is a waste of money but a lot of this could have been done in the background with a more interesting story being in the actual comic. Michele Bandini does a great job on figures and Federico's colors are also standout. I liked the stark reds and blacks. Aside from that there isn't much else going on. The artists don't get much to do other than draw characters moving from scene to scene spewing endless exposition. If this was my introduction to the series I'd be hardpressed to keep it on my pull list. It's not the worst comic on the shelves but it's the sort of book that will leave readers questioning the $3.99 they are dropping every month on the title.

7.0
Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal #1

Jul 11, 2022

"Southern Belles of the Timesteam" Majorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal #1 Writer: Garth Ennis | Artist: Goran Sudzuka Publisher AWA: Upshot | Mike Deodato Jr. Variant **Review** I am not sure why Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal #1 presented me with such a rough review. The comic has a lot going on. It’s written by Garth Ennis (The Boys, Preacher), one of the greatest comic writers of our time. The art from Goran Sudzuka is solid, varied and shockingly violent. I guess the main gripe is that nothing about this issue connected with me. As much as I like Ennis, this issue feels like he’s phoning it in. This is a time travel story. Marjorie is a fun-loving character that pulls heists across the timestream. She also keeps a talking severed head that fantasizes about fucking her as a companion. There are a few laughs to be had in the issue The first half of the issue is a decent intro and focuses in on the time heist element of the series. This section of the book also does a solid job of explaining how time travel works in this section. The B-Plot of the issue sets up the antagonist and why the two will eventually bump heads. In its entirety the book is functional and there isn’t much to knock aside from the general mediocrity. This series ended months ago. I have the entire comic run in queue and hope the plot picks up. Nothing about Marjorie Finnigan #1 stood out as must-read material despite the creative team. The lack of excitement after reading this comic is kind of sad considering how varied the action and locales are in this issue. In Short: If you have a spot on your pull list or bookshelf Marjorie Finnigan: Temporal Criminal be worth a spot but there simply are better options available. We will see how the series develops. For More Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

8.5
Martian Manhunter (2018) #1

Dec 11, 2018

Times like this I hate being a noob to a bulk of DC history and mythology. I know Martian Manhunter as the weird alien member from the Justice League cartoon and not much beyond that. This issue was unexpected. It's interesting that this Maxi-series comes so close to the end of the Mister Miracle series. It covers a slice of life of this character and also seems to be giving us an origin along with a larger mystery. These deep dives into underrated characters and their histories are an appreciated detour that add flavor the landscape of the DC universe.   On Earth, John Jones is a detective working a homicide in which an entire family appears to have been murdered. On Mar's J'onn J'onzz is a crooked Manhunter offering protection to criminals. In both lives, Martian Manhunter keeps secrets from those who know him best. This is a man burdened by the regrets of a past life that he will never be able to return to while being forced to hide amongst those that will never accept him for what he is.  This is a fascinating premise for a series and although it may be an old hat to long-term DC fans the story is presented as mature and intelligent. J'onns is extremely empathetic which it helps him in his role as a detective but it contrasts deeply to his life on Mars where he's presented as a very morally compromised character.   I'm not sure how public this information is but I was genuinely shocked to see that Manhunter was a crooked cop prior to coming to earth and becoming a hero. In fact, everything on Mars is weird. We even get what may be the most imaginatively weird sex scene I've ever seen on a comic panel. It harkens back to classic science fiction where anything was liable to happen when aliens got freaky.  J'onzz is a loving husband, an officer of the law, and running a protection racket involving money laundering. It's hard to reconcile but the exact same scenarios happen every day in our society. Script-wise Steve Orlando knocks it out of the park.   The art comes from Riley Rossmo and as mentioned above its weird. At first, I wanted to say that its ugly. It's not ugly, it's stylized. The good is that when we're on Mar's the art is amazing and extremely imaginative.  This has got to be one of the best sci-fi settings I've seen in years. The colors from Ivan Plascencia are gorgeous and bright and contrast nicely against the ugliness to which our lead characters find themselves.  On earth the art doesn't really connect with me and feels mildly unsettling John's human look bothers me something seems off. The entire issue actually feels unsettling and I think that may be the underlying point. We're looking the story from the perspective of an alien and one issue deep I can't offer concrete critique on this aspect of the comic. I am intrigued to see where this story goes. It appears we're going to be in for an emotional rollercoaster if this issue is any indication.  For More Reviews -https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.0
Martian Manhunter (2018) #2

Feb 17, 2019

Martian Manhunter #2 picks up immediately from the horrific conclusion of the last issue. J'onn is is on fire and his identity has been revealed to his partner.  The comic gives more insight into J'onn and his time on Mars as a "Manhunter" as well as his family life. As a fairly new DC reader, the exploration of J'onn's history prior to joining the Justice League is fascinating. It's often thrown around that DC characters are bland or uninteresting. At first glance that may be the case but in my experience, the characters are just as interesting as those at Marvel if you give them a chance.  My main complaint about the issue and the series, in general, is that this comic ends in practically the same spot that it begins. There is hardly any progression with the issue. There is enough flashback material to prevent the issue from filling like filler but the forward momentum is severely lacking. It's not a bad comic if we get too many issues like this I would suggest waiting for the trade.  There is some truly disturbing imagery in this issue. The opening scene depicted on the Josh Middleton variant cover of J'onn literally disintegrating after being set on fire is horrifying.  I'm of two minds about the art style. Riley Rossmo is a talented and imaginative artist. Most of the issue looks amazing. Especially all of the scenes on Mars. The colors and landscapes are simply breathtaking. On the other hand, art in many places seems overly deformed and ugly.  I believe the artistic choices are intended to highlight the fluid nature of Martian Manhunter's character. It's a unique perspective but two issues in and I'm still having a bipolar reaction to it.  It's a bit too early to judge the entire series as it's still getting out of the starting gate. The experience of this issue is heavily marred by the decompression. It does not derail the series completely but the lack of momentum at such an early point in the series is concerning.

9.0
Martian Manhunter (2018) #3

Jan 16, 2021

It's been so long since I read Martian Manhunter #2 that I forgot where I was in the story. I vaguely remember J'onn being a somewhat crooked cop and devoted father and husband when off duty. I don't remember much else beyond the general weirdness of Riley Rossmo's art style or J'onn being forced to reveal his identity as an alien to his partner. Fortunately, if you start the series here you'll be in a good spot as readers are given a nice rundown of how J'onn found himself on earth and how he came to adopt the Jones identity. I'm not the most well versed in the history of the Manhunter and found his origin to be really interesting. I loved the pace of the issue and the back and forth between the two leads. Their dynamic is pretty cool as they begin the process of rebuilding a severely fractured relationship. The body horror aspects of the issue were my favorite parts of the comic. Imagine learning that your friend and associate died several years ago and that Jeff Goldblum's "Fly" had been wearing his skin. It's a fascinating concept and the script really pushes the concept by making a disturbing turn of events relatable on a human level. There are some pages where J'onns is downright frightening and other panels where he's barely holding his human form together. The way the linework flows from page to page plays well with the nature of J'onn's abilities and thematically with the story. Martian Manhunter is back on my radar after a really strong third issue. I will put the series back on my review schedule and pick up the pace on these rundowns. It looks like we may have something special developing here.

8.0
Marvel Action: Avengers #1

Dec 29, 2018

I picked up Marvel Action: Avengers #1 the day after Christmas in one of my lightest pull weeks of 2018. The other book I purchased was Go-Bots #2 by Tom Sciolli. I'll probably be reviewing that one in the next few days. At the outset of the review, I will say that this comic is the most mainstream version of the Avengers that I've read in decades.  IDW has done something Marvel has not been able to do since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has successfully translated the Avengers from that shared universe to the comics.  All of the characters in the comics would feel right in on-screen including the additions of Captain Marvel and Black Panther.  The story could easily take place in-between the events of one of the movies. The comic benefits from not having 700 hundred issues of comic continuity attached. Matthew K. Manning has a great voice for this team and I could see this run being uber popular if this was the primary series and the tone skewed toward a slightly older audience. The story isn't all that original but fits with what we know of the characters.  I'm not a big fan of the pencils used to tell this story but combined with the colors provided by Protobunker the art is elevated and translates the story competently. The art isn't bad It's just aesthetically pleasing to me.  The only knock I have for the issue is that I feel it's overpriced. I understand that this is a new #1, a launch title and the price is usually inflated. My concern is that this comic along with the other All-Ages offerings should probably have a lower price point.  I wouldn't feel comfortable paying $3.99 for this book and then giving it to a kid to read and rip apart. If it was a dollar or two I wouldn't flinch but at 4 bucks I can't recommend this issue to those outside of completionists. This is despite the comic being the best representation of the MCU in comic form that we've seen to date.  For more reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

8.5
Marvel Action: Black Panther #1

Jun 3, 2019

I've never been the biggest Black Panther fan but I have enjoyed specific runs with the character. I have a few of the Jungle Action issues. The Christopher Priest run was amazing and I've always been partial to, Reginald Hudlin's take on the character.  The problem I have with Marvel's recent Black Panther series is that they boil the character and Wakanda down to their most pretentious and superfluous. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the lead writer for the Marvel series never seemed to be a fit for the character and squandered most of the capital that the character that obtained when Black Panther #1 sold over 250,000 copies upon release in 2016. Now sales for the series hover around 20,000 as of April. Clearly, there is a serious problem with the series.  ​​   Marvel Action: Black Panther takes the blueprint from the 2018 film and applies it to the comic. If you were a fan of the film you'll feel right at home here. In fact, if you're a fan of Black Panther as superhero as well as the king of Wakanda you're looking at one of the best takes on T'Challa and co in over a decade.  The story isn't really that deep but the simplified take on these characters is refreshing and allows a reader to dive in and actually relate to the events going on. The gist of the issue is that the production of Vibranium has increased significantly thanks to the new Mining techniques of Mr. Mchezaji.  During an event honoring Mchezaji, the weather patterns suddenly shift and the remainder of the issue is T'Challa attempting to rescue the citizens of Wakanda from a massive Tornado. ​​ Again, it's not the heaviest story but it nails the basics of the story and most importantly we get to see T'Challa as a full-on hero. Without all of the heavy-handed Wakandan politics weighing down every issue.  The issue also focuses on the relationship between T'Challa and his family, specifically Shuri who takes on the role of comic relief and his Mother. Shuri is pretty annoying here but it's not enough to derail the issue. Hopefully, it's toned down as the series progresses.  ​​ Another positive is the art direction. The issue looks fantastic. Juan Samu captures the energy of the lead hero and I love that IDW decided to use the look of the film as the baseline of the characters. If the event's of this book happened a week or 2 after the movie ended I wouldn't be surprised. The action is great throughout and we get to see some really cool and creative uses of Black Panthers suit and intelligence in dealing with the problems throughout the issue. A compelling mystery is established, the tone is set.   and the ending although not surprising sets up the direction of the series. There is a lot to love in this in this issue. I just hope they keep the momentum going forward. 

7.5
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1

Dec 2, 2018

I haven't purchased a Spider-man comic in a few years now and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse releasing in a couple weeks I figured this was as good a time as any to check out a Spiderman book.  The issue focuses on Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, and Miles Morales. They are all competing for an internship at the Daily Bugle that happens to be sponsored by Tony Stark.  As the characters are introduced to each other a group of mutated creatures begin attacking the city which leads to our hero springing into action to contain the threat.  Right off of the bat this comic is geared toward an all-ages audience that will more than likely be looking for more spidey content after Spider-Verse comes out. I don't mind all-ages stories but I probably won't follow this storyline beyond this issue.   The issue feels like the setup for Spider-man and his Amazing Friends 2.0 with Miles and Gwen standing in for Iceman and Firestar.  The characters are all pretty much what you expect them to be. If this was my first comic I wouldn't be terribly disappointed. The idea of Tony Stark possibly playing mentor to these characters did sort of rub me the wrong way though.  The art direction is very fluid and energetic with the colors being the MVP for the issue especially when Spiderman is in costume and doing his thing.  There is also a mystery setup within the issue that will clearly be investigated further in the next issue. As a back to basics, continuity lite Spiderman story I can't really find any faults. I have minor gripes but those are mainly me projecting onto a series in which I'm clearly not the target audience for.  The comic isn't bad, It's just not for me.  For More Reviews: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

10
Marvels Annotated (2019) #1

Jun 30, 2019

Marvels is without a doubt my favorite series of all time. It's what all comic books should aspire to be and expresses the magic of Marvel Comics and the medium in general.  Kurt Busiek was God-Tier throughout the series and Alex Ross was in his prime delivering some of the best art of his career. To this day I'm amazed at just home much ground was covered in these four issues. The passion, knowledge, and respect these men had for these characters is part of the reason I'm so down on modern Marvel in 2019. Something clearly has been lost in translation.  I also love that the series touches on the political climate of the eras of the time periods covered in each issue. It's not heavy-handed or divisive. The politics are there and add context to the narrative.  Marvels captures the idealism of the men and women of the time and blend real-world events with fantastical elements. I know it's popular to paint anything prior to the civil rights era as problematic, and there definitely were issues, but there are also good men and good women working together to make the world a better place.  We shouldn't lose sight of that even when litigating past discretions.  I'm not going to review Marvels. Full disclosure I wouldn't give any of the issues less than the highest of marks so I won't waste time drawing out the foregone conclusion.  What  I want to discuss is my feelings regarding key characters and events discussed in these issues and how they resonated with me personally.  I'm not the biggest fan of Marvel right now or their pricing practices but even with those disclosures I think that the quality of these books along with the additional content justify the 7.99 cover price.  Marvelous Moments  1. Phil Sheldon Phil Sheldon is amazing. Marvels wouldn't have worked without Phil as narrator. The highest praise I can give for the series was the idea to shift the focus of the series from the point of view of the heroes and villains and aim it squarely on the little guy and his reactions to events. Phil is more than likely your grandfather or great grandfather depending on your family line and is a product of the greatest generation. He feels real and relatable and is what I imagine our forebears to have been like if we view the situation with those rose tinted glasses.  2. Jim Hammond Finally gets his Due The first comic from Timely (Marvel) featured The Human Torch. An android that would spontaneously combust when exposed to oxygen. Most people today probably have no idea that there was a precursor to Johnny Storm from the Fantastic Four. We rarely see Jim outside of one of the Many Invaders reboots that pop up every few years and even then the character tends to be an afterthought. In Marvels #0 the creation of the Human Torch by Phineas Horton is treated as the catalyst for the rest of the events in the series. The story is treated as like a modern retelling of Frankenstein with the Torch standing in for the Monster. Ross even sets some of the panels up to resemble Mary Shelley's seminal work.  The character was never given this level of respect before or since and prior to reading the Marvels trade paperback in the 90's. I only knew the character at all, because the Marvel tsr roleplaying game featured 2 versions of the character and one of them was Jim.  3. Namor Namor is awesome. One of the things people tend to forget is just how long Namor - The Submariner has been around in the Marvel Universe. Marvel does a great job portraying the character as hero and villain. He's just as bi-polar as ever. One minute he's fighting Nazi's with the allies. The next he's flooding Manhattan. My favorite pages of the entire series is when the flood happens. It's scaled perfectly and shows just how dangerous Namor can be when he's in a mood.   4. Agency The theme of the issue for me is how Agency has been snatched from our central characters in what I think can best be described as "The Lex Luthor dilemma". Prior to the Human Torches arrival man was in control of his own destiny.  With the emergence of heroes such as Namor, Torch and even Captain America the best a normal person can do is get out of the way.  At one point in the issue, a bunch of the journalists are huddled in a bar listening to a broadcast breaking down the fight between the Human Torch and Namor. It's a really pathetic moment and illustrates how small man is in relation to these bigger than life characters.  What hope can a normal guy have against a guy that can melt car engines or another guy that is bulletproof.  Other thoughts There are other moments in the issue that were worth mentioning but didn't deserve a bullet point. It was nice seeing Captain America. A young J.J. Jameson and Nick Fury before they fell into their Iconic roles.  Alex Ross also added cameos that I never noticed prior to reading the annotated edition. If you look closely you'll see Lois Lane, Clark Kent, The Shadow, Doc Savage, Billy Batson, and even Popeye in the issue.  These Cameos and easter eggs make the book even more fun to read. There is a palpable layer of optimism throughout the issue and even when the characters suffer losses there is a greater victory a few pages later.  This is one of the most beautiful comics I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Thanks for sharing this experience with me. 

9.0
Marvels X #2

Nov 8, 2021

I started reviewing this series shortly after the pandemic started and lost track of it when a fire burned up most of the more recent series I'd been collecting. Earth X is one of Marvel's best What If? stories, so I was excited to see Alex Ross and Jim Krueger playing in this sandbox again. The story follows David, a young boy who has managed to avoid the plague that has mutated humanity into super beings. If you have not read "Earth X" that's fine. This series serves as a prequel yet also feels self-contained. This issue followed David specifically as he makes his way to New York and begins to encounter various superheroes dealing with a rapidly escalating situation. The best part of the issue is David. Most writers tend to make younger characters annoying because they can't seem to get into the mind of a child or young adult. David feels like a real kid suddenly thrust into the Marvel Universe with no knowledge of it beforehand. The characterizations of the surviving heroes are also stand out. In "Earth X" most of the heroes are either dead or damaged beyond repair. It's nice to see that here, and in the face of rapid change, they still act in their capacity as heroes. Daredevil gets some particularly strong moments. If a kid ran into a character like Ghost Rider or Machine Man in real life he'd be freaking out at the encounter. The only knock I have on the issue is that considering that David lives in the Marvel Universe proper you'd think he'd have a passing knowledge of most of the character's he's frightened of, particularly the heroes. Artist Well-Bee does a great job keeping the artistic tone of Earth X without being direct of a clone of Jean-Paul Leon. The inks aren't as heavy in Marvel's X and it's easier to make out what's happening in this series. The art is gritty but even with the grit, there is some solid action and visual storytelling throughout the issue. If you're a fan of Elseworlds stories you can't get much better than this. It's really hard to believe that a series this well-written flew managed to fly this far under the radar. I don't think I ever heard anyone talk about Mutant X and I'm generally plugged into the industry. In Short: It's worth A read even if you're not familiar with the Earth X storyline

8.5
Metal Men (2019) #1

Nov 11, 2019

It often felt like I was the only one reading and enjoying Dan Didio and Kenneth Rocafort's Sideways last year. That series started slowly as a Spider-Man clone but ended with Sideways having a distinct personality and backstory. By the end, I was invested in that character's growth and development. I saw that Dan was attached to this story and was interested but not interested enough to make the purchase. What sealed the purchase was Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Men having a creepy monologue with one of his robots which appeared to be either be lifeless or worried about the mental state of its creator. I couldn't get a bead on what the hell was going on in the machine's mind but the page stuck with me. It turns out that Will has been lying to his robots about the nature of their sentience since inception. Rather than being sentient beings they are all aspects of Will's own personality given form. When the secret is discovered and Will is confronted about his actions he activates a killswitch and shuts them down. The Metal Men are essentially human so the idea of them being shut down and casually discarded is unnerving to see as a reader. The book continues with a discovery spinning out of Dark Knights Metal (Yes Dan is still mining that well). The reveal is fascinating and gives Will renewed purpose in his scientific pursuits. I still consider myself a noob when it comes to DC comics lore so I have very limited experience with The Metal Men. Prior to this issue, I'd only ever seen them in one of the Amalgam books when DC and Marvel crossed over. The script is good, the art direction is also solid. Shane's linework is very detailed and the colors contrast very nicely to the dark undertones of the story being told. There are some really cool designs here, particularly the robot from the opening monologue. The character's eyes are screws but they are drawn in such a way that makes the machine appear to be worried, it's a really cool touch. All of the characters are new to me so with that blank slate in mind I enjoyed this issue. It's different from the normal DC fare I'm reading and I'd much rather have a series like this than yet another Batman title.

9.5
Middlewest #1

Jan 7, 2019

I picked up Middlewest based on a Youtube recommendation and some of the praise surrounding the book on social media. It looked interesting but I had just picked up Bully Wars a couple months back (also by Skottie Young) and although I liked the story It skewed a bit young for me and I didn't revisit the series.  Middlewest follows a kid named Abel, he seems like a normal kid with a chip and responsibilities on his shoulders. He has a paper route and is a product of a single parent household. Abel live's with his father and tries to balance his responsibilities as a young adult with being a kid. In this issue being a kid wins out and leads to a huge but re-latable confrontation with is father in the climax of the issue.  When I started the issue I had no idea what I was walking into. I try to avoid all spoilers and all I had to go on was the cover. My first reaction was that this was going to be a slightly skewed version of Bully Wars aimed at an older audience and featuring talking animals. That thought persisted until "The Scene" and then I was hooked. Skottie Young continues to impress me with his storytelling ability. If you only know Skottie from his silly Marvel Variants than you're missing. He is a top tier ideas guy and I can only imagine what the pitch meetings are like. There is a lot of heart in this story. It takes a very relatable premise and heightens it with fantasy elements. I'm adding Middlewest to my pull list upon my next visit to my Local comic shop.  Our art team is Jorge Corona and Jean Francois Beaulieu. I would have guessed it was Scottie on art as the artist shares a similar style. The comic has a distinct look and is very detailed and colorful. Every page contains a Midwestern vibe and its easy to get lost in the art. I have no idea where the story is going of if there is a long term plan for the series. All I can confirm is that this issue is worth your time and shelf space.  For More Reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.5
Midnight Mystery #1

Dec 31, 2018

A few years ago I used to listen to Coast to Coast Am with George Noory. For those unfamiliar with the broadcast, George and his panel typically discuss supernatural stories and events that happen in the news. These stories are presented as matter of fact and the impression is that the stories are real. The listener is allowed to draw their own conclusions about the event in question no matter how strange they may seem.  I mention Coast to Coast AM because I got a similar vibe reading this title. Ezekiel "Zeke" King is a private detective that has extensive experience with the unexplained. To make sense of his experiences Zeke records his case files in a manner similar to that of a radio host. Imagine the aforementioned George Noory as the lead character. In this issue, Zeke searches for the heir of a deceased actor. The actor was the host of a late night horror series. He eventually finds the child but rather than ending the case he gets involved in an even bigger mystery.    Midnight Mystery is an excellent read that introduces a compelling character, mystery and sets the general tone for what readers can expect from the series. _ is the writer/artist on this series. I'm not a huge fan of the art style. It reminds me of Batman: TAS. It's not a bad style but it's a bit too clean for my tastes considering the noirish setting. The writing is crisp and the story is well paced so despite my reservations on the art style. I really can't complain about anything in this issue. It is off to a terrific start.

7.5
Midnight Mystery #2

Feb 11, 2019

I was excited to jump back into Mystery Theater to see how last months cliffhanger would play out. Zeke is tied up and Conrad is constrained and about to be sacrificed in a ritual to resurrect his father, count Karloff. Rather surprisingly, the plot seems to have resolved itself in this issue. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm also not sure if we'll see another chapter in this particular arc. The series seems to be moving onto another vignette in Zeek's life.  I enjoyed the story and epilogue which turned out to be extremely creepy. My main gripe with the issue is that the resolution of the storyline seems to come too easily and was somewhat anticlimactic. The ending may or may not turn out to be a red herring but it's too early to tell at this point.  The art is just as striking as the previous issue and reminded me a lot of the current Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive series from Image Comics. Outside of the epilogue other than a hilarious send off to the old Hostess Cupcake ads that used to run in comics back in the 70s & 80s.  Midnight Mystery is ultimately an adequate issue. It's not a bad comic but I really enjoyed the first issue and expected more out of this one. I guess you can't win them all. 

10
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

Jan 5, 2020

The last Power Rangers/TMNT crossover appeared in the mid-90s and was a catastrophe. It took over 20 years but we finally have a proper crossover between the two franchises. The plot isn't fully laid out in this issue but the pace is fast without being decompressed. The gist of the issue resolves around Tommy disappearing from the team and joining the Foot Clan. The reason behind Tommy joining the ninja clan seems sincere but I'm holding out hope that he's here on an undercover operation. Time will tell as Tommy Oliver has always been the most mercurial member of the Power Rangers. The books have a couple of things going for it. First of All, Simone di Meo has a really great take on the Turtles and joins Mateus Santolouco and Sophie Campbell as my favorite TMNT artists. The art style chosen for the series is simply amazing. The locations are varied and the colors provided by Walter Baimonte really make every page come to life whether it's a daytime battle between the Rangers in Angel Grove or a late-night encounter between the TMNT and the Foot Clan. Simone has been a regular writer on the main Power Rangers series and does a great job integrating both franchises and making it appear as if they occupy the same universe. Ryan Parrott also does a great job in the portrayal of the Turtles. They feel right and I enjoyed their interactions with each other and the Rangers. There is a great exchange between the Turtles in which they talk about what traits they would want if they were human. It's not a big deal, but it layers on a few traits onto our heroes that I had never considered. The banter also makes them feel like normal kids and further humanizes them. Leonardo wishing he had hair was particularly funny. My fear was that the Turtles would be upstaged in the series. This concern was a bit premature. The two groups have the obligatory crossover misunderstanding and fight. During the exchange, both sides are represented as equals. Surprisingly, Raph and Tommy are set up as potential rivals and both have some pretty impressive showings against each other as the issue progresses. The teams have some really good interactions with each other, and at this time I feel like we may be in for something special. The art direction and script perfectly blend each franchise and I was beyond impressed by this mashup. There were so many ways in which this could have gone wrong and I appreciate all involved in making this series happen. MMPR/TMNT #1 is a Godsend and one of the best starts to a mini-series I've read in a long time.

10
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2

May 28, 2020

Simone Di Meo is God-Tier, we can start shilling this title there. Power Rangers/TMNT is a gorgeous comic book. I'm reading this mini-series and also catching up on the main series "Beyond the Grid" arc. Between each series, Simone has displayed tremendous growth. If you're a fan of either franchise this issue is absolutely perfect. Ryan portrays ideal versions of both intellectual properties which borrowing from various incarnations of the characters. In one scene Mikey and Zack bond over bizarre pizza recipes. This was clearly a homage to the 1987 animated series and was hilarious. All of the interactions between the Rangers and Turtles are beautifully crafted and left a smile on my face. The creative team deserves all of the accolades they have received in regard to this series. It's been a joy to read and it's hard to believe that we're only on issue #2. There is a pretty awesome cliffhanger that I saw spoiled online. I won't spoil it here but it's about the coolest mashup I've seen in a while and it comes totally out of nowhere. If you can't tell I'm giddy over the issue and all praise is well deserved.

9.0
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #31

Nov 10, 2018

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #31 follows up in the immediate aftermath of the Shattered Grid story arc that recently ended. The previous storyline ended on such a crescendo that I almost wish that Shattered Grid was the series finale.  I'm happy to report that Issue #31 of MMPR picks up the ball and runs with it. A group of Power Rangers led by Grace Sterling has been stranded in an unknown dimension with no way home, little power and even less access to the Morphin Grid. The adult Kimberly Hart (Pink Ranger) has also stranded. I'm not really all that well versed with Ranger Lore so I apologize for not knowing more details about all of the stranded rangers.  They get a distress call from an abandoned pod and use their remaining power to teleport to the location. When the Rangers arrive the quickly realize that they ended up walking into a trap set by what appears to be another Power Ranger. The main strength of this issue is the atmosphere. The optimism of the Rangers runs head first into the runs into the reality of a situation that is practically hopeless. Grace Sterling is an inspired choice to lead this team. She was one of Zordon's original Power Rangers from the 60's. She lost her original team on the moon and vowed to never lose another group. Kim Hart is another great choice for this group. The present situation offers her a chance to further redeem herself.  The art is top notch and the rangers are all distinct. The landscapes are all distinct and the feeling of emptiness permeates throughout the issue.  The story doesn't miss a beat. It appears that the Shattered Grid follow-up will be just as equal in scope and scale to what we expect from this series which is actually hard to believe that the series has maintained this consistency for so long. Boom Studios continues to deliver. For More https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

7.0
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #32

Jan 16, 2019

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #32 continues the "Beyond the Grid" Story spinning out of last years "Shattered grid". Our heroes manage to track down the rogue Ranger (Ellarien or Ari) that stole the power from their ship the last issue. There is a brief confrontation that is broken up the minions of the villain (Praetor). The combined might of the Rangers overwhelm the bad guy's and decide to leave and presumably plot their next move. I didn't hate this issue but I didn't enjoy this comic as much as I would have liked to. It probably works better if you have a deeper grasp of Power Ranger's lore than I do. For me, the Rangers have too many disparate plot threads and it appears that the comic is juggling too many characters at once.  I recognize the older Kimberly but aside from that I'm having a hard time latching on to the other characters and the comic does seems to want me to have already formed a connection to them.  Aside from that, the art didn't blow me away this time around. The early quieter scenes aboard the Power Rangers ship are pretty drab and this continues until we encounter Ari. The visual design for the new Ranger absolutely is stunning and marks a major contrast with the others.  The story is honestly a mixed bag and I find myself missing the original crew the further we get from Shattered grid. I hope they return soon. That's not to say that this story is bad. The issue picks up toward the back half of the book. I'm just not completely onboard as of yet. 

8.0
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #33

Mar 29, 2019

Beyond the grid has been mediocre at best. It's not terrible but it's not the most follow-up to 2018's epic Shattered Grid story arc. This issue is a bit better as it puts the focus on giving an origin to the series original character, Ari. She gives her origin and some insight into the situation with the arc's villain, the Praetor.   Ari backstory is sad she comes from a dying universe that only has a few generations left. In an attempt to steal some food she's startled by a man morphing in front of her. An earthquake seemingly occurs and they both fall off the platform they were standing on. The man dies but not before passing the Solarix (Morpher) to her. She's not given the power based on merit or nobility. She's was just the only option available. It's not really the most exciting origin at all but it's well written and makes sense in light of the circumstances. We also got a visually cool character out of the deal so I'll accept it. Before dying the Man tells her to keep it away from the Praetor and that the Solarix will seek its own kind.  We also get an explanation for why Ari looks so much different from the other rangers. She's not properly aligned with the grid and it glitches out and even hurts her sometimes. Using her powers drew the Praetor to her we're given the impression that he friends have been attacked by association with her.  By the end of the comic, The heroes are tracked by the Praetor and his army and the comic ends with the other rangers drawing power from the Solarix.  This was a pretty good issue. My only complaint is that there's a lot of standing around here and the dialogue, while great at explaining the situation is a bit much. The art for the rangers outside of Ari leaves much to be desired. I really dislike the choice they have gone with for Kimberly and I'll leave it at that.  When the art team gets to Draw Ari or the space stuff the art is amazing. There are some breathtaking shots in this issue. It's also noted in the comic that there are 3 artists working the issue. That may be why the art is so disjointed at times.  The decision to focus on one character was a good one. The past few issues have been scattered and haven't spent enough time establishing who they are or why I should care. I understand that these heroes may be long-standing Rangers from the series or extended canon but in this arc, they are generic at best.  It appears the next issue may be more action oriented and I'm interested in seeing if the Solarix glitch effect extends to the other Rangers powered by it. I'm more interested in the designs than anything. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. 

8.5
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #34

Jun 5, 2019

"Beyond the Grid" has been an uneven arc for me. Primarily because I'm disconnected from most of the characters involved.  The story isn't bad, but I think fans will get more from the arc if they are invested in the characters and lore. The issue picks up immediately following the conclusion of the previous issue. Our heroes are discovered by the Praetor and the situation seems grim.  The key strength of the issue is that It finally made me start to feel a connection to these characters. The Praetor plays mind games and begins using the Power Rangers own insecurities in his attacks and nearly gets the best of them throughout the battle.  ​​ Ari still gets the coolest moments in the issue and Kimberly comes into her own as the leader of this makeshift group.  Simone Di Meo's pencils in the issue are particularly solid during the action sequences. The Rangers get their Zords and they look amazing. There is another page where Ari has to defend another Ranger and it's simply stunning and highlights the heart on display throughout the issue.  The colors are also inspired throughout the comic. It's almost as if the issue was drawn on black paper and then colored over. The effect is that the issue is simply gorgeous to look at.  Heroes defending each other despite overwhelming odds stacked against them is something we should see more of. We usually get the hero part but too many modern comics seem to miss the part of the narrative where heroes are supposed to face adversity.  ​​ There is tension throughout the issue and also a breather as our heroes finally get a respite at some point during the issue. I really think that Mighty Morphin Power Rangers would really benefit from a handbook similar to the official guides that Marvel/DC used to release periodically.  These would really help out readers that may feel lost. I want to give an issue an A rating, I really do. The disconnect is that the story relies too much on me having more than a working knowledge of these characters. ​ I'm getting there, the longer the story goes on but its really hard to latch on to any of these rangers outside of Ari and to a lesser extent Kimberly.  There isn't even a recap to identify the characters for new readers.  It sucks but as good as the issue is some of the design decisions need to be tightened up. This is more of an editorial complaint than the fault of the creative team involved. 

7.0
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #35

Feb 17, 2020

I read this issue a few months back while heavily intoxicated and never got around to reviewing it. I remembered the basic framework for the story but I also recalled being bored AF by it. I'm looking to get back on a regular review schedule for this series and decided to try to power through the "Beyond the Grid" story arc. There are a few decent elements in the story but the biggest hurdle for me is lack of familiarity with the Rangers featured in this run. Reading the issue a second time it wasn't that bad. We're still in the middle of "Beyond the Grid: and still following a bunch of characters I don't know or really care about. The focus of the issue is Heckyl. He finds himself depowered and on his homeworld Sentai 6, a paradise planet. The planet is also protected by Zenowing Who acts as a mentor and also happens to be a Ranger. Initially, Heckyl is totally enamored by the beauty of the world and its people. However, when he considers the potential threats he comes into conflict with Zenowing. He wants to prepare the citizens of the planet for war. Zenowing feels that militarizing the populace would cause the world to lose the qualities that make the world worth saving. The situation escalates to the point in which Heckyl compromises his relationship Zenowing and puts the safety of the world at risk in attempting to secure it. I initially thought the comic was bad because of the pacing as well as my growing frustration with this group of heroes. The comic isn't terrible. Its also not the most exciting issue. It's a solid story that serves to humanize one of our background heroes. I think readers will get more out of the issue depending on how invested they are in MMPR lore. The art is the weakest aspect of the comic. Simone Di Meo is sorely missed. French Carlomagno and Francesco Mortarino attempt to ape Simone's style with mixed results. The odd pacing and boring art style add up to a pretty bland issue. I got more enjoyment out of the book when reading for the review but I still wasn't blown away by the content. The story is actually pretty generic. I'm not sure who "Beyond The Grid" is for but it increasingly feels like it's not for me. I haven't dropped the title but it's hard to be excited for a storyline you're just not interested in.

6.5
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #36

Mar 14, 2020

I used to be excited to read Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Now It's just another book in the pile. Sometimes the comic is good, sometimes it's bad but lately, the title has just been meh. I am Reading MMPR/TMNT and in that series, Simone Di Meo has been putting on a storytelling clinic. Here he's reduced to drawing page after page of exposition and it totally kills the pacing for this story arc. I almost lost the plot of the issue until something cool happened toward the end of the comic. It's a damn shame because Jamal Campbell's cover of Ari in mid morph is simply incredible and is one of the best covers I've seen in this series. When Simone is able to create he's able to pull emotion out of the reader and operate on a grand scale that few artists can reach. He's being wasted in this storyline. I'm not sure who this arc is for or why the story has slowed down so much, but I wish Marguerite would get out of her own way and let the book be fun. Way too much deconstruction and not enough action or story progression. For More: Gtmediareviews.com

8.5
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #37

Apr 15, 2020

I've been dragging the entire "Beyond The Grid" arc since I began reviewing it. It's been a mediocre event beyond the amazing visuals from Simone Di Meo. MMPR #37 begins tying some of the narrative threads together and may actually be setting up a decent conclusion now that all of the introductions are out of the way. This issue begins with the Rangers landing on a planet full of Zeo Crystals. They are taken aback by the remote and unsecured nature of the planet and make camp. It's during this moment that the Prater appears to one of the heroes and offers them a way out of this situation if they steal Ari's Solarix/Morpher. Long story short, the Morpher is stolen which leads to a huge conflict within the team that leads to potential tragedy. The art is great which is expected when a series is drawn by Simeo Di Meo. The writing has also stepped up which I contribute directly to the exposition being dialed back. There really isn't too much else to say about the issue without actually giving away the spoilers. The story has the potential to wrap up nicely despite the flawed opening chapters. Let's see if Marguerite can stick this landing.

4.5
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #38

Jul 6, 2020

I'm bout tired of Shattered Grid. Although the story isn't meandering It's just not an exciting comic book. I feel really bad for the segment of the readership that waited for this one in trade. To those few souls waiting on my recommendation, I've failed you. If I had a regular review schedule I could have warned you but since I'm probably one of the most unorganized reviewers ever we're about a year removed from this arc. Thankfully, its almost over. In this issue, we get the origin of The Praetor and gain more insight into the nature of the Morphin Grid and the Solarix. There are several problems with the comic that curtailed any enjoyment for me. It's pretty clear that this arc should have probably been 3-4 issues at the most. Boom decided to drag things out and it just makes the entire story a slog to read. It's even more aggravating when huge interesting plot points are introduced and then dropped without a satisfying resolution. The cliffhanger of #37 is immediately resolved with no conflict or fanfare which makes the entire previous issue irrelevant. Being honest the arc is about Ari, The Solar Ranger. All of the other characters are just background noise. When the other Rangers are given the focus they are so bland and uninteresting that the only fans that will enjoy their appearances will be those that are just excited to see them in another medium. It's a really shallow way to introduce new readers to these characters especially when they don't really get anything to do aside from being sullen in the background. The comic once again features way too much exposition. We're 5-6 issues into this storyline and still explaining the plot. This is a colossal failure in the writing and editing of this story. I zoned out multiple times while reading because of the large info dumps that never seemed to end. The idea is to make the comic deeper than what it ends up being, but it boils down to another writer being self-indulgent. Simone Di Meo is once again totally wasted. He's legit one of the top 5 artists working today and he's stuck here drawing static images of characters standing or floating around. It's an absolute waste especially when you see his work on the outstanding TMNT/MMPR crossover that recently ended. It's hard to believe that this is the same artist. All of the gripes go back to Marguerite Bennett. She's the wrong writer for this book. I've enjoyed Boom Studios's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers since launch but this one has been taxing. I'm not sure who this arc is for but it's antithetical to what I look for in a comic book. Aside from Simone's art, the entire storyline has been a waste of time. I say that knowing that the story isn't over.

5.0
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (2016) #39

Jul 21, 2020

Someone mentioned on my Facebook page that I write reviews just to shit on comics. The reality is that I just pick up a book, read it, and post a review. I don't have that kind of time. Plus comics are 3.99 and up. The hobby is too expensive to play those sorts of games. If a book is bad it's just bad. Apparently Marguerite Bennett is a divisive figure in comics. I never knew that. Power Rangers was on my pull list so I reviewed the books as I got to them. I'm sorry but it's not really that deep. The problem with Beyond The Grid is that it's overwritten and really wants to be deeper than it actually is. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #39 is the culmination of the Solar Ranger story arc and the aftermath of the epic "Shattered Grid" story that preceded it. This review is going to be admittedly shallow, but before I get into any negativity I want to start on my one positive note. Despite any criticisms, I throw at the series none of the gripes are the fault of the artist. His ranger designs are some of the best I've ever seen on the characters. Simone is uber-talented and I'm so happy to see his name assigned to big-name projects like TMNT/Power rangers, Venom, and The Champions over at Marvel. "Beyond the Grid" just turned out to be a dud. Not even stellar art could save it from Marguerite's poor writing. On the story side of things, I have a hard time mustering any patience for the arc. I made it through the story but it was a slog with little to no excitement. The Rangers defeat the Praetor in the blandest way possible and go home. The dialogue for the issue is super sappy making the issue feel more like Care Bears than Power Rangers. They even beat the villain with the Care Bear Stare. The outcome of the battle seems meaningless. The dialogue even suggests that the Rangers may not even remember the events of the arc which makes the slog of the past several issues seem even more pointless.

9.5
Mirka Andolfo's Mercy #1

Mar 27, 2020

Many followers of my blog know that Mirka Andolfo's Unnatural was one of my comics of 2018-2019. It was also one of the main reasons I pulled back from mainstream comics and started focusing on reading and reviewing indie comics. Comparatively speaking, Unnatural was pretty much better than any comic I was reading from the mainstream and acted as a gateway to other series I would have missed otherwise. I doubt I would have found Tom Scoli's Go-Bots or Mark Russell's Lone Ranger if not for Mirka Andolfo. For those reasons I added Mercy to my comic book pull list the moment I saw it available via solicits. I didn't know much about the actual story of Mercy going into it. I will say at the outset that this an absolutely beautiful book. The cover art is amazing and the enthusiasm that went into the variant covers has been great. Unnatural also had a ton of cool variant's covers so I'm really happy to see that tradition continues here. The interior art for Mercy is also a bit more polished than Unnatural which is an impressive feat in its own right. The interior art for Mercy is a bit more polished than Unnatural which is impressive in its own right. This is a really strong introduction to this world and characters. My initial impression from the solicits and preview art was that we were looking at a detective story set in the victorian era and that Miss Hellaine would be the lead POV character. The truth is much darker and puts the story firmly in gothic horror territory. The story opens in the midst of a monster attack. We don't get many details about the monster but we quickly see what it's capable of before the book has a time jump. The intro attack is explained away as a mining accident and we spend the rest of the issue introducing characters that will no doubt be key to the series. There's Lady Swanson who shows up in the introduction and seems to be living a double life. Rory, a Native American Child that has been assimilated into American society and identifies as Christian. She lives with her "Uncle" who is abusive to her and the other children that he picks up off of the street for child labor. Rory also has a pretty dark backstory that may seemingly tie back to the earlier attack. Jonathan and Betsy, two African American characters that don't get much panel time but are friendly toward Rory and sympathize with her circumstances. Miss Hellaine is a totally different character than what I expected. I won't spoil the book but by the conclusion of this chapter, I was totally onboard with piecing together this mystery. The story is surprisingly dark and at times horrifying. The book has the comic equivalent of jump scares and they work well when contrast with the lighter tone of the art direction. The atmosphere can make or break a good horror story. Many colorists ruin the atmosphere and immersion of a good horror story by using the wrong color palette. The most recent offender I can think of would be William Gibson's adaption of Alien 3 from Darkhorse Comics. The color's didn't fit the story and because of bad color choices scenes that should have been scary failed to land. Mercy doesn't have this problem. The book has a dark undercurrent throughout and although the colors are bright and varied I never felt taken out of the story. If there was a master class in color theory Mirka would be one of my choices to give the lecture. Not enough information is given to properly access the overall plot of the story but what's here is a strong pitch for the series. There is a lot of potential here and I can't wait to see how this story develops.

7.5
Mister Miracle (2017) #12

Nov 16, 2018

I read Mister Miracle #12 twice and still feel that I may be totally off base with my interpretation of the events that play out in this book. The comic doesn't really work as a solo issue but it is a fitting epilogue if you've followed the story so far. In issue #1 Scott Free (Mister Miracle) committed suicide. The rest of the series has been taking place in a sort of purgatory. This makes sense as the events of the series have always been presented as a series of free-flowing dreamlike tasks rather than Mister Miracle taking on any real threats or being in any real danger. At some point in the series, Scott decided that he would rather stay in Purgatory than to actually escape. He has found happiness that he was never actually able to achieve in life. He's married to Barda with a kid and another one on the way. Scott has also taken down all of the obstacles he faced in life. (Granny Goodness, Orion, Darkseid). Although he recognizes that this situation isn't real he's content with this life because in it he has everything he ever wanted. He knows he has taken a cowardly way out of his situation but he also knows he can escape whenever he wants to. Would you ever wake up from a dream if it felt real and you could shape the events within it? This is my interpretation of the issue. I may be totally wrong... This may be the hardest comic I've had to review on this site. As a single issue, I can't recommend it to anyone. This isn't because the issue/series is bad. The comic is open to interpretation and without any context, the story doesn't work and can be confusing. Mitches art is a great as ever. Every panel is clear and engaging. There is a single panel of Scott Smiling in a shower that stuck with me long after I finished the book. You'll always know what Scott's emotional state is at any given time. I also think that the washed-out colors while Scott and Barda are on earth hint to the reality of the situation. The writing and art direction blend well and add to the dreamlike atmosphere of the series. Tom King has made me fall in love with this character. Although the character's struggles are exponentially heightened, I still can relate to how he feels under the weight of expectation that everyone has placed on him. I don't blame him for skipping out. I also don't blame anyone else for calling Scott Free a selfish asshole. For this issue, I'm giving two Ratings. I don't think it's fair to base the series on an epilogue that exists to wrap up the story. It also doesn't feel its right to say this issue is perfect when it would be a terrible issue to start the series with.

9.0
Mr Crypt #1

May 4, 2019

I'm not sure I was reading AlternaComics when Mr. Crypt was introduced so it was nice to get some insight into the character as he frequently pops up frequently across the entire line.  ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) is a 99 Cent reprint series aimed at younger readers. The cover price is great and the paper quality is in line with the rest of the Alterna Comic line.  This issue reprints Mr. Crypt and Baron Rat's first appearance. Baron Rat was included in my first Alterna review and it was nice to see that origin as well. The issue is genuinely funny as Mr. Crypt tries to blend in with the Townsfolk but keeps failing as his disguise sucks. Mr. Crypt is a talking skeleton and the disguise is a fake mustache and a jacket. There isn't a lot of depth to the story but it's fun, the value is there and the art really serves to bring these characters and story to life.  I love the idea behind the series. Alterna has been around for a while now and its really cool to see them digging into their catalog for newer readers. The publisher is probably the best value in comics but even I don't have the budget to track down all of their books. It's great to have an avenue to get reprints at a discounted rate and not be forced to wade through the wild west known as eBay.  I'm totally on board with this series and can't wait to see what happens next.

7.0
Mullet Cop #1

Oct 17, 2021

I had no expectations for Mullet Cop. The cover looked all sort of odd but because of the page count and cover price I figured I'd give the book a shot. The books art style and color palette is distinct versus other titles on the shelf. Tom Lintern also seems to be channeling classics like Judge Dredd, Robocop, Cyberpunk and irreverent pop culture from the 80's and 90's. The story itself is pretty goofy throughout. Our lead character Fred, is a Mall cop that survives a gunshot to the face recovers and goes undercover as the manager of All-You-Can-Eat buffet. He teams with other survivors of the attack as well as a super computer that can instantly produce any food you can think of. I laughed a lot while reading Mullet Cop. Most of the humor comes from Fred himself. Tim chose to cut/paste the same deadpan expression on Fred's face with few exceptions throughout the book and it makes the scenarios presented more hilarious than they would have been otherwise. Fred's face has been seared into my mind for the past few weeks and when I think of the book I think of his face. He may as well be a walking emoji. Mullet Cop isn't groundbreaking, there aren't many standout moments or action sequences. It's strength is in its unique presentation of familiar concepts. It's also a complete story with a clear beginning, middle and end point. If you have an open spot in your reading list or looking for a change of pace and a few laughs you can do a lot worse. Rating: Recommend

8.5
Naomi #1

Jan 26, 2019

Naomi #1 is a curious comic. I didn't have much to go on other than a name and the beautiful cover by Jamal Campbell. There was a cringy article with the headline that read; "The Newest DC Comics Superhero Is a Girl of Color from Oregon".  I was on the fence about picking up the comic but the cover won me over and I thought, what the hell? spoilers Right out of the gate Jamal's pencil's are amazing. I recognize him from his work on Power Rangers but this is a step above and beyond anything that he's done for Boom Studios. This may be the most natural depiction of an African - American Woman that I've ever seen portrayed in comics without exaggeration. The colors for the series are flawless. There isn't a colorist credited for the issue so I will assume that Jamal pulled double duty and produced a masterpiece for DC.  The comic is billed as "DC's biggest mystery" I'm not sure how far the rabbit hole will go but the setup is cool. Naomi is from a sleepy town in Oregon. Nothing ever happens there. The big focus of the issue is that Superman shows up for about 17 seconds and the town is completely abuzz. Naomi is disappointed because she misses it. Afterward she looks into the story but there are no actual reports about what happened.  The next day Superman returns and there is still no news on the event which Naomi finds strange since nothing ever happens there. While meeting with her Therapist It comes out that Naomi may be obsessed with Superman because they are both adopted. While meeting with her friends its mentioned that something happened in the past involving superheroes but no one wants to discuss it. Naomi decides to talk to the local mechanic, Dee and asks him about the event. He's reluctant to tell her anything and as he walks off he gives her a date, March 14th.  Which just happens to be the day she was adopted. Naomi #1 is a really good first issue. I love the character and the setting. At first glance, everything seems perfectly normal until it doesn't. I kind of feel like whatever the event is that happened in the past should have been revealed in this issue.  There is a trend in comics to load the first issue up with details but then end without a satisfactory conclusion. We get the cliffhanger but without the reveal, the issue is somewhat lacking.  I will admit that I am intrigued by this story and I applaud DC for putting out series like this with no obvious connections to any other Superheroes.  I also feel like the "The Newest DC Comics Superhero Is a Girl of Color from Oregon". tag sales the character short. Naomi is an interesting character. Her race isn't mentioned at all in the comic and truthfully if she was any other race the story would have played out the same. This is similar to "Into the Spiderverse" where Miles ethnicity isn't a plot point. The normalization of Race and ethnicity in these story jumps out at me because too often POC characters are treated as props instead of actual Characters.  This issue is great and I'm excited to see where the story goes. Hopefully, Bendis doesn't stretch this origin story out too long.

9.0
Naomi #2

Apr 15, 2019

Naomi #2 may be the first great comic I've reviewed that I had to mark own because It pissed me off. The first issue ended on the cliffhanger of the local mechanic, Dee revealing that the last superhero incident in town the day that Naomi was adopted.  Dee forcibly removes her from his garage and leaves abruptly. Naomi is deeply distressed by this revelation and rightly wonders what's going on.  She goes home and during dinner asks her adopted parents how it is that the Mechanic knows her. She even asks if Dee is her adopted father. This clearly is a leap in logic but comes up during the conversation because she literally has nothing to work with in regards to her identity.  After doing some digging Naomi finds out that Dee used to be a resident of Iron Heights prison. This further upsets Naomi because Dee is seemingly a reformed supervillain. Unable to sleep, Naomi goes back to the garage and runs straight into Dee. The comic ends with Naomi demanding that he reveal what their connection is. RUMINATION Naomi #2 is an excellent comic. In fact, it's one of the best single issues I've read this year. The problem is that Issue #1 exists. The comic ends with Naomi confronting Dee at the end. The book essentially ends in the exact same location as the first issue with practically the same cliffhanger going into issue #3. This is very shoddy and shouldn't have made it past editorial. I understand he is DC's golden child but this is particularly egregious. What should have happened is that these two issues should have been edited into one and the issue should have either been double-sized or sold at a discounted price point.  Jamal Campbell continues to really impress me. This character is the probably the most natural and normal depiction of an African American girl I've ever seen rendered in comics. He's also great at depicting all of the truly heartfelt moments throughout the issue. Jamal is great at conveying emotions in his characters. In issue #1 a lot of the interactions were exaggerated. It's still over the top in spots this time around but a lot more subdued.  These moments resonated with me and it's really cool because, in the midst of all of this drama, there is an amazing 2-page spread of a flashback depicting Superman battling the Flash rogues galaxy at Iron Heights. This is great foreshadowing and lets us know that when the action finally is injected into the series Jamal is more than up to the task. I'm heavily invested in seeing where this story is going. I just hate feeling like its groundhog day.

8.0
Naomi #3

Jul 7, 2019

Brian Michael Bendis may be one of the most polarizing men in comics right now. He constantly gets so much hate directed at him it's hard to believe that at one point he was comic book royalty. He's still one of the most notable creators out there but the general consensus is that he's past his prime. In some circles, the consensus is he should be put out to pasture.  Apparently, he's destroying the Superman titles. I can't judge the situation because I'm not reading Superman.  I am reading Naomi and issue's #1 and #2 have been an absolute joy. This comic has its issues that we'll get into but it also has the strongest 5-7 opening pages I've read in years.  The comic works primarily because Bendis and _ know that if you're invested to this point you want to know what the hell is going on with Naomi and Dee. It's pretty obvious there's a connection, but what? Aside from the narrative bombs dropped in this issue we firmly establish some core personality traits for our chief protagonist. 1. She doesn't back down from confrontation. Dee is twice her size and looks like he's done a hard time. Naomi still presses him for answers an eventually gets them.   2. Naomi constantly jumps to conclusions.  Both of these traits are potential strengths but also potential weaknesses as she is further established in this series.  This issue gives us our answers about Dee and takes Naomi further down the rabbit of her origins.  I have to admit that I didn't get the answers that I wanted and the potential direction of the series Isn't as strong as I was hoping.  We're still in the origin phase of the series and I'll reserve judgment until this arc is complete.  The opening scenes are amazing, the middle interesting, the conclusion of the issue is meh. I'm still invested in the conclusion of this arc but my expectations have definitely been lowered  Jamal Campbell continues to get some nice material but in this issue aside from a few flashback scenes, there isn't much to be impressed with. He does amazing work conveying emotion necessary for the opening scenes but the back half of the issue is pretty bland. There's a lot of talking and confrontations but not much action which is his key strength as an artist.  To be fair there hasn't been too much action at all in the series but this issue seems off.  I'm neither blown away or disappointed in the issue. Hopefully, this is just a bump in the road and not a downward slope. 

7.0
Naomi #4

Feb 26, 2020

When people complain about decompression in comics they are talking about books like Naomi. We're four issues into the series and it feels like we're barely beyond the territory established in the first book. It's a sad indictment because I genuinely like this character. Her backstory seems interesting but the pacing for this series is terrible. Pacing issues also lead me to the conclusion that Naomi should have been released as a graphic novel. It's clear that Bendis and David have a story that they want to tell but when single issues are literally ending in the same spot that they start in something is wrong. This is editorial refusing to step in, the writing is fine. The issue deals with the circumstances that led to Naomi's arrival to earth. I'm a little less than a year behind on this title so the series has been spoiled for me. I'm still invested in the story which is a credit to the script and the excellent art from Jamal Campbell. Everything Campbell touches looks grand in scale and scope. I just wish he had more to do than drawing endless scenes of exposition and flashbacks. Naomi is one of the best new characters DC has produced since I got back into comics in 2016. She's also the poster child for whats wrong in comics in the current year. Decompressed and longwinded stories only appeal to trade watchers. I imagine sitting down and reading the series in one sitting would be great. For me, picking up this issue after months of layover it really feels like I haven't missed anything at all.

9.0
Naomi #5

Aug 16, 2020

When I opened Naomi #5 I was totally turned off by the opening exchange between Naomi and her best friend, Anna. It was peak Bendis speak along with the repetition of dialogue and panels. About several pages into the comic the tone shifts and by the end, we get one of the most heartfelt origin issues for a new character in modern comics. The second half of the issue is so strong that it's pretty hard to recommend readers not start here. If you've read #1 this would be a perfectly fine follow-up issue. Which sucks because this is a 6 issue mini-series. There is a ton of fluff in this series but the payoff is amazing which also highlights how bad editorial is at DC comics. We've recently learned that a third of the editors at DC have been let go. Reading Naomi kinda explains why a change was needed. It's a damn shame because all of this content could have been condensed. Besides Naomi herself, the highlight of the issue is Jamal Campbell's pencil's which details the circumstances that brought her to earth. Dodgy opening aside the script is awesome and Jamal's art is GOD-TIER. Naomi's story isn't far removed from Superman but the take is modern and I think new and old readers could connect to her if given the chance. I also appreciate that Naomi is a new character and not a reskin of Superman like we've seen in the past when Miles Morales was grafted from Spiderman. The only knock besides the really crap opening is the models used to convey the exchange between Naomi and Anna at the start of the issue. It's as if you can see where the Bendis influence on the issue ends and where David F. Walker's influence on the script begins. I can't give the issue a perfect score because of the initial complaints but I think that that the second half of the issue justifies the series existence. It will be interesting to see if Naomi catches on outside of being a token character for DC comics and Bendis. I've seen her in a few other places in the past year but nothing of note beyond this series which is a shame because the character has so much potential beyond being a modern-day Super Woman.

7.5
Naomi #6

Jan 11, 2021

I had high hopes for Naomi. She's a decent new character with a ton of potential going forward. Unfortunately, this series turned out to be a mediocre slog to get through. It's also unfortunate that many of the complaints cited in previous issues apply in this instance as well. Naomi's biggest problem is that the series is a One-Short or a 64-page graphic novel stretched into a 6-part mini-series. This may not be a problem for you but reading this series in a serialized format was painful for me. Naomi #6 follows her as she encounters Zumado, an entity from her homeworld. They pass through a portal and we get to see her world in its current state which is pretty rough. Things go from bad to worse as it's revealed that Zumado is the person responsible for the devastation and also for the death of her parents. This would have been a spoiler but the reveal is pretty obvious. The comic looks great which is a no-brainer, Jamal Campbell is one of the best artists working and the comic is often beautiful. The color palette for these African-American models are some of the best I've ever seen put to the page. I'm not thrilled by Naomi's costume design but that's more of a personal preference than a knock on the general art direction. Now that the series is over I can recommend reading it in trade. However, any goodwill I have toward the character is tainted by the fact that DC comics could have edited this down by a lot. Condensing Naomi would have been an easy task if DC editorial weren't either; A. Sleeping at the wheel when pages were being submitted. or B. Trying to exploit their customer base of readers and local comic shops. Comixology is now selling the Trade for about 9.99. I think this is a fair price all things considered. If you purchased the series monthly as I did you probably spent about $24 on this series which is a total rip-off when you factor in the story told and the lack of progression by the end of Naomi's first season. Rating: 7.5/10

7.5
New Mutants (2019) #2

Feb 23, 2020

I enjoyed the first issue of New Mutants. It was fun seeing the old school 80's team blended with the 90's Generation X team. The book has a lighter tone than most of the other Dawn of X titles. The jokes landed for the most part and overall the issue was a net positive. Issue #2 is a step backward and feels a bit off. The story is focused around the characters attempting to find Cannonball. They find him in this issue and the question becomes why does this team stick together beyond just being friends and mutants? Why does this book exist? The general plot picks up immediately from the last issue. The heroes are immediately bailed out by Cannonball which clears that plot thread but gets forced into an even bigger and dangerous situation. Marvel takes it for granted that we'll stick with the title but the premise is flimsy and it feels irreverent. The arc also feels decompressed. I predict that the purpose of the series will not be firmly established until issues 5 or 6 and by then most of the excitement for the launch will have been lost. The easiest book to compare New Mutants to would be Justice League Odyssey. That series features a splinter group on an adventure in deep space. JLO also has tenuous ties to the main Justice League group. New Mutants is worth a read for completionists but I expect more from an ongoing series premise than let's go get our homie and bring him home. The art direction is solid. There isn't much for the characters to do though beyond spout exposition and crack jokes. It works for the issue but If this is the direction of the series I can't see fans hanging around for long especially considering the 3.99 cover price.

4.5
New Mutants (2019) #3

Aug 4, 2020

Subscribe GTMediareviews.com New Mutants #3 is essentially a different issue entirely from the previous two issues. The previous comics focused on what I would consider to be a team of classic characters from the original New Mutants and Generation X from the 90s. This issue follows newer characters that I'm not as familiar with. The team consists of Armor, Glob, Sage, Boom-Boom, Maxime, and Manon. I only recognize a few of these characters. The characterization they are given is totally forgettable. Even longtime characters like Boom-Boom are bland as ever. The team assembles to take on a seemingly arbitrary mission to act as missionaries and attempt to convince other mutants to join Krakoa. If you're thinking this is kind of redundant and overlaps with what we've seen in Marauders and the recently ended Fantastic Four/X-Men Crossover, I'd agree. I didn't like this issue at all. The premise seems redundant and the comic has one of the most groan-inducing second halves I've seen in a long time. The team begins looking for known mutants that are not on Krakoa. They discover that Beak and Angel aren't among the ranks. Upon investigation, it's discovered that the couple has not migrated due to Beak's father dealing with an incurable illness and likely on his deathbed. Armor sneaks some Krakoan flowers to Beaks family which cures the disease. While this is happening Angel and Beak's children get cornered by some Mutant Supremacists and held at gunpoint. These guys also have power dampeners that prevent the heroes from accessing their powers. The third act of the book seemed totally contrived to add action but came off as contrived. We really have Mutant Supremacist randomly showing up in Nebraska the same day that the New mutants arrive? The random group also has power dampeners, which make them a match for trained X-Men? Get The Fuck Outta Here! It was nice to see Beak and Angel again. Both characters had fallen down the memory hole. I just wish they showed up in a better story. I kept thinking why does this book exist at all. I state all the time that I'm late on reviews. I'm backlogged several issues of New Mutants. After reading this issue I dropped the title from my pull list. Dawn of X has become a thoroughly bloated line of comics and the diminishing returns can be seen in the declining sales. There are better titles out there, don't waste your money. This series won't pay off for another year or two, if ever.

4.5
New Mutants (2019) #4

Sep 25, 2020

After my last review of New Mutants, I dropped all of the Dawn of X titles from my pull list. The problem I now have is that I'm hopelessly behind in my reviews so you will see more reviews here and there. At some point, I'll be caught up and there probably won't be any more Marvel titles being reviewed on my blog unless it's something retro or a title highly recommended by someone in my community. This issue continues the bullshit with The New Mutants captured and trapped in Beak's mama's basement. It turns out that the bad guys discovered Angel and Beak after they were followed home from a local grocery store and doxed in the most obnoxious way possible. The leader of the bad guys explains that "White men" polluted their country and then charged them an exuberant amount of money for a vaccine (Big Pharma Bad). The group kills the man behind the vaccine. The Mutants were targeted due to the Krakoan flowers generated on the island that can cure most diseases. The bad guys see the mutants as hoarding potential resources and decide to hold the New Mutants hostage in order to get access to the flowers. This isn't really a bad villain plot. The story immediately falls apart because the villains are lame. They also have resources that don't seem possible in light of the circumstances. Finally, it is really strange that all of this is going down in Nebraska. If this was Madripoor and was a Wolverine plot It would make sense. The fact that the entire premise of the issue is based around the doxing of Angel and Beak and the hope that X-Men would eventually show up is really convenient breaking any immersion in the narrative. There is also the issue of resurrection and telepathy being a thing in this setting. Even if the New Mutants were captured there are a ton of mutants that they could have reached out to for an SOS. If the New mutants were killed we've been shown that any mutant death is documented and it would be a simple matter of sending another squad in and taking these guys down. You put all of this stuff together and you have a scenario where I'm supposed to believe the heroes are in danger because Ed Brisson says so, Nah bish. The team also comes off as pretty weak and I can't imagine anyone reading this series and being excited about the current direction. It feels like a title that exists because Marvel wanted another Dawn of X title to pad the shelves and not because of a clear reason for it to exist. Neither team of New Mutants have a clear mission statement and seem to have arbitrary goals. The New Mutants in space want to convince Cannonball to come home. The New Mutants on earth are basically Jehovah's Witnesses trying to convince Mutant holdouts to come to Krakoa. Neither mission is all that interesting or should have been greenlit for the basis for a series. Rating 4.5/10

9.5
Ninja-K (2017) #7

Jan 23, 2019

Yeah, this issue is old as Shit but wait... It's an amazing read and worth your time.  There are a few ironic moments in this issue that I thought were pretty funny and wanted to point out. A few weeks ago I reviewed Livewire #1 and rated it my worst book of 2018. I considered it to be the worst launch issue I had ever read and thought it was one of the least inaccessible comics you could pick up if you were new to the character.  Livewire shows up in this book and is a totally different character. She's likable seems well adjusted and behaves like a proper superhero. Why am I spending all of this time on Livewire? Ninjak #7 has pretty much all of the same issues that Livewire #1 had but manages to overcome all of those challenges by being fun and nailing the basics. I often say that every issue is someone's first and that hasn't changed. This issue forced me to add a new metric. This is a very strong #2. The story-arc has started already but everything you need to understand the plot is included in this story. Every comic should be like this in some capacity but the second is the most important for keeping the audience's attention. In many instances, the second issue can bail out a shaky launch and get a series on track.  While recovering from the events of the previous issue Livewire approaches Colin (Ninjak) to console and assist him in sitting up. Almost immediately Neville of MI6 approaches them advising that a team is being assembled to go back to Mexico and confront the villains. We get a quick introduction to the team's candidates via a montage of events. We also get a brief rundown of the villains and their abilities. This segment ends with a rundown of our heroes plans to infiltrate the base in Mexico.  Everything seems to go according to plan until it doesn't, which in turn leads to a huge cliffhanger. We're presumably in for a huge action sequence to start next month (Yeah I know this review is months behind and the story arc has been resolved bla, bla, bla).  The joy of this issue are the character interactions, humor and allusions to other series. At one point a character asks why X-O Manowar isn't being brought in? Its mentioned that he would be an asset because of his overwhelming firepower. The reply is that X-O wouldn't have the precision needed for the job.  On a subtle level, this gives us a hint into X-O's personality and power level. As a fan that was also not familiar with the character, it raises my eyebrows because X-O Manowar is also on the shelves. Maybe I should check out that series? Its a level of its a level of connectivity between shared universes that is sorely missing from a lot of modern comics and I appreciate it when I see it. I am a huge fan of the artist and colorist. I recognize Juan Jose Ryp & Jordie Bellaire from their run on Britannia, a series I finished reviewing recently. It's great to see them here. The character models all look amazing. Juan's style is very distinct and it works spectacularly whether he's drawings a quiet scene between characters or a dynamic action sequence.  I can't find much fault with this one. The heroes and villains are fun, interesting and there is a ton of character development throughout the issue. This is the textbook way to handle a single issue in the midst of a story arc. I never felt left out even though I had no insight into the events prior to this issue. (That's a lie I have issue 6 somewhere It's just been so long since I read it I can't recall the details). The issue also contrasts nicely with many of the issues I had with Livewire #1. The character in that series isn't likable seems pretentious and is a bit of an asshole. The character here likable, is concerned about collateral damage and the consequences of the team's mission. Also ironically, the events that injured Ninjak happen prior to this issue.   Read Livewire again and tell me if this is the same character being represented in both series. For More Reviews, Subscribe: https://www.gtmediareviews.com/

9.0
Ninja-K (2017) #8

May 24, 2019

Some of my earliest and fondest memories as a comic reader involve massive superhero and villain battles during tabletop sessions of the Marvel TSR role-playing game.  X-Men Vs Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Avengers Vs. Masters of Evil, I always looked forward to seeing massive brawls and the interplay between the characters involved.  NinjaK #8 features one of those battles and it's flat out awesome.  Before getting to the body of the review I want to mention the weakest aspect of these last few issues. These covers are terrible. I'm not sure what happened but these washed out covers from Tonci Zonjic are probably the main reason why these reviews are coming so late despite the interior content being some of the best on the shelves.  The covers don't reflect the interior are and actively do a disservice to the creators involved in the series. I'm not going to go as far as to say that Tonci is a bad artist, but these covers should not have been approved.  Now to the good stuff, this review is almost a year late. In that timeframe, Livewire and Punk Mamba have graduated from role players in this arc to leads in their own series. I'm actually going to pick up Punk Mamba #1 today and hope for the best but Livewire was actually one of my worst reading experiences since I got back into comics a few years back. In any case, both characters are extremely promising in these issues and I can see why they graduated to the majors.  The bulk of the comic follows Ninjak's team Vs. The Coalition, a group of Immortals bent on taking over the world. I love when motivations are simple in comics. The comic is a wonderfully old skool affair.  The characters all match up well and the powers are all cool and used creatively. I don't have the deepest knowledge of the characters but  I recognize when something looks cool and about 95% of the issue looks cool, dynamic and fun. Juan Jose Rype makes drawing comics look easy. I like all of his character designs but I really love his take on Livewire. She looks gorgeous and it makes me wonder how they settled on such a flat design when setting up her own series.  Christos Gage along with Robert Vendetti are two of the best Superhero writers in comics. They have a great grasp on comics as a medium and get the most out of their artists whether knocking out a great single issue or pacing a storyline. Nothing feels wasted here the comic doesn't feel any longer than it needs to be to tell this story.  The next issue is the conclusion to this arc. I know that the story will be great. The real question is how insane the conclusion will be.  Long story short the comic is great. If the editors could approve better covers I would have given the issue an A+

9.0
Ninja-K (2017) #9

Sep 7, 2019

I've been really blessed to have a nice run of comics to review. I tend to lose motivation when books are middling or don't really sustain my interest. Ninja-K #10 is another solid issue in the Christo's Gage run from 2018. Gage's name doesn't come up enough when mentioning the greatest writers working today but he's definitely up there. In addition to this series. He's worked on the Daredevil Netflix series as well as Spider-Man on PS4. It literally pains me that series like this flew so far under the radar especially considering all the talent involved. I'd love to see Gage reboot a series like the New Warriors, Generation X or hell even Batman. Not telling if any of these wishes will ever come true but he has a fan for life here. This issue concludes the arc pitting Ninja-K and his team Vs the Coalition. The battle rages the entire issue and both sides get cool moments beautifully rendered by Juan Jose Ryp and Jordie Bellaire (Britannia). I complain a lot about comics that don't take advantage of their status as a visual medium. This leads to a lot of books that read okay but aren't really appealing to the eye. Juan doesn't have that problem. Every page is hard-hitting, dynamic and works well in conjunction with the fast-paced script. Punk Mamba, LiveWire, Dr. Mirage are all cool characters and benefit from being put in the forefront of this arc. They all have had series released since this issue hit stands and I'm guessing that this story was the catalyst for their integration into the Valiant Universe. There is a lot of humor and banter between the characters without being overbearing or pretentious. As far as the plot there isn't much to speak of. There is a lot of back and forth action between the heroes and villains. It's glorious, but if you're looking for something deep like House of X you won't find that here. That's not a knock on the issue. It's an entertaining read from beginning to end and has enough going for itself that you won't feel like you're being cheating in regards to the content. There is a satisfying resolution to the story and I can't wait to get into what will probably be the last arc of the series. It's very strange to me that all of the series that I followed in 2018 have been canceled. When this issue was released I had several Valiant books on my pull list now I have none. I can't put my finger on why, but nothing I've seen this year has interested me. I promised myself I'd finish this series and Jeff Lemire's Bloodshot Salvation because they were just that damn good. I hope to get back into Valiant soon but in its hard to get excited about the current titles knowing that these creators are no longer involved.

7.0
Niobe: She Is Death #1

Mar 1, 2020

I picked up Niobi: She is Death #1 based on the cover alone. It's simply gorgeous and one of the best I've seen since I got back into comics a few years back. The character looks appropriately strong, interesting and I wanted to know more of her story based solely based on the image alone. After reading the comic didn't quite land for me as I would have hoped. I'm a huge fan of Blood Realm (Alterna) and Dragon Age. Both franchises have a dark fantasy vibe. Niobe also appears to be a dark fantasy story but it appears to be covering too much ground in a single issue. This title may be better suited as a graphic novel or at the very least a 48 page 1st installment. I haven't read the Witcher or played the games but Niobi reminds me of what I imagine Geralt to be like. Niobi is strong, stoic and is downright brutal at points in the issue. All of this makes for a cool antagonist but it's a generic character type we've all seen before in fiction. It's during the times where I should felt excited that I found myself bored. What I do like is that this is a hard fantasy setting with a predominantly Black cast of characters. There aren't a lot of fantasy comics that feature Black Characters in lead roles so It's nice to see this level of representation. There is some worldbuilding and action sequences but I didn't put the book down with a strong reaction positive or negative. I think that there is potential for a great story here but I believe that the comic needs to be either slowed down to reestablish the characters for new readers or released in bigger installments. Niobe is a decent introduction to this world but time will tell if it reaches it's potential. Rating 7/10 Addendum I went to post the review on comicroundup.com and discovered that Niobe: She is death is a continuation of a prior mini-series. Having this new information It changed my perspective a bit. I still stand by my initial review but I figured that my modified thoughts were worth sharing. Niobe being a sequel hurts this book. The comic doesn't recap the initial series or refer to it in any direct fashion. This leads me to conclude that _ the creative team assumed that I read the first series. In my initial reading of the comic, I felt that I got dropped into the middle of the story and it turned out this was the case. A lot of what shaped Niobe is probably in the prior series and without any context or a recap, you're alienating new readers. There are three series that I'm currently reviewing that handle being follow-ups beautifully, Bloodrealm by Robert Geronimo, Chrononauts - American Jesus: The New Messiah both by Mark Millar. BloodRealm: Vol 2 is totally disconnected from the first installment and is treated as a standalone series. The POV characters aren't even the same between BloodRealm vol: 1 and 2. What connects the series thematically is the world the story resides om/ The other series, American Jesus and Chrononauts are both sequels but what stands out about those books is that you'd have no idea that they were follow-ups unless you were familiar with the original series. Those books are completely standalone and begin as if they are #1 issues of new IP. Niobe feels like issue #4 of an ongoing series without a recap. It's not a terrible way to go if you're invested in the comic but it's hard for new readers if you're dropped into the middle of the story.

9.0
Not All Robots #1

Nov 26, 2021

In the letters page of Not All Robots #1, Mark Russell mentions that the story is a commentary on “Toxic Masculinity”. The theme went totally over my head at first read. I later reread the issue for this review and while I see can see Mark’s angle, I think that the reader may have been better served coming to that conclusion on their own. Minor nickpicks, aside I loved this issue from beginning to end. Not All Robots is a story set in a world where humans live in bubble cities. The atmosphere has become so toxic that humanity has developed a dependent and somewhat subservient relationship with the machines they have created. Each family is assigned a Robot who in turn goes out into the world to work and serve as their breadwinner. The book primarily focuses on Razorball and his family. Razorball struggles with relating to his family. He reminds me of a guy that suddenly becomes the man of the house. He bristles against the role but ultimately wants to fit in with the family. Ironically the Father of the house has moved into the role of doting housewife. While the rest of the family seem to be living in varying degrees of fear of their robotic overlord. This generalized fear seems to be pervasive across society and sets the backdrop for the series. The machines are coming to realize their superior position in society, and it seems to be a matter of time before things get ugly for all parties involved. The art direction for the issue is dark and haunting. Mike Deadato, Jr. gives the robots a wide range of designs. Oddly enough none of the machines have faces which becomes a plot point over the course of the issue. The Robots mostly remind me of the faceless action figures you’d find at a dollar store. It’s a nice contrast from most other designs for Robots/Androids across science fiction. The humor and horror subtext is on point which gives the issue an uneasy atmosphere as the plot develops. There are several passive aggressive comments directed at the humans who express concern about the current arrangement with the machines. The comments also layer in a level of unpredictability to the issue because you never know when the danger will become real for humanity. In Short: If you’re a fan of the the Animatrix: First & Second Renaissance, you’ll be right at home with Not All Robots.

9.0
Not All Robots #2

Jan 22, 2022

Not All Robots #2 - A Run Up to Judgment Day Words: Mark Russell | Art Mike Deodato, Jr. | Colors Lee Loughridge Publisher: AWA Upshot Studios Review: Not all Robots is an interesting title that gives a tongue-in-cheek take on the classic trope of Man versus Machine. Make no mistake this is a bleak setting but the heavier implications and themes are undercut by a joke, wink, or a nod. This issue explores the fallout from a mass casualty event in which 200,000 humans died horribly as a result of a robots actions. The alleged murderer is tried and exonerated within seconds which causes a fissure between an already tense relationship between Humans and the Robots they depend on. The remainder of the book hones in on the Walker Family and their assigned Robot “Razorball”. Within each community, factions prepare for war while others remain delusional about danger brewing underneath the surface. I generally cringe whenever a story features a resistance movement because it's such an overused trope across fiction but it works well here in light of the circumstances. While there aren’t any bombastic action sequences here Deadato’s art style lends itself well to the deadpan humor and horrific subtext of the series. The Robots don’t care about the fate of Humanity. However, this indifference is conveyed beautifully in the lack of expression in the designs of the machines. The lack of Human features also plays into the story thematically as Robots are afraid of being replaced by less inhuman variants called Mandroids. In the first issue of Not All Robots, Mark Russell mentioned that the story was about Toxic Masculinity. I’m still not convinced of that. I am keying in on the theme of Humanity giving too much agency to third parties that have no need for them and are passively working towards their destruction. In Short: Not All Robots presents a nice change of pace from the typical Man Vs. Machine tropes across fiction. For More: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

10
Not All Robots #3

Mar 5, 2022

Not All Robots #3 - The Obsolete Machine Writer: Mark Russell | Artist: Mike Deodato Jr. | Publisher: AWA Upshot Review ✍ In my previous reviews of “Not All Robots”, I put a lot of stock into the Human/Robot conflict that had been brewing. Mark Russell shifts that dynamic a bit by introducing a new wrinkle that should have probably been obvious from the start. Not All Robots #3 introduces Omni, the corporation behind the machines currently plaguing humanity. Omni plans to introduce a new line of Robots with human-like features (Man-Droids). This threatens the current model of House-Bots with the same fear of obsolesces currently facing humanity. It's an interesting twist that grants the Robots a degree of empathy that was lacking in prior issues. The irony is that all the death and misery is being caused by a small cabal of elites that could care less about either group. Profit and power is the ultimate goal and everything else is a means to an end. Thematically, Not All Robots #3 is brilliant. It puts a new spin on the working class vs. corporate elite trope. There is the obvious allusion of automation supplanting large swaths of the workforce and how this impacts those left behind. The head of Omni looks suspiciously like Jeff Bezos, which is ironic because most of the Amazon workforce is a few lines of code away from being replaced by A.I. The story also presents a tongue-in-cheek example of capitalism run amuck with no apparent safeguards. The series has covered several ugly aspects of society and feels even more timely in an age where fascism and authoritarianism seem to be reemerging across the world. There is a political subtext to the series but I never felt talked down to nor did I feel that Mark Russell was using the series as a soapbox. When Mark is at his best he draws attention to an issue in a matter-of-fact way. He presents the problem to the reader and allows them to take the stories and implications from there. It is a cool philosophical way of storytelling that I wish we got more of across entertainment. Mike Deodato Jr. shines again in this issue and manages to capture emotion in the faceless machines. There’s also a ton of detail conveyed in the linework and inks throughout the issue. The detail in the art makes the story feel grounded yet larger in scope in scale than it would have otherwise. It was also a nice touch that the lead character suddenly becomes a spitting image of Michael Douglas from “Falling Down”. In Short: Not All Robots is one of the best titles on my reading list. It's easy to see the real world through the lens of this scenario, which is a hallmark of the best science fiction. For More Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com

4.0
Nubia & The Amazons #1

Oct 25, 2021

Nubia and the Amazons #1 Review - This is Bait When I saw the solicited covers for Nubia and the Amazons I immediately added it to my pull list. I'm a sucker for comics featuring Black Characters and these renditions of Nubia are the best I've ever seen. Unfortunately, the book nosedives and we're left with a pretty vapid reading experience. It has very little to offer by way of story or action. I'm not quite sure who this book is for other than those who are reading it to love or hate it because of the creative team and the marketing behind the series. I honestly had no expectations because I didn't even read the solicitation beyond the preview art. The crux of Nubia and the Amazons is that women killed by violence in "Man's World" are sometimes reincarnated in Themyscira as Amazons. The reincarnated women have surface level knowledge of their prior lives but are given second chance at life and the ability to establish an identity of their choosing. This setup is about 90% of the comic. The book ends with establishment of the thread and foreshadowing of things to come but I was bored about midway through the issue. The most interesting aspect of the story is the reincarnation angle. The concept reminded me of the Norse myth of Valhalla with the spin of Themyscaria being a refuge for battered and violated women. The framing of the story could have worked if it focused on the loss of Identity. The new Amazons are given the heads up that they were killed violently. They also have no real knowledge of self, location, or intent from their new sisters. The characters all seem to roll with the explanation, but the situation would probably be horrifying for most people. Instead Vita Ayala and Stephanie Williams gives us the standard sisterhood utopia trope, which rings hallow in light of the circumstances the characters find themselves in. The art from Alitha Martinez is solid. Nubia looks great and suitably powerful. She finally has an appearance that is distinct and make's her standout against Wonder Woman. Sadly nothing else about the comic is worth mentioning artistically. The characters and backgrounds bleed together which along with the weak dialogue makes reading the book a chore. I don't fault Alitha, the comic just has the wrong inker and colorist. I'll stick with the series to see where the story goes but as a #1 to a new series I can't recommmend it. Nothing really happens here and at best Nubia and The Amazon's #1 serves as a modest introduction that probably won't appeal to anyone that isn't invested in the marketing of the book and the political leanings of the creative team.

7.0
Nubia & The Amazons #2

Dec 10, 2021

Nubia & The Amazon’s #1 was a slog to get through. There wasn’t much happening in the issue and aside from some beautiful cover art, there wasn’t much of note worth mentioning. I decided to see where the story was going and kept the title on my pull list. Sadly this issue starts worst than the last one. It falls into the 2021 trap of presenting “Diverse” characters as flawless wise sages which sounds good in theory but ends up being boring and overly pretentious while reading. At one point Nubia seeks council from the Amazonian Gods. Its mentioned that Diana has “ The Gift of Knowing”, while Nubia has “The Gift of Distinguishing”. Neither of these descriptions made any sense to me so I asked my 16 year old daughter to take a look at the exchange. She thought that the writer was trying to be deep and poetic and it just didn’t work. I felt the same way but needed a second set of eyes to confirm that I wasn’t crazy. To be fair, even Nubia looks confused about it. I was ready to give up on the issue until about midway through. While Nubia is considering a new champion to protect “The Well of Souls” she sneaks into “Victory Circle” (Fight Club for Amazons). Nubia observes the new Amazon, Andromeda in action and sees qualities of champion within her inspiring an impromptu fight in the circle between the two. This exchange leads to a flashback to Andromeda’s life prior to becoming Amazons. It’s strongly hinted that Nubia has a connection to Andromeda that extends well beyond Thy_. This raises several questions including the possibility that Nubia may be unwittingly pulling these women from Earth to become Amazons due to prior relationships with them. Other concerns are the concepts of personal choice, free will, as well as the idea of consent. None of these Women asked to be Amazons regardless of circumstances. These are complex ideas but I doubt they will be touched on in this series since they have been glossed over at several points already. There is also a sub-plot involving an entity jumping from body to body in order to get close to Nubia and the head of Medusa. My guess is that Medusa’s soul is trying to reclaim her body but that plot point hasn’t come into focus yet. There are several interesting plot points here. I think the primary issue the series is facing is a lack of focus on editing and the creative team mistaking pretentiousness for complexity. The art from Alita Martinez is a bit stronger in this issue as we see the new Amazons developing distinct looks and personalities. The lack of variety in color palate still hurts the series but with more dynamic action sequences and concepts it all balances out in the end. Issues #1-2 could have probably been edited down to a single issue but now that the setup is out of way we may be in for a decent story. In Short: I still have reservations based on the train-wreck getting too this point but Stephanie and Vita have laid a foundation that is solid enough to build upon.

5.0
Nubia & The Amazons #3

Mar 2, 2022

"The Queen of The Amazons and Her Hoes" Nubia And The Amazons #3 Writers: Stephanie Williams & Vita Ayala | Artist: Alitha Martinez | Publisher: DC Comics Review ✍ **Disclaimer** If you’re enjoying Nubia and the Amazons please I’d love to read why in the comments below. Stories set within Themyscira, Krakoa, and Wakanda tend to have the same problem. The settings are presented as Utopian to the point that all the characters have a pretentious air that takes away relatability on a basic level. I get “gods” being distant from the reader. It’s a different story when Nubia and her supporting cast are all written like second-rate Shakespearian actors. Nubia and The Amazons have been more miss than hit so far. If you’re collecting this series I’m curious as to why. I have a blog, and I try to stick with a mini-series until the end but why are you slogging through this miserable experience? This issue is rough. Medusa makes her move on Nubia using Andromeda as a vessel. The two fight to an obvious conclusion. A secondary plot is also established with New Amazon, Bia having ominous visions of things to come. The rest of the comic is a hot mess. The story reinforces how much the new Amazons look up to, revere and lust after Nubia. Aside from sucker-stroking the lead character, this is one of the most boring comics I’ve ever read. The comic doesn’t offer much aside from confirmation that Nubia is the best Amazon ever, and screws her subordinates. The art from Alitha Martinez is just as dispassionate as the script. There’s no energy to any of the events taking place. Even the action sequences are a bland affair. Nubia and The Amazons have a lot of potential but the creative team lacks imagination and aren't suited for superhero comics. This isn’t the best use of Nubia. Beyond the virtue signal of the character being elevated to Queen of the Amazons, this series has been generally worthless. In Short: Nubia and The Amazons backslides. This is one of the worst single issues I’ve read in recent memory. For More Subscribe: https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

5.0
Nubia & The Amazons #4

Aug 6, 2022

I reviewed Nubia & The Amazon #3 awhile back and gave it a scathing assessment. Issue #4 does read better this time around. The story may land a satisfying conclusion depending on the direction the creative team goes in the final two issues. On the positive side of this comic, Nubia has a few solid action sequences. This change allows Alitha Martinez and Darryl Banks to flex and show that they can do more than draw bland characters spewing even blander dialogue. There are also some meaningful insights revealed about the characters of Nubia, Andromeda, and Medusa. On the positive side of this comic, Nubia has a few solid action sequences. This change allows Alitha Martinez and Darryl Banks to flex and show that they can do more than draw bland characters spewing even blander dialogue. There are also some meaningful insights revealed about the characters of Nubia, Andromeda and Medusa. The comic flashes back to Nubia’s time in 70’s Chicago. It was during this period she developed a romance with a schoolteacher, Ms. Knight. I may have missed it but considering these characters become lovers It is odd that Knights first name is never mentioned. Nubia saves Knight and her students from a random monster which sets off their awkward romance. This section of the comic also comes off as weird. The dialogue is rough. Knight seems overly smitten with Nubia from their first interaction. It gets even stranger when Nubia follow’s Knight home and prevents an attempted rape. The scene gives us a lesson on toxic masculinity while downplaying that Nubia is a creepy stalker.  Back in present Themyscira, the Amazon’s spend the issue trying to save Andromeda from being possessed by Medusa. The weakness of these scenes is that aside from a couple Amazon’s everyone is still eating Nubia’s ass. Clearly Nubia has abandoned her post as guardian of Doom’s Doorway at several points in the past. You would think this would be a bigger issue for the Amazon’s, but it is glossed over like every other clever idea in this series. The story is clumsily coming together. I think the biggest problem with Nubia & The Amazons so far is the weak editing and pacing the series for a collected edition. This is a very simple story bloated by very pretentious dialogue. The story is clumsily coming together. I think the biggest problem with Nubia & The Amazons so far is the weak editing and pacing the series for a collected edition. This is a remarkably simple story bloated by very pretentious dialogue. We see these elements in every series that tries to combine superheroes with Game of Thrones, political intrigue (X-Men - Krakoa, Black Panther - Wakanda). The high concept format does not work for superheroes. I hope this trend ends soon because it zaps the excitement from short-form 22-page storytelling. In Short: Nubia and The Amazon’s gets out of its own way and puts more focus on the elements and downplays those that do not. The series is still a mess, but I have seen worse. For more reviews subscribe @ https://ireviewcomics.substack.com/

9.5
Old Haunts #1

Sep 9, 2020

I feel like AWA books should be published with a banner that says the world's best comics line because all of these titles have been money. I'm about 6 series deep into AWA's line of titles and each series has covered either horror or crime. The closest I've seen to traditional super-heroics has been "Resistance" and even that series has a different level of intensity than a regular Marvel or DC comic book. This title is more in line with what I expect from the publisher and I'm happy to see the consistency of tone across the publisher's body of work. Old Haunts follows a trio of old-time gangsters (Alex, Primo, and Donny). Imagine if Trevor Michael and Franklin from Grand Theft Auto 5 make it to retirement age and you'll be in the right ballpark. The three men gather to make their final arrangements and get outta "The Business". These are not good men and its made crystal clear as the issue goes on that these guys have done a lot of dirt and made a lot of people disappear to get to their current status in life. Things get really interesting when the guys begin being seemingly haunted by the ghosts of the past embodied stylistically in the skeletal form of a vulture. Strange things begin happening over the course of the issue and by the conclusion of this chapter, it becomes evident that this is just the beginning. The characterization and atmosphere of the issue are right out of a Michael Mann movie. The art direction is great goes a long way in setting the tone and creating a cinematic vibe while reading. The colors are similar to what we've seen in Hotell and Archangel 8 and I'm starting to considering the general atmosphere to be an AWA house style. This is a great opening chapter for appears to be a pretty interesting flip on the classic ghost story scenario. Rating: 9.5/10

10
On the Stump #1

Jun 21, 2020

On the Stomp was one of the series I discovered on the ComicHUB app. I didn't know what the series was about but I saw the Sanford Greene variant and thought what the hell? The title is honestly one of the best I've read in a while. I'm generally not a fan of politics in my books but in this instance, it adds to the flavor of the story and works. The comic also does something cool and unique with the political backdrop that I'd never seen before. The basic plot rundown is that in this world senators are allowed to set policy through brutal no-holds-barred fights resembling Mixed Martial Arts/Wrestling matches. These matches are called "Stumps" and in winning matches Senators are able to get their laws or pet project funded. The story starts during one of the brawls and is one of the most brutal fights I've seen depicted in a comic in a long time. Senator Jackhammer battle's Senator Sweet Smell Moore. After a vicious beating Jackhammer wakes up and scores a victory. This catches the attention of F.B.I. Agent Annabelle Lister who is investigating another Senator looking to deregulate killings in the ring. While the two work out the terms of their arrangement they are attacked. The second half of the comic follows a developing conspiracy. There are some shocking scenes of violence and more than a few "Oh Shit" moments. Some of the brutality stuck with me days after reading the issue. The comic is about politics but it's not really partisan and didn't distract from enjoying the book. The character designs are also great. The fighters most closely resemble Pro-Wrestlers I grew up with which further adds to the unique nature of the issue. Everything feels insane and over the top yet Chuck & Francesco pull it together to tell an interesting and engaging story. In short, I loved this issue. You can order a physical copy from my local comic shop or you can download a copy from Comixology. The title gets my highest recommendation and will only get better as the setting is fleshed out. For More: Gtmediareviews.com

8.5
Powers of X #1

Aug 11, 2019

Powers of X #1 is a really good comic but it doesn't feel like an X-Men book despite the X-Title. What this issue most reminds me of Is Grant Morrison's last arc on X-Men, Here Comes Tomorrow. That arc was also a non-traditional X-Men story with a similar thematic backdrop.  In the Morrison story, the reader is transported into a far future in which a ragtag band of X-Men has to take down John Sublime, who had possessed Beast at some point in the timeline. The most notable thing about the story was the art from Mark Silvestri. It's not a story referenced often and usually only gets any mention at all because the linework was absolutely stunning.  "Here Comes Tomorrow" is similar to this story. Once again we're transported into a faraway dystopian future and following a ragtag band of unfamiliar X-men. The issue itself is great. Hickman is simply a master at worldbuilding as noted in House of X #1. Once again I found the most interesting aspects of the book to be the lore sections,  which work to fill in the background of the setting.  The lore segments mostly resemble Role-Playing modules. They flesh out the setting and make the events feel bigger than they would otherwise as noted in House of X. I'm pretty sure Hickman would have been a god-tier dungeon master.   We learn in this issue that the New Mutants introduced aren't directly related to any characters that we know. They have had their powers blended together via the machinations of Mr. Sinister. Most of the events in this book are a direct result of his experiments. Because of the Lore dumps, Sinister has a huge presence here without actually being in the comic.  The comic splits up into four distinct segments Past, Present, Future and Far Future. There isn't much connecting tissue established here but there is enough information provided to hold the audience's attention. I'm not an avid Marvel reader, but I want to know what the hell is going on because I'm intrigued. I haven't been interested in an X-Men Comic in over a decade.  I enjoyed the art from R.B. Silva. He gets a lot to do throughout the issue. Running the gamut of different time periods. The periods are all distinct and credit must also be given to Marte Gracia for setting the tone of each time period.  There are also a few callbacks throughout the comic that connect to earlier scenes and House of X. The blended X-Men are visually striking and part of the fun is guessing which established X-men the power sets are pulled from. It's almost as if Hickman created these characters via a dice roll system.  There isn't much overlap between the series yet, but there is connective tissue established throughout the book and eventually, the stories will weave together to form a cohesive whole.  The only negative I can give the book is that although it's a great comic it doesn't really feel like an X-Book. It also suffers from the same problem that the Morrison Arc ran into, the events are so far removed from the present day that it's hard to connect with whats going on. In fact, if you changed the names and power-sets of the characters involved in this comic it could have been an entirely new series unrelated to the X-Men at all.  Those gripes may be big or small depending on what you're reading the comic for, but for me it's too early to pass judgment. It's still in the setup phase and passing definite judgment at this point wouldn't be fair to the creators involved. It's a good book and I invite you to check it out and form your own conclusions.

7.5
Powers of X #2

Sep 4, 2019

I may be going against the general consensus but I didn't really care for this issue. I gave issue #1 a solid recommendation but Powers of X #2 just progressed too closing and nothing of note really happens this go-round. That's not to say any aspect of the book is technically bad it just felt uneventful. This feeling is also heightened by the feeling that the comic doesn't justify the 4.99 cover price. The main plot point worth mentioning is a flashback to Moira X uniting Professor Xavier and Magneto prior to the initial X-Men team being formed. This is a definite game-changer in regards to the timeline and opens up potentially endless possibilities. The other plot point worth mentioning involve Cyclops being tasked with completing a suicide run to destroy a Master Mold factory. The problem I have is that the aforementioned events only make up about 6 of the issues 32 pages. The rest of the comic touches on the events in the future. This aspect of the story is not fully developed as of yet so I don't think it's fair to just this part of the story right now and may read better in trade. Since the issue is almost exclusively exposition and setup there isn't much for R.B. Silva to do here. The artwork is the strongest element of the issue. I just wish there were more scenes outside of the characters talking to each other. serves the story being told but nothing really stood out. Overall Power of X #2 feels skippable but may read better as more plot details are revealed.

9.0
Powers of X #4

Sep 30, 2019

After putting me through the emotional ringer with House of X #4, Powers of X dials the action back and layers on the intrigue by drawing Mr. Sinister into the mix. The issue covers a few key plot points that will definitely influence the events of the series and the X-Men Post House/Powers of X. The most talked-about segment of the book has been Mister Sinister and his sassy personality sift. Sinister is one of those characters that has been around since I was a kid. I remember him from events like "Inferno" and X-Men: The Animated Series. I don't remember this personality. He's always been flamboyant, but damn. The angle here is that Xavier and Magneto have cut a deal with Sinister to shift his primary focus from cataloging all DNA to making the collection of Mutant DNA. Once agreed to Charles wipes Sinisters memory of the three ever meeting. There is a lot to unpack here but aside from the reveal the most interesting aspect of the issue are the "Sinister Secrets". A list of riddles compiled by the mad scientist. I'm sure some or all of the clues will eventually come into play during the Hickman era. It's fun seeing him having fun with the reader. My favorite part of the book picks up next as we see Xavier and Doug Ramsey lay the foundation of Kroata as the mutant base of operations. Xavier can communicate with the Mutant Island empathically but Doug can actually talk to it. This is amazing to me because it elevates Doug Ramsey from a throwaway character into an immensely important one. The segments in the far future confused the hell out of me. My best understanding Is that some of the human/mutant DNA will somehow be digitized in the future. This may turn out to be the means in which the two species survive the events of the series. Powers of X #4 gives a lot of the reader to consider. I read it twice and will probably read it a few more. My biggest concern is that there are only a few issues left and we'll be chasing breadcrumbs for years to come.