Category Archives: Review

Previews 302: November 2013 for January 2014

Marvel Previews 16 Previews 302

Whether you call it the Comic Shop’s Catalogue or the Best Bathroom Reading in the World, the monthly edition of Previews is just as much a part of my regular geek reading as the comics it solicits. Outright Geekery takes a look into the near future (no TARDIS required) as we touch on some of the highlights of this month’s Previews.

Marvel Comics

All-New Marvel NOW! begins with fervor in January with a bunch of books getting the renumbering treatment and a few brand new titles joining the Marvel ranks. All-New X-Men #22 see the beginning of the Trial of Jean Grey as the Original X-Men head into space for some galactic goodness. The old school X-gang crosses-over with another Bendis’ written team, The Guardians of the Galaxy, and that should make for some great stuff!

InhumanInhumanity, Marvel’s post-Infinity event of the spring, barrels through the Marvel U with no less than 4 tie-in books, including Superior Spidey and a new book starring the Inhuman Medusa. I’m kind of tired of events after both Battle of the Atom and Infinity, not to mention Forever Evil over at DC, so I’ll be skipping most, if not all, of the Inhumanity. I’m just not very interested.

After decades of legal problems and years of rumors, Miracleman finally comes to the Marvel U in a big time way. The preview suggests two new MM books hit in January, issue #1 at $5.99 and 64 pages, and issue #2 at $4.99 and 48 pages. While these are re-mastered reprints of ‘80’s stuff, they deserve the buzz they are getting. While I’m not jumping on the bandwagon right away, I’ll be looking into these a lot more as January gets closer.

The Ultimate Universe gets closer and closer to being gone as Cataclysm nears its final issue. Are they really going to destroy the Ultimate U? Who besides Miles Morales makes it to the 616 if they do? Things (for once) may truly never be the same. If you’ve ever been a fan of the Ultimate U, seeing its presumed end is going to be worth a read.

Revolutionary War 4 Revolutionary War 3 Revolutionary War 2 Revolutionary War 1Finally from Marvel, we get another British Invasion as Revolutionary War takes its hold on Captain Britain and the rest of the Marvel U from across the pond. With three tie-ins worth of story Marvel is putting some real power behind a seldom used piece of the Marvel U. My bet is we see the same miserable sales numbers the last time Marvel tried to give readers some characters from the UK, but it’s great to see Marvel taking some risks on some really awesome characters. I may have to find some room in my stack for this event.

Look for Outright Geekery’s full preview of All-New Marvel NOW! coming soon!

DC Comics

BlightForever Evil continues in just about every January DC book as the Blight storyline takes over most of the tie-ins. Things get a bit confusing as figuring out the reading order becomes a chore, but I’m on-board for at least a few issues and surely DC will make following this event a bit easier. I’m not fully sold on ANY of the tie-ins so far, but Forever Evil is going to make a statement in one of these damn books. Figuring out which one is like playing roulette, however, and I’m just not willing to play

Batman events are everywhere as ZERO YEAR and GOTHTOPIA are still running strong. While ZERO YEAR has been surprisingly fun to read, I’m not sure I have room for, yet another, event. I’ll be getting ZERO YEAR and a few tie-ins, but GOTHTOPIA is going to have to prove itself to me. Honestly, I’m really getting tired of events!

unwritten_vol2The Vertigo line gives fans more of what they love as The Unwritten Volume 2 drops alongside a special edition version of The Sandman: Overture featuring an extra-sized issue and an interview with comic letterer legend Todd Klein. I’m not one for the same old thing dressing up as more of the same thing, so I’ll be skipping any special editions, but fan-favorite The Unwritten getting a second volume is the perfect jumping on point for interested readers, and I’m a big one of those!

DC and Vertigo both are soliciting some great reprints of one of my favorite strips of all time Spy vs. Spy, and I’d be failing as a fan if I didn’t mention it. The spy-vs-spyUsual Gang of Idiots never fails to impress and make me giggle like a ticklish toddler in a feather factory! A 400 page omnibus for 50 bucks makes me say “Yes Plz!!”

Image Comics

The Third Leg comics-deadly-classof the comics Big 3 publishers offers 3 new number 1’s in January. Marvel big-leaguer Rick Remender brings his own brand of story-telling to his latest title Deadly Class, a story about a high school for assassins and a kid who just can’t make the grade. Remender has yet to disappoint, and I’ll be pulling Deadly Class from the shelves the moment it hits.

Legend Bob Fingerman returns from a 15 year hiatus as Minimum Wage makes its long-awaited comeback. Edgy, slice-of-life stories and Fingerman’s classic art style make this a book to pay some attention to if not pay some cold hard cash to add to your collection.

Finally, comics mainstay Stuart Moore brings us some sci-fi goodness with Egos #1, a twisted tale of a future superhero with “big sci-fi” elements. I’ll be skipping this simply because I don’t have enough room in my stack, but it’s definitely worth a look.

Indy Stuff

IDW creates its own version of Reeces’ Cups as The X-Files and The Ghostbusters crossover in an unlikely but attractive pairing, in an event that shows more creativity in its concept than most Big 2 events have in 12 issues. This is just weird enough to work!

Twilight ZoneThe great J. Michael Straczynski takes us back to “a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind,” in the new title from Dynamite Entertainment The Twilight Zone. I know I should learn my lesson and stop buying comics taken from licensed properties that have absolutely nothing to do with comics, but this is going to be worth the ride. I may wait for the trade, but I will read this.

Also from Dynamite, Fables creator Bill Willingham goes steampunk with Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure. This may be good actually, but steampunk isn’t my thing. Worth a look just to check out Willingham on something new and (hopefully) different, but it’s not finding its way into my hold box.

Judge Dredd is all over this Previews with IDW and 2000AD printing tons of new stuff or reprinting classics. It’s a good time to love the Judge!

Attack on Titan is up to book 8 and they are all being reoffered come January 2014. If you haven’t checked out this manga or the anime, what the hell are you waiting for?

And the Rest

HQConnerTopThe cover to Harley Quinn issue 0 by Amanda Conner now comes in an official t-shirt. It’s my all-time favorite Harley cover!

A 24” Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man looks cool and is just plain fun.

I’ll need some lay-a-way for the Robocop classic figure and the one from the brand new movie hitting next year, both from Play Arts. Dead or alive…

robocop new robocop classic

And way too many statues to cover! They do realize everyone is still going to be broke in January?

That’s it for Previews this month. Pick one up at your local comics shop, or check them out here http://www.previewsworld.com and share your favs with the rest of us!

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Review: Sweet Tooth Volume 1: Out of the Woods

sweettooth1

SWEET TOOTH VOLUME 1: OUT OF THE WOODS
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Pencilled by: Jeff Lemire
Inked by: Jeff Lemire
Page Count: 128
U.S. Price: 9.99
On Sale Date: May 12, 2010

Writer/artist Jeff Lemire may be a current powerhouse over at DC Comics, but he came up through the indie comic trenches just like any other comic creator, and, since it was these indie comic offerings that brought this wildly imaginative creator to the attention of DC’s top brass, they are certainly worth a look even years after they were first published. While his work on DC titles like Animal Man, Justice League: Dark and Green Arrow are fine examples of Lemire’s prowess as a comic book writer, his shining work at the indie level casts shadows of inadequacy onto his major publisher works. Early indie book offerings like Essex County and The Underwater Welder, and his more current indie contribution, Trillium, are simply better, more imaginatively written and drawn comic book stories.

Lemire continues to shine through in his own stylized way in the apocalyptic fantasy title Sweet Tooth, a unique and interesting twist on a tired and overly used plot.

The Good

Sweet Tooth is the story of a boy with antlers named Gus, living with his father in remote woods, who, upon his father’s death, is persuaded to leave the security of his home by a gun-toting loner and enter a world gripped by an ongoing, seemingly biologic in nature, apocalypse. Weird, right? Yes, without a doubt, but the weirdness of the story does absolutely nothing to ruin it! Lemire effortlessly tells an interesting and compelling story while introducing the reader to a fascinating world full of charming characters without wasting a single panel of the book on unimportant aspects. Although the story is joyfully whimsical in places, there are layers of human morality painted onto each and every character. The main character Gus’s father is portrayed as the typical, overly protective parent archetype, while displaying a certain sense of crazy brought on by his hermit-like existence living in the woods, with this confinement to such a remote area being an effort to protect his son from outsiders. After his father’s death, Gus is saved from a couple of hunters; hunters who seem very interested in a boy with antlers; by Jepperd, a loner with an agenda all his own. The character of Jepperd is depicted nicely through a series of events that continually keep the reader guessing about his true intentions, while the reveal of his ultimate purpose for Gus leaves the reader almost torn as, through Jepperd, they relate to living in this unique post-apocalyptic world. All of this amazing character portrayal does absolutely nothing to diminish the story, however, and early signs of Jepperd’s candy bars ending up in the hands of Gus prior to their meeting, as well as very well done dream sequences, help to push the story forward. Jeff Lemire’s artwork on Sweet Tooth is distinctively his own, and acts as a perfect backdrop to tell the kinds of stories Lemire loves telling. I’m not sure another artist’s work would be as perfect a fit for this book, and I’m not sure Lemire’s art itself is refined enough for anyone else besides Lemire to use it in a book, giving Sweet Tooth a style that is uniquely its own.

The Bad

There is not much “bad” going on in this book. Lemire’s style of art, while individually his own, is simply not for everyone, and readers that revel in more traditional, intricate artwork will not find Lemire’s style very appealing. The story, while quite fulfilling, is very character-centric, keeping the action to a minimum, which may be a turn-off for fans of Lemire’s work at DC Comics. Additionally, Lemire uses subtlety to a high degree when telling certain parts of the overall story, a technique that some, more traditional, comic book readers may have trouble wrapping their heads around. Another terrible aspect of this comic is just how utterly sad the ending is which honestly turned me off quite a bit from running out and getting the next volume. Of course, my feelings only solidified just how amazing a job Lemire did in making me identify, and therefore care about, the antler-headed lead character, and I’d really like to see him overcome the state of affairs he found himself in by the last page of the volume. Although the book was critically acclaimed as “Mad Max with antlers” I never got that sort of “Mad Max” feeling from the main character, and can only imagine this eventually comes to pass in the series, or USA Today is just a bunch of liars. This took nothing away from enjoying the book, but was a nit that I just had to pick.

The Verdict

You should really check out Sweet Tooth, at least the first volume, accurately titled, Out of the Deep Woods. Everything from the unique story-telling to the stylized artwork comes together brilliantly to retell the same old post-apocalyptic tale with a creative and compelling twist. Gus’ innocence and naivety set beside Jepperd’s seasoned knowledge and worldly attitude act as effective devices to humanize each character, and the “end of the world” backdrop allowed for some ingenious ways to twist those characters even further. It’s not just the appeal of this single volume that makes Sweet Tooth Volume 1 worth picking up, but the possibilities of where Lemire will take the story and these characters in the next 30+ issue of the complete run makes it that much more attractive. The fun and style of Sweet Tooth Volume 1 is enough to make it, and it alone, worth adding to your personal library, but the possibilities of this series so early on in its run, coupled with the sheer confidence Jeff Lemire has earned though his work in other efforts, makes the choice to pick up volume 1 of Sweet Tooth positively a no-brainer.

Review: Wolverine & the X-Men Issue #37

Wolverine_and_the_X-Men_Vol_1_37

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #37
Writer: JASON AARON
Artist: GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI
X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM, PART 9!
32 PGS
Rated T+
Cover Price: $3.99

X-Men Battle of the Atom has reached its penultimate chapter in Wolverine & the X-Men #37, and the event is absolutely nothing we haven’t seen before from the X-Men. There have been some pretty interesting reveals about a certain future universe, but there are already so many of these alternate universes that the whole thing just seems kind of unimportant. So, in order to fill 10 issues worth of a 6 chapter (max) story, Battle of the Atom has been crammed with repeated, over-the-top fights between various mutant teams, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing if one fight didn’t simply lead to the next. Not only is Wolverine & the X-Men #37 bursting with this overabundance of “I saw that last issue” brawls, but it tries to take advantage of the only appealing aspect of the event in a way that ultimately falls flat.

The Good

The reveals about the relationships between future and present X-Men are really fun, and this issue touches on some of the best. Quentin Quire’s brief encounter with his younger self, Wolverine’s son Raze and his unique powers were spotlighted briefly, and Iceman (again) are highlights of these longtime X-Fan morsels of nostalgic goodness. There’s some fun interaction between Wolverine and Cyclops reminding readers of the current state of affairs of the mutants of the present. The plot is adequately moved along by Jason Aaron, but it is by no means an example of his best showing, and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli is consistently straightforward, while being more spectacle than story.

The Bad

While the reveals are interesting and kind of fun, they just don’t feel meaningful whatsoever. So what if Quentin Quire is the Phoenix in some alternate future/universe? It doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t stick, and nothing in this event feels like it is going to stick. The impact of Wolverine & the X-Men #37 doesn’t feel like it will have any lasting, or even temporary, impact on Wolverine & the X-Men as a title overall. And it’s a real letdown. The interaction between Cyclops and Wolverine is fun, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen in every interaction those two have had for the last 3 years of X-comics. Although the plot is adequately moved along to its end, it’s the same plot from the last three X-books in this series: fight to get to location A, fight to get out of location A, get to location B, repeat. S.H.I.E.L.D. showing up was the only thing close to a surprise in an otherwise predictable book, but even then the helicarrier only acted as another weapon for the Brotherhood to use against mutant-kind. The story may be trying to retell X-stories of old in new ways with time-traveling elements, but it falls flat on the delivery in unimaginative ways. While the art actually shines in some of the battle scenes, those scenes depict the most obvious matchups; the three Icemans fighting, or the three Beasts fighting, for example; and did nothing to help tell the story, and unfortunately helped ruin an otherwise decent aspect of the issue by ramming the entire appeal of “time-traveling mutants” further down the readers’ throats. A necessary course of action as this, regrettably, is the single only appeal of the entire Battle of the Atom event.

The Verdict

The only reason to pick up Wolverine & the X-Men #37 is to get a bit more (and it’s a very small bit) of information about these future versions of the X-Men and Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The issue barely adds anything to the overall event (everyone is pretty much in the same exact fix they were in at the end of the last chapter) and adds absolutely nothing to the Wolverine & the X-Men story overall. There may be something from Battle of the Atom that sticks longer than a few issues into the series’ various titles, including Wolverine and the X-Men, but my bet would be, and history shows, that there’s little chance of that happening. This issue is definitely worth skipping altogether.

Review: Justice League Issue #24

JL 24
JUSTICE LEAGUE #24
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale: OCTOBER 16
Pages: 32 pg
Cover Price: $3.99 US
RATED T

When DC Comics first announced Forever Evil, the company’s first universe-wide event since the New 52 reboot, I was excited, but more than a bit worried. It wasn’t that I didn’t think DC could pull off finishing the story they began in Forever Evil #1. The epic of the Crime Syndicate’s journey from Earth 3 to the New 52 Earth (I’m not sure what the official name for that is…Earth 0?) and the fall of the heroes we all know and love had enough on its own to make for a great story. No, my worry came from how DC was going to fill the pages of the enormous amount of tie-in titles Forever Evil includes. No less than three separate new titles and everything from Constantine to Pandora to all three Justice League books will be stamped with the Forever Evil moniker for months to come. That is a whole lot of pages to fill with Forever Evil goodness, and the main Forever Evil title may suffer because of it. We may have a long way to go before Forever Evil and its multitudes of tie-ins gives us the ultimate verdict on how DC balanced all this, but Justice League issue #24, an early Forever Evil tie-in, did not fail to impress.

The Good

The book benefits greatly from the fact that issue #24 is written by Geoff Johns, the same scribe of the Forever Evil title itself, assuring that the writer at least understands the overall story being told. And, boy, does Johns get it! The plot has nice elements that push the overall Forever Evil story along quite nicely, but that isn’t the main focus of the issue. Johns inherently understands that the truly intriguing aspect of the entire Forever Evil story-line up to this very early point is the Crime Syndicate itself, and the writer finds a perfect balance between giving us that backstory and guiding the current one. The book opens up on a doomed planet and a couple hoping to save their infant son from imminent doom. A familiar story, right? Yeah, except this is not the Superman origin story, it’s the twisted tale of the Crime Syndicate’s own version of Supes, Ultraman, and his similar, yet much more sinister, origin, and it’s all so uniquely compelling. While we get to see the earliest moments of Ultraman’s life; wonderfully showing how the character was destined for evilness from the cradle; his later years; portraying duplicate, and not nearly as nice, versions of Ma and Pa Kent; further cement the disturbing nature of the character, and Ultraman’s brutal treatment of “Earth 0’s” Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane leave no doubts that we are dealing with a megalomaniacal psychopath with the power of JL 1Superman. This culminates nicely as The New 52’s resident megalomaniacal psychopath, Black Adam, shows up to teach Ultraman a lesson in cruelty. The issue ends as Black Adam, not Ultraman, may be the one getting the lesson. The art is simply amazing, and penciler Ivan Reis does not disappoint as his consistent artwork brilliantly captures the emotions of each and every character, from the confident look of an infant Ultraman to the rage of a Black Adam determined to rid his world of interlopers, and everything in between. The cover, hearkening back to Justice League issue 1, was not only brilliantly drawn, but acted as a really fun complement to the overall story.

The Bad

First, let me get this out of the way: I wish I had something negative to say about the art, but I don’t. It’s just spectacular work from the first panel, remains consistently brilliant throughout, and shines in the beautiful, yet sporadic, epic full-page spreads. The art is almost TOO good, but that’s more of a complaint on every other book, not Justice League #24. While the characters that make up the Crime Syndicate are very interesting, and I want to know more about them, I’m not sure if JL can keep up the pace of giving us individual tidbits of Crime Syndicate members’ backstories without getting bogged down in the Forever Evil event title itself. The timing and pace of one or the other may suffer because of this reliance on giving readers what they want: More of the Crime Syndicate. That certainly takes nothing away from this single issue, but it is a worthwhile concern as the title moves forward with the main event book. Another problem I had with the issue occurred in only a single panel showing a scene very reminiscent of Madame Zanadu’s vision way back in the beginning or Trinity War. Madame Z’s vision starred the trinity we all know – Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – not these Injustice League rejects from Earth 3. Confused much? Yes! Yes I am!

The Verdict

This may come as a surprise, but if you are reading Forever Evil you do not necessarily want to read this title. There are a few points in the issue that directly relate to things going on in Forever Evil, but it is definitely not “required reading” needed to enjoy the event, and barely adds anything meaningful to Forever Evil. This issue is definitely for anyone interested in the individual members of the Crime Syndicate themselves, and, if the book keeps to the trend of issue 24, JL should continue to give us some great insight into not only what these characters are up to as part of the overall Forever Evil event, but also the sordid past of these evil beings. Justice League issue #24 does not fail to meet the expectations of fans of the Forever Evil event, but doesn’t really hang its hat on the event either. There’s plenty there for everyone, that “plenty” is very well told, and the promise of this book in the future of the overall event makes this issue well worth picking up. If you’re not sold on the whole Forever Evil deal don’t give this a second look. If you’re even the least bit interested in the event, however, Justice League #24 may still not be worth getting as it doesn’t seem very integral to the event. If you are a huge fan of the Crime Syndicate, however, make sure to leave enough room for Justice League #24 in your weekly stack.

Review: The Wake, Issue 4 of 10

THE WAKE #4The Wake Cover
Written by: Scott Snyder
Art by: Sean Murphy
Cover by: Sean Murphy
Page Count: 32
U.S. Price: 2.99
Release Date: Sep 25, 2013

I’m not a huge fan of horror comics. Most tend to be overly violent and full of gore simply for the sake of being overly violent and full of gore, something I find neither terrifying or a sign of good writing. Some just forget to add any sort of meaningful sense of suspense. Others put the focus on the characters, twisting the horror concept in a way that, while creative and lending to good storytelling, takes away from the overall scariness and suspense of the impending horror. While I admit many of those comics are necessarily character driven because of the long runs of these comics, Vertigo Comics’ The Wake has found a hearty balance of these negative aspects of the horror genre quite early in its relatively short run.

The Story

The Wake involves a government organization discovering a single creature living in the depths of the ocean. After gathering a team of scientists in a deep-water drilling platform to examine different aspects of the creature, the beast breaks loose from his cage and quickly goes on the warpath, sending the human characters scurrying for protection. The beast continues to hunt its captors until it ultimately escapes back to the ocean. Soon, however, the creature returns, but he is not alone. Hundreds of monster mermen begin attacking the underwater rig, adding even more problems for our group of scientists.

The Good

Writer Scott Snyder is telling a really fun horror story without putting too much stress on any one thing. Yes, there’s violence and plenty of gore, but there is nothing overtly excessive about the violence. Yes, there is a certain focus on the characters, and they are all intriguing in their own way, but the book is in no way driven by the characters. This wonderful balance affords The Wake to be a plot-driven story focused on suspense, making it reminiscent of sci-fi horror classics like Aliens, which is quite refreshing to see in a comic book. The careThe Wake Interior Snyder has taken to find and preserve this balance can be seen in the detail of his writing and the overall thrilling pace of the story. Likewise, Sean Murphy’s pencil work and Matt Hollingsworth’s touch on colors helps to sell the changing tone of the evolving moments of suspense, as well as continually cementing the pace as it shifts from one exciting scene to the next. The artists seamlessly and brilliantly take the reader from moments of thrilling escape, to moments of cautious security, to moments of calm reflection, and back again while remaining consistent throughout, while murky hues and shadowy blacks truly put the reader in the dark, crushing depths of an undersea horror story.

The Bad

Many elements of The Wake seem quite derived. The aforementioned Aliens movies, as well as flicks like The Abyss, have proved that the formula works, but The Wake seems almost too close to that formula to make it feel like something genuinely new. While this recipe may not be seen in comic books as much, there is still something very reminiscent about the story. Additionally, the character-building elements used early on in the run just don’t seem very impactful in this issue besides further developing the main character’s desire to escape her current situation, which I found quite meaningless and somewhat forced. There’s also a side-story being told that deals with ancient apocalyptic events akin with the sinking of Atlantis, but there is, as of yet, no apparent link between the two stories besides them both having to do with the ocean. Although it is only four issues into a ten issue run, the lack of insight on this component of the overall story takes away from an otherwise solid tale.

The Verdict

If you are a fan of the mainstream offering of horror/suspense comics this may not be a book for you. The Wake is certainly not the typical violent, gore-filled blood fest found in the pages of most horror comics. The focus on the story instead of stereotypical concepts sets The Wake apart from the majority of horror comics full of flesh-eating zombies and homicidal, knife-wielding maniacs. Different, however, does no always mean great, and The Wake is not without problems. While it still has six full issues to correct these flaws, I’m not convinced it will be able to hold onto its focus on story, and not adopt more of the stereotypical horror elements of other titles. I have strong faith in Scott Snyder and his impeccable track record, however, and I suggest you give The Wake a try. At worst, you’ll have a well-written, amazingly drawn and colored horror story sitting along-side similar fare. At best, you may just be getting a special twist on the horror genre rarely seen in the pages of comic books.

Bygone Geekery: Misfits of Science

DVD CoverContrary to popular belief, the 1980’s were a blast. If you overlook the fashion, and the politics, and certain musical releases, the decade provided a much needed breath of fresh air in a lot of areas. While there was a strong surge of traditional science-fiction offerings to be found in the ‘80’s, the decade, in this context, can be best appreciated for giving us the new genre of the sci-fi/comedy. Ghostbusters and Back to the Future are just the most popular contributions to this new genre, but even Honey, I shrunk the Kids and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure were movies that would not have been made before the 1980’s and the rise of the science-fiction/comedy genre.

Cast MontageThe popularity of this newly created genre was not strictly a property of the big screen, however, and while there had been straight-up comedy shows with sci-fi elements for years, including the ‘60’s My Favorite Martian and Lost in Space, all the through to the 1980’s, with examples like Alf, Mork and Mindy, Small Wonder and The Jetsons coming to mind, all of these shows stressed the “sitcom” aspect, with the “science-fiction” part playing second fiddle. All that changed with the 1985 series The Misfits of Science.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of room for discussion about to what degree ANY comedy/science-fiction show treated their particular balance of genre, and moving overseas makes the case much easier, but it’s hard to argue against The Misfits of Science being the first show to do it up proper here in the states. NBC put the show right up against CBS’s powerhouse Dallas, showing mad confidence in a show like this, and the focus was on the science-fiction, not on the comedy. Oh, there was comedy there, but it wasn’t the priority. More than likely it was a combination of this competition with one of the highest rated shows of all time, and the way the show so strongly embraced the geek, that caused its early demise, but I was only 8 years old when the show originally dropped and it left a lasting impression.

Fun characters thrived. A shrinking tall guy; “electrified” rock n’ roller; and one of the earliest appearances of a telekinetic Courteney Cox; plus a ton of extras filling out the cast. Also worth note is writer Tim Kring of the hit show Heroes had his first paid gig for the show, and there are numerous efforts for an upgraded remake to be produced. Misfits of Science is worth a watch simply to see what all the excitement is about.

-Gaumer

Review: Justice League of America Issue #8

JusticeLeagueofAmerica8

Justice League of America #8
Written by: Matt Kindt
Art by: Doug Mahnke
32 Pages
Cover Price: $3.99

If you haven’t been keeping up with the happenings of the current DC Comics Universe-wide mega-event Forever Evil, you’ve missed way too much to cover in any sort of depth in this review. Basically, The Crime Syndicate has taken over the earth and, as far as any of us were led to believe, The Justice League, save at least one or two, were *gulp* DEAD! Of course, no one in their right mind actually thought DC would kill off a huge chunk of A-list heroes, at least not in one fail swoop, but this did, however, continually beg the question among fanboys: Where the hell is The Justice League? Well, JLA issue 8 begins to paint the intriguing answer to that question, while raising a few more of its own.

The Good

Before I get into the meat of the matter I have to give some credit to Doug Mahnke’s art in this issue. While the art was generally consistent throughout, stunning panels sporadically leap from the pages with every other flip of the book as different members of The Justice League are seen emotionally distraught to the point of relative paralysis. This terrific work on pencils drives an equally interesting story as we discover, via the unlikely team-up of Martian Manhunter, Stargirl and the Jason Rusch half of Firestorm, other members of The Justice League trapped in a prison that preys on each of their greatest qualities in the context of their weakest moment. Wonder Woman struggles against her own honor and mortal/immortal duality; Captain Marvel is set loose in a playground of destruction without consequences that only a super-powered child could fully appreciate; Flash sits motionless as the thought of being fast enough to do ALL things hinders his ability to do anything else; Superman seeks justice for a murder he himself committed as he is consumed by his enormous guilt. This prison is yet another example of just how sinister the Crime Syndicate truly is, and I can’t think of any worse sort of jail than one that causes a constant mind$%^& for those inside. The issue tried to answer a few more questions, but I’m wishing writer Matt Kindt plays the same sort of mind$%^& with his audience, and hoping these “answers” are anything but. There’s definitely room for plenty of cerebral twists and turns in this story, I just hope it doesn’t end up being the same straight line this issue ended up being.

The Bad

Although we got some “okay” answers to some pretty important questions, that’s just about all we got: Straight-line story from end to end, no twist, no hooks, just revelation. Such an important question that surrounds a huge moment in the overall event (i.e. The Justice League’s surmised death) deserves something better than “Oh, Martian Manhunter and Stargirl aren’t affected by the prison.” Maybe there’s more to it than that, and I certainly hope there is, but as of this issue there are big and obvious holes in an otherwise perfect and insidious plan carried out by the Syndicate. My gut tells me this is too big of a ball for DC to drop, but it’s an observation worth mentioning and worth worrying about. Those holes, which may in fact not be holes at all, are still not wide enough to ruin an otherwise fascinating story surrounding a fascinating way to subdue The Justice League. While I don’t particularly care for the way Doug Mahnke draws Martian Manhunter, and his quality tends to waver a bit depending on the angle of the characters he’s drawing, these are minor nitpicks at best and do nothing to take away from the overall enjoyment of the issue.

The Verdict

If you are reading or thinking about reading DC Comics’ Forever Evil event this is a worthwhile grab. While it may not pan out to be everything it could potentially be, it has the potential of being THE book for seeing The Justice League get their stuff back together and move toward taking the fight back to the Crime Syndicate. If you’re not reading Forever Evil, however, this book is going to be a major waste of time and money. There’s nothing here that isn’t inherently Forever Evil, and someone looking for a good, run-of-the-mill Justice League story is going to be very disappointed. It’s a really good event tie-in issue, answers some questions, brings up some others, has a ton of potential and does exactly what a book like this is supposed to do: Get me to buy the next issue. Which I will, without a doubt, be doing.

-Gaumer

Review: Uncanny X-Men Issue #13

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UNCANNY X-MEN #13
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (W) • CHRISTOPHER BACHALO (A)
Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
X-MEN: BATTLE OF THE ATOM, PART 8!
32 Pages
Rated T+
Cover Price $3.99

While the Avengers and just about every other Marvel character deal with the epic breadth of the events of Infinity, its almost incredible for me to say that the time-traveling/multiple X-Teams/alternative universe storyline presently unfolding within the pages of Marvel’s other current event, Battle of the Atom, is pretty basic. The Original X-Men from the past, as seen in the pages of All-New X-Men, time-travel to the present day and take up residence at the Jean Grey School, as seen in the pages of Wolverine and the X-Men, who are then visited by future X-Men warning of future mutant suffering should the Original X-Men remain in the present, while Uncanny X-Men’s resident time-traveler Magik discovered a different team of X-Men in a future unlike the horrors described by the other future X-Team who, by the way, is actually a future version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, with an agenda all their own. So, with five different X-Teams; two from the future, one from the past, and two from the present; and enough time-travel to make the Doctor double-take, Uncanny X-Men issue 13, chapter 8 of the overall event, hoped to be chockfull of exciting exhibition with exceedingly exaggerated X-gene experiencing extras, but it was much more flash than bang.

The Good

There were some great reveals on this chapter of BotA, and a couple of really fun and rewarding moments for X-fans. The reveal of Wiccan as the future Sorcerer Supreme and Quentin Quire’s antics as the future vessel for the Phoenix Force just feels natural for these characters in terms of their current standings in the overall X-Universe. Seeing a future Colossus fighting besides his little sister Illyana made for a warm and fuzzy feeling that’s been missing since the siblings have been on the outs (to say the very least) post-Avengers vs. X-Men. While these small morsels of recent nostalgia kept me reading, Chris Bachalo’s art, and just as striking panel placement and overall design is simply wonderful. Although this isn’t Bachalo’s best offering he does an amazing job of setting the pace and tone in each of the several concurrently running scenes. I’ll admit, it’s probably a combination of the writer and artist that leads to this great flow, but Bendis does some things in this issue I simply didn’t care for, and this chapter of Battle of the Atom wasn’t really essential.

The Bad

It’s almost an epidemic problem. Comic book events just take way too many individual issues to do their thing. BotA is not immune to this disease. Firstly, the book crosses over into four different X-Titles, but it really only needs three to get the job done. The Adjective-less X-Men tie-ins were not even close to necessary except in the places they forced the story or revealed tiny tidbit of random X-revelations, and seemed more like an easy way to get the title’s sales numbers up for a month or two. Despite there already being way too many pages of comic to tell this story in a way that doesn’t depend on gimmicky revelations of an alternative future created by an alternate timeline, and despite Uncanny X-Men supposedly being the flagship X-Book, this chapter of Battle of the Atom is ultimately dependent on those gimmicks. Sure it’s cool to see the new Phoenix do his thing and the Rasputin family’s reconciliation, but it still feels gimmicky, and reveals like Illyana’s presumed future suicide and the deaths of both Molly Hayes and future Xavier seemed cheap and forced; over-the-top for the sake of being over-the-top. All this would be okay if it wasn’t for the overall slow process of the main plot, which has been quite interesting. There’s so much going on, but nothing is happening. The ultimate end of the issue is more of the same, as “time itself” seems to want to keep the Original X-Men from being sent back to their own time. It’s typical Bendis, however, and I hope I’m not eventually pushed away from X-Books the way I was Avenger’s titles some years ago…but I’m worried.

The Verdict

If you’re already reading Battle of the Atom you should probably go pick this up. If you’re only reading Uncanny X-Men, congratulations, you can save yourself a few bucks by skipping it for a few issues while the event finishes. Yeah, Marvel claims there will be fallout of BotA in the various books making up the thing but that’s just marketing mumbo-jumbo, and trends tell the opposite to be the case most often. This book and the event overall are full of tiny morsels of rewarding minutia for the current diehard X-fan, and there’s a decent story in there somewhere in those panels, but there’s nothing here that feels like it is going to stick in any significant way. We may get a book starring these future X-Men at some point, adding some importance to this title, but it certainly wouldn’t be necessary to enjoy (yet another) alternative version of some future X-Team. The event isn’t over yet, I know, but this issue of Battle of the Atom was nothing but filler; stuffing for, what is seemingly, a turkey of an event in the making.

-Gaumer

Review: Superman/Wonder Woman Issue #1

SM-WW #1 Cover

SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #1
Written by CHARLES SOULE
Art by TONY S. DANIEL
Cover by TONY S. DANIEL
On sale OCTOBER 9 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable” ― Neil Gaiman

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” ― Aristotle

“Let’s Get It On.” ― Marvin Gaye

Ahhh, love is in the air! Literally, it’s flying around in the sky. After many months of dancing around the entire relationship, DC Comics has finally made it official: Superman and Wonder Woman are sitting in a tree. Maybe a bit more background, huh?JL Cover

As seen in the pages of Justice League, The Man of Steel and The Amazon Princess are a thing. While it seems like a match made in Comic Book Heaven (isn’t that Asgard?), DC has certainly taken its time in REALLY making this a thing. There have been some great hints at a full-on relationship building, including some great images from JL, and some better warnings from the Dark Knight, but, now that it’s official, I couldn’t be happier.

Charles Soule’s (Thunderbolts, Swamp Thing, and Red Lanterns) writing shines. He has a really good understanding of these characters, and more importantly, gets relationships, romance and love, which is hard to believe when you find out Soule is a lawyer. Clarke’s being distant while waiting to go on his date and Diana’s girl-talk with Hessia really helped establish the excitement and apprehension found within all new romantic relationships, while the date itself was almost quaint considering the couple. Clark sharing his fear about the two coming out as a couple, and Diana’s desire to give him some combat lessons grounds each of them as the individuals we know and love. The “physical interaction” scenes were quite passionate, yet still tasteful, and while I could have actually done without any of the action in this comic, it worked very well. It IS a comic book after all.

All this was made even better by the marvelous pencil work of Tony S. Daniel. Although I did have an issue with just a panel or two, overall the artwork is simply brilliant. One page particularly stands out, as Daniel’s gives a spectacular insight on Diana’s feelings with only a concerted look followed by a joyful smile. The stunning tri-fold, wraparound cover is a cherry on this eye-candy sundae.

The Verdict

Go buy this! Seriously, this looks to Baby-Mama-Dramabe the start of something truly wonderful, and you can get in on the ground floor. You don’t have to know too much about anything going down in the DC Universe to get the gist of these characters, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. But the possibilities this book offers are endless. Batman already warned Superman that he is the best check against an out-of-control Wonder Woman, suggesting anything romantic could lead to tough choices down the road; Supes and WW already have other love interests; and (dare I even say it?) there could, eventually, be some superhero baby-mama-drama down the road.

-Gaumer