Release Date: May 21st, 2014
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Publisher: Image Comics
Written By: Robert Kirkman
Art By: Ryan Ottley
The cover for #111 is so amazingly awesome and creepy at the same time. Why is Robot looking at me?! Make him stop! Invincible #111 is insanity. Nonstop, jaw dropping insanity from start to finish. I was hoping Robot was stupid enough to think one of his suits could stop Mark but unfortunately for Invincible and Eve, I was wrong.
This issue starts off with an in your face page 1 and keeps going as Mark tries to convince Cecil Stedman that Robot has gone insane. Unless Stedman has a double, reserve bodies, his consciousness on a hard drive, or some other ridiculous comic book device, He…is…SPOILER…dead. Robot cuts his throat open, turning him into the world’s oldest and ugliest Pez dispenser as Mark looks on in horror at his dysfunctional father figure bleeding out on the floor. Mark obviously destroys that body with one shot but we all know Rex is as genius as he is insane and that one line, “Meet me at your house,” was probably the creepiest thing I’ve ever read in a comic, knowing what Robot is capable of. His new suit, towering over Invincible’s pregnant wife Eve, is a new upgrade complete with an ultrasonic emitting device capable of bursting Mark’s head open that increases in power the harder he hits it. And we all know Mark hits as hard as Superman. As he puts it to the test, Robot actually disfigures Eve. I won’t spoil it. Despite her powers using up the baby’s resources, she crushes Robot’s skull and Mark flees to his father’s space base for help. The storyline of Invincible will never stop getting better. I can rely on that, death, and taxes. Seriously, few comics can maintain this amount of angst, desperation, terror, and impending doom like Kirkman infuses in Mark’s unrelenting life.
The art is superb as usual and the utter fear on Mark and Eve’s faces is there in all its detailed glory. The acts of savagery are perfectly illustrated with enough bloody detail to make it feel real. Rex’s treatment of Cecil is insanely gross but beyond effective. It hits like a ton of bricks to see the figurehead of this universe stomped into paste. There is NO coming back from that. Invincible is brutally powerful when he destroys Rex’s robot body and Eve’s terrifying experience is something I won’t get out of my head anytime soon. The action is energetic and flows like a comic should, with movement and a real force that Ottley has mastered.
Check out this preview cover for Issue #113. Epic!
This is the issue fans have been waiting for and while it may not be a knockdown drag out fight it was between Viltrumites or Dinosaurus, Robot is going to push Mark to the point of breaking and well past it. An army of Robot bodies await and Rex is intent on unleashing them all on the Invincible world. The Guardians are obviously gonna have to be dealt with but Mark is the prize fight. I also wonder how OmniMan and the rest of the Viltrumites will come into play. They can’t repopulate a world ruled by Rex. I’d wager my right leg on Robot having kept some of that nasty Viltrumite virus for himself. What? Too soon?
Release Date: May 14th, 2014
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Publisher: Top Cow Productions
Written By: Matt Hawkins
Art By: Rahsan Ekedal
I’ve been a big fan of Think Tank since it came out and this One-Shot continues in the same vein as the series. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, you should go check out the trade or buy the issue because there is a ton of depth and storyline to Think Tank that I can’t recap easily. In a nutshell though, Dr. David Loren is a young engineering genius who makes weapons for the military and decides that he no longer wants to kill people. It’s only missing a star for the title. Given the severity of the subject and the content of the issue…not fun.
In this book, David takes himself and his roomate’s pet down a zero gravity chamber for shits and giggles I guess. I assume it was for the cancer patients he gives a preview of the video to on the following pages. He shows these kids the video of him and his dog and then proceeds to tell them about his new weaponized Space Puppy. Sarcastically of course. This issue is full of emotional stuff like this and explores the inherent kindness in the heart of this kid prodigy who ended up making weapons instead of helping people. He gets his chance in this story as one of his only friends in the world show up in handcuffs. One of the Navy SEALS who saved Dr. Loren once in the series had an episode of PTSD due to an actual physical brain injury. He violently killed his wife during a night terror while she tried to wake him up. David identifies the injury and cures the hell out of it like he always does. Using a genetic targeting system he designed to kill, David intends to cure PTSD before Petty Officer Morgan is sent to military prison for life. Specifically targeting people would indeed help with curing all forms of brain injury since everyone’s brain is different in every conceivable and inconceivable way. The ending is an emotional shocker I won’t give away just in case someone hasn’t read it and may in the future. It’s a good one.
The art in this book is beyond unique. It’s like nothing in my collection, past, present, or future. Even though it’s black and white, the fact that it doesn’t have any color never takes away from the series. In fact, it adds. Especially in military complexes and labs and the like. The stark, emptiness of the backgrounds help illustrate the major differences between Dr. Loren and the military industrial complex. There are also a ton of details and emotions on the characters’ faces. The scene where the Navy SEAL strangles his wife in bed is especially hard to view given the anger and pure rage on his face, juxtaposed with the sheer terror on his wife’s face is chilling. The art style is different from anything on the shelves and I could see this guy drawing cartoons for Nickelodean.
The tagline at the top of the cover says “Danger: Reading this book will make you smarter.” While I may not have learned a lot of new stuff, I did pick up some info I didn’t know before. Especially in the Science Class section in the back. Catch up on Think Tank. It’s an awesome read.
Release Date: My 14th, 2014
Rating: 1/5 Stars
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Charles Soule, Greg Pak, Scott Lobdell
Art By: Ken Lashley
I feel underwhelmed. The big Doomsday event over in the New 52 kicked off with Superman: Doomed and it feels light weight considering the two heaviest hitters are the main focus of this crossover event. With the writing team on deck for this, I expected better.
Don’t get me wrong, the two slug fests between the two titans were awesome. Doomsday is back with a vengeance though and he has some new powers. On top of being Superman’s equal in pretty much every way, the monster now has some kind of death/heat aura thing going on that torches, melts, and burns everything in his path. Wonder Woman gets beat down but she manages to shove a sword thru Doomsday’s belly which quickly turns to charred nothing. Steel lasts all of ten seconds and nobody else even approaches him. No Justice League, no anybody. Superman gets goaded into believing Lex Luthor, again, when baldy tells him that Doomsday is simply absorbing power. So, moody, emotional, drama queen that New 52 Superman is, he agrees with Lex to leave the planet. Fortunately for us, he lures Doomsday after him and they get into their first big brawl in space, on Venus. This is the part people want in a Superman vs Doomsday book. Not drama about Smallville or The Daily Planet or giving his lover Batman the key to his place. Just fight already. Doomsday survives and starts Round 2. Then Superman finally lets loose. He literally rips Doomsday in two. This is the jump on point for the event as Superman gets infected by the Doomsday virus. Let’s hope Batman has some extra strength Kryptonite in his utility belt.
The art is the main part of this book that killed it for me. It looks like actual sketch lines at several points in the comic and the color even bleeds outside the ink in some panels. Doomsday is so bulky and full of crap piled on top of him that I couldn’t even really tell where parts of his body started and ended in so many drawings of him. There are WAY too many panels and actions scenes on one page and that one spread of the 11 really thin panels gave me a migraine. I mean, look at the drawing of that aircraft carrier when Superman flies off. It’s literally just a bunch of squiggly lines where airplanes should be. Or the side shot of Doomsday as he’s squaring off with Steel. His eye is so low on his face, he looks like Sloth from the Goonies. There’s another one where Doomie jumps at Superman with his fists clenched together, raised above his head, forearm bent impossibly out, and every sketchy detail melded into one weird looking club-hand bearing down on Supes. I also have a thing against really thin, small gutters. I like ‘em nice and wide…and white. It’s just, 90s-era, generic, action team comic book bad to me.
I couldn’t even find more than the first few pages as far as art or pics go. The first page Doomsday is on looks awesome. The rest is crap. So I just want to post this random image of Princess Monoke:
I hope this event gets better which I’m sure it will since it will be crossing over to other books. I was just hoping for more fighting, less story, and more fighting. This isn’t rocket science. It’s Superman vs Doomsday. That’s all we really need. That, and better art. Thankfully this is only a One-Shot.
Edit: One of the pages in question. Upper left panel.
Release Date: April 30th, 2014
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Written By: Frank Barbiere
Art By: Colin Lorimer
Blackout is an intriguing read. Issue 1 jumped out of the gate with absolutely zero origin or introduction. It just had some guy in a weird gimp suit jumping in and out of portals into some frozen, nowhere world.
It’s still a secret as to who this company is or who made the suit but that’s the fun of this book. Scott toys around with some special ops soldiers as he retrieves the hard drives that may contain data concerning the suit but a self destruct failsafe ensures he and Ash don’t get to see what’s stored on them. In the mean time, the head of the research division is joined by Ms Luca, obviously his superior, and two of her goons to review…something. Wait, there are giant mech suits now? This book goes into left field sometimes but the surprises all feel like they’re building up to something epic. Scott also toys around with the suit in the desert. He experiments with opening portals on the fly while he’s running and pops a few black holes he proceeds to jump in and out of. Then he gets stuck with what looks like a dead battery. While the suit allows him to walk around in the frozen dimension, he can’t stay there forever or he’ll freeze too. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him stuck there. I’m waiting for him to find some other living creature in the place and what kind of physiology it would take to survive in it without a suit like his.
The art is an acquired taste. It’s stuck somewhere between realistic and minimalist. The lack of detail combined with the colors sometimes makes the scenes and characters blend together, creating muddy clay-like features. Case in point, that fight at the beginning with the soldiers. I wish the suit had more detail and definition. The features on the helmet seem to disappear into each other and don’t really stand out. For the suit to be such a big part of this book, it is remarkably uninteresting due mostly to the featureless parts of it. There are entire portions of the suit that have no actual characteristics at all, just muscle tone. The plates on the shoulders and arms would look cool had they been placed on other strategic locations on the suit. The action scenes and acrobatic stunts of Scott and the suit look great though. He jumps and fights, dives and rolls through those portals like nobody’s business. The best part of the suit is those eyes. The lenses stand out in every panel no matter what is going on.
Overall, Blackout feels like a promise of something insanely epic. I just can’t help feeling 4 issues isn’t enough to tell this story. It feels like an ongoing monthly title in that it is so wide open for development and storytelling. The implications of that suit and this mysterious place are near limitless in their potential for tales to be told well into the future. If finished right though, this book could change what miniseries are thought to be capable of.
Release Date: April 30th, 2014
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Publisher: Image Comics
Written By: Jason Aaron
Art By: Jason Latour
Price: 3.50, Dig. 2.99
This book follows the exploits of Earl Tubbs who returns to Craw County in Alabama to help his Uncle Buhl move out of his house and into a retirement home. You know you’re country when you tell people you grew up in a County instead of giving them the name of a city. Apparently, Earl’s daddy was a sheriff during some particularly nasty incident involving several people with weapons who he dispatched with a baseball bat signed by several of the game’s greatest players. Earl bumps into an old “friend” who has turned into a beat up, drunken, red-eyed bastard who owes somebody named Coach Boss a lot of money. Earl can’t turn his back, being the good guy Marine he is, so he saves this wretched pile of crap and inserts himself into something he managed to get away and stay away from for 40 years.
From the 1st page, you know it’s gonna be different and ugly but painfully real and honest at the same time. I can see Clint Eastwood putting on a 50 pounds and playing the part of Earl perfectly with the weathered face full of a lifetime of hurt and anguish. The pain in all of the character’s faces, body language, and dialog perfectly capture the desolate, isolated feeling people have in one-horse towns throughout the South.
The art is gritty, rugged and tough. It’s rundown and beat up much like several of the characters, buildings, and environments seen in this 1st issue of Southern Bastards. The hate, anger, and pure rage jump off the page and smack you in the face with its accurate representation of Southern, country, shotgun-town life. It’s raw and real. It looks, feels, and smells Southern. I use the word pain a lot in this review but it really is the best way to describe the art and the book as a whole. Fear, desperation, and panic are all on display on several characters’ faces. The couple of action scenes the book has are brutal and visceral like a Wolverine story when he goes berserk. Jason Latour is perfect for this book.
While I may not be from a place as small as Craw County Alabama, I do sympathize and identify with the people in this book. It’s everything the title promises even though that may not be the most heart warming of tales. Get ready for ass whoopin’s galore, rebel flags, racial stereotypes, yes ma’ams, most likely some crystal meth, probably some animal cruelty, plenty of shotguns, bible thumpers, and tons of good food because Southern bastards is about to blow the lid off of the true South and all of its nasty little secrets. I just come for the ribs though.
Release Date: April 30th, 2014
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Clayton Crain
Rai jumps back into the comic book world at Valiant Entertainment. The spirit protector of Japan in the far future makes his return as the badass defense system for the A.I. known as Father which controls all of Japan and its citizens. 90s nostalgia on paper.
The story so far is one many fans my age probably already know with a few tweeks and alterations. The A.I. is called Father now and Spylocke is now an actual real character in Japan instead of a fictional hero. The peaceful existence Japan has been enjoying is shattered as a seemingly random, vicious killing makes headlines as the first murder in 1,000 years. The world is new and the characters are basically brand new for the most part so it becomes difficult to soak it all in sometimes. There is a ton of new stuff to take in and it’s almost impossible to really digest it all and get the feel of this book. I had to re-read several pages over and over but maybe I’m just slow on the uptake. Or maybe I’m mesmerized by Crain’s art. Next paragraph for that. The story isn’t convoluted at all but it is packed full of info. The overall story is covered fine though. Rai starts investigating and finds another suspect with a pirate style flintlock pistol. Who are the people using these antique weapons to murder…boom, suicide bomber. Hours after the first murder in 1,000 several others happen and Rai is overwhelmed. He then encounters Spylocke and some kind of crudely made Frankenstein-esque robot man thing who proceeds to whoop his futuristic samurai butt. In short, the storyline is a massive info dump without being extra wordy and still making it fun to read. I also like how seeds are planted already of Father’s possible mistakes and Rai’s statement that he doesn’t take orders, he defends Japan. Smells like an uprising to me.
Now, on to the big draw. Clayton Crain is one of my favorite artists in damn near any medium of art you can imagine and he doesn’t disappoint in Rai. When I found out he was drawing an awesome sci-fi hero from 90s Valiant, I was giddy like a school girl. The entire tone of the book from top to bottom, left to right is completely futuristic. It screams 4001 AD on every page and doesn’t let up on the gadgets, architecture, people, and every other possible thing that needs to be upgraded for it to be believable and feel like almost 2000 years from now. The action is adrenaline-fueled katana swingin’, ninja kung fu madness and Rai looks like possibly one of the most badass characters I’ve seen in forever. The last page of this comic book is worth the cover price by itself. I mean it is truly a beautiful thing to behold. I hated when Crain stopped drawing Carnage but this is an even better fit for him.
All in all, this trip down memory lane seems to be a good one so far. It may be a ton of info but it is the 1st issue. That being said, the story lays down an excellent foundation for what’s to come. It has murder, mystery, pirate guns in 4001 AD , katanas, cyborgs, and everything else geeks love. Plus there’s Clayton Crain. Another win for Valiant.
Release Date: Aprill 23rd, 2014
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: DC Comics
Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Alessandro Vitti, Jim Calafiore
In an effort to not be so mean to DC and the New 52, I would like to go on record and say that Red Lanterns is an awesome book. Really. I mean that. See? Unbiased. Ever since Guy Gardner got a red rage ring, I’ve been re-hooked.
The ragtag, unorganized gang of misfits who call themselves Red Lanterns now have a singular goal and mission. Bleez makes it back to them, beaten and bloody and meets their newest recruit; Kara Zor El. Supergirl with a red ring is scary. That is one pissed off Kryptonian and she’s always angry at something for some reason. In this issue, they decide to start tracking down new Reds before the big badass Atrocitus recruits them to his side of the team. A really sick looking new Red makes her face melting debut and she has one hell of an origin story. Skallox gets a lecture from Zox of all people as he debates rejoining their former boss. When they finally catch up with the new lantern, they find Atrocitus waiting, admiring the view as the new Red lays waste to her former tormentors. This issue is an emotional roller coaster with plenty of angst, laughter, anger, fear, a few funny moments and most importantly, rage.
The art is superb. While pencils are shared between two artists, it doesnt distract from the storyline like most books with multiple pencilers do. Instead, it aids in the way the story unfolds. The new Red’s story is drawn by Jim Calafiore. His pencils are full of emotions and give the facial expressions a sense of power and urgency. The Lantern storyline is drawn by Alessandro Vitti and it looks amazing as usual. Everybody looks mean and angry and full of rage as they should. Even goofball Gardner looks like a badass with the goatee and permanent scowl. I kinda wish Supergirl didn’t have that mask so we could see her angry eyes but she looks sufficiently pissed as well.
I’m glad I gave Red Lanterns another chance and returned to this corner of the New 52. I just wish the rest of the Lantern books were picking up steam like this one. Or that Superman/Batman made a lick of sense to me because it’s the best looking book out thanks to Jae Lee. I won’t get on a rant about the New 52 and take away from how awesome this book is. It’s awesome. Oh, and Dex Starr can make constructs now!
A while ago, I did a review of an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy that featured a character I didn’t recognize. I later found out it was one I had forgotten even existed from Image. Her name was Angela and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why she was in a Marvel book. Now that Original Sin is underway and the reveal at C2E2 about this book, it’s all starting to make sense.
Marvel has decided to write her into Asgardian lore as Thor and Loki’s long lost sister. That explains why she is so damn strong in the Guardians books. Marvel plans to illustrate Odin’s Original Sin in the form of a Tenth Realm as opposed to Norse mythology’s claim of there being 9 Realms. Apparently, Odin, in all his one-eyed wisdom, banished a whole entire complete damn Realm along with Angela and all the inhabitants! Stupid powerful.
I also did some research and while I may be a little late, at least I know what’s going on now. It appears Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman had a ten year legal battle over the characters they both helped create in the forms of Medieval Spawn and his rival Angela. I had no clue! McFarlane was awarded rights to Medieval Spawn and Gaiman was given Angela whom he apparently leased out to Marvel. Both creators have full freedom to do whatever they please with their respective awards from the legal case and both have gone on record to state that they completely stand by whatever decision the other makes concerning their respective characters.
The mini, Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm, will fall under the umbrella of Original Sin as issues #5.1 thru 5.5. It will be written by writers very familiar with Marvel’s Asgardian tales; Jason Aaron (Thor: God of Thunder) and Al Ewing (Loki). Superstar Simone Bianchi and Lee Garbett (Loki) will handle the art.
And I’ve always thought Angela kinda looked like a Valkyrie or Asgardian anyway right?
CBR has an article about the C2E2 announcement and an interview with Al Ewing about the whole shebang here
Release Date: April 23rd, 2014
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Written By: Gail Simone
Art By: Nicolás Daniel Selma
I have a confession to make. Usually, titles adapted from video games are things I stay far away from. They just aren’t that good. BUT…Tomb Raider isn’t horrible. The new hard ass, tough as nails, cleavage-less Lara Croft from the latest in the long series of games is one of the best character revamps I’ve seen in a long time. The game was awesome as I watched my wife play a female character whose boobs weren’t bouncing or whose butt went unexposed and one who had more lines than a giggle or snicker here and there. It was a good game and Tomb Raider is now is an awesome role model for girls in my opinion. No more khaki booty shorts.
The comic book is a continuation of the game in a sense but it’s done thoughtful enough that you can still follow the storyline if you never played it. Lara Croft is being pursued by some psycho, gangster, yakuza, cult type cats who believe she angered their goddess when she was traipsing about in their mysterious island of death. And they want what she has. The only problem is she has no recollection where said item is. Or what it is. So that means her usefulness has run its course. The muscle is rounding up all her friends that were with her on the island and it isn’t pretty when they get ahold of them and the artifact that each one took home. In this issue we get back story of two major characters, a scary standoff and subsequent shootout with Reyes’ daughter in the line of fire, and a new mysterious ally. There’s also a shocker at the end that keeps bringing me back to Lost for some odd reason. My only complaint is that I’m ready for the story to kick it up a notch and start the fireworks. I see where it’s going. Someone just needs to get it there already.
The art is gorgeous. It’s different but still feels classic. It feels minimalist but it doesn’t lack in detail. The anatomy suffers sometimes in action scenes but nothing glaringly bad. It reminds me of Fiona Staples meets cel-shaded animation. There are several poses and especially a few running scenes that could be confused as motion capture they look that realistic with the bodily movement. The minimalist approach really made those two guests of Lara’s friend look insanely creepy. On the other hand, it takes away from any intimidation factor the bad humans have. The facial expressions are lacking unless close up so it’s hard to hate people who look like featureless mannequins from far away.
This is a good book with a ton of potential for revisionist history buffs like myself. Sprinkle in some ancient hoodoo mystical magical end of he world threats and you’ve got my attention. It may be hard to keep it though because the story is moving rather slowly. For it to be the 3rd issue there is a surprisingly sparse amount of storyline. It also took 4 issues to get to the obvious conclusion of returning to the island. Who didn’t see that coming as soon as this comic was announced? I’ll give it a chance for a while but it may only be a little while.