New Comic Book Day Top 5: Aug. 31st

Hello Revuers! It’s time for another installment of New Comic Book Day Top 5. In this segment we look at our top 5 most anticipated titles that are coming out tomorrow. All of the titles we are about to list we highly recommend you check out! Let’s dive right in:

5: Justice League #9

680380_9d46580c0e6d116258a0afa1182417bdb281ba53

Now before you get all confused, this is a continuation of the JLA story author Bryan Hitch started during the New52. It is not the Justice League from DC Rebirth. In this title Bryan Hitch does both the script and the art. Making this book feel very cohesive. Honestly before Rebirth this title was the only DC title I consistently had on my pull list. It’s nice to see that DC is letting Bryan Hitch take this series to fruition as he had set up a very interesting antagonist in Rao. This i a title I would recommend you pick up if you love great story telling.

 

4: Tokyo Ghost #10

688949_tokyo-ghost-10-cover-b-nguyen.jpg

Tokyo Ghost is an examination of what it means to be human in a world dominated by instant gratification and television screens. It asks the question “What will we become”? Written by Rick Remender with art from Sean Murphy, Tokyo Ghost i a special comic. It takes a much more critical look at our future than most comic book series’ and paints a not so pretty future. Speaking of paints, The picture of the cover above is actually the variant cover done by Dustin Nguyen. I included it because I think it’s one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen.

 

3: Spider-Gwen #11

685956_b27d4dbf19f1a5cd59848a15a93ce790f715b77c

This series from Jaston Latour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi has been a stable on my pull list ever since Edge of Spider-verse 2. The world that Latour, Rodriguez and Renzi get to play in is so fresh and interesting to me. Much like the Ultimate world was in the beginning, Spider-gwen’s world is up for re-imaging. Want an African-American women as Captain America? Well now we can have that. The possibilities are endless. There is a reason why everyone fell in love with Spider-Gwen, and if you ever read even one issue, you will understand.

 

2: Future Quest #4

685648_b77f2e800342433137fc98c81f633cc005daf951

Future Quest from Jeff Parker, Aaron Lopresti and Steve Rude is easily the best of the Hanna-Barbera reboots. A fun thrill ride Future Quest delivers all the action, dinosaurs, cavemen and team ups you could ask for. In this issue the team races the forces of F.E.A.R. to find a source of magnificent power. Who will reach it first? You’ll have to read to find out.

 

1: Monty the Dinosaur #1

685578_1ba39aefd2f6649756bf6b8936aebdfc76bd94e7.jpg

Coming in at the top spot this week is Monty the Dinosaur #1. Published on Action Labs and brought to us by the creative talents of Bob Frantz (writer) and Jean Franco (Art), Monty the Dinosaur is a tale a dinosaur (surprise) who after living in secret for a long time, reveals himself to Sophie, a loving 10 year old girl who try’s to see the good in people, or in this case a dinosaur. I’ll admit that I am a sucker for cute things, and this seems like the cutest title in recent memory. I love the premise of this story and the artwork looks incredible. I can not wait to pick this title up.

 

So there you have it, our most anticipated books that are coming out tomorrow. Did your most anticipated books make the cut? Tell us in the comments below. We would also love to see you list of most anticipated comics!

 

-Andrew

Tales From the Pull List (Jul. 27th): A New Hope (Larson)

Hello Revuers. This week marks another big victory for the DC Rebirth initiative. Once again I found my pull dominated by DC comics. I counted and I have purchased more DC comics in the last two month than I did all of last year. What has changed with this initiative? There’s hope. Well that, and the comics have been consistently good across the board. I haven’t read a single title that I didn’t like. This week I have three to review. A bit of a light week for me.

 

Pick of the Week

Batgirl #1: What I disliked most about the New 52 was the grit and darkness. With rebirth there’s hope figuratively, and in the case of Batgirl literally. New writer Hope Larson brings with her a freshness to Barbara and a new direction for the character and title. While the previous volume of Batgirl (worth a read) was set in Burnside, this volume has Batgirl gallivanting across Japan on what she thinks is a vacation. But as we all know, superheros don’t have vacations. Barbara runs into her old childhood friend Kai, when she discovers that he is her roommate at the Hostel she is staying at (what a coincidence). Kai asks Barbara what she is doing in Japan and we learn it’s to meet a childhood hero of hers named Fruit Bat. Fruit Bat was a Japanese superhero from the 20’s who is still alive and lives in Japan with her son. Fruit Bat was Barbara’s idol and she is determined to find and meet her. Barbara and Kai do just that (after a series of hi-jinks and comedic situations). However, upon meeting Fruit Bat a stranger attacks Kai ask vaguely for the “formula”. Batgirl intervene and defends Kai, but she is too slow. The assailant would have gotten away if not for the 104 year old Fruit Bat who proves that she still has the moves. Blocking a thrown ninja star and causing the villain to flee. After the skirmish Fruit Bat collapses and Batgirl rushes to her side. Fruit Bat states that Batgirl needs to let go of her past and find a new teacher. This leads Batgirl to…..MMA? We will find out in the next issue. The creative team is rounded out by artist Rafael Albuquerque and color artist Dave McCaig. The artists bring a creative shift from the previous volume of Batgirl, allowing this new volume to shine in it’s uniqueness. The art from Albuquerque is fantastic, helping the reader gather a real sense of emotion from the facial expressions and creating a sense of motion with great line work. The color from Dave McCaig is high contrast, with many panels featuring bright backgrounds behind earth tone figures. This causes the characters to pop and adds a sense of motion to the art. Rating 8.5/10

 

Buy

The Flash #3: This issue features the emergence of many speedsters in Central City. Not all of them want to be good, as the issue tells us. In fact some want to use their new found powers selfishly. The Flash struggles with what to do with all the new speedsters in the city, as he feels responsible for creating them. As he finds out that the speed force storm that created all the new speedsters was drawn to Central City by him. At the end of the issue we are introduced to a new villain named Godspeed. Who almost August, The Flash’s new sidekick. Unlike all the other new speedsters, Godspeed appears to have some control over his powers. Implying that perhaps these powers aren’t new to him. This issue saw some character development for Wally West and a cameo by Iris West. It also showed August learning and adapting to his powers. The most interesting aspect of the issue though was how much The Flash enjoys being a mentor and enjoys teaching others how to use the Speedforce. With the introduction of more speedsters this role for Barry, mentor and teacher, really solidifies him as the main character of this book.  Rating: 8/10

Nightwing #1: This issue opens up with Nightwing completing a mission for a international version of the Court of Owls. In the Nightwing Rebirth issue we learned that this new court of owls had manipulated Nightwing into working for them by threatening to kill Robin via a bomb that they had implanted into his head. What the Court doesn’t know is that Nightwing was able to remove the bomb, and now is only pretending to work for them in order to learn more about their organization and bring them down from the inside. In this issue we learn that the Court of Owls is unhappy with the results that Nightwing has had the last few missions and have acquired a partner for him. A mysterious new character named Raptor. Nightwing goes to the designated meeting place planning to tell Raptor that he has no interest in a partner, but is promptly beat down by this new character. At the end of the issue Raptor tells Nightwing that everything Batman had taught him was wrong, and that he needed a new mentor. Overall the issue was quick paced and intriguing. Rating:8/10

 

 

-Andrew

Prez #3

There’s been a quiet stirring of revolution in the land of DC Comics, and we’re seeing that pay out in spades with books like Starfire, Doctor Fate, Justice League United, Bizarro, and Prez. A spin-off of a short-lived title introduced in the early 1970’s, the original Prez series detailed the life of “The First Teen President of the U.S.A.!” While only running for four issues (with a fifth appearing later in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, it was one of those signature oddities of DC comics in the 60’s and 70’s that resonated with a generation of comics readers. But, like Sugar and Spike, Prez was destined to be a vision of times past – not something that could be brought into the present continuity or marketplace.

Enter the DC You, the continuity reboot of the New 52, that throws hard continuity to the wind and lets creators run a little more freely through not only the established DC Universe, but also lets them embrace the bizarre – which, I’m pleased to report, Prez does without hesitation. Again, the story of a teenager elected president, Prez this time around stars Beth Ross, known as ‘Corndog Girl’ due to an unfortunate incident with a fryer caught virally on the web. Also involved is the original namesake of the title, Preston Rickard, as her Vice President. In 2036, the United States is a place of excess and little – it’s a living, breathing dichotomy of the haves and have-nots. Workers are timed on their breaks, their speed is clocked to ensure that they are operating at peak performance, and are subsequently fired if what they dispose of during bathroom breaks isn’t deemed to be fitting of the time taken in the restroom.

It’s pure madness. Gameshows are held for people to win money still, but the ultimate prize can only be won if you’re willing to shoot yourself. American imperialism is rampant, and we invade countries and destroy villages that we think are the aggressors, without proof. Everything is bought and sold. Everything, and everyone a commodity. It’s a bleak look into our future, and it’s not something that we can really say is too far away from (an admittedly ultra-shocking version of) our reality. We live a life of digital indulgence, and our society avoids responsibility to worship at the altar of reality stars and celebrity spokespeople.

That’s where Beth steps in. Tired of the hand life has dealt her, Beth immediately becomes a force for improvement and an inspiration after experiencing a deep personal tragedy. As she is a teenager and a Washington outsider, she’s able to form a Cabinet for her presidency that features the correct people for the job – favors aren’t used to fill positions with substandard candidates, instead, scientists are placed in charge of the expansion of the sciences! Corrupt ambassadors to the United Nations are fired. And Beth, who could have handled this all by phone, instead does everything face-to-face. She’s a driving force of good in an otherwise incredibly corrupt society.

Personally, I love this series thus far, and at three issues in, there’s not a bit of it that I can find a lot of fault with. The characters are wickedly over the top, except for the two that count the most – Beth and Preston. The artwork is bright, quirky, and has such great pacing and panel manipulation that the book feels like it’s a television show with how it moves throughout the page. I was worried for awhile that we weren’t going to see past six issues of this incredibly niche title, but in a Facebook post on the 27th of August, Dan Didio of DC Comics stated that the final six issues will be solicited at a later date. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s at least shining a light that we’ll see more in the future from Beth Ross. Give Prez a shot if you haven’t yet – is it quirky? Absolutely. Is it for everyone? Certainly not. But it’s definitely for me.

-Jay

Meet the Press

Hello Revuers! I have breaking news. Our very own Andrew Horton will be at Cincinnati Comic Con on September 12th and 13th.  If you’ve been dying to meet one of the writers behind (hopefully) your favorite comic book blog now is your chance. Andrew will wearing a press pass with Deja.Revue printed on it. Also if you need any more motivation the list of comic creators who will be in attendance is astounding: Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher, Tony Moore, Phil Noto, Brian Ewing, Bill Willingham, Cullen Bunn, Rick Remender, Raw Fawkes…… The list goes on and on. Truly the amount of comic talent they have assembled is staggering. Especially for the very modest ticket cost of $21 for a day pass and $35 for a weekend pass. So if you want to come meet Andrew and talk comics or life for awhile, all while meeting some of the best creators in the game, then go to Cincinnati Comic Con. Here’s a link:

http://www.cincycomicon.com/Welcome.html

Guest Review: Action comics #43 by Girl-on-comicbook-world

Today we have a special guest review from Girl-On-Comicbook-World. She consistently puts out great material, from comicbook reviews to movie reviews to Opinion pieces. I strongly recommend you go check out her blog. I made her name clickable and you can also click hereor here. Seriously, check out her blog, it’s in my weekly rounds. With out any further delay here we go:

Action Comics #43 Review
Writer: Greg Pak and Artist: Aaron Kuder

Action Comics #43 continues the adventures of the newly depowered, with a now public identity, Superman. Greg Pak continues to prove that he understands the heart of this character through this street-level story, which involves Clark teaming up with his neighbours in Metropolis…whilst they fight Shadow Monsters!!!

Now I know not everyone has been loving this new status quo that has fallen on Superman, and would prefer to be seeing the traditional Superman stories. But here’s the thing, sometimes you need to throw your character into new and different situations in order to deconstruct the character and find out who they really are at heart. And that is exactly what the “Truth” story arc has been doing so far across the Superman books.

The one thing that is imperative to understand about Superman’s character is how he see himself. He doesn’t view himself as a god, or somebody who has the answers to all of life’s problems. He views himself as a guy who grew up on a farm, one day found out he was an alien, and then suddenly had to deal with all the responsibility and expectations that came with that. And because Clark is inherently a good person, he was more than willing to accept his situation and embrace becoming Superman. But at the end of the day he is farm-boy Clark Kent, who would prefer to be hanging out with people, not hovering over them like some arrogant god.

The “Truth” story arc has stripped away what made him seem like a god, his powers, secret identity and costume, and forced the world and audience to see him for who he really is, Clark Kent. And Action Comics #43 explores that, as we see Clark face-to-face with the people of Metropolis, working alongside them.

The issue opens up with Clark punching a cop. Yupp, he punched a cop! But to be fair the cop is actually a Shadow Monster, so all good! But before realising that the cop was in fact a monster, Clark had a moment of struggle, he’s Superman, he shouldn’t be punching cops. But because the cop, Binghamton, was using extreme force on a peaceful neighbourhood, Clark snapped. And that’s the thing about Clark, at his core he will always strike to protect people, and with him being less powerful than he was before, he feels like he needs to overcompensate a little.

After his battle with Binghamton we see a beautiful moment with the people of Metropolis. Clark gives one of his classic inspiring speeches, telling everyone that together they can protect each other, because they’re all Superman now.
There are a bunch of twist and turns in the book, including a shocking revelation about what’s going down in City Hall. All in all Action Comics #43 is very much a character driven story that is deconstructing who Superman is at his core. Even if you aren’t a fan of the Superman character, I would definitely recommend picking up Pak’s Action Comics “Truth” run because it really has been a fascinating story, showing how both Clark and the world reacts when Superman has a public identity.
Kuder’s art as always is great and expressive (although sometimes Clark looks weirdly wide but ehh). The splash page featuring the neighbourhood really gave us a great sense of humanity and diverse community through the character designs and body language.

Overall Action Comics #43 was another great issue by Pak and Kuder, diving deeper into the humanity of Clark. Rating: 8/10.

Tales From the Pull List (Aug. 12th): We are living in a (Im)material world

Pick of the Week:

Phonogram: The Immaterial girl #1: So full disclosure: I own the first two volumes of Phonogam, and I have read them both numerous times. When I found out that they were making another volume of it I freaked out. I marked the day on my calender, and stared longingly at it. With this hype I had built, a worrisome thought crept into my mind: what if it didn’t live up to the hype I had created in my own head? What if the beauty of what it had been overshadowed what it will be. I am happy to report that it lived up to the hype I had created for it, and then some. The issue is a nostalgia filled roller coaster of emotion. Gillen’s script is so good that at times it hurts. The art by McKelvie and Wilson holds up to its standard of excellence and more.  Wilson has cemented (in my mind at least) his status of the best color artist in the game. Seriously, is there a better creative team than Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson? I dare you try, I know you’ll fail. Go buy this issue.If you haven’t read the previous volumes of Phonogram you will still enjoy it. If you have you’ll enjoy it even more. Rating: 10/10

Buy

Injection #4: More of the back story is explored in this issue, but the answers are coupled with more questions. Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire craft an excellent issue with lots of character development. With more of the background being revealed you finally get a sense of what’s going on, and that in and of it’s self is exciting. Not as much action this issue as the bulk of it was dedicated to back story. An almost antithesis of issue three really. I’m excited to continue this series and see which bends first: Science, or magic. Rating: 7/10

Gotham Academy #9: Another strong showing for my favorite series from DC. Could there be a wolf at Gotham Academy? Or something more sinister? This issue builds on the mystery that surrounds Olive’s mother while providing plenty of action in the for of a man bat and a wolf man(?). We discover that certain people are excellent at science, and that they may or may not have a secret layer. The creative team of Cloonan, Fletcher, Kerschl, Lapointe, and Msassyk continue to deliver month after month. At this point if you aren’t reading Gotham Academy you might want to re-evaluate your life. Rating: 8/10

A-Force #3: She-hulk finds herself in the midst of trouble after jumping threw the portal from the end of issue two. Will she be able to make it back to her team? Whats the meaning of the portals? What’s causing them? All these questions are, more or less, answered in this issue. I’ll keep this mini review spoiler free though. A-Force continues to be a fresh air in what is starting to feel like an aimost-stale mega event. The only titles I read from Secret Wars is Secret Wars and this title. I am glad it’s continuing after Battleworld is no more. Rating: 7/10

Secret Wars #5: Speaking of Secret Wars, the main title continues to surprise me. I know I’ve said it before but Jonathan Hickman is a genius, or a mad scientist. One of the two. In this issues we see the repercussions of the shocking end to Issue 4 (no spoilers, just know that it was indeed shocking). We learn more of how God Doom was able to save what fragments of the muti-verse that he did save (with the helm\p of a very special someone). Truly the exploration of how battleworld came to be is fascinating to me. It’s clear that this event was months, no, years in the making. The art by Ribic continues to astound. All in all a great addition to a great series. Rating: 8/10

Skip

Starfire #3: Honestly the only reason I got this issue is because I pre-ordered it months ago. I can see why other people like it, it’s just not for me. Rating: 3/10

Descender #6: This issue really fell flat for me. Which is a pity because I’ve really enjoyed the overall series. I hope that Jeff Lemire can turn it around for the next issue. Rating: 5/10

Tales From The Pull List Jun. 17th: In a (Justice) League of their own

Hello Revuers!  Its that time of the week again. This week there were quite a few comics I was excited about. It turned out not to be as great as j had thought it would be though, as many comics didnt live up to my expectations. I also wanted to let you all know that I will not be posting for the next week or so. I am getting married Saturday and will be on my honeymoon until next saturday. So enjoy the list!

Pick of the Week

Justice League of America #1: Story: Bryan Hitch Art: Bryan Hitch & Wade von Grawbadger In what was otherwise a disappointing week, JLA #1 was a success. I dove right in without a vast knowledge of the DC universe,  and even less about the latest event: convergence. Despite this I was able to follow along without being to confused. The book opens up with the death of superman, or should I say A Superman. Someone, or something, is killing Supermen from across the multiverse,  and only Superman (THE Superman!….?) can stop it. By doing…nothing.A mysterious company summons superman to a meeting to warn/threaten him of what was to come if he didnt protect himself. Hitch did a good job at portraying the JLA (which featured Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern) as not being to over powered, and making the story interesting. The art job was great as well, Hitch and Grawbadger did a good job of using scale to make panels feel bigger than they were. Overall a good start to the series and I look forward to the next issue.

Rating: 7.5/10

Buy

The Fiction #1: a fun start. The art really is what carries this book, but the story is intriguing as well. I am interested in seeing what comes next. Which is always a good sign for a series that just started.

Rating: 6/10

Dr. Fate #1: Another DC title that I really enjoyed this week. I came in with next to no knowledge of Dr. Fate and still enjoyed myself. The art was different than most DC titles, but was similar to that of Constatine Hellblazer, from last week. However, I feel like the art was more successful here and really maintained a consistent tone throughout

Rating: 6.5/10

Black Canary #1: Coming in I had high hopes and expectations for this one. While it was decent, it didnt live up to the hype in my head. The art was good, but not fantastic. The story was ok, however it felt kind of rushed and squeezed together. It could of been just a result of unrealistic expectations from me and for that reason I am going to continue the series.

Rating: 5/10

Southern Bastards #9: This Issue serves as the start of a new story arch. It picks up with the surprise ending of issue 8, and is een through the eyes of the sheriff. Jason & Jason continue to play with my emotions and make me sympathize with horrible individuals. If anything this series has struck home with me that even seemingly terrible people may have a story that can move you to tears.

Rating: 7/10

Skip

Martian Manhunter #1: I bought this because I thought I liked the Martian Manhunter as a character. Turns out I was wrong.

Rating: 4/10

Runaways #1: I have not read the original volumes of Runaways. From what ive heard its very different than this. I hope so.

Rating: 3/10

Thors #1: This issue had promise, but didn’t deliver in my opinion. It tried to read like a crime comic, but the only crime I felt was the theft of my $3.99 Rating: 2/10

Tales from the pull list June 10th: It’s a Weirdworld

Hello Revuers! This week I am trying out something new. I am going to list all of the comics I bought or read and place them into three categories: Pick(s) of the week, Buy, or Pass. Let me know what you think of this new article and if you like, it or if I should go back to pick of the week, in the comment section below. Your feedback is appreciated. With out further delay here we go:

Pick of the week:

Weirdworld #1

Weirdworld #1 is a tale of a king stranded on a, well weird, world looking for a way back home. The antagonist Akron is the ruler of the kingdom Polemachus, who due to the events of Secret Wars has been stranded on a floating island. Which he then names Weirdworld, due to all the strange and impossible dangers he has had to face, These include: Squidsharks, dragons,  fire rain, hawk-squatch hybrid, etc. etc. This issue really serves as an introduction to Weirdworld and our protagonist, although plenty of action is offered in the second half of the issue. I wont spoil it, go read it. What drew (all puns intended) to this issue was the art. The series features the artistic talents of the art team behind the latest volume of Elektra: Mike Del Mundo, and Marco D’Alfonso. This fantastic duo draw and color a world beyond our imagination. Where hard neon colors stab through soft pastels, where blood flows green and grass grows red. All in all this artistic team delivers on what were high expectations (by me at least).

Rating: 8.5/10

Buy:

Gotham Academy #7: The gang is back! Well some of them. A new character emerges, and joins Maps in a quest to discover the secret of the (magic?) quill.

Rating: 7/10

Decscender #4: Excellent character development this issue, with still fantastic art. I am excited to see if robots really do dream.

rating: 6/10

Injection #2: This series has started off to a slow start for me. I was very excited to pick it up, since it features the creative team behind the first arc of Moon Knight. So far it has left me a little disappointed. However it did just enough to keep me interested in purchasing issue 3.

Rating 4/10

Silk #5 Another solid issue and return of artist Stacey Lee. There was a heartwarming moment in the middle of the issue that I wont give away, but lets just say it was from a character you wouldn’t expect.

Rating: 6.5/10

Spider-Gwen #5: Interesting work with the black cat. Also having Matt as a villain is an interesting twist. The art was fantastic, and it really got a lift from the outstanding coloring job by Rico Renzi. Seriously, is there a colorist better right now?

Rating: 7.5/10

Silver Surfer #12: This issue felt a little stale, with similar themes and plot ideas as the last issue, however, Michael and Laura Allreds art saves it for me.

Rating: 5.5/10

Pass:

Starfire #1: Really didn’t do it for me. Also, all the “wow, starfire is hot” moments felt weird to me. Some of the thought bubble pictures were funny though.

Rating: 4/10

Ultimate end #2: Maybe I just didn’t get into the Ultimate universe enough to care, but I just can’t get into this series.

Rating: 4/10

Constantine the Hellblazer #1: Bogged down by dialogue in my opinion. Some interesting and striking art choices though.

Rating: 4/10

All in all this week was pretty good. As I stated before let me know what you think of the new format in the comments section.

-Andrew Horton

End of the first quarter top 5 list from the writers at deja.revue + friends!

Hello Revuers! Hard to believe that it’s April already. That means that the first quarter for comics this year has drawn (all puns intended, as per usual) to an end. With that we are proud to bring you a top 5 list of our favorite comics, and we invited some friends to do the same.The headers are clickable and lead to that persons blog. I strongly recommend that you check out each and every one of our contributors blogs, they are all fantastic. This article can be your one stop destination for the top comics of the year so far. If you are new and looking for a place to start in comics or a seasoned vet interested in branching,out this article has something for everyone. The big two, Image, indie start-ups, we have it all! So buckle your seat belts and get ready for a XXXXL pizza size worth of information given to you in manageable bite size pieces.

Andrew Horton 

5. Silver Surfer (Writer: Dan Slott, Art: Michael Allred & Laura Allred, Publisher: Marvel)

Silver Surfer is a fun tale that sets to humanize the ex-herald of Galactus. The story telling by Slott is fun and there is a nice dynamic between the Surfer and his human companion Dawn. Dawn really humanizes the surfer in ways I had never seen before and makes the series fun to read. The art by Allred is fantastic. An homage to the more cartoonish art of a by gone era. Together Slott and Allred have put together an intriguing and entertaining series.

4. Spider-Gwen (Writer: Jason Latour, Art: Robbi Rodriguez & Rico Renzi, Publisher: Marvel)

Spider-Gwen was my favorite new character from last year (you can read about that here), so I was excited to here she was getting her own series. I was even more excited when I learned that the same stellar creative team that was behind her 1st appearance would be in charge of her ongoing series. Despite the hype that I had built up in the months between November and its eventual release in February Spider-Gwen did not disappoint. Latour, Rodriguez, and Renzi give us a spider hero that we can relate to and feel for, and I can’t get enough.

3. Southern Bastards (Writer: Jason Aaron, Art: Jason Latour, Publisher: Image)

What.The.Heck. But he is/was the bad guy? Aaron and Latour craft an emotional roller coaster of a ride in this series. The whole second arc has left me unsure of who I should root for, and who I feel for. I am seriously loving the real life narrative and feel of this book. “Bad” guys have a story too, and I am glad that Aaron and Latour have decided to explore it.

2. Gotham Academy (Writer: Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher, Art:Karl Kercshl)

Cloonan, Fletcher, and Kerschl have brought together a rag-tag group of teenagers (and one preteen) and turned them into the most interesting and lovable group in comics. The dynamic that they have created between the characters just works and I look forward to each and every issue that comes out. The art work is fantastic as well with Kerchl creating a world that is both realistic and surreal all at once. The lighting and shading choices really make the scenes pop and gives the reader a sense of time passing in the book. Overall an amazing series.

1. The Wicked + The Divine (Writer: Kieron Gillen, Art: Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson)

The first arc of this book was superb. The second act though? Has been on another level. The subtle (and at times not so subtle) social commentary layered with teen angst and hero-worship really works for me. The art choices By McKelvie and Wilson really make Gillens story stand out. I cannot speak enough about the coloring job that Wilson does on this book. In fact I’ll call it, Wilson is one of the top three colorists in comics today (If you twisted my arm I would also name Bellaire and Renzi). This series is really creative and finds new ways to reinvent its self. For those reasons I feel like this series could be around a long, long time.

Girl-On-Comicbook-World

Girl-on-Comicbook-World is all about discussion, opinion and analysis on everything comic book related from movies to TV to actual comic books. Come have a conversation with me and others in the comments, even if we agree to disagree (don’t worry the conversation is always civil!)

We’re only a few months in and already we’ve had so many amazing comics come out, it’s been hard to choose what the top 5 are. But here we go, here’s my top 5 comics of the year so far:

5. The Wicked + The Divine- The state of society is pretty funny. The way we completely glorify our musicians, and act as if they are our gods is a little ridiculous. And that is exactly what The Wicked + The Divine explores. It’s about a bunch of gods, from different mythologies, who resurrect every 90 years, to live for 2 years on Earth. So when they come back after 90 years, what do they decide to do? Become music sensations of course, makes sense! This comic has continued to be a great little read every month. Especially because it’s through the perspective of this teenage fangirl. Her responses to this insane world full of real life gods, is exactly the response a teenage girl would make to One Direction, because that is the world we’re living in. The writing by Kieron Gillen is funny, quirky and flows perfectly with the great art by Jamie Mckelvie in the series.

4.The Multiversity- Grant Morrison’s brain is insane, I love it! The Multiversity is the perfect concept for Grant Morrison to take on board. Exploring the different worlds of the DC universe, Morrison has done a phenomenal job fleshing out the different Earths and their connection to the larger DC universe. The recent issues of Multiversity have been amazing including the Multiversity Guidebook, Mastermen and Ultra Comics. Obviously this series isn’t for everyone, especially those that don’t enjoy Morrison’s Meta style. Some people have been calling the series pretentious, for its overt Meta criticisms on the superhero genre. But the fact that Morrison can express his opinions on the genre, and what it means to him, in such an imaginative and insane way, makes it worth the read.

3. Saga- Brian K. Vaughn is the man. Y: The Last Man is my favourite non-superhero comic series, and it’s mostly because Brian knows how to write characters. Vaughn is able to make a loveable character, out of even the most morally flawed. Saga has some of the most human characters, which is obviously ironic. Saga, even in its quieter issues, is still some of the best comic work coming out right now. The story itself is great, but what makes Saga so great for me is the way Vaughn writes his characters. Female characters are often a point of criticism when it comes to comic books, but Vaughn is able to realise fully fleshed out, interesting and complex female characters. And not just female characters, all the characters, from the TV-headed Prince to their ghost companion are really well-developed. I’m definitely looking forward to where this series is going in the future, and if the ending will be as depressing as the ending to Y: The Last Man.

2. Ms. Marvel- Getting younger female readers into comics has seemed like a challenge over the last few years. Thankfully Ms. Marvel is doing everything right to not only create a comic that younger female readers can enjoy and relate to, but also creating a comic that everyone can enjoy. From exploring cultural and adolescent issues, to questioning the nature of the hero, Ms. Marvel has really excelled in creating a likeable, fully fleshed out lead. And I have to say, I feel a little inspired every time I read Ms. Marvel, there’s some really great messages in the comic. It’s great that the comic plays off the youth of these characters, giving us a different perspective on what it’s like to be a superhero.

1. Batman- Brian K. Vaughn is the man, but so is Scott Snyder. Snyder and Capullo haven’t released a bad Batman comic yet during their run. Snyder’s mind is nearly as insane as Morrison’s mind, and that’s saying something. Court of Owls, Death of a family, Zero Year, all have been incredible arcs, and with those incredible arcs comes Endgame. Marketed as the Joker story to end all Joker stories, you can see why. The recent issues have sparked quite the conversation online about the Joker’s supposed origin story, and I love that. Everyone’s speculating and discussing this run, and it’s something not many comics are able to do. Snyder’s done some pretty crazy things during his Batman run, and this might be the craziest yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how things conclude. And now that we’ve seen the Robo-Bat-Bunny costume, I’m really curious to find out what Snyder does to get there. Although Endgame may seem a little whacky right now, and so does the Robo-Bat-Bunny, Snyder has done no wrong in my eyes so far, so I’m trusting that whatever he has come up with, it’s going to be good.

Noisy Geek blog

The term geek has never been a shameful label to me. I have always been geeky, the only problem I’ve had is finding people who are passionate about the same things I am. That’s one of the reasons I started NoisyGeek. I wanted to connect with people and discuss the things I enjoy, whether its books, movies, games or comics. I’m lucky enough to have followers who give me recommendations which has helped me expand my collections and has kept me updating the blog

For me comics are adventures – There is so much variety in the comic verse that I’m never stuck for something new to read. Picking my top 5 was definitely hard but the ones I’ve chosen are comics that I’ve recommended to my friends, colleagues and even strangers I’ve met in comic shops

1. Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky

I love this series. The main characters Suzie and Jon discover they share the ability to freeze time when they orgasm. In a nutshell they decide to use these powers to rob the bank where Jon works in order to save Suzie’s endangered library.

I’ve seen a couple of pieces by Matt Fraction but Sex Criminals is definitely my favourite so far – from the initial dedication to the end of each issue this had me laughing out loud. The artwork by Zdarsky is beautiful, the colours used really bring the story to life and the “quiet” scenes have been drawn perfectly. It’s not a series for kids but it’s perfect for people who love a good laugh

2. Zombies Hi by Uproar Comics

Uproar Comics have a lot of passion for their work. Zombies Hi is one of my favourites – it’s based in Northern Ireland and is about a community struggling through the Zombie Apocalypse while fighting sectarian division.

There are currently 12 issues available and it clear that the team are going to continue improving with future issues. Although still a relatively indie company they are becoming known for their clever ideas, the way they introduced the colour pages in Zombies Hi was genius. Zombies Hi is definitely unique when compared to other horror series’, an impressive quality in today’s comic verse.

3. Saltire by Diamond Steel Comics

This was the first (and so far only) comic book I’ve come across which focuses on myths and landscapes entirely from Scotland. Saltire is an impressive superhero. He’s big, he’s blue and he’s ginger. Saltire’s sole purpose is to defend the freedom of Scotland and its people and he takes that very seriously.

Although this series is from a small publisher the overall quality is outstanding. The artwork is stunning and the issues themselves have been beautifully created. This is simply an amazing series and one of the finest modern mythology series I’ve read recently

4. Suicide Squad (New 52)

This series has been a firm favourite of mine since I started catching up on issues. Suicide Squad always give plenty of action and general chaos. Harley Quinn is one of my favourite batman characters, it was nice to see her become associated with this. The romantic in me enjoyed the Harley/Deadshot flavour while the gamer in me loved the chaos in each issue.

5. Origin II

Although this is only a 5 parter, it’s one of my favourite Logan comic series. The artwork has been really well done and although the storyline is quite brutal it gives a good insight into Logan’s past.

Reading Origin II has reaffirmed Logan as one of my favourite characters

Jay Threadbear

Jay Threadbear writes hasty scribbles about comic books, films, and television. There’s the occasional think-piece about robots, cybercrime or ninjas, but mostly it’s just about that most important of subjects – superheroes!

Batgirl – Last year’s soft-reboot has really borne fruit this quarter as the opening story arc has come to a smart and exciting resolution. On the surface this book is simply the adventures of a young, hip superhero in a trendy part of Gotham, and that is true, but beneath that the complex plot and sophisticated character work really take this book to the next level. As well as Barbara Gordon making new friends and getting a new costume she is dealing with emotional trauma that defines her as a woman and a hero. And if you want it this book has a wealth of meta-textual elements that speak to the evolution of comic books and the handing over of writing duties between creators. The writing is inventive and the storytelling innovative, and then there is the great art from Babs Tarr.

Gotham Academy – The creative team on this book truly deserve the term ‘creative’ as they continue to write and illustrate a fun, thoughtful, and intriguing teen mystery against the backdrop of Gotham’s fanciest prep-school. The art is simply sublime and the characters are by turns witty, adorable, and defiant. There is an interesting puzzle at the heart of the Academy, but this book is also a great exploration of what it means to be young in the DC universe. As a gateway book from YA fiction to comics this is perfect reading, and as a fun book in general it is equally worthwhile for any reader.

Silk – I read very little of the Spider-Verse event in recent Spider-Man comics (checking in only with the excellent Spider-Gwen and SP//dr) so Cindy Moon was completely new to me when I picked up the first issue of Silk primarily on the quality of the art. I’m glad I did, as this is already a great book. The fact that Cindy brings welcome diversity to the Marvel Universe as a female Asian-American hero is a great thing, and the wonderful part is that this book is funny and compelling in almost every way. Cindy is Peter Parker for the modern age and her charming awkwardness as she grows as a hero is delightful to follow.

Silver Surfer – Mike Allred’s art and the promise of goofy intergalactic hijinks were enough to get me to pick this up when it first started, and initially that pretty much summed up this book – it was fun. In more recent issues though the story from Dan Slott has turned to the Surfer’s dark past, and the narrative focus has progressively shifted to the Surfer’s companion Dawn Greenwood. What started out as a meaningless bit of fun, somehow became one of the most powerful love stories in superhero comics, and it just keeps getting better.

They’re Not Like Us – Writer Eric Stephenson, artist Simon Gane, and colourist Jordie Bellaire have been producing consistently phenomenal work with this series that tells the story of a young woman discovering she has special powers, and the shadowy group that takes her in. With thematic elements from sources as diverse as the X-Men and Girl, Interrupted this is a nuanced character study that matches dark questions about civilisation with a backdrop of subtle demonstrations of other-wordly power. They’re Not Like Us is a rich and mature drama that also features gorgeous visuals from a brilliant art team, and although it may prove a little too pessimistic for some I think it is one of the best books out there right now.

Jerry Caskey

Afterlife with Archie

This one threw me off. I saw Archie (Which I admittedly have never read, so I was working with prejudice) with zombies? Witches? Undead dogs? Have I been so wrong about this series? Well, I can only speak for the Afterlife arc, so that’s what I’ll work with.

This is 100% horror. There is no comfort to be found here. Dead dogs, zombies, pissed off witches, it has everything. I will get the big thing out-of-the-way first: Francavilla is a god among men. His work on this series is nothing short of phenomenal. It is grotesque, but not indulgent. It’s easy to splatter blood everywhere but it takes a real artist to wrench terror from floorboards, hills, trees, handrails… That is not to say that Aguirre-Sacasa is any less important. His writing binds these horrific events together and keeps us moving forward, always wary, always terrified. Together they have designed perhaps the most unexpected hit (personally) I have ever stumbled upon in comics.

The Sandman: Overture

In The Sandman: Overture Neil Gaiman keeps the pace decidedly rubato. This forces the reader to question what curve the story may take next, to rely solely on the comic itself as a guide. Through this, J.H. Williams III depicts a world where everything is new, unknown, yet uncomfortably familiar. Not to leave out Dave Stewart’s brilliant colors, and Tod Klein’s lettering.

My favorite in Overture is issue 4. It seems—even more now than in previous issues—that Gaiman and Williams are challenging each other. Gaiman leaves huge gaps for Williams to carry the story on art alone, and Williams gives Gaiman just enough boxes to fit some traditional dialog, even if those boxes may find themselves upside down or tumbling down the page.

Princess Leia

Princess Leia has always been badass. A princess in title only, this is a woman who craves adventure and takes orders only from herself. Waid and Bellaire band together to bring the story of the most independent character in existence. The most remarkable feature of this series is Mark Waid’s ability to weave a story that lacks nothing in power, and Bellaire’s ability to keep the art personal. Facial features are not defined by rigid black lines, but by variation in color and tone. Backdrops exist to bring the characters closer to the reader. The entire work works towards one goal, to give us a glimpse into what makes the amazing princess operate as she does.

Spider Gwen

Okay, I know. This is probably on every other list here, but this one deserves it. There is so much more to Spider Gwen than Rodriguez’s design for Gwen’s outfit (Which is nothing short of brilliant) and some compelling writing.

Confident, steady, independent, casual. These are not words I would use to describe Gwen Stacy. But she is working on it. Seeking to validate herself as a hero to a city, a girl to her friends, and a woman to her father. As if it isn’t enough pressure to make one’s self legitimate in a world that seems to live in delusion, perpetuated by preconceptions, she must reignite the flame for masked heroes everywhere. Latour, Rodriguez, and Renzi bring together a concise yet fulfilling work that will resonate for years.

Buccaneer Book Reviews

Shiver me e-timbers! Billions o’ blue-blisterin’ digi-barnacles in a thunderin’ typhoon!

Welcome t’ th’ Buccaneer! An imaginary ship that sails yon interwebs as it see’s fit and whose crew explores everythin’ they c’n find, reviewin’ t’all with no fear in their geeky black hearts!

  1. Howard the Duck #1 (Marvel Comics)

Nearly three decades after a disastrous attempt at a big screen blockbuster, the wise-cracking, foul tempered duck is back! With no friends, but lots of Marvel drop-ins and shout-outs, this very first issue proved that Howard may have been down all this time, but he definitely isn’t out!

Dragged into this world through a ‘Nexus of Realities’ Howard must make his way through life in a world he didn’t choose, comprised of ‘hairless apes’, of whom he is not particularly fond. He does so as a Private Duck (ha!) using his uncanny power of common sense and, well, the fact that he is a talking, walking, human sized (if slightly short) duck. Wicked humour, hilariously meta dialogue, exciting hints at future issues and vibrant artwork reminiscent of Warhol and Lichtenstein’s pop art –You know what Lucas, THIS is the duck you were looking for!

 

  1. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

A truly nutty treat. This was one of the nicest things I read in a long time. Squirrel Girl has been a seriously under rated and under appreciated character in the Marvel universe. Which is kind of strange seeing that she has beaten the holy hell out of some of the toughest and scariest folks in the MU, including Doctor Doom! It’s great to see her get what she deserves – her own issue.

North, Henderson and Renzi have put together an issue, no a series, that exceeds all expectation. Squirrel Girl is off to college, she’s smart, she’s spunky, she’s not all there. It’s the kind of book that anyone, old or young, can enjoy with the utmost delight. It’s something I look forward to having as an entire collection on my shelf.

  1. Return of the Living Deadpool (Marvel Comics)

A series that was so popular, it warranted a sequel… and thus Return of the Living Deadpool was born. Using their ultra zombie powers – Cullen Bunn and Nik Virella have created a b-e-a-utiful sequel of great proportions. The initial run i.e. Night of the living Deadpool was a great series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It pays homage to classic zombie films and I think it’s a must read.

While I recommend reading Night of the living Deadpool first, you don’t really need to. This is pretty reader friendly and lets you start right here not having to worry too much about reading the original story. This is a lovely blend of horror, drama and comedy. So if you like Wade Wilson or zombies or both…this one is a definite must read.

  1. Multiversity: Slendour Falls (DC Comics)

It’s always great to see a story that spans the multiverse. With Grant Morrison at the reins, it can only have the potential to be great.

With some excellent artwork from the great Jim Lee and Scott Williams, not to mention a storyline that involves Nazis.

Morrisson’s work on delving into the multiverse is fascinating, it really lures the reader in and makes sure you never want to leave. My only problem, and it’s a teeny tiny one, is that there is too much information packed into one issue. These need to be longer. That aside, this is just a great bit of visual candy with an enticing storyline.

  1. The Dying and the Dead #1 (Image comics)

A massacre at a wedding, the theft of ancient artifact, a cult of clones, a people old as time and conspiracies of world domination – while elements of this comic might seem like old news, they combine sublimely in Jonathan Hickman’s masterfully crafted The Dying and the Dead #1. The haggard old war hero may seem like a hackneyed protagonist, but just a few panels with him and I was ready to throw my hat into the ring alongside him, taking up arms once more, to save the woman he loves.

The beautifully complex storyline is cradled in pages full of both hauntingly minimal and breathtakingly intricate artwork – adding further to the dramatic overtones of this hush-hush first issue. Sharp contrasts and sepia tones serve to highlight the tempo and depth of the story, without distracting too far from it. I doubt I’m being overly generous when I say that this comic book is a prime example of the medium being its own art form.

Pick of the week (Mar. 4th): Descender #1

When I went to the comic store today I had completely forgotten about this book. I had preordered it two months ago and put it somewhere in the black hole that is the back of my mind. I am so glad that I had preordered it, because it is a sheer delight from start to finish. Jeff Lemire is in charge of the script for this issue and he delivers. The concept is sci-fi adventure set in a galaxy with 9 core planets that are referred to as the United Galactic Council (or UGC for short) the hub planet of this core is called Niyrata. Suddenly, above each planet a giant robot appears. On Niyrata a leading technology expert, Dr. Jin Quon is called upon to investigate these robots. As he begins to examine the robot stationed above Niyrata the robot attacks. The scene then flashes forward 10 years to a child companion robot whose robot line was created by Dr. Quon. This child companion robot seems ordinary, but could there be something special about him? Ill leave that for you to find out on your own. The art by Dustin Nguyen is simply breathtaking. He works with watercolors on a beautiful color pallet to craft a world that, despite its slight dystopian feel, is beautiful.The splash page 3 pages in features our first look at the giant robot and is stunning.The texture and shading that he brings out is nothing short of extraordinary. Also as equally impressive to me is Ngyuens work with facial hair. In the book several styles of facial hair are displayed, and all of them are unique and interesting in their own way (as odd of a thing as that is to notice). The art is so good that even if the story component wasn’t good I would still buy this book. There are not enough words I can write to do it justice. If you didn’t pick this up this week then you are missing out on one of the best debuts for a comic I have ever read.

Rating: 8.5/10

-Andrew Horton