Our 50th post: A nostalgia filled trip down memory lane

Hello Revuers, I’m proud to announce that this is our 50th post on Deja.Revue! When I started this site with my roommate back in November of 2014 I couldn’t have anticipated the great response and support from viewers like you. Thanks to die hard comics fan like us, we have grown exponentially over the course of ten months. I could ramble on and on with statistics and numbers and blah blah blah…….but I’d rather just bring you the high quality original content you’ve come to expect from us. Since I’m feeling reminiscent I’ve asked our writers and our guest reviewers to write about their most nostalgic issue or series from their childhood. I’m happy to report that this article turned out to be one of my favorite and I hope its yours too. As usual all names are clickable and you should check out our guest bloggers sites. They are all wonderful. Now, without further delay lets begin our nostalgia filled joyride through our childhoods.

Jerry Caskey

Associate Writer of Deja.Revue


Cloak and Dagger (1­-4)1983
Cloak and Dagger are the most basic opposites, light and dark. This is a common trope, and a simple but solid premise that allows the reader to accept these new characters without bogging down the story with exposition. As the story advances, the characters become more nuanced and interesting. Cloak is darkness. He must feed on the light of humanity to satisfy his cravings or suffer the maddening effects of hunger. If he does not feed, he will begin to consume his own humanity. Where Cloak is darkness and retribution, Dagger is light and forgiveness. She produces pure humanity in the form of daggers. These light daggers act as a jump start to give a person a chance to redeem themselves before Cloak enacts his more permanent form of justice. However, Dagger’s light is limited and thus can not redeem those too far gone nor can it totally satisfy Cloak’s hunger. In addition to seeking out the wicked, Cloak and Dagger must confront their own personal demons. In issue two, Dagger confronts a man whom she slaps across the room and states “My light knives are too good to waste on the likes of you!”. In retrospect she realizes that she acted without compassion. She must learn to control her emotions to give every person equal opportunity for redemption. Cloak begins to perceive himself as a burden on Dagger, causing him to spiral into a state of self­loathing and harm. Eventually banishing himself to the sewers in an attempt to not affect anyone instead of realizing the potential for good that he possesses. So enough about the series, why do I love it so much? Well let me tell you… Cloak is a badass. He is troubled and dark, and essentially everything he says is the basis of a death metal song. For example: “You have chosen your fate, scum of the street. Darkness seeks darkness. Let you soul now scream – as is greets a darkness greater than its own.” “I am shadow. I darkness deeper than any dungeon. I am called Cloak… and I hunger.” “There is only one law, detective, as this murderer of women and children shall soon discover… the law of retribution.” “I am not a man, detective. I am merely a being who exists from one day to the next – locked in a struggle between hunger and appeasing that hunger. But I have learned that if I am ever to again be a man – that hunger must be denied!” But his darkness dissipates in the presence of Dagger’s light. Both Cloak and Dagger deal with issues that I see in myself. The whole series provokes the idea that neither light, nor dark is the answer the the issues of humanity. Rather, it is a balance of good and evil.

Jaythreadbear

Hasty scribbler on comics and culture


Batman: The Long Halloween #1

When I was a much younger geek I followed my older brother into reading comics; my pull list consisting mostly of random Superman stories and Chris Claremont’s sub-X-Men for DC Sovereign Seven. At some point my brother quit comics in spectacular fashion selling off most of his collection and giving away the rest. One book that I was able to salvage from the flames was Batman: The Long Halloween #1. For some reason unknown to me even now it would be another few years until I actually read the thing, but boy when I did was my mind blown. Here was a comic that showed me what comics could really do; that amongst the kapow-action there could be smart plots and shocking surprises, and it could all be delivered with the perfect grace of Tim Sale’s elegant art.

In retrospect it is probably that gorgeous Sale artwork that does a lot of the heavy lifting on an issue by issue basis, keeping things flowing and providing a sublime canvas on which the story is drawn, but I wouldn’t want to do writer Jeph Loeb out of some well-deserved credit either. Sure, when reading the book again the strange choices and dubious pacing are a little more obvious (mostly due to the villain-an-issue structure), but there is still an intrinsic magic to the concept and plot. This is a vision of Batman’s early career that picks up on the oft-quoted but very rarely shown fact that Batman is allegedly the world’s greatest detective and runs with it all the way to the goal line. There are clues and red herrings and mis-directions and it all comes together with a perfectly satisfying conclusion by the time the story is done.

Seeing the last three ‘good’ men in Gotham (Jim Gordon, Harvey Dent, and Batman) come together to instill law, justice, and order makes for a wonderful story and it’s perhaps not surprising that the best Batman movie is built on the same foundation. Speaking of films it is probably fair to say that this is the greatest Godfather comic book out there too, as it draws heavily on the Coppola film visually and the Puzo novel narratively. Again the concept shines through with a unique take on the superhero genre as Loeb takes the decision to examine the fall of traditional crime in Chicago-inspired Gotham as clown princes and other such masked super villains take over the city.

After reading that first issue I was hooked and many anxious shopping trips at local comics fairs and back issue parlours followed. It took me a while to pick up every part of The Long Halloween, but it was well worth all of the searching. Tim Sale has continued to deliver amazing work since then, but the Loeb/Sale partnership never yielded anything quite so perfectly formed (even the sequel Dark Victory lacks a certain something) and I think this would probably be my choice for best Batman story too. For me it remains the quintessential tale of the dark knight; it demonstrates his detective skills as well as his physical prowess, it features his greatest allies and most dangerous villains, it paints a vivid picture of Gotham as a living place and more than just the backdrop to random adventures, and overall it makes for a compelling and beautiful read. Even after all these years and all the comics since this is still how I see the Batman, and for that I am very grateful to Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb.

The burning blogger of Bedlam


Fatal Attractions

When Andrew invited me to do this piece, my first thought was ‘oh,
this is going to be hard to pick’. But then my second thought was ‘oh
wait, no it isn’t!’

Because probably the comic book ‘event’ that has the most sentimental
attachment for me and that also ensured my lifelong status as a
comic-book reader was an event called ‘Fatal Attractions’ in 1993,
which briefly crossed over all the X-Men titles of the time. I had
been reading comics a couple of years by then, and in fact the first
comic-book event that really had been a big deal to me was the
legendary Claremont/Lee ‘X-Men: Mutant Genesis’ storyline from two
years earlier – which would be regarded as the prequel to ‘Fatal
Attractions’. Released in 1991, that had been the event that had
relaunched the entire X-Men mythology and ensured that the X-Men would
become a multi-media sensation and cultural phenomenon in the 1990s
and beyond. That story, which was at the time the farewell masterpiece
of Chris Claremont (who had been so important to the X-Men for so many
years) not only breathed new life into the X-Men but also established
Magneto as the most complex, fascinating ‘villain’ in Marvel Comics.

These first three issues of the then new ‘X-Men’ title told the story
of a reclusive and somewhat retired Magneto being reluctantly drawn
back into the mutant crisis on Earth and once again coming into
conflict with Charles Xavier and the X-Men (after years of having been
‘on the good side’). The story remains probably the greatest ever
exploration of that crucial Magneto/Xavier dynamic that for so long
epitmosed the X-Men mythology, and it all builds to its epic climaxe
in X-Men #3 where Magneto is betrayed and killed by one of his own and
Professor X can only look on helplessly as his friend dies. Both as
the beginning of a new X-Men era and as the sign-off for Chris
Claremont, this was the absolutely perfect story and event. But then
two years later, Magneto ‘returned’ from death (note: he wasn’t
technically dead, it turned out) and we got an even more epic story
and Shakespearean tragedy with ‘Fatal Attractions’.

Even though I’d read some ‘crossover’ events already by then
(Operation Galactic Storm, the Infinity War, etc), there was nothing
that blew away my 13-year-old self more than this X-Men event did.
Crossing Excalibur #71, X-Factor #92, X-Force #25, Uncanny X-Men #304,
X-Men #25 and Wolveirne #75, this storyline set the bar up to a whole
new level. Dealing centrally with the return of Magneto, these comics
were an obsession to me for years. The writing, the character work,
the dynamics, it was all epic.

There were so many unforgettable moments; the funeral of Illyana
Rasputin, the emergence of the character ‘Exodus’, the epic
confrontatino between Magneto and Cable, the defection of Colossus to
Magneto’s side, and of course everything culminating in that
unforgettable showdown between Charles and Magneto in X-Men #25, with
Wolverine getting the adamantium brutally ripped from his body and
Charles breaking all of his ethical codes by psychically assaulting
Magneto and leaving him a braindead vegetable. It was – and still is –
utterly gripping stuff, full of poetry and resonance, as if some great
literary figure was suddenly writing X-Men comics. And godammit, those
bad-ass holograms on each of the covers still hypnotise me every time
I look at them, even twenty years later! The Havok hologram for
X-Factor #92 has to be seen to be believed!

I was about 13 when these comics came out, but I still go weak at the
knees every time I come across them in my old collection. I must’ve
read these issues over the years about as many times as I’ve watched
Empire Stikes Back or Return of the Jedi. They’re that good.

Meta Desi

https://www.facebook.com/meta.desi.comics

https://www.facebook.com/scribblinakshay


G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #21 (“Silent Interlude”)

I2621479-gi_joe__1982_marvel__21 used to own a copy of this comic and to this day one of my biggest regrets is that I loaned it to a kid I knew and never saw it again.
Written by the legendary Larry Hama who crafted pretty much the entire series of over a hundred and fifty of these books for Marvel and ended up creating some of the most intriguing and definitely ahead of their time (and comic-medium) stories for what was meant to be just an add-on to a toy-line, this book is a prime example of what Hama and Marvel accomplished.
Simply put, this is a comic that has no dialogue.
None. Nada. Zip. Zero.
It starts off with Snake-Eyes (arguably either the coolest or most over-rated Joe ever) silently infiltrating a Cobra fortress in an attempt to rescue his comrade and beloved Scarlett. Meanwhile, in keeping with the less sexist tone of much of the series, Scarlett herself is busy extricating herself from the inside out quite capable – something that seems like nothing special until one considers how such things influence our minds as children and eventually as adults.

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Each page was filled with tension and I would be on the edge of my seat each time I read this comic, devouring the artwork on each page as he made his way through, silently taking out guards and even facing down and defeating Storm-Shadow and his ninja’s before making an explosive exit with his target acquired.
I had read none of the other comics and came to possess this in the late 80’s as a little tyke, purely by chance and knew the Joe’s only through the less intense/hard-edged cartoon series. Within these pages though I found a level of intelligent, well thought out and engaging story-telling that would never have been expected and the lack of dialogue and using visuals is a concept that has burned itself into my mind to this day with thus far two of my own published comics being in a similar vein (sans dialogue) and must I admit that until making this list I never truly realised where that interest in purely visual story-telling had been born.

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Half Year Top 10 List

Hello Revuers! It’s hard to believe that June is upon us! With that the first six months of 2015 are behind us. So now its time to take a look back at our favorite series’ so far. To do so I have once again enlisted the aide of some of my friends! Some headings are clickable so feel free to check out the contributors blogs, they all do an excellent job.

Andrew Horton

The last 6 months have brought a plethora of exciting changes in the big two, and some interesting new series from the Indie side of things. In this list I’ll be breaking down my ten favorite so far:

10. Spidergwen (Marvel)

This would have made it higher on the list if it weren’t for Secret Wars. The first two issues were great, and then it felt like they had to rush what they wanted to do and cut things out. Leaving the last few issues feeling a little hollow. I do love the creative team on this (Jason Latour is a fantastic writer and a true professional, Robbi and Rico combine to make beautiful art), and I am excited for what they have in store for post Secret Wars Gwen.

9. Groot (Marvel)

Fantastic start to a series that has great promise. I am glad it exists in a bubble outside of the events of Secret Wars. Groot is down right adorable, and his (her?) facial expressions really steal the show. I cant wait to see what new hi-jinx will befall Groot in the future.

8. Silver Surfer (Marvel)

Enough can never be said about the fantastic art by the Allreds on this series. They truly take it from being a good comic to being a great comic. That being said this series is also suffering from the events of Secret Wars. The last two or three issues have felt a bit stagnate as if they are just filling time until Hickmans saga comes to a close. It still makes it to this spot on the list, but only because its so dang pretty to look at.

7. Thor (Marvel)

When I first heard there was going to be a female Thor I was excited! I had never been able to get into Thor before because it felt (either justly or unjustly on my part) to me like he was a big brute with a hammer that liked to smash things. Having a change really felt fresh and seemed to open up a whole other dimension for the character. I am happy to report that I was correct. female Thor is one of my favorite major changes to the status quo of all time! Jason Aaron also did a great job of completing a whole arc before Secret Wars began, managing to avoid the pit fall of a couple sires before this one on this list. The art has improved from the first few issues, making this title one of the most well rounded on this list.

6. Secret Wars (Marvel)

Hickmans Avengers and New Avengers saga finally comes to a head. The multiverse is dead and now all that remains is batteworld!!! At the helm is the Lord God Doom. Overall this is a fun event with interesting religious themes peppered through out. Its fun to see different heroes in new ways. The premise is exciting and it feels very well planned out. I am convinces Hickman is a mad genius or exists in a higher plane of sentience than I do.

5. Descender (Image)

Finally we move away from Marvel for number five on this list. Descender is a tale of a futuristic society that has sustained an attack by giant androids. It then scrambles to figure out where they came from and how to defend themselves. The answers lie with a rejected scientist and a small Android boy named Tim. This title feels much like a book that could have been written by Phillip Dick, or George Orwell, or some combination of the two. Its exciting and I cant wait to see what Lemire thinks Androids dream of.

4. Southern Cross (Image)

This is the first title on this list to feature the word Southern in it. This is another Sci-fi adventure, set on a ship. Southern Cross is a bit of a genre blender melding some horror aspects in to the sci-fi story. Personally I love it. I think the setting of a ship in transit lends itself well to a horror element. Through the first 5 issues we are left with more questions than answered questions, with each new issue opening it’s own can of worms. The art is phenomenal and adds a whole other element the the book.

3. Gotham Academy (DC)

The first and only DC title to make my list. It had a bit of a break during DCs Convergence event and just started up again. Still the story telling alone is worthy of the number 3 spot on this list. Cloonan and Fletcher take a rag tag group of kids and turn them into lovable characters that you genuinely feel a connection to (esp. maps). The art is excellent as well, with a heavy digital design and a slight manga influence. the next arc looks to be just as good if not better than the last.

2. The Wicked and the Divine

I really struggled with the top two. Which is funny because the couldn’t be less similar. TWTD is, on the surface, a story of Gods and men and the interactions between them. Beneath the surface it is a cunning social commentary of the way people treat Pop Stars and the emotional repercussions the “Gods” and the “common folk” alike. The art is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. The team of McKelvie and Wilson consistently bring innovative designs and fresh panel work. The coloring is an art in and of it’s self. If you took any of the elements by themselves (story telling, art, colors) they would be fantastic, but this is one case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

1. Southern Bastards

Jason Aaron and Jason Latour have crafted a masterpiece. Its that simple. They consistently toy with the emotions of the reader and in that regard show us that living is a messy thing and hardly anything is as simple as it appears. Except Ribs.

Again, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour have created a masterpiece.

Jaythreadbear

Hasty scribbler on comics and culture // My top ten of the year so far:

Batgirl

The reinvention of Barbara Gordon by the creative team of Brendan Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr, is one of the real success stories at DC in recent years. The setting, character, and stories have all been revamped, replaced, or refined and it is much the better for it. Barbara now operates in a world of apps, social media, and public perception, areas that the rest of the Bat-family (and most superhero books) have yet to engage with, and the smart takes on contemporary culture mesh perfectly with the witty and aware writing that permeates the book. Plus Tarr’s art is wonderful.

Bitch Planet

Kelly Sue DeConnick has been writing many great titles recently, but perhaps the best is Bitch Planet. Taking sexploitation and pulp scifi B-movie tropes and reworking them into a powerful feminist message this book is intensely character driven at the same time as developing an intriguing and sophisticated setting and ever so compelling plot.

Elektra

This globe-trotting martial arts extravaganza from writer Hayden Blackman and artist Mike Del Mundo came to a close earlier this year, but it warrants a mention here due to its genuine brilliance. The writing was tight and inventive, the characterisation was rich and deep, and the art was truly sublime. If you didn’t have a chance to read this when it was coming out then it is well worth picking up in trade; if you like ninjas, beautiful page layouts, ninjas, creative storytelling, or ninjas then you won’t be disappointed.

Gotham Academy

The ‘young Gotham’ sub-brand at DC (that also includes Batgirl and the newly launched Black Canary) is where the best DC titles are coming from right now. Inventing a Hogwarts-esque prep school for the children of Gotham’s high society has paid off with spooky stories, exciting mysteries, and teen drama. This book may be aimed at the YA audience, but the knowing writing from Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher, and the lovely art from Karl Kerschl, make this a rewarding read for everyone else too. It’s fresh and fun and different.

Secret Wars

Several years in the making and coming after a fatiguing run of self-destructive Marvel summer event books it has been a very pleasant surprise to find that this mini-series is actually really good. The Marvel multi-verse has been reshaped with different versions of many classic heroes and stories all existing together on a single patchwork planet under the rule of god himself, Victor Von Doom. As the tie in books (many of which are also great) continue to explore the alternate versions of our heroes the core book has been expertly telling a character driven drama about an impending political upheaval. If you want bombastic universe wide storytelling with every Marvel hero in the mix then this is a very good option.

Silk

Much like Batgirl this book has a playful contemporary tone, a kick-ass yet nuanced leading woman, and accessibly delightful art from Stacey Lee. Cindy Moon is an interesting new character in the Spider-family having arrived on the scene in the Spider-Verse event, and she is characterised in the sassy yet vulnerable mold of classic Peter Parker. The core narrative has played with deep issues like abandonment and post-traumatic stress whilst keeping the fast paced hi-jinks coming. There have been a few bumps in the road (including some underwhelming fill-in art) but the central mystery of the book and Cindy herself keep this a compelling read.

Silver Surfer

It feels like I’m constantly talking up how surprising this book has been, but it is worthy of the praise. The pitch, and indeed opening arc, was one of goofy inconsequential science fiction fun with the Surfer and his new pal Dawn, and whilst this book has certainly delivered on the goofy and the fun it has been anything but inconsequential. The story has taken on a wonderfully romantic slant as the Surfer and Dawn have grown to know each other, and this has been followed by some tender, tragic, and touching stuff as the Surfer’s past has caught up with him. The art is tremendous and the story telling is top notch – this is an inventive and rewarding book that I never expected.

Spider-Gwen

This book started strong, very strong, and although the art and colouring remains stunning the central arc has become a little bit directionless. That’s not to say this isn’t worth picking up, in fact it remains a brilliant reinvention of the Spider-Man universe with some great characters in play; Gwen in particular (unsurprisingly) is an exciting and refreshing lead.

They’re Not Like Us

This indie title takes the cliche of many superhero origin stories and uses it to delve into the darker corners of human insecurity. Syd discovers, in the middle of a suicide attempt, that her mental condition is actually a powerful gift, and that there are others like her with whom she can be safe, train, and take action in the world. But rather than use their powers to protect the people that hate and fear them this group are intent on taking what they want and punishing anyone they thing deserves it. This is such an intense, thoughtful, and beautifully drawn book that it might be my favourite of the year; the questions it raises are universal, and the rare answers it offers are ambiguous, complex, and challenging.

All-New X-Men #37

And I’ll finish with a contentious possibly rule breaking choice – I’m not that interested in Brian Michael Bendis’ lukewarm All-New X-Men run, but this one issue was simply so sublime that it stands alone as one of the best books of the year to date. Featuring stunning art and page layouts from Mike Del Mundo, perfect colour work again from Del Mundo working with Marco D’Alfonso, and some career high writing from Bendis this issue tells a very small story exceptionally well. Featuring a cast stripped back to essentially just young Jean Grey and Emma Frost Bendis is still able to work in witty dialogue, subtle character development, intense action, and a positive moral message. This issue does everything right, and for my money it is easily worth 6 issues of many other books

The Burning Blogger of Bedlam

Spiderwoman

As a long-time Jessica Drew fan (she’s one of my favorite characters),

I was excited as hell for her to have her own, fresh solo title. I

haven’t been disappointed. The first few issues of the Spiderwoman

series have been highly enjoyable, packed with humour and that famous

Jessica Drew wit, good character dynamics, some really well written

cameos (Carol Danvers, Steve Rogers, Silk, Spiderman, Spider-Gwen),

and particularly in Spiderwoman #1 some fascinating settings brought

to life by terrific art and absorbing colours.

Silk

In Cindy Moon we have a really rich new character with a substantial

backstory, a well-developed emotional core and a witty repetoire, all

of which makes her both interesting enough and likeable enough to

carry her own series. The first couple of issues of this series, while

not overly elaborate (I’m guessing after ‘Spider-Verse’, no one really

wants ‘overly elaborate’ anyway), do a nice, neat job of establishing

her on her own and getting us into her head-space. This series has a

really vintage sort of feel to it, in the art and in the internal

monologue among other thigs, and Silk comes across as the real female

Spiderman. Addictive.

Uncanny Avengers

Rebooted somewhat after the ‘Axis’ event, I’ve been surprised by how

awesoem this series is so far. For starters, the art is fantastic,

feeling somewhat unique among Marvel titles in its style. But the

character dynamics are interesting too; Rogue is still by far the best

thing in it (making up somewhat for the majorly dull Sam Wilson), but

the still ‘inverted’ (as in good) Sabertooth adds something new to the

mix (even if he is being turned into essentially the new Wolverine),

and Vision is always a top-draw character to focus page-space on. On

top of that, Counter-Earth and the High Evolutionary are more than

adequate settings and themes to return to. Hell, it’s even made Wanda

and Pietro Maximoff enjoyable to read again.

Darth Vader

As psychological subjects for a comic-book go, they don’t come much

richer than the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader… or the Artist

Formerly Known as Anakin Skywalker. While other characters might be

the most loveable, the coolest, the funniest or the niftiest, Vader is

undeniably the most psychologically complex. He is therefore almsot

the perfect fictional legend to base a comic-book series around, and

this series so far has been suitably compelling.

Star Wars

I told myself that I wasn’t even going to read any of these Star Wars

comics, as I didn’t want to mix two of my loves – Star Wars and Marvel

Comics. But I was kidding myself, because once I saw those covers, I

was drawn like a moth to the light. Set immediately after A New Hope,

this main Star Wars series is just impossible not to get addicted to.

While it offers nothing revelatory, the style and tone is just spot-on

and the story is filling in the gap between A New Hope and the Empire

Strikes Back nicely.

Andy Eschenbach

It’s been an awesome year for Comics so far. The past six months have shown an abundance of creative excellence, wrought with action, change, and intelligence. Even so, it wasn’t hard to pick what I believe to have been the ten best things to have happened in Comics in 2015. What I couldn’t do was narrow it down to single-issues in every case. Most comics just aren’t written that way, so you’ll just have to deal with my favorite runs being listed. Call me what ever you want over it. I’ll still love you.

10. Black Canary

Yes, I’m a grown-ass white dude. Yes, I bought Black Canary. What an exciting and stylish start to a potentially awesome book! Great command of voice and characterization out of Brenden Fletcher, and the fittingly rocky art of Annie Wu becomes a full-on sock to the jaw when combined with Lee Loughridge’s colors. I love that the title character is actually the whole band as much as I love the forming dynamics between them. My only complaint is a common one: DC’s ad placement- particularly the double Twix ad mid-story— is piss poor, and breaks the otherwise great pacing. Still, more issues could only move this title up on my favorites list, as far as I can tell after the first.

9. Silver Surfer 8-12

I imagine books from this run will be all over other people’s lists as well. Particularly issue 11 for it’s great feat of moebius madness. Even beyond that, this tale combines popfantasy strangeness with a love story so honestly human that I can’t help but concur with fellow fans. Slott and the Allreds make a great team, returning to the hidden romance of early Marvel superhero books without fumbling over predictable cliches or sloppy regurgitation. Plus, it’s funny. I’d like to see some longer arcs come from this formula if the title survives the big rebirth and all- but even if it’s left as it stands, it’s been a great run.

8. Uncanny X-Men 28-32

I feel like I’d spoil the story if I really said what I like most about this run. Bendis’s Cyclops- his choices, and the subsequent reactions of his teammates and peers- has me really excited. You won’t see me waving any “Not My Scott Summers” flags. In fact, I think it makes sense that after all this time the guy finally slips up and breaks down, and the looming concern of whether he’ll pull through is what makes this story compelling. You can see the classic X-Dysfunction playing catalyst to Slim’s conflicted state from a multitude of directions as this series nears it’s end. I do wish Bachalo’s action-abilities were more utilized by Bendis- but once that does happen, all the talking heads make perfect sense. There. Spoilers averted.

7. Weirdworld

Being an Extradimensional Barbarian myself, it’s great to finally see representation within the realm of comic books! And who better to pull it off than Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo?! This was the book I was most charged up about after the Secret Wars announcement, and the first issue exceeded my expectations. It’s gnarly, action-packed, insane, and gorgeous. The more I write about it, the less I do it any justice. Just great.

6. The Mantle 1 and 2

It’s not the fact that I’ve watched this book come to fruition at semi-close range that makes me love it. It’s the Villain. The Plague is horrifying. Ed Brisson’s treatment of such a juggernaut alone keeps me in waiting, puzzling over his true motivations. Brian Level’s art is as strong as it is adaptable, showing prowess just as readily in scenes of raw violence as in portraits of the mundane. He’s popping heads like grapes on one page, while super-types stop for a burger on another, and in each case there’s just the right energy for believability and effect. Jordan Boyd’s palette follows suit, both subtle and vibrant, giving each page it’s life or death, respectively. I can honestly say that even if I weren’t present for some of the process on this book, I’d be just as ready to read more about the multiple incarnations of The Mantle, and why they’re so viciously hunted by their nemesis. Comics needs more strange Super Hero books like this one. Take note.

5. Daredevil 11 and 12

If the covers from this mini-arc don’t immediately grab you, the content will. It’s going to be sad to see the Waid/Samnee duo off Daredevil soon, and it’s stories like these that kept me engrossed through their awesome run. Within these two particular issues you can find some of the coolest action and cleanest plot twists out of Waid- including a really great car chase(infamous for being difficult to write). I also have to applaud the overall treatment of depression and friendship throughout the entire run. Really well done- and it couldn’t have come across the same way without Samnee’s clarity and finesse. Everything is there that needs to be, nothing is there that doesn’t, and as big as my soft spot for post-modernism is, it’s been refreshing to see a new angle on old school Matt Murdock. Even if it’s a set up for another dive in to darkness for Daredevil, it will make the impact that much more intense.

4. Secret Wars

It’s been called the “Marvel Game of Thrones”, in both critical and praising voices, but even with it’s obvious parallels to the “Song of Ice and Fire” books, this story is strong and envelopingand original. Hickman’s ability to weave arcs is perfectly matched by Ribic’s capacity for drama. Once again, I find myself wanting to spoil everything for the potential new reader in praise of each character and their situation, but I won’t. Just read Secret Wars. God Doom requires it of you.

3. Invisible Republic 1-3

Please, Corrina Bechko and Gabriel Hardaman, show me how a regime will conveniently rewrite history for it’s own benefit! You’re the perfect pair to do it! And once again, Jordan Boyd’s mastery of color drives the mood home on each gritty page. I loved breaking Bad and Blade Runner, but comparing them to this book doesn’t really do it justice. Brave in it’s criticism, excellent in it’s execution, and undeniable in it’s pertinence- I can’t wait to find out where this tale ultimately leads. An exemplary Comics Magazine.

2. Rage of Ultron

Rick Remender successfully ties up his outstanding Superhero epic that started way back in Uncanny X-Force, supplying all the action and drama you need from an Avengers story, while tactfully tackling issues of life and death, creation and responsibility, and ultimately, love. Don’t get me wrong- his punk-rock angle keeps it gnarly and insane at each beat, but this is some real-life shit in fantasy format, given energy and breath by Jerome Opena’s command over the human form- a testament to knowledge and beauty. But don’t read it. Not until you’ve read Remender’s runs on Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers, Uncanny Avengers, and the Axis series. Then read it, and try not to cry when you realize that Marvel characters won’t be getting this kind of treatment anymore. You can always pick up a copy of The Black Science or Low if you’re left in wanting.

1. East of West 16-20

EASTOFWEHEHESSSSSST! I though it was over at issue fifteen, and am glad to have been wrong. Never before have I read such a masterful combination of social critique, cultural portrait, and pop-culture madness. It’s illusion and politics, sorcery and tech, cowboys and indians- it’s serious drama and manga at the same time, somehow- all the while unforgivingly shying away from dead tropes in exchange for new and intriguing characterization! Art and writing combine, unabashedly, to both question and promote everything you thought about everything. Hooray for Hickman and Dragotta! And now I’m left in that awkward state, like some skinflint in his underpants, having shown my true feelings for comics this year-so-far. I feel it necessary to further reveal myself by expressing enthusiasm for the rest of the year-to-come. I can’t wait to read more, and with books like Sebela’s “We(l)come back”, Mignola’s “Joe Golem, Occult Detective”, and Burnham’s “E is for Extinction” (featuring the gnarlyness that is Ramon Villalobos’s art), it looks like I’ll be well supplied. I’ll put my pants back on now.

Alright and that does it for this installment. A BIG thank you to the contributors on a job well done.

What’s your top 10 (or 5)? Let us know in the comments!

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

free comic book day: part 1

This year for free comic book day I found myself in Chicago. Far away from DCBS, my local comic shop, I searched for a shop close to my hotel. What I found was Graham Cracker Comics on Madison ave. Graham Cracker Comics is a quaint shop nestled between a coffee shop and a pizza joint. With a lot of character and substance Graham Cracker Comics was a fun shoo to visit. The only downside was that I could only get three of the books that were available (I havent participated in Free Comic Book day before so I dont know if this is customary or not). I have ordered more from DCBS so on Wednesday I will review the rest of my pick-ups. For now here are the reviews of what I picked up:

 Secret Wars #0

This issue sets up secret wars launch next week by recapping what Jonathan Hickman has been setting up for over a year. It opened with Valeria Richards filling the rest of the Foundation Family on what it is that they are to do during this crisis, all the while bringing the reader up to speed on what they can expect from Secret Wars #1. This issue closed with an incursion bringing two earth worlds together to lock into battle. We learn that the “other” earth is actually the “Ultimates” universe, setting up what should be an epic battle to come in the future. The issue also featured a translated short version of the Avengers Vs. The Titans which I tried to read, but failed

Rating: 5/10

 All-new, All-Different Avengers

This issue written by the fantastic Mark Waid features a short preview of what is to be the new line up for Marvels flagship team. The new lineup is Captain America (sam wilson), Thor (lady thor), Nova, Iron Man, Spider-Man (miles morales), Vision, and Ms. Marvel. This new team feels fresh and works well together. There is a balance between the “veterans” (cap, thor, iron man, and vision), and the “youngsters” (ms. marvel, spider-man, and nova). The story isnt meant to be deep, but rather an introduction to the characters and the new tone of the team. While Hickmans Avengers were dark, brooding and adult feeling (if thats a thing), Waids Avengers feel young and exciting. They seem fresh and less worn out than the older Avengers team. I can’t wait to read more. There was also a short preview of The Uncanny Inhumans, but I didn’t read it.

Rating: 7/10

Fight Club

This issue was also a set up for a series launching later this month. Out of the three that I picked up this was my least favorite. The art by Cameron Stewart was fine, but not up to his usual standards. The writing by Chuck Palahniuk seemed off-balanced and shaky in the best parts. I have pre-ordered Fight Club 2 #1 and after this issue I am hoping I don’t regret it.

Rating: 4/10

Savings Bin Sunday: The Silver Surfer vs. Dracula #1

The Silver Surfer Vs. Dracula #1

Story: Marv Wolfman

Art: Gene Colan, Tom Palmer

This weeks trip to the savings bin brought me The Silver Surfer vs. Dracula (SSvD). First published in 1993, SSvD is a tale that is as convoluted as it is unnecessary. The first five pages feature Dracula deciding that cretins aren’t worth his time, appearances by Blade and Deacon Frost (who have a fight and then are never mentioned or shown again), and a summoning of a very angst-y Silver Surfer. We learn that a mysterious group of five want Dracula dead because there is “no need of him anymore”. The only problem is that they need someone mighty enough to challenge him, so logically they draft the first person anyone would think of…The Silver Surfer. Upon summoning him they knock him out with “a mystic force” and then brain wash him, while he is unconscious, into thinking that Dracula is the greatest evil of all time. When the Surfer awakes he feels compelled to find this “Dracula” and dispose of this evil. Conveniently, and unexplained, The Surfer knows exactly Where Dracula is and confronts him. In the ensuing battle we learn that Dracula can control weather (ok that’s new), and animlas (what?). Both of these forces he uses against the Surfer in an attempt to appear like a foe that could potentially harm him (which he’s not). All of this torrid action culminates in a physics defying punch by Dracula that knocks The Surfer to the ground.

How could you hope to hear the mist in the breeze

“How could you hope to hear the mist in the breeze”

At this point I was thinking “alright, time to use some of that power cosmic and send a power blast into his chest”. Instead The Surfer and Dracula decide it’s a tie and Dracula Bat-forms and fly’s away. Wait, what? The Surfer is endowed with the power cosmic, he was the herald of Galactus, he held his own against the entirety of the Fantastic Four. He once stood eye to eye with Thanos, and yet one gust of wind, an attack by a small clan of rats, and one punch from Dracula is enough for The Surfer to call a truce? Yeah, I’m not buying it. They tried to explain it by saying that he was “sluggish” from the brain washing of the mysterious five, but even still he should have been powerful enough to finish off Dracula. C’mon. Throw in uninspired art, dialogue such as “Dracula needs sustenance this night, and you shall supply it”, and several glaring grammatical issues and you have what may be the worst comic I have ever read.The best part of this comic was the Howard the Duck short story in the back. Perhaps in the early 90s Dracula was more popular than he is today. Maybe this was just an attempt for a cash grab. It sure feels like one. There’s no way I would have ever payed the original $1.75 cover price. I paid $0.50 and I still feel robbed.

Rating: 2/10

-Andrew Horton