New Comic Book Day Top 5: Sept. 7th

Hello Revuers, I hope you had a lovely labor day weekend! We here at Deja.Revue strive to bring you the best in comic book related entertainment, so that means no days off for us. Our newest writer Ian Maxton penned a piece about Stranger Things yesterday that you should check out (after you read this of course). But back to the business at hand, in this article I will present to you the 5 titles I am most excited about, in order. So break out your pencils and get ready to write this down.

 

5: Moon Knight #6

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I enjoyed the previous run of Moon Knight by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. After they left I had lost interest in this title, until after Secret Wars when I learned that one of my favorite writers, Jeff Lemire, would be taking the helm. The team of Lemire and new artist, starting this issue, Francesco Francavilla kick of a new story line called Incarnations. After a fast and furious first story arc I can’t wait to see what is in store for Moon Knight next. I really like that Lemire is taking Moon Knight back to basics and really focusing on his Dissasociative Identity Disorder (used to be called Multiple personalities disorder), this sets up numerous possibilities and plot points that could be exciting to explore. The cover hon is the Story Thus Far variant cover by Greg Smallwood.

 

4: Boo Worlds Cutest Dog #1

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As I’ve mentioned before I am a sucker for cute things. Yes, I follow Lil’ Bub on Instagram. Yes, I bought the Grumpycat Comic Books. Yes, I watched the Grumpycat Christmas movie….Twice. Yes, I personally loved Bee and Puppycat when it was coming out. Yes, I will be purchasing this title as well. Coming from Dynamite entertainment (the same company that published the Grumpy Cat and Pokey series) is Boo the worlds cutest dog #1 (of 3). It appears as if this series will follow a similar pattern as Bee and Puppycat where each issue will feature several short stories. the inference is made based on the fact that there are numerous writers and artists listed for this issue. But hey! I could be completely wrong about that. I suppose we will have to buy the comic to find out.

 

3: Supergirl #1

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After a sort of lackluster Rebirth issue, the relaunch of Supergirl is out this week! Comic from Writer Steve Orlando and Artist Brian Ching, Spergirl #1 kicks of the ‘REIGN OF THE CYBORG SUPERMAN’story arc. I am interested to see what comes of this arc. I am wondering if they will do sort of a homage to Death of Superman where after he died they had other Supermen come and try to take his place. Including Cyborg Superman. Since the New 52! Superman is dead, this could be a possible direction this series goes. I am fine with that, as long as the keep the focus on Supergirl. I have a lot of faith in Writer Steve Orlando as he penned the excellent Midnighter series during the DCYou initiative. The cover is actually the Bengal Variant cover.

 

2: Nightwing #4

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The new Nightwing series fro writer Tim Seeley and art from Javi Fernandez has been one of my favorites from the Rebirth initiative. First, Nightwing is back in blue which I love. Second, He’s longer a spy but rather a caped crusader again. Lastly, he’s trying to take down the court of Owls from the inside. All of this comes together to form a fact paced and exciting series. Tim Seeley is one of the best writers in the game, combine that with the next level art from Javi Fernandez and you have a serious hit on your hands.

 

1: Batman #6

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Batman #5 was my Pick of the Week last week (check out the review here), and now it’s my most anticipated comic book of this week. Tom King continues to deliver a strong Batman, after a highly acclaimed Batman run by Scott Snyder. King has left his mark on Batman after just 5 issues and made sure that people knew this Batman is different than the Batman that came before him. If you haven’t read the first five issues I recommend you fix that as soon as possible. Spoilers ahead………………………….From what I understand this issue is a stand alone before the Monster Men arc starts in issue 7. That’s why the usual artist, David Finch, is not on interiors this issue. Instead it is Ivan Reis (Cyborg, Justice League). This issue will deal with the psychological fallout of Gotham Girl killing her brother. I predict that Batman will take on a mentor role and try to console Gotham Girl. No matter what though it’s going to be a great issue.

 

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!

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 (Jul. 8th): A not so Civil, War

Hello revuers! What a good week for comics! Almost everything I picked up was fantastic, which made it difficult for me to decide my pick of the week. There were also sooooo many books that came out that I wanted that I had to put back  couple to wait until payday. There were several good Secret Wars titles as well and some Indie titles that really kicked butt. So lets jump right in on this massive New Comic Book Day!

Pick of the Week

Civil War #1: This story is written by Charles Soule with art from Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho. The story picks up during the ending events of Marvels first Civil War event. Only this time instead of the war ending in the prison, there was an accident that further divided the two factions. This catastrophic event lead to the US being split into two sides The Iron (which is Tony Starks side), and the Blue (Captain Americas side). Not only are the two areas divided geographically (with Cap taking the West and Tony taking the East), but also philosophically. Tonys Iron side is a carefully planned and maintained state with everything having it’s place, and everything ruled very carefully, and Captain Americas side resembling something of an anarchy. The issue jumps some number of years ahead and the war has raged on and on and on. Miriam Sharpe has set up camp between the divide of the two regions and on this day is readying herself for the first negotiations between the two factions in forever. Then things go terribly wrong (don’t they always?). What I really liked about this issue was the world building done by the creative team. Soule wrote an intriguing script with great plot points and character building. The art by Yu, Alanguilan, and Gho really painted a bleak world on the verge of losing hope. I was beyond blown away by this issue and I can’t wait for #2. Rating: 9/10

Buy

Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War: I purchased this comic for the sole reason of my love for Star trek. I’m not a huge Green Lantern fan, but the prospect of him and Captain Kirk interacting made it a compelling, if risky, purchase. Well, I am glad I took that risk. Fun story, and interesting build up. Not a ton happened in the issue as it served to build up the confrontation in the future, but to see the U.S.S. Enterprise surround by that green energy force field really was a sight to behold. Rating: 6.5/10

Star Wars: Lando #1: Growing up I was a huge Lando fan. So when I found out he was going to have his own series I fanboyed out a bit. This issue did not disappoint. The second issue on this list by Charles Soule, Lando #1 delivered all the typical hijinks you would expect from a Lando Book. There was romance, souve-ness, charm, action, danger, and double-cross, a double double-cross?!?, o and a stolen ship that was owned by the last person you’d want to steal a ship from. What has he got himself into this time? Rating: 7.5/10

Strange Fruit #1 of 4: Strange Fruit is a story of the racially charged Mississippi Delta during what looks like the 20s. The levee in a small town is over flowing and the white folk are expecting the black folk to work double time to fix it. There really aren’t any lovable characters in this series as even the people who are trying to help are doing it for the wrong reasons. The end had a real surprise to it and I won’t ruin it for you, but believe me: It’s big. The art by J.G.Jones is exceptional. They craft very unique looking individuals. You can tell a lot of work went into this series, and if the other three are as good as this one I’ll be happy. Rating: 7/10

Injection #3: Finally some background information so that w can figure out what’s going on! Ellis Shalvey and Bellaire ar one of my favorite creative teams, and so even though the first two issues were secretive and confusing I chose to stay with it. I am glad I did. It turns out this book is a genre bending sci-fi and magic book. With Magic being an outdated idea that still holds sway in a science heavy society. The art is fantastic as per usual and I have to say I got the variant cover and it’s amazing. Buy it if you can! Rating: 7/10

Gotham academy #8: So after last months filler (although still fun) issue, this months offering delves into the meat of the new story arc. Something is happening to the kids at Gotham Academy! There are Bats, and Grave yards, and Love, and awkwardness, and more Maps, and dialogue, and well, you get. Just go buy this issue and preorder everything you can. It’s gold, always has been and I see no reason for it to stop. Rating: 8/10

Descender #5: Here the bots and humes are taking to the planet Gnish to be destroyed in the pits. Well the robots anyways. It turns out that one of the humans may not be all that they appear to be? If you want to know the answer, go buy the book. Lemire does an excellent job of world building again as we are now on the third planet of this star spanning space epic. And he does it all within the course of one issue. The art is as it always is: extraordinary. If you aren’t buying this series you need to ask yourself why? Rating: 7/10

The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2: The story picks up in a world controlled by Renegade, and the fearful Parkers trying desperately to conceal their powers. It turns out that the little Parker has some Amazing (too much?) abilities of her own. There are cameos by a couple of super powered groups which makes this issue more fun than it appeared to be at the beginning, and a change of costume for our lovable webhead. I am interested to see what role Venom has in this arc as there is a ton of foreshadowing in this issue. Rating: 6/10

1872 #1: This series transports the heroes of the Marvel Universe into the old West of America. And it’s as awesome as it sounds. Steve Rogers is sheriff of a corrupt town who’s mayor is Wilson Fisk. The governor of the region is Roxxon, so already you have a feeling for how corrupt this region is. Rogers wants nothing more than to end the corruption of Fisk and Roxxon, he is even willing to risk his life in the process. There are appearances from Bruce Banner (a tinkerer) and Tony Stark, with illusions to Matt Murdock (who is a lawyer of course), and a surprise villain (who was a perfect choice). I am so excited for issue two. Rating: 8.5/10

Skip

Runaways #2: Boring, I couldn’t even get all the way through it. I am very disappointed in this series. I won’t be picking up any more of it.

Starfire #2: Got away from some of the humor that was the best thing about issue 1. The annoying headlines make the book feel convoluted and fractured. I won’t be buying anymore.

-Andrew Horton

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!

Pick of the week (May 27th): Hawkeye #3

Hawkeye #3

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Art: Ramon Perez

Colors: Ian Herring

Publisher: Marvel

“girl? Thats hawkeye dude.” – Hawkeye (Clint)

Hawkeye three picks up on board the S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier with both hawkeyes (Clint and Katie) arguing about what to do while they wait in an interrogation room. S.H.I.E.L.D. has taken the three children of “project communion” to an as of yet undisclosed location. Its then that Maria Hill comes in and breaks the news to them that the children have been put under special quarantine. After some heated debate about who works for who, and who can take what, Hill informs them that “project communion” are still aboard the carrier and that they are free to “go”. Clint and Katie then wrestle with what to do. Should they try and save the children or just leave them to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the end they decide to do what all heros do: save the day. This issue features a cameo by a certain “lucky” someone, and is at once charming and eloquently structured. Each page is set up into rows of panels, with the bottom row being dedicated to the fantastic, multi-colored renderings of Clints past circus life. The only break from this structure is the last page when Clints past takes center stage (all puns intended). The color art by Herring is fantastic as per usual on this series. In what could easily become confusing for the reader, Herring is able to balance between the contrasting styles of Clints past and present. Giving the reader a distinct sense of two separate worlds. Clints present is clear, with large swaths of sharp colors (as if to mimic real life). While Clints past are swirls of colors and hard to make out shapes, as if the reader were sifting through tangled cross wired synapses in Clints brain. These contrasting style choices really give this series a unique look and feel while presenting the reader with two stories with out being confusing. Another feat of style and art in this series would be Katies fight scene to save the children. This was a splash page that was read left to right in rows, at first that may sound confusing but Perez and Herring employed a visual aid that helped to guide the readers eye. The first panels background was a deep purplish blue and each succeeding panel was a gradiant lighter until the end color was a vibrant yellow. This was a simple yet effective visual aid by Herring that really added to the entertainment value of the issue. Coming into this issue I was struggling with whether or not I was going to continue to preorder this series. Its not that it was bad, but rather I have so many other series’ I am picking up right now. This issue cemented in my mind that this series is one to keep on my pull list.

Rating: 8/10

-Andrew Horton

pick of the week (Apr. 8th): Descender #2

Descender #2

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Art: Dustin Nguyen

Publisher: Image

“You’re not alive. You understand that, don’t you?” – Jin Quon

Hello Revuers! We are back with our pick of the week after a brief hiatus. This weeks pick is Descender #2 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. This issue opens up with a memory back up dump being performed by Tim-21. After this first page the issue rotates page by page from what is happening now, to flashbacks of Tim-21s life (cleverly done to correspond with the memory dump that starts the issue off). The rotating scene between Tim-21 being chased and Tim-21s life leading up to that point is very moving. It serves to form a strong connection between Tim-21 and the reader. It was sort of obvious what was coming but with every page I turned, and the more I learned about Tim-21, the more I prayed I was wrong. I won’t spoil (any further) what happened, but lets just say it wasn’t as good as I had hoped, or as bad as I had feared. Lemires dual story telling style on this issue deserves a lot of praise. It’s hard to develop an emotional attachment to a new character after just two issues but Lemire does his best (and succeeds in my opinion) to make the reader fall in love with Tim-21. The more I read about Tim-21s back story, the more I wanted to know. I wanted to know if he ever completely “Assimilate” to his human companions, or if he ever was able to dream. The art job By Nguyen was again fantastic. Last issue he worked on a grandiose scale, crafting a new and thrilling universe. This issue he had to work within a dreamscape and a small grey mining world. It’s hard to say which was more difficult and which was more impressive. Given the minimalist surroundings (and lack of space given the dual stories that were happening) Nguyen had to work in the minute details to make the art standout. A shadow here, a line there. Every centimeter perfectly placed and sketched. The end result was a believable world and a moving end scene.

Rating: 7/10

-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

Savings Bin Sunday: Time Warp #1 (One-shot)

Today my weekly trip to the local savings bin yielded me Time Warp #1 (One-shot) put out by Vertigo comics. Time Warp is a collection of short stories revolving around a similar theme: Time (as the name might suggest). This title Boasts a star studded creative team featuring the talents of, Jeff Lemire, Gail Simone, Jordie Bellarie, Peter Mulligan, Dan Abnett and the list goes on. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed a short comic form. I feel like it gives the writer enough time to bring an idea into the readers mind, but leaves enough to the imagination that the reader can draw their own ideas from it. I also enjoy when comics explore the idea of time, and time travel. I feel like comic books are a great medium to really delve deep into the nooks and crannies of the idea. This is exactly what Time Warp does.

Time Warp is a collection of nine short stores, all about 9-10 pages long. For sake of length
I am only going to review 2 of these stories. I will give a brief synopsis, an analysis of story and art of each story, and impact value of the comic for me. So let’s begin.

It’s Full of Demons (Story: Tom King, Art: Tom Fowler)

-There’s no such thing as Demons (Paula)

This story opens up on a field in 1901 where a boy and a girl are playing  pretend war. The boy, who’s name is Addie, pretends to soot his sister, Paula repeatedly. Out of nowhere a time portal opens up and a strange figure in an orange futuristic suit steps out. The orange suited figure yells something in German and shoots the small boy in front of his sister. Later she swears to her father that demons did it. To which he responds there are no demons. The story skips ahead to 1935 and we find that Paulas family has admitted her into an insane asylum. While she is receiving Shock Therapy she hears the guards talking about the impending threat of Russia and a vote on a mysterious League of Nations. The story again skips ahead to 1946 and Russia has surrendered.at the same time Paula has escaped and the scene is of her on the street yelling at the parade that it’s full of demons, that her brother Addie told her so. The last scene we see is set in 1956 and Paula is an old woman, she is watching a television program in which Eisenhower is being interviewed about the success he has achieved as the head of the league of nations. Eisenhower goes on to say that peace isn’t attained in a moment but rather it takes millions coming together. All the while Paula stands on her chair and fastens a rope to the ceiling. We see that her landlord is banging on the door saying she can’t stay unless she pays. In the last frame Eisenhower says “We have, all of us, earned this peace” as Paula takes her own life and the landlord yells out “Miss Hitler, Miss Hitler, you must pay”.

The story and art in this one were fantastic. The unveiling at the end that the boy who was killed was actually Adolph Hitler blew me away. The theme of who would it affect if you changed the past was very intriguing. The art was solid and kept me visually entertained and interesting. I also liked the touch of the bright orange suit on the time traveler, it provided a nice contrast to the rest of the coloring (excellent work once again by Jordie Bellaire).

I give this short comic 8.5/10

R.I.P (Story: Damon Lindelof, Art: Jeff Lemire)

-I always thought being eaten by a dinosaur was the coolest way to die (Rip)

This comic opens up on the title character Rip running away from a T-rex. We learn that Rip is a time master and that his time machine was somehow damaged and he is stuck in prehistoric earth with no way to escape and a T-rex hot on his heals. What we also learn is that while Rip thinks being eaten by a dinosaur is the coolest way to die, he’s not ready to die just yet. All hope seems lost though until he runs into a slightly older (and clean shaven) version of himself. This version of himself helps him ford a river to elude the T-rex for slightly longer and reminds him he needs to travel back to this time to help himself cross a river in the future after a big quake or the fabric of the space time continuum will be thrown off. Rip of course agrees with Rip (why would he not?), and continues fleeing from the T-rex. He then runs into a slightly older, older version of himself who gives him a repel gun to scale a large wall to try to evade that darn T-rex still. He tells Rip he needs to come back to this time at a specific date. Rip scales the wall, thinking he has at last evaded the T-rex. It turns out that this T-rex can also scale walls and is traveling up it in pursuit of Rip. Rip turns around and runs into another version of himself, this time as an old man. The old man version of himself lets him have his time capsule, to which young rip says “But there will be two of us and one sphere, that would be a paradox we can’t both go” to which old Rip replied “When I was in second grade a bunch of us used to ask ourselfs what was the coolest way to die. I didn’t even have to think about it: Eaten by a dinosaur”. The old rip turns toward the dinosaur and says the last words of the comic “I’m ready now”.

I really enjoyed this story. I felt like it was an analogy for life and time it’s self. We all have a dinosaur chasing us, and that’s time. We maybe able to elude it for awhile but eventually it will catch up with us and we will succumb to it. The story was well conveyed and put together by Damon Lindelof. It was concise and easy to understand. The Art work by Jeff Lemire was outstanding. The perfect compliment to the story telling. All in all this was a fantastic short comic that makes me want to find more things written by Damon Lindelof. While it was a little predictable, and lacked a huge wow factor ending it still was very enjoyable.

I give this comic a 7.5/10.

Of the 7 remaining stories I really enjoyed “I Have What You Need” by Gail Simone an Gael Bertrand, and “She’s Not There” by Peter Mulligan, and M.K. Perker. Those two I would rate a 6.5/10.

Overall Time Warp #1 was a fun pick up from the savings bin. It was a bit of a surprise because I did not expect to like it nearly as much as I id. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fine story telling, Sci-Fi, time travel, or adventure.

-Andrew Horton