Comic Book Reviews 10/22/2014

Oct 21, 2014

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1551565_10152523691363279_2853242094083541938_nTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #1 (IDW)

Written By: Erik Burnham & Tom Waltz
Art By: Charles Paul Wilson III (pages 1-5), Cory Smith (pages 6-9) & Dan Schoening (pages 10-22)
Colors By: Luis Antonio Delgado & Ronda Pattison (pages 6-9)

Thirty years of pop culture domination has led these two hugely successful franchises to share the title atop the many covers of this IDW comic (I personally pre-ordered the Slimer cover from Heroes’ Haven by Ozzy Fernandez & Tony Kordos). I love it when writers (in general) set up their story by back tracking to an age that dates to an era when legends were not just myths, but living breathing beings, and that is exactly the premise here. A feud between a brother and sister immortal has escalated quickly as a very familiar Dimension X alien, Krang, is making some kind of deal with one of them. After a quick scuffle, the brother is locked away between dimensions in a limbo state, stepping forward to the current timeline. We are suggested through movie references that using a teleportation device, created by one of the turtles and his scientist friend, will have a result that is not expected (though it is not difficult to make that assumption).

haven_exclusiveMy love for the Ninja Turtles (through every comic, soundtrack, movie, TV show or musical tour) and Ghostbusters (real, extreme, Ray Parker Jr song or movies) may make me blind to any imperfection in the character art, but that is not the case here. The multiple drawings and colorings in this first issue shows a perfect blend of the new school (last few years really) of Ninja Turtles’ art style that is well toned and detailed from the turtles to the locations, mixed with the exaggerated facial expressions of the Ghostbusters and their captivating ghosts that have a higher level of detail than everything else going on around it. As it was mentioned, one of the highlights to this first issue are the many collectors covers that are just fantastic and makes you have a long debate over which one to buy.

The story itself does a good job of letting you figure out what will happen and what is going on just before Leo or Ray explains what you have realized on your own. It makes the reader feel like they really understand what the writer is trying to tell in the story by not taking you by the hand, but instead just showing you the story letting the reader enjoy each and every moment. With two forces of good coming into contact with each other, you can be certain this ancient and angry spirit will be looking for vengeance in a spectacular fashion. With such a rich catalogue of characters from each franchise, I hope this already dream worthy story develops to a point where every mutant and ‘buster gets involved, as we have already seen that their paths may have been linked many ages ago.

*Review by Cory Anderson


STK650953Dungeons and Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 (IDW)

Written By: Jim Zub
Art By: Max Dunbar
Colors By: John-Paul Bove

You can’t have a new edition of Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks without some familiar faces making a return as well; rejoice fans because Minsc the ranger is back, and Boo too! Jim Zub has a history of writing for fantasy role playing games (See Pathfinder) and it shows in his story. There is a good understanding of how events and encounters don’t always go according to plan, and Delina the wild mage (Moon Elf) finds that out the hard way. In a fashion seen in many tabletop games, you are dropped right in the middle or a moment (or a round) before some type of chaos starts. It’s amazing to see how close to a real D&D session this opening issue is, from the failed attacks to the innocent guards being killed, Delina is causing more problems for herself than what she had intended.

STK650955The magic use in this series is going to be a supporting character to Minsc and Delina. With the color spray (spell and art), the pages where magic is being wielded, comes to life. The streets of this famous city (among the fantasy role playing game community at least) have the effect of storytelling by itself. There is no block text or description of this city, or what occurs during all hour of the night, but still the art and colors tell a tale, one that no one wants to be out this late in the night. With a comic book world full of muscle bound purple tattooed rangers and their hamster animal companion (the amazing comic relief as well as the heart of gold pairing) the panels can really showcase a world that has millions of visitors every game night. From granite gargoyles to stone tiled streets, this first issue just felt like home to me thank to Max Dunbar’s artwork.

I’m a huge sucker for bonus content, and this first issue didn’t let me down. With incentive covers that are works of art, and back pages full of Zub’s personal experiences and how he is embarking on his “most ambitious “RPG campaign” yet”. Knowing a character that is a fan favorite and a topic that I have invested many Friday nights into Saturday mornings (and all day Saturdays too) is in good hands, made me so thrilled that I actually hosted a pen and paper D&D session after reading this issue (though it was only a mini marathon of 6 hours of gaming). Delina and Minsc now have to deal with avoiding the night guard (common) deal with thieves (common) and find the young sorceress’s missing brother (quest). If you haven’t experienced Dungeons and Dragons, this comic is a great way to see the source material come to life in an artful comic. Those who have enjoyed the many variations and rulebooks, prepare to “Roll for initiatives”!

*Review by Cory Anderson

STK650938Super Secret Crisis War: Cow and Chicken One-Shot (IDW)

Written by: Jim Zub
Art by: Jorge Monlongo

So if you’ve been following any of IDW’s cartoon network show comics, you’ll know that currently there is a pretty epic event happening. It’s is a smaller scale version of something Marvel or DC would attempt to pull off and IDW is doing a great job with it. The main story branched off in Samurai Jack when the evil Aku decided to start finding villains from other dimensions (tv shows) like Lord Mojojojo from Power Puff Girls and some of Ben 10’s enemies. He assembles a league of evil do-er’s basically and starts to send evil robots out across the several cartoon network show worlds. I picked to read this comic mainly because I remember watching Cow & Chicken way back when it first started. It was at the end of my childhood but they were always kind of another Ren and Stimpy to me. This comic is pretty funny and is true to how I remembered these characters from the past.

The story by Jim Zub is pretty good and very simple. It stays true to Cow and Chicken’s characters; Chicken being a bit cranky and needing coffee, Cow being completely oblivious to anything and The Red Guy trying to get Chicken to sign away his soul for some deal. It’s always fun to see Cow be so ignorant to danger (like the killer robot Aku sends after her in this issue). If you hadn’t watched Cow & Chicken on TV, you may be a bit annoyed by how some of the characters speak in this comic. True again to the show, Cow doesn’t pronounce her R’s so she is written saying “SOWWY” and “FWIENDS”! The art in this book by Jorge Monlongo was very good and extremely like the show. Both this book and the show give me the sense of nostalgia because it’s all very much like Ren and Stimpy’s art style. Big eyes, disproportionate noses and the clearly defined bubble butts. Overall I’m pretty intrigued. I love cross over events and this one features shows I watched at the end of my childhood like Power Puff Girls, Samurai Jack and Johnny Bravo. Kind of cool, so I may pick up the rest of this event and give it a read too.

*Review by Everett Harn


arkham-manor-1-cover-110102Arkham Manor #1 (DC Comics)

Written by: Gerry Duggan
Art by: Shawn Crystal
Colors by: Dave McCaig

So I always like to pick up #1’s of any DC comic that comes out, because I’ve never really been a DC reader myself. I picked up Arkham Manor just because it sounded interesting from a glance, but what was inside was a bit different than my initial assumptions. I assumed it was going to be more about the villains locked inside Wayne Manor, which is now converted into a prison, and it may still be about that, but this first issue is only a lead up to what it will probably prove my guess correct. We basically get the story of how and why Wayne Manor got chosen to become the new Arkham (Eminent Domain is a real and much abused power!), and we get to see Bruce as Batman. Basically what seems like will happen is Bruce will enter Arkham Manor in disguise as a homeless man and what follows will be something I could only guess.

661900_arkham-manor-1-canete-variantGerry Duggan does a decent job starting this story, and ends it with a panel that makes you want to read a bit more. Now I’ll admit, I wasn’t able to follow exactly what happened until after I re-read the ending again. I liked the panel or so of Batman doing detective work, so Duggan does a good job making a non-Batman reader like me, excited to see Batman doing what he’s known for. Like I said the story is kind of a precursor to what should be Arkham Manor, so this issue was a bit slow although a needed set up. The art by Shawn Crystal and colors by Dave McCaig are good and about what I would expect for a Batman comic. Dark and gritty backdrops and easily recognizable characters. The way they drew Batman and the Batmobile make me think they’re leaning a bit towards how Bat-Fleck will look in the upcoming WB film. Overall this was a completely okay comic. I could do with reading another issue or two before making the judgment of whether or not I’ll continue with this series.

*Review by Everett Harn


NEWWAR2014011-DC11-LR-421ddNew Warriors #11 (Marvel Comics)

Written by: Christopher Yost & Eric Burnham
Art by: Marcus To
Colors by: Ruth Redmond

Move over Teen Titans! Marvel’s group of younger heroes has you beat.. at least in my opinion. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I absolutely love New Warriors. Nova, Speedball… and Jake Waffles. Ok Jake Waffles is a brand new character. Basically a dog version of Rocket Raccoon except in this series he’s gone from a beagle to a Doge like breed. In this issue the New Warriors face off against gods. These gods are called the Eternals, who have been a part of Marvel lore for a while, but I hadn’t even come across them that I can think of. This issue is part 2 of a 3 part battle that leaves the whole fate of everyone not pure human at stake.

NEWWAR2014011-int-LR2-4-2eb3dChristopher Yost and Eric Burnham are both writing this book, and you can tell that it’s more than one writer because of how well the story is taking place. I feel like there is a lot more thought being put into this book than one writer can usually manage solo. There’s plenty of New Warriors humor, mixed with action, heart wrenching drama and by the end of this issue was yelling NOOOO because I wanted it to keep going. The end of this book gave me Goosebumps and made me yearn to read more. The art by Marcus To and Ruth Redmond is great. There’s more action, more powers, more people getting punched and kicked in this book than in most Avengers books and these two artists are able to keep up! It’s not easy having to draw so many different characters, each with different movements and abilities and keep them looking consistent every issue, but they do it beautifully. I really, really enjoyed this book. Highly recommended.

*Review by Everett Harn


FiveGhosts_13-1Five Ghosts #13 (Image Comics)

Written by: Frank J. Barbiere
Art by: Chris Mooneyham

Five Ghosts is back and bloodier than ever. If the first act doesn’t convince you of that then I’d check my pulse if I were you. Fabian Gray is on the trail in a small Romanian village on the verge of an epidemic. Already disposed of a small horde of zombies the tone is set as Gray is about to be deep in the stuff.

Frank J. Barbiere has become a master of setting up his tales with brief exposition and wonderful character interactions using realistic dialogue that doesn’t sound like conversation for the sake of moving the plot along. He puts us in the shoes of Gray himself as the elder tells him about the local gothic legend. The beauty of Five Ghosts is it’s immersive. The landscapes, backgrounds, and detailed buildings are great but where Chris Mooneyham excels is in the tight quarters, the small spaces he illustrates that draws us in. It’s the arrow in the eye of a zombie, a chat around a kitchen table, the sparse room where Gray tries to sleep, the close facial expressions, Mooneyham creates environments that can’t help but consume the reader further into the story.

It’s no wonder the series has been so much of a success that it’s getting its own television series. This darker turn into horror is perfectly timed for Halloween but Barbiere is versatile enough to write in any genre. By the end, the poor town folk are going to go from bad to worse as a stranger introduces a new elixir. ‘Monster and Men, Part 1’ sets the stage for new readers to jump aboard and prepare for some horrific adventure ahead.

*Review by Enrique Rea


Goners01_webGoners #1 (Image Comics)

Story By: Jacob Semahn
Art By: Jorge Corona

Goners #1 is a surprisingly fun supernatural adventure series that Steven Spielberg would surely approve of. The Latimer family has been the last line of defense against threats from the underworld and this latest attack thrusts a new generation of defenders in danger before they’re ready. But ready or not the demons are out to get them.

Raleigh and Evelyn Latimer, paranormal hunters, are killed on live television during their reality show fighting off the latest threat to humanity. It sets off a chain reaction of events that are conspicuously timed and forces their children, Zoe and Josiah, to run for their lives. The reader is dropped right in the middle of the action from page one and except for some brief but effective flashbacks, it doesn’t let up. Semahn ‘s dialogue and pacing is pitch perfect creating a world familiar yet heightened with supernatural monsters that gets the pulse pounding but doesn’t ignore the kids’ heartache at losing their parents. It’s a delicate balance of creating dread and suspense with letting the audience empathize for the characters.

Goners01-Page5-ce248Goners has that sense of adventure and thrill that Goonies had or the rush of adrenaline from evading monsters like in Jurassic Park. Products of Spielberg that served as inspiration for Semahn but personalized with his own vision. Corona’s art gives Semahn’s story the energy and larger-than-life moments it deserves. The panels vary and at times pop off the page with great effect, lightning and thunder take on characteristics of their own, perhaps as an omen or foreshadowing the danger ahead. It’s as beautiful a horror book can get if you value such things and you should.

This is not your run-of-the-mill horror comic. In fact it has the heart of Johnny Quest if he existed in the world of Hellboy. There are many comparisons to be made but it’s because Goners #1 brings back a sense of adventure that too often is missing from the horror genre. That sense of wonder and fear found in a kid’s imagination as scary stories are told around a campfire is found in the pages of Goners but the fear is real.

*Review by Enrique Rea
Memetic-001-coverA-d0d0fMemetic #1 (Boom Studios)

Written by: James Tynion TV
Art by: Eryk Donovan

I’m not going to lie, there’s only one reason I eagerly agreed to read Memetic #1 and that is James Tynion IV. If you’ve heard the name, pat yourself on the back. If not, start keeping an eye out for him because he is a rising star in the comic book world. Currently, James regularly collaborates with (who I consider to be) the best writer in the comic book industry, Scott Snyder. They’ve worked together on Batman, Talon, and Batman Eternal. As such, I was eager to see what James could do on his own without writing for a particular character or within a particular universe.

Memetic is a story that very much feels like a product of our time. Most comic books go out of their way to try and not date themselves but because the story will only be three issues long, James has thrown caution to the wind. The story revolves around a meme which has a hypnotic and eventually sinister effect on the general populace. The main character is a color blind college student and is thus immune to the effects of the picture. There’s also a secondary central character in the form of a retired intelligence director who suffers from macular degeneration Memetic-001-coverB-7cbce (338x520)(basically his eyesight is increasingly fading) and thus also immune to the meme. The first issue primarily serves as a setup for the story. By the end, disaster has struck and the question of how the characters will deal with this crazy new world is a tantalizing question that hangs before the reader.

This comic book is literally the equivalent of a roller coaster ride. Since this is a three issue series, Tynion takes chances and the story progresses quickly. You simply can’t turn away as you witness the effects of this hypnotic picture start to unravel society. One begins to wonder if perhaps you are not caught in the effects of the meme yourself! Unfortunately, I found the art to be lackluster. Eryk Donovan’s style is passable at best and amateurish at worst. The characters don’t stand out much and come across as simple, static, and uninteresting. It doesn’t matter though because the story is so strong that it carries the issue. I can’t wait to see where the story goes and what kind of chaos is unleashed upon the world. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go catch up on my Reddit meme’s….

*Review by Mikhail Shlyugar


(This page will have reviews added to it until Friday the 24th!)