Comic Book Reviews (8/27/2014)

Aug 26, 2014

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Sundowners #1Sundowners #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Jim Terry
Color by: Sean Dove

Is super heroism a disorder? Sundowners explores this concept as Tim Seeley dives deep into the psyche of a super hero and tries to answer the question of their true sanity. Seeley has created an interesting world where super-heroes appear to be no more than people with severe mental disorders, but in true comic book fashion nothing is as it seems. From an sundown1p2 (414x640)outside observer our heroes; Crowlita, The Concerned Citizen, and Arcanika are drug addicted, depressed, paranoid, schizophrenic, lunatics who think they are changing the world. What Seeley does so well is make you think this is actually the case, then when you start to believe these are just crazy; the plot kicks into full gear and we learn that maybe their stories aren’t so insane.

Sundowners #1 was a great introduction to the world Seeley is creating. We learn a ton of info about our characters and plot without it feeling like forced, boring exposition. The pace is spot on as the stage is set and then we immediately jump into the action and the beginnings of a much deeper story. Jim Terry’s art is a near perfect match as it doesn’t look like your typical superhero book and feels much more grounded and inspired by the real world. Terry’s art sells Seeley’s script as his characters look, act and feel like real people, with real issues.

Sundowners takes a deeper look at what makes someone want or need to be a superhero while weaving a narrative about mental health and the limitations for reality. This isn’t a book you can talk too much about without giving away its best aspects. So for anyone who wants a little more out of their Super Hero genre I can’t recommend Sundowners #1 enough.

*Review by Casey Walsh


TFJOE_02_COV_A-659x1000 (343x520)Transformers VS G.I. Joe #2 (IDW Publishing)

Written By: Tom Scioli and John Barber
Art, Colors and Lettering By: Tom Scioli

Breakout your toy chest and dust off your action figures, this crossover series has brought to life your childhood (and my comic book room full of nerdy merchandise). Unlike other GI Joe vs Transformers cross overs where we see the good guys of both franchises wage war with the villains of both titles, this series pits the Joes against an “invading” planet Cybertron. The story is simple so far with the American Heroes defending against the evil forces of the Decepticons. So far Cobra and the Autobots have been absent for the most part. With that part of the story well under way, we get to see a small contingent of Joes launch a counter attack on the metallic planet these devious robots call home.

The colors and illustrations by Tom Scioli are what keeps me coming back to series to read more (that and I am a huge fan of both properties). Scioli recreates the look and feel of the late 80s, early 90s comic with the original paints and models of the toys themselves. It’s really great seeing all the fan (and personal) favorites appear in the comic, considering most of the time the story is focused on a handful of individuals.

It may be a little cheesy or seem dated because of the chosen art style, but I find it refreshing to read a cross over like this. They are not trying to re-imagine the toys and comics as some alternate past or future, but as they were made in the 80s. This story has been taking shape over the first couple issues, to setup the eventual team up of good vs evil. There isn’t much of a driving story arc so far, for me at least, but what really keeps the comic moving are the panels and action scene of the characters (toys) fighting each other. It really brings up a wanting to recreate these panels with my own glorious toy collection.

*Review by Cory Anderson


BoarderlandsfofBorderlands Fall of Fyrestone #2 (IDW Publishing)

Written By: Mikey Neumann
Art By: Agustin Padilla

By now we should all be level 7 vault hunters having just experienced the first use of our powers. Sorry wrong medium, same mission however. For those who have not experience the video game sensation Borderlands (which I highly recommended), this comic series follows it’s video game predecessor step by step, joke by joke and side mission by side mission. Even though the story has been told once before, this is a slightly new take on an old tale. Mikey Neumann isn’t  just telling a meaningless story from the video game, but we are given more background information and motivations other than “kill this for me so you can get a ride”.

The art style of this comic is really great. Agustine Bordlands-FoF-02-pr-6-c2383 (339x520)Padilla takes the futuristic, desolate world and fully illustrates and colors it into the back water Planet without much of hope. Being only issue two, a lot of the exposition is being told through the art. From the character designs and outfits, to their scars and weaponry, there is an almost complete sense to each of their mindsets and personalities as the story progresses.

This issue takes the four vault hunters to see a down on his luck old man, who can provide them a set of wheels in return for the only memento of his dead wife; a sword he was gifted by his wife’s family. Through teamwork of an unlikely party, a plan forms and comes together, something I can recall happening nearly every co-op mission in the Gearbox video game. If you’ve played the game, this is a great new retelling of the same story with the additional information told through a deeper story and art that sets the tone perfectly. If you haven’t played the game, this is a great comic about four treasure hunters who sold everything they owned for a chance to change their life’s through adventure and loot, of course.

*Review by Cory Anderson


Layout 1Super Secret Crisis War #3 (IDW Publishing)

Written By: Louise Simonson
Art By: Derek Charm

In the third installment of this Cartoon Network crossover event, the full scale prisoner revolt of The Power Puff Girls, Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Dexter Boy Genius and the Eds has started. They make their way through robot infested corridors until they are eventually ambushed. In one cliché scene after another, the heroes discover an army of doppelganger robots, are eventually cut off from each other and forced to team up with a new unfamiliar partner.

Even though the imagery is based off a cartoon and frozen on a page like a still frame from an episode, Derek Charm obviously still puts a good amount of love into the drawings. Each page contains a scene that shows the heroes in some dynamic pose, making you believe these cartoon characters belong with other cape and tight wearing, pan-dimensional defending, arch nemesis defeating heroes. Not to take things too seriously, Louise Simonson delivers a fine level of humor that at the same time reminds you it is our (mine at least) favorite cartoons from the early 2000s.

Not to let the main story take all the focus, the comic does a fine job of adding in puns and making fun of itself only adding to the entertainment value. The ulterior motives of the League of Extraordinary Villains has yet to be revealed in its entirety, which if the time traveling samurai knows what he is talking about, will remain a mystery until planned. The writing in this comic and crossover as a whole isn’t elaborate, nor does it require a thesaurus, but that is perfect for the story trying to be told here. If you dig deeper into this comic, the story and art tells a more philosophical story; can these defined personalities learn to break their moldings and be something more than their archetypes.

*Review Cory Anderson


Godzilla #15Godzilla Rulers of Earth #15 (IDW Publishing)

Story By: Chris Mowry and Matt Frank
Written By: Chris Mowry
Art By: Matt Frank
Ink Assists By: Mostafa Moussa
Colors By: Priscilla Tramontano

Picking up where the last issue left off, Big G continues his fight against not one Mecha Godzilla, but multiple robotic copies. Rockets, lasers and death rays destroy everything in their path, except Godzilla as the battle carries on for the majority of the issue. While the brawl commences, we cut to the aliens who are revealing their final plan in the typical evil monologue; let the humans destroy themselves once the monsters are gone.

The illustrations and coloring are great at showing the monstrous devastation that these kaiju and their Mecha counterparts exact on each other and the cities they brawl in. From the rocket explosions to the atomic breath, the fights rage on while keeping the finer details to Godzilla’s scales and the Mecha’s rivets. If you wanted to read a Godzilla issue all about the kaijus and their city-destroying battles, this is the your issue.

After seeing one kaiju fall and taken to an “unknown Russian base.” Godzilla too is quickly outnumbered as support comes to aid the Mecha Godzillas. The support comes in the form of an old fan favorite, Mecha King Ghidra. Part golden dragon kaiju and part robot, this big bad boss overpowers “the hero” and begins to carry Godzilla away. This issue ends with that great image of Godzilla captured, being taken off to some unknown destination; needless to say, I cannot wait for what comes next.

*Review by Cory Anderson


The-Sixth-Gun-42-Page-01-51bee (383x520)The Sixth Gun #42 (Oni Press)

Written By: Cullen Bunn
Illustrated By: Brian Hurt
Colored By: Bill Crabtree

There comes a time in every great epic poem, leather-bound novel or summer blockbuster where the fight to save the world from some kind of embodiment of evil fails and they (the evil) have in their hands all they need to destroy the world. That is where this issue of The Sixth Gun kicks off. If you haven’t been keeping up with Sixth Gun (which I recommend), the premise is that in the old west, shortly after the civil war, there exists these Six Guns. They seem to draw the attention of every outlaw, rebel and power hungry man or demon. Probably, because they have the unique ability to grant dark power to their owner, the catch one is bound to that pistol until they die.The-Sixth-Gun-42-Page-04-c7b14 (338x520)

In this first issue of a new arc, Hell or High Water, there is more storytelling going on than action. But in the typical imagery of this series, the focus in both art and story is character driven. Though the backgrounds and settings are present, there isn’t as much detail drawn into the them as there is in the characters. From the little innocent girl in the village to the Grey Witch herself, the characters are full of signature features and clearly drawn emotions. Brian Hurt provides just enough detail to convey the location and situation, while the characters really get to shine and carry this issue (as well as the entire run).

This issue would be a good starting point for anyone looking to get back into (or start) the Sixth Gun series as there is a good amount of recapping and planning going on; from the heroes lamenting over their friends lost, to the obvious villain showcasing her commanding presence and tyranny over everyone, even her minions. With the plot for this arc set and the heroes’ drive emboldened, the next issue is sure to bring the two opposing sides to their destined confrontation.

*Review by Cory Anderson


tmnt in time 3 (338x520)TMNT Turtles In Time #3 (IDW Publishing)

Writer: Erik Burnham
Artist: Ben Bates

So far in this mini series, the heroes in a half shell have survived the pre-historic era and feudal Japan. Now the turtles prepare to board a pirate ship and hit the high seas. After their initial encounter our turtles become stranded about a pirate ship for three days. The crew of the ship and the turtles begin to pass the three days until land in various fashions; Leo teaches swordsmanship, Donatello “practices” with his bo staff (mops the deck) , Raphael sulks and fishes while Michelangelo teaches about pizza and becomes the captain, that’s right, a pirate captain ninja turtle.

Pirates and ninja turtles are two fandoms that just go well together for some great reason. To compliment this radical mash up, the art knocks each page out of the park. Page after page I was continually impressed and awed at how awesomely cool the ninja turtles looked as pirates. Seeing Mikey as the captain was especially radical, but after seeing Raph wearing an eye patch, I was all in. When other comics are making their pages darker and grittier to create the sense of seriousness, this issue was the opposite; bright, full of fun and life.

After the first half of the comic comes to an end and the turtles got all the pirate-fantasy-hijinks out of the way, the real battle begins. All the training and inspirational speeches that were prefaces come in handy as the turtles are taken out of the equation during battle. The pirates and former captain end up handling the skirmish on their own, which is a nice moral to the story. Life lesson aside, ninja turtle pirates was an amazing comic to read and extremely enjoyable.

*Review by Cory Anderson


Talent-DeluxeEdition-cover-9f45aTalent: Deluxe Edition TPB (BOOM! Studios)

Written By: Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski
Art By: Paul Azaceta

Each and everyone one of us posses a talent, as small and unique as making origami to being a professional boxer. When an airline flight is downed with a hundred and forty eight passengers aboard and only one survives people begin asking questing. We soon find out he didn’t just survive, something intervened. The 147 other passengers gave their energy, including their talents, to Nicholas Dane so that he may survive and carry out their unfinished businesses. What unravels after that is a conspiracy that leads to an organization that actually caused the plane’s crash to tie up loose ends (Dane).Talent-DeluxeEdition-PRESS-7-15c23

What this volume is really telling us is there is always a struggle for balance. Through Paul Azaceta’s coloring and illustrations, we get a clear image who is good (light colors) and who the bad (dark suits and bland outfits). Even the use of shadows and darkened faces pushes the idea of this balance to the front of the page. The violence and seriousness of the book comes to life in the panels where there is close quarters fighting, angered punching of mirrors and blood from gunshot wounds.

I felt like I was Nicholas Dane as I read the chapters of this book. I was unsure of what happened and why anyone would want him dead. Then it started to become more clear that he was given a second chance and the only stipulation. He was supposed to look into the unfinished business of the other passengers. Near the end of this read, it starts to become more and more clear who caused the plane to go down as well as who the real villains are. Their motives have yet to be seen other than creating an unbalance. Fortunately for Dane this fits his purpose: to create a balance.

*Review by Cory Anderson


14_mediumCaptain Midnight #14 (Dark Horse)

Written By: Joshua Williamson
Pencils By: Manuel Garcia
Ink By: Bit
Colors By: Marta Martinez
Cover By: Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire

Captain Midnight #14 is hitting another gear and ratcheting the tension and action for our beleaguered superhero. This issue is a great jumping on point for new readers and they won’t be disappointed as Cap and Agent Jones are neck deep in a hostage situation at the hands of the evil Tempus.

There’s a sense of freedom to Cap now as he’s seemingly lost everything after the events of the last arc and he’s getting back to basics hauling some serious hardware and using his smarts to save the town of Nightshade, Nevada. Meanwhile, Charlotte escorts Helios out of Thailand in hopes to seek vengeance against Rick’s killer, Chuck Ramsey. It won’t be as easy as they think.

Williamson is allowing Cap to grow and change as characters should but rarely do in comics. Cap is a proud and honorable soldier but realizes times have changed and without his tech has to rely on his baser instincts and leave the stoic superhero persona behind. Garcia’s art is fantastic, using great angles that highlight the action and close-ups with great detail producing some dramatic moments.

Captain Midnight is easy to recommend because it’s rousing entertainment without the convoluted machinations of most mainstream comics. It’s an exciting mixture of classic and newer comic book themes that isn’t out to reinvent the genre but instead reinvigorate storytelling with good old-fashioned adventure tales. Issue 14 is a good place to start.

*Review by Enrique Rea


detailGuardians of the Galaxy #18 (Marvel Comics)

Written By: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils By: Ed Mcguinness
Inks By: Mark Farmer
Colors By: Justin Ponsor
Cover By: Ed Mcguinness

This is it! Today is the day Marvel comic book fans have been waiting over three years for! For three years we’ve all be speculating about what the hell went on in the Cancerverse at the end of the Thanos Imperative? Somehow Drax had been reincarnated after Thanos had killed him. Peter Quill had come back as the forefront to the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thanos of course returned during Infinity to cause hell on Earth. We saw tidbits in previous comics alluding to the Cancerverse mystery, but never any concrete facts. Peter Quill had even approached Thanos one-on-one during Infinity, which most people agree was way ballsier than anything else Star-Lord is usually capable of. The question that has haunted everyone since the end of that amazing series in early 2011, is WHERE IS NOVA?! Everyone else had come back from the Cancerverse mysteriously, but no one ever mentioned Richard Rider! Well today, we got our first glimpse at what happened.

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_18_Preview_2The book begins with a darker tone than you’d expect from Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy, as Gamora is delivering a very dark monologue to someone from the shadows. The dark tone is shortly lifted as we realize she’s taken Peter hostage, tied him to a chair and is forcing him to finally tell her what happened in the Cancerverse. What follows is a story that I had been nervous about reading for years, and I was still on edge during the whole book. This book picks up right where Thanos Imperative left our heroes, running at Thanos, Butch and Sundance style, Cosmic Cube and full Nova Force in hand. We get thirteen pages full of glorious story from the past, delivered to us by Bendis. Bendis stays faithful to every character in the book, and let me just say how nice it is to read the banter between Peter and Richard again. This is only part one of the Cancerverse revelation, and the way Bendis’ ended it makes you want to scream for more.

portrait_uncannyThe art in this book is absolutely top notch. It really can’t get much better than this. Five out of the fifteen pages are full spreads of incredible fighting between Star-Lord, Nova and Thanos. They stay true to how the characters looked back in 2011, putting Star-Lord back in his old v2 red and blues, as well as showing purple outfit Drax. You can really see Sam Alexander’s influence in the way they draw Nova, even though this is Richard Rider. His helmet and the way they drew him looks more like the newer Nova comics, than the older Richard Rider series, but that wasn’t a problem for me. It was just awesome to see my favorite character back on the pages. Ed Mcguinness’ cover gives us the way Nova was drawn years ago. Pure badassery in the front, Thanos in the back. If I could get this cover as a full sized poster I would frame it.

This is part of the ongoing Original Sin event, but it really isn’t relevant yet to the main story. This is mostly just Gamora prying lies out of Peter and trying to get to the truth, which is the overarching idea behind Original Sin. If you haven’t read the Thanos Imperative, you will definitely want to go back and read that before reading this, otherwise you may be a bit lost story-wise. If you don’t feel like doing that, you should still enjoy this book anyways, because it’s filled with a ton of action and some incredible panels. If you only have money for one comic today, I would highly suggest this one. It’s history in the making.

*Review by Everett Harn


aveng34Avengers #34 (Marvel Comics)

Written By: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils By: Leinil Francis Yu
Inks By: Gerry Alanguilan
Colors By: Sunny Gho & Matt Milla
Cover By: Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

Captain America reaches the end of time in this final issue of Capt’s insane adventure with the Time gem. With appearances of Iron Lad, Kang and Immortalus, this issue is packed full of insane scientific jargon with all of these characters trying to resolve the issue of the incursions that started way back pre-Infinity. The immortal beings think they’ve found a solution, but they forgot to calculate the fact that Capt is a true hero and will do anything to prevent needless death.

Jonathan Hickman’s writing has been great throughout these past few issues. I don’t read a lot of Capt, but I’ve really enjoyed reading him in this time traveling adventure and seeing all of the futures Hickman can think up. In this issue we finally get to know what future Hawkeye told Capt a few issues ago. The art is the same gritty goodness we’ve had consistently throughout this book. Gerry Alanguilan is becoming one of my favorite inkers with his dark sketch-like art style. Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho’s covers are borderline collectable, as they all link up together, this issue being the final broken Infinity Gem on the cover. This issue was a fun read, and it ends with a great set up for what’s next to come in the Avenger’s future storyline.

*Review by Everett Harn