Comic Book Reviews (9/3/2014)

Sep 2, 2014

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LOLA-04c-Reg-Siya-OUMLOLA XOXO #4 (Aspen Comics)

Writing & Art by: Siya Oum
Letters by: Josh Reed

We pick up issue 4 to find Lola kicking some cannibal ass in the Wasteland she had been previously warned about. These cannibals seem like a mix of a human and zombie type of hybrid, but they are nothing a bullet can’t handle. Lola continues to pay her debt serving as a merchant. She has learned a lot from her long term friend Conrad, but is still very green when it comes to living in the Wastelands.

I am really enjoying learning the way these characters think and what they are willing to do for each other. The way Siya tells the story keeps me wanting more. I love Siya’s artwork; she is excellent at conveying expression on the characters faces and the panels remind me of a detailed movie storyboard. Even when drawing a post war-world, her artwork is beautiful!

*Review by Natalie Atkins


24432Usagi Yojimbo Senso #2 (Dark Horse Comics)

Colored, Written & Illustrated By: Stan Sakai

Part two of this six part miniseries titled Senso, (Japanese for war), has the look and feel of War of the Worlds, just set in an anthropomorphic feudal Japan. When the alien invasion begins, it takes place in the middle of a war between two feuding Lords. Both sides are crushed and destroyed by the superior technology of the alien machines.

Stan Sakai is just as good an artist drawing Ronin samurai, as he is at incorporating extraterrestrial warfare. The battlefield is depicted showing just how devastating the new war will be. Simple black and white pages have their familiar Sakai detail that shows how well armored, as well as outmatched, Usagi and the army he fights for are.

Knowing it is better to be well informed, than to rush into battle, the army sends a scout in to find out just what they are up against. There is a shining beacon however in that the aliens can be killed, as shown by the exact katana slash that cuts the head off of one of the aliens. In the morning, a counter attack is launched, but the far superior aliens have erected watch towers standing on tripods (images remind me of War of the Worlds again). As hopeless as it seems the army is, the real fear is explained as this issue comes to a close. What if more of the invaders come to earth? With the setup of how devastated and without hope our hero and allies are, the bar has been set for just how hard Usagi and the others will have to work to save the world.

*Review by Cory Anderson


MAY140073Furious Vol.1: Fallen Star (Dark Horse Comics)

Story by: Bryan J. L. Glass
Art by: Victor Santos

This is the “Year One” origin story for a new super heroine who wants to call herself The Beacon. The story progresses through this volume by telling us the phases of development in becoming a super hero. This is a much different take on super heroes, by the way of having a female hero take down every day (though grittier and deranged) criminals. The theme of the book is part women empowerment and part self-realization. The Beacon, or as the media begins to call her Furious (as she loses self-control and displays all the fury within her), is in fact a beacon of hope for women and becomes a crime fighting role model, all the while trying to establish her identity as a super hero and re-establish her own personal identity.

furious2p1The right amount of violence and blood goes along way for this comic. Showing the distress and battle damage throughout the fights and chases keeps this super hero comic feeling more realistic. With more lifelike characters and bystanders, as opposed to the muscle bound capes and the disfigured villains, the art made the comic feel alive. Granted there is someone flying around with kinetic energy and rage powers, but still, the art told a wonderful story. With the contrast of colors from Furious being the shining beacon she originally planned, the criminals and dangers she faces being overcast with darker colors and shades of red tinting the panels, the good vs evil theme is clear to see.

Even though Furious is new at the super hero game and her intentions are well aimed, she still has blunders and over does some things, like beating up criminals. It starts off by her trying to become a sign of hope with her own catchphrase, then quickly jumps to the next stage of development where she is trying to prove she means well, followed by the counseling she needs to express what she is trying to do. While we learn about who this new super hero is, we learn who she is trying to bury in the past, her former child movie star self. Everything comes together in the end as Furious learns to use her powers, remind herself of what is important, and the introduction of an arch nemesis in the form of a friend from the past she thought she lost and left behind. There are many other angles being worked into the story as well that will surely help the next issues and volumes continue and be the main focus, but for now, this first volume felt very complete from the script of it, how it carried itself out to the end and how the art kept things grounded when we were flying around with a new super heroine.

*Review by Cory Anderson


TMNT-Original-1990-Motion-Picture-Special-Edition-HC_richTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Original 1990 Motion Picture Special Edition (IDW)

Adaptation By: Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Script By: Peter Laird
Inks By: Eric Talbot, Peter Laird & Kevin Eastman
Layouts By: Kevin Eastman

It is safe to guarantee that every 90s kid will have the 1990 ninja turtles live action movie, with the actors in suits that were created by Jim Henson, as one of their top movies from that era. This comic is an adaptation of that movie, based on the product by Eastman and Laird, who adapted it themselves. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie (I feel sorry for you), this is a comic about the heroes in a half shell (turtle power!) and their first interactions with the world above. Their initial saving of helpless news reporter, April O’Neil, does more harm than good. Their sensei’s nemesis, The Shredder and his Foot Clan are made aware of the turtles’ presence and the fight begins. Without retelling the story word for word, this story line is action filled with plenty of drama and character expressions.

3e001a94-a245-4e7a-8026-56f323640aaaBeing a movie adaptation, you can expect all the punch lines, rib jabs and emotional screaming that made the movie a nostalgic classic. What really sets this apart from all the other movie adaptations out there, is that this is a comic, based off a movie, which was based off a comic, by the people doing the adaptation. Mind melted enough yet? The illustrations and page layouts are exactly what you expect from Eastman and Laird; a darker New York that doesn’t look so pleasant to live in. Panel by panel, this is a direct copy of the movie, so there are no shocking pages, just nostalgic moments that hit you right in the feels.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read that had me reading the pages trying my best to sound like Corey Feldman as Donnie. Aside from my love for the turtles in every iteration they have come in, one of the best reasons to get this adaptation is for the extra pages at the end. The bonus content of the initial layout and sketches showing the comic’s development process is always a treat for me. If you’ve seen the original movie that all other turtle movies are compared to, then this is an easy pick up for you. If you want to pick up a well worked story that is seamless and you haven’t seen the movie, this is a great way to fall in love with the world’s most fearsome fighting team.

*Review by Cory Anderson


Cloaks01-coverA-4b68aCloaks (#1 of 4) (Boom! Studios)

Written By: Caleb Monroe
Illustrated By: Mariano Navarro
Colors By: Gabriel Cassata

There are 6 basic magic effects, as listed during one of the young magician’s (illusionist, not wizard) flash mob style illusion shows. What this comic book does, is add a new dimension to look at these effects, while keeping to the basic magicians principles. The story revolves around a young man, Adam, who is pushed through life and the foster system, until his father-like figure passes away. Four years pass, and it quickly becomes clear the Adam is has amazing street-level magic skills that he puts on display in a moment’s notice. However his motive in showcasing his talents, are not for pure entertainment, he is robbing the crowd. But don’t be too quick to judge Adam, as it turns out he is pawning the stolen goods, to donate to the orphanage where he grew up.

Cloaks_01_Cvr_NotoA great premise to start the comic off that is held together by the rich colors and well-illustrated magic scenes. The colors make it feel like the characters actually have life and the charisma of their personalities. The panels and movements of the illustrations show the sleight of hand and talents of Adam as if he was performing it in front of my eyes.

Just like a magic show, when the crowd (the reader) thinks they have a handle on what the story is about, Caleb Monroe pulls the curtain down and the seemingly innocent story turns into White Collar (the TV show about the con artist turned FBI consultant). It is not my place to give away Monroe and company’s magic tricks, but to sum it up in what was one of the first magic lessons Adam explains to us, and his mentor’s cardinal rule, “Always leave them wanting more.”

*Review by Cory Anderson


SM20992014003-DC11-0ace5Spider-Man 2099 #3 (Marvel Comics)

Written By: Peter David
Art By: Will Sliney
Colors By: Antonio Fabela
Cover By: Francesco Mattina

I am loving this run already. Not only do we get the Spider-Man from the future in the present, but they’re putting him in situations that Peter Parker would never get in. In this issue Miguel is having to deal with his boss knowing he’s from the future, so what does she do? She sends him to a warring country, not unlike Syria or another current event, to secure a deal that Tiberius Stone made with the country’s military. I really love it because in what other Spider-Man 2099 comic, has Miguel ever been in a 3rd world warring country? He’s always been in these futuristic cityscapes dealing with high tech people, but here he is in the middle of Transsabal dealing with what we would consider modern terrorists.

The first thing you will immediately note about this comic is the cover. My. God. Someone give Francesco Mattina a raise for this one. The cover is absolutely gorgeous in every way. Even though I said the current Cyclops run’s covers were my favorite so far, this cover beats those out by a mile for me. There is no better drawing of Spider-Man 2099 to date. The art on the inside is, as always, fantastic from Will Sliney. There is just something in the way he draws Miguel in and out of costume that just makes me like the character that much more. While Peter Parker always has the younger adult treatement, Sliney draws Miguel as a more mature adult, who looks conspicuously like Matt Murdoch in some ways. Peter David continues to surprise me with this series as he brings the story to a completely different place than I could have expected it going. I really am loving Spidey 2099 and I wish it a long and enjoyable series.

*Review by Everett Harn


detailRocket Raccoon #3 (Marvel Comics)

Story and Art by: Skottie Young
Colors by: Jean-Francois Beaulieu

In the third installment of Rocket’s self-titled series we find our hero in the middle of a space battle with all of his exes, and narrowly escaping before he even realizes it. Rocket, Groot and Macho are finally on their way to unraveling the mystery of who this Rocket imposter is and they need Funtzel, a well-connected crime lord’s help in solving the mystery. A Raccoonatic like me always loves these issues where Rocket gets to joke around and be himself, and boy does this book throw a lot of jokes. I laughed out loud at a panel where Rocket is wondering why the enemy ships were trying to kill Macho, when suddenly a massive missile flies by with “DIE ROCKET” written on it. This book is fun and set 3 years before the current events, so if you want to escape to a fun and hilarious book, be sure to be reading this series.

For those of you who haven’t read the Rocket Raccoon self-titled series, it’s basically written for people who loved him in the new Guardians of the Galaxy film, and Skottie Young delivers the Rocket you saw and love. While reading this comic I can hear Bradley Cooper’s voice in my head, because the way Rocket talks is exactly the same as in the film. The humor is the same as well. Skottie Young also draws the comic in a very cartoony way to give it the light and silly panels that you’ll see throughout the book. Jean-Francois Beaulieu delivers an interesting color pallet to this whole series, keeping a lot of pages yellow or red and space panels blue and purple. The art overall is pleasing to me. Not a whole lot else to say except if you are a Rocket lover, also known as a Raccoonatic, you will definitely enjoy this book.

*Review by Everett Harn


SteedPeelWereNeeded-02-COVER-A-9a15aSteed and Mrs. Peel: We’re Needed #2 (of 3) (BOOM! Studios)

Written by: Ian Edginton
Art by: Marco Cosentino

The first thing that stood out at me when reading this comic was the artwork. It is very different than a lot of the comics I have read recently. Its artistic style reminds me of comics I used to read in the early 90’s. It is not super detailed and all the faces look a little like an overly photo-shopped photograph. The backgrounds flip flop from being very flat to having some really great dimension. Great use of colors and I loved the nod to the Popular Tea Party characters on page 6.

Mrs. Peel is investigating a possible scam involving money laundering and a Mr. Jack Ledger. She is willing to go to the best in the business to get to the bottom of it. They have some theories as to who it could be. Meanwhile Mr. Steed is strapped to a chair in what looks like an underground lab/testing facility. A man in a white lab coat wants to tweak Steed’s brain and we find out previous subjects were never the same after leaving the facility. Steed escapes the laboratory but we find out reality isn’t always what we think it is.

*Review by Natalie Atkins                                         * Editor’s note: This comic came out on 8/27


Death_of_Wolverine_1_CoverDeath of Wolverine #1 (Marvel Comics)

Written By: Charles Soule
Pencils By: Steve McNiven
Inks By: Jay Leisten
Colors By: Justin Ponsor

So I don’t read a lot of mutant based comics, but when I do there’s a good chance they involve Wolverine. When I heard they were killing off Wolverine, I thought the same as you, “So what? He’ll just come back.” Regardless of that, I want to see how they finally kill off this iconic near immortal. They can’t send a “Doomsday” or a “Ragnarok” to kill him, they are going to do the opposite. Logan is probably going to kill himself. This book sets up the final chapter in what’s been going on with Logan. He’s lost his healing factor, but he’s still same old reckless Logan, and now someone has put a bounty on his head. A BIG bounty and everyone wants it.

Death_of_Wolverine_1_Preview_3Charles Soule is doing a great job on this comic for one big reason… He’s making you care for Wolverine before he supposedly dies. You may like Wolverine, but he’s always been unkillable and you KNEW that, so you never actually cared and feared for his life. Well Charles Soule is opening this mini-series by reminding us to care because Wolvie is in mortal danger now, and it’s working on me. Another thing that’s working on me is Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor’s art. The back of this book has bonus artwork showing McNiven’s penciling as well as his commentary and it’s fantastic. You can really see what he was aiming for and Leisten and Ponsor just enhance the effect. This book is beautiful and moving. I am already hooked just after this one issue, and am going to finally fear for Wolverine’s life for the first real time in my life. This book has that effect.

*Review by Everett Harn