One, Two, Kapow Comic Reviews 05/21/14

Best of the Week

darkhorsepresents36

Title:  Dark Horse Presents #36

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Mike Mignola, Justin Aclin, Stan Sakai, Luciano Saracino, Jaime Hernandez, Patrick Alexander, Kel McDonald, Christopher Sebela, Dennis Culver, Martin Conaghan

Artist: Stan Sakai, Jaime Hernandez, Patrick Alexander, Kel McDonald, Dennis Culver, Ben Stenbeck, Nicolás Daniel Selma, Juan Manuel Tumburús, Brian Churilla, Jimmy Broxton

Review:  Thumbs Up!

The problem with an anthology book is that sometimes you are going to have some great stories mixed with the bad.  That was what I fully expected coming into the final issue of Dark Horse Presents in its current format.  What a wonderful surprise it was to find that this issue was amazing.  Every story was superb, each one just as fantastic as the last.  Forget about the hefty price tag, it is easily worth the price of admission for eleven great stories.  While it would be a long and boring read to go into every story inside, there were a few that stood out even more than the others that bear mentioning.

The first story is Beware The Ape from Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck.  Sir Edward Grey investigates a fight that broke out between to men the night before, where Jerome Bagsby had stolen a priceless artifact Professor Warren.  Bagsby has no memories of the events while Grey lists off the evidence that he was there.  The title can fill you in on the true culprit and reason behind the theft though.  It was a great, Hellboy like tale, with a super natural twist told only how Mignola can.

Sunstroke from Luciano Saracino and Juan Manuel Tumburus tells that tale of a pack of dogs watching their master as he works on the farm in the hot sun.  They see his imminent death coming for him, but can ultimately do nothing to stop it from happening.  It is a very different type of tale that is all the more powerful from Tumburus’ wonderful art .

The final story in the anthology is easily the most bizarre.  Job Interview from Patrick Alexander features one of the most bizarre job interviews ever that you would almost expect the children from South Park to be watching.  The interviewee quickly realizes that he has no idea what he is interviewing for as the interviewer has a lisp that causes him to say something different than what he means.  All is well though, once he realizes he isn’t interviewing to be a bank manager, but to taser beans.  It also features farting a rainbow.  What else do you need.

That was just a small sampling, but the greatest thing is that there is something for just about everyone.  It has several types of short stories, humorous, action packed, drama, and more.  This book has been an excellent way for creators to make small stories that might not have had a way to be published otherwise.  The series will be ending, but only to return with a smaller page count.  While it is sad to see it being cut down, I for one can’t wait for it to return.

foreverevil7

Title:  Forever Evil #7

Publisher:  DC Comics

Writer:  Geoff Johns

Artist: David Finch

Review:  Thumbs Up!

There is nothing more annoying with a big event than getting an issue delayed, especially in Forever Evil’s case where the issues have released so far a part.  To make matters worse it took longer than it should have to finally finish the story.  What DC needed to do was make sure that the final issue was amazing enough to make us forget about the shipping schedule.  You know what, the easily succeeded on that part, giving us an excellent finale to this epic story.

As solicitations have already spoiled for us, Dick Grayson doesn’t die, Lex Luther actually saves them all including Dick, which becomes a recurring theme through this book.  With his sidekick saved, Batman and Catwoman leave the Crime Syndicate to Lex and the other villains while he attempts to help Cyborg rescue the trapped heroes from Firestorm.

Ultraman realizes from the thunder that Alexander Luthor has been freed, but is to late as Alexander finds him and Deathstorm.  Alexander isn’t alone though, as Superwoman is revealed to be in league with him, as well as carrying his baby.  Deathstorm is quickly killed, which makes Alexander stronger as he channels the powers of the Crime Syndicate members he has killed.  He easily takes out Ultraman, but then is confronted by the villains following Lex.  They are not much match for him, except for Bizarro who at least stands a little better of a chance, just not for long.  Alexander punches a whole through Bizarro, killing him.

Lex, who had been forming a bond with the unfinished clone, takes on Alexander by himself.  Knowing they are identical, including their voices, Lex says “Mazahs” which takes away Alexander’s powers.  He gets his revenge on Alexander for Bizarro by stabbing him in the chest.  Ultraman recovers enough to try to kill Lex, but by this time Black Adam and Sinestro are able to move the Moon out of the way of the Sun, taking Ultraman’s powers away.  The heroes are freed, Superwoman is captured, and a tiny Titania is crushed under Lex’s boot.  Owlman, however, is able to escape.

The villains who helped Lex fight the Crime Syndicate were given pardons and went their own way.  Lex goes about creating a new Bizarro, which will take years to get to the cloning stage he was at before, and seems to actually be reforming.  Going over everything that happens, especially regarding Dick and Batman, he is able to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman.  As he realizes this, the Justice League fear that whatever destroyed the Crime Syndicates world is on its way to theirs.

For a series that has not shied away from some pretty brutal scenes, this issue was not exception.  The punches are incredible with the amount of damage that Finch shows.  The deaths that occur are spectacular as well.  I’ve always likes Finch, and I definitely think he was the right artist for this series.  His grittiness and attention to detail made every fight throughout the series incredible.

Another spoiler that we can thank solicitations for is that Lex would be coming out of this series pretty well situated as he will be joining the Justice League.  Sure enough, Johns did a fantastic job developing the character as the series progressed, and at the end brought things back right to where they started, but now with Lex gaining a heart.  It will be interesting to see how is uses the information about Batman though, will he continue on the path of a hero or use it for his own benefit?  I am sad that Bizarro died though, it would have been nice to see a spinoff series, the adventures of Lex and his best bud Bizarro.  I think it could have cracked the top ten.

The series wrapped up things nicely, but it also sets things up for the next event it seems.  We can only hope that whatever comes next is anywhere near the quality that Forever Evil has been.  Sure, the series has had its fair share of shipping problems, but in the end it was worth it.  We were given an excellent series showing that it doesn’t always have to be the heroes to save the day.


Quick Hits

axecop1

Title:  Axe Cop:  America Choppers #1

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Malachai Nicolle

Artist: Ethan Nicolle

Review:  Thumbs Up!

I have never read Axe Cop previously, or watched the animated series from Fox.  This made the reading experience immensely enjoyable for me, as after the initial bewilderment and head scratching, I suddenly understood and loved the charm.  It especially made more sense when I realized that Axe Cop was originally created by Malachai when he was only 5.  The book is extremely bizarre, but you just can’t help but smile at the creativity of the world.  It reminded me of The Tick from the light goofy humor and strange heroes and villains.  If you want to read something this week that just makes you feel all good inside, pick this book up.

bprd119

Title:  B.R.P.D. Hell on Earth #119

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Mike Mignola and John Arcudi

Artist: James Harren

Review:  Thumbs Up!

This week wrapped up The Reign of the Black Flame arc.  Not everyone makes it out of the issue alive, but the biggest and best thing was seeing Liz go nuclear on the Black Flame.  She has always been one of my favorite characters so seeing her unleashed was a treat.  Otherwise the deaths in the issue seemed really unnecessary as it was just tacked on to the end.  The next arc should be interesting though to see what happens in the aftermath as this did mix things up for the B.R.P.D..

brainboy1

Title:  Brain Boy:  The Men From G.E.S.T.A.L.T. #1

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist: Freddie Williams II

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Brain Boy is back, and better than ever!  A telepath attacks the White House, making easy work of all the secret service.  He heads straight for the President and his wife and unmasks to reveal himself as Brain Boy.  Cut to 72 hours earlier we get to see Brain Boy trying to enjoy a vacation with his girlfriend Luisa, but is finding the relationship beginning to hit the rocks.  He doesn’t have time to try to sulk on his problems as his is given a new assignment from the Secret Service, one that we’re left to assume might not go as plan considering his attack of the White House.  The new story hit the ground running and we can’t wait to see just what exactly is going on.

buffythevampireslayer10-3

Title:  Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Christos Gage and Nicholas Brendon

Artist: Rebekah Isaacs

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Everything you could want from a Buffy comic is found here, comedy, action, and relationship drama.  Bringing Dracula into the fold for the latest arc is excellent, as is watching his relationship with Xander and all the belittling the comes with it.  Xander and Dawn also try to work out their feelings for one another, neither wanting to take the lead in that until it becomes to late.  Then of course you have the inevitable point where the group realizes going to Dracula for help with the newest vampire problems creates a whole new problem for them.  Of course you can’t trust Dracula, that should be the number one rule!

bunker4

Title:  The Bunker #4

Publisher:  Oni Press

Writer:  Joshua Hale Fialkov

Artist: Joe Infurnari

Review:  Thumbs Up!

It amazes me how well Fialkov writes the dialogue between the characters.  The way they talk and interact with one another felt more real that any comic I have read this week and awhile.  Big things happen in this issue that Grady is going to have to answer for in the next issue, but before that you have the heartbreaking disintegration of Daniel and Natasha’s relationship while having to deal with a disaster.  It took awhile for Infurnari’s art to grow on me as it is very sketchy, but now I love it.  He captures the emotions of those characters so eloquently with his pencils. This is a must read series if you are not currently picking it up!

ittybittybunnies1

Title:  Itty Bitty Bunnies In Rainbow Pixie Candy Land #1

Publisher:  Action Lab Comics

Writer:  Dan Rankine

Artist:  Dan Rankine

Review:  Thumbs Up!

It makes me laugh and laugh to imagine a parent picking this up for their child only to be horrified when they see the contents.  Itty Bitty Bunnies is like Happy Tree Friends in a way, but instead of the animals being brutally killed (which happens a bit in here too) they all just took lots of drugs.  I assume that Rankine must have been doing lots of drugs when he wrote and drew this as well, which we should all be thankful for that he wrote down.  Phil and Tyrone get in all sorts of problems and awkward situations, such as growing a drug monkey from one of their butts, inadvertently helping a whale climax, and getting saved by Steven Seagal (who craps himself in the process.)  If you want a irreverent, humorous thrill ride full of rainbows, drugs, and cute little bunnies, make sure to grab this off the shelf this week.

Print

Title:  MPH #1

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Mark Millar

Artist:  Duncan Fegredo

Review:  Thumbs Down!

Mark Millar’s newest joy ride, MPH, didn’t start off with a bang that I expected.  There has been a lot of hype behind this book (it already has been optioned for the movie rights) but the set up did not have a payoff.  Typically in a good chunk of Millar’s books he sets up the story during majority of the first issue, but then by the end of it he hooks us for more.  It just didn’t happen here.  The story was decent so far and Roscoe is a very likable character, but when it comes to Millar, decent just doesn’t cut it.  It’s to early to cast the title aside, but early enough for doubts to arise.

originalsin2

Title:  Original Sin #2

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist:  Mike Deodato

Review:  Thumbs Up!

The first issue of Original Sin was phenomenal, which would make subsequent issues hard to live up to.  The story isn’t bad by any means, it just wasn’t on the level the first was on.  The investigation into the murder of Uatu continues, and brings the combined might of just about every Marvel super hero to the door of the two mystery characters who were revealed to have the Watcher’s eye.  The secrets the Watcher has seen appear as though they’re about to pour out into the Marvel Universe, which is going to create some pretty incredible stories.  The mystery of who the two were with the eye though was pretty anticlimactic though, two super villains no one cares about.  The mystery is far from over it seems, but I was hoping for someone interesting at the end to be revealed, and they weren’t.

skyward7

Title:  Skyward #7

Publisher:  Action Lab Comics

Writer:  Jeremy Dale

Artist:  Jeremy Dale

Review:  Thumbs Down!

Skyward begs to be enjoyed, but I still just have yet to be hooked on it yet.  The world that they are creating is an interesting one with many different facets, but the problem is the characters themselves.  None of the main players have been interesting themselves which makes it hard to care for story.  I also did not like the fact that the main story is only 14 pages, while the rest is a backup story that is set before issue #4.  The backup story actually proved to be a little better than the main, but it still makes the story feel stalled.

starwarsdarthmaul1

Title:  Star Wars:  Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir #1

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Jeremy Barlow

Artist: Juan Frigeri

Review:  Thumbs Up

We never were able to see some of the unfinished episodes of Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series brought to life on TV, but Dark Horse is continuing it through this new mini series.  Last time we saw Darth Maul he was defeated and captured, but you can’t keep a good Darth down, now can you.  His escape was inevitable and that means we get to see him in some slicing a dicing action.  There is still a lot of mystery that remains to be explored in this series, but it got off to a great start and has us remembering why we miss The Clone Wars and Darth Maul so much.

uncannyx-men21

Title:  Uncanny X-Men #21

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Brian Bendis

Artist:  Chris Bachalo

Review:  Thumbs Down!

Uncanny X-Men just had way to many balls being juggles this issue.  You have someone controlling Cyclops and Magik, who also happens to be controlling the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier as well, that uses all three to unleash hell on the Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, while the X-Men, S.H.I.E.L.D. and Mystique, still disguised as Dazzler, all run around not knowing what to do.  Then you have Blob trying to score more MGH from the sedated Dazzler, who is finally rescued by Magneto.  With all that going on they still have time for two pages to check in on Emma and the students at the school.  All of them are interesting stories that if told separately could be fantastic, but thrown together it just amounts to a lot of chaos that is hard to follow.

unity7

Title:  Unity #7

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Matt Kindt

Artist: CAFU

Review:  Thumbs Up!

If this issue taught me anything, it is that Ninjak is a bad-ass of incredible proportions.  You get to see him slice, dice, and take out a plane with his sword.  Those few pages alone would have been an excellent enough of a reason to pick this up, but it has so many other wonderful moving parts all going on.  The entire team is separated, each trying to do their part in stopping Silk.  X-O Manowar specifically is given an order that would have to be hard and painful for anyone, even if there was no other choice.  Then just when you think Unity has finished the job, the last page shows otherwise.

velvet5

Title:  Velvet #5

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Ed Brubaker

Artist:  Steve Epting

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Velvet continues to be one of the best books that you can buy, hands down.  What kept this issue from being on our best of the week up top is that it doesn’t exactly progress.  Last issue the word Mockingbird shocked Velvet, and we now find out why.  It finally fleshes out Velvet’s complete origin, from her training and feelings of respect towards her mentor, to her relationship with Agent Mockingbird.  Her relationship with Mockingbird ended rather abruptly, and Velvet realizes that she made have made a mistake back then.  Looking back into the past did give her more insight into who framed her, meaning reconnaissance time is over;  now its time to go home and face things head on.

witcher3

Title:  The Witcher #3

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Paul Tobin

Artist: Joe Querio

Review:  Thumbs Down!

If you are a fan of The Witcher, this comic might give you some sort of enjoyment.  I cannot say I have ever been a fan of there series, I that I enjoyed anything in this issue.  The dialogue for the character is dreadful.  Jakob is especially an annoying character, who gets worse when he gets into a rant towards the beginning that had me groaning.  The art did not win me over either, the pencils just felt unfinished when looking at the characters. Everything about the issue just felt to rough.

xomanofwar25

Title:  X-O Manowar #25

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Robert Venditti, Peter Milligan, and Justin Jordan

Artist:  Diego Bernard, Bryan Hitch, J.G. Jones, Rafer Roberts

Review:  Thumbs Up!

If you have ever been interested in picking up X-O Manowar but weren’t sure of where to start, start here.  The oversized anniversary issue contains an excellent retelling of his origin so if you have missed it, you will know immediately what is going on.  Not only that, but it also sets the stage for Valiant’s next cross-over event, Armor Hunters that is going to bring an enemy looking to finish Manowar permanently.  The Armor Hunters are introduced in an excellent scene that shows just how ruthless they can be, which is going to mean bad things for all of Earth.

zombietramp4

Title:  Zombie Tramp Vol. 2 #4

Publisher:  Action Lab Comics

Writer:  Dan Mendoza

Artist:  Dan Mendoza

Review:  Thumbs Up!

Zombie Tramp’s journey came to an end this week, as she found that her traveling companion had an ulterior motive for their trip.  What ensues is lots of fun and gore as she shows she might be more powerful than anyone thought.  She also gets revenge on some people that crossed her along the way in the most brutal fashion that I’ve seen in awhile.  No worries though, the guy totally deserved to have his junk torn off, so all’s well that ends well.  It leaves you wanting more though, which luckily we’ll only have to wait until July for her next chapter

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