Capsule Comic Reviews 07/29/15

Best of the Week

xfilesannual2015

Title:  The X-Files Annual 2015

Publisher:  IDW Publishing

Writer:  Michael Raicht

Artist:  Kevin VanHook

Colorist:  Mat Lopes

Letterer:  Chris Mowry

Cover Artist:  Russel Walks

Review:  ★★★★★

For so many comics, an annual typically feels like a throwaway issue you shouldn’t bother wasting your time with.  With The X-Files it is completely different.  While the main Season 10 series has been fantastic, it has featured larger story arcs over several issues that have been expanding on several of the popular mythos of the show.  In this annual, Mulder drags Scully along to investigate a popular duo of ghost hunters and their former friend who went missing in a haunted house.   Not only does Raicht nail both Mulder and Scully’s characters, but by having a slightly expanded page format and a contained story, it feels more just like a normal episode of the show you would have seen on television.  With that being the case, it does a great job of feeling as though this could fit anywhere in the series, though with skeptical Scully, we imagine it would have taken place earlier than the present.  Just like us your first impulse might be to pass on this annual, but a fan of the show or not, you’ll love it if you give it a chance.


The Weekly Rundown


conantheavenger16

Title:  Conan the Avenger #16

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Fred Van Lente

Artist:  Brian Ching

Colorist:  Michael Atiyeh

Letterer:  Richard Starkings and Comicraft

Cover Artist:  Jason Felix

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Conan and Natala continue forward on their journey, having left behind Xuthal for a barren desert.  There they meet a traveling caravan seeking refuge from the sand as well, so the groups join together while they search for the oasis Conan was told of.  While they eventually find the spot they are searching for, tragedy has already befallen the location putting them in plenty of danger.  The book is getting a little repetitive in its jump from danger to danger for the two, but it still manages to remain a fun read with the clashing tension between them.  As long as Conan has a battle to wage it is able to add in plenty of excitement, though it is keeping it from being any more than that.


Copperhead09_Cover

Title:  Copperhead #9

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Jay Faerber

Artist:  Scott Godlewski

Colorist:  Ron Riley

Letterer:  Thomas Mauer

Cover Artist:  Scott Godlewski

Review:  ★★★★☆

Last issue showed us the same timeframe of events, but from Boo’s perspective.  This time we witness the sheriff gathering her group and taking off after her abducted deputy.  We get to see her on the chase along with the attempted but failed rescue attempt which was not her idea.  The latest arc continues doing a fantastic job of further developing Clara and showing how strong she is, especially as she interacts with her rescue team.  Godlewski has been spot on as well bringing the barren desert to life with his beautiful art.  The only problem is the continued insertion of Clara’s ex-husband into the story, though we hope/imagine this will have a nice pay off for the following arc.


Ninth Doctor_3_cover

Title:  Doctor Who:  Ninth Doctor #3

Publisher:  Titan Comics

Writer:  Cavan Scott

Artist:  Blair Shedd

Colorist:  Rachael Stott

Letterer:  Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Cover Artist:  Alice X

Review:  ★★★★☆

The Doctor successfully creates chaos at the Fluren Temporal Bazaar by luring out the Unon, but along with them their enemies the Lect.  This creates a mini battlefield him and his companions get stuck in the middle of.  The rashness of the Ninth Doctor puts his mind in jeopardy and the lives of Rose and Jack.  What really brings the story to life is Shedd’s art which really is one of our favorites of the current Doctor Who books.


Tenth Doctor_13_cover

Title:  Doctor Who:  The Tenth Doctor #13

Publisher:  Titan Comics

Writer:  Nick Abadzis

Artist:  Elena Casagrande

Inker:  Simone Di Meo

Colorist:  Hi-Fi

Letterer:  Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt

Cover Artist:  AJ

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Dorothy has finally found what she was searching for as she becomes younger once again, but to find that she has more power than she knows what to do with.  The Doctor tries to explained to her what has happened to her, but she takes off with Gabby looking to flex her new abilities.  This forces the Doctor to team with those who want Dorothy for their own purposes and make things much worse.  We wish Cleo would have had a bigger role to play this issue as she was immensely more interesting than her employers, but with so much going on no one but Dorothy was really able to stand out all that much. That is another mistake we hope next issue rectifies, as Dorothy really hasn’t been shown to be interesting enough herself to receive so much attention.


Twelfth Doctor_10_cover

Title:  Doctor Who:  The Twelfth Doctor #10

Publisher:  Titan Comics

Writer:  Robbie Williamson

Artist:  Brian Willamson and Mariano Lacluastra

Colorist:  Hi-Fi

Cover Artist:  Brian Williamson

Review:  ★★☆☆☆

Having Doctor Who meet the Rat Pack could go two ways;  be an interesting development or go overboard into something very cheesy.  Unfortunately it goes to the cheesy side as the Doctor has to save them from the Cybocks intent on using them at their Vegas hotel.  That actually leads to a very Mars Attacks like sequence that is rather funny, but the terrible dialogue and one liners will have you groaning throughout.  Not only that but the Doctor playing a form of Russian roulette with the Cybocks to defeat them doesn’t make much sense at all beyond extending out the ending as it overcomplicates the use of a weapon he could have used to begin with to end things.


grindhousedriveinbleedout7

Title:  Grindhouse:  Drive In, Bleed Out #7

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Alex De Campi

Artist:  John Lucas

Colorist:  Ryan Hill

Cover Artist:  Francesco Francavilla;  Tyler Crook

Review:  ★★★★☆

Grindhouse has explored several genres beyond just horror and the latest story looks to take on “Skinemax”.  Two astronauts have been saved from certain death by a strange group of aliens that need their help in seeding a planet.  This involves performing acts on their living ship that will get it to release the seeds below.  Yes, it is that raunchy.  It is done over the top as usual in a way that has fun with the tropes you would expect from soft core porn story letting you in on the joke.  While not for everyone, it is definitely different from anything else you will read this week which in this case is a good thing.


GodHatesAstronauts10_CoverA

Title:  God Hates Astronauts #10

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Ryan Browne

Artist:  Ryan Browne

Colorist:  Jordan Boyd and Ryan Browne

Letterer:  Chris Crank and Ryan Browne

Cover Artist:  Ryan Browne;  Ryan Stegman and Ryan Browne

Review:  ★★★★☆

There is so much going on in God Hates Astronauts that a normal book might crumble under the weight.  For it, though, every thread is incredibly funny and just adds to the craziness.  The crab war is over, but get ready for the next crab war.  Starlina rescues her daughter from the planet Super Gentendo 64 but faces further problems from what Gnarled Winslow has released.  Plus the Anti-Mugger makes peace with muggers and his friends.  Just another day in the life of one of the most funny, bizarre comics on the stands each month.


InvisibleRepublic05_Cover

Title:  Invisible Republic #5

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko

Artist:  Gabriel Hardman

Colorist:  Jordan Boyd

Cover Artist:  Gabriel Hardman

Review:  ★★★☆☆

The story of Maia continues as Croger makes some confessions about himself and what he hopes this story will do for him.  As has been from the start, the story continues to be a bit of a slow burn, but there are two big pieces of information that come out of the finale of this current arc.  We find out how Arthur’s fight on the beach with the soldiers was a stimulus for his rise to power and then it features an ending that could change the whole dynamic of the book.  Now we just have to wait and see if the pay off is actually that big.


Lazarus18_Cover

Title:  Lazarus #18

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Greg Rucka

Artist:  Michael Lark and Tyler Boss

Colorist:  Santi Arcas

Letterer:  Jodi Wynne

Cover Artist:  Owen Freeman

Review:  ★★★★☆

Once again Lark proves Lazarus contains some of the greatest action scenes in comics.  Forever takes her new unit out into the field to take care of Hock’s soldiers, which really means they wait for him to come back from killing everyone in her path.  There is plenty going on behind the scenes with the rest of the Carlyles, but watching Forever in action will take all of your focus by the end.  As much as we want to gush on the action and art, Lazarus continues to be a well-rounded book that is strong in all of its areas.


NINJAK_005_COVER-A_LAROSA

Title:  Ninjak #5

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Writer:  Matt Kindt

Artist:  Clay Mann;  Butch Guice

Inker:  Seth Mann

Colorist:  Ulises Arreola

Letterer:  Dave Sharpe

Cover Artist:  Lewis LaRosa and Brian Reber; Dave Johnson;  Raul Allen;  Cafu and Andrew Dalhouse

Review:  ★★★★

With his element of surprise gone, Ninjak is forced to take on Roku and Kannon in some beautiful fight scenes that are over much to quick.  Kannon wants to take on Ninjak by himself, sending Roku away who is otherwise notably absent until a small pop up at the end.  Kannon himself gets a few good hits on Ninjak, but is defeated very quickly.  Looking back on the past, we find out more about our hero as a child when he found out about the secrets his parents were hiding.  Both the present and past are equally intriguing, but having both felt like each was taking away from the other, more so than any other issue.  The fight between Kannon should have been much bigger and Roku leaving didn’t make sense as you would imagine she would have come to help her boss before he was captured.  The issue could have been expanded or split into two so there would have been more breathing room. It was still a great issue, but you couldn’t help but feeling there could have been just a bit more to make it perfect.


pastaways5

Title:  Past Aways #5

Publisher:  Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Matt Kindt

Artist:  Scott Kolins

Colorist:  Bill Crabtree

Letterer:  Neil Uyetake

Cover Artist:  Scott Kolins

Review:  ★★★★☆

Phil sets his plans in motion to kill Art by using the rescue pilot he hid from the group last issue. Art as no idea himself and actually thinks the two of them are becoming friends once more while the group may get caught in the crossfire. Kolins gets plenty of chances to show off this issue, especially with a fun battle between the team and a giant tortoise creature that has reanimated and started tearing apart their headquarters. We only wish they could have played up the fact the team cannot die in the fight; it’s a wonderful idea that would have added even more entertainment to the issue in whole.


Rasputin07_Cover

Title:  Rasputin #7

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Alex Grecian

Artist:  Riley Rossmo

Colorist:  Ivan Plascencia

Letterer:  Thomas Mauer

Cover Artist:  Riley Rossmo

Review:  ★★★☆☆

Rasputin has been caught by a journalist, but still is not ready to admit who he really is.  The photographs she found of him from the past do make him recollect into the past as when his former friends began to turn against him.  We’re nearly at when he friends will attempt to kill him, but still have at least one more issue to go.  The bending of fact and fiction has been interesting, but when we finally get to the full fiction of how his life continued there should be several more exciting directions the narrative could take.


SouthernBastards10_CoverA

Title:  Southern Bastards #10

Publisher:  Image Comics

Writer:  Jason Aaron

Artist:  Jason Latour

Letterer:  Jared K. Fletcher

Cover Artist:  Jason Latour;  Tony Moore

Review:  ★★★★☆

We take a look into the mind of Coach Boss’s “henchman” Esaw.  What we find is very little beyond sports, sex, and violence.  That combination is a pretty humorous combination in itself, but Aaron does pack in subtle indicators of what made Esaw this way.  Having a preacher along for the ride as he tries to tell Esaw about all the glories of God, only to be verbally and physically assaulted around each turn, just seals the deal that there is no redemption for these Southern Bastards.  Yet we still cannot help but watch them be the way they are and love every second of it.


teenagemutantninjaturtles48

Title:  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #48

Publisher:  IDW Publishing

Writer:  Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz

Artist:  Cory Smith

Colorist:  Ronda Pattison

Letterer:  Shawn Lee

Cover Artist:  Mateus Santolouco;  Kevin Eastman and Ronda Pattison;  David Lafuente;  Ryan Browne (after Wally Wood)

Review:  ★★★★☆

The situation the Turtles find themselves in at the start of the issue actually circles back to find them in the same situation at the end.  That doesn’t mean that the full circle didn’t have plenty going on.  Robo Donatello joins his brothers in protecting their father Splinter, showing off a few new features that his robotic body allows for.  Hopefully Donatello stays like this for quite a while as it does throw in plenty of possibilities for him.  Their friends who had just left them return to help them in their current predicament while Casey’s father finds his incarceration very short-lived as the Mutanimals surprisingly come to his aid.  Every page has so much going on, but Smith is more than equipped for the task as he packs in plenty of detail every scene.  After reading the story, this is one you’ll want to jump right back to the start and admire the beauty of it all over again.


 

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