Eye on Comics

Comics criticism and commentary from Don MacPherson

Archive for May, 2017

Preschool Princess of Themyscira

Posted by Don MacPherson on 31st May 2017

Be a Star, Wonder Woman! hardcover children’s book
Writer: Michael Dahl
Artist/Cover artist: Omar Lazano
Publisher: Capstone Publishing/Capstone Young Readers imprint
Price: $15.95 US
I was provided with a digital review copy of this incredibly cute and timely Wonder Woman book for kids. While I didn’t have a physical copy, the nature and layout of the story and art led me to believe this is what they call a “board book.” It skews to a very young reader (the little Wonder Girl is depicted as being kindergarten age), so I would expect a heavy, cardboard-like stock would be the most likely medium for this quick read (Capstone’s website refers to this book as being “paper over board”). It’s wonderfully charming and cute, both visually and in terms of the message it offers its young audience. While the motif here — juxtaposition of super-hero action with the daily endeavors of a little kid, trying to learn and develop — is far from original, it’s certainly effective. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Miscellaneous | No Comments »

Spencer So Dire

Posted by Don MacPherson on 29th May 2017

Spencer & Locke #2
“Every Rose Has Its Thorns”
Writer: David Pepose
Artist/Cover artist: Jorge Santiago Jr.
Colors: Jasen Smith
Letters: Colin Bell
Editor: Nicole D’Andria
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment/Danger Zone imprint
Price: $3.99 US

Hey, do you love Calvin and Hobbes, the beloved newspaper comic strip that celebrated childhood innocence and precociousness while also offering biting social commentary? Oh, me too. And speaking as someone who loved Bill Watterson’s landmark and impeccably crafted oeuvre, allow me to tell you, my fellow enthusiasts, the following: do not read Spencer & Locke. This comic casts the familiar, innocent figures from Calvin and Hobbes in a hard-boiled cop drama, and it totally doesn’t work. It taints everything special about Watterson’s work and demonstrates creator/writer David Pepose’s complete failure to appreciate what made the strip that serves as his inspiration special. The truly unfortunate thing about it is that his writing and plotting aren’t bad at all, and the visuals are exciting, gritty and involving. But the initial decision to link this weird buddy-cop story to Calvin and Hobbes mars it all and blocks any chance the reader has at finding a sense of entertainment or escape. I suppose if one weren’t familiar at all with Watterson’s work, one might find this to be a novel, even diverting effort, but any awareness of the larger context of the book will preclude that possibility. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Action Lab | No Comments »

Stag Party

Posted by Don MacPherson on 28th May 2017

Batman/Shadow #2
“Batman/Shadow, Part Two”
Writers: Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Clem Robins
Cover artists: Rossmo (regular)/Chris Burnham & Tim Sale (variants)
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publishers: DC Comics & Dynamite Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US
I’ve been trying to limit the number of four-dollar comics I’m buying these days, as they can make for expensive weekly trips to the local comic shop. However, given Scott Snyder’s and Riley Rossmo’s involvement in this series, I couldn’t resist the first issue. I was pleased enough with what I found to seek out the second issue this past week. And now I’m hooked on the series. Not surprisingly, Snyder and Steve Orlando don’t disappoint with their take on the Batman and his dark world, but I’m quite intrigued by this eternal, supernatural take on the Shadow. I really don’t know all that much about the anti-hero who knows what evil lurks within the hearts of men, but I rather enjoyed him as a figure who throws the Dark Knight off his game. Rossmo’s exaggerated and dynamic interpretation of Batman and Gotham are as sharp as ever, but his fluid, elongated portrayal of the Shadow and his eerie presentation of the serial-killing antagonist of the book really grab the eye as well. This is a thoroughly accessible and entertaining inter-company crossover that clicks in no small part because of the compatibility of the two title properties. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - DC, Reviews - Dynamite | No Comments »

Doom’s Date

Posted by Don MacPherson on 27th May 2017

Infamous Iron Man #8
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist/Cover artist: Alex Maleev
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

As I’ve written previously, I purged a significant number of Marvel titles from my pull list, ultimately deciding I wasn’t getting enough out of them to merit the $3.99 US price of admission, but there were a few Marvel books that survived the cull, and Brian Michael Bendis’s two Iron Man titles were among them. I enjoyed this issue because its pairing of both the protagonist and antagonist with other Marvel characters with which they share links (either personal or thematic) put me in mind of the classic team-up titles of the 1970s and ’80s I so enjoyed as a kid. Mind you, this issue is low on action and big on dialogue, and as a mature comics enthusiast, I was just fine with it. I continue to follow Infamous Iron Man because it’s essentially a great character study of a long-standing Marvel figure. Unfortunately, that history is also the book’s greatest liability, since the knowledge of the continuity leading up to this point in Doom’s life is rather integral to one’s full appreciation of the story. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Marvel | No Comments »

Extra! Extra! Read All About It…

Posted by Don MacPherson on 24th May 2017

The Last Paper Route #1
Writers: Sean Jordan & Alex Kennedy
Artist: Dave Howlett
Letters: Jason Loo
Cover artist: Kody Peters
Publisher: Decent Comics
Price: $3.50 CAN

I happened upon this indie, self-published comic while attending the East Coast Comic Expo recently, and it caught my eye for a few reasons, but chief among them was its connection to the newspaper industry, notably how the industry existed a number of years ago. As a reporter for a daily newspaper (and a former paperboy myself), I decided I ought to check it out. The creators offer up an over-the-top tribute to the lost childhood job of newspaper delivery, as well as to the importance of print journalist, albeit to a lesser extent. There’s nothing remotely realistic about their take on the concept of paper routes, but there’s definitely something nostalgic. The Last Paper Route is difficult to describe. I was put in mind of The Goonies and Back to the Future — not in terms of plot, but when it comes to the exaggerated adventure and weird characters that populate an otherwise mundane, suburban backdrop. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - Indy/Small Press | No Comments »

Critical Hit

Posted by Don MacPherson on 22nd May 2017

Torpedo Volume One trade paperback
Writer: Enrique Sanchez Abuli
Artists: Alex Toth & Jordi Bernet
Translation: Jimmy Palmiotti
Cover artist: Bernet
Letters: Amauri Osorio
Reprint editor: Scott Dunbier
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $17.99 US

The manager at my local comic shop pointed out he had a couple of discounted Torpedo books on the store’s clearance racks, and I’ve long been interested in curious about the work, having enjoyed Bernet’s contributions to Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s Jonah Hex series from DC a few years back. I plunked down my cash and happily took it home. Not surprisingly, I found a beautifully illustrated book, boasting a fun pulp-strip approach and deliciously gritty, fitting artwork. But to my disappointment, the clumsy plotting and dark characterization proved to be incredibly off-putting. I was expecting the titular hitman character to be a cool anti-hero, but he’s far from that. In fact, it’s next to impossible to find any character that fits the role of protagonist in any of these short stories. Every player in these crime dramas is so unlikeable that I really didn’t enjoy spending any time in their worlds. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Reviews - IDW | 4 Comments »