Monthly Archives: March 2018

Tech Support as Life Support

Cyber Force #1
Writers: Matt Hawkins & Bryan Hill
Artist/Colors: Atilio Rojo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Cover artists: Marc Silvestri and Atilio Rojo
Editor: Elena Saldeco
Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow Productions
Price: $3.99 US

I wasn’t a fan of the original Cyber Force series back in the early 1990s; like most of the other fare from Image Comics in its infancy, it was all about Kewl super-hero action, with ridiculous large guns and extreme violence. It was supremely popular with many readers (and notably collectors), but creator Marc Silvestri’s style wasn’t for me, and neither were the characters. When I learned Image and Top Cow Productions were relaunching the property and reinventing it in the process, it piqued my curiosity. I was pleased to find writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill (who have impressed me as late with their Postal one-shots) offer a much more grounded take on these extreme characters. The plot and character reactions here feel a little familiar, but the execution is solid and much more inviting than the original book.

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A Tale of Two Asylums

Doomsday Clock #4
“Walk on Water”
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist/Cover artist: Gary Frank
Colors: Brad Anderson
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99 US

I’ve been a fan of Geoff Johns’s writing for some time, but this single issue may be the best thing he’s crafted in his career. Much to my surprise, this event book takes a bit of a hiatus to explore the background and psyche of the new Rorschach, and it’s a fascinating character study. Despite the controversy over mining Watchmen for new stories over the objections of Alan Moore and his fans, it really feels that Johns does right by the source material here. This is completely unlike anything Johns has written before. This issue feels more like an organic extension of Watchmen than the three preceding it. Even if one hasn’t read the first three chapters of Doomsday Clock, one could easily delve into this character-focused issue for a satisfying read in and of itself.

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In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Krypton TV series pilot
Actors: Cameron Cuffe, Georgina Campbell, Shaun Sipos, Elliot Cowan, Ann Ogbomo, Aaron Pierre, Wallis Day, Rasmus Hardiker, Ian McElhinney, Paula Malcomson, Rupert Graves & Nicholas Witham Mueller
Directors: Ciaran Donnelly & Colm McCarthy
Writers: David S. Goyer & Ian Goldberg
Producers: Phantom Four, DC Entertainment & Warner Horizon Television

Fans of comic books are certainly living in a Golden Age of other-media adaptations. There are so many comics-related shows (and not just flowing from the super-hero genre) on the air and streaming now, it’s impossible to follow them all. There was a time when I probably would have watched any comic-related show out of pure devotion to my beloved medium, regardless of quality. Having PVR’d the first episode of Syfy’s new Krypton series (airing on Space here in Canada), I only got around to watching it this weekend, a few days after its premiere. I was of two minds after having watched it: disappointed and relieved — relieved I don’t need to cram another show into the lineup of programs I watch regularly.

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Kid’s Critique: Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

Editor’s note: My son, who’s in Grade 2, has seen me reading comics and writing my reviews for this site, and he told me he wanted to try writing his own review. I’m sure he’d appreciate any feedback anyone cared to offer. Enjoy.

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare hardcover collected edition
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist/Cover artist: Jacob Chabot
Colors: Matthew J. Rainwater
Letters: Steve Dutro
Editor: Philip R. Simon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics/Dark Horse Books
Price: $9.99 US/$13.99 CAN

My name is Callum, and I’m new at writing reviews. I’m seven years old, and I wanted to do this because I knew my dad had a blog, and I like comic books too. I chose this comic book because I play the video game. I also like it because it’s like a video game that people as old as me can read, and they can read it if they like to read books. It’s different from the video game but at the same time, it’s the same. It’s got the same fighting scenes, but like I said, it’s different and it has a different story.

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Alphabet Soup

Ninja-K #5
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Tomas Giorello
Colors: Diego Rodriguez
Letters: A Larger World Studios
Cover artists: Trevor Hairsine, Lucas Troya, Tonci Zonjic, Kenneth Rocafort and Philip Tan
Editor: Warren Simons
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

I read a couple of the early issues of Ninjak when it was launched under the Acclaim Comics brand in the 1990s, and it was some standard super-hero fare, featuring a teenage hero clearly designed to evoke memories of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. Oh, but how the property has changed now that it’s changed hands a couple of times. I really had no idea what Ninja-K was about when I scanned these pages, and I was surprised and struck by what I found. What impressed the most about this issue was how accessible it is. This reads like the final chapter of the opening story arc, but I had absolutely no problem catching up on the story through the well-crafted exposition. Ninja-K is an adeptly executed super-hero comic, immersed in the espionage genre.

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You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate…

Weapon H #1
Writer: Greg Pak
Artists: Cory Smith & Marcus To
Colors: Morry Hollowell
Letters: Joe Caramagna
Cover artists: Leinil Yu (regular)/Gustavo Duarte, Dale Keown, Adam Kubert and Skan
Editor: Wil Moss & Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $4.99 US

Since Wolverine’s debut in the late 1970s, he and the Hulk have seen their character histories intertwined, and their popularity is undeniable. So there’s a certain logic to Marvel’s decision to create a “new” character that blends both properties. However, I put “new” in quotation marks because there’s little new to be found in this debut issue. If you’re a fan of Wolverine or the Hulk or both, you’ve already read versions of this story — multiple versions — and it makes for a predictable and unengaging read. It might be something of interest to readers who are new to comics and have only a passing familiarity with Wolverine and the Hulk, but there doesn’t seem to be enough new potential in this character concept to justify a story arc, let alone a new ongoing series.

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Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright…

Isola #1
Writer: Brenden Fletcher & Karl Kerschl
Artist/Cover artist: Kerschl
Colors: Msassyk
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99 US

All I needed to know about Isola to add it to my pull list was that it was being illustrated by Karl Kerschl. I knew it would be a lovely book — and it is — but his and Brenden Fletcher’s story of myth and magic is much more compelling than I expected. The creators only give us the tiniest of tastes of the fantastic world they’ve created here, but it’s rich and full of promise. It feels as though Isola has the potential to be to fantasy and fable what Saga is to science-fiction. I have no doubt this is going to be the comic that next month sends readers scrambling at the last minute to grab a copy of an all-too short supply, as it could easily fly under the reader of my regular mainstream comics readers. Giving your retailer a heads-up about it would be wise — not out of any kind of collectibility, but because you really don’t want to pass up a chance to read this comic.

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Flea-Market Finds: Cosmic Odyssey

Cosmic Odyssey #s 1-4
Writer: Jim Starlin
Pencils: Mike Mignola
Inks: Carlos Garzon
Colors: Steve Oliff
Letters: John Workman
Cover artist: Mignola
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.50 US/$4.75 CAN per issue

When I saw this bundle of the original, “prestige-format” issues Cosmic Odyssey for sale for less than 10 bucks, I knew I had to grab it right away. That I didn’t own this 1988 series, even as a trade-paperback collection, was puzzling, as I’m a major Mignola fan (who isn’t?) and enjoy big universe-spanning, super-hero epics. While this is far from a masterpiece or an example of the best of these creators’ work, Cosmic Odyssey is a solid read, making room for some nice bits of characterization amid the accessible (if overly predictable and simplified) plot. One needn’t be familiar with all the minutiae of DC history to enjoy what is essentially a fairly traditional. Perhaps what’s best about this book is that it demonstrates that a major cosmic super-hero crisis needn’t cross over into all titles in a publisher’s line and can rather just unfold in a self-contained mini-series.

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The X(-Men) Files

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1
“Chapter 1: New Dawn Fades”
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Adam Gorham
Colors: Michael Garland
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover artists: Ryan Stegman (regular)/Marcos Martin, Billy Martin and John Tyler Christopher (variants)
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

Marvel appears to be pushing something of a renaissance of its mutant hero team titles as of late, so it comes as no surprise the publisher has revived this spinoff property as well, especially since there’s a New Mutants movie on the way. I was drawn in by Matthew Rosenberg’s script and its accessibility, and Adam Gorham’s art suits the eerie tone of the plot. But that plot feels like a rather familiar one, something even the script seems to acknowledge. Marvel has tried many times to revive the New Mutants concept over the years, and this one, while fleetingly entertaining, seems just as likely to be as forgettable of those that came before it.

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Grin and Baron It

Sitcomics Presents The Blue Baron Bing Book #1
Writer: David Baron
Pencils: Ron Frenz & Craig Rousseau
Inks: Sal Buscema & Craig Rousseau
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Sitcomics
Price: $3.99 US

This comic book and Sitcomics in general is the brainchild of TV writer Darin Henry. It seems as though Henry’s a comic-book fan who’s making his dream of writing in the medium come true. As a writer, he makes some missteps here, but as a publisher, he makes a couple of moves that make his comics worth a look. What he does right is talent and value. He’s tapped industry veterans Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema to bring his bombastic Blue Baron and his super-hero colleagues to life, and it’s hard for a longtime genre fan such as myself to resist artwork crafted by those two talents. Furthermore, Baron offers 72 pages of comics content (including the “Startup” origin backup story) for a mere $3.99 US. There are 63 pages of Blue Baron material in this comic, which means the audience gets three issues’ worth of content for the price of one. Not a bad way to invite oneself into a reader’s home, though I wonder if it’s sustainable, especially since Sitcomics appears to be self-distributed.

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

Green Lantern: Earth One Volume One original hardcover graphic novel
Writers: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Artist/Cover artist: Hardman
Colors: Jordan Boyd
Letters: Simon Bowland
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $24.99 US/$33.99 CAN

DC almost invariably grabs my attention with these Earth One graphic novels, with the promise of innovative reinterpretations of familiar characters and some strong talent. I was looking forward to this one, in part for Hardman’s art, but moreso for the fact that the creators here toss out Hal Jordan as a cocky test pilot and reinvent him as a disillusioned astronaut. There’s no denying that Hardman and Bechko have completely turned the Green Lantern Corps concept on its ear, transforming it into a story of corruption and war. But after reading the book, I felt like something was lost along the way. I’m fine with a new take on Green Lantern, but what’s missing here is the sense of wonder.

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