Monthly Archives: June 2019

A Walk in the Clark

Superman Year One #1
Writer: Frank Miller
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Danny Miki
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: John Workman
Cover artists: Romita & Miki (regular)/Miller (variant)
Editor: Mark Doyle
Publisher: DC Comics/DC Black Label imprint
Price: $7.99 US

Frank Miller’s importance to comics can never be ignored or forgotten. The only influence from the 1980s that equals his is like Alan Moore’s. However, I think it’s safe to say that Miller’s work in more recent years pales in comparison with his groundbreaking efforts from three decades ago. Still, I couldn’t help but be curious about this latest project, so I decided to peruse its pages. The good news is that this is much better than Holy Terror; there’s no sign of the twisted perspectives that marred that graphic novel. To my surprise, the biggest liability of Superman Year One is that it’s just so… standard. We’ve seen material like this time and time again with retellings of Superman’s early years, and I just didn’t find anything novel in this book. Thirty years ago, this would have been heralded as a poignant interpretation of the kid who would become the Man of Steel, but so many other creators have already told stories such as this one — and they’ve done it a little better, more often than not.

Don’t Forget to Multiply the Quantum Vector by Pie

Jughead’s Time Police #1
Writer: Sina Grace
Artist: Derek Charm
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: Jack Morelli
Cover artists: Derek Charm (regular)/Tyler Boss, Francesco Francavilla, Robert Hack and Tracy Yardley (variants)
Editors: Alex Segura & Vincent Lovallo
Publisher: Archie Comics
Price: $3.99 US

There’s something universal about Archie comics. It seems like it’s a cultural baseline for western society (or at least North American society), the sort of thing with which everyone has some degree of familiarity, connection and nostalgia. As such, I like to revisit these characters from time to time, and the oddity of a time-travel title featuring the original slacker caught my eye. To my surprise, as I prepared to write this review, I discovered this is a revival of a concept Archie Comics published almost three decades ago. It doesn’t appear to have taken off back then, but writer Sina Grace delivers a solid sci-fi comedy here that should appeal to younger readers, though the time-travel tropes here won’t likely grab an older audience — though it does serve as a slightly amusing diversion.

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Black and Blue

Silver Surfer Black #1
“Black, One of Five”
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Tradd Moore
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover artists: Tradd Moore (regular)/Nick Bradshaw, Gerald Parel, Ron lim and Mike Zeck (variants)
Editor: Darren Shan
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

I haven’t been following Donny Cates’ work at Marvel in the last couple of years, but he’s certainly generated a buzz. So when my local comics retailer urged me to check it out, touting the weirdness and wonder of the book, I decided to take the plunge. Visually, the book doesn’t disappoint. The colors are vibrant, and the fluidity of the linework and designs are dazzling. The story reminds me of the sort of philosophical tone one finds in the scripts of J.M. DeMatteis, and Cates challenges his audience. Unfortunately, everything about the plot — the struggles, both internal and external — is so utterly alien, I found it difficult to connect with the subject matter. I applaud Marvel for taking a chance on something so unconventional for the super-hero genre, but for me, the story didn’t quite stick the landing.

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Flea-Market Finds: Denver

Denver original graphic novel
Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
Artist: Pier Brito
Letters: Bill Tortolini
Cover artists: Pier Brito (regular)/Amanda Conner (variant)
Editor: Joanne Starer
Publisher: Paperfilms
Price: $19.99 US

Jimmy Palmiotti and company’s independent ventures are typically published under the branding of “PaperFilms,” and it’s an apt designation. This graphic novel reads very movie like something designed as a cinematic experience, and it works as a movie pitch, honestly. I know I’d watch this flick, as I enjoyed and appreciated the premise here. There’s just one problem, but it’s a big one: the creators like gratuitous sexuality get in the way of a fire and powerfully relevant plot. I enjoy sex and provocative imagery as much as the next guy, but Denver isn’t a sexy story, and the creators’ effort to inject sex into the book feels forced and distracting. Once you lift those elements out, though, Denver is a novel piece of speculative fiction that nails the sociopolitical, geological and social effects that climate change will undoubtedly have on the world in the coming decades.

Reading, Writing, Revolution

Ignited #1
Writers: Mark Waid & Kwanza Osajyefo
Artist: Phil Briones
Colors: Andrew Crossley
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Cover artists: Mike McKone (regular)/John Cassaday (variant)
Publisher: Humanoids Publishing/H1 imprint
Price: $3.99 US

After the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last year, Emma Gonzales, David Hogg and many of their classmates took it upon themselves to do something about the issue of gun violence in America, especially in schools. They spoke out, advocated, pushed back in the absence of action by the adults tasked with their protection. Their grief and frustration empowered them, and they became an undeniable voice in an international discussion about gun violence. In Ignited, writers Mark Waid and Kwanza Osajyefo explore what might happen is such kids were literally empowered. The result is engrossing and important and viable as an addendum to the larger conversation about these real-world issues. This comic book might have flown under many readers’ radar, since it was released from a smaller publisher, but it’s well worth the effort to seek it out.