Monthly Archives: March 2020

Creepy Crawlers

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1
“Haunted Mansion”
Writers: Jonathan Hickman & Alan Davis
Artist: Alan Davis
Colors: Carlos Lopez
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy’s Clayton Cowles
Cover artists: Davis (regular)/Ben Caldwell (variant)
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $4.99 US

I was blown away by Jonathan Hickman’s retooling of the X-Men franchise with House of X and Powers of X, with the injection of world-building, politics and sociology. But when I checked out the first issue of the relaunched X-Men series, I didn’t find the same level of inventiveness and complexity. As such, I decided not to delve into the various new X-related titles coming fast and furiously from Marvel. But when I saw that Alan Davis was contributing to this related one-shot, my interest was re-engaged. Davis’ art is stunning, of course, but I was also keen to see him reconnect with Nightcrawler, a character with whom he was closely associated from his run on Excalibur years ago. Unfortunately, this one-shot really never rises above the level of hum-drum, and at this price point and with these normally spectacular talents involved, I expected a lot more.

It’s a Nice Day for a Weird Wedding

The Ludacrats #1
“I. The Fine and Ludicrous Institution of Matrimony. Also. Murder.”
Writers: Kieron Gillen & Jim Rossignol
Artist: Jeff Stokely
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Chrissy Williams
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99 US

After I began to draft this review, providing an advance look at this new title from Image Comics, Diamond Comic Distributors announced it was halting shipments of new comics to stores following this week. That means it’ll be well beyond April 1 before many will get a chance to see it (a shame, as April Fool’s Day would have been perfect timing for this title’s release). Though it may be some time before comics enthusiasts can get their hands on this book, they’d do well to remember the title. This stands out as incredibly unique, an exuberant belch of creativity and a celebration of taboos and poor taste, all dressed up for a murderous prom.

Kid’s Critique: Hex Vet: The Flying Surgery

Editor’s note: It’s been two years since my son, Callum, has posted a review on this site, but in this time of self-isolation and cancelled, we decided it was a great time to do some writing. Feedback and comments are welcome.

Hex Vet: The Flying Surgery original graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Sam Davies
Editor: Bryce Carlson
Publisher: Boom! Studios/Kaboom imprint
Price: $9.99 US/$11.99 CAN

I think that this book is a nice mix of magic and veterinary medicine. The story elements go together very nicely. I also think I will read it again because it is so original; it’s almost like a whole new genre! If it were in the real world, it would be pretty cool. I like to think of it as an explosion of themes. And I liked how the characters said things; it was pretty good too. 

Ready, Fett, Go!

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1
Galaxy’s Deadliest, Part 1: Ghosts of Corellia”
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Paolo Villanelli
Colors: Arif Prianto
Letters: Virtual Calligraphy’s Travis Lanham
Cover artists: Lee Bermejo (regular)/Dave Johnson, Kaare Andrews and Michael Golden (variants)
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US

Given the popularity of The Mandolorian as part of the Disney+ streaming service’s launch last fall, it should come as no surprise that Marvel is releasing a bounty-hunter title set in the Star Wars universe. And while I don’t follow Star Wars comics much, my interest was piqued thanks to appreciation of The Mandolorian. Now, this title doesn’t feature that character, but rather Boba Fett and Bossk, a couple of bounty hunters from the original trilogy, but I decided to give this comic a go anyway. Unfortunately, I found little here to hold my attention. The plot – about a bunch of nefarious characters looking to get even with a former ally – feels hackneyed, and the art seems more focused on cool poses and pinup moments rather than telling a clear story. This is a wholly forgettable story that will likely appeal only to the most dedicated Star Wars fans and completists.

Frail, the Conquering Hero

Strange Adventures #1
“Chapter 1: They floated above the ground”
Writer: Tom King
Artists/Colors/Cover artists: Mitch Gerads & Evan “Doc” Shaner
Letters: Clayton Cowles 
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99 US

When people find out I’m into comics, they inevitably ask me who my favorite super-hero is. After I note that I’m into all sorts of genres in the medium, I add that I don’t really follow characters anymore, but creators. One of the creators whose work I follow intently these days is writer Tom King. I’m inclined to say he can do no wrong in my eyes, but that’s not entirely true (Heroes in Crisis, while rife with potential, was awkwardly executed). Nevertheless, after the thoroughly entertaining and thought-provoking Mr. Miracle series, I was eager to see what King would do with another second-tier DC character. His take on Adam Strange boasts a lot of the qualities that made Mr. Miracle so compelling… in fact, it almost features too much of what made that prior project so good. The beats, plot and structure here elicit far-too-easy comparisons, and while King offers a novel interpretation of Strange, it doesn’t feel all that distinct from his exploration of Scott Free.