Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman #3

   Those of us old enough to remember the TV series that starred Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) and Lindsay Wagner as The Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers) are bound to enjoy this series teaming up those two icons.

    That's because it faithfully recreates that era and gives both heroines plenty of chances to demonstrate their status as action stars.

   The story starts with a bang as they must find a way to stop a missile attack - and remember, the TV version of WW could not fly under her own power. Luckily, she does have an invisible jet handy.

   The issue spends a bit of time introducing the large cast of villains (and note to writers: adding a gag about all that exposition does not make it less noticeable). The lineup will make fans of the original shows smile - there are lots of familiar faces in there.

   The script by Andy Mangels is lots of fun and gives each character the proper voice, and the art by Judit Tondora is dynamic and does a great job of capturing the image of all the actors who brought the cast to life.

   So if you're in the mood for nostalgia - or just a rollicking good adventure - this series is right in your wheelhouse!

Grade: A-



Monday, March 20, 2017

Archie #18

   The "new look" Archie seems to be a success, and it should be - it manages the almost impossible task of maintaining the comic feel of the classic series while updating it to a more modern style of storytelling.

   One of the secrets of its success: the cast is always in motion, which is a lot of fun.

   So we have Archie finally getting to go on a date with the finally-returned Veronica - but things don't go as planned.

   Betty is on a sorta-kinda date with Dilton, which also does not follow expectations.

   And Cheryl Blossom and her brother try to lure Jughead into solving a mystery. Can he resist the prize offered?

   So it's a fun issue by writer Mark Waid with terrific, high-energy art by Pete Woods.

   But the issue is also a bit irritating for reasons that have nothing to do with the story. The series originally featured short reprints in the back of each issue, but now those pages are given over to ads for the Riverdale TV series.

   Some of that is to be expected, but almost 1/4 of the issue is a bit too much.

   But the comic is well worth buying for the first 20 pages!

Grade: B+


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Monsters Unleashed #5 (of 5)

   As we stagger to the finish of the Monsters Unleashed series (which must hold the record for most world-wide property damage in the Marvel Universe), the whole purpose of the series is revealed.

   The event was designed to promote the new series called - who else? - Monsters Unleashed.

   The series has some high points - excellent art by Adam Kubert, the return of monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone, some good supporting efforts by the Inhumans, the Avengers and the Champions, and a few nods to the classic Marvel monsters.

   Otherwise, it ends up being a lot of destruction as evil monsters fight superheroes and good monsters. Face it, there's not a lot of deep thought going on here.

   And all this just to set up a new series with a handful of monsters being led by the new Inhuman Kid Kaiju?

   I'm not sure it was all worth it, but I suppose that'll depend on what happens next.

   So, not a bad series, but not an exceptional one, either.

Grade: B


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Iron Fist - TV Review

   When I get ready to write a review, I make it a point to avoid reading anyone else's review. But I've seen enough comments on Social Media to know that quite a few reviewers have been giving Iron Fist low marks.

   So far I've only seen the first episode of the latest Marvel / Netflix production, and it's apparent that the creative team is doing a slow rollout of (and introduction to) the main characters - but I like it!

  The focus, of course, is on Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones), a young man whose father was a powerful man who owned a huge corporation. Danny and his parents crashed on a flight over (I believe) the Himalayas, and all were presumed dead - so it's a shock to the owners of the company when Danny shows up - alive, natch - at their door in New York more than a decade later.

   The answer to the question of where he's been is hinted at - Danny mentions the land of K'un L'un and that he was trained in martial arts there (skills he gets to demonstrate a few times through the episode).

   He finds a would-be ally in another martial artist, the beautiful Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick), and he encounters new enemies in his childhood playmates, Ward and Joy Meachum (played with wicked verve by Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup).

   So how can he prove his identity? Why has he returned to his New York home? Why do the Meachums refuse to listen to him? What secret are they hiding? And when will we get to see the Iron Fist in action?

   And why the bad reviews? The characters are interesting, there are some good plot twists, and the series has a nice Kung Fu vibe (which, for those not old enough to remember, was the TV series starring David Carridine as a Shaolin Monk wandering the old west).

   I assume the reviews largely spring from either: 1) the desire of some reviewers to slam Marvel over something - there are those who can't stand success; or 2) they're angry because Danny is a white guy. There are those who think that's offensive, that a martial artist trained in China should be Chinese - and he could have been, I suppose - but the original story cast him as a white anglo-saxon, and it makes sense to stick to the original concept, just as they did with Luke Cage and the Black Panther.

   Hopefully they'll get around to creating a series or film starring Shang-Chi, and all will be well.

   In the meantime this is yet another terrific series from NetFlix - I'm looking forward to seeing the rest in the series!

Grade: A



Friday, March 17, 2017

The Wild Storm #2

   Writer Warren Ellis has returned to the scene of the crime - which is to say, some of his best work was under the Wildstorm heading - and now he's in charge of the reboot and/or revival of the line.

   He's doing that in a 24-issue series, The Wild Storm - and it's off to a tantalizing start.

    With terrific work by artist Jon Davis-Hunt and color artist Steve Buccellato, they're gradually (re)introducing the assorted characters who inhabit that universe.

   (I'm assuming that this series does not take place in the DC Universe, even though the "New 52" brought the Wildstorm characters under its umbrella. I think.)

   It's a "real world" adventure where the elements of the fantastic are mostly out of sight from the general public - and most of them are based in alien artifacts.

   The spark for the events centers around a young woman who wears alien armor, rescues a man from certain death, and then flies off to a mysterious location.

   Several individuals and agencies are trying to get to her first, and we get a look at some of their resources.

   The story is building slowly, but it's fun to see familiar characters in a new light.

   So far, so good!

Grade: A-


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Neil Gaiman's American Gods #1

   It's always a treat to see more comics from Neil Gaiman, even if those comics are "just" an adaptation of one of his novels.

   That same novel, American Gods, is also being translated into a TV mini-series from Starz.

   For the comics version, Dark Horse has enlisted some top-notch talent - P. Craig Russell provides the layouts and the script (adapting Gaiman's novel), and Scott Hampton crafts the finished art.

   With that pedigree, do I need to say that this is a terrific comic?

   Well, it is.

   It follows a man named Shadow who is sentenced to three years in prison. He's intelligent, careful and intimidating enough to pass his time in jail peacefully - but when he's finally released, his life goes mad.

   He has visions of strange creatures and terrible warnings. Then, he gets an enigmatic offer that promises to take his life in a wildly different direction.

   The issue is mostly dedicated to introducing some of the cast and putting the story into play, but it's captivating and whets the reader's appetite for more.

   What more do you need? It's terrific. Buy it, already!

Grade: A


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Comics Day

   Here's what I picked up at the comics shop today:

Neil Gaiman American Gods #1 - Based on the novel, with art by P. Craig Russell and Scott Hampton!  

Archie #18 - Ronnie’s back in town!

Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #6 - Breaking out of prison!

Daredevil #18 - The return of the Purple Man!

Totally Awesome Hulk #17 - Feeding time.

Justice League #17 - Lost in time.

Monsters Unleashed #5 (Of 5) - The final showdown - and a new team of monsters.

Punisher #10 - Anything can be a weapon in his hands.

Super Sons #2 - Facing Luthor.

Mighty Thor #17 - The battle of the gods continues!

The Wild Storm #2 - Things get strange.

   And I received review copies of:

Clandestino #6 - The big finish!

Divinity III Escape From Gulag 396 #1 - Archer and Armstrong, enemies of the state!

Doctor  Who 10th Year Three #3 - Back in action! 

Forever War #2 - Just the beginning!

Khaal #3 (of 4) - To conquer the stars!

Peter David’s Artful #4 - The vampire menace.

Soulfire #1 - A new beginning for the fantasy adventure!

Warhammer 40000 RevelationsE #1 (of 4) - A new story begins!

Wonder Woman ’77 Bionic Woman #3 (of 6) - An army against them! 

Zombie Tramp Ongoing #33 - A voodoo princess.

    And that's it!