Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Mighty Thor #12

   For this issue, The Mighty Thor pays a visit to a library.

   To be fair, it's not just any library - it's the Hall of the All-Knowing, the library of the gods. (Admit it, you'd like to have access to it, too.)

   She's there at the urging of the hammer Mjolnir, which has been behaving oddly - and exhibiting intelligence.

   So she looks for answers, and finds some (though not all, of course). It's a mystery that stretches back into the history of Asgard and battles decided by the power of Odin.

   The story by Jason Aaron is that most dreaded of creatures - a retcon - but it's not terribly intrusive and mostly sticks to corners that have been untouched (though it seems to ignore stories that depicted Odin using Mjolnir in battle - when Thor was just a boy).

   The art chores are divided between Russell Dauterman and Frazer Irving, as they divide the modern-day story from the historic action. It's strong, vibrant work all around.

   This series continues to be surprising and entertaining - but I do miss the real Thor, and it's frustrating that we still don't know what caused him to be "unworthy." Perhaps his promised new series will clue us in.

Grade: B+


Friday, October 21, 2016

Death of X #2 (of 4)

   As the Death of X series continues to set up the upcoming conflict between the X-Men and the Inhumans, we can pause to reflect on the nature of Marvel's "hero vs. hero" tradition.

   It goes back a long way - in fact, almost every time two Marvel heroes first met in the Silver Age, they fought.

   Usually it was because of a misunderstanding (Iron Man vs. Sub-Mariner), or jealousy (Spider-Man vs. the Human Torch), a test (Fantastic Four vs. the Black Panther), or the plot of a villain (Captain America vs. Iron Man) - but the real reason for the fight was because it was fun.

   And that's why the tradition continues, right into last summer's hit movie. But for it to work, there has to be an acceptable reason for the fight.

   And so far, this series has managed to set up a good motivation.

   The Inhumans released the Terrigen Mist into the Earth's atmosphere, and now a cloud sweeps around the planet, releasing the inner potential of people with the Inhuman gene.

   But that mist is having a devastating effect on mutants - and the X-Men are demanding that the Inhumans do something about it. Will they cooperate - or will conflict result?

   Take a wild guess, true believer!

   But the potential for an entertaining story is strong. We'll see if it delivers.

Grade: A-


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dark Knight III - The Master Race #6 (of 8)

   The Master Race threatening the Earth (and Gotham City in particular) seems unbeatable - it's an army of super-powered fanatics from Kandor (the bottle city from Krypton).

   Now grown to normal size, they've rained destruction across the globe, and not even Superman can stand against them.

   But Batman, of course, has a plan to level the field.

   This issue is loaded with intense confrontations, delightfully improbably battles and some gruesome bits of business.

   It also has a helluva cliffhanger ending - one that hearkens back to another classic Batman moment.

   I'm still not quite sold on the story here - I like Batman better when he's dealing with more street-level menaces, rather than super-powered extravaganzas - but there's plenty of time to change my mind.

   With terrific art and powerful writing - and I love those mini-comics inside each issue - this is a series you should not miss.

Grade: A-


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1

   Here's a comic that could be sold by the title alone: Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye.

 But I didn't buy it for the title - I picked it up because Cave Carson was the star of the first "hero" comic I remember reading (a story I told in this post).

   Cave's adventures were limited back in the '60s, but just seeing the title of this new series jabbed me right in my nostalgia zone (and that tickles, I can tell you).

   This issue is set under the Young Animal imprint DC has started under Gerard Way's guidance, and so far, so good.

    This is an odd issue, with moments of "normal DC" events (as Cave checks in with the company that uses his "Mighty Mole Machine" technology to seek out rare elements) - and then there are the "weird DC" events, as we discover Cave's malfunctioning eye, and he's confronted by a strange figure from his past.

   There's a tragic element throughout, as Cave learns to deal with loss and tries to connect with his grown daughter.

   There are also a couple of terrific cameos that will delight long-time readers.

   It's all strange and odd and not much at all like that first adventure in 1960 - but it's also mysterious and fascinating and I'm totally hooked.

   Can't wait for the next issue!

Grade: A-



New Comics Day

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

- Archie #13 - Welcome Cheryl Blossom!

- Astro City #40 - The trial of a lifetime!

- Black Widow #7 - No more secrets!

- Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye #1 - A new take on a classic hero.

- Dark Knight III Master Race #6 (of 8) - War in Gotham!

- Death of X #2 (of 4) - The Inhumans are killing the mutants. Or are they?

- Doctor Strange #13 - Lost and found?

- Justice League #7 - Fight the fear.

- Powers #7 - Flashback time!

- Mighty Thor #12 - The secret origin of Mjolnir!

- Usagi Yojimbo #158 - A strange journey.

- All New X-Men #14 - Game on!

   And I received review copies of:

Assassins Creed Locus #2 (OF 4) 

Dishonored #4 (OF 4) 

Doctor Who 10TH YEAR TWO

- Doctor Who 12TH YEAR TWO

- Doctor Who 3RD #2 (OF 5) 

- Doctor Who Supremacy of the Cybermen #4 (OF 5)

Faith #4

- Ninjak #20

- Norman #5

Penny Dreadful #5 (OF 5) 

Samurai Brothers in Arms #2 (OF 6) 

Sherlock A Study in Pink #5 (OF 6) 

Torchwood #2 

   And that's it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Peepland #1

   This is the first of the line of Hard Case Crime comics I've seen, but if Peepland is any indication, they're definitely angling for stories about the grimy underbelly of society.

   Set in 1986, this series, which is definitely just for adults, follows a stripper / sex worker named Roxy who is working in a Peep Show (performing salacious acts while the customer watches).

   A slimy acquaintance named Dirty Dick (I am not making this up) is being pursued by some toughs, and his escape attempt leads him through the Peep Show, where he hides a VHS tape.

   The secret hidden on the tape throws Roxy and her friends into a mystery - a deadly one.

   The story is written by Christa Faust and Gary Philips, and it evokes a grim hardboiled crime story - one that's all too realistic and unsavory.

   I like the art by Andrea Camerini - it's vivid and real, with a surprising use of depth and great characters.

   It's well crafted but not for the faint of heart - and certainly not for kids.

Grade: B+


Monday, October 17, 2016

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #12

   In this series, the Eternal Warrior has gone to Hell.


   (It's no wonder he's feeling so much wrath.)

   As recent issues have disclosed, despite his title it is possible for Gilad Anni-Padda to die.

   When he does, he finds himself in "heaven" (sorta kinda), reunited with his wife and children. Why would he ever leave?

   But his sense of duty leads him to return to the land of the living, but it's not an easy thing to manage - because first he must fight his way past an army of demons in Hell, including the mountainous monster named Humongous.

   But for the first time, the parameters of the battle have changed, making it a fight Gilad can't win.

   That's because his oldest son Kalam has followed Gilad and been captured by the demons, who use him as a bargaining chip.

   So for Gilad, apparently surrender the only option.

   This series has been a bit on the grim and gritty side, but it also has heart, courage and a smart hero. Add in sharp scripts by Robert Venditti and excellent, vivid (and often epic) artwork by Robert Gill, and you have a powerful story to enjoy.

Grade: A-


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Warhammer 40,000: Will of Iron #1 (of 4)

   I know almost nothing about Warhammer 40,000.

   Here's what I know: it's a really popular game, it's science fiction-based, and the visuals are stunning.

   I probably wouldn't know anything about it if not for a young man I interviewed many years ago who was a salesman for the company that marketed the game, and he had a case filled with amazing figures (statues?) from the series that were exquisitely painted and loaded with amazing detail.

   So like I said: I know nothing.

   So I approach this series (subtitled Will of Iron) as a blank slate - and while I obviously have a steep learning curve ahead of me, I have to admit I enjoyed this issue.

   As near as I can tell, the story follows a conflict between at least three different factions fighting over a newly-revealed planet.

   The attack gives new meaning to "shock and awe," as they launch giant machines that crash to the planet's surface, covered in flames. There they spit out armored legions that attack the strange animal-like creatures that live there.

   Why is all this happening? Well, I haven't sorted that out yet - but the visuals are stunning and I trust that the reasons behind the conflict will become more clear as the story rolls along.

   The art by Tazio Bettin is terrific - powerful and detailed, with impressive alien vistas and character designs.

   The story by George Mann covers a lot of ground and throws quite a bit of info at the reader, but keeps things relatively clear for those new, clueless readers.

   Like me.

Grade: A-