Conan: Serpent War #1 (Marvel Comics)
Marvel has been getting their worth out of the Conan The Barbarian license, but they’re been pretty hesitant to use any of Robert E Howard’s other creations. Until now. Serpent War brings Conan, puritan monster hunter Solomon Kane, the fighter Dark Agnes, and….Moon Knight together in a new story that’s being pitched as a big Conan event. However, there’s a lot of set up in Jim Zub and Scot Eaton’s first issue, and not all of it has to do with the character backstories either. Read the rest of this entry
Doctor Doom #2 (Marvel Comics)
Last month we checked in with Victor Von Doom’s first issue, and while it had potential, I was fairly let down in the characterization of ol’ Vic. However, I’m happy to say that issue two, still from writer Christopher Cantwell and artist Salvador Larrocca, is very much a step in the right direction for the character, and the main plot of the series is now in full force. Read the rest of this entry
The Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1 (Marvel Comics)
Tired of Spider-Man comics? Well, Marvel doesn’t care, cause they’re bringing you another Spidey special with Full Circle. But unlike the other Spidey specials that have been released, this one features a veritable who’s who of creators, from Jonathan Hickman, Jason Aaron, Chip Zdarsky, Nick Spencer, Chris Bachalo, Mike Allred, and more crafting this special one shot. As neat as it is though, it doesn’t mean that Full Circle is all that essential. Read the rest of this entry
Doctor Doom #1 (Marvel Comics)
Villain led comics are typically pretty hard to pull off, but that doesn’t mean that Marvel isn’t going to try with Doctor Doom. From Halt and Catch Fire creator Christopher Cantwell and artist Salvador Larocca, the new series focusing on Victor Von Doom is both intriguing and a little confusing, mainly due to the characterization of Doom himself. Read the rest of this entry
Harleen #1 (DC Comics)
The DC Black Label keeps powering on with a new miniseries that has ties to the history of writer/artist Stjepan Sejic work as an indie publisher. Telling a new spin on the origin of Harley Quinn, you’d be forgiven for wondering why this was a story that needed to be retold. Well, surprisingly Harleen is not only a worthy installment of the history of the character, but also serves as one of the most impressive comics of the year. Read the rest of this entry
Batman/Superman #1 (DC Comics)
Every few years DC restarts a team up book for Batman and Superman, and it seems we’re about due for a new one. Unlike previous Superman and Batman series, Batman/Superman #1 is deeply rooted in the main continuity of the DC universe, and directly follows the events of the Batman Who Laughs miniseries that just wrapped up. However, those that didn’t follow that series won’t be completely lost, as the Joshua Williamson and David Marquez debut issue does a pretty good job of serving as an entry point into the modern day DC universe and it’s happenings. Read the rest of this entry
Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun #1 (Marvel Comics)
Comics are used to tell many different stories, but I’m not sure what story Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun is trying to tell. Written by Peter David and drawn by Francesco Manna, this one-shot continues the story from the Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun special from a few months back, but it feels like every other Silver Surfer story you’ve ever read before.
Prodigal Sun essentially follows the same beats as other Silver Surfer stories. In the past, serving as Galactus’ herald, the Surfer arrived at Prodigal’s planet and fought him. Later on, Prodigal learns that he needs the Silver Surfer to help him in his war, and that’s pretty much it. There’s a lot of the same things you’ve read in past Silver Surfer books. There’s really nothing that makes this stand out, other than the fact that this issue focuses on Prodigal.
Peter David is a legend in the industry, but with Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun, he seems to be really resting on his laurels here. There’s no recap for if you didn’t read the Fantastic Four: Prodigal Sun special (which I didn’t), and as I said before, the script doesn’t do a lot to make it stand out from other Silver Surfer stories from before. It’s a bit of a bummer from the writer, but then again, David has been writing for so long that I don’t think it’s that outside of the realm of possibility for him to phone it in every once and a while.
On the art side of things, Francesco Manna’s art is pretty solid. Able to go back and forth between cosmic action and the stoic Silver Surfer moments, Manna makes a definite mark with this issue, and plants his flag firmly in the art style of the Marvel brand. I expect big things from him in the future.
While Silver Surfer: Prodigal Sun isn’t as new reader friendly as I was expecting, Surfer fans will still find enough to like. Plus those that read the previous Fantastic Four special will probably like seeing the story play out. However, it would’ve been cool for David and Manna to make this more of a easier read for those of us that didn’t check in on the previous special.
Once And Future #1 (Boom Studios)
The Arthurian Legend we all thought we knew isn’t nearly as heroic as it seems in Once and Future, which finds the scabbard of the fabled sword Excalibur going missing, and a young man and his grandmother forced into finding the missing item before it’s too late. Despite what legend tells us, King Arthur was not as noble as he seemed, and a group of British Nationalists are conspiring to resurrect the Once and Future King to bring about the Darkest Days of Britain.
Keiron Gillen’s made a name for himself with the fantastic fantasy series Die and The Wicked + Divine, but with Once and Future he adds a bit of Indiana Jones and Uncharted into the mix, as the mystery of King Arthur plays out more like something you’d see in those adventure series than a full blown fantasy epic like the other two series mentioned. That being said, this mystery is really cool, and Gillen adds fun little throw away lines into the mix that really expand on both our lead character Duncan and his badass grandmother Bridgette. They’re an unlikely pair that are instantly entertaining and a blast to watch.
Dan Mora’s made a big splash on Boom! Studios’ Buffy The Vampire Slayer Series, and he proves that he’s an even bigger talent with Once and Future, which allows him to break free from making his characters look like their live action counterparts. Mora’s clean style is awesomely detailed yet simple, and features enough action and motion that you’ll swear that the panels are moving before your eyes. If Buffy was going to to introduce Mora to comic readers, Once and Future is going to jump him up to the next level.
Once and Future at first didn’t seem like a title I would be interested in, but after only this first issue I’m adding this to my pull list. At six issues, it’s not a huge commitment, and the hook is extremely strong. If all goes well, Gillen and Mora could have the miniseries of the year with Once and Future.
Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s coming a little later this year, but we finally have this year’s major Marvel Summer event. Instead of a threat from beyond, this time the Marvel Universe is facing a Spidey-themed threat in the form of Carnage. Powered by the evil symbiote god Knull, Cletus Kasady is making up for lost time, and in Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s opening issue of Absolute Carnage, he’s making sure that everyone will remember his name.
Life’s been strange for Eddie Brock. Well, stranger than usual. Removed from his symbiote other, Brock has to take care of his estranged son (who doesn’t know he’s his son) while staying one step ahead of the police, who are on his trail for a being set up by Cletus Kasady. This would all go a lot smoother if Eddie still had his symbiote, but unlucky for him, it’s nowhere to be found, and Kasady is getting closer and closer to Eddie. But Kasady’s not only going after Eddie, he’s also going after every single person who’s ever worn a symbiote, which is quite a lot of people.
Donny Cates has hyped this event up a lot, and so far, he’s delivering the goods. His script succinctly recaps his run on Venom, and more importantly it sets up Carnage as an even bigger threat than he already is. There’s a strong sense of dread throughout the issue, and that comes from Cates’ carefully plotting the seeds for this event throughout his Venom run. Cates’ long-game strategy is paying off beautifully so far, and I can’t wait to see what other developments spring from it.
Ryan Stegman has been hard at work on this series, and it really shows. Stegman’s art has always been impressive, but it’s increased ten-fold with this issue. Stegman’s already impressive figure work and compositions are heightened, and they really make Cates’ script stand out. While Stegman’s Eddie Brock still looks physically imposing, he has an air of sadness to him that really comes through his body language. Brock’s clearly at his lowest point, but it’s going to be great seeing Stegman give him the heroic moment he deserves.
So far Marvel’s been on a pretty good streak with their big events, and it looks like Absolute Carnage will be another slam dunk for them. While it’s easy to jump into this event cold, you’ll probably get more if you read the start of Cates and Stegman’s Venom run, which is also pretty awesome to boot. For now though, Carnage has come calling, and it’s going to be hell for Marvel’s heroes.
Coffin Bound #1 (Image Comics)
A mix of Tim Burton and Mad Max, Coffin Bound is the latest title from Image Comics, and it’s pretty weird. Focusing on Izzy, a girl who’s being chased by an unstoppable creature called the Eartheater, the Dan Watters written, Dani drawn first issue is definitely one of the weirder comics on the stands. So weird, in fact, that it’s kind of hard to explain. There’s shades of David Lynch in this comic, but also grindhouse fare like Death Proof and a little bit of Evil Dead too. It leads to a book that’s pretty hard to follow, but definitely has it’s own unique style.
Watter’s script drops you right into the center of the action, and doesn’t give you a lot of time to find your footing. While usually I’m able to catch up pretty quickly, I don’t think this was the right call for this comic. Sure, dropping your reader into a universe is a viable way to start your story, but it has to be done in a specific way. Watters’ script just makes you feel disoriented, and it never really recovered for me.
Dani’s art is pretty pitch perfect for this issue. It fits the grindhouse style perfectly, and her weird monster designs are plenty creepy. Hopefully this book, which has a lot of hype around it, will help push her career onto more high profile books, as her work has a very unique look to it that seems to be plenty malleable for other genres.
While Coffin Bound didn’t quite work for me, I have to admit that it’s cool that it plays by its own set of rules. I’m sure this book will find plenty of people to give it a shot, and plenty more of them will want to keep up with it. As for me, it was a neat little diversion that unfortunately was not for me.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 (DC Comics)
Batman: White Knight was a critical and commercial smash for DC and Sean Gordon Murphy, so it’s no surprise that a sequel has come along to expand this corner of the DC universe that I’ll coin the “Murphy-verse”. Unlike the original series, which put a new dynamic on the Joker/Batman relationship, Curse of the White Knight looks back into the past of the Waynes and their ties to Gotham, creating a much different story than the previous one. Read the rest of this entry
Wolverine vs Blade #1 (Marvel Comics)
Lots of times comics fall through the cracks. Whether a series is cancelled too early or it’s a one shot that’s been lost in a drawer somewhere, many times whenever there’s a comic coming out that seemingly has no real reason for being released, that’s the case. And it’s probably definitely the case for Marc Guggenheim and Dave Wilkin’s Wolverine vs Blade one shot, a comic that feels like a relic from the mid-00’s brought to today. Read the rest of this entry