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Comic Review – Tony Stark: Iron Man #1

Tony Stark Iron Man #1 Cover

Once upon a time there was a poor little rich boy who made his own toys to keep himself amused. In time he became a poor little rich man, whose toys made him richer still, though poor in spirit. That changed after some very bad men took the poor little rich man away from his mansion and asked him to make a toy for them. A deadly toy.

He wound up escaping from the bad men with the help of a true friend and the best toy the poor little rich man had ever made. From that day forth, the poor little rich man was a changed man, devoting his life and his riches toward helping others.

That poor little rich man was named Tony Stark. And the toy that he made became known as Iron Man.

Andy Bhang remembers the Tony Stark who was once a poor little rich boy – one who did not play well with others, even at something so simple as a robotic soccer tournament. As such, he isn’t happy when Tony Stark buys his company out from under him, lock, stock and barrel. He is surprised, however, when Tony Stark shows up on his doorstep to whisk him away in a flying car to the headquarters of Stark Unlimited with a job offer.

As stunned as Andy is by what goes on behind the doors of Tony Stark’s research and development company, he is even more stunned when a typical day at work  – which for Tony involves fielding complaints from the Robot Resources department over the discrimination the artificial intelligences are experiencing at the hands of their human counterparts – is interrupted by a dragon attack. Then Andy is treated to a front row seat as Tony Stark goes to his “other job” to save New York City faster than you can say Dovahkiin.

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The chief problem with Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 is one that stymies most writers who try to handle Tony Stark, particularly in the wake of Robert Downey Jr.’s masterful portrayal of the character in the films. Tony is a funny guy but he also comes off as an arrogant jerk. He has learned a modicum of humility but he still pushes peoples buttons by sheer virtue of his expansive personality. It’s hard for most writers to manage that balancing act and create a Tony Stark who is both larger than life but still sympathetic to readers.

Many writers overcome this by telling their story through Tony’s eyes and focusing on the thoughts of the man behind the mask. Dan Slott adopts a different tactic in Tony Stark: Iron Man #1, using Andy Bhang as our point-of-view character while twisting the weirdness and comedy knobs up to 11, as Slott turns Stark Unlimited into a twisted combination of Google and Willy Wonka’s factory. Unfortunately, most of the jokes fall flat and most of the characters sound like reference-dropping machines rather than real people.

The artwork is similarly muddled. Valerio Schiti’s artwork is inoffensive enough, save that the thick inks on the line-work kill the detailing on any panels that are not close-ups. Virtually every character in this book not portrayed in a close-up seems to be rendered with a perpetual squint. There are also a number of forced poses, with dialogue that suggests calmness spoken by characters who seem to be in the middle of shouting. The color art by Edgar Delgado is nice enough, but it’s a pretty paint-job on a run-down house.

It’s a bit hard to judge this series by its first issue, which seems to be a one-shot story despite being labeled as the first part of a storyline called “Self-Made Man.” As it stands, fans of Iron Man who aren’t too picky may enjoy this series, but those who don’t already love Tony Stark won’t have their opinions changed.

6/10

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 releases on June 20, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

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Comic Review – Plastic Man #1

Plastic Man #1 Cover

Patrick “Eel” O’Brian was as slippery and slimy as the animal that prompted his underworld nickname. He was a career criminal. A con artist. A petty thief. A cheap thug. The sort of sordid individual whose best effort to clean up and straighten out his life ended with him taking a job as the night manager of a seedy superhero-themed strip club in the worst part of Cole City.

The funny thing is that Eel O’Brian has been reborn. At least, he’s pretty sure that he died. Or at least felt like he was dead. Or maybe he just wished that he was dead after he was exposed to some weird chemical and his former partners in crime tossed him out of the getaway car following a botched robbery .

Whatever happened to him, Eel O’Brian has seen the error of his ways and is ready to bounce back in a big way. He doesn’t remember much about that night, but he distinctly remembers that a security guard died during the robbery that turned Eel into a nigh-invulnerable, shape-shifting super-freak. And Eel is going to track down his former friends and deliver some justice. Somehow.

That was his plan, anyway. Unfortunately Fate, as represented by an agent of the covert organization called Spyral, has bigger plans for Eel O’Brian. Plans that involve a sinister cabal of the most brilliant and evil geniuses in existence and their plot to take over the world. Only one man has the skills and powers needed to infiltrate their organization while remaining beneath their notice… and unfortunately for us all, that man is Eel O’Brian.

I should note something for the benefit of those readers who are parents who are mostly familiar with Plastic Man from his appearances in various cartoons – this is not a kid-friendly comic! This should, perhaps, be obvious, given the fact that the cover features a blood-soaked body. Then again, you never can tell with some people, so let me say again that the general wacky tone of this book is more in line with Deadpool than anything you’ll see on Justice League Action, Batman: The Brave and The Bold or The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.

This should be no surprise given that this comic is written by Gail Simone, who got her start in mainstream comics writing Deadpool before going on to horrify decent people everywhere with both volumes of the villain-focused series Secret Six. (Fun Fact: Superiors, the strip club Eel O’Brian manages, is a nod to a business frequented by the main characters in Secret Six.) What is surprising, however, is how neatly Simone has updated the classic origins of Plastic Man for the reality of DC Comics Rebirth.

By way of a for instance, Plastic Man was originally recruited as an FBI Agent after acquiring his powers. Given Eel O’Brian’s criminal record and lack of qualifications, that would never happen today. Recruiting him for Spyral, on the other hand, is a brilliant conceit, given their established history of employing vigilantes and other people with questionable backgrounds. This is one fine detail of many that makes Simone’s script a neat nod to Plastic Man’s origins as well as a fun read on its own terms

Sadly, the artwork by Adriana Melo doesn’t quite equal up to the writing. Melo’s pencils are fantastic, but some of her inks are overly thick and give the finished art a weight that seems at odds with the light aesthetic that Plastic Man demands. Yet these inks perfectly suit the more Noir-based scenes detailing Eel O’Brian’s efforts to play detective. Altogether, the art works more often than it doesn’t, even ignoring the many sight gags Melo sneaks into the background, such as Eel wearing a DC Superhero Girls T-shirt. The colors are nicely applied as well.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of Plastic Man and/or dark comedy, you’ll want to pick this one up.

8/10

Plastic Man #1 releases on June 13, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Justice League #1

Justice League #1 Cover In the wake of the invasion by The Dark Multiverse, the destruction of The Source Wall and the coming of The Omega Titans, The Justice League have expanded their ranks. Though a core team still exists, most of The World’s Finest Heroes have been recruited to act in a reserve capacity to face those threats even greater than The League at large.

One of those threats – six teams of genetically altered prehistoric humans, dubbed Neoanderthals – have taken the world by storm, attacking by land, sea and air. Worse yet, some new being – a Totality containing all of the power of The Source Wall – is coming right for Earth. All of this news comes in the face of an announcement by The Green Lanterns that, by their best estimates, the multiverse has less than a year before it collapses completely!

There is only one group that can stop the coming disaster. And it isn’t the Justice League. Not if Lex Luthor has anything to say about it….

“Epic” is the only word that adequately describes Justice League #1. I’m using the word in its classical definition, meaning a long poem detailing a series of heroic exploits. Though the more modern definition referring to something impressive also applies.

Justice League #1 is the capstone of the tale Scott Snyder has been spinning for most of the past year in Dark Nights: Metal and No Justice. It’s too early to say, but based on this first issue we may be treated to the greatest Justice League comic since Grant Morrison’s legendary JLA run from nearly 20 years ago.

It’s hard to put a finger on precisely why Snyder’s story resonates as well as it does, but two noteworthy aspects of the comic are its treatment of Martian Manhunter and the clever ways in which Snyder utilizes classic elements of DC Comics mythology to create something new. For instance, the opening sequence describes the newly-built Hall of Justice and how it has a museum that is open to the public but the portion of the building utilized by The Justice League is telepathically hidden behind a door that is visible only to those people Martian Manhunter allows to see it.

Likewise, we learn that the basic design of The Hall of Justice was inspired by a Martian symbol that J’onn J’onzz found fitting in describing their goals. While not literally translating as “justice”, the symbol refers to an effort to progress beyond the natural laws regarding what is or is not possible and impose a higher standard upon reality. All of this helps to establish the power and influence of a character long associated with The Justice League in the comics, who was largely neglected by The New 52 reboot seven years ago.

The artists treat this grand story with the reverence it deserves. Jim Cheung’s character designs are amazing and the action of the various fight sequences flows naturally from panel to panel. Mark Morales’s inks properly enhance the original pencils without obscuring them. And the colors by Tomeu Morey are brilliant.

If you haven’t been reading Justice League, this is the perfect time to start. Despite building off of all of Scott Snyder’s more recent works, this book is surprisingly friendly to new readers. It is truly epic in every sense of the word.

9/10

Justice League #1 releases on June 6, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Man of Steel #1 Teaser

Comic Review – Man Of Steel #1

 Man of Steel #1 Cover

What can be said about The Man of Steel #1?

Does it dramatically redefine the Superman mythology? No.

Does it seem like it’s about to radically change everything we know about Superman and Krypton? No.

Does it seem like the coming of Brian Michael Bendis to DC Comics was over-hyped? A little bit.

Is it a bad comic? No. Not even close.

Is it a solid Superman story? Yes, it is that. But not much more than that. So far.

Unfortunately, what The Man of Steel #1 delivers is about what I expected based on Brian Michael Bendis’ first Superman story in Action Comics #1000. The parts involving Superman being Superman and doing Super-things are incredibly good and interesting. The parts involving Rogal Zaar – the new villain Bendis created, who has some kind of vendetta against The Kryptonian Race – are not. This leads to an odd paradox, given Bendis’ reputation for writing fantastic character-building scenes, which drives to the heart of the problem most writers seem to have when it comes to handling Superman.

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Superman is at his worst as a character, to borrow a phrase from Mark Waid in Kingdom Come, when the “Super” is emphasized over the “Man”. Throwing Superman against a never-ending series of seemingly invincible enemies is just boring. This does not mean, however, that Superman is a dull character. His stories are frequently dull, however, because writers can’t think of anything to do with him other than keep throwing more and more powerful villains at him.

The best Superman stories, therefore, are the ones that explore who Clark Kent is as a person and show him having to work around the problems that all the super powers in the world can’t solve. Stories like Miracle Monday, What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice and The American Way? and All-Star Superman are fondly remembered because they saw Superman being tested on a moral battlefield. Of course this sort of story is far more difficult to manage, which is why many writers don’t bother.

The grand irony of The Man of Steel #1 is that there are several moments where Bendis absolutely nails the character of Superman and puts his own unique touch on the Superman mythos. There is one moment, for instance, where Superman is listening for trouble on his nightly patrol and overhears a woman singing a song that he vaguely recognizes but can’t remember the name of. The problem is quickly put aside as a crisis arises but it’s a brief moment that shows how very human Superman is at his core. Who hasn’t heard a snippet of a song and briefly had their routine thrown into sharp relief as they tried to remember what it was?

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Bendis also manages that most difficult of all tricks and writes a Superman who is honestly funny and pokes fun at the villains he faces without being mean. I honestly heard Christopher Reeve’s voice in my head reading some of the dialogue in this issue. Which is why it is so heartbreaking that so much of this issue is devoted to introducing Rogal Zaar instead of seeing Clark Kent spend time with his wife and son.

I’m sad to say that the artwork is about as uneven as the writing. Ivan Reis is a fantastic artist, but Joe Prado seems to be a poor partner for him. Prado’s inks muddy some of Reis’ pencils, leaving some pages looking like watercolors rather than inked artwork in terms of the amount of definition that comes through. The colors by Alex Sinclair are nice and vivid, but the only two pages with an consistent view to them are the final two, which were drawn and inked by Jay Fabok.

In the end, Man of Steel #1 is worth picking up if you’re a fan of Superman or any of the creators involved. So far, it doesn’t seem like this series will be the grand, reality-altering epic that was promised over a month ago. Still, it’s a solid Superman story with some good moments and good artwork.

7/10

The Man of Steel #1 releases on May 30, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #5

The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson #5 Cover

It’s the opening day of The Nick Wilson Experience – a museum devoted to Earth’s first (and so far only) superhero. All-American Nick Wilson lost his powers almost as quickly as he gained them, falling far from the heights of fame and fortune he once enjoyed. He had been squeaking out a shameful living as a Nick Wilson impersonator at children’s birthday parties. Now, he’s getting ready to start earning an even more shameful living working for his former arch-enemy – billionaire genius Clive Morganfield – who financed The Nick Wilson Experience as a tax dodge and a way to finally “win” their rivalry by putting Nick under his control.

At least, that was Clive’s plan. There’s just one problem. Nick is MIA!

Has Nick regained his powers? Or maybe his self-respect? No, he’s searching downtown Cleveland for the bookstore that employs some woman he met at a bar, whose contact info he forgot to get.

Will Nick find the woman of his dreams? Will he find a way to be a hero and strike a blow for good without superpowers? Will Clive succeed in his evil schemes? And most importantly, will we see Further Adventures of Nick Wilson after The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #5?

The Further Adventures Of Nick Wilson #5 Variant Cover

Clearly, I’m not going to answer those first few questions, but the last question can be answered with a resounding “yes”! At least, if writer Marc Andreyko’s afterword about this being “the end of the first Nick Wilson mini-series” can be believed. I think it can, but it’s worth noting that Andreyko also notes that he doesn’t know “when I will visit with Nick and Jane and Xavier…”

Hopefully the wait between visits will not be a long one, because this little series was something magical. The characters created by Andreyko and Eddie Gorodetsky feel like real people despite inhabiting an unreal world. The odds are good you know a lovable shlub like Nick or a woman like Jane who was the girl everyone wanted to be or be with in high school only to have everything go south after graduation. If you’re unlucky you probably know someone like Clive Morganfield, who will use whatever power they can get their hands on to indulge their petty grudges and devote their lives to feuds that no one else cares about.

Another interesting note is the way the series turns the city of Cleveland itself into a character. Cities have character, of course – personalities all their own. Yet few comic book settings ever seem to establish their own unique aura, with the notable exceptions of Gotham City as envisioned by Tim Burton, Metropolis as written by Dan Jurgens or James Robinson’s Opal City in Starman.

Talking of Starman, former Starman artist Stephen Sadowski brings it home with his performance on this final issue. His work is always fantastic, but the work here sets a new high-water mark. The colors and lettering, by Hi-Fi and A Larger World respectively – are also fantastic.

I don’t know when we’ll meet Nick Wilson and company again. I just hope that we do. And if we do not, we still got one heck of a story with great artwork before it ended. If you haven’t been picking up this series, be sure to order the trade-paperback collection that will be coming out soon. I will be very surprised if this series doesn’t get nominated for at least one Eisner.

10/10


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Quicksilver: No Surrender #1

Quicksilver No Surrender #1 Cover

Pietro Maximoff is the fastest man in the world. When it comes to running, there is no one better. Hence why, when two immortals with a fondness for games incapacitated most of Earth’s heroes for the sake of a wager, he was chosen to run a race for the sake of The Earth itself.

With his sister, The Scarlet Witch, using her powers to push his speed beyond its previous limits, Pietro was able to win the race and save the world. Or so he thinks. The world is still there around him, albeit frozen in a single moment in time.

As far as Pietro can tell, he is moving so fast that time itself can’t touch him. Worse yet, there’s something else in the space between seconds. Something as fast as him. Something that looks like him. Something that is trying to kill innocent people in the time it takes to blink…

Despite some impressive portrayals on the Silver Screen (including the best scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse), Quicksilver has yet to benefit from the same level of popularity and name recognition as a certain “Fastest Man Alive” on a different Earth. Part of that may be due to the complicated status regarding the character in the comics, thanks to the legal shenanigans involving his status in The Real World.

In order for Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch – long portrayed as the long lost children of X-Men villain Magneto – to be used in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, their backstories had to be changed so they were no longer mutants. This is because Fox Studios owns the film rights to all of Marvel Comics’ X-Men characters as well as any characters who are mutants.

The practical upshot is that this has left Quicksilver with nowhere to go in the comics. The Avengers writers can’t use him on a regular basis due to editorial fiat that the book has to promote characters from the movies. The X-Men writers don’t want him now that he’s not a mutant.  And while Pietro does have a long association with The Inhumans… well, hanging around with your ex-wife’s family? ‘Nuff said.

The good news is that Quicksilver: No Surrender #1 avoids a lengthy discussion of these matters, beyond Pietro having been an Avenger and a hero as well as a terrorist who fought The X-Men. The bad news is that without an explanation of who he is outside of his powers, Pietro comes off as rather shallow and dull as a character.

The best bits of the book come when Pietro shows off the one thing that has ever distinguished him from Barry Allen and Wally West – his bad attitude. By his own admission, Pietro is “a petty man” who finds “great amusement in mocking the people who annoy me.” Yet one can’t help but smile as Pietro tracks down Magneto purely for the purpose of dressing him up like a clown and taking pictures. The fact that his camera phone shouldn’t be able to work if time is frozen does not diminish the power of the joke.

Apart from that, virtually every aspect of Saladin Ahmed’s story seems to have been lifted from earlier The Flash comics – even Pietro’s introduction where he introduces himself as “The Fastest Man On Earth!” The idea of a speedster being trapped in a world where everything around them is frozen? It’s been done. Repeatedly. A super-fast superhero fighting a dark duplicate who is as fast as they are? Speedster Problems 101.

The artwork is nearly as bland as the story, with the frozen world represented by a complete lack of color. This is a stylistic choice which, ironically, this only helps to highlight Eric Nguyen’s pencils, which are lightly but visibly inked, apart from Pietro. This has the interesting visual effect of making Pietro appear to be the ghost he feels like. This also makes what few colors Color Artist Rico Renzi utilizes burn all the brighter. The final effect makes it appear that a four-color superhero has somehow forced his way into a Japanese Manga!

In the end, Quicksilver: No Surrender #1 works far better for the set-up for a bigger story than it does as an introduction to one of Marvel Comics’ most conflicted and interesting characters. Hopefully later issues will delve deeper into Pietro Maximoff’s rich history. For now, at least, this comic serves as a decent continuation of the No Surrender storyline but it’s no great character piece.

6/10


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Justice League: No Justice #1

Justice League No Justice #1 Cover

It was Earth’s darkest hour. The Collector of Worlds known as Brainiac had come and immediately sought battle with the World’s Finest heroes. The Justice League, The Teen Titans – even The Suicide Squad faced him. They failed and were captured, taken to the deepest reaches of space.

The fact that they had been spared at all stunned them. What shocked them even more was that Brainiac had come not in conquest but with a warning of a cosmic threat that could lay waste to all reality!  It is a menace that operates wholly on logic and thus can only be bested by something never before attempted – unions of hero and villain never before seen in the history of any world in the Multiverse!

The question remains – will the greatest enemies of The Justice League and Teen Titans kill them before this new enemy can? Or will they all find a way to work together even as all reality goes mad around them?

Justice League No Justice Teams

When the concept for Justice League: No Justice was announced, fans were flabbergasted. How can you have a Justice League team with the likes of Lobo, Lex Luthor and Deathstroke? Who thought pairing Beast Boy and Batman was a good idea? What is Starro The Flipping Conqueror doing in this thing?

The reasoning of this became apparent after Dark Nights Metal and the reasoning is that there is no reasoning. Picking up from where that mini-series ended, we learn that space is warping and the laws of magic, science and everything that keeps everything moving are going awry. The Green Lantern Corps are busy trying to hold back something from beyond their universe – hence why Brainiac is taking the lead in organizing a group of heroes to deal with a threat that completely passed by The Lanterns.

The most amazing aspect of the script by Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson and James Tynion IV is how easily they explain all of this for the benefit of new readers who might not have seen Dark Nights Metal and set up the cast of characters. Despite the heavy focus on exposition, there are also a number of character moments that introduce the more obscure players.

While it’s a safe bet everyone knows Batman and Wonder Woman well enough, there’s a fair chance they might not be familiar with the Damien Wayne version of Robin or the likes of Etrigan The Demon. The best of these scenes involves (of all people) Lex Luthor having a strangely meta conversation with J’onn J’onzz about where everyone’s favorite Martian has been the past few years and how it feels to once again be in the role of holding together a team – a nod to how, until The New 52 reboot, Martian Manhunter was the heart of The Justice League and its most stalwart member.

A big story like this deserves powerful artwork and the art team delivers that. Francis Manapul is one of best creators in the business, as anyone who reads Trinity can tell you. The character designs and modified Brainiac armor for all the characters look fantastic and there’s not one badly drawn panel in the whole issue. The colors chosen by Hi-Fi are all vibrant and eye-catching, helping add to the warped nature of the story by showing the characters in ways that look like them yet not like them at the same time. Superman’s costume, for instance, looks rather odd yet familiar tinged in violet rather than blue.

Bottom Line: If you haven’t been keeping up with DC Comics and need a good entry point to the universe as a whole, this is where to start.

9/10


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Red Sonja/Tarzan #1

Red Sonja Tarzan #1 Cover

Though best known for her work on DC Comics’ Birds of Prey, Batgirl and Wonder Woman, writer Gail Simone has become equally famous for her work in the sword and sorcery genre in recent years. She first found glory with a revamp of Red Sonja that proved popular enough that it was quickly expanded from a 12 issue engagement to 18 issues. She co-authored the first team-up of Red Sonja and Conan The Barbarian in decades and later teamed Cimmeria’s favorite son with Wonder Woman in a six-issue miniseries. She also edited Swords of Sorrow – a major event for Dynamite Comics that saw Red Sonja leading a team of pulp fictions’s greatest heroines.

Red Sonja/Tarzan follows after this final story, but the connection is little more than an Easter Egg that should appeal to fans of Swords of Sorrow without confusing those readers who pick this book up on a whim. While the fact that the witch who facilitates the meeting of our two heroes is The Traveler from Swords of Sorrow is a nice nod to continuity, the exact means to the end is ultimately immaterial.

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This first issue is largely devoted to set-up, with brief introductions of Sonja and Tarzan’s characters and showcases of their awesomeness. In Sonja’s case, this involves her treating her own wounds with strong liquor and a heated dagger. In the case of Tarzan, the involves his showing restraint when dealing with a nobleman whose personal zoo is horrible even by the standards of the 1920’s. The issue also introduces our villain, Eson Duul – a trophy hunter who somehow exists both within the realms of Hyboria and Interwar Era Britain.

Red Sonja Tarzan #1 Page 1

One interesting note about Simone’s script is her depiction of Tarzan, who spends the entire issue in England rather than Africa. It’s a safe bet that most readers think of Tarzan as a chest-pounding warrior who wrestles with rabid lions and commands the animals of the jungle with a shout. The Tarzan we see here is an older lord Greystoke, taken from the original Edgar Rice Burroughs stories, where Tarzan had learned the ways of civilization and proved as capable of navigating the savagery of aristocratic society as the wild. The Tarzan sequences of the book also establish Tarzan’s sense of compassion – a trait not often considered in most pastiche works involving the character – which makes for another interesting contrast given the Sonja scenes’ focus on her skill as a fighter and her sense of endurance.

Simone is joined in this crossover by Walter Geovani – her artistic co-creator on her original Red Sonja run. Unsurprisingly, Geovani proves as skilled in depicting the forests of Australia and the estates of Enlgand as he does the world of Hyboria. Geovani possess a remarkable gift for depicting vivid details yet keeping his art smooth and streamlined. He’s also a wonderful choreographer and the action of the story flows easily from panel to panel under his direction. The color art by Adriano Augusto is also worthy of praise.

For those who are unfamiliar with Tarzan or Red Sonja, this series will prove a perfect introduction to both characters. Those who have already traveled alongside them through the wastes of Hyrkania or the jungles of the Congo in will also find this story to their liking. This unique merger of two of pulp fiction’s greatest heroes is certain to stand the test of time as a true classic.

10/10


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – The Hunt For Wolverine #1

Hunt For Wolverine #1 Cover

Wolverine died, entombed in molten Adamantium.

The X-Men took his metal-encased body and hid it away, keeping its location secret.

But nothing stays buried.

It was only a matter of time.

With these words, Charles Soule opens the first chapter of The Hunt For Wolverine – what may well be the most eagerly anticipated Marvel Comics event of the year. (Well, apart from that movie that’s coming out later this week that you might have heard of, but we’ll stick to the books today, thank you.)

Logically, we all knew that James “Logan” Howlett would not stay dead forever. It’s the nature of comics. No matter how much the writers and editors may insist that dead is dead and that the torch has been passed and that a successor will be forever taking up their mentor’s name, it is as the introduction to this issue says – nothing stays buried and it was only a matter of time.  To that end, The Hunt For Wolverine contains two stories, which begin the epic tale of just how Wolverine apparently came back from the dead and had to be hunted down afterward.

The first, Secrets And Lives, centers upon The Reavers – a group of mutant-hating mercenaries who went through a series of surgeries to become literal killing machines. The Reavers have fought the X-Men on more than one occasion and they fight them again here, after the gang of cyborgs somehow learn the location of Wolverine’s body and decide to indulge in a bit of grave-robbing.

This is the weaker of the two chapters by sheer virtue of the fact that The Reavers are hardly the most exciting group of antagonists. With code names like “Pretty Boy” and “Starshine” and costume designs that resemble rejected characters for the He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe toy line, The Reavers wouldn’t be memorable even if Charles Soule had bothered to introduced them individually. The artwork by David Marquez doesn’t make this action-based story any more exciting, somehow managing to be over-inked in a way that leaves everything cloaked in shadows while still leaving some of the defining pencils untouched!

The second story, Hunter’s Pryde, is a marked improvement. The action here focuses on Kitty Pryde as she seeks out various figures from around The Marvel Universe and asks for their help in trying to find the missing Wolverine. This leads to the formation of several groups, including various X-Men and Avengers.

Despite this chapter largely being expository and devoted to setting up the teams that will be the center of the action of the upcoming Hunt For Wolverine mini-series, Soule’s script is full of a wit and humor that the first chapter with The Reavers lacks. If nothing else, it’s funny watching Tony Stark’s reaction to finding out he wasn’t the first person Kitty approached and then seeing who she did go to first. The artwork by Paulo Siquiera is stronger for its clarity – a quality the fight scenes earlier in the book might have benefited from. Still, the artwork here is somewhat flat due to their being no action and most of the book being devoted to characters standing around and talking.

Ultimately, your enjoyment of The Hunt For Wolverine #1 will come down to how big of an X-Men fan you are. The chapter with The Reavers is largely pointless and only serves to balance the lack of action later in the book. The second chapter has some great character moments and conversations but it doesn’t really do anything but set the stage for the books that are coming out later where people will actually start hunting for Wolverine. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything here that is absolutely necessary to the crossover but neither is it so pointless as to be worth skipping entirely.

6/10

The Hunt For Wolverine #1 releases on April 25, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.

Comic Review – Action Comics #1000

Action Comics #1000 Cover
Let us take it as a basic truth that Action Comics #1000 is a book of some significance.

It is the first of DC Comics’ series to hit the 1000 issues milestone, despite a number of divergences where the book was renumbered during those times when it was thought that starting everything over at #1 would lead to increased sales.

It contains the first published work for DC Comics by Brian Michael Bendis – recently signed to an exclusive contract – whom you might know as the writer who made Spider-Man fun again and created Jessica Jones. (If you don’t know who Brian Michael Bendis is, click the link. You’re welcome!)

It also features multiple collectible covers, for those who enjoy collecting multiple covers.

None of this, however, has anything to do with why I’m writing these words that you’re reading. I’m here to tell you if this $7.99 tome is worth picking up if you have no interest in collectibles or historical significance. I’m here to calm the nerves of those rare few souls who actually still read comics, who want to know one simple thing: Is Action Comics #1000 worth reading?

The answer, in a word, is yes.

Superman Crowd Shot From Action Comics 1000

It would take most of my word limit to list all of the creators involved in the creation of this volume, never mind describing all of their work. Suffice it to say that if you have ever loved any version of Superman, there is something here that will appeal to you.

If you’re a fan of the current Superman series, Dan Jurgens, Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi are given a chance to take a bow and pay tribute to The Man of Steel while closing out their own runs.

Were you a fan of the 1990s’ Superman animated series? There’s a Paul Dini-penned story with art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez you’ll get a kick out of.

Are you an old-school Super-fan? There’s a classic Lex Luthor vs. Superman story by Paul Levitz with artwork by Neal Adams that is well-worth checking out, as well as some previously unpublished work by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan.

Supposing you’re a Bat-fan who is too cool to read Superman comics? There’s even something for you, with Batman writers Tom King and Scott Snyder having created comics with artists Clay Mann and Rafael Albuquerque that number among the more thoughtful works in this anthology. And I’m just scratching the surface describing these seven stories. There’s even more than that!

Superman Fights Rogol Zaar in Action Comics 1000

The flip side to this format is that there will almost certainly be something in this book that you won’t enjoy. For me, ironically enough, it’s the story that is supposed to be the book’s main selling point – the final chapter by Brian Michael Bendis and Jim Lee. Lee’s artwork, I’m sad to say, has looked far better and there’s a number of continuity problems with Superman’s wounds changing from panel to panel. The uneven and frequently sloppy inks of Scott Williams don’t help matters.

The biggest disappointment, however, is the story, which largely devotes itself to Superman fighting a new seemingly invincible villain. It also ends with a cliffhanger urging you to read the upcoming Man of Steel mini-series to see what happens next. Unfortunately, the brief sample here offers little reason to read on, with Bendis’ new villain differing from Doomsday in only three respects – he has better fashion sense, he wields an axe and he won’t shut up.

There’s some irony that this book devoted to The Man of Tomorrow does a better job in honoring its past than in encouraging readers to look to the future. As a tribute to the last 80 years of Superman, it’s fantastic. As a preview of what is to come, I fear it’s better at inspiring fear than hope.

7/10

Action Comics #1000 releases on April 18, 2018!


Written by The Critic The Internet Deserves, but not the one it needs right now…. Matt Morrison. He’s a smart-ass guardian. A sarcastic protector. A Snark Knight.