Conan: Serpent War#1

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Conan: Serpent War #1

Writer: Jim Zub

Artist:  Scot Eaton

Cover Art:  Carlos Pacheco, Aneke & Frank D’Armata

I have to say that I just don’t think Marvel Comics has had any missteps with the character of Conan the Barbarian since they got his publishing rights back.  Both of his own series are great, I truly have enjoyed him with the Savage Avengers, his guest appearance in the Avengers: No Road Home storyline was epic and now he teams up with some of the most intriguing characters around for Conan: Serpent War.

Moon Knight being brought in is a hook for me.  Moon Knight has been one of the most underrated characters in Marvel Comics.  Throw in the characters of Dark Agnes and Solomon Kane and you have quite the team up.

Then, I think the art was very special.  It was the perfect feel for the story that was being told and the first few pages of the dream involving Niord was beautiful.

This first issue does a great job of setting up what we are doing and introducing us to the characters that will be our feature during this series.  It also provides us some ideas about what is going on without giving us too much.

Well written and fascinating, I think this could be yet another Conan book worth reading.  Jim Zub has been on fire the last few years and he has quickly become on of the writers that excites me as a reader.

ReadIt

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Old Man Quill #12

OLD MAN QUILL #12 (OF 12)

Old Man Quill #12

Spirit in the Sky

Writer:  Ethan Sachs

Artist:  Robert Gill

Cover Art:  John Tyler Christopher

When Old Man Quill came out with their first issue, I had just finished Old Man Hawkeye, which I loved, but I was not going to continue on with these “Old Man” books from Marvel.  Peter Quill is fine, but I never found him to be that compelling of a character.

Twelve issues later, the series came to an end with a fantastic confrontation with Galactus and a cool nod to the character of Peter Quill and what his future holds.

Yes, I had no intentions of reading Old Man Quill, but it was consistently entertaining and well done. There were some surprises along the way that were actually surprises and the important moments all paid off.

I see that Marvel will, in January, be continuing this future world with the Avengers of the Wasteland coming out of the Dead Man Logan series.  Again, I am not interested, at this point. However, if the story is as well written, the art as well done as Old Man Quill, maybe I won’t be able to help myself.

Awesomeness

OLD MAN QUILL #12 (OF 12)

The Walking Dead: The Alien

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The Walking Dead: The Alien

Writer:  Brian K. Vaughan

Artist:  Marcos Martin

Cover Art:  Marcos Martin

I was surprised to see this issue at my local comic book shop.  It was pricey, but it was worth every penny.

A story about Jeffrey Grimes, Rick’s brother, who was dealing with the outbreak while he was in Barcelona, Spain.

The art was absolutely beautiful.  The black and white was unbelievably stylish and fit perfectly with the original Walking Dead series from Robert Kirkman.  Brian Vaughan feels like a wonderful fit with the series.

It is a quick read and a very entertaining piece of the mythology of The Walking Dead.  If you are a fan of the comic series or of the live action TV series, this comic should be a pleasing read.

And, as I said, the art by Marcos Martin is spectacular and one of the best selling points for the one-shot.  The use of the color red was done to perfection.

I did not collect the comic series, but I am glad that I picked up this book.  One shots like this would help keep the Walking Dead comic relevant in today’s world.

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Family Tree #1

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Family Tree #1

Writer:  Jeff Lemire

Artist:  Phil Hester

Cover Art:  Phil Hester

I have been expanding beyond my safety zone with Marvel Comics on a pretty regular basis and this week add another Image comic.  And this time, I cannot even blame the comic shop workers/owner who have been pushing me towards some of the really great work being done in other companies.  Because of them, I have purchased (or am currently in the process of purchasing) The Undiscovered Country, Something is Killing the Children, Harleen, Batman/Superman, Sea of Stars, and Far Sector.  The problem is that this week, I cannot blame Todd or Ben for this.  This one is all on me.

I spotted the new number one from Image Comics, Family Tree #1 and the cover looked interesting, but really drew me in was seeing Jeff Lemire’s name on the cover as the writer.  Lemire is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers and it was enough for me to give this a chance.

Once I read the issue, it was a fascinating start, with language that implies this will be a apocalyptic world because of some disease that causes the victim to sprout branches and leaves from their bodies.  The issue focuses on one family and leaves us with quite the crazy cliffhanger.

I enjoyed the energy of the book and the art, by Phil Hester, was beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time.  It brought together quite the feel of helplessness as well as the feel of darkness.

It left me wondering exactly what was going on and I wanted to see more.  That is always the key for a number one.

Who would have guessed that there were so many good books outside of Marvel?

Awesomeness

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Loki #5

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Loki #5

“The Man from Up North”

Writer:  Daniel Kibblesmith

Artist:  Andy MacDonald

Cover Art:  Ozgur Yildirim

I am really sad.

Loki#5 is the final issue of this series.  I was originally unaware that this was not going to be an ongoing series and I am terribly upset by this.  I haven’t felt this sad about a Marvel Comics series going away since the unnecessary cancellation of Chelsea Cain’s Mockingbird a few years ago.

I have loved the five issues of this series.  I have found the series full of laughs and some unconventional comic stories.  I found this to be way above most of the comics being published.

And now it is gone.

Yes, the story inside deals with Loki in the old west with Wolverine.  And it leads into a revisionist version of the character of Loki.  It felt as if the character was preparing for the next arc of stories, but the letters page dropped the bomb on the end and it was truly a punch in the gut.

Thank you Daniel Kibblesmith for a series that was remarkably enjoyable, albeit way too short.  You had a great take on this character and you seem to encompass everything that makes Loki one of the classic characters of Marvel.

I also get a feeling that this issue will give some idea of what we may see in the Loki Disney Plus series coming next year.

In a medium that could use more original takes on these characters, I will mourn the loss of a series that feels as if it only just got started.

Heartbreaking

excelsior

 

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Deadpool #1 (2019)

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Deadpool #1 (2019)

Writer:  Kelly Thompson

Artist:  Chris Bachalo

Cover Art: Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend

Deadpool, King of Monsters?

This was a strange new direction for Deadpool, the Merc with the Mouth.  Deadpool is hired to kill the King of Monsters and winds up on the throne himself.  Huh?

We get some Elsa Bloodstone in the comic too.  Gwenpool shows up and gives Deadpool the Jeff, the Land Shark character.  There were other monster type characters here.

None of this made any sense to me and I really did not like it.  Deadpool was not nearly as witty as I remember him in other versions.  I found myself bored about midway through the issue.

Now, to be fair, there was a cool final panel in the book that I won’t spoil, but I did not find this cool appearance made up for the rest of the book.

I did not enjoy the new Deadpool series.  It feels as if they are taking this character in a whole different direction that I am not interested in.

disappointing

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Far Sector #1

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Far Sector #1 (of 12)

“Chapter One”

Writer:  N.K. Jemisin

Artist:  Jamal Campbell

Cover Art:  Jamal Campbell

This is another book that my comic book shop friends recommended outside of my safety zone of Marvel. This is a DC Comics tale that owner Ben got me to read.  Last week it was Undiscovered Country from Image and now it was Far Sector from DC.

Far Sector is a story of a Green Lantern from the edge of the universe, trying to solve a murder mystery in a world that had not had a murder in 500 years.  It is a cool concept and the new Green Lantern, called Lantern Mullein, is a well designed and intriguing shift on the character.

I found the first issue a tad slow but in all the good ways.  The story took its time and worked on building the world that this story was going to be set within.

N.K. Jemisin is the writer on this series.  Jemisin is a female science fiction writer who has won several awards.  She wrote the best seller The Fifth Season from the Broken Earth series.  All three of the books from that series won the Hugo Award for Best Novel over a three year period.  She feels like a perfect match for the Green Lantern mythos.

Then, we have the artist Jamal Campbell, whose work has been spotlighted in the DC book Naomi.  His work here is spectacular and really made this book stand out even more than it did.  There is a smooth lay out of the book that makes for an easy read.

I also enjoy the fact that this feels very much outside of the DC Universe proper.  Sure there is a Green Lantern, but it is a whole new world and it is intriguing.

The book has started out extremely hot and popular with the comic collectors.  It is nice to see quality rise to the top.

I am in for now, but if I keep getting these other company comic books, I’m not sure what I am going to do.

ReadIt

 

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Undiscovered Country #1

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Undiscovered Country #1

Writers:  Scott Snyder & Charles Soule

Artists Giuseppe Camunicoli & Daniele Orlandini

Cover Art:  Giuseppe Camunicoli

I was forced to buy this comic.

Todd, my friend who works at my comic shop, basically told me that I had to read this book.  I said…”It’s Image.”  Todd knows my Marvel bias and has been actively attempting to expand my horizons recently.

He tried to even get me to sit down at the shop and read the book.  I love sitting at the shop on Wednesdays and reading the new comics, but my time was limited tonight.  He said…it would only take me about 10 minutes.

Actually… it was 20 minutes.  I timed it.

Then Todd said that I had to read it tonight or tomorrow and do a post about it.  Todd, a former teacher, was assigning me homework.  I had to laugh.

So, I read it.  And now I am writing my review.

This was fantastic.

I was fully engaged with this book.  I was interested in the setting. The entire subplot of this mysterious Sky virus (maybe not the best name I have ever heard) was grabbing.  The arrival in the United States of America, but a USA that is totally different makes you wonder what has happened.  The characters, though still in the early part of development, are interesting enough to want to know more about them and the art is beautiful.

Written by Scott Snyder (Batman, American Vampire) and Charles Soule (Star Wars, Death of Wolverine, Daredevil), Undiscovered Country has all kinds of mysteries and unknown plot points and is extremely compelling.

I guess I owe Todd a thank you.  I guess I am buying an Image Comic.

I see online where second printings are already being ordered so if you want a copy, you had better get going because I do not think it will last too long.

Awesomeness

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Marvel Zombies Resurrection #1

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Marvel Zombies Resurrection #1

Writer:  Phillip Kennedy Johnson

Artist:  Leonrd Kirk

Cover Art:  Inhyuk Lee

Hey Todd, this wasn’t that bad.

One of my friends from my comic shop had told me that his opinion of Marvel Zombies Resurrection #1 was that it was terrible.

Perhaps that lowered my expectations a lot, but I did not think it was that bad.  Don’t get me wrong, it was not that great, and I have never been a huge fan of alternate reality stories that do not fall into the continuity, but,as a zombie story, this one was okay.

Not sure why Deadpool is on the cover of the issue though.  He does not appear.

I missed most all of the Marvel Zombies phase of comics, and so I am not anxious to see it return.  Again, I prefer my comic stories to be real and in the actual continuity of the universe.  There are so many alternate future/reality stories that just do not interest me.

I do like zombie stories though and this one was fine.  It has an intriguing hook with the death of Galactus drawing out the big guns of the Marvel Universe.  However, the flow of the story did feel rushed.  Once the zombies appeared, the fight came way too fast.

I do not think I am going to buy this series past issue #1, but I have certainly read worst comics than this.

tryit

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Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #13

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #13

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #13

You Say You Want a Revolution

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artists:  Ken Lashley, Todd Nauck, Ig Guara, Dike Ruan

Cover Art:  Andrew C. Robinson

I’m saying this right now… Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is the most entertaining, most fun and simply the best Spider-Man title currently on the market.  And it is not even close.

Issue #13, featuring the Fantastic Four, is some of the best work of the month.  There are literally several times where I actually laugh out loud at the dialogue being shown by Tom Taylor.  The interactions between Spidey and the FF and, quite frankly, between the FF members are just amazing (pardon the pun).

I believe that Tom Taylor has as good of a grasp on the character of Peter Parker, Spider-Man as any writer working today.  Every month it only seems to exceed itself.

The story is kind of odd, and the climax to the story may have felt a little bit rushed, but that does not take away from the fact that I was thoroughly entertained by this comic and enjoyed every page.

Spidey and Reed Richards bonding over science is something I never knew I needed.  And how they then turned the tables on Johnny Storm… priceless.

I legitimately feel giddy over the book.  It is not coming out every week like some Marvel books or every other, but as long as this is the quality that they continue to provide, I am happy to wait.

SCIENCE FIVE!

excelsior

FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #13

Contagion #5

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Contagion #5

Writer:  Ed Brisson

Artist:  Adam Gorham

Cover Art:  Juan Jose Ryp & Jesus Aburtov

I have really enjoyed the five-issue limited series from Ed Brisson and Adam Gorham called Contagion.

A strange fungus creature arrived on Yancy Street and started infecting people, including three-fourths of the Fantastic Four and several other major Marvel Universe heroes.  It wound up to be in the court of the Moon Knight and a young iron fist named Pei to save the day.

I enjoyed the pacing of the story and the art was top notch every issue.  But, if I am being honest, there is one thing that I enjoyed about this series way more than anything else…

This was a Marvel five issue limited series that did not require 20 different spin offs/crossovers for the story to be told.  It did not cross over into the Fantastic Four series or the Avengers series or the Doctor Strange series.  It was five issues, it told a self-contained story and it was glorious.

I understand the business aspect of comic books, but the fact is, most if not all of these crossover issues are unnecessary for a story.  In fact, several of them feel superfluous.  Right now, I have not read several of the Absolute Carnage crossovers because they would have taken place before the main series and I already know what would have happened.

Contagion had none of this.  Just five issues of good storytelling, strong character work and an uncertain future that brought some stakes to the comic.

I would love to see more of these kind of event series from the House of Ideas and keep those bloated crossover events such as Absolute Carnage, 2099, War of the Realms limited to once or so a year.

I know I am dreaming.  But read Contagion.  It is solid work and worth the time… and easy to do.

ReadIt

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The Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle#1

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Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1

Writers:  Jonathan Hickman, Gerry Duggan, Nick Spencer, Kelly Thompson, Al Ewing, Chip Zdarsky, and Jason Aaron

Artists:  Chris Bachalo, Greg Smallwood, Michael Allred, Valerio Schiti, Chris Sprouse, Rachael Stott, Cameron Stewart, and Mark Bagley

Cover Art:  Rod Reis with Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend, Greg Smallwood, Michael Allred, Laura Allred, Valero Schiti, Mattia Iacono, Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, Dave McCaig, Rachel Stott, Triona Farrell, Cameron Stewart, Nathan Fairbairn, Mark Bagley, John Dell & Frank D’Armata

I actually love the gimmick of this comic.

According to the first page of Amazing Spider-Man: Full Circle #1, Marvel took seven creative teams to put together a Spidey story round robin style, picking up the story where it was left off.  The teams were given no plan prior to the beginning their process.  They would receive the pages from the previous creative team with no idea of what was coming.  The team would need to get Spidey out of the problems from the previous writer, move the story ahead and end with a cliffhanger for the next guy to work on.  The final chapter was everybody “scrambling together” to wrap everything up.

Apparently, none of the creators knew who was involved, except for the previous creators.  This felt like a gigantic improv game, and I loved the idea.  The story?  Not so much.

Unfortunately, the story was just too kooky and devolved into too much of weirdness.  It started out intriguing, but by the midway point, there were talking werewolves and time travel and everything was just too bizarre.

I understand that the story is meant to feel somewhat disjointed.  It is the design of the entire concept to put these writers/artists into this creative challenge and see what they can do, but I just did not like how they took the story.  Some of the ideas were taken in a different way that I just was not a fan of (ex. the whole “man in a box” bit turned into something unnecessarily nuts).

I would absolutely be in for another try of this gimmick (though the $9.99 price tag is too expensive for an experiment like this) and I think these types of creative ideas need to be used more to help bring an excitement to the comic book industry.  I would just rather see a story more involved in characterization than plot.

underwhelmComics

 

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The Immortal Hulk #25

IMMORTAL HULK #25

The Immortal Hulk #25

Writer:  Al Ewing

Artist:  German Garcia

Cover Art:  Alex Ross

Um…WTF?

Okay, this was the strangest issue that I have seen of any comic in a long time.

Honestly, what I was thinking the whole time while reading this book was how much the story was like the comedic poem, Hungry Mungry, written by EYG Hall of Famer Shel Silverstein.

Cause nothin’ was nothin’ was
Nothin’ was nothin’ was
Nothin’ was left to eat.

Outside of that critique, as I told the owner of my comic shop, I do not think I am smart enough to really know what was happening here.

And the guest cameo on the last page… it really blew my mind.

I was worried that, because of the way the story was going, that this might be the final issue of The Immortal Hulk and that would have been terrible.  I love this series very much and I am very glad to see the advertisement for next issue at the back.

The thing is.. this felt like a series ending issue.  Glad it is continuing because this has been, perhaps, the best comic Marvel has put out this year.  It is, at the very least, in the argument.

The cover by Alex Ross is as gorgeous as any covers that I have seen this year.

This was an amazing issue, I think.  It was clearly psychedelic.

WTF

 

IMMORTAL HULK #25

The Amazing Mary Jane#1

The Amazing Mary Jane #1

Writer:  Leah Williams

Artist:  Carlos Gomez

Cover Art:  Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado

I had some doubt about Mary Jane Watson getting her own series, albeit a limited series, but I really enjoyed issue one of The Amazing Mary Jane.  Matching her up with Quentin Beck’s Mysterio is an intriguing choice and I am looking forward to see how it progresses.

I can hear some people complaining about MJ sticking with the film after discovering that it was Beck behind it, but I found it all made plenty of sense.  I am fascinated to see what Mysterio will do.  Will he slip back into his evil ways or will he be able to contain his more negative characteristics.

I also enjoyed the meta-type storytelling.  With the idea that MJ is making a movie, they can play with the story all they like.  And having the movie be about Mysterio and his “real-life” situation is a stroke of genius.

I especially loved the interaction between MJ and Peter on the phone.  This is a relationship that I loved when I was young and have missed over the years since they were broken apart.  I certainly hope the new secret will not cause a problem.  Peter has been known to keep a secret or two in his life.

The twenty-second dance party was as charming as anything I have seen in quite a while.

Excited to see where this goes.  Nervous about the villains on their way.

Awesomeness

X-Men #1

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X-Men #1

“Pax Krakoa”

Writer”  Jonathan Hickman

Artist:  Leinil Francis Yu

Cover Art:  Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

After the two connected X-series Power of X and The House of X concluded, the X-Men were ready to start on their new adventures in the new world.  A sanctuary land known as Krakoa where all mutants are welcome has become their new home and allowed them a new grasp on life.

This first issue focuses on the Summers clan and their family get-together on the moon.  There are some other storylines that are sprinkled into the book, especially the strange arrival of a new character who was “born out of time.”  This female character was interesting and I found that I wanted to know more about her.  Unfortunately, she was on two pages.

We are also introduced to what appears to be a group of new villains on their way to make the X-Men’s lives troublesome once again, but I am having trouble caring much about them since I really do not know who they are.

Honestly, I find this whole new take on the mutants to be fairly meh.  I have trouble with potential stakes since, if anyone dies, they can just be reborn again with all of their memories.  It is like the old “nobody truly dies in comics” taken to the nth degree.

There were some good moments in the book, especially a conversation between Rachel and Hepzibah about the spikes on her clothing.

The whole thing with this new version of the X-Men is that everything feels off.  That may be by design, in which case I may have revisit this at some point, but the whole Krakoa stuff with the cult-like situation is just creepy.

And fact is, with all due respect, I have not been a fan of the art in this book so far.  Hopefully it picks up.

I’m not sure how I feel about the X-Men.  I had cut the ties with the mutants prior to the House of X and Powers of X, and I cannot see any way I am buying the plethora of X-books that will be coming out over the next couple of months, but there are some potential here that could turn into more than what is here now.  We’ll see…

tryit

 

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