You Are Browsing ' Reviews ' Category

By Nate VanLindt On 11 Nov, 2017 At 08:45 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, News, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Spoiler Alert!  If you haven’t read the December 1973 issue of Captain America And The Falcon (#168) yet, this article contains detailed information about the plot and storyline!  Don’t come complaining later if you ruined it for yourself!

Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some comics!  Recently, I came across a good-sized lot of Captain America And The Falcon comics from the early to late Seventies.

Forty-two issues spanning a solid seven years of Captain America with a fair number of gaps of course.  Like a lot of kids, I grew up reading the occasional Cap story, but I never really collected it.  I picked up this run because a fair chunk of the later issues was the final run written and drawn by none other than Jack ‘The King” Kirby himself, almost twenty issues.  Most of the earlier issues were written by an assortment of writers including Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, and even Marv Wolfman.  Having never had access to this much Cap before, I figured I was in for a treat.  What I hadn’t expected was what a surprise I was in for as well.

I read a lot of Marvel Comics as a kid.  My favorite was Spider-Man.  Most of my comic collection as a child consisted of Marvel and DC from the Seventies and Eighties.  But I read those comics with a child’s eyes.  Coming back to them as an adult and reading them with an adult’s perspective shows a complex multi-layered dynamic between the characters that I’ve never realized existed before.  It’s something that isn’t in a lot of today’s modern comics; a subtext commentary about our society at the time the books were written.  It turns out Captain America And The Falcon was a book that was notably not afraid to address the issues of the day, namely racism and the inequity between blacks and whites in 1970s America.  There are comments and statements throughout the book, often between Cap and Falcon, about how African-Americans are treated in the USA.  It’s not just here or there either.  Stan Lee addresses it, Jack Kirby addresses it and bringing us to Captain America And The Falcon #168, Roy Thomas & Tony Isabella address it.

 

This issue of Captain America caught my attention, not just for the iconic cover, but also because it was a self-contained one issue story that was made into a Book And Record set which I happened to own as a child.  I’ve probably read the entire book at least fifty times, but having lost my Book and Record collection over the years, I’d almost forgotten that the story existed and had no idea that it was actually a regular issue that was released in the early Seventies as well.  So over twenty years later, I sat down to read it again.

The story starts out with Cap and Falcon out on patrol.  One of the first things you notice though is the tone of which Falcon speaks.  His dialect comes out in the writing and he sounds like he’s straight off the street in the Seventies.  This fits of course, but I never noticed it as a kid.  Captain America has a much more refined mode of speech but their banter back and forth flows naturally.   Things got surprisingly adult very quickly though, with Steve Rogers (and if you don’t know that’s who Captain America is…well, I can’t help you.  Or I just did, take your pick) worrying about the morality of having fallen in love with the daughter of the woman he used to be in love with in the 1940s.  And Falcon reassures him by telling him that it’s just ‘an old-fashioned [love] triangle’ that’s got him down.  Okay, so apparently that’s just par for the course for most people.  Who knew?

While I’m still reeling from the implications of that little bombshell, a mystery villain attacks Cap and Falcon out of the blue, spouting dire threats at Cap specifically.   Here’s where things get really interesting.  Falcon sneaks up on “The Phoenix” while he’s attacking Cap and kicks him in the back from behind.  Standard superhero stuff.  But then the Phoenix responds.

As you can see in the panel, Sam Wilson (that’s the Falcon for those of you who also didn’t know) refuses to sink to his level and makes with the witty banter in return, offering him a fair fight and the Phoenix responds again.  He then proceeds to pile drive Falcon in the chin with the butt of his um…laser rifle.  Yeah.  In 1973.  Hey, it’s a superhero comic!  But as you can imagine, the above exchange left me nearly open-mouthed.  Had I seriously read that dialogue properly?  Apparently, I had.  And make no mistake, this is a theme that is rife throughout the Captain America And The Falcon series.  It’s not unique to this issue.  However,  they did choose to make this particular issue into a Book and Record set for kids.  But don’t worry, the shocks don’t end here!

Cap then drives off Falcon to try and keep him safe and then goes hunting for the Phoenix on his own.  He finds a likely victim and ends up getting captured by the villain himself.  A chained Captain America asks him who he really is and why he holds such hatred for him and in true villain fashion, Phoenix gives Cap his life’s story.

He’s the son of Baron Zemo, a Nazi scientist who worked on weapons development for the Third Reich.  That’s right, Nazis.

But not just Nazis, Nazis and their families.  Zemo’s son portrays his father as a loving family man, working tirelessly for the benefit of the German war effort, until an attack by the despicable Captain America bonds his mask to his face and he becomes mad with anger and revenge and turns on his family, eventually meeting his doom.  Now his son is out, for blood, rising like a phoenix to wreak vengeance upon our not-so-hapless hero.  Phoenix loses in the end and loses his life too.  Falcon drops in to save the day, Phoenix spouts more racial epithets and Cap joins in to stop him, but his own weapons destroy him and Cap has an introspective moment about the nature of hatred.  Even this scene was emotionally charged and reminds us of our history.  

And as I read through more issues, the same types of themes reoccurred.  One of the Kirby issues (Captain America And The Falcon #194, February 1977) has Steve dreaming about an ancestor from the American Revolution and when he tells Sam Wilson, Falcon accuses Cap’s family of owning slaves, possibly even his own ancestors!   Isn’t that literally the exact thing that’s been in the news the last year or two?  It’s basically a conversation about white guilt, ignorance, and forgetting the past in less than 3 paragraphs!  Absolutely stunning.

Stop and think about all of this for a minute.  We have the child of a Nazi following in his father’s footsteps and coming to America to assassinate Captain America.  It does at least explain his brutally racist remarks to Falcon.  But take this book out of context for a moment.  Overlay it with the politics and mood or the country today.  It’s like we never got past that era.  We have the same racism.  We have neo-Nazis spreading across North America and Europe like a virus.  It’s FORTY-FOUR years after this comic was written and we still have the same issues for African-Americans in America as we did in 1973!  It’s right there in black and white for all of us to read in a comic primarily intended for children.

If anything, in many ways things have gotten worse instead of better, but we talk about the ‘rising racial tension in America’ like it’s shocking and new.  It’s not.  It never left.  It’s a social convention that’s been lurking about beneath the surface that we mostly avoided talking about except for the people directly suffering from it.  And it’s all wrapped up in a neat little red, white, and blue package for anyone to see in a comic written before I was even born.  Not in literature, nor in a journal article, or even an editorial.  In a superhero comic book.  THAT is how pervasive the endemic problems in our society are.  THAT is what we need to realize.  That every little thing shows us something is very wrong and we continue to ignore it, even in our kids’ comics.   Racism, white supremacy, the changing structure of relationships and learning to accept them, none of it is new. We’ve just forgotten it isn’t.  Maybe we need to look to the past and have some open discussions about these issues.  Perhaps we should put aside the politically charged arguments and the political correctness and simply look at our world…through the panels of a comic book.

A final note:

For those of you who are interested, Captain America And The Falcon is not remotely the only mainstream book that handles themes like these.  Marvel and DC in the 1970s both covered a variety of sociopolitical issues.  Notably, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Hero For Hire, and the Power Man And Iron Fist comics for Marvel and Green Lantern/Green Arrow for DC were heavy hitters.  Drugs, racism, poverty, and social inequity all get some serious contemplation between super-powered brawls.  If you get the chance, take a second look at some of those old comics.  You might just be surprised what’s inside them! 

 

No Gravatar 

Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom are two iconic Marvel Comics characters. They have both been used in a variety of media from comics, to movies to games, but many don’t realize how much the characters have in common. They are both driven men, who strive to better themselves, albeit in different ways and for different reasons. Dr. Doom, despite being a man of science, is also a sorcerer like Dr. Strange and that is where  Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment comes in.

A recurring part of Dr. Doom’s stories for a long time was his goal to free his mother from hell. Every midsummer’s eve he would fight a demon, lose and vow to fight again. In, Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment a new approach is taken. After a test by the deities known as the Vishanti, Dr. Strange receives new affirmation of his role but also a new duty. Doom was also tested and nearly succeeded and Strange must grant him a boon, the boon being his aid in freeing Doom’s mother from hell. 

Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment, is unlike any other Marvel comic. First released as a standalone graphic novel, when Marvel had its line of Prestige Graphic Novels, the title has recently been reprinted along with some other relevant stories to give more context ( and one not so relevant but there is a reason for its inclusion). It was written by Roger Stern and drawn by Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy, and as such has a truly unique look to it. The comic shows the lengths Dr. Doom will go to, to free his mother, and gives, even more, depth to the dictator of Latveria, including insight into his sense of pride and honor. But at the same time, it helps expand the mythos of Dr. Strange, both by showing him interacting with other sorcerers of all kind and through his work with Dr. Doom. It also expands on characters like the Aged Ghengis, a recurring character, and shows a very different side of him. It also shows just how connected Dr. Doom and Dr. Strange truly are. It even gives new insight into the demon Mephisto and his role in hell.

Triumph and Torment is a strong title for the comic, but it has multiple meanings, some of which is not clear until the end. It was a highly acclaimed work, but sadly unavailable for many years, until as stated, it was recently reprinted. If you are a fan of comics, you should read this. Even if you dislike superhero comics, this is worth your time as it doesn’t really come off as a superhero comic at all. It is far more philosophical and spiritual in nature, reflecting on the nature of humanity and destiny and redemption. And if you like art, you can see Mike Mignola’s earlier pre-Hellboy work here. It is of an amazing quality and really helps the otherworldly nature of the comic and its protagonists. Do yourself a favor and give this one a read.

By Zoe Howard On 23 Sep, 2017 At 10:24 PM | Categorized As Books, Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Unit 44 is the story of two Area 51 agents who work out of the base in Nevada. The book follows Agents Hatch and Gibson as they discover Gibson has neglected to pay for Unit 44. The storage unit contains Area 51 secret technology and a few other items that they had no space to store on the base. The unit was sold at auction due to lack of payment to two men who run a second-hand shop. What was at stake? After a yelling from their superior, they embark on their mission to reclaim what they have lost. The truth behind Roswell, New Mexico infamous alien crash.

From the get-go, we discover that the agents are not your average serious agents. One could essentially call them the Rocksteady and Bebop of federal agents. Their intelligence is very low and they spend a lot of time bickering between each other. The whole book feels much as you would expect, a mismatched buddy comedy with a Sci-Fi twist. We never really learn a lot about either Hatch or Gibson other than a few home life jokes. They are serviceable as protagonists but they serve no main development arch of any kind. They are no different at the end than they are at the beginning.

I want to take a moment and talk about the beginning. Considering this book is only 106 pages (94 actual story pages) they shove a lot of story into it, so much that they never give any time to the characters. You are given no introduction other than that these two are the people at the beginning of the book. They just show up and within a few panels of dialog, we are off on our kooky adventure. To say this feels rushed is an understatement. When I went back over the book to clear up some stuff there was a moment I missed on the first page because I was thrown into everything so fast I tossed it aside. Typically I would shrug such a thing off but it comes into play later with a big reveal that meant nothing to me because I was trying to acclimate myself to the world and characters.

This is probably one of the biggest faults of the writing. The main characters have zero development. Reflection upon finishing the book made me realize the only character who had somewhat of a story arch was the human antagonist. That might be why the ending payoff works as well as it does for them, but it also means the end of the book just means ok done for Hatch and Gibson. If this was a later book in a series I could let this pass, but seeing as it is our introduction to the universe it leaves me asking the question of why? Because the author says so? That is not a solid reason to keep reading.

There are some fun characters to be had in the story. The main alien itself was one of the unique characters as far as the writing goes. The character Lindsey is also one of the more entertaining even if her motives and reasons for doing things are never clear. There are also some genuinely funny moments in the book. I can remember at least a dozen that actually had me laughing out loud at something that happened. It was moments like that that made the bad jokes even worse. For almost every good joke there was an equally horrible joke or reference that just made me groan. Most of the bad ones came from really poor uses of pop culture references; The worst being a Sir Mix-A-Lot reference.

So I haven’t spent any time at all discussing the art of the book yet. There is actually a reason for this. I prefer saving the best for last. Unit 44 excels with its art. It even held up a lot of the characters when the writing fell flat. Most everyone in the book sounds like they have the same voice. There was very little difference between the characters dialog. (BTW I live in Nevada. Even the cowboys here don’t speak with southern accents. ) It was often the expressions and looks of the characters themselves that give the attitudes and personality that the dialog often lacked.

The style itself felt like a mix of many 90s era cartoons. Most notably for me was a heavy influence from the Men in Black cartoon series as well as the Clerks cartoon. There is also a heavy inclusion of anime style where emotional characterization is used with many over the top expressions that really do a great job blending into the often more subdued drawings.

The coloring is also a great style for this book. They rarely use any bright colors. Sticking to more muted pallets gives the book a very classic feel. The few uses of bright color they do use are often for either dramatic effect or when using some form of technology. There were a few moments where it didn’t quite feel like an action was conveyed or a scene jumped abruptly, but this was few and far between.

If I were to comment on a flaw in the art it would have to be what I could only assume was the rewards from the Kickstarter. There are a few characters in the book who have way more detail and look more realistic than the rest of the cartoonishly-styled characters. When I first read the book I had no clue it was Kickstarted. I went to the Kickstarter page and discovered some of the backers did have the option for characterization in the book. I just don’t know why they make them look so drastically different from the everyone else. As someone who had no clue about the Kickstarter, the characters just came across as gratuitous and out of place.

Overall I found myself with mixed feelings about Unit 44. The dialog (mostly the rapid jokes) was often a grind to get through but I still found myself compelled to read on. There is a spark of originality to the book that made me interested in where the adventure was going. Despite the lack of real information about the characters, I could see getting into this world and its people through a series. It would be fun to see how the writing develops. If you are looking for a more well-rounded character story then you might be in for a little letdown. If you are looking for a quick read with some laughs, then I would say give it a go.

Review copy of the book provided by the publisher.

By Nate VanLindt On 22 Mar, 2017 At 07:44 PM | Categorized As Books, Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Chances are you probably grew up reading either the ‘Hardy Boys’ or the ‘Nancy Drew’ novels.  Those old blue and yellow-spined hardcovers on your bookshelf filled with stories of the exploits of Frank and Joe and Nancy and Bess.   Just the mention of Franklin W. Dixon or Carolyn Keene brings back fond recollections for many of us, and they weren’t even real people.  All the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew stories were ghost written by contract writers for years.  The same goes for the ‘Bobbsey Twins’ books by Laura Lee Hope and the ‘Tom Swift’ novels by Victor Appleton Jr.    These books gave literally generations of young readers the basics of deductive reasoning and entertained them all the while.  The first Hardy Boys book was published in 1927 and the first Nancy Drew book in 1930 and they’ve been in continuous print ever since.

With their long-lasting popularity, it’s not surprising to see Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys occasionally resurface every decade or so for a facelift and some renewed book sales.  But one thing that most any fan would definitely not be expecting is the new comic series from Dynamite Comics entitled ‘Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys: The Big Lie.’  ‘The Big Lie’ is everything that no one would expect from a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys team-up comic.  It’s gritty, violent, and hard-hitting right from the beginning.  The content is grim, the artwork has a rough retro feel, and the story is quite frankly, shocking.  It’s hard not to go into details without ruining the plot, but suffice it to say a fair assemblage of well-loved characters manage to make an appearance in issue one without things feeling crowded. On top of that, there are some surprising cameo appearances that might cause you to wax nostalgic.

Anthony Del Col of Kill Shakespeare fame manages to pull together tendrils of all our communal visions of Bayport from our childhood and weave them into the beginnings of a crime drama more reminiscent of an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street than a children’s mystery.   On top of that, Werther Dell’Edera’s minimalist art, which echoes notes of Darwyn Cooke but with more rough realism, perfectly rounds out the feel of the story.  Frank, Joe, and Nancy live very much in our present in this story and not in the picturesque Bayport that we read in novels as children.  People in this world are imperfect, petty, vicious, and most assuredly real.  It’s a novel approach to characters that have been relegated to childhood memories for far too long.

For those of you that weren’t raised on a steady diet of old clocks and tower treasures, never fear.  ‘The Big Lie’ stands well on its own regardless of your familiarity with the original source content.  It’s well-written, well-drawn and starts off a solid crime drama with a bang.  Issue one is at local comic book stores now, but it’s hard to expect anything but greatness from the forthcoming issues.  This one is a sleeper waiting to become a hit and whether you’re a fan of Frank, Joe, and Nancy or not, ‘The Big Lie’ is an absolute must-read for the indie comic reader.   One caveat however – this comic is definitely not for young readers.  It’s rated Teen+ and well deserves the rating.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Sep, 2016 At 10:28 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarsimpsons

The Simpsons have had a long history with comics and some have been absolutely amazing. I recently had the chance to read Simpsons Comics Colossal Compendium volume 4 and loved it. This collection has some of the best stories the series has ever had.

To highlight a few stories in particular, we have two stories of “Tales from the Springfield Bear Patrol”, a throwback to the season 7 episode “Much Apu About Nothing”. The stories are hilarious and help touch on ideas the show hasn’t used in decades. We see how inept the bear patrol is but they always manage to save the day (sort of).

Other stories include “Judge Dreadneck” a parody of Judge Dredd with Cletus in the role. This is the second best story in this collection, with loving references to not just the comic but also 80’s movies like Mad Max. This story is one of the reasons I love the comics. They have a creativity to them that the show now lacks.

The best story in this collection though, is “The Duffman Corps” a parody of Green Lantern with Duffman in the role. It is far better than it has any right to be, with the Duffman Oath, the villain Vinostro and the Guardians of The Party. This is one of the best comic parodies I have ever seen and I was laughing so loud while reading this, that I was out of breath more than once.

These are just 3 (technically 4) of the stories within and they are all amazing. This is a comic you should take the time to seek out. The TV Show may be out of steam but The Simpsons Comics are still going strong.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Sep, 2016 At 05:21 AM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Editorials, Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarlove-and-capes

I previously wrote about Love and Capes here, and now it is time for me to continue the discussion by talking about Love and Capes volume 2: Going to The Chapel.

We start off with Mark ( the crusader) planning to propose to his girlfriend Abby on Christmas ever. He is stopped, not by a villain but by her sister Charlotte who reveals that Abby would hate that type of proposal. What follows is one of the most amusing sequences in comics, as Mark comes up with idea after idea to try and propose.

Once that is done with, the volume really kicks into high gear. Abby and Mark grow closer than ever together while planning their wedding, Charlotte goes off to school in Paris ( thanks to Darkblade) and a new hire is made at Abby’s bookstore. The good times don’t last however as Mark and the rest of the super heroes are dragged off into a cosmic gladiator battle that leaves Abby alone….in more ways than one.  Thom Zahler does a really great job of breaking down the non super heroics parts of Super Hero tropes and ideas. Namely, if a super hero and their romantic partner fly off to another country, what happens when the partner becomes stranded in said country when the hero is pulled away. I thought it was excellent to show how the situation gets solved without Mark’s help. From their we deal with an evil clone that nearly destroys the romance between Mark and Abby and makes things awkward with his ex-girlfriend Amazonia. But you cannot keep a good hero down and Mark and his friends help put things right.

The next part of the comic is the best part for me. We get to see the fallout of such an event and what other characters do for support. Abby decides that the only way she will ever understand Mark is to get super powers of her own. This is accomplished thanks to Doc Karma ( who can read anyone’s mind but Abby’s), who can help her because Abby is doing this for love. It does have a warning though, as she will keep the powers until she decides she no longer wants them.  We then see Mark and Abby begin to understand each other better while working together ( and getting in some excellent jokes at the same time), while Amazonia begins to confide in Darkblade due to needing support. Abby excels for a time but Doc Karma’s warning proves true and she decide that powers are not for her. The circumstances surrounding Abby losing her powers show Zahler’s ability to write emotional scenes that really get to you, and you will feel deeply for Abby and what she is going through.

After that it is time for the wedding, but Zahler isn’t done yet. What follows is a time travel storyline, that while confusing ( and later issues joke about how confusing it is), show the depth of Abby and Mark’s relationship, as she will do anything she can to save him from an enemy. It is even pointed out in this issue that Abby has gone from being a bystander to being a badass in her own right. She is able to save Mark and foil the villain’s plan and Doc Karma then helps her return and get to the chapel for her wedding. Sorry for the lack of details but I am trying to cut down on spoilers.

Love and Capes volume 2 is a comic with excellent humor, drama and emotion. It takes the super hero concept and without trying, deconstructs then reconstructs the entire genre. It looks at what would realistically happen, then reminds us why we love these comics in the first place.

If you have not yet checked out Love and Capes, then I recommend you do so!

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 9 Mar, 2016 At 10:27 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews, Reviews, ROG Humor, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarArchie_vs_Predator_3

 

Archie comics have a reputation ( mostly deserved) of being a kiddie comic that plays things way too safe and comes off as cheesy. In recent years however, the company has taken steps to shed that image. From Afterlife with Archie (Archie with zombies and not for kids at all) to new horror comics with Sabrina ( again definitely not for kids), the company has done a lot to push Archie out of the niche it was stuck in. That said, would anyone have predicted a crossover with the Predator franchise? Or even more, a crossover that is aimed at older readers that unlike the crossover with the Punisher in the 90’s, doesn’t hesitate to show violence?

This comic is insane. I was amazed at what they put into the comic, from references to the movie protagonists, to lines being quoted. Seeing Reggie call himself a “Gosh Darned Sexual Tyrannosaurus” left me speechless. The violence was not hidden at all. Seeing Archie characters get their heads ripped off and blood splattered is a far cry from the cheesy comics of previous years.

The art is of high quality and almost eerie in how the Predator is drawn to resemble the Archie style. The story? Archie and the gang go to Costa Rica after winning a contest and during the heat wave a teenage predator comes to Earth to hunt. The predator is drawn to Betty and Veronica’s fighting and follows the gang back to Riverdale where things really hit the fan.

The writing is witty and clever and after you get passed how disturbing this can be, its actually a fun read. Although its called Archie vs Predator, the story focuses more on Betty and Veronica and their fight against the predator. Everyone else gets caught in the middle.

Be aware this is NOT a lighthearted story. Like Afterlife with Archie, this one is not for kids, or the faint of heart. If you are easily disturbed by dark imagery, then this comic is not for you. This is a comic where anyone can die and who makes it out at the end is rather surprising.

The hardcover collection includes mini comic crossovers between other Dark Horse comics and Archie characters, my favourite being Hellboy meets Sabrina.

archie-vs-predator-1-thermal-vision

In the end, I have to recommend this, but be warned once again, this is a very dark comic.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Jan, 2016 At 03:38 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSuperheroes are awesome. We can all agree on that, but sometimes we need to look beyond the super heroics. What if I told you there was a comic book that was essentially a super hero sitcom? And that there are 4 volumes out that you can read now?

Love and Capes was created by Thom Zahler, an extremely talented cartoonist, who applied TV sitcom writing to comic book superheroes. The result was an amazing comic book that will provide hours upon hours of entertainment.

Volume 1.

 

We begin the comic by seeing bookstore owner Abby Tennyson on a date with her boyfriend, accountant Mark Spencer. They’ve been dating for a few months and Abby thinks Mark is a great guy. But Mark has a secret. He is the most powerful super hero on the planet, The Crusader. Mark decides to reveal his secret to Abby after talking with his friend Darkblade (a Batman analogue with some of the wittiest lines) but really should have thought of a better way and he learns you should really catch people when they faint.

 

l and c 5

 

 

After getting over the initial shock, Abby starts enjoying the perks of being a superhero’s girlfriend

l-and-c-3

….and the downsides, like Super Ex-Girlfriends in the form of Amazonia, one of the top heroes, as well as the fact that Mark will constantly be in danger and on call, thus interrupting dates as well as leaving her worried.

capes17

 

Fortunately Abby has her sister to rely on for support…and vice versa as we see later. Love and Capes is an amazing exercise in showing a supporting cast. Yes there are awesome characters like Doc Karma (and his love of TV shows that haven’t been released on DVD stateside) who perfectly captures the kookiness and awesomeness of the Ditko era Doctor Strange and Arachnerd (3 guesses who he is based on and the first 2 don’t count).

l and c 4

 

However, we also have excellent supporting characters like the aforementioned Charlotte, Mark’s parents and the rest of Abby’s family.  The superheroics are off panel and the focus is on the human side. We see Mark get jealous of other heroes and the reason why become a plot point. We see Abby grow more and not just as a superhero’s girlfriend but also as her own character with her own interests, as does Charlotte and Darkblade whom we learn more about. The last part of volume 1 deals with Mark and Amazonia’s former relationship and its at the end w see why Mark and Abby go so well together. That they are a good couple. If that sounds sappy I’m sorry because the comic is also incredibly funny and witty.  The drawings are excellent and evoke both classic and new TV cartoons.

 

If you like comics you owe it to yourself to get this.

 

 

 

By otakuman5000 On 22 Sep, 2014 At 09:31 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarI already covered how I like comics in my first comic quickie here. So on to the recommendation. This week? Jason Aaron & Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards vol 1: Here Was a Man, which compiles issues 1-4.

Southern Bastards vol 1 cover for cq2

                     Property of Image Comics

 

This arc features a morally ambiguous Earl Tubb, who is now one of my all-time favorite characters in any media. To leave the description short and spoiler free Earl returns to the county he born in after some time away only to find it is quite different than what he remembered. He makes some friends and enemies very quickly while looking for answers. The four issues are paced great enough that even as I read the single issues I never felt that any one issue ended too quickly or dragged on.

This first arc is written extremely well, which isn’t surprising of superstar author Jason Aaron. The accompanying art from Latour fits extremely well. The visual portrayal accompanied by the story give an amazing atmosphere to Castor County. So much so that I can almost taste Boss’s BBQ.

This volume will release in stores on October 1, but Amazon has its date set for October 14 if you don’t have a LCS you go to. The Jasons’ work should be essential for any fan of mystery or crime novels. Everything about the series should have you hooked before you’re halfway through.

By otakuman5000 On 25 Jul, 2014 At 10:39 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Company Spotlight, Featured, News, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarComic books are one of the many joys in my life. Comics should be a joy in others’ as well. I am going to begin shooting off some recommendations every week or so. Not exactly a review, just a short description so you know why you should be reading.

My pick for this week? Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth. NOTE: some of the first issue will be spoiled, to cover the basic plot. Nothing past that should be.

DeadlyClassVol1-cover

  Property of Image Comics

It’s a witty, colorful book about a band of misfit friends attending a secret school for future generations of assassins called King Dominion’s School for the Deadly Arts. Rick Remender writes the book and does so extremely. He lets in humor, romance, and action into a lovely combination. The excellent writing is coupled with amazing art by Wesley Craig, and colors done by Lee Loughridge.

One of the most interesting aspects of the story is such a finely blended cast. The main character, Marcus, is a Nicaraguan orphan and the rest of his adventurous posse is composed of characters from across the globe. Every main character in the first major arc experience great development to get you really more interested in each character than perhaps any

The art compliments everything that is done in the story. From a car chase (rare in comics due to the difficulty of showing the true “action” due to static images), to fight scenes, to drug trips. The coloring and lettering stays on point throughout the first six issues.

Events occurring within the first six issues, all compiled in this one volume, leave the series with a lot of breathing room for story development. Remender’s writing is sure to continue to be as solid as it has been between this series and fellow Image series Black Science. This is definitely a solid choice for any fan of action or suspense to get into. Overall the comic brings everything one could hope for to the table.

The first volume is available on Amazon for a cool $9.99 here. You can always stop into your local comic shop as well and snag the trade. Maybe some other great titles as well. The series will pick back up in September so now is as good as a time as possible to pick up the trade and follow this great series. This is not a series you want to miss out on.