5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: It’s just beautiful, that’s why! Kaare Andrews does an impressive job, and not just in terms of the art!
He captures a dark brooding side to Danny Rand, one we never really get to see from the millionaire happy-go-lucky kung-fu master. After a slight recounting of his origin to a female reporter, who finds Danny’s tragic childhood attractive in a “damaged..orphan puppy kinda way”, old memories return to haunt Danny, despite the reporters attempts at ..ahem.. distraction back at Danny’s penthouse apartment. Visions of his father’s death and his mental state at the time, have Danny questioning his own sanity and life choices. But alas, as whenever any hero is in deep reverie of his past, cyborg ninja’s show up to knock him out of his ruminations…. and kill him if they can.
But the ninja’s aren’t just there for Danny, they’ve come to kill a messenger… one with a simple message for Danny:
“Get back to K’un Lun”, the mystical kingdom of warriors,… where an orphaned boy was forged into a living weapon…an Iron Fist!
Andrews art is frenetic in fight scenes, expressive and detailed in scenes of exposition. His use of shading and shadow is Miller-esque in its look without being derivative, and his layering of multi-hued shades of colors like reds and oranges is reminiscent of David Lloyd’s work in Watchmen. An explosive start to a big, bad, kung-fu adventure, Marvel style!
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Honestly, I wanted nothing to do with this book. I wasn’t crazy about the design, never heard of the writer, and let’s face it, Ghost Rider without a motorcycle is just not Ghost Rider…. it’s Ghost Driver… or Ghost Chauffeur…. whatever.
So I read my girlfriend’s copy of #1 and was blown away. A good comic is a good comic, and this one blew me away. Complete with realistic dialogue, interesting characters, and a deeper concept then what I first thought it was. Tradd Moore’s art is fluid and dynamic, bursting at the seams of the panel (there’s a scene in issue #1,where the main character throws a punch into a wheelchair-stealing bully’s face that hits you like those sudden from-inside-the-car-car-crash scenes they shove into just about every action movie these days). There was no way I wasn’t getting issue #2.
Robbie Reyes is the perfect protagonist, a young man from East L.A., raising his disabled brother, while going to school and working at an auto shop to make ends meet. But he’s not above “borrowing” a suped-up custom Dodge Charger from his boss’ shop, to enter a high stakes street race. Hoping to use the cash to catch up on bills and get his brother a replacement wheelchair, Robbie gets more than he bargained for when a para-military group guns him down in an alley to get the duffel bags hidden in the Charger’s trunk. Mysteriously resurrected as a metal-skulled flame engulfed demon, the new Ghost Rider takes off in hot pursuit of his killers…..and now on to issue two…
As he makes quick work of the force that took him out, we have some good reveals. We find out the killers work for a certain schizophrenic scientist by the name of Dr. Zabo (old school Marvel fan’s know who this is…) and the drugs in the duffel bags pack a little bit more of punch than the gang-bangers in East L.A. can handle. And there is something remarkably different about this incarnation of the Spirit of Vengeance. In the past it was the Ghost Rider who empowered the motorcycle, this time it’s the vehicle that empowers the hero… and it talks (not in a cute K.I.T.T. way, but , well in a vengeance demon kind of way).
Smith and Moore are building something here, making their mark on the character and the Marvel Universe as well. If your on the fence about getting this title, do yourself the favor and buckle-up for some high-octane, wheel-burning, revved-up, add-your-own-car-analogy-here, adventure.
Why?: A weekly Batman title, with the talent listed above, starring an array of Batman’s supporting characters, an actual Detective story, with Gotham as the dark dirty backdrop, and you ask Why? (Okay technically I ask myself Why? But you know what I mean ).
This book has lots of promise (and future guests stars from all the blurbs in Previews!) and as a first issue, really grabbed me.
Opening with a future scene of a beaten and bloodied Bruce Wayne, tied to the Bat-signal as Gotham burns to the ground around him, Batman Eternal grabs you by the throat and pulls you deep into the dark alley in a bad part of town that Batman Eternal symbolizes. We have the not so untimely arrival of Jason Bard (pre New 52 Batman fans, hell, pre-Crisis Batman fans might recognize that name, if you don’t look, him up!), a transfer detective who is going to have his work cut out for him (you won’t believe who his first Gotham arrest is…. I still don’t) and judging by his history, will suffer one or more debilitating injuries before this title is finished.
We have a Gordon and Batman team-up that’s leads to big trouble for Professor Pyg… and Gordon himself. Bullock, Sawyer, and Forbes round out the GCPD force that stars in the start of this ongoing detective story, filling it out with their distinct personalities and traits that give this book the gritty flavor it should have. Fabok’s art gets better and better with every character mentioned, drawn as distinctly as they are written. He gives them and Gotham itself giving a life of its own. It staggers the mind how many quality Bat-Books are out there, and here is another one to add to the list!
4 out 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: Did you read the last issue? See how it ended? The L-Bomb dropped… the battle with Zod and Faora… the climax of a nuclear explosion with Superman and Wonder Woman at the center… oh.. you did! Then you know why it’s on here then. I’d call this a fill-in bridge issue, but that would be a disservice to Soule and his writing skills. Wonder Woman, safely wrapped in Supe’s cape, awakens from the nuclear blast they caused to shunt Zod and Faora back into the Phantom Zone, trapping them and their army of Kryptonian criminals, to find a near dead Superman, unable to heal due the localized nuclear winter blocking the sun. After using an unconventional method to clear the clouds, the two head their separate ways to heal, Superman to his Fortress of Solitude and Wonder Woman to Hessia, an exiled Amazonian healer.
Soule continues to expand on their relationship, as both have time to think over the events of the past few issues (and no… she still hasn’t said she loves him back… aaaand we all know how awkward that make things), while at the same time pulling in concepts from both character’s ongoing stories in their stand alone titles: Wonder Woman explaining what being the God of War means, and how she plans to use it towards a peaceful world, surprise visits from Ghost Soldiers seen in recent Action Comics issues. Not to mention a nice prologue to the upcoming blockbuster Superman event Doomed!!! We all know Doomsday evolves to his environment, so what happens when he’s stuck 6 miles under the ocean under eight tons of pressure per square inch, in near freezing water surrounded by the fiercest predators on earth… absolutely nothing good for Superman. Oh and our favorite power couple go on a date, an honest to goodness Clark and Diana date… at a club… dancing…
Why?: Because this revamped Defender’s of the Earth title is living proof that there are no characters too lame or outdated to make cool, especially if you’re as talented a writer as Jeff Parker. Not only are Flash Gordon, the Phantom and Mandrake the Magician present, their supporting cast members, Lothar, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov have key roles in the world-wide battle against Ming the Merciless, and his alien army.
The villain known as Cobra has succeeded in using the Quantum crystals know as the King’s Watch to open portals to the planet Mongo, from where Ming’s legions of monsters and high-tech troops have invaded the planet earth, shutting down technology around the world and laying waste to Earth’s armed forces. Our intrepid heroes have no choice but to travel through one of the portals appearing around the globe, meeting Ming on his home turf. The only way to shut the portals down is from the Mongo side. And one of the Defenders will have to stay behind on this hostile alien planet!
The action is sick, the concepts Parker tosses about are smart and well thought out, and not only does this lead-in perfectly to the new Flash Gordon series from Dynamite (Flash Gordon: He’ll Save Every One Of Us), Parker leaves plenty for future titles to pick up on, with the death of a major character… and the passing of his legacy to a familiar face making me want more, more more. What Valiant did for Gold Key characters, Dynamite, with Parker and Laming, have done for these King Features characters. Nice Jobs guys! Thanks for bringing back some of my childhood favorites.
4 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Why?: I’ve been a fan of S.o.A since my brother-in-law Tommy turned me on to the show half way through the second season, and loved what Golden did in his 7 issue run (he did something right, they planned it as a six issue miniseries).
I had no idea who Ed Brisson was, so I did a little research and checked out his creds (Murderbook, a series of crime noir anthologies written by Brisson with art by a plethora of talented artists), and felt relieved, the book seems in good hands. Then I read this issue. Not only is he a talented crime writer, he is a big fan of the show. It’s evident in his use of the gap left between seasons three and four, where the Sons imprisoned at the end of season three were released in the opening scene of season four.
His run fits in seamlessly between the two, and his characterization is spot on. From Gemma’s reaction to being threatened from the Russian mobsters (or “potato drinking commie f*@%ers ” as she calls ’em) the M.C. stole 2 million dollars from, to Tig’s ability to find some “fun”… in the prison shower.
Brisson writes a grittier, more Sons of Anarchy-ier book than his predecessor, with Couceiro reaching Eduardo Risso level art skills. This is the powerhouse team this title needs to push it past your standard TV tie in. Plus we finally get to see the Jax prison-stabbing scene we never got to see on the big screen!
A big MUST HAVE for S. o. A. fans!
Check out our preview: here!
Last Weeks Surprise Pick:
4 out of 5 space Monkeys
Why?: DnA baby! Finally a Guardians of the Galaxy book I can read without falling asleep or wanting to burn the copy in my hands. I usually don’t go for movie tie-ins at all… ever. But I couldn’t resist, Abnett and Lanning set the bar for Guardians stories, giving us all the sweet goodness we’ll be seeing in the upcoming movie and once again strike like lightning when it comes to a good story. Set firmly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this prelude gives the comics fans a taste of what to expect in terms of change ( Gamore and Nebula training together, Ronan as their teacher, Thanos’ movie costume, etc. ) in the upcoming movie
It also works as a perfect lead-in to MCU fans who haven’t read the defining run of Guardians by the dynamc duo, (go out and get the trades! See how a Sci-fi action comic book is handled by writers with skill) and have been left dumbfounded reading the current run, scratching their heads and wondering why all these people are just standing around doing nothing and making bad jokes.
Alves, no stranger to the GoTG universe, or Abnett and Lanning, does a great job capturing the Cinema version of these characters, and has lots of fun with movie’s designs for spaceships, aliens and technology. I’m definitely getting the next issue… they had me at Groot!