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Aquaman #50 Review

Writer: Kelly DeConnick 

Artist: Robson Rocha & Eduardo Pansica 

Colorist: Sunny Gho 

Letterer: Clayton Cowles 

In the wake of Mother Shark, Arthur is finally made whole. Almost. In the last issue we saw the big reveal, Mera Queen of Atlantis, is with child a true heir to the throne. With Arthur at an absolute loss for words, only fears rise to the back of his mind – will he be a good father? Will he do what his mother never could? Put the child first or be at mercy of the throne? 

A tale of wonder grows upon us as Arthur returns to Amnesty Bay. His home that he has been gone away for, for so long. This issue starts with a history lesson about the first light house in Amnesty Bay, constructed by Captain Maurer, after his crippling guilt for crashing his ship and killing his crew (definitely the makings for a villainous origin story). Arthur arrives with his old God clan while being greeted by another God who he’s very familiar with. 

This story is growing very political with all the issues Queen Mera must face to rule her kingdom correctly. Has she finally found a suitor? The title is on the cover so it is no mystery, Black Manta has returned! The murderous arch nemesis who was thought to be sacrificed along with Arthur in Drowned Earth is back and he’s meeting with an old friend. This book was beautifully written and full of emotion – a must read for all Aquaman fans.

Teen Titans #31

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Adam Glass

Bernard Chang, artist

Marcelo Maiolo, colors

Rob Leigh, letters

Recap

In the previous issue, The Teen Titans confront Damian for his development of the Terminus Agenda. Damian built an underground prison where he held criminals. He captured Deathstroke, who died as a result of Damian’s plan. The team doesn’t want Damian to be their leader, because they can’t trust him. This issue begins, Lobo the bounty hunter extraordinaire, captures a “Dhorian” alien before he’s contacted by a mystery person, who calls themselves, “The other.” Lobo learns that he has a daughter, Crush, who’s a part of The Teen Titans. Lobo pursues Crush, which puts him in conflict with The Teen Titans. After fighting The Teen Titans, he engages in a brutal fight with the daughter he never knew.  

The action sequences in the fight between Lobo and Crush are the most compelling and interesting thing about this issue. Lobo does not hold back. At times it reaches the point of feeling uncomfortable as he puts his boot on Crush’s head and smashes her face in the ground. If this were not a battle between Czarian’s who are overpowered and possess incredible healing factors, I’d have been worried. The 2-issue story arc is called: Daddy Issues. How could Crush and Lobo possibly resolve their differences? Why is Lobo so violent toward a daughter he never knew he had? Lobo easily defeats The Teen Titans in this issue. Therefore, how could The Teen Titans do anything to help Crush defeat Lobo?

The art is perfect for the emotional tone of the book and the subject matter. At the beginning of this issue, Lobo is drawn carrying the alien over his shoulders, a shadowing, hulking figure walking through the city as the sun descends. It provides a cryptic visual and foreshadowing of the dark tones in this story. Later, Lobo pile-drives a train on his daughter. The scene is spread over an entire panel, which demonstrates the grandiose nature of this battle of the titans. I was impressed by how Crush could hang in and fight against Lobo. The gritty, no-holding-back nature of the fight was captured perfectly by the art that showed how powerful Lobo truly is.

Overall = 9/10

Recap

The dark and deliberate visual aesthetic compliments the emotional tone of this book. Lobo and Crush have issues to work out. However, can The Teen Titans do anything to protect Crush from her daddy’s issues? I’m excited to see how the team comes together and rises to meet their biggest challenge yet: Lobo. I highly recommend this book to fans of DC and The Teen Titans.

Rocko’s Modern Afterlife #1

Published by: Kaboom!

Written by Anthony Burch

Illustrated by: Mattia Di Meo

Colors by Francesco Segala

Letters by Jim Campbell

Release Date April 3rd, 2019

That’s right ladies and gentlemen! Our favorite wallaby that we grew up watching on Saturday mornings with a bowl of cereal is back in comic form! Rocko’s Modern After Life doesn’t skip a beat jumping back into the game with its risqué humor that we’re all familiar with.

Right off the bat the comic is already tackling modern day issues, I mean it can’t still be called Rocko’s Modern (after) Life if it was pretending it was still the early to mid-90s. The comic sets the tone right away by throwing shade at a certain obnoxious website (Number 6 will blow your mind!) coming from a character I couldn’t believe I forgot! The character I’m referring is none other than Ed Bighead, Rocko’s grumpy toad neighbor. Of course, he isn’t the only returning character, obviously Rocko is here but he is also joined by one of my favorite dogs ever Spunky! His buddies Filbert and Heffer are back as well! Things are little complicated for Heffer though. As Rocko’s careless and dumb friend, Heffer has conformed hard into a certain modern lifestyle…. As in he has become an obsessive video game streamer! Normally that wouldn’t be a problem but that has distracted him from the ongoing zombie apocalypse! Did I mention the zombie apocalypse? Yes, Rocko now has a zombie apocalypse to deal with, I think that might be a little more stressful than his work life or his angry neighbor.

All in all, reading Rocko’s Modern Life #1 almost felt like I was watching the show. The artwork of course is a little sharper now, but it is definitely that same style that we all know and love. and it gave me an amazing dose of nostalgia. But this comic doesn’t just rely on nostalgia alone, the characters’ personalities are just like I remember but now they are applying their attitude and logic to the technological advancements we have today, and well zombies of course. The tone of the comic obviously has a lot of humor, but it does change to a more serious tone when Rocko is forced to snap at Heffer for an important life lesson and not only was it very well done but it was an intriguing change of pace. Overall this comic series debut had an amazing writing performance and loveable artwork to match!

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Pearl #12

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Brian Michael Bendis

Michael Gaydos, art

Josh Reed, letters

This issue begins in Portland, where Kimmi Stern quits her job so that she can meet Pearl in San Francisco. Meanwhile in San Francisco, special agent Yuko Masako confronts the Endo Twins, Pearl Tanaka, and Rick Araki.  A flashback shows Pearl and her mother sharing a special moment. Her mother has a message for her: “Everything means something.” Back in the present, The Nagasaki Nine, another criminal clan, attacks Pearl and the Special Agent. Another flashback delivers a message from Pearl’s dad: Fight to save the neighborhood from other groups, like your mom, do what’s necessary to get the job done. The final message from this book is presented by Pearl after her victory over the Nagasaki Nine. She says, “You fight for art and you protect the ones you love.” The story ends with a changing of the guard. Pearl and her generation take over the Yuzaka clan. 

This has been one of the more satisfying books of 2019. Bendis developed this world where a female protagonist fights for respect and standing in a crime organization dominated by males. Pearl is smart, “chill”, always big enough for the moment, and victorious. What’s interesting is that within this narrative is a young lady who also found love in the form of a naïve fellow-tattoo artist named Ricky. What intrigues the reader is that this woman who is self-sufficient and not in need of help willingly gives her heart to a young man who appears to be a renovation project. The flipping of the age-old super-hero complex normally played by a male protagonist makes this story feel modern and truer to everyday life.

The art in this issue is stellar. It’s hard to think of an art style that matches Gaydos’ expertise on this book.  Frankly, it reminds me of the work he did on Daredevil, which he co-wrote with Bendis. There’s a darkness to the color scheme. The faces are pulled forward in some panels while pushed to the back in group shots. The expressions on the faces of the characters are rich with emotion and personality.  

Final Impressions

This story has been a how-to by Bendis and Gaydos on how to build a world with interesting characters and a compelling backstory. The darker criminal tones in the book is what drew me to the story. The unpacking of Pearl’s character and her backstory is what kept me interested. I highly recommend this story for fans of crime noir and stories written by Brian Michael Bendis. 

Justice League Dark #11 Review

Writer: James Tynion IV

Pencils: Alvaro Martinez Bueno

Inks: Raul Fernandez

Colors: Brad Anderson

Letters: Rob Leigh

Release date: 5/22/19

The Lords of Order have given our heroes an ultimatum; surrender all of their magic powers and all memories of them, or face annihilation. On the run and out of options, Wonder Woman and Zatanna have broken off from the rest of the group in search of the Lord of Chaos himself, Mordru. While he makes it abundantly clear that he is not an ally, he does lend our heroines aide in the form of a Chaos enhanced Ruby of Life. Will the first magical artifact now imbued with the magic of chaos be enough to even the odds?

James Tynion continues to make a strong running for the next Prince of Darkness whenever Ozzy decides to call it quits. His ability to make the former hero, Doctor Fate a ruthless villain on a self-righteous magic crusade is phenomenal. Dropping one of the biggest cliff-hangars at the end of the issue has got me even more excited for the next installment of one of my favorite titles.

The artistic team for Justice League Dark never fails to let me down, complimenting Tynion’s horror story with equally terrifying art. This should be a warning to all trypophobiacs now, tread with caution. Martinez Bueno and Fernandez do a fantastic job displaying the power of some of the mightiest magic wielders in all of DC comics. With Brad Anderson on colors you can’t help but be drawn to the flashiness of the magic at use in the issue. Leigh’s use of color around the speech bubbles of the lords of order as a way to differentiate them continues to be a perfect example of great lettering and how it can enhance the readers experience.

With the confrontation between Chaos and Order on the horizon, Justice League Dark is without a doubt a title all comic readers should have on their pull list. With Callbacks to the Witching Hour event this issue are reason enough to go read it if you haven’t already. Don’t skip out on picking up Justice League Dark #11 at your local comic shop today!

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 Review

Writer: Scott Snyder

Pencils: Greg Capullo

Inks: Jonathan Glapion

Colors: FCO Plascencia

Letters: Tom Napolitano

Release Date: 5/29/19

The post-apocalyptic adventure begins here! Our story starts as an amnesiac Bruce Wayne wakes in Arkham Asylum, under the care of one Dr. Redmund Hudd. After piecing the puzzle together with a visit from Alfred; Batman manages to escape, only to find the world he thought he knew is now a barren wasteland encompassed by doom. Of course, the first person he happens to run into isn’t exactly much of a person at all, rather the still animated head of Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker. How will this not so dynamic duo fare as they travel across these desolate sands?

From the creative team that brought you New 52 Batman, and one of my personal all-time favorites “Dark Knights: Metal”; Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are back at it with a new take on the Dark Knight. Breaking issue 1 into a 4-part story added a nice touch that gave Snyder the ability to jump forward several times in the story without it feeling unnatural or confusing. Incorporating Batman’s rogue gallery to resemble staff members at Arkham Asylum in part 1 is something all fans will enjoy, primarily the aforementioned Dr. Hudd; pale Skin, light green eyes, slender face with a green tie and purple flower over his heart. Ring any bells? I love when Snyder gets the chance to write the Joker, he’s one of the few that will actually make you laugh out loud while reading. Capullo and Glapion’s work with batman continues to be breathtaking as well, and their action sequences continues to be top notch. The addition of a gray and lifeless Mogo stuck in orbit just shows the magnitude of destruction that has been done.

With the first installment of this 3-part story in the books, Last Knight on Earth promises to be a pulse-pounding ride! With the ominous Omega striving to gain control over the rest of life on earth, how will Batman formulate a plan to stop him? Especially after finding out the heroes and villains of earth have already tried and failed… Filled with plenty of twists and turns throughout, this is one DC Black Label comic you won’t want to skip! Pick up Batman: Last Knight on Earth at your local comic shop today!

The Terrifics #14

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Storytellers: Jeff Lemire and Joe Bennett

Inker: Dexter Vines & Scott Hanna

Colorist: Mike Spicer

Letterer: Tom Napolitano

Well this book started out not what I was expecting! But since Java was revealed to be the main bad guy, I have been liking this series more and more! Sure, it’s just DC’s version of Fantastic Four, but within time they went from a group of heroes to a team with major potential. Unfortunately, it took way too long to get to this point, in which this should have been the end of the first story arc. With that being said this is the last issue Lemire will be on, to make room for Gene Luen Yang. But enough with this, its time to jump into the issue!

We start off right where we left off with The Terrifics back and reunited, and boy this time does it feel so good! We see Phantom Girl, Plastic Man, Metamorpho, Tesla Storm, Element Dog, and, apparently, Plastic Man’s son, who I totally forgot about until tell they mentioned him, showing up in perfect time to help Mr. and Mrs. Terrific out. Luckily, they all square off to face their own version of a member of the Dreadfuls. Here we see the team at their finest! And even see the family come together. We even see Luke warm up to his dad.

Now even though the majority of this issue is just a big fight scene with just another version of each other, the art team really does deserve a round of applause! The book can even be seen as just a book you flip through the pages, not read the words, but read the panels of art.

Once every Dreadful member is taken out, we have a final face off between Doctor Do-, I mean Java and Mister Terrific. As we learn why Java is doing this, we come to find out that it is just the basic villain motive which is jealousy. The reasoning was cliché but could have been worse. As they face off, Mrs. Terrific was able to find the weak spots in Java’s suit to help Mister Terrific be able to hit his suit in the perfect spot for it to come apart. Personally, I felt like that part was the weakest part of the issue.

Once defeated, they took all the Dreadfuls to the heart of the multiverse, it is there that we learn that every Earth has had this type of Java problem. Which I myself have an issue with. So, is anyone warning anyone of their Earth’s Java? But anyway, we see the team coming to the final call that maybe they are better as a team than they are on their own. As the issue ends, we get a page with all the members: Mister Terrific, Mrs. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, Offspring (Luke), Phantom Girl, and Element Dog. I really hope we don’t see more characters added to this team! I am more than excited for the next story arc. That is the real test, how it does once they defeat their first major villain and we see the team go from there! This is the perfect set up for the new creative team.

Flash #70 Review

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Storytellers: Joshua Williamson & Howard Porter

Color: Hi-Fi

Cover: Porter & Hi-Fi

Every hero has a beginning and when one has been around for 63 years it’s never a bad idea to offer a modern take on that origin. The Flash: Year One offers readers a new glimpse into the begining of Barry Allen’s time as the Flash. Williamson has been writing Barry Allen since the beginning of DC Rebirth, so it’s very fitting that he’s the one to tell this story. The thing I enjoy most about Williamson’s writing is that he understands the mind of Barry Allen. This issue demonstrates over and over again how smart Barry is before he gets his powers. I love the time Williamson takes to show Barry doing police work. The pacing of this book is fantastic and it actually feels like the book speeds up once Barry gets struck by lightning. Seeing Barry navigate his newfound powers is really enjoyable. I wouldn’t be upset if the new Flash movie used this book as inspiration. I thought that this was going to be standard origin story, but Williamson makes it very clear in the last couple pages that we haven’t seen anything like this before. Howard Porter and Hi-Fi are the perfect artistic duo to bring this book to life. Porters art as always is excellent. Their take on Barry’s accident is just straight up awesome. As the issue moves forward Hi-Fi uses more and more color. I took this to represent Barry truly starting to live for the first time in a long time. Throughout the issue this team puts plenty of “easter eggs” for Flash fans to enjoy. The cliffhanger at the end of this book will leave you wanting more.

Flash Fact: I’m very into the direction this book is headed.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40 Review: Necessary Evil Part 1

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Written by Ryan Parrott

Art by Daniele Di Nicuolo

Colors by Walter Baiamonte (assistance by Daniele Ienuso)

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Nine months and nine issues in the making, the return of our original Power Rangers team is finally back. Spinning directly from Power Rangers Shattered Grid #1, we are reminded of where our Rangers have been for the past year.

With the return of our heroes of course comes the return of evil and danger on Earth. The team is back in action with a new leader, the White Ranger first appearing in an amazing splash page by Daniele and Walter. Bringing these two back brings an energy that has been missing for quite some time, I’m happy to have them back. Tommy as the White Ranger has been teased since Necessary Evil was announced February of this year.

Preview panel provided by Boom! Studios of the first panel that reveals the White Ranger
Boom! Studios Preview of the White Ranger reveal in Power Rangers #40. Art by Daniele Di Nicuolo

The biggest question when Boom! Studios announced the arrival of the White Ranger, was how exactly were they going to do it. Unfortunately we don’t get any answer to that question, instead we get more questions with even more new characters, heroes and villains. Rocky, Aisha, and Adam make their comic debut (sort of, check out Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 2018 Annual #1). It is revealed that they have been apart of the team for two months. It was with this reveal I felt there may be an issue or two I missed. It is very easy for Ryan to chop the two month gap to events that happened in the TV show and something they don’t necessarily need to “waste” pages or panels on. Or quite possibly something that can be saved for a future annual, but with so many questions already looming I didn’t enjoy getting more questions at this point in the story.

Ever since the beginning of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic series it was announced that it would fill in gaps and stay in continuity of it’s TV counterpart. It’s Shattered Grid story brought the idea that continuity could be shifted and changed, due to our heroes having the responsibility of rewriting reality itself at the end of Shattered Grid, it was unclear what new rules Ryan or any future writer would be following, if any. With Jason, Trini, and Zack missing from the team I was curious to see if Ryan would keep the “in continuity” reason for why they are gone. And though it seems everything lines up correctly, the cliffhanger at the end of the issue plants a huge twist on the reasoning, seriously pick this issue up.

Rita Repulsa has always been a thorn in the Rangers’ side. Last we saw of Rita was in issue 30 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the penultimate issue to the Shattered Grid story, where she teamed up with the Rangers in order to stop Lord Drakkon. In this issue, Rita is nowhere to be seen but an even scarier villain makes his debut and is the reason Rita is no longer a threat to Earth. Lord Zedd takes command and seeks to not just pester the Rangers like Rita once did, but to end them. Lord Zedd’s plans introduce a brand new character from a very similar alien race to the Mighty Morphin franchise and I appreciate that Ryan continues to world build inside this franchise.

Although I enjoyed the issue I think it left me with one too many questions, it is not impossible for Ryan to answer most of these questions within the next few issues, but after nine months of missing these characters it is hard to completely agree with a story that doesn’t answer anything. Questions aside, this issue had amazing art, big reveals, and exciting world building. For any Power Rangers fan that was burned by Beyond the Grid should give this title a second chance because big things are coming!

8.5/10

You can get your copy of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #40 at your Local Comic Shop
https://www.comicshoplocator.com/ or at the Boom! Studios website
https://shop.boom-studios.com/comics/detail/9529/mighty-morphin-power-rangers-40-main

The Warning #6 Review

Created by/Written by/Art by Edward Laroche

Edited by Donald Hughes

Colors Brad Simpson

Letters by Jaymes Reed

Release Date: April 24th, 2019

We have eyes on the enemy. The Warning #6 has raised the stakes, which were already at a high point, by giving a short look at the mysterious and horrifying threat, which has only brought more questions and another reason to continue reading this exciting series. The most recent issue in this series has stepped up its game in the horror and mystery departments!

The Warning #6 starts off with continuing the seemingly endless and heart racing dogfight of Predator One vs an unknown but dangerous opponent. In the short tease of the fight, things are not going well for Predator One. On the ground the story continues with Gladiator Two Six and his squad doing an investigation amongst the rubble to find out whatever they can about what might be causing all this death and destruction, and the answer they received was terrifying. Up to this point I felt like the series has built up a considerable amount of hype when it came to the unknown threat, and the team behind The Warning has truly delivered. I couldn’t tell if this… thing was demonic or alien or both! The first encounter was short lived, but it at least gave a vague answer to what our characters are dealing with. This first encounter has also promised more action as it prompted to send in the apparent big guns. Code-name JACKKNIFE has been deployed and the character reactions make it seem like this is a last resort. The Warning, issue after issue, has been doing an excellent job of ending the comic at the perfect point to leave reader extremely impatient for the next installment!

The Warning’s story is continuously matched by its artwork. Edward Laroche is truly a talent individual as with the rest of the team. The environment in the Warning #6 is both ominous and beautiful. The character models are all unique in their own way, not to mention a stellar introduction of the new terrifying creature. The endless explosions are also extremely well done. So far, The Warning series has been consistently high in quality and the sixth issue is no different. Be sure to check it out when it drops on April 24th, and if you aren’t up to date on this series, change that!

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