Monday, November 18, 2019

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DCeased: A Good Day to Die Review

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Writer: Tom Taylor

Penciled by: Laura Braga & Darick Robertson

Inks: Richard Friend, Trevor Scott & Darick Robertson

Color: Rain Beredo

Letters: Saida Temofonte

Editor: Ben Abernathy

Let me start by saying I am a hardcore Justice League International fan. Scott, Barda, Ted Kord, and Booster Gold are characters that I care deeply about. So, it should be no surprise that I was very excited (and horrified) that Tom Taylor and team decided to do a one shot dedicated to particular characters. He also made the welcome additions of Mr. Terrific and John Constantine. Mister Terrific was a great addition to this book because we could get a look at how a man of science approaches something like this threat. We also get to see what happens when that same man runs out of options that make sense. 

I truly believe that Tom Taylor is a master of suspense. At this point in the DCeased world we know that things are not going well…like at all. People everywhere are dying and heroes and villains are falling along with them. Time is running out and so is hope. With all that being said Taylor finds a way to quickly make you care deeply about the characters he’s writing. He also finds new ways to provide the reader with hope. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this issue. Hesitating to turn pages, because I was too afraid to find out what was going to happen next. Tom Taylor makes even the most horrifying things he writes fun to read and this one shot is no exception.

This book provides a glimpse into what other heroes are doing outside of the main DCeased book. It’s a great standalone story, but it also has plenty of references and new details on the main 6 issue run. The issue runs 40 pages and it’s paced beautifully. With a horror book like this the art is so important to conveying how out of control things are. There is a specific scene featuring John Constantine running that Darick Robertson knocked out of the park. It was perfect and you could see that the normally calm and cool Constantine was truly scared for his life. Laura Braga did a fantastic job bring two of my favorites (Blue Beetle & Booster Gold) to life. Even in this bleak situation Taylor and team found a way to tap into the humor these characters bring to the table.I LOVE the lettering in this book. Saida Temofonte does an amazing job telling a story with written sound effects. You can really hear the noises in your head.

This book is a love letter to this team of 6 heroes. It’s funny, scary, sad, and hopeful. It has twists that you won’t see coming and gives you an idea of how out of control things have gotten in DCeased. Tom Taylor has figured out how to make killing characters we love entertaining. Keep up the great and horrifying work Tom.

Green Lantern #8 Review

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Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Liam Sharp

Colorist: Steve Oliff

Letterer: Tom Orzechowski

Editor: Brian Cunningham

When I was 13 I remember reading Hard Traveling Heroes by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams for the first time. I loved every page and it opened my eyes up to one of the greatest friendships comics has to offer. I’m of course talking about Hal Jordan and Oliver Queen. So I was very excited when I saw that Grant Morrison and Liam Sharpe were reuniting this pair in their already fantastic Green Lantern run. This issue did not disappoint.

Morrison and Sharp have tapped into a gold mine of creative energy. They’ve found a way to pay homage to the wacky Green Lantern comics of the 70s, while still keeping their story fresh and exciting. This issue is a delight from start to finish. Morrison fills these pages with plenty of awesome easter eggs for DC fans of every generation. Oliver and Hal’s dialogue is smart and so true to the essence of the who the characters are. This issue explores how the two heroes are different and why they work so well together. This being a Morrison book means that it’s bound to get pretty crazy at some point and it certainly does just that. Morrison is able to tell a great self contained story with this book. The pacing is fantastic and it’s impressive how much he was able to fit into one issue. This is largely due to the brilliant work of artist Liam Sharp. His work is so detailed and downright beautiful. A lot of artists make Green Lantern constructs appear see through, but Liam has them appear solid. I love the effect this has and how real it makes the constructs seem. There is a winged horse in particular that blew my mind. If Morrison and Sharp decided to do a Green Arrow/Green Lantern series for the long haul I would add it to my pull list in a heartbeat. I should also add that the last panel of this issue made me very excited for what’s to come.

Absolute Carnage #3 Review

Writer: Donny Cates

Penciler: Ryan Stegman

Inker: JP Mayer

Color Artist: Frank Martin

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

     The bloodshed is just getting started as Absolute Carnage hits its third issue, and halfway point. Venom just recently lost Miles Morales, infected by the Carnage symbiote, leaving him alone and outnumbered to defend an injured Scorpion from the onslaught of the Carnage horde led by a symbiote empowered Norman Osborn. While the horde’s numbers grow, we start to see a riff form between Eddie and his Symbiote, as the later has had enough and is ready to do whatever it takes to put an end to his offspring once and for all. Ryan Stegman and the artistic team do an absolute astounding job displaying the resolve of the symbiote as he holds his position while Eddie runs in the opposite direction to save The Scorpion. While the relationship between Eddie and his Symbiote hasn’t been at its best recently, this could be major foreshadowing of problems to come.

    After narrowly escaping with his head (and spine) Venom brings a wounded and paralyzed Scorpion to Rex Strickland’s safehouse for immediate medical attention. Once they arrive, they’re not only greeted by Spider-man, but the team he’s assembled; comprised of Captain America, Wolverine, The Thing, and Dr. Bruce Banner. Eddie is put at ease once he sees his son Dylan whose been kept safe there under protection of the latest Spawn of Venom, Sleeper; who’s aligned himself with our heroes in an effort to stop Carnage and Knull. It’s soon after this point that all hell breaks loose, you can’t expect too many happy moments in a book titled Absolute Carnage… 

   Pay attention to the little details in Eddie’s face as the panels progress. Cates does an amazing job pulling off major surprises in each issue and #3 is no let down at all. I won’t spoil the ending for anybody who hasn’t read it yet, but the biggest shocker comes in the final pages. Seriously, if you haven’t read Absolute Carnage your missing out on Marvel’s greatest comic event in recent memory. This book hit your local comic store October 18th, so make sure you stop by and pick it up today!

GGPR: Forever Rangers #1

Writer: Ryan Parrott

Illustrated: Eleonora Carlini

                   & Francesco Mortarino

Inks: Simona Di Gianfelice

Colors: Raul Angulo

Letters: Ed Dukeshire

  If you ever sat down to watch Saturday morning cartoons in the 90’s chances are you’ve seen an episode of The Power Rangers or two. For many of us as kids, the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers played a key role in our Saturday mornings, mine in particular. So, when I heard of the two comics coming out of BOOM studios that were based on the OG series, I couldn’t help myself but to dive right in. Go Go Power Rangers: Forever Rangers is the culmination of Ryan Parrott’s 20 issue run that’s tackled the beginning of our favorite technicolored teenagers run as the Power Rangers. Bound by Zordon’s first robotic companion Alpha-1, who has since turned on Zordon and the rangers in an effort to wipe out both sides of the war to end it once and for all.  

Along the way we’ve seen the rangers battle their arch nemesis, Rita Repulsa, and her army of monsters that fans of the show will recognize. As well as new additions like Rita’s mother Lady Fienna. One of my favorite moments in this issue is the show down between Rita and Fienna, showing just how far Rita will go to pull off her wicked scheme. Parrott does an excellent job creating a truly evil villain in Rita who was often viewed as not much more than a cackling witch on the show.

  I can go on and on about the nostalgia of the story all day and night, but I need to take a moment to tell you about the top of the line art that graces the pages of this comic front to back. The Artistic team is spectacular, especially when it comes to the action sequences in the book.  The panels of the fight between the rangers and Alpha-1, now Megazord sized and composed of TV monitors and cars on the street, is a great example. Angulo does a killer job on colors, in a comic that’s based on 5 colorful teenage warriors Angulo still manages to draw your eyes to the bursts of lightening and laser blasts. I could give praise to every panel in this book, but it would just take too long. If you’re a fan of great art, its reason enough to buy this book.

If you grew up watching the show and loved it like myself you DEFINITELY need to buy this book. It does help if you’ve been reading Go Go Power Rangers to be caught up with the story, but with plenty of great callbacks to the show this is an issue all Power Rangers fans should add to their collection.

Hawkman #12 Review

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Writer: Robert Venditti

Penciler: Bryan Hitch

Inker: Andrew Currie, Norm Rapmund, Scott Hanna

Colorer: Jeremiah Skipper

Letterer: Richard Starkings

Release Date: May 8th, 2019

I think it takes a special person to enjoy and appreciate Hawkman. Here’s a hero whose story is one that focuses on destiny, eternity, and reincarnation. A hero who is cursed or blessed, depending on the reader, with being reincarnated and getting the opportunity to be reunited with his true love over and over. As many can no doubt assume, that caused Hawkman’s continuity to become a bit of a torrid heap. This is probably why the character doesn’t have more fans. However, that’s all changed with the team of Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch. Together, they’ve breathed new life into this classic character. This first 12 issue story-arc is a MUST for any Hawkman fan or future fans.

Now, we get to the magnum opus of Venditti and Hitch’s Hawkman. When last we left our hero, Carter Hall had called forth all his previous incarnations to battle the Deathbringers and we thought the tide was finally turned. That was not the case as their foes’ giant mechs arrived to lay waste to the planet. This issue features the final battle between the swarm of Hawkmen and the Deathbringers. On a personal note, it is the showdown between former friends and comrades – Idamm and Carter Hall. Will the heroes overcome these insurmountable odds and save the planet? If they are victorious, what’s next for Carter? Is there another foe on the horizon as we approach the Year of the Villian? These questions require you to go out and buy this issue today!

If there was an issue for Bryan Hitch to go all out on, this was it. He always brings his A-game to everything he does. That continues with this issue. Hitch again shows readers his mastery of detail, such as with page 2. Need a panel of hundreds of Hawkmen forming a swarm to face the Deathbringers? There are few people that I would think can pull it off and Hitch is towards the top of that list. Then there’s page 19, where the memories of all the previous incarnations of Hawkman are put into Carter. I loved staring at the minute details of each of the incarnations shown – Katar Hol, Golden Age Carter, Prince Khufu, Catar-Ol. Hitch took his time and fleshed out each glimpse into their world. Lastly, I have to talk about the beautiful cover that Hitch and Alex Sinclair. This cover is one that I would frame and hang up in my lair. I love how all the Hawkmen are soaring up to the sun. Then you get some amazing color work on that sun by Sinclair. I can just see the warmth emanating from the sun and washing all over the characters.

I can’t sing enough praises about this book. I’ll admit that I was skeptical about the new direction and origin that Venditti put together for Hawkman. However, after reading these first twelve issues, I’m excited to see what else is in store for the character. Hawkman’s old origin has been blended together with Venditti’s new take and it absolutely works. I will miss Bryan Hitch on this series, but I am looking forward to whatever project he has lined up next. I can only hope the next artist puts his all into this book like Bryan did. Fans definitely deserve to see Hawkman stick around for 100 issues.

Immortal Hulk #23 Review

Writer: Al Ewing 

Pencils: Joe Bennett 

Inks: Ruy Jose with Belardino Brabo 

Colors: Paul Mounts with Matt Milla 

Letters: VC’S Cory Petit 

First things first this isn’t The Incredible Hulk this is The IMMORTAL HULK! The Incredible Hulk is dead, Bruce Banner killed him! Only the Devil Hulk remains supreme. Bruce and the Hulk can die every day, but what is dead may never die. As soon as the sun goes down the Immoral Hulk awakens. The night is his time. The Hulk rules the night. Any monster, pestilence or army generals are no match for the Devil Hulk. 

Immortal #22 left us off with Gamma Flight looking for some much needed revenge against General Fortean and the Shadow Base. Of course it was a trap that they ran right into, in true superhero fashion Hulk and company come to the rescue, or do they? 

Hulk is just a monster but is he calculated? Or is he both? Funny how Hulk is just a monster but has never killed an innocent bystander. The truth is the Hulk always has a plan – all the rage, all the pain, and all the mayhem is directed towards one goal. 

Immortal Hulk is one of my favorite ongoing horror books and continues to be a great super hero comic. Easily the most consistent comic books on shelves, each and every issue is firing on all cylinders.

Flash Forward #2 Review

Writer: Scott Lobdell

Artist: Brett booth

Colors: Luis Guerrero 

Letters: Troy Peteri 

In the wake of Heroes in Crisis the DC comics phenomenal comic event, Wally West is Dead, well one of him is. Death is not always the end, at least when you’re a time traveling speedster. The first issue left us off with Wally sitting Blackgate prison for the crimes he did and didn’t commit Wally is no way thinking of escape, but Tempus Fuginaut has something to say about that.

The universe is dying and only the fastest man alive can save it. Tempus Fuginaut an interdimensional super being, kidnaped Wally and gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse – save the universe and redeem himself, reignite the beacon of hope. Speaking of hope, Wally finds himself on Earth 23, home of president Superman. The Superman of this Earth is fighting a dark cosmic all black creature composed of dark anti-matter. Wally has the only weapon that can save Superman and his planet.

This issue dramatically surpassed my already high expectations, full of action packed fight scenes. We see Flash take on some pretty heavy hitters! They are no match for the Scarlet Speedster, one of my favorite parts involved some thunder and lightning! Deep emotional tugs at the heart strings while we see Wally struggle with his failures and past mistakes. Can Wally West truly redeem himself? Will he allow himself to be redeemed?

Also the last page reveal will have Flash fans screaming!

DCeased #2 Review

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artists: Trevor Hairsine & Stefano Gaudiano

Colorist: Rain Berado

Letters: Saida Temofonte

Editor: Ben Abernathy

The nightmare continues and has no intention of slowing down in the latest installment of the wicked event DCeased! Buckle up ladies and gentlemen because if the message that Tom Taylor wouldn’t be showing any mercy to our favorite characters wasn’t clear enough when this event started, it is now!

A little more light has been shed on the possible role of the unknown narrator but still far from enough to make any guesses of the identity, and that is one of the many interesting plot points of this event.I was happy to see more characters being brought into the fray of DCeased #2. Not only have mainstays such as Harley Quinn, Hal Jordan, Aquaman and more been introduced but a certain underrated character has gained more power and responsibility through an extremely dramatic transformation. That happiness though comes with a price in this event, as everyone is in danger from a unique and fast moving threat that is only motivated by spreading death. The gravity of this situation becomes more and more apparent with each turn of the page ultimately building towards one of the most shocking cliffhangers of the year, maybe even all time! Tom Taylor is proving his writing ability over and over again with both outright shocking scenes and subtle additions to the depth of the characters he is using. Moving forward into DCeased #3 you have an idea of who will be rising to the occasion to face this threat with bravery and general badassery but there is no way of knowing who will survive this dark tale because again I cannot stress this enough, no one is safe!

When it comes to the artwork I cannot imagine the difficulty of creating the anti-life threat. Something that is obviously not a zombie but still similar at the same time. Hairsine and Gaudiano with Beredo on colors haven risen up to the challenge and brewed up monsters that are truly original and horrifying! The talent of applying that look to both civilians and well known characters is easily top tier. The expressions and emotion we see in this comic is well done as well, you know exactly what these characters are feeling and it does numbers for the immersion into the story! The art of the world created definitely looks like hell on earth and its a perfect fit for this story. The dialogue presented in this story is also improved by the excellent lettering done by Saida Temofonte, the flow is both smooth and fast paced.

DCeased is only 2 issues in and it is already becoming one of the most memorable events in recent memory. Tom Taylor has done something truly special, The gruesome and nightmarish events of this comic is torturing me and I am happy about it. Considering the major scenes played in DCeased #2 it is terrifying to imagine how far Tom Taylor and team will escalate the story from here on out and if you haven’t jumped in on this story yet you are wrong!

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The Magic Order #1

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Written by: Mark Millar

Art by: Olivier Coipel

Colors by: Dave Stewart

Letters by: Peter Hoherty

Release Date: June 13th, 2018

I just know I will take a lot of flack for this next sentence. I typically stick to reading titles from the Big Two and rarely branch out to other publishers. So when my friend gave me this series and told me I HAD to read it…I was a little skeptical. Well, now that I have…I prepared a freshly cooked meal of crow to eat. This book was so good that I read it three times before writing this review. THREE. TIMES. 

Our story opens with a murder. Now that might seem a bit cliche, but this is a murder that might even make a villain like Voldemort cringe. Black magic of the darkest type was used to commit this foul deed. From there, we are introduced to a dysfunctional family – the Moonstones: the talented, but troubled Cordelia; patriarch Leonard; hot-headed Regan, yet is the good son; and the magical black sheep of the family, Gabriel, a man who wants nothing to do with his family’s world. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but there is a lot of character development filled in just over 20 pages. At the same time, readers are left with so many questions. Why is Gabriel done with magic? Who is Madame Albany? Most importantly, who is the murderer?

Olivier Coipel’s art really suits the gritty murder mystery that Millar is presenting to readers. I’m used to seeing his work on majestic characters like Thor and the other Avengers or in shadows like Batman. Here…Coipel shows us that there is a world beneath the normal one. A world that is filled with wonder, grime, and gore. His work shows that detail on a level that rivals Gary Frank.

I definitely recommend this title. I’m trying to finish this review as quickly as possible so I can start issue two! All six issues are out, so there is no excuse why you’re not reading this book. Don’t wait for the Netflix show!

Batman #70 Review

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Writer: Tom King
Art: Mikel Janin and Jorge Fornes
Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Release Date: May 1st, 2019

Are you interested in seeing Batman being Batman? Do you want to see why he has the nickname the Dark Knight? Then look no further than this latest issue of Batman! The Knightmares have passed and now comes the Fall.

Batman has finally awakened from his series of Knightmares to find the Riddler before him, with a riddle of course. Only Batman is not in the mood for riddles, fun, or games. He proceeds to take down the majority of his rogues one after the other. Nothing stops him as he sends his message to Bane the only way he knows how: through violence and fear. Speaking of fear, Scarecrow’s toxin doesn’t work on him anymore! Not even the brute strength of Solomon Grundy and Amygdala can prevent him from leaving the Asylum. This epic issue ends with a threat given to Two-Face for Bane: Batman has survived everything thrown at him. He may be tired, but he’s coming back. cue dramatic music

King’s gift at prose and story cannot be understated. To bookend this great story with excerpts from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” by William Blake and Dante’s Inferno…it’s just masterful. The story flows from villain to villain at a natural pace and nothing feels forced. King’s use of dialogue shouldn’t be underestimated either. As I read Batman’s one-sided conversation with Bane, I felt like I was watching an episode of Batman: The Animated Series and heard everything in Kevin Conroy’s voice.

As much as I love getting 22 or so pages of Janin’s work, I am happy that he was paired with Jorge Fornes for this issue. The grit that Fornes uses definitely suits the ending of the book. The raw emotion that both Batman and Two-Face have is portrayed perfectly in Fornes’ pencil strokes. I also get similarities between his work and David Mazzucchelli’s pencils in Year One, which is never a bad thing to be compared to. Janin continues to deliver great art and is the perfect compliment to the story that King is telling. The panel where Batman rips himself from the nightmare machine is fantastic. Definitely one of my favorites these past few issues. I am 100% honest when I say that Mikel Janin has jumped into my Top 10 of Batman artists.

If you haven’t been reading King’s Batman, what are you waiting for? Go out and pick up the trades today! Tom King has woven a great web of emotion, romance, intrigue, and heartbreak that has hooked many readers, including myself. The epic levels of hype are delivered month after month and issue after issue. Tom King…never leave us.

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DCeased #2 Review

Writer: Tom Taylor Artists: Trevor Hairsine & Stefano Gaudiano Colorist: Rain Berado Letters:...

The Magic Order #1

Written by: Mark Millar Art by: Olivier Coipel Colors by: Dave Stewart Letters by: Peter Hoherty

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