Monday, July 22, 2019

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Fallen World #1

Writer: Dan Abnett

Artist: Adam Pollina

Colors: Ulises Arreola

Letters: Jeff Powell

Release Date: 5/1/2019

   I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to reading comics outside the “Big 2” I’m slacking bigtime. So, when I finally decided to do a review for a non-DC comic this week there was a title that caught my eye, Fallen World #1. Having not been familiar with many Valiant titles I figured a #1 issue would be a good place to start; I mean, how can you go wrong when the main character is a cyborg samurai?! Packed with plenty of action throughout the entire issue, Adam Pollina delivers a bloody masterpiece with incredibly detailed artwork. The issue ends when the main character Rai, who has sworn off violence for several years now, unsheathes his sword, so you know shits about to go down.

   The opening issue brought up a hot topic that’s currently up for debate in the tech industry, would the introduction of AI bring about the advancement of humankind, or the destruction? Dan Abnett has laid the groundwork in the premier issue of what promises to be a thriller of a series. If dinosaurs vs machine gun wielding Super Soldiers isn’t enough to entice you, Abnett also tackles some complex issues that today’s society faces. While I may not have much time invested into these characters, it goes without saying that as soon I finished this book, I was on my laptop googling more about the character Bloodshot, and I am very interested to see where things pick up next issue. Fallen World #1 has succeeded in doing everything an introductory chapter should do in my opinion; provided the reader with an interesting main character, set up a compelling plot, and left the readers salivating at the mouth for the upcoming duel. It looks like I’ve finally found my “non-Big 2” comic and can’t wait until the next issue hits stands.

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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Transformers #3 Review

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Written by: Brian Ruckley

Art by: Angel Hernandez/Cachet Whitman

Colors by: Joana Lafuente

Letters by: Tom B. Long

Release Date: April 17th, 2019

Our story slowly moves forward as Megatron and Soundwave oversee the formation of the Ascenticon Guard. Is this it? Is this the moment when the Decepticons are truly created? The Autobots, especially Chromia, might think so based on her reaction to one of the Guard’s new members. In the first few pages of the issue, we learn that not every Transformer is peaceful during this pre-Civil War era. That point is driven home again as the murder investigation continues. Brainstorm’s murder still remains unsolved. After an issue with further character development, more questions are raised as Orion Pax (Optimus Prime) consults with a strange Transformer named Codexa. Who is this new character and what answers does she have?

The dual artists based on the specific story continues to work for this issue. They both have a great understanding of the world of Transformers and an ability to convey emotion on robotic faces. That is evident with the backstory of the future Decepticon Quake. Readers can really see the rage he has based on his facial expressions. Additionally, I really enjoyed the coloring of the flashback. The orange/yellow hues definitely fit the war story being recited.

I want to take a moment to talk about the cover work. In a word: WOW! The standard cover was pretty cool. It definitely gives off the impression that Optimus is burdened by the troubles of Cybertron as he opens this grandiose door. However, it is two of the variant covers that really grabbed my attention. The first is from Guido Guidi, a long-time Transformers artist. This particular cover was done in the style of the Marvel comics from the 80s. The level of detail that Guidi puts into Starscream and Bumblebee, not to mention the background is stupendous! The second variant is absolutely AMAZING! It’s a special variant from John Gallagher. The level of work that he put in to bring Jetfire and Starscream to life…I have no words. Gallagher’s previous two covers have been fantastic and he continues to bring that high level of skill in this one.

As enjoyable and different as the Rubble story might be, I find myself wanting more and wanting this specific story to move quicker. I’m not as interested in this new character and that sense of wonder he has about everything. I want more Optimus Prime and Megatron. I want to see the formation of the Decepticons and the beginning of the Civil War. Additionally, I want to know who killed Brainstorm and tried to kill Megatron! That said, the art is great and it’s a Transformers comic. I’ll keep on reading it and hope my questions are finally answered.

Assassin Nation #2 Review

Written By: Kyle Starks

Art By: Erica Henderson

Letters: Deron Bennet

Published By: Image Comics

Release Date: April 17th, 2019

Assassin Nation #2 continues the story of the now shortened list of the world’s best assassins working as bodyguards for the crime boss, Rankin. The somewhat cooperative gang (Bishop, F@#k Tarkington, Dave, Mamba Twins, Connie The Tank, Wistful Stan, Smoke, and Chad Fingerman) get a brief break to bicker with each other and plan their next move after the recent unexpected shootout. As the assassins attempt to talk instead of shoot, some very interesting details about each member is brought to life.

In this small break in the action we get a very interesting look into the background of these badasses and how they got into this unique line of work. Once a brief glimpse is shown you start to realize that these hitmen aren’t all that bad,in fact they’re even relatable! These dangerous men and women had surprisingly modest beginnings and that fine detail adds a more human feel to these hitmen. The backstories give each character more depth and the exploration of each assassin makes it even easier to find a favorite character. More information is given about all these characters but Bishop continues to be the centerpiece of the storyline and the leader of the team. Bishop a widower on a mission for revenge for the murder of his late husband, committed by an unknown assailant. Of course, this second installment of Assassin Nation did not forget to throw in more explosive action that may or may not have shortened the remaining list of assassins even further!

I really do admire when a writer has no hesitation to not only kill off main characters but do so in brutal fashion. In my opinion a story becomes boring very quickly when a character has obvious plot armor. Whenever bullets start flying and cars start exploding, I need to be genuinely concerned about which character might get the axe or else I quickly lose interest, especially when a series is just starting out. Fortunately, that is not a problem here and Assassin Nation is proving, yet again, that anything can happen at any moment. The second installment of this fresh new comic series brings in a healthy mix of character development and explosive action. For those of you that have not started reading Assassin Nation I strongly recommend you change that! The next issue promises more action as the group decides to take the offensive. Make sure you catch up on the series before Assassin Nation #3 drop on May 22nd, 2019!

Leaders of the Free World #1

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Writer: Corey Pruitt

Penciler: Elijah Isaiah Johnson

Colorer: Ross Hughes

Letterer: Toben Racicot


Those folks that have read a few of my reviews know that I typically stick to the Big Two of DC and Marvel. It’s just something that I’ve always known. Recently, thanks to my friends here at the Legion, I’ve been branching out and reading more comics from companies such as Image, Doom, Dark Horse, and many indie books. So when I saw that Corey “TASK” Pruitt was putting out his own book, I knew that I had to get a copy and give it a review. I enjoy interacting with TASK on Twitter and talking smack about many various topics. We all know that he doesn’t read comics, but he does write them! 

The Leaders of the Free World issue one. Open the page and we are greeted with our heroes having already formed their team. But how did we get to this moment? Well, that’s what this first issue is for! I’m not going to give away too much of the story because I really want readers to experience everything for themselves. However, in this first issue, we get to meet a few members of the Leaders. Chief among them is Surreal, a teenager who gets thrown into this situation where he has to use his powers for the good of the populace instead of worrying about his homework. Surreal behaves just like a teenager from our society would if they had powers, complete with an inner soundtrack monologue. Also introduced are four other members of the team: diffident Brotha Nature, the multi-tasking technokinetic Tech-No, powerhouse party-girl Moonshine, and good boy Doohickey. Doohickey is hands-down my favorite character and he needs his own series immediately. How can you go wrong with a dog that can create all sorts of weaponry? 

I am in love with this artwork. It absolutely fits with the story that is being told. The style is just really fun to look at. There is a mix of character simplicity and background detail that just blends so well together. To seamlessly move from creating people to vast alien armadas to incredible backgrounds takes a lot of talent. Additionally, Johnson’s mastery of facial expressions is pretty exceptional. I especially love the Black kid’s face on page 1. That face just kills me every time I look at it! Don’t overlook Ross Hughes’ work on the colors. They really pop off the page and complement Johnson’s work. Lastly, I think the panel layout is very apropos. The reader’s eyes can glide over the pages and not have to worry about the reading order. 

All in all, I’m ready for issue 2. I’m excited to see how the story continues. I have several questions though. Where are the other three members? What is the threat they are facing? How will the team form? Have we seen the last of Florida Man? This issue was a great jumping point for a brand new world. It brought me a story that is unique and enticing and paired it with some great art. I really feel that this is an Image book in the making. Hell, it’s got better art than a lot of the indie books that I see out there. 

Section Zero #1

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Writer: Karl Kesel

Art: Tom Grummett

Colors by: Ben Dimagmaliw

Letters by: Richard Starkings

Release Date: April 3rd, 2019

Section Zero #1 continues my journey into books that are not from the Big 2 of Marvel and DC. I have to say, I chose VERY WELL this week. This book was initially released under Gorilla Comics, which was an imprint of Image, back in 2000. Creators Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett worked tirelessly for 18 years to bring it back…and that they did! I was a fan of their work during their Superboy days in the 90s and that continues with Section Zero. That continues to be the case with Section Zero and I hope it sticks around for a bit. 
Section Zero is a 1950s B-movie come to life and spliced with a little bit of Planetary and the X-Files. Imagine encountering Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or an alien ship. Who do you call? Section Zero! A secret section of the United Nations’ Charter, Section Zero is a team of experts that are called on “to explore and investigate unexplained phenomena worldwide.” The team consists of team leader A.J. Keeler who doesn’t see much time in the field for what I think are mysterious reasons, Doctor Titania “Tina” Challenger the last of a family of scientific adventurers, her ex-husband and the team’s field leader Sam Wildman, and Tesla an alien with the mentality of a child. 
This first issue introduces us to what will become the five members of the Section Zero team as they investigate reports of a monster in the jungles of Siatok. That turns out to be future member Thom Talesi…the 24 Hour Bug, a kid who can morph into an insect when he touches the strange tattoo on his right arm. The team goes from one paranormal investigation to another and Kesel sprinkles in some great introductory character development along the way. So far my favorite character is Tesla. I enjoy his child-like mentality and how much excitement he brings to the group. Plus…he drives a sweet alien flying saucer with a tractor beam. Can’t go wrong with that!
Grummett’s artwork does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. As I previously mentioned, I am a huge fan of his art from his days on Superboy. Seeing his art in Section Zero brings back those fond memories. His attention to detail cannot be understated. Every panel is full of incredible artistic facets from U.N. office buildings to the jungles of Siatok, and finally the Australian Outback. He is very meticulous when it comes to his character illustration. Grummett really gets the grime and dirt on Sam Wildman just right. The same with the insect details on Thom Talesi or the light that emanates from Tesla when he gets excited. Lastly, I rarely talk about letterers, which is a shame in and of itself, but I really have to give Richard Starkings some props for the lettering done at the beginning of the issue. It really set the food of a science-fiction mystery. I’m a little disappointed that this font wasn’t used throughout the rest of the book. 
I am really interested and curious to see where the story goes from this first issue. Will it have deep mysteries like Planetary did? Or will the issues be more like an episode of the X-Files, where the case is solved in a single issue? The secrets that A.J. Keeler has regarding his true allegiances are reason enough for me to purchase issue two!

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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The Warning #5

Published by: Image

Written by Edward Laroche

Edited by Donald Hodges

Colors: Brad Simpson

Letters: Jaymes Reed

Release Date: March 20th, 2019

The Warning #5 is the most recent issue in this fresh young series, and I have to say, it has delivered from the very start. For those of you who are not familiar with The Warning Series, well first I need to tell you that missing out on this storyline is a huge mistake, but anyways to give you some background information this is a military vs unknown threat comic. Obviously, it wouldn’t be very exciting if events were peaceful, to be more blunt the military is struggling to fight back let alone even identify what is currently the world with deadly explosions and mysterious individuals. Things are not completely hopeless they do have talented and enhanced agents to fight back with. Such as Gladiator Two Six a solider who has undergone extensive upgrades and despite being close to a cyborg, he is still barely maintaining his humanity. His internal dialogue is very poetic, and it goes to show this character had so much depth and potential and I cannot wait to learn more about him.

For the most part the dialogue taking place during the series is very professional and a lot of military lingo so if you enjoy those kind of conversations then this is for you, I am extremely enjoying because if it is well done I feel so much more immersed in to the comic and I can assure it is well done. I am aware I haven’t given much information about the events taking place but that is because the comic has been keeping almost everything shrouded in mystery and because of that I was almost always anxious to get to the next page. That does not mean this is all suspense, far from it because close to every single page has been action packed with explosions, airstrikes and an ongoing dogfight that is a definite nail biter. The events of the comic are shown in a very interesting order. It is has no hesitation to take you on a visit several months in the past to give you more background information. Issue #5 continues the momentum this series has built and to say this installment is worth reading is an understatement.

The artwork for this comic continues to be impressive and will highly likely earn praise from any avid comic book reader. After reading The Warning #5 I immediately checked the date of release for The Warning #6 and was kind of disappointed it wasn’t today! Anyways actually the publication date is April 24th, 2019 so be sure write that down on your calendars!

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Bad Luck Chuck #1

Published by: Dark Horse Comics

Written By: Lela Gwenn

Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick

Letters: Frank Cvetkovic

Bad Luck Chuck #1 marks the beginning for the adventures of Tashi Charlene “Chuck” Manchester, a self-employed master of disaster. For this comic the main character isn’t the owner of the typical super powers we are used to. She is the owner of bad luck, any environment becomes hazardous just by her mere presence (watch out for goats falling from the sky). To most people this would be a curse, but Chuck has turned her misfortune into financial gain, offering her services to those who are looking to make money off an insurance claim or any other mischievous deed without actually getting their hands dirty.

After burning down a laundromat Chuck is hired to destroy a cults’ compound in order to save a customers’ daughter, but things are never that simple. Chuck shows up and to no surprise it doesn’t take long for a fire to bring down the whole place, soon after the daughter, Fayola (which means lucky in Yoruba) informs Chuck that she is being followed by men most likely hired by her mother to kill Fayola and frame Chuck for the purpose of getting her hands on Fayola’s inheritance from her Grandfather. These two goons were not prepared for Chucks’ dangerous power and the new duo of unlucky and lucky escape safely.

Starting off the series has already created many possibilities for Chuck, or should I say created enemies as in the detective who has Chuck as the main suspect in several “accidents”, the crazed cult leader and the devious mother. The artwork is solid and easy to love but pacing of the story seems a little off, I felt like the events were a little rushed. Despite the pace the story is still an exciting new series that has a high level of creativity in regard to the main character and her unique superpower.

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Transformers #2

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Written by: Brian Ruckley

Art by: Angel Hernandez/Cachet Whitman

Colors by: Joana Lafuente/Josh Burcham

Letters by: Tom B. Long

Release Date: March 27th, 2019

Oh IDW, what am I going to do with you? We didn’t even last one issue before we experience our first death in the new Transformers universe – the Autobot Brainstorm. As we left off from the first issue, newly forged Rubble is traveling with Bumblebee and Windblade to visit Brainstorm. While the latter two are investigating a break-in, Rubble stumbles across Brainstorm’s corpse. 

Issue two opens with a monologue from Rubble as he thinks about what he has seen in his short life, including this murder. We learn that something like this hasn’t happened in a long time…and for Cybertronians, that’s saying something. Readers are introduced to several new characters – at least new to the reboot – Chromia and Prowl. Prowl is still his same know-it-all, annoying self while we learn that Chrome has a new role that bodes well for more character development – head of Cybertronian security. Chromia seems a more personable option as security chief over Prowl. She still maintains a by-the-book approach to things, as we see present during her conference call with Orion Pax. She holds firm to her belief that Autobot security is stretched too thin to add more people to the protest rally. At the end of the day, she does what her commander orders, which is as by-the-book as you can get. 

The focus on Rubble continues as he is introduced to Wheeljack and gets a hands-on experience working in engineering with him. Wheeljack feeds his curiosity by talking about one of the moons of Cybertron and how it was converted to an energon absorber. Readers are reminded just how different this world is from an organic one. Where else could a world’s inhabitants construct an energy harvester out of one of its moons? Before we end Rubble’s arc in this issue, we are treated to a touching moment of him sitting with Bumblebee as the energon harvesting moon opens. 

Lastly, we are taken to Tarn for the Ascenticon rally. I noticed that the storytellers make a point to tell us the location of Tarn in relation to another district – Kaon. Those readers that are well-versed in Transformers lore will recognize Kaon as the seat of Decepticon power in the early days of the Civil War. I doubt this mention was purely coincidence. At the rally, Megatron gives an embolden speech about purpose and equality for all Cybertronians. At the same time, I can detect a hint of superiority as he uses this phrase, “We are unique, we Cybertronians. There is nothing, and no one, in all the known universe in which we see our own nature reflected.” Superiority was always at the forefront of Megatron’s Decepticon ideology. Before the issue ends, an unknown assailant takes a shot at Megatron and he flies into a rage. He discovers no one and makes a vow to get to the bottom of this attack. 

I continue to enjoy the dual artists as it relates to the individual stories that are being told. The hues that Hernandez and Lafuente have decided on really suit a story that’s being told on a robotic, alien world such as Cybertron. The purple and blue from the Autobot characters blend great with the Cybertronian backdrop. I don’t know if this was intentional, but I feel like these colors also help set the mood with the fact that the Autobots are investigating the death of one of their own. When we come to Wheeljack’s addition to the story, Chromia had it right by saying “Wheeljack’s the sort to put some light back into the world.” There’s a lot of light in all of the panels in this section of the story – from the buildings to the sky, and culminating with Cybertron’s energon gathering moon. I’m already in awe of all the art by the time I get to the last few pages – Megatron’s arc. I love Whitman’s use of angles and detail when it comes to Megatron and Soundwave. You can really see the anger on Megatron’s face as he gives his passionate speech to his followers or as he deals with the attempt on his life. I’ll definitely be in the market for some of this original artwork!

This second issue doesn’t really answer any questions that arose from the first issue. If anything, it created more. Who killed Brainstorm? What is Megatron’s ultimate goal? Is the attempt on his life the spark that will bring forth the Decepticon movement? Who is behind it? While I am enjoying this glimpse into Cybertron’s past, I am left wanting a bit more. The pace almost crawls along. I don’t feel like anything is happening. Yes, I enjoy the new character of Rubble and the sense of wonder that he brings. However, I want things to progress just a bit faster. Additionally, I want more of Megatron’s story! I want to see the politics of Cybertron and learn how the Civil War starts. The book has potential though and the good far outweighs the bad. I would still recommend it to any Transformers fan and it’s going to stay in my pull list. 

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