Friday, November 22, 2019

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Space Bandits #1: Double Cross

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Written by Mark Millar

Art by Matteo Scalera

Colors by Marcelo Maiolo

Letts by Clem Robins

Mark Millar’s Space Bandits is predictable but entertaining. Space, and con artists, it’s a classic Cowboy Bebop story with way more color. Cody and Khole are “mistreated” criminals that were wronged in their pursuit of happiness (making millions of dollars at the expense of breaking the law).

Cody’s story as the first act of the issue was solid and kept my interest going forward into Khloe’s story. Although it was predictable Millar had me more focused on what Khole’s plans were after being captured and not rescued by her partner. It’s unfortunate, but no answers were given to what might push this story forward until the very last page, exposition and world building is important to the story but I found myself uninterested in those aspects because not much was involving our main character.

The next three pages are used to explain what kind of facility Khole is being taken too. A gigantic prison that holds thousands of the universe’s most dangerous criminals. And it is then revealed that Cody is in the prison as well, bandaged up and very much alive, despite the outcome of the heist she committed in the beginning of the issue.

Mateo’s art was very enjoyable and gave the same vibe as Image Comic’s Weatherman by Jody LeHeup and Nathan Fox. The neon pinks and yellows really popped in this book and the character designs were fun to look at for a while before flipping each page.

Although this story was enjoyable and beautiful to look at, it falls short in really grasping the scope of what Millar is wanting to do with this story moving forward. It does leave the reader wanting more and I can assume Khole and Cody will team up, break out of prison, and go after the people that wronged them, but there just wasn’t enough story in this first issue to fill in those blanks.

7.5/10

You can pick up your copy of Space Bandits at your local comic shop on July 3rd 2019.

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

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.

Invisible Kingdom #3 Review

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Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Artist: Christian Ward

Letterer: Sal Cipriano

Books like Invisible Kingdom #3 are the reason we love comics; A story abundant in heart coupled with breathtaking visuals. Issue 3 tells a tale of two very unlikely allies who may very well be each other’s only savior. Grix, the captain of the Sundog, who’s crew is on the run, and Vess, a disenchanted acolyte who encounters information that causes her to question everything she has ever known.

G. Willow Wilson crafts an engaging and emotional tale in issue #3. Both Grix and Vess have to put everything on the line and make difficult choices. however it isn’t just the nature of those choices that makes the story so good, it’s the way in which Wilson shows us how the characters come to make those particular choices. Wilson does an excellent job at showing us what’s really at stake and capturing that feeling of having to make a choice despite not truly knowing if it is the right one.

Christian Ward’s art is nothing short of awe inspiring. I found myself taking moments to just look at the gorgeous scenery throughout the book; portrayed with a bright and colorful paint like style. The bright colors and large scale really does this epic space fantasy justice and makes the comic that much more engaging. The art is also complemented well by the lettering as the pages that have the most scenery have the least amount of dialogue. The lettering in the book is not intrusive and let’s the art really be appreciated.

The creative team on this book are hitting on all cylinders and I can’t recommend this book enough

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!

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