Archive for May, 2014

Knuckle Bones


Moon Knight #3

Moon Knight encounters a criminal menace he can’t beat down — a gang of ghosts running around New York beating people up. Marc can’t manage to lay a glove on them, but they have no difficulty kicking his ass all over the street. But the Khonshu side of him reveals that he does have a way he can strike back at the ghosts — entirely without his own knowledge, Moon Knight had been collecting magical armor designed to let him touch the spectral world. The rematch goes much differently.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Outstanding art and storytelling. I absolutely love the design of the skeletal Khonshu and the similar design of Marc’s ghost armor. The action is, of course, grand, but the resolution of the whole thing is even better. Come on, folks, it’s early in this one’s run — better jump on the bandwagon now.


Loki: Agent of Asgard #4

After a thrilling (and snarky) duel of trickery (and swords), the great Asgardian hero Sigurd has managed to steal his ancient sword Gram away from Loki. He takes it to Kaluu, a meditating magician in Tibet, so he can exchange it for the opportunity to escape from the Valkyries, who intend to torture him all through the afterlife because he’s slighted them somehow. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kaluu isn’t really Kaluu — and he intends to torment Sigurd even more terribly. Can Sigurd get out of this? Or will the seemingly dead Loki have to save his bacon?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely done action and (naturally) trickery — and not just on Loki’s part. Sigurd spends most of his time lying, and Kaluu is all about the untruths. And I must say I’m also enjoying Sigurd a lot — I wouldn’t mind seeing him with his own series — he’s a wonderfully devious character, especially for someone who’s supposed to be a great hero.


The Returning #2

I missed this one for a while, but finally managed to pick it up last week. Beth Turner is on the run — her family has been murdered and everyone in town thinks she’s a changer — someone who died briefly and then becomes a homicidal maniac later. She turns to her sole remaining friend for help — but then gets attacked by the gas station attendant she’d thought had been killed. And after that, she’s rescued by the man who she thought was a changer out to kill her. But is he really on her side? Should she believe him, or is the convenient FBI agent she meets going to help her escape to a place of safety?

Verdict: Ehh, dunno. It’s kinda all over the place — and the paranoia is high enough at this point that I don’t know who we should be trusting — or if we should be trusting anyone at all. That may be by design, but for now, it feels a bit directionless.

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Your Own Personal Jesus


Revival #20

Dana Cypress is terrified that the FBI will discover that her sister killed the rotten Check Brothers, but it turns out they just want her expertise with Revivers — it looks like one has gotten past the quarantine zone and made it into New York City. The sheriff discovers that the mayor’s wife is a secret — and insane — Reviver. Lester Majak consults with an old friend from a nearby Indian reservation about the ghosts haunting the woods. And Em meets up with a daredevil Reviver named Rhodey Rasch who likes dressing up as Jesus just to freak out the squares — he thinks he can help cure Em’s slowly decaying body by jumping off bridges with her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of bleak, glorious, freaky, gory fun. If y’all haven’t been reading this, could I suggest y’all go get the trade paperbacks as soon as you can? It’ll help you get caught up quick, and they’re absolutely grand to read.


She-Hulk #4

Jennifer Walters is frustrated by the fact that she was able to get Kristoff Vernard, the son of Dr. Doom, granted legal asylum, only for his father to kidnap him back to Latveria. After a chat with fellow superhero lawyer Matt Murdock, Jennifer undertakes a covert mission into Latveria to confront Dr. Doom — but does even the She-Hulk stand a chance against Dr. Doom — especially when he breaks out the giant robot to fight her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The art is just phenomenal. There’s this one glorious silhouette midway through with Shulkie and Daredevil fighting crime in San Francisco that’s absolutely amazing. And the story ain’t at all bad either — I like the fact that Jennifer figured out a third way out of the confrontation with Doom.


Veil #3

The wizard Cormac is hiding out inside a deserted church making plans against the politicians who tried to use him, and he also manages to take control of Veil and bring her to him.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This series is so absolutely inconsistent. In the first issue, Veil was a quirky innocent who spoke in rhyme. In the second, she’s almost completely normal. In this issue, she does absolutely nothing aside from getting mind-controlled. It’s infuriatingly erratic.

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Friday Night Fights: Cattle Carnage!

I’ve been treated to a very rare day off, so I got a slight head-start on the weekend. But lemme help y’all get caught up with some wonderful comic book violence. It’s time for… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle isn’t the bloodiest or most savage, but it still gives me a lot of joy. From August 2009’s Tiny Titans #17 by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, here’s the funny cartoon version of the Battle for the Cowl!





That’ll do it for me. Y’all enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I’ll see y’all back here on Monday.

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Rats’ Nest


Rat Queens #6

I heard a lot of good stuff about this and finally picked up the first trade paperback last month. It was great fun, so I figured I’ll pick it up ongoing from here on out.

Our setup here is a fantasy series starring a team of hard-partying mercenaries — Hannah, a cynical elven rockabilly spellcaster, Violet, a hipster dwarven fighter, Betty, a childlike drug-abusing halfling thief, and a human atheist cleric who gets her abilities from an eldritch abomination she refuses to worship. In their first storyarc, they beat up a bunch of monsters, a vast conspiracy tried to kill them, they abused a lot of substances, and they got busy with people they loved, or at least lusted after.

So, with this new issue, we’re working on wrapping up old storylines and starting a few new ones. Hannah’s on-again, off-again relationship with Sawyer, the city’s leading law enforcement agent, gets more contentious, but probably gets wrapped up permanently. The Rat Queens fight off a bunch of mushroom people. Dee’s husband makes his entirely unexpected return. And the Cult of N’Rygoth is coming back in a big way.

Verdict: Thumbs up. This series is crude and hilarious and action-packed and awesome. Go pick it up — the trade paperback is out, and this issue also makes a good jump-on point.


Red Sonja #9

Sonja is seeking the world’s greatest artisans in order to get a dying tyrant to release thousands of slaves. Her quest this time sends her to collect Aneva, the world’s greatest courtesan — but she’s hampered by the fact that she has no money to get into Aneva’s presence, and by the fact that it’s been a long time since Sonja enjoyed any carnal pleasures of her own, and she’s a bit… distracted. She offers Aneva the tyrant’s promised gold, but Aneva is more interested in staying where she is to start a courtesan’s guild and to keep her cruel master Captain Ferox from torturing her friends. Can Sonja convince Aneva to accompany her? Can the two women learn anything about each other’s lives?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art and story, and a rare chance to see Sonja’s rarely displayed ability to rock a gorgeous dress while still kicking ass.


Black Widow #6

Natasha has been captured aboard the yacht of an old enemy called Damon Dran, the Indestructible Man, who doesn’t seem to be as unstoppable as he used to be. She manages to escape the armed thugs guarding her, only to run into the monk assassin she thought she’d killed, now outfitted in built-in metal armor to make him even more difficult to harm than he’d been before. Even then, Dran is captured easily — but what if the conspiracy Natasha’s fighting goes even deeper? Is there anyone she’s able to trust?

Verdict: Thumbs up, but it’s another near thing. The art is exceptionally nice, but the story still feels a bit light and inconsequential.

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High Plains Robo


Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle #1

After the events of the last storyline, Atomic Robo has been stranded in the American West in 1872. He’s trying to keep a low profile and avoid upsetting the timestream. But of course, this is a Western, and keeping a low profile never works for the hero, does it? He rescues an old man shot by outlaws and carts him off to Alamosa, Colorado to find a doctor — too bad the only doctor in town is a dentist named Doc Holliday. But the outlaws have chased them down to the local saloon, and they’re threatening to kill everyone in town. And why does everyone think Robo is actually a guy named Ironhide — who died years ago?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Atomic Robo in the Old West? With Doc Holliday? Shut up and take my money!


Southern Bastards #1

We got Earl Tubb, an old man come back to his old home town in Craw County, Alabama. His father was the heroic and ass-kicking sheriff decades ago who carried a baseball bat signed by Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Elvis Presley to beat down the thugs who attacked him. But Bertrand Tubb has been dead for years, a tree is growing out of his grave, and Earl is trying to clean out the old homestead so he can get out of Alabama once and for all. But it isn’t long before Earl runs afoul of the local redneck crime cartel, and things are just gonna get worse for him from here on out.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve lived in the South and the Southwest my whole life, but I’ve never been in the Deep South, or even East Texas. But I recognize these characters, and I feel sorry for them at the same time as I hate ’em at the same time as I love ’em. Stupid Southern cultural genetics. Anyway, this is a great slice of deep-fried Southern noir by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour, and I’m really, genuinely looking forward to more of this. Pick it up while it’s still in the stores, guys.


Silver Surfer #2

The Surfer heads out to battle the Queen of Nevers, a being more than powerful enough to destroy him. Instead, he discovers that the Queen is the wronged party here — her heart has been stolen away to keep the glorious Impericon powered. The Surfer resolves to retrieve her heart, but he must be able to sneak back into the Impericon, so he has to disguise himself and hide his cosmic powers deep inside him. Meanwhile, Dawn Greenwood, captured and held captive with a bunch of other aliens in the Motivator Cubes, leads a daring breakout. Can she and the other prisoners escape the planet and save the Silver Surfer at the same time?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fantastic art, and a story that combines the high cosmic adventure you’d expect from a Silver Surfer comic with a more down-to-earth human story. This strikes me as something that’s really going to be amazing.

Today’s Cool Links:

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All the Free Stuff

Free Comic Book Day was Saturday, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. I got to go to both of Denton’s comic book stores, stood in a surprisingly long line for one of them, bought some extra comics and games — some for me, some to give as gifts — and even got to see the very end of the Cinco de Mayo parade.

What were the comics I picked up? Let’s run down the list.


Mouse Guard, Labyrinth and Other Stories: A Free Comic Book Day Hardcover Anthology

Archaia published their second free hardcover in three years for FCBD, and that attention to quality alone got them to the top of the charts for me. Besides Mouse Guard and Labyrinth, the other stories include Ruse, Farscape, Bolivar, and Will O’ The Wisp. Far and away, my favorite story was Mouse Guard, which is always pretty amazing but always seems to pull out all the stops for the FCBD books. Hope you were able to pick this one up, ’cause you sure ain’t gettin’ mine.


Atomic Robo/Bodie Troll/Haunted Free Comic Book Day 2014

Robo and the Action Scientists of Tesladyne travel to Centralia, Pennsylvania to hunt for the Yonkers Devil, while Bodie Troll embarks on a quest for a magical land of yummy food, all on the promise that he’ll get something really awful to eat, and some ghosts chase people in “Haunted.” For once, the Atomic Robo story wasn’t the best of the batch — the Bodie Troll tale was charming and funny and wonderfully cartoony.


Shigeru Mizuki’s Showa: A History of Japan

Funny and insightful autobiographical comics by a man drafted into the Japanese Army during World War II. Our hero starts out thinking army life is pretty easy and sweet, up until everyone in the army decides they should beat him up all the time. Plus we get a look into Japanese society during the war and the mad overconfidence that led their leaders to really believe they could conquer the whole world. This is a genuinely awesome comic — we don’t often see nonfiction comics like this on Free Comic Book Day.


Rocket Raccoon

A fairly cute story about Rocket Raccoon and his funny-animal friends trying to rescue a princess, followed up by an all-ages adventure of Spider-Man, White Tiger, and Nova going into space to rescue Power Man and Iron Fist from a bunch of little green men and… a dentist? Fun reading for kids of all ages.


Teen Titans Go! FCBD Special Edition

Someone’s been stealing Cyborg’s food out of the fridge. Can Robin figure out the culprit? Will Cyborg’s traps foil the thief? And will the team survive a round of mini-golf when the wagers get higher and higher? I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Titans — this one has cute storytelling, and it’s far less bloodthirsty, gory, and cynical than DC’s other FCBD comic.


Hello Kitty and Friends

A collection of short Hello Kitty stories by numerous different creators, including Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani of “Tiny Titans” fame, plus a few bonus pages from the Bravest Warriors series. The whole thing was pretty cute, as you’d expect from Hello Kitty — should be a winner for anyone who loves her brand of kawaii.

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Friday Night Fights: Dairy Doom!

Okay, it’s Friday, and we’re all tired of working, and good gravy train, do we ever need the weekend bad. Let’s get things rolling with a little comic book ultraviolence and… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

With Free Comic Book Day coming up tomorrow, I was hoping to find something for tonight’s battle with a comic shop theme. I was hoping to find something from Evan Dorkin’s Eltingville Club series, but I wasn’t able to find where that particular comic was hiding, but luckily, I found something even more violent. From 1994’s Milk and Cheese #666 by Evan Dorkin, here’s the Dairy Products Gone Bad vs. pretty much everyone!


Y’all don’t forget to stop by your local comic shop tomorrow and pick up your free comics — and please go ahead and buy a few comics, too. Let’s make it easier for our comic shops to keep operating in the future…

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Who Wants Free Comics?


I have had a heck of a rough week, and the only thing that’s made the whole thing bearable is knowing that Saturday is coming, and Saturday is Free Comic Book Day.

I know we’re all excited about getting some free comics, but let’s take a moment for a Public Service Announcement.

First and foremost, not all the comics in the store are free. You won’t be able to go into a comic shop, grab their copy of Action Comics #1 and get it without paying. You won’t be able to load up on graphic novels or every comic in the store for absolutely no money. The publishers put out their own special promotional comics, and those are the only ones that are free. Sometimes, those free comics are really good. Sometimes, they’re not so good. Sometimes, they’re really kinda useless. Sometimes, they end up being one of the best comics of the entire year. It’s kinda the luck of the draw, baby — but they are free, so that’s a nice little benefit, no matter what.

You’ll probably only get one or two of those free comics, too — there are only limited supplies of the free stuff on hand. So you don’t want to wait very late to visit your local shop. Show up when they unlock the doors in the morning, and you’ll have your pick of whatever you want. Show up at quitting time, and there may be nothing at all left.

And finally, please remember that, although the comics are free for you, the stores themselves have to pay for them. That’s right — the publishers make the retailers pay money to get the comics that they then give to you for free. That means that Free Comic Book Day is a money-loser for a lot of stores. They do it because they want potential new customers to come in and see how great comics are. So please, do what you can to let your friendly neighborhood comic shop make a little money this Saturday — when you pick up your free comics, buy a few regular comics, too. Single issues, graphic novels, toys, statues, accessories — buy ’em for yourself, buy ’em for a friend, buy ’em for the sake of a future birthday gift.

Your comic shop is being nice enough to give you some comics for free. Return the favor and buy some regular comics from them.

Everyone have a happy Free Comic Book Day tomorrow!

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