Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.10.11, in Bold Print..


Look below, for there are very interesting comics here.

For this reading period, I found an overall theme of badassness and boldery about. Not just with action, but the some interesting directions with writing and styles. Most of these books are set in dangerous worlds, while the leftover one takes on a challenging viewpoint on an age-old concept. Below, are further ponderings and observations for the week (with minor spoilers)…

(with minor spoilers)


Cage #1 (Marvel) by Genndy Tartakovsky

From the Award-Winning creator of Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Hotel Transylvania? From the Award-Winning creator of Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Hotel Transylvania! On the mean streets of Harlem, shoes are big, shirts are large, bottoms are belled and crime is rampant! But in the heart of the city, the world’s hardest-working, smack-talking, chain-wearing super hero is on the street and on the case! And his rates are reasonable! He’s CAGE! and he’ll save your behind. Dig it!

I expected some new series of Marvel’s Power man as the new Netflix series adds much to his popularity. Yet, this was an interesting take from an unexpected creator. I was a bit worried this would be some lame blaxploitation knockoff from his roots with much of the expected jokes exhausted from 70’s Black urban entertainment (though I enjoy many blaxploitation flicks). Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find this is not so much that. It’s fun humor and action mixed with the very best of the classic street fantasy that Blaxploitation brought, with much from the classic Luke Cage comics which had silly moments as well. Overall, good fun with a much-needed fresh take on the character.

He-Man Thundercats #1 (DC) by Rob David, Lloyd Goldfine, Freddie E. Williams II

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe team up with the ThunderCats, the epic crossover event you’ve waited thirty years to see! In his ever-living desire to destroy the mighty ThunderCats, Mumm-Ra quests for a weapon that can rival the legendary Sword of Omens: He-Man’s Sword of Power! But his dimension-spanning scheme kick starts a cataclysmic crisis that will embroil heroes and villains-Masters, Mutants and ThunderCats in a mind-blowing six-part saga!

Surprisingly good, though I am not a fan of the art. The story feels much more intriguing and sensible than the standard incident that merges two worlds, and the two must do the usual fight and team-up thing. Though I like the set-up so far with Mumm-Ra underestimating the badassery of Prince-Adam, then finding out who the real Ancient Spirit of Evil is (saw that coming, but still liked the execution of it all). The two mythologies make perfect sense here, and invite many questions for fans to ponder. Which sword is better, Sword of Omens or the Sword of Power? Who’s better with machines, Man-At-Arms or Panthro? Who’s more obnoxious and annoying, Snarf or Orko? I’m very much on board though I wish the art style was a bit more cartoonish and less-violent, to further my childhood nostalgia.  Still, this crossover is off to a good start.

Green Valley #1 (Image) by Max Landis, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cliff Rathburn

The knights of Kelodia are the finest in the land, but they’ve never faced a power like the one that resides in the Green Valley… MAX LANDIS (Chronicle, American Ultra, Superman: American Alien) and GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI (Amazing Spider-Man) welcome you to the world of Green Valley… where nothing is ever what it seems.

I like the art and scripting for much of the issue. Green Valley is an interesting page turner for its moments here and there, though it’s hard for me to tell what it all turns to for an overall story. Is it a tale of action, comedy, or drama? I find a bit of all, though very unevenly mixed in. I love the art and characters, mixed with fitting colors and mastery of panel sequence style. The ending is very badass, but also leaves me thinking; what does it all mean? I hope it’s all more than a basic plot of revenge and reclaiming the homeland.

Romulus #1 (Image) by Bryan Hill, Nelson Blake II

Our world isn’t free. All of us, for generations, have lived under the secret control of The Ancient Order of Romulus. One young woman, raised by them, trained by them, betrayed by them, must push through her fear to take a stand against the silent evil that masters our world. Her name is Ashlar, and her war begins with the brutal first chapter of the new Image series ROMULUS, from writer BRYAN HILL (POSTAL) and artist NELSON BLAKE II (MAGDELENA).

A great first issue that spends much of its time setting up/explaining the Romulus order and background of Ashlar, whose moments in the book are badass and thrillsome. The series is great for those who enjoy fast-paced action. For many comics, I find moments of action often stale and boring, sometimes even confusing. In Romulus, there is a nice fluidity and wonderful coherence about them, reminiscent of the classic Frank Miller Daredevil or Jim Aparo Batman comic eras. The size and placing of the panels along with the well-timed dialogue and colorplay makes the read feel very cinematic. From that, the overall story is thrilling as the Illuminati elements show a long challenge ahead for Ashlar. My hopes are, that with the great action we get more development with the current plot. I look forward to finding out.

Paper Girls #10 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

The second arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with the Paper Girls risking everything to escape the 21st Century… but if any survive, where will they end up next?

An action-packed end to the second arc. The art and style of the series feel more defined than ever, with more attention I think given to establishing mood and odd surreality to the current situation of our Paper Girls lost in whatever time and space they are in now. Now there are more questions with few answers in sight. There are some wonderful moments, especially with Erin now sick and tired of other Erin, and Brittany leading the group with a daring leap of faith. Still a fun series, though with the ending I feel the adventure is just beginning.

The Flintstones #4 (Image) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Chris Chuckry

What is this newfangled thing called “marriage” and why are so many people willing to sacrifice the traditional sex cave for exclusive partnerships? Fred and Wilma leave Pebbles and Dino with the Rubbles for the weekend and head out to a marriage retreat to find out all they can about this new fad they’ve bought into.

PICK OF THE WEEK!! Wow, The Flintstones does it again with magnificent social satire and brilliant humor. Here, some stone age concepts reac far ahead of their time. One being the idea of marriage, heavily frowned upon in Bedrock society where Fred and Wilma visit a secluded retreat to discuss their sinful union. Meanwhile, Dino receives constant resentment from his Jurassic kin living the miserable life of servitude as household appliances. The top of religious beliefs also resurfaces, with a sweet answer explaining the universe. Such the answer is brilliant and very thought-provoking, if you don’t think about that too much. Overall, the best issue so far in the series which stands the Flintstones as brilliant in complexity as (and perhaps more) than other classic animated nostalgia from Prime-time TV schedules.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

Orion T – SW chief writer and seeker of great comic books and all related wonderful things. 


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