Here we got new series, mixed withs some recent favorites, and mostly a lot of action throughout.
Below are my further notes on the following books, mostly released in mid-March (with minor spoilers). Read on!!!
RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 3/8/2017:
AmeriKarate #1 (Action Lab/Danger Zone) by Corey Kalman, Brockton McKinney, Devin Roth
“Sam Kickwell was the best of the best–until a terrible karate accident involving his brother and ninjas convinced him to hang up his black belt. Now he and his appendage-less sibling have moved to a town that has outlawed martial arts; a place they can finally be at peace—until the fateful day his enemies arrive, forcing him back into the only life he’s ever known: Karate fighting for America. Featuring artwork by Devin Roth, lead character designer for the hit animated series, BOB’S BURGERS!”
What the hell am I reading here? It’s different and not quite what I expected. The satire is there, and I get the wacky lost nostalgia of the 80s heyday of action films. But there are some twists that build too much upon the silliness of the overall set-up. There is a bit of raunchiness and overviolence that also feels a bit unwanted and could be toned down a bit. Yet, I love the art style and unique feel of the book. It may be not for everyone, but for the someones that do, will find AmeriKarate a stand-out treat.
Justice League/Power Rangers #3 (DC Comics/Boom! Studios) by Tom Taylor, Stephen Byrne
“Evil begets evil when Brainiac and Lord Zedd partner to destroy their mutual Earths! Can the Justice League withstand the dark terrors of Lord Zedd? Will Angel Grove survive Brainiac’s archival aspirations? Co-published with BOOM! Studios.”
Absolutely every bit ridiculous as I hoped. I can almost hear the insane guitar riff from the classic Power Rangers television show, meeting up with the majestic tone of the Bruce Timm stylized Justice League animated series. Here, the Justice League seem a bit over their head in the sudden alien invasion from the the Rangerverse. Yet, Brainiac’s involvement adds a balance for them, and the often overly optimistic Power Rangers. Batman’s reaction has been the most fascinating of all, with hopes that somehow this will lead to some Bat-modified Zord. Anyway, great fun with the best of both worlds balanced. I’m loving this!
Grass Kings #1 (Boom! Studios) byMatt Kindt, Tyler Kenkins
“From The New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) and Peter Panzerfaust artist Tyler Jenkins comes a rural mystery series chronicling the tragic lives of the Grass Kings, three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land. Eldest brother Robert leads a grief-stricken life, having lost his daughter to a tragic accident, followed by his wife disappearing one morning never to return. When an enigmatic young woman named Maria flees to their community in search of safe haven, Robert takes her in. Will his decision lead to ruin and retribution dooming the Kingdom? Perfect for fans of Justified or The Fade Out. Oversized first issue featuring 30 pages of story!”
PICK OF THE WEEK! A splendid first issue, with a very stylized visual and storytelling style. The art is a many-paged cascade of beautiful watercolors and stylish inks, with an unrestrained setting that put me into a funhouse mirror of mundane small-town life. But the story warps it around, with a strong beginning giving the reader a larger history of the setting transformed by violence and conquest. The characters we now meet want something better, yet there is an unsettling darkness that feels like part of the town which feels engulfing. Then, there is murder, and perhaps something worse that feels like a long time in the making. I feel as a reader, that I can’t escape either, as the creative team made it all so damn captivating.
Copperhead #11 (Image) by Jay Faerber, Drew Moss
“Critically acclaimed COPPERHEAD returns with new artist DREW MOSS! Sheriff Clara Bronson’s past and present collide as an old friend arrives in town while Clara investigates the murder of Copperhead’s mayor.”
I have missed this series since its last issue in October, and now it’s back and I am happy. The new artist carries over the style and visuals of the sci-fi western, very well. I also really like panel transitions, especially with the character interactions, which makes the story flow nicely. The story is also taking on an interesting new arc, which shows a surprising directional twist for Deputy Boo, and a new mystery for Clara. Overall, a nice new arc for this series. However, not a good jumping on point, of which I suggest going back to the earlier issues for new readers.
Motor Crush #4 (Image) by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr
“Domino’s injuries threaten to force her out of the big race. Meanwhile, Team Swift uncovers the secret origin of the “machine narcotic” Crush. Featuring Part Four of ISOLA: PROLOGUE by BRENDEN FLETCHER & KARL KERSCHL!”
With this issue and the last, the overall series is accelerating into a fast favorite for me. The mysteries, rivalries, interesting side-characters are making the overall story a step-above the speed-racer I thought where this was going. The flashbacks expand adds meaning to the story, guiding the reader deeper into the present. The art also continues to grow on me, especially with the emotion facial expressions and body compositions. The ending is abrupt, with a cliffhanger crash. I look forward to the next issue.
Cinema Purgatorio #8 (Avatar Press) by various writers, artists (see below)
“A deep seeded dread spreads over you as you sit in the otherworldly movie theatre. The smell of burnt popcorn is tinged with something else, something coppery… blood? As the first film starts to dance across the screen you hear a strangled choke from behind you. What have you gotten yourself into? This is the theatre of the surreal from the imagination of the one and only Alan Moore! Prepare yourself for twisted tales from the masters of the art form. Now showing: Cinema Purgatorio by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, A More Perfect Union by Max Brooks and Michael DiPascale, Code Pru by Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres, Modded by Kieron Gillen and Ignacio Calero, and The Vast by Christos Gage and Gabriel Andrade..”
Another great issue that will have things you will like and not like, understand and not. The first story being such (by Alan Moore, Kevin O’Neill), with a cartoon character, suddenly dealing with a coming finality. It’s funny and dark, leaving the spectator (and myself) in an unsettling state. The following story by Garth Ennis is a ghost story, with a very unglamourous twist. The next two stories by Max Brooks and Keiron Gillen are also darkly humored, but also with some depressing angle to them (or perhaps I was very brought down by the first story, it just echoed throughout). I couldn’t make it to the last story with Cristos Gage, for which I apologize. I instead desperately went for a nice walk outside.
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.