Art Book Preview – Dynamite’s upcoming Art of Atari Poster Collection…

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Fans of Atari’s golden age of video gaming, rejoice.

The “Art of Atari, Poster Collection” is coming to the retail bookshelves, soon. Inside, will contain 40 pages of full-color “ready to display” art displays of the classic Atari Games. Dynamite Entertainment will publish as they did their earlier Atari tribute book from last year, Art of Atari. The author of Art of Atari, is also the curator of this new Poster Collection.

Art of Atari, Poster Collection will be available for purchase in retail bookstores and comic stores, this June 2017.

Here is a sneak preview of images featuring some of those Atari game classics:

Water World:

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Millipede:

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Star Raiders:

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Personal thoughts:

This book looks to capture the exact feel of that early 80’s era of colorful pop-art, back when artists were called upon to expand upon the expand upon the simple geometric shapes and minimal happenings of Atari’s vintage games. For fans of that area, I feel this is a must for them. For me, I hope there will be a continuation towards the post-Atari age of the arcade silver era, and the Nintendo 8-bit glory years. The overall art on the adverts and game covers truly had a special feel to them, much like the movie posters of the time. Now to much media, not so much. The covers today are dull and drab, settling for a logo and simple graphic with some intense CGI graphic. Books such as this will preserve the lost times and perhaps inspire new generations, from the lost greatness of gaming’s past.

– Orion T

Special thanks to Dynamite Entertainment and Atari  for providing access to the preview pages. You may follow them for more info and other great books on their official site at www.dynamite.com and www.atari.com

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.2.12, Some Catching Up Done..

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Well…

Some time has been lost and we have some catching up to get done. After a month of absence, I found myself needing to target my eyes upon some personal favorite titles (and maybe yours too). Now is the time to share my thoughts.

Below are my further notes on the following books, mostly released in mid-January (with minor spoilers). I plan to catch up, with further recent reads in the following weeks…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED BETWEEN 1/11-2/1, 2017 :

Karnak #6 (Marvel) by Warren Ellis, Roland Boschi

“The end of “The Flaw In All Things.” Karnak has it in his lethal hands to save humanity – or end it. And nobody knows what he’s going to do.”

The end to a very underrated mini-series. Warren Ellis is at his best when it comes to underused characters, and developing them with as much richness as any top-tier character, for development and establishing an identity for his characters. For Karnak, his quest is at an end, as he finds himself with the boy sought after from the beginning. The result is troubling to himself, the boy, and others. He is bothered with his own sense of morality, I think. In the end, we see he has found the flaw in himself. Though the last issue much delayed, I find the overall arc worthwhile. I just hope there will be more to Karnak, with perhaps Warren Ellis back in control of his mind, and power.

Paper Girls #11 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

“A BOLD NEW STORYLINE STARTS HERE! The Eisner and Harvey Award-winning “Best New Series” from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG returns, as Erin, Mac, and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ…only to encounter some horrifying new threats in an unexpected era. “

Many happy returns for this fan (and personal) favorite. Also, a bit of a reunification and on to a new displacement. Where or when are they now? I doubt for any solid answers, as we find this story likes to take its time. We meet a couple new characters, one a native and the other not-so-native. Where all this goes, we shall see. But for much of the issue, we get some character bonding between 3/4 of the gals in a good old-fashioned campfire moment. Such is calm, not quite realizing that Mac is in some potential danger. Such feels troubling, for not being paranoid enough in a strange land, time, possibly dimension. The art is distinct as usual, bringing additional mood with each establishing shade and defined stroke.

Flintstones #8 (DC) BY Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“While Bedrock’s new mayor, Clod the Destroyer, goes to war against the Lizard People, Betty and Wilma decide to take a vacation in the country to visit something called a “farm.” With the women gone, Fred and Barney are left to face the greatest threat of all…their teenagers!”

Another fantastic issue filled with brilliant social satire and brilliant characterization. We also catch a more of Fred Flintstone’s assertiveness as the moral compass and everyman of the Bedrock town, defining man’s proud nature in service to women and children. But what really got to me, was Wilma’s back story as a runaway teen avoiding her being traded away for goats between two men. The heartbreak is with her mother, who feels for her daughter having a life of her own. The later reunification is sweet, and joyful, especially toward the end where the mother sees how her daughter as happy, with a wonderful family of her own. And, she appreciates the passion in Wilma, through her art. It’s an emotional issue, that still retains its humor and light-heartedness.

Saga #42 (Image) Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

“END OF STORY ARC: “THE WAR FOR PHANG,” The Epic Conclusion! Hell is war, as Hazel and her family learn the hardest way.”

Finally the end of the seemingly lengthy war for Phang, which didn’t focus much on the details of winners and losers. You just need to know, that losses are heavy and hurt the ones less deserved of such pain and suffering. This issue is a very sad issue, of which is so much of an emotional twist, that some pages are blank; leaving the reader to process the sadness of death on a small and grand scale. Such is sad, and a continuing theme I have felt since the beginning; of the troubling effects of widespread violent conflict.  What will this mean for Hazel and her surviving family? Hopefully, a rewarding both in the long run with more than this climatic depression.

Animosity: The Rise #1 (Aftershock) by Marguerite Bennett, Juan Doe

““The Animals thought, spoke and took revenge. The dust has settled and the blood has dried, but a new force is rising in the West, ready to help Animal-kind seize power in the dark new world to come…” Spinning out from Marguerite Bennett’s hit new series ANIMOSITY is this special one-shot, illustrated by AMERICAN MONSTER’s very own Juan Doe! Witness the devastating effects of “The Wake” and how it affected other parts of the world on that terrifying day!”

A nice entry into volume two that somehow makes a good jumping on point also, though it would be best to pick up the first volume. Here, continues the dark violent new human sides of nature, yet with wider implications of a sinister direction. Also, some developments on how the revolution started and an interesting anti-hero wolf creature with plans to up the dark science into something even more ridiculous. The art is awesome, with much dashes of dark humor mixed in with apocalyptic overtones.

Ether #3 (Dark Horse) by Matt Kindt, David Rubin

“Boone is investigating a murder mystery in another dimension. The Blaze was a great hero of the Ether, sworn protector of the weak. Her murder was an attack on the Ether itself. As Boone hunts for clues to solve the crime, he makes powerful enemies and unexpected allies.”

A great third issue, though feeling deeper in its own unique world. There is a uniqueness to Ether, more from Matt Kindt’s writing, though I enjoy the visuals. The settings, creatures, bizarre situations feel like an escape as our main hero takes the reader along. As after a Golem encounter, Boone and Glum end up in the Faerie Kingdom, a land of fresh odd visualizations for the eyes to get carried away with. After a troubling meeting, there is a sudden flash to the past; leaving the reader to ponder the meaning of it all and expecting answers soon. The structure of the story and style is different, intriguing; and for that, I shall look forward to seeing the story unfold.

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. 

 

Stranger Reads, Comic Review – Saga #41

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Saga #41 (Image) by Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan

““THE WAR FOR PHANG,” Part Five. Alana and Marko get their war on.”

Another great chapter, carrying on the grand story that kept fans fixated since the first chapter. Yet here, are some scary moments set-apart by tensions building up for some supporting characters. Robot, is perhaps the most unpredictable in his drugged out state on the verge of homicide, or suicide. For that time, there is a sort of conscious part of him fighting bizarre impulses, which I think touches upon serious mental illness developments. Alana is a great heroine, looking to help him and appeal to the good in him through reason. Such makes me think of the plight of those who deal with mentally ill people, whether brought upon by mind-altering substance or not. There was an interesting last moment of Robot before getting knocked out, as he comes to his senses and worries on the consequences of his actions. I hope the actions may bring strength and meaning to his otherwise sad existence.

Meanwhile, The March finally arrives with threatening intentions, putting all around them in a most dangerous predicament. The result is gratifying, where the true hero is revealed and all is well for now, and I dropped the book for applause. In between, a bittersweet and separation of The Will and other friends. Such was sad to see The Will and Lying Cat depart, yet fitting to see neither will be alone and I look forward to where the paths go. Sophie’s story, I hope will continue on a much longer thread, perhaps the span of the series itself.

The art is great, through for this issue there is nothing new in crazy visuals or shocking situations. Such is good and not to be squandered too heavily. This issue feels traditionary for its happenings, and perhaps the time for greater change is coming soon. I feel somewhat prepared, but a little on edge too.

 

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

 

SW Best Comic Book Reads of 2016!

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2016, another great year for the comic book and graphic novel industry.

Also, a new era for big changes and shakeups. The big Marvel and DC publishers went back to revamping their flagship superhero titles, again. Image strengthened the creator-owned market with a plethora of well-received new and continuing titles. IDW, Dark Horse and Boom! held strong with their licensed properties, but also brought some creative driven original content to the shelves. Aftershock proved itself as an underrated new dog, with a number of good books that deserve more appreciation. And, there were surprises from other companies, old and new.

Here below, are the best of what I enjoyed in 2016, according to what I had time for and caught my interest across the comic stores, digital fronts, and my local library. For each title, consider just the work done in 2016. The list was very last-minute, so very sorry I could not display detailed reasoning for each. Just see for yourself, should you come across any of these wonderful titles!

BEST NEW SERIES of 2016

Black Hammer (Dark Horse) by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart

The Flintstones (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

Animosity (Aftershock), by Marguerite Bennett, Rafeal De Latorre

BEST LIMITED SERIES of 2016

Vision (Marvel) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Superman: American Alien (DC) by Max Landis,, various artists

Divinity II (Valiant) by Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine

BEST ONGOING STORY EPICs of 2016

Saga (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

I Hate Fairyland (Image) by Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Paper Girls (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang

BEST CREATIVE USE OF SEQUENTIAL LAYOUTS in 2016

ODY – C (Image) by Matt fraction, Christian Ward

Lady Mechanika: La Dama De Las Muerte (Benitez Productions) By Joe Benitez, M.M Chen

Shipwreck (Aftershock) by Eric Gapstur, Mark Englert, Marshall Dillon

BEST USE OF COLOR in 2016

Paper Girls (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang

Night’s Dominion (Oni Press), by Ted Naifeh

Bandette (Monkeybrain) by Paul Tobin, Collen Coover

BEST UNSETTLING HORROR SERIES of 2016

InseXts (Aftershock) by Marguerite Bennett, Ariela Kristantina

Demonic (Image) by Christopher Sebela, Niko Walter, Dan Brown

Glitterbomb (Image) by Jim Zub, Djibril Morisette-Phan, Michael Russel

BEST DRAMATIC STORYTELLING of 2016

Animosity (Aftershock), by Marguerite Bennett, Rafeal De Latorre

Vision (Marvel) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Tales from the Darkside (IDW) by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

BEST PARTLY HISTORICAL-BASED FICTION in 2016

Lake of Fire (Image) by Nathan Fairebairn, Matt Smith

Britannia (Valiant) By Peter Milligan, Juan Jose Ryp

Rough Riders (Aftershock) byAdam Glass, Patrick Olliffe

BEST FANTASY SERIES in 2016

Monstress (Image) by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda

Hillbilly (Albatross) by Eric Powell

Seven to Eternity (Image) by Rick Remender & Jerome Opena

BEST STRANGE NEW WORLDS and IDEAS in 2016

Ether (Dark Horse) by Matt Kindt, David Rubin

The Electric Sublime (IDW) by W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo

Saga (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staple

BEST USE OF SCIENCE FICTION ELEMENTS in 2016

Hadrian’s Wall (Image) by Kyle Higgens, Alec Siegel, Rod Reis

Faster than Light (Image), by Brian Haberlin

Ancestor (Image) by Matt Sheean, Malachi Ward

BEST SINGLE ISSUE COVER ART in 2016

Saga (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples (Covers by Fiona Staples)

Scarlet Witch (Marvel) by James Robinson,  Marguerite Sauvage (Covers by David Aja)

Black Hammer (Dark Horse) by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart (covers by Dean Ormston)

BEST CREATIVE USE OF POP-CULTURE ICONS in 2016

Scooby Apocalypse (DC) by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Howard Porter

Klaus (Boom! Studios), by Grant Morrison, Dan Mora

The Flintstones (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

BEST FULL-LENGTH GRAPHIC NOVEL STORIES of 2016

Dark Knight: a True Batman Story (DC) by Paul Dini, Eduardo Risso

Mooncop (Drawn and Quarterly) by Tom Gauld

Ghosts (Scholastic), by Raina Telgemeier

BEST REPRINTING OF COMICS HISTORY in 2016

The Don Rosa Library Collection (Fantagraphics) – Volume 4-6

Moebius Libary: The World of Edena (Dark Horse)

Turn Loose Our Death Rays and Kill Them All! The Complete Works of Fletcher Hanks (Fantagraphics)

That’s all for now. Thanks for checking out my list. I would love to read your thoughts on my pics or suggest some of your own, in the comments below.

Orion T

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.12.13, To Keep Going..

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

Uber Invasion #1 (Avatar) by Kieron Gillen, Daniel Gete

“Kieron Gillen’s reimagining of superpowers and history is back with America under attack! In the waning days of World War II, the Germans discovered a way to enhance soldiers into unstoppable monsters. With these weapons Hitler conquered all of Europe and now has set his sights on the United States. This is Uber: Invasion! The German battleships are on American soil and with the allies struggling to make up lost ground in Enhanced Soldier development; the young country is facing the possibility of annihilation!”

I am unfamiliar with the earlier Uber series, and quite unaware until looking up this title. With that in mind, there doesn’t seem much to figure out. Nazi’s have a lot of terrible technology and they are winning the Second World War. For much of the issue, there seems to be a lot of grim exposition. There is a frightening element on where the worst real-life villains in all of history suddenly given unreal power; a sort of opposite from the Golden Age of comics of its day. Much of the first issue takes a while to set-up, with a terrifying ending that delivers the horror to come.  The art and exposition does it function well, in the meantime; especially with the last pages. Where does it go, and can this world be saved at all from this Uber Invasion? I suppose I must read the next issues to find out.

Motor Crush #1 (Image) by Brandon Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr

“The team behind the critically acclaimed revamp of Batgirl returns with an exciting sci-fiction-adventure series! By day, Domino Swift competes for fame and fortune in a worldwide motorcycle racing league. By night, she cracks heads of rival gangs in brutal bike wars to gain possession of a rare, valuable contraband: an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush.”

A solid first issue, that really brings out a perfect balance of pencils, inks, colors, story, sequential flow, and overall atmosphere. Much of it feels like a lost animation classic with a mix of Speed Racer and Death Race 2000. The panels of Motor Crush gives much detail in text and visuals for the readers to process, and delve into. Yet, there are moments of motor action, with high-fuel turbo-charged action. The sequence of the story feels like a crazy ride, with some shocking crashes and apparent danger. Then, there is a dead stop with the cliffhanger, leaving the reader to ponder what’s next for the protagonist and her place in all this. I look forward to finding out.

The Flintstones #6 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“The Great Gazoo is working on his report card for the human race, and so far humanity has earned a big fat “F.” When the Church of Gerard starts selling Indulgences, Bedrock descends into violence and debauchery. Meanwhile, a miner gets trapped at Slate’s Quarry. Might there be an honest citizen in this burgeoning civilization willing to come to his rescue?”

Another great issue for this very underrated series. Here, it seems Bedrock (and the rest of the world) is facing its own doomsday scenario, as the latest in primate science makes a terrible discovery of extinction-level proportions. The reaction is terrifying and fascinating in its satirical take mirrors our society, about how fast our social norms in what’s wrong and right and where religion dogma is questioned, then goes to hell. The hysteria is hilarious, whole others take a more somber approach. Is it about time for this world to end? I hope not, as I love this series and hope to see many more issues (which looks good toward the end, I think). Plus, there is an incredibly touching moment involving Fred’s bowling ball and vacuüm cleaner, as those sentient creatures discuss their sad lives. I felt my eyes water a little reading that.

The Electric Sublime #3 (IDW) by Maxwell Prince, Martin Marazzo

“The only sane response to imperfection is to destroy the imperfect thing…” While Margot investigates the most recent art crime, Arthur and Manny dive into a familiar painting to visit an old friend. And at the institute, in a blank white room, Dylan sketches something horrific.”

A strange little series so far, that I think rewards those who want something a little different in their comics. I love the weird use of real art, mixed into the story. The use of panels, and switching between white and black, and then the balanced and unbalanced edges; is brilliant in displaying the mental effects of the real world and the art our protagonists delve into. There are some very original ideas going on, with some unique characters and twists at play. I think, however, I should know more about the art references being used here, to better understand the bigger picture of the story.

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. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.12.6, More Fantastic in the Drama..

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

Below are my further notes on the following books that caught my interest (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

Savage#1 (Valiant) by B. Clay Moore, Clayton Henry, Lewis Larosa

“Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife –pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by prehistoric creatures from another time… This is the story of how they lost their humanity.”

An interesting first issue, where the present is a well-drawn action-packed moment of a man vs. dinosaur fight for survival. The rest of the issue gives you the background of the man’s birth and parents that brought him there. It’s all right and understood, through uncertain as to where the story goes towards. it’s a far cry from the 1990’s Turok the Dinosaur Hunter, also done by Valiant Comics (and now licensed in the hands of Dynamite, I think). The art is best in the present time with moody colors and heated tones, then a bit dry in the flashback. So far, it’s a story worth giving a chance to, because dinosaurs are freakin awesome when done right.

Superman Annual (2016-) #1 (DC) by Patrick Gleason, Peter Tomasi, Jorge Jimenz

“Now, Swamp Thing comes hunting for the Man of Steel to discover what strange connection this new Superman has to the planet. But their contact is something neither is prepared for, leading to Kal-El battling the Earth elemental who wants to bury him.”

I haven’t read much into the Superman in a while. So here, with an appearance by an old favorite of the DC Universe, the Swamp Thing is here. They talk and fight, as go the way of things of powerful beings. Though, there feels so much more into how Superman’s power connects to the Earth in a more spiritual way, as can only be understood through his meeting with the Swamp Thing. Here, this Superman must find this new Earth as his home, therefore be bonded to it like no other. It’s a good tale of friendship and cooperation via the Green avatar, though not always understood at first. Overall, not a very epic tale but one very much worth reading for those who enjoy the ongoing journey of Earth’s mighty adopted son.

Seven To Eternity #3 (Image), by Rick Reminder, Matt Hollingsworth, Jerome Opena

“The last Mosak charge headlong into battle against the Mud King and his terrifying guardian, the Piper. Will Adam join the fight, even though the Mosak were the cause of his family’s downfall?”

The series is growing on me much since the first issue. I think there is still much to sift and study through on its world building and mythical structure. But perhaps in doing so, one can do in living through Adam and the Mosak’s Knights crazy fight against the Piper. Such takes a good portion of the issue, and the twists and turns feel like some awesome Magic: the Gathering game turned upon itself. The issue gives a bit of optimism in a world that feels against the side of good, with a need for more heroes to take out a great established evil. The art really sings, with exquisite detail and vibrant colors. There is still much for the reader to lose oneself in, for the many unanswered questions on the overall setting and concepts at play. My hopes are in future issues, that more will reveal.

Saga #40 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

“”THE WAR FOR PHANG,” Part Four

It’s all fun and games until…”

Wow, if Robot’s dreams weren’t creepy enough..now the kids can watch them on his face. And for much of the issues, we find Robot far more complex and troubling than us readers have become used to, which much towards his own failure to build his own happy family. The ending is a bit disturbing towards what may be the next big tragic fall in this story. Such is a part of the growing isolation between characters here, even though the Phang War seems to move on to its questionable conclusion. Gwendolyn, Petrichor have their own paths, seemingly going nowhere to anything particular optimistic. The are tough times ahead, with the only bright spot in the universe being Hazel and whoever she manages to make friends with. Such builds the excitement, and the long road ahead for the reminder of Saga for the many years to come.

One a side note, there is one particularly striking shot done by Fiona Staples here, which brings Saga back its limitless realm of imaginative possibility. Amazing, I show you…

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Seriously, I want a print of this.

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. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.11.27, Catching Up

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Behold, some new comics this week.

Yet only a few. Though, I have been lacking in prior weeks in logging new reads here on SW. So for this week, I add four more notable reads from the prior weeks. Take a look below, and ponder what I have wrote, and think perhaps if you agree or not (with minor spoilers).

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/23/2016

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED NOVEMBER 2016:

Night’s Dominion #3 (Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh

“Emerane and her companions narrowly escape the Cult of Uhlume and the relentless Furie, exhausted but no richer for their efforts. Going their separate ways into in the pitiless streets of Umber, they each find a dead-end waiting. Now penniless, Emerane’s quest to free her younger brother from debtor’s prison seems more hopeless than ever. Until a possible solution comes from the most unlikely ally imaginable—the Furie himself. But his help comes with a dangerous price.”

Still a great series with interesting characters and stylish art. However, there suffers the problem of too much exposition, and missing back story I felt lost upon me. While much of it falls back to her Emerane and quest, there is too much drama and lacking the fun of the last two issues. Perhaps, I should be patient where much could be merely a set-up for better things to come.  The ending cliffhanger does bring some excitement but reserved for next issue it seems. The Furie meanwhile is an interesting switch from the usual genre of superhero, where he seems to a sort of villain in all this. Much of it is a big change of direction for what I thought things headed in the last issue, where some interesting characters from the last issue are put to the side, for now.

Chew #60 (Image) by John Layman, Rob Guillory

“Last issue. Double sized. Epilogue”

The end of the long great series has finally come. And, its not a typical ending, which fits. This is not a typical series. It’s not so much an end to the story I feel, as the opening epilogue shows life will go on for the different Chu, and there will be more food fight. Yet, the second half is the finale to the alien arrival, where Tony lost loved ones and suffered much to now please the alien visitors. All makes great sense when the aliens show their faces. The abrupt ending act shows that he has enough of the story, and perhaps the series. I felt a little upset, that there still remains a gap between the epilogue and the alien landing. Apparently, everything turned okay and the aliens made peace. Perhaps, the point is Chu being the hero, sacrificing all for a better world; yet, becomes conflicted himself and gives in to the eventual unacceptable ending. Such is fitting I think, and only excusable for the amazing creative team of Layman and Guillory.

Cage! #2 (Marvel) by Genndy Tartakovsky

“TRAPPED in the jungle a thousand miles from home, HUNTED by savage beasts that walk like men, Luke’s got just one thing going for him: Ain’t no cage that can hold Cage!”

I love the art, with this cartoonish interpretation of Luke Cage. Much of it fits Genndy Tartakovsky’s style while, which many know better from his creative animated work on Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack. His storytelling relies much on visuals, where the actions clearly speak louder than words. However here, the panels are overly large and story a bit too simplistic. To enjoy it, would be to admire the artwork more than the story, which lacks for this issue. It’s more of a display of emotions, ranging from anger and fear while feeling lost and eventually dealing with hallucinatory toxins. The issue is still fun, though I think better suited as new animated work should Genndy Tartakovsky translated this work upon the Cartoon Network.

Brittania #3 (Valiant) by Peter Milligan, Juan Jose Ryp – Release date: Nov 16, 2016

“At the border between civilization and the magic-laden lands beyond, Rome’s first detective is haunted by violence and visions of dark forces that defy all sense? Antonius Axia’s disturbing investigation in the frontier colony of Britannia deepens…and with each disturbing new clue he uncovers, the farther his mind sinks into disarray! Connecting the clues behind the grisly rumors of horror in the empire’s northernmost reach, Antonius must gain an ally as dangerous as the darkness that now surrounds him. But who is this mysterious new partner, and will she lead Antonius toward the bright light of truth and salvation?or into the cold flame of eternal damnation?”

I think this is the best series loosely based on historical elements, of which I have read in a long time. I think it’s all in the unearthed elements of Roman history, mythology, superstitions, and age-old thinking on chaotic magic vs. logical reasoning. It’s also feeling more a bit of Evil Dead in Roman times. I feel a bit more empathy for Antonius Axia, as he fights for his soul in a strange land slipping further away from Roman control, and the loss of his family. The art feels a bit more changed since the first issue, with larger panels and more exposition detail. The character growth is more focused on Axia, whose strength carries the story, hopefully toward a thoughtful conclusion.

Supernaut #1 (215 Ink) by Michael David Nelsen – Release date: Nov 9, 2016

Coherent Wave Interference Pattern
A 21st-Century cosmic hero myth, this is SUPERNAUT! Reality-hopping thieves join the newly ascended consciousness of Astronaut Stephen Haddon – now known as the Supernaut – pulling trans-dimensional capers across the Macroverse! Strange artifacts on the Moon, meeting God and stealing a map to the land of the dead from a secret pyramid beneath the Pentagon. A mystical, cosmic, sci-fi adventure like no other!

This book feels very different, and not what I expected. Supernaut presents the finest of what one could want out of some metaphysical cosmic melodrama. The colorful art, playful expositions, over-the-top universe building with a ridiculous set of characters one should not take to seriously. There is a bit of fun in all that, especially with the protagonist and allies. I love the exposition and inventive deprogression of time, and how somehow the Pentagon being an inverted pyramid. Also, I feel like some of this is poking fun at Grant Morrison. Overall, a great first issue that only a certain type of reader will enjoy.

Ether #1 (Dark Horse) Matt Kindt, David Rubin – Release date: Nov 9, 2016

A science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.

A surreal over-the-top world of magic met with a man who seeks to rationalize it all. While there is trouble afoot, there is much for both the main character and the reader to sort out. The visuals, sequential presentation, and gorgeous colors are superb, and help submerge the reader into the strange world of Ether. The wit and odd thinking of Boone Dias, keeps his character a bit unique, though the world around him is a bit overwhelming in concepts and bizarre designs. It’s a book overall best enjoyed slowly with the crazy concepts and strange mystery about. The ending puts it best to perhaps trust the storytelling in future issues, where perhaps “everything can be explained.”

Flintstones #5 (DC Comics) By Mark Russell, Steve Pugh – Release date: Nov 2, 2016

It’s time to “Bedrock the vote!” With the Bedrock mayoral race heating up, the local middle school decides to join in on the fun by holding their own election for class president. Will Ralph the Bully punch his way to victory? Or is there a new kind of candidate waiting in the wings to start a revolution? Meanwhile, Fred and Barney reminisce about their days fighting for their city as part of the Water Buffalo army.

It’s a good issue, but not the best of the series. Yet, this issue carries on the emotional depth we could otherwise never expect of prehistory’s first family. The most interesting are the subplot of where Barney’s dysfunction in producing a child for his wife, Betty. Such is part of a flashback to his war days with Fred, filled with propaganda and war, rich in satirical tones. A conclusion is sweet, which benefits Barney as he adopts a war orphan. Such heart shows perhaps why he and Fred are such great friends, as both are noble in their special ways. Meanwhile in the “present” day, getting “punched in the beef” becomes a major campaigning point for one bully running for class president in Bedrock’s middle school for children. While this is amusing, it’s timing with the current Election points out the absurdities of election perception to fear and power are merely illusions, to which is up to voters to accept the presentation of such. Overall, Flintstones currently remains the most clever and brilliant monthly comic on the new shelf.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the new 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. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.11.1, The New Batch..

 

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More fresh comics, yay!

From last week, continuing on from favorites with a couple new flavors being sampled. Below, are my further notes on the following books for the week (with minor spoilers)…

(with minor spoilers)

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 10/26:

Wolfcop #1 (Dynamite) by Max Marks, Arcana Studios

“Ever since hard-drinking local Woodhaven police officer Lou Garou had a late-night bender and stumbled onto dark magic, his life has been turned upside down. Now he moonlights as WolfCop, a rage-fueled, bourbon-swilling, magnum-toting, rabid warrior for justice!”

I never quite delved into the cult movie of recent years, for which this is based upon. But I like the title and concept, so why not? The issue itself is a good introduction to the WolfCop and the world he lives in, seemingly a violent unsafe troubling setting with vicious biker gangs and monsters lurking about. Here, the WolfCop is not so much a cop, but more a wolfman with some need for justice in saving others and ripping his claws into the evil bastards out there. The art is good, though a bit violent and bloodletting. The issue gets a bit gruesome, but still entertaining. Is it as good as the cult movie that inspired it? Perhaps, I should watch the movie and find out. I am now intrigued enough, which is a rarity for a comic to do such a thing.

Saga #39 (Image) by Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples

“New allies join the battle, but so do deadly new enemies. I love the opening with the little furry.”

Saga is now more unsafe than usual, and that’s saying something. Izabel is gone, and that raises Hazel’s character a bit more, as she is affected by her tragic death in more than one way. Also interesting is the opening, where a stray weapon is found by two furry younglings (names and race escape me for now). There some irony in how they almost hurt each other in their tinkering, or nearly killing Alana by setting it off. This reminds me much of Izabel, and how she lost her legs and ended up an apparition, by stepping on a landmine. I think both are subtle ways in bringing back the real-life horrors of children in war zones, and the unintentional dangers they face. Anyway, The March is a real bastard, but in his latest murder, I was hoping we could also learn..how do the Robots drink?

Vision #12 (Marvel) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

“A while ago, a robot created a family. And all was good. For a while. Then came the murders. The lies. The betrayals. The battles fought. The battles lost. The family lost. And now, at the end, Vision stands alone. He must decide how he will go on if he will go on, if he can go on. And that decision will shape the Marvel Universe for quite a while. The epic, stunning conclusion to the most highly praised series of the year. Simply put, this is the issue everyone will be talking about.”

The end to a most excellent run by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta. The ending is bittersweet, as the Vision talks with his created daughter and wife. Such is a deep and very emotional, especially with the art and dialogue. The presentation is part confessional, part exposition; much from the point of view of Virginia, who had her good intentions but falls ever deeper down as she carries all that went down with Vision’s attempt at a normalcy to its end. The moment develops Vision, far more than the decades before in the many Marvel Comics appeared in. The overall finish feels bittersweet, yet beautiful for the long emotional tale of robots and life.

Silver Surfer #7 (Marvel), by Dan Slott, Mike Allred

“”The Infinite All-In” Norrin and Dawn are back out in space and back in trouble! While at the universe’s slickest space casino, the Silver Surfer may be gambling away more than he thinks. The stakes have never been this cosmic!”

This series continues with the unique art stylings of Mike Allred and the continued story of Silver Surfer with his Earthgirl companion. The issue brings us back to the stars with new worlds and a hidden part of reality where a cosmic casino exists. Some wacky shenanigans ensue as Surfer and Dawn gamble much and lose horribly. The best way out is for Surfer to use his wits, not the Power Cosmic. The issue has much for what makes the Silver Surfer a great character over the years; his naivete to the grander scale of things, his taken responsibility for misjudged actions, and his personal thrill for new experiences though the risks are high. It’s an overall great issue and feels apart from the current Marvel Universe stage recovering from crossovers and cosmic melodramas. That’s a good thing.

Chew #59 (Image) by John Layman, Rob Guillory

“Second-to-last-issue! One for the road.”

The second to the last issue, with more tragic news for our favorite Cibopath. With more death, ranging from personal and tragic, to a wide-range and ridiculous; we find much coming together for the cursed life of Tony Chu. I am not sure why his creators would create such a series to bring along such a torturous life to starring character. I see little in how much of the current situation can be resolved to a high positive degree in the final issue ahead. The issue itself is a bit depressing, almost. The art and crazy over the top design of the worldbuilding at this point, still brings a smile for anyone who has engrossed themselves in it all, thus far. The time will be goodbye, but I wonder what tears will be left for the main character?

Hero Killer #1 (Dark Horse) by Tony McDougall, Martinho Abreu

“The Bug, one of Earth’s greatest heroes has been brutally murdered and his butchered body has been left for the world to see. Detective Marquez has been assigned to investigate but is forced to drop the case by Captain Power and the other superheroes. They believe that the investigation into the death of one of their own should be conducted by them and is too dangerous for the police. Marquez, however, has sworn to ‘serve and protect.’ She feels the heroes are out of their depth and therefore must fight against them to protect them.”

A new series of a super-hero world, where the situation brings a new set of heroes that are somewhat familiar parallels to the ones we already know. Though not so much centered around them, we have much in the points of view of the detectives checking out a most grisly scene of a super-hero brutally murdered. The strange angles used in the art and excessive exposition distract greatly for me to feel too engrossed into the story. Perhaps the shock and overall lack of empathy by the cast has made me feel a bit distanced. I may come back to this series as a trade paperback if collected, if others can review it better than I, in a more positive light.

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. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.10.25, Thrills From Beyond…

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Another fine week in comics!

I think this often, even when I have yet to read the latest new comics. New thrills await, in many forms whether they be human, unhuman, or some other strange abstraction. No matter in preference, but the stranger the better when the story fits. This week, are the latest books personally checked out from the previous Wednesday. My reviews are below (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 10/19:

Night’s Dominion #2 (Oni Press) by Ted Naifeh

“When she’s not working as a barmaid, Emerane becomes the Night, the most wanted thief in Umber. But when the Furie, Umber’s self-proclaimed champion, declares himself her enemy, she’s soon penniless and desperate. Her only recourse is to join the Bard and his ragtag team of rogues as they infiltrate the Cult of Uhlume’s tower in search of untold riches. The tower is not as it seems, however, and our heroes—if we dare call them such—may find more than they bargained for in its murky depths.”

This second issue packs a bigger punch. The cast is a bit more solid, with more on character development and action. The Magus, in particular, is my favorite of the badasses with some moments in style and reaction I admire. Each main character has a bit of complexity to them in how they handle situations, for better or worse. The overall setting well-defined by the art and atmosphere mixed with great colorings and classic paneling. It’s a bit too soon to really care for the characters, but there is a good start here, where things pick up more so in the end, leading to a curious third issue.

I Hate Fairyland (Image) by Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu

“Decades of Gert’s blunders brings Fairyland to its final days. The last of this world’s survivors have to find a way to right her many wrongs. So many. Too many. They’ll probably die. Just read it.”

I never thought I would say this, but this series is top on my list I look forward to picking up. The latest issue continues to develop in areas I had little expectation for. This time, there is the Fairyland itself, growing its own mythology into the future. There is a coming apocalypse and end to it all, settled on Gert’s choices in her adventures. There is a serious yet ridiculousness to it all, where things will be complex, based on something not so complex. For the present, will she turn left or right? Such the decision seems trivial until an expected visitor complicates the passage. The conclusion brings more excitement, wondering whatever will become of this bizarre twisted fantasy, created by Scottie Young; whose writing of Fairyland is becoming as unique as his art style.

The October Faction: Deadly Season #1 (IDW) by Steve Niles, Damien Worm

“Ghouls in the graveyard! Giant Monsters downtown! The Allan family comes face to face with a whole new threat. This one comes from the past and it won’t stop until the Allan’s are dead.”

I am not at all familiar with the previous October Faction series, of which this stems from. I love the art with its gorgeous colors and spooky design work. I felt engaged enough in the writing and odd characters, to see this particular issue through. The style of Niles from his previous work (30 Days and Night, Mystery Society, Dark Days) is a cherished sort and fitting for this gloomy Halloween season. I think I shall not continue with this series until I pick up the previous series, probably in trade paperback volumes by now. If it is as good as this, than I shall return to this current run.

Lord of Gore (Devil’s Due) by DB Stanley, Daniel Leister

“Decades ago scandal propelled the Lord of Gore B-movie franchise to mainstream success. In 1989 the film’s costumed slasher actor murdered a young actress in ways worse than his on-screen character, creating a media frenzy. Now on the cusp of a modern reboot, a struggling screenwriter learns that the deranged star wasn’t the only guilty party that night, but before he can share the information, the film’s slasher seems to have stepped from the screen into real life to stop him.”

I like the approach, very different from what I expected in looking at the cover. Yes, there is some gore and bloodletting. But, I feel the cover and title is misleading. Yet, much of the issue is about a convention surrounding a made-up horror icon and a convention of fans and guests. There is a lot of very realistic drama surrounding the background and guests. There is a lot of realism in how the attraction of real life murder somewhat enhances the myth. The idea and overall execution is clever and original, leaving possibilities in how this may play out. Plus, I think the B-movie genre slasher is something long overlooked in comics, and this is some potential gold in a great story. As for the screenwriter at the center, I’m also hoping for some interesting commentary on some aspects of violence and horror entertainment in the following issues.

Black Hammer #4 (Dark Horse) by Jeff Lemire, Dave Stewart, Dean Ormston

“In the forties, Abraham Slam faced such menaces as the psychedelic Florist and the eldritch Cthu-Lou without breaking a sweat. But keeping the heroes of Black Hammer Farm from each others throats when his girlfriend comes to dinner proves far more perilous! Meanwhile, the Black Hammer’s daughter uncovers new clues to the exiled heroes disappearance!”

Another great issue, where I like there is a bit more focus on a particular character and angle of the mystery. Here, there is some previous focus on Abraham Slam, with a cool back story and some kickass action. The issue then brings much drama to the overall present. A solid issue, with the overall story still being a bit too surreal leading me to wonder what’s really going on.

Star Trek: Boldly Go #1 (IDW) by Mike Johnson, George Caltsoldas, Tony Shasteen

“STAR TREK’s 50th Anniversary Celebration continues with this all-new series following the adventures of Captain Kirk and the iconic crew! New worlds! New species! New ships! And a new danger unlike anything the Federation has encountered before! Boldly go into a new era of STAR TREK!”

A great new beginning for the select bunch of us out there who enjoyed Star Trek Beyond for that it was, a revision of the classic series and not so much a reboot. The new series follows after, with some develops fans may not expect of the familiar bridge crew characters. We see more than ever how each primary crew member has their own lives and goals to tend to. Something will bring them back together, and that’s where I felt a bit cold in the ending. There is an ending, which I suppose brings in pure fan service and curiosity as a classic villain species from the old Trek, returns. For me, I felt a sour taste in bringing back such characters. Yet, I hope there will be something different, evolved about them other than the usual slogans and plans for assimilating people…

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

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.10.18, Checking Out..

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Something new, something fresh…

The following below are mostly what I found of interest for last week in new comics. Some of these are fresh enough with me just finding the cover and art enough reason to check out. Others catered to my love for classic icons and history. Were these comics worthwhile reads? Find out below (with minor spoilers).

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 10/12:

Scooby Doo Team-Up #37 (DC) by Sholly Fisch, Dario Brizuela

“Part one, Zatanna’s father Zatara has gone missing! With the Justice League off on a mission, it’s up to Scooby and the gang to unravel the magical mystery by joining Zatanna to blaze a trail through the spookiest corners of the DC Universe!”

Zatanna is a favorite among the DC Comics magical users, with a most fitting and awesome intro into the world of Scooby Doo.  She meets Mystery Inc. as they try to solve a new mystery. which takes them through the DC magic realms. Many cameos familiar to hardcore DC fans appear, including Doctor Fate, Sargon, Felix Faust and more (though sadly Constantine is only implied but hilariously noted). Overall, a fun issue that gives much fan service, while inviting though story to the potential new young readers to learn of the many classic characters appearing. I hope in the following conclusion and future issues, for more surprise encounters. Most of all, I would much enjoy a team-up encounter for Scooby and the Gang and meet Etrigan the Demon. The possibility is closer than ever thought now and needs to happen.

Britannia #2 (Valiant) by Peter Milligan, Juan Jose Ryp

Duty has led to darkness… Dispatched to the remote outpost of Britannia by Rome’s highest power, the ancient world’s first detective – veteran legionnaire Antonius Axia – has found himself on a horrifying journey that will challenge everything he knows about death, destiny, and the limits of reality itself. But in this wild and pagan land, far removed from Nero’s control and influence, how will he grapple with the witches, demons and deities that lurk just out of sight? These are aberrations beyond the comprehension of a citizen of history’s most civilized empire…and, as Axia searches for the truth behind their making, he must first ask himself: Are these monsters truly creatures of myth… or creations of his own mind?

This is my favorite read from Valiant Comics now. Everything about Britannia is entertaining and interesting.  The world remains a mix of lost folklore with a bit of modern drama and horror mixed in. Antonius plays off more of his detective role (or detectioner), as he uncovers pieces to a greater mystery, which can go anywhere. I find his part as misplaced, yet a constant thrill to the dangers faced in a strange land. Meanwhile, Emperor Nero’s portrayal is every bit as twisted and sick as one could imagine of his hedonistic ways. I hope for more of his part in all this. Overall, the detailed art and brilliant coloring carry the story further, with a style that works best for this dark period of human history. Much results overall with the varied styles of Rome and the British Isle in appearance and mood, leading to a feeling of distance and contrast; where the connection Antonius must make, and keeps the overall story interesting and worthwhile.

 

Reborn #1 (Image) by Mark Miller, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion

“Where do you go when you die? Not heaven or hell; somewhere else. Somewhere you have to fight to survive. Somewhere the people from the past are waiting for you—the good and the bad.”

An interesting premise, though the set-up takes patience in establishing back character details to get through. Still, there is no end to the fantasies and mysteries of the afterlife, of which is interesting for new ideas. Such here is not among the freshest of notions, though being put in some fantasy war is an exciting one. Otherwise, the entirety of the first chapter sets the stage, giving us plenty of background of our main character before the situation. The art style and visual concepts are simple, with nothing too complex or inventive just yet. I hope there is much more to it all, other than the simple fantasy of a more exciting afterlife. I am intrigued enough to see where this all goes.

Darth Vader #25 (Marvel) by Keirron Gillen, Salvador Larroca

It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition “in an ending you can’t miss!”

A fitting wrap-up to an excellent run of the current Marvel era. Our most famed Sith Lord spends much of this final chapter wrapping up loose ends, cutting out rivalries and making with boss Palpatine. More important to fans of the series is the last settlement of his bond with Aphra, to where the situation is bittersweet and final (or is it?). We know the Star Wars universe shall never die, but for Darth Vader, I think this is the definitive tale of his character for any expanded universe set-up. The result is good, and about time for the end. I am pleased.

The Electric Sublime #1 (IDW) by  W. Maxwell Prince, Martin Morazzo

“Art is anything you can get away with… destroy it all.” Welcome to THE ELECTRIC SUBLIME—where art history, madness, and expression meet in a Pollock-splatter of thrilling crime adventure! When a mysterious change in the composition of a famous painting begins poisoning the minds of its spectators, Margot Breslin—director of the Bureau of Artistic Integrity—must pull famed “art detective” Arthur Brut out of a mental institution and back into the insanity that sent him there in the first place. Featuring a treasure trove of classical works, under-the-radar art, and a seven-foot talking mannequin, this is comics, imitating art, imitating life.”

An interesting new series I feel, with much mystery and intrigue. Yet, there are questions in direction and characters. I love the set-up, to where question reality and the situation itself. To where it all goes is interesting as the work of art in plays, and open to interpretation on its direction. The winking Mona Lisa is very creepy. Such the overall story feels original, yet needing more. With the fantastic art to match, I can see much potential overall for this series. But too early to foresee this being a new masterpiece. The ending has me wanting answers, for I feel there is much potential for this as the next big standalone suspense thriller from IDW comics.

Mosaic #1 (Marvel) by Geoffrey Thorne, Khary Randolph

“Professional basketball player and world-renowned celebrity, Morris Sackett, gains extraordinary abilities, at the grave cost of his own mortal body. Imbued with the ability to jump from person to person like a ghost, he controls the bodies and memories of those he inhabits. With his own body destroyed, the one-time superstar athlete must rely on others to survive. The saga of the newest Marvel Inhuman MOSAIC begins here!”

The art is super cool, and the story feels fresh for Marvel, especially when there is much pushing its cinematic properties out there. I also find Mosaic as refreshing in bringing a brand new character to the Marvel line, with no ties to any popular icon. Yet, the story and art feel incredibly enclosed, apart from the Marvel Universe. Knowing of a connection with the Inhumans, such is only a matter of probably short time before we start getting appearances by familiar Marvel characters. Given the style of writing and art, I wish this more of an indie book, giving itself a more honest approach and not Marvel reaching out to a new demographic, reader of which I feel some of the attempt at work here.  Much of the press for this is off-putting, putting way to much emphasis of Marvel adding a new black character to the mix. Nothing wrong with such, but I would rather see him as a new superhero first, not as a trophy for the sake of diversity. That being said, the main character seems very thrown into the overall situation, jumping into other bodies and feeling trapped. Such would feel more of a curse than a superpower. Yet there is that responsibility to do good, a cornerstone of what makes a true Marvel superhero great. I like the concept, yet could better itself as more separate from the current Marvel Universe.

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.