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 2016.7.26, Better Late then Never…

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From the last Wednesday’s new comics arrivals, we have fresh stories of interest. This time pushed almost to its limit, as my time spent at the San Diego Comic Con was heavy and full of everything a con should be. Still recovering, I took time to read the latest interests post-trip. Here we go, with the new (and minor spoilers)..

NEW COMICS THIS WEEK:

Captain Kid #1 (Aftershock) by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, Wilfredo Torres

A man dealing with a mid-life crisis, dead-end life suddenly can turn into the youthful superhero, Captain Kid. We have a first issue with barely anything on origins. Much of a focuses on the troubled soul of the protagonist, with the superhero as a form of an escapism. But there is something more than the situation he put in, as writer Mark Waid tells well-paced stories with thought-out conclusions. The art however, feels off. Not sure if it’s the melancholy feel of the character, mixing real life personal crisis with superhero melodrama; or perhaps it’s all supposed to feel a bit disjointed as a dramatic tale than superhero fanfare.

Chew #56 (Image) by John Layman, Rob Guillory

Only four issues left until the final issue #60, and the story leveling gets a bit exhilarating.  l love how Layman finds very interesting and new uses for the food related powers, leading Savoy to continue on through interesting means, and out hero to resort to a lite form of cannibalism. With little time left, I feel myself a bit impatient as to where all the events big and small lead. Will there even be an end, or perhaps a spinoff or new volume? I don’t feel the end coming, and continue to love the strange cast of characters (its strongest feature, with the art coming in a close second). Meanwhile, the end of this chapter is perhaps the most morbid yet.

I Hate Fairyland #7 (Image), by Skottie Young

It’s a series I didn’t think could continue to have any kind of deep story, but here we are in search of dragon pee. This issue is a funny almost standalone story with a little extra smiles. It’s not as gross or violently disturbing as the earlier issues, but the feeling is still there. We also have a bit more focus on the twisted world of out anti-heroine, with more logical sense on how things work. Scottie Young’s art continues to make this a very unique read with a distinct feel. The vibrant colors still pop, making the setting different and involving to the reader’s imagination. Pervis the Packrat is a fun encounter with a very disturbing request, something I hope Scottie Young brings back in a future issue.

Scooby Apocalypse #3 (DC), by  J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, Howard Porter, Dale Eaglesham

Perhaps the strangest reboot of them all currently on the racks.  I can not yet conclude my feelings on this, as Scooby is best done in original form, I feel. Here, I am uncomfortable with Scooby Doo being some cyborg thing in serious form. Meanwhile, the Mystery Inc. gang as we know continued wits their highly developed complexities. Though, I also like the idea of Shaggy mentioned as a Buddhist. The danger also increases, with more on the action. Much I would compare to the highly successful Afterlife with Archie. But, I must refrain, as I still can’t decide if the series is horror, action, or drama in the overall tone, and there remains too much detachment from the source material. Yet, some things remain the same in some weird ways, with a need to understand the world around them. I would enjoy the story so much more, if the characters were not based on the Hanna Barbara classic.

Snotgirl #1 (Image) by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

There is much for me to hate and dislike on the characters and situations of this first issue, though I think it’s meant for that. Bryan O Malley (Scott Pilgrim) has a knack for making characters that relatable from their inner turmoil, but very select in everything else. We have this main character stuck n this bizarre self-obsession with blogging and popularity. There are some qualities in their presentations, but I feel as detached from them as I do the protagonist. But the last page suddenly kicks things into high gear, and turns this from anxiety driven to highly dramatic and mysterious. The art is engaging and popish, and misleading toward what lies beneath the makeup and angst. Overall, the execution is grand for its eventual twist is curious; leading the book to its rightful and interesting direction.

Black Hammer #1 (Dark Horse), by Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart

A strange title this one is, that has a bit of that signature feel I get from the Dark Horse darkly titles like Hellboy, Buffy, Harrow County, adding a classic superhero angel to a bygone era . Jeff Lemire does what he does best in writing, character development and established setting in a rural environment. While the book looks back to an era of superheros, there is not the feel of the genre, except for some color to the flashbacks. The bulk of the first issue focuses on drama and interaction, with hints to what may fall forward. That’s a good thing, and I will look forward to the next issue and where it all goes.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves, that is a worthy read?  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.

 

Comic Book Review: Chew #50

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Chew (#50)

  • Writer: John Layman
  • Artist: Rob Guillory
  • Published by: Image Comics
  • Pages: 32, Publish Date: July 1, 2015
  • Notes: Monthly series, ending at #60

Synopsis: 

“The landmark issue #50, and the showdown everyone’s been waiting for”

The best food fight ever in comics history? I say yes, indeed.

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Reading comics over the decades, I often looked forward to the 50th issue of favorite series titles, with a celebration that a comic series made it this far without cancellation. This would usually consist of extra pages, a turning point for the main character, some packing of extra action, or wrapping of multiple loose ends.. Such fav memories over the years coming to mind include Spawn #50, Invincible #50, Silver Surfer #50 (vol.3), Wolverine (vol.2) #50

Chew delivers, with extra cheese and pepperoni.

The 50th issue delivers, as I become engrossed in an epic food-powered battle in our eyes between opposite adversaries, Tony Chu and the Collector. Here we are, and it’s personal.

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The match is great. In one corner, we have the Collector, advantage being his experience absorbing many with abilities for centuries and no moral conscience holding him back in obtaining more. In the other corner, Anthony Chu.. fueled with anger and vengeance with one sister brutally murdered by his nemesis, and the absorbing of a particular chicken upon his cibopathic abilities.

That being said, I see John Layman as a writer who does more than just bring us some seemingly random silly powers and likable characters. He had a recipe for a while, at least since the “Family Recipes” arc, for how this outcome draw out. The secret whispered by Antonelle Chu, the senseless murder or Poyo, the alliance between Olive and Mason Savoy. That all comes together in a nice paper platter as many questions now have answers; with the fantastic glazing and basting of the visual tasty art by Rob Guillory. The overall comics meal, makes the outcome sweet, and gratifying.

The art continues its stylish, cartoonish tone. The issue has all the spices of comedy, action, absurdity and seriousness, of which I enjoy Chew by. The facial expressions and sound effect fonts show some pretty intense emotion. I particularly love this moment..where the Collector carries on the aged trope of that villainous last laugh to a wonderful extreme..

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That all being said, the fight does reach a conclusion. There is somewhat of an end, or not. We have ten more issues to go where anything can happen until the finality planned issue of #60. Perhaps, the series direction will turn to the extraterrestrial aspects teased to us, since the first year. I look forward, as that’s almost another year of new Chew; then I will be sad. But until then, let’s enjoy the meals.

Orion T