Comic Reading Recommendation: The Flintstones: Volume 1

The Flintstones: Volume 1

  • Writer: Mark Russell Artist: Steve Pugh
  • Published by: DC Comics     Publish Date: March 28, 2017
  • Notes: Collects the original monthly issues of The Flintstones mini-series #1-6.

Synopsis:

“Fred and Barney reunite for Mark Russell’s modern take on Hanna-Barbera’s most famous stone-age family! This new series starring the first family of Bedrock (and civilization, really) tells the story of who we are and why we do what we do as if it all began with Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and the rest of the citizens of Bedrock. Shining a light on humanity’s ancient customs and institutions in a funny origin story of human civilization, Mark Russell (PREZ) blends modern interpretations with Hanna-Barbera’s classic character’s, bringing a breath of fresh stone-age air.”

Personal Review:

The Flintstones, as well as other Hanna-Barbera properties that aren’t Scooby-Doo, are one of many properties to fall into nostalgic obscurity, almost at a love-it or hate-it caliber. Personally, I’m closer to the negative end of the spectrum – simply remembering the show as a Honeymooners knock-off with rock puns. I was skeptical of Mark Russell’s reprisal, but quickly found myself pleasantly surprised.

Despite its stone-age setting, Flintstones is a raucous parody of modern culture: from religion to capitalism, nothing is safe. Additionally, key parts of the original reference material are revived with considerable weight and significance. Nothing breaks your heart more to learn that Fred’s iconic “Yabba-dabba-doo” was really a silly phrase taught in his veteran’s therapy group as something to say when things are just too hard to handle. Even the furniture – known to readers as Vacuum Cleaner and Bowling Ball – have an arc that could easily bring a tear to the reader’s eye.

The artwork is consistently vibrant and playful despite dreary topics. Additionally, there are plenty of hidden jokes and references scattered throughout the pages – a veritable Where’s Waldo of rock puns. (Much like the show, but less obnoxious.) On the other hand, I felt that Steve Pugh’s art style isn’t entirely all that definable; it does the job, but fails to pop.     

The largest issue with the series is, well, why The Flintstones? With the amount of liberties at hand, it’s hardly comparable to the source material, apart from sharing character names and basic relationships. Arguably, the intent could be a warning towards how history repeats itself: people then were dealing with what we’re dealing with now, just a little differently. A warning wrapped in a cuddly blanket of nostalgia and familiarity. This being said, is it a story of listless futility or of hope in the human condition? From the heartfelt family dynamic, I lean towards the latter.   

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.4.14, Exciting Times…

The first week of April brought much joy to the comic stores around the world, with some damn fine reads. Some of which were fresh, exciting, and different. I also picked up continuing favorites, for which I always look forward too. Nothing bad, though the picks are not for everyone.

Below are my further notes on the following books (with minor spoilers). Read on!!!

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 4/5/2017:

 

Extremity #2 (Image) by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

“Thea has taken her first step toward vengeance against the Paznina warlords who ruined her family. But this world offers more than vengeance as she discovers a new ally in the wreckage of the Rising Plains.”

A good followup to an excellent first issue. The second issue expands a bit more on the unforgiving world of the Rising Pains, expanding on the background losses of the first issue, an apparent retaliation for something yet clear. It would be almost depressing if not for the awesome fantasy visuals and mystery building. Though we get less of Leah during this issue, I am happy to see a bit more expanding on the character of Rollo. We also get a bit of the other side and deeper look at the ruling class. There is much development at play here, and looking forward to what may come of it. I also love the map at the end, putting the board in a sensible perspective.

Eleanor & the Egret #1 (Aftershock) by John Layman, Sam Keith

“The most daring art thief in Paris has struck again, and the police have assigned their best detective to the case. His only clue? A single white feather left at the scene. Could this feather belong to the thief? To the thief’s accomplice, an oversized talking egret? Or will his investigation lead him to somewhere even stranger? (Answer: all of the above.) Presenting a peculiar and unforgettable tale of birds and banditry, paintings and pets, larceny, love and… lamprey-wielding assassins?

I love the hell out of this first issue, which combines the best of Layman’s narrative, meta-writing style with the gorgeous storytelling visuals of Sam Keith. I didn’t think this would work, but this first issue found me eating my words. The character of Eleanor is a fascinating and mysterious one, as an art thief that only a persistent detective could expect. The egret is a fantastic avian criminal, with the taste in art (heheh). The introduction to the key players is perfect, without giving too much away. I leave myself to only guess where this story could go; as also the first issue ends too soon, leaving me begging for more. Definitely check this one, if wanting something a little different.

Paper Girls #13 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang

“Trapped in the distant past, KJ discovers something shocking about the future.”

More adventure, more mystery, more intriguing pieces to a very big puzzle, with more questions than answers. And also, more character development than the last arc for sure (especially with that ending). But, I think what is really working for me more than ever is the outstanding art by Cliff Chiang, combined with some truly superb coloring. There seems some very deep thought put into each panel, with each stroke rather thick or thin to have some additive into the surreal situation of our misplaced Paper Girls. 

Rock Candy Mountain #1 (Image) by Kyle Starks

“SERIES PREMIERE Eisner-nominated comic creator, KYLE STARKS (SEXCASTLE), would like to invite you to enter the magical world of hobos. The world’s toughest hobo is searching through post-World War II America for the mythological Rock Candy Mountain, and he’s going to have to fight his way to get there. Lots of hobo fights. So many hobo fights. A new action-comedy series full of high action, epic stakes, magic, friendships, trains, punching, kicking, joking, a ton of hobo nonsense, and the Literal Devil. Yeah. The Literal Devil.”

Another pleasant oddity for this week in comic reading. Rock Candy Mountian has a bit of classic cartoonism to it, with a sort of play on familiar caricatures mixed with brilliant action at the end. The package is a ton of fireworks, with humorous and fun dialog sequences. Jackson the hobo is a great character, who comes off as a sort of guide to this strange world of hoboing. The color and inking speak for itself, adding thrills and excitement to the otherwise drab world. Such the book may not be for everyone, but those who enjoy great sequences with momentary meanings and humor may find it most welcoming. I do enjoythis.

Black Cloud #1 (Image) by Jason Latour, Ivan Brandon, Greg Hinkle, Matt Wilson

“Zelda was born in a world of dreams, and hers burned bigger than anyone had ever seen. Now she’s on the run in our world, the dreams broken in her hands. But the pieces are for sale, the rich and the powerful are buying, and suddenly her world isn’t the only place Zelda’s running from. From the creators that brought you Spider-Gwen, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, and DRIFTER, and the incredible colorist of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, comes a place where dreams come true–and today, they go to war.”

This is an interesting book, for what it does to the reader in terms of narration and story dissection. It’s a story of someone born from a bigger story, and we meet Zelda; someone who others consider of no importance; yet through the narrative has great ties into something otherworldly and deeply imaginative. Zelda connected the two worlds together, for reasons not quite clear other than a sort of escapism into a sad exile of sorts into a world of modern sadness. Her and us readers fall into what could be mistaken for dreams but know there is something more. The art is special, though the sequences, later on, can be tricky; leading the reader to slow down and comprehend the strange structure of things. This can be a good, for many issues. We shall see.

The Flintstones #10 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“Bedrock is in ruins and its citizens believe their mayor, Clod the Destroyer, is to blame! Meanwhile, Bamm-Bamm develops his first crush. Can his best friend Pebbles help him get the girl?”

The most topical issue yet, with the usual hard-hitting satire. Clod the Destroyer seeks to make Bedrock great again by declaring war upon the tree people. The result is hilarious connecting stuff from the earlier issues, as Clod seems to struggle with common sense and the repercussions of his actions. We also cut to the more local happenings in between, being the discovery of cinema and its impact upon daily lives. There is less emphasis on Fred’s personal struggles as he does his best to do the right thing while indulging in personal pleasures. But, the real heart string is the incredibly saga of Vacuum Cleaner, coming to a very sad end (though judging from earlier issues could mean the start of a household item revolution). The end is a tear jerker, leaving this reader feeling a bit emotional.

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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!

 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2017.3.10, New Goodies

Here we go, with newish (still catching up) and returning favorite comics.

Dive right into these following books worth checking out (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 3/1/2017:

Cosmic Scoundrels #1 (IDW), by Matt Chapman, Andy Suriano

“Space-fairing bachelor scalawags Love Savage and Roshambo – along with a little mothering from their ship’s AI, Mrs. Billingsley – shuttle from job to job and continually find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Despite their best efforts to look out only for themselves, they usually end up involved with alien crooks, shady black market baby schemes, and space sickness-inducing drugs. They’re on the loose and on the run – from everyone!”

Something a little different, for sure. There is a lot of good fun here and often missed from the overall genre of the new cosmic science fiction. The story doesn’t take itself too seriously, especially with the tiny captions that are necessary to explain some of the lingo and strangeness. There is much fast-paced action. However, the main characters are a bit hard to relate, for the first issue. Maybe that takes time. The ending of the first issue looks to deliver the direction this book needs. But the art is a bit rough and not for everyone. It’s necessary for the book, to delivery the crookedness and chaotic coloring to an otherwise boring universe. I like it, for now.

Paper Girls #12 (Image) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson

“Growing up can be deadly..”

So the adventure into a strange new world continues for our young delivery dolls. For now, there feels an extension of the campfire scene of the last issue. But now, there are new players with yet more questionable intentions and direction. There are more questions, and more tragedy…something the writer does well in his work. There is a mix of otherworldly and danger, yet the sudden reminder of who are Paper Girls are in this overall story. They are growing through delicate changes, leading to a very awkward moment for one. Mac remains my favorite of the bunch, with perspectives toward her future death are amusing and oddly poetic with her smoking habit. The colors continue to help define the art, making the unreality of it all a beautiful experience.

The Flintstones #9 (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

“In an effort to cheer Fred up after he loses his job, Wilma buys him a new armadillo bowling ball. There’s just one problem: it’s terrifying the household appliances! Meanwhile, across town, the Bedrock elite join a shadowy prosperity economic cult.”

Another great issue full of humor, development, and social commentary. But this issue more develops the Bedrock town far more than previous issues. Much of the side characters and subplots of past issues are showing signs of development and things to perhaps come for the following issues. Only in Mark Russell’s Bedrock can a vacuüm cleaner and bowling ball show a real change in relationship towards each other and the world around them. Their facial emotions by the art are excellent, telling much more in their reactions to the sudden changes, giving a moment of fear in my eyes for a possible tragedy, eventually averted. Meanwhile, Fred’s boss is awesome with his own new gadget, a giant bird named Brutus. He makes life easier through simple commands, but not a flawless form of technology. Such relates to our mobile devices, and how we bury our happiness in their convenience; only to be feel betrayed when they become useless and loss to us. Overall, an issue full of heartwarming moments near the end. However, a bit creepy on that last page.

Extremity #1 (Image) by Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer

“Thea dreams. Not of a better life, but of revenge on the clan that ruined her family. With ferocious battles between man, machines, and monsters ahead…who knows where her quest for vengeance will take her? Creator DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Space Mullet) and colorist MIKE SPICER present a bold new vision, where the beauty and imagination of Studio Ghibli meet the intensity of Mad Max, in this all-new Skybound Original.”

PICK OF THE WEEK. I love this first issue. I am not sure why, but I needed to read it again to look deeper into it, leading me to enjoy it more. As to why is hard to pinpoint, as there as there is nothing particular mind-blowing or brilliant just yet. I think it’s just the balance of great characters and world-building not getting too ahead of itself. I love the set-up, with a family transformed by violence, driven by vengeance, except one. Rollo is resistant to the darkness in a situation where his father calls upon him to be cruel. The result is a hopeful light in the end for what humanity may have left in a brutal world. Thea the sister, is a bit of the opposite in her badass and hardened reactions. The siblings I feel will need each other, in what I hope will be a long developing tale. The art is well-defined, with awesome details. Overall, a well-balanced book that focuses more on character and situation, rather than overwhelming backstory. However, there is a much in imaginative concepts, that looks towards a great and possibly epic fantasy.

Royal City #1 (Image) by Jeff Lemire

“NEW ONGOING SERIES written and illustrated by JEFF LEMIRE (DESCENDER, A.D., Sweet Tooth). ROYAL CITY charts the lives, loves, and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town across three decades. Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up, is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing mother, and his brow-beaten father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. ROYAL CITY is a return to the literary and thematic territory of LEMIRE’s breakthrough graphic novel Essex County and is his most ambitious, and most personal project to date.”

Jeff Lemire is back, in the original form of which we knew him by; hard personal storytelling brought about by a combination of emotional writing and stylized art. We also get that return to the way he makes a setting as important to the story as the characters. Here, we have a number of characters given much time and detail throughout the book, for Lemire to share their personal struggles and relationships. Then, bring them together in a wonderful display of warmth and family love. There are hints of many wonderful moments, not mistaken for mere exposition to a larger plot. The art and beautiful coloring invite the reader to live each moment, through Royal City. Take time through the curious and beautiful moments, and look forward to whatever may come next.

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 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 – 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 2016.10.11, in Bold Print..

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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)

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 10/5:

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. 

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.9.14, Some daring new adventures…

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From last week, yet still fresh…

This round brings much of the fresh, with new reads and series less than a year old. For all those jeering on Hollywood as fresh out of ideas while TV land filled up on rehashes and reboots, come to the comic stores and digital outlets where there are interesting, and stranger worlds.  Here below, are some choice single-issue comics I looked into since last Wednesday (9/7).

Here we go, (with minor spoilers)…

RECENT COMICS:

Glitterbomb#1 (Image), by Jim Zub, Djibril Morisette-Phan, Michael Russel

SW PICK OF THE WEEK!! A new monster of the best kind, I feel is one from within that is given some sort of terrifying power. It’s here where the main character, Farrah, was already on edge, but something out there feeds on that and pushes that person to kill in horrifying ways. Yet, here I am as the reader somewhat manipulated in rooting for her in a messed up, cruel world, where she is somewhat just trying to make it through the hell of Hollywood’s exploitive atmosphere. The first issue is the set-up which gives us little on the supernatural elements and far more on the personal natures of the characters, from victim to victor. I feel the main character in a way is both, and the story interchanges as a full circle of sequence of time at work. The art is fantastic, with a lot of clarity in the facial emotions and reactions through panels. Through this and more, Farrah is instantly memorable on her own, even without the bloodletting tentacles she hides.

Paper Girls #9 (Image), by Brian k. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson,

Paper Girls remains the great, wonderful series that keeps fresh and going. Now, the shit is getting real with all sorts of things happening with some jumbled confusion.  While questions arise on whether or not to trust the “other Eric,” I find it difficult to trust the writer in thinking what the bigger picture is here. Is it now some alternate reality now, or perhaps some sort of bizarre simulation? I feel the real conflict is where the story shall go from the chapter ending, and what part shall the characters play in its development. Currently, I am slightly bugged at how other media outlets compare this to the Netflix series, Stranger Things. Yet, from this issue especially, this is so much more than some 80’s throwback. Much like the “other Erin,” I feel we still have some more issues yet, to really know the characters and where they all fit into the grand scheme, that now has an awesome zeppelin. Also, the coloring in this issue seems a lot more mixed and intense, especially with moments of action and heightened drama. It all seems to go on with the development, which I don’t think can be compared to anything just yet.

Flintstones #3 (DC), by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Chris Chuckry

Wow, what a strange, yet interesting series this is becoming. The town of Bedrock has much going on in this brilliant reflection of our world.  We have an alien invasion, sort of where alien intruders on some sort of spring break rampage with no regard for Earthen authority, or life. Fred and his Paleolithic War buddies come to save the day, receiving less than high appreciation for their valiant efforts. While the book has funny moments and throwbacks to the Stone Age tech used in the cartoon, there is much satire here poking fun at the state of military vets in the modern world. There leads to an end that trivialized on heroism, yet brings a conclusion that feels tongue cheeky. We come back to Fred Flintstone whose presence diminished this round, yet and ever strong, the soulful heart of Bedrock.

Faster Than Light #10 (Image), by

The crew of. This feels like a perfect issue for something so close to the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, to remind us of the glory and beauty of the exploration into the unknown. Here, we have the crew of the Discovery encountering some sort of extradimensional singularity. Captain Forrest and crew do their best to establish communication, revealing far more danger than expected. A part of them is left somewhat, which feels more likely an exchange of great knowledge calling for more in return. It’s an overall good end to what is so far said to be the series finale, of which I hope is a series one, with a series two on its way (with the short stories on the Anomaly Productions official site to keep us in that universe in the meantime). The UAR app function adds much to the story, as usual; with some real scientific findings and info through in, to put the sci in sci-fi here.

Eclipse #1 (Image, Top Cow), by Zack Kaplan, Giovanni Timpano

Imagine the modern world, but instead where the sun becomes harmful to humans. Such is an intriguing premise, but somehow our civilization deals with it, by hiding and adapting as much of humanity has burned away. The adjustment feels a bit disjointed, almost unrealistic, though that feels like part of the charm. Now, we have humans who crave the solar rays in protective suits, dealing with a killer that uses the radiation to claim more victims, with a surprise toward the end that raises questions. I suppose the biggest one is why, and what could it all mean. We have some protagonists, where we as readers must explore the answers with. The art is wonderful with stylish digital coloring and refined textures, where I also really dig the lettering; overall the combination gives this book a very different feel. The execution gives this book a better joy in readability that works better as a stylized comic than any other medium.

Night’s Dominion #1 (Oni Press), by Ted Naifeh

An interesting new series that so far mixes a multi-genre in comics and storytelling together; with a bit of fantasy, superheroes, crime capers, and good action and drama together. Much of beings with an assembly of interesting characters, where the meeting does not go well. Much is in question towards who the book revolves around, as we get to know the personal situations of daring rogues who could easily in our world end up in a bunch of superhero comics. Then, something of a superhero does pop into the story, somewhat a dark mirror of today’s grimdark standards. What’s great is that we have the prime characters who motivated not by heroism, but to better their own down-trodden situations. There is much vibrancy in the art and style, that makes this new series more exciting than the setting and situations it presents. I hope for more character focus and development in future issues, where we can get a better perspective on where the story shall go, which has me kept curious for now.

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.