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 2016.10.11, 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.

 

Stranger Reads – Comics Log 2016.7.10, The New and Old Friends Among Us..

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Fresh from the recent Wednesday new comics shelves, are the hot new singles some us nerds get exciting about. I have some latest reads below, with a mix of old and new..

NEW COMICS THIS WEEK:

Bounty #1 (Dark Horse), by Kurtis J Wiebe and Mindy Lee

An interesting new series for those who enjoy their Serenity and Guardians of the Galaxy with a lot of old cyberpunk mixed in. Bounty revolves around the work of two intergalactic bounty hunters. It’s action packed and definitely fun for the first issue. However, there is a lot of extra lingo and characters thrown that disjoint the pacing of the first issue. I would love a glossary or appendix to help sort out this, but perhaps learning along the way is part of the fun. Yet, a solid first issue but needs to slow down in future issues so we can get to know the characters.

Silver Surfer (Marvel), by Dan Slott and Mike Allred

I love Michael Allred’s art and Dan Slott’s writing (sometimes). But for the Silver Surfer, I remain a bit reluctant for this combination, and the continued inclusion of his hipsterish companion, Dawn Greenwood. I wish the Surfer would return to his space-faring travels alone as he quotes angst verses of poetic torment and loneliness. What’s funny here is a very meta moment, where a boy questions the dimensioned presence of the Fantastic Four and the Surfer, which has happened for reasons beyond the cosmic awareness of our Silver hero. Overall, a great cheeky issue as the Surfer adapts to Earth life, while taking time for some old school fighting action on the Moon. I enjoyed that balance.

Paper Girls # 7 (Image by Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson

Still back to the future as our Paper Girls are stuck in the strange world of 2016. There are deeper mysteries, sorting through the real world familiarities and fantastical. I suppose both are hard to pick apart to any child of the 1980s. While amusing as such is, I think the pacing is a bit lost, as we readers can feel empathetic to the plight of our time travelers. What in the world is going on I would ask, with strange technology and giant monsters. Some new revelations keep things interesting toward the end, loving the fact that things will not be okay. That all is quite rad, with the story continuing to entertain.

Brik #1 (Oni Press) by Mike Benson, Adam Glass, and Harwinder Singh

A great origin story told in great detail setting up the character before the premise begins. Much revolves around the idea of the Golem, with its roots in Jewish folklore and history. But the bigger story is a small neighborhood in Yonkers, New York as locals deal with crooked bullies sent by a crooked real estate developer, leading to an important development sure to excite. Everything here has the worthwhile (though not fully original) ingredients for a great super hero tale, with much potential to reach long-term epic proportions.  The artwork I love, stylish and mood-setting for things to come. I look forward to more Brik.

Faster Than Light #8 (Image,  Shadowline) by Brian Haberlin, Dan Kemp

The series is growing on me, and this issue is heavy reason on why. I love the crazy concept and alien designs brought forth. Much of this issue involves our crew at a bar filled with dangerous looking alien types, much like that in Star Wars. but the conversational tone over differences and happenings makes the universe of Faster Than Light engaging and worthwhile of a read. But it’s still imperative to use the matching UAR app to activate it’s augmented reality features, which contains text that goes far deeper into the universe building Brian Haberlin does so well. My only major criticism is the lack of strong characterization by crew members. I would love a bit more time taken out to build upon the individual crew members, to get to know them better through stories. I’m hoping while on board, we see more of this soon.

Peanuts: Friends Forever 2016 Special (Kaboom!), by Jason Cooper, Donna Almendrala, Vicki Scott, Charles Schulz

This is the very last of the Boom! Entertainment licensed works based on the comic strips of Charles Schulz. The series as a whole has been a fantastic and faithful representation of the original strips. There are a couple heartwarming tales that go beyond the wit and humor of the classics. A story that grows Peppermint Patty’s character as she fights a school dress, code. Snoopy learns the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm is set to close. Both stories and others focus on wonderful bonds and relationships, that I think is the very heart and soul of Charles Schulz’s work. We also have some very funny moments, leading to an end of which feels like a sad goodbye to n excellent and very underrated licensed run.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss anything on the shelves?  Do you have thoughts to add on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

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

 

Comic Reading Review: Paper Girls #5

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Paper Girls (#5)

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
  • Colorist: Matt Wilson
  • Published by: Image
  • Pages: 36, Publish Date: Feb 3, 2016, Price: $2.99
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis:

“END OF STORY ARC! The first arc of the smash-hit ongoing series concludes with major revelations and another game-changing cliffhanger.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Back to Stony Stream, and beyond!

So goes the 5th issue, where things continue to pick up with more of the unusual weirdness. The time travel angle seems further developed with more explained, or not (trust no one?). Those scruddy “teenagers” are apparently a scavenger sort, storing junk in their “Whenhouse.” Also collecting, is Grandfather, with his collection of local residents. What could all that mean?

Heck if I know, but I do sense a sort of order versus disorder theme at work. We have more plot with a little less character development, of which can be a good thing when not in access. Our gals are just in the middle for now of this conflict, of which us readers remain uncertain of its grandness. To what extant will the current plot proceed beyond Sony Stream? I suppose we must read on with patience, with trust in our awesome creative team.

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Meanwhile for this issue, we have some bright, driven moments for our protagonists. Tiffany shows badassery with her sudden assertiveness to not let this grander game control her, a nice reflection to her recent Arkanoid flashback. Erin seems underfreaked out by the sight of weird tiny machines on her belly. Mac is still vary dangerous, by accident. Their reactions overall are still priceless, as we readers can share in them.

The art is again brilliant, but I notice a shift in tone. There is a later nighttime feel, with deep filters and thicker edges at play here, a sort of moonlit approach I enjoy more as the series progresses. I also feel there is lesser minimalism noticed, as technology and settings seem to taker a grander role in the storytelling than initially expected. Placement of the character is also important, with the proximity with danger also plays off well in establishing the continuous mood of the story. I feel that especially with any shot involving the giant dino-bird thing.

The lettering style is also growing on me, feels very special to the series. We see more of those otherworldly language text of which I am well aware of the  uncovered fan translations, elsewhere online. While interesting to know, I prefer my ignorance of unknowing until later; perhaps in a reread in later years. I pull myself to keep the perspective of our protagonists, and take guesses about the what’s being said by the strange visitors.

This issue ends the first story arc, with many answers leading to more questions. We have a curious end, though very clichéd in many time travel stories I have read. But, I do love good time travel stories, which is the bonus cherry to this dessert of a series. To where the series goes from here, could be any direction. This is a good thing, as each new delivery is worth picking up.

– Orion T

 

Comic Reading Review: Paper Girls #4

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Paper Girls (#4)

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
  • Colorist: Matt Wilson
  • Published by: Image
  • Pages: 36, Publish Date: December 2, 2015, Price: $2.99
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis:

“What lurks beneath the streets of Stony Stream?”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

In this month’s local top story, time travel maybe. New reveals lead to some explanation into current happenings in this strange colorful world of our Paper Girls. Can some waking elderly man (and Public Enemy fan?!) have some foundation into these otherworldly happenings? Also more thrills, drama, action!

The fourth issue in many fresh comics series often reveals a serious unfolding of a bigger picture. Though for Paper Girls, its more of an unraveling to that of the Fruit Roll-ups with peeling shapes; to which I enjoyed in my pre-teen daze. There was that sweet purpose of it all, to consume the rewarding sweetness while finding embedded shapes within (some to my imagination) with each unroll. I had something more than initially desired, to which my satisfaction expanded. Or in this case, a comic book story revealing a bit more with each page turn.

We have new creatures, new concepts, new characters mixed in with the somewhat familiar by now. We got the new fleshing out of the two factions of visitors running about, something a bit more to their mannerisms, language and purposes though much is still left to mystery. We have new dangers, including a strange technological tentacle terror (the Editrix) within the deep.

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The giant bird creatures have grown on me quite, with their long beaks, necks; strong but not dangerous. In the picture below, we have these interesting dangers brought to us I think best represented by the giant dinolike bird, yet a tiny man-made bullet that brought on the unmoored fate of poor Alistar.

With the characters and creatures, we discover with them; especially the “teenagers” and their sensible explanation of time travel consequences. An understanding between two groups is intelligent, though still showing distance. Mac’s reaction is perfect for the sudden revelation to one male having a “boyfriend.” To which certain feelings are still a cultural norm of many today, I think the “effed up time” is referring to our modern times, still prevalent today…yet misplaced which we as a society are still growing. Mac’s youth and reaction (along with her friend’s counter reaction) I feel reflects that. This brings to mind and question, to how far ahead are our visitors and to what degree would we matter in our ever-evolving ways of thought.

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In that, we should be careful, and not completely trusting or easily lead by new supporting characters. Paper Girls has a somewhat new lesson veering off the trouble with snooping and gun safety. They are gullible in following strange strangers into the sewers and woods, to which in saving their friend. The end results proof such, though there could be come misunderstandings as well (will see). I can imagine this throwing back in the day of cartoon public service-announcements (prevalent in the time of our paper Girls). I can see KJ suddenly interrupting a possible abduction lure to a walking child from a passing stranger holding candy. Through a brief explanation of consequences we learn once again that “knowing is half the battle!”

But then again, perhaps no choice but to trust. But there is a laughable degree to which I can’t take this world of Paper Girls too seriously. that’s a good thing.

Meanwhile, we don’t get as much in major character development (more like reinforcement). That’s okay, as we need a little time to take back and breathe in the crazy developments. However, I loved the moment where Tiffany lives through a mundane “hell” as she relived her past in wasting her time away playing an Arkanoid style game. I would fondly welcome any chance to relive my first experience playing Blaster Master or the first Legend of Zelda on the old Nintendo system, both wasting in time but with no regrets.

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That whole sequence, is a fantastic showcase of sequential art. The colors, screen, intensity of colors, angles, all work fantastic together in a moment suitable for framing. I loved every panel of that, and can almost hear the beeps.

That art as usual, continues to present the best sugar to this overall treat. Not much more said, than already in past issues without continuing to feel like I’m gushing too much. As long as the great work is kept up by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson, than I shall stick around.

So, I enjoyed my sweet fruit roll-up reading of this Paper Girls #4. I look forward to the next issue, and the peelings apart within.

– Orion T

 

Comic Reading Review: Paper Girls #3

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Paper Girls (#3)

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Artist: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
  • Colorist: Matt Wilson
  • Published by: Image
  • Pages: 36, Publish Date: December 2, 2015, Price: $2.99
  • Notes: Monthly series

Synopsis:

“The ongoing mystery series from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN & CLIFF CHIANG charges ahead, as the girls have a close encounter with an unexpected visitor.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Paper Girls delivers again!!

Open and there is more craziness to this stranger world for our hapless heroines. I see this weird unique aura to this latest issue, where I can feel to what Paper Girls might be moving towards; unpredictable fun. It’s not the horror, fantasy, or science fiction, but the sort meshing of all with drama and humor. Brian K. Vaughan does that well with his written work, without straying the reader too far away into pretentious nonsense. And, he has fun with it all…

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First, we open withTerry and Gabs, of who I assume are minor characters in the opening of this issue. Typical teenagers, though a bit more real life to how I relate to ideas of fantastic danger somehow uniting young couples together. That’s great for the 50s, 60s, 70s of campy storytelling but shit gets ridiculous in the 80s. I can sympathize with the otherworldly knight dude riding the dino-bird thing.

“Scruddy teenagers..”

Though his action was a bit uncalled for. By that, assuming they are dead..or perhaps teleported. Will see. Anything is possible in a comic book.

Also, guns are really bad in this world of Paper Girls. Erin was nearly fatally shot in a struggle for a gun between Mac and her step-mom. There exists a possibility I think, for a main character to die this early. Would the writer dare? Turning the pages later on, I might have been right. We have a badass, standing in front of a car daring to accelerate the story plot in a different direction. But then, a headshot happens and we have one less adult who can make a difference. Oddly enough, it’s more scruddy “teenagers” at fault.

Anyway, Erin has a cool weird dream with Cold War symbolism, Charlie Brown’s Christmas, and…Ronald Reagan?

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Back to the overall plot; to what I first thought was aliens, or the future, or perhaps some netherworld occult weirdness. I’m leaning towards dimensional portals now.

That all being said, the art is awesome again. I hope to meet Vaughan someday, and ask him on choice of artists and colorist in his work. Everything I come across by his writing has a special style combo. I can’t put my finger on it, as I will perhaps ponder the process of grouping a comics team in the future. That’s all I have to say on the art for now. More in-depth for another day.

Overall, another great issue giving you more for $2.99, and more than most $3.99 books flooding the comic store shelves. Not that I mind paying $3.99 for an issue of Paper Girls, but I just like feeling I have enough left over for a vended can of root beer after paying the $2.99. Root beer goes well with this.

– Orion T

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