Stranger Readings, Comics Review – Saga #50

Saga #50 (Image) by Fiona Staples (artist), Brian K. Vaughan (writer)

(contains minor spoilers)

Six years ago, and still going strong…

Saga has reached its 50th issue, winning awards and still gaining new fandom. Such is impressive, as we live in a time where mainstream comics sales pull from brand or pop-culture recognition, living off the fame off of wide-released movies and TV adaptations. This usually means, a softening of the brand to appeal to the wider audience. But not Saga, keeping intimate with its fans from page one of every issue.

#50 stays in tradition, holding nothing back and keeping it real for the very mature audiences.

(recall page 1-3)

Moving forward, the pages are a bit quiet with no game-changes to the overall world-building to the Sagaverse. But we do have great connecting moments, of what Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples do best together. Relationships are development driven by the real desires of relatable characters, whether for the good or bad; they make interesting differences in this strange, fantastic universe.

Alana and Marko still drive the main story along for the readers, as the caring parents to Hazel. But now together and happy, I can only hope will last. But, I get a little nervous about that stability, with the narration of Hazel (because it’s really her story). Prince Robot is somewhat normal and sane again. We get to know Upsher and Doff a bit more, though I feel there is a tragedy in store for them as well. Petrichor is moving on with Prince Robot, along with Squire (who has moving plans of his own). The Will (for now, the Help) is dealing with his own struggle, being in a very screwed up situation.

But the biggest thrill is seeing Hazel, being the most developed so far. She can fight, blast, and think for herself. She is a legitimate badass, dangerous to anyone who messes with her and those cared for. This moment says it all, with a bit more.

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The art remains consistent stylish, as Fiona Staples displaying each expression of sentient feeling, every setting beautiful yet alien, every sequential transition with a natural flow, and fantastic colors. The 50th issue continues on an epic story that is important in visual storytelling to match the words we find within.

That all being said, this wonderful 50th issue reminds me of why I love comics and will look forward to the next 50 more. The story is long, but compelling because time is taken to get to know our characters. Can’t wait (but also a little afraid), of where that will take us.

Comic Reading Review: Saga #45

Saga #45

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Artist: Fiona Staples
  • Published by: Image Comics Publish Date: July 26, 2017
  • Notes: Ongoing monthly series, with occasional breaks

Synopsis:

“As Hazel and her family venture into the Badlands, their newest companion is left to hold down the fort on her own.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

The Saga isn’t half over, according to a recent interview with the writer, Brian K. Vaughan. With the time breaks and Hazel’s upbringing, along with the constant twists and interesting directions of a multitude of characters. The time-passing is felt. #44 is the latest issue, after we last left off with an interesting ending, raising another big question for readers – what?!

So “Kurt” appears, and the explanation is an interesting one, adding more dip to the emotional rollercoaster of Alana’s miscarriage. Such raises questions, of what will eventually become of her stillborn inside. Also, the consequences of the projection bringing Hazel’s mother to near death is fascinating. Its interaction with Hazel feels genuine, yet surreal. Hazel’s childlike acceptance of the situation is beautiful, yet a sudden jolt when this ends (where Alana passes out).

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Meanwhile, we have a large portion focusing on Petrichor, now enjoying her freedom. Until she encounters three Badland vigilante types. The situation does not end well, for what may have been bad intentions turning good, but too late. Don’t fuck with Petrichor, is learned for both the reader and the Badlanders present. Suddenly, a happy return before cutting back to Hazel and her family. But the usual question bothers me, towards where all this is going.

All could be well, but a warning connects the two plots of this story. The monsters ahead, leading to something on the last page, feeling more classic to how we love this series. Another surprise, to something that is alarming in visual. But, not quite should we misjudge. Still, being “in such very good hands,” looks very ominous in that presentation.

An overall wonderful issue, that feels great in parts. The brief action sequences with Petrichor are especially riveting and a reminder on how well-paced the moments of tension are. With that and all else, I find constant in Saga, it is enough for this reader to carry one and look forward to what happens next.

San Diego Comic Con 2017 – Skybound unveils show exclusives

Robert Kirkman’s company, Skybound (publisher of the The Walking Dead and other comic titles, has revealed its line-up of exclusives for 2017 for year’s 2017 San Diego Comic-Con, on Wednesday, July 19th through Sunday, July 23rd.

These convention exclusives are directly available for purchase at the Image Comics booth #2729. Quantities are limited per day.

See below for all the basic info, prices, and available pics.

SAGA Ghus Plush Doll

 

The convention exclusive has three costumes! Only 500 pieces will be at the con. $40 each.

The Walking Dead “All Out War” SDCC Variant Set

 

Story: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Guadiano & Cliff Rathburn
Covers: Jason Edmiston
This special SDCC Exclusive Set comes collected in a “TOP SECRET” package and features 6 double sizes issues, reprinting the entire “All Out War” story arc (issues 115-126). Each double sized issue features the members of “Shiva Force” (Rick, Michonne, Jesus, Ezekiel and Shiva) as painted by Jason Edmiston. The 6th issues of the set features “Lucille Patrol” leader, Negan. Each set is $50. Limited to 1000 sets.

Kill the Minotaur #2: SDCC Variant


Story: Chris Pasetto & Christian Cantamessa
Art: Lukas Ketner & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Cover: Lukas Ketner

Redneck #4 SDCC Variant

Story: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren & Dee Cuniffe
Cover: Nick Pitarra

SAGA – The Will and Lying Cat action figure 2-pack

From the pages of the hit comic Saga, comes the latest action figure set from Skybound and McFarlane Toys, The Will and Lying Cat. $50 each

OUTCAST (TV series) – Sidney Action Figure 

The evil Sidney makes his action figure debut from the Cinemax TV show, Outcast ($25).

The Shiva Force Four-Pack

 

How do you top last year’s The Walking Dead Negan and Glenn two-packSan Diego Comic-Con exclusive? Skybound has done just that with The Shiva Force Four-Pack, which features 5″ figures of The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes, Michonne, King Ezekiel, and Shiva dressed in a unique Shiva design (and each figure in the set is also individually packaged on a vintage card back with new painted artwork by Jason Edmiston). The four-figure set, which was designed by McFarlane Toys, also includes weapons of choice for Rick, Michonne, and Ezekiel, and will retail for $100. There will be two gift-box variants: a regular color version and a bloody variant, which are limited to 1,000 copies each.

There will also be a fifth Shiva Force member: Jesus. He will only be available in the summer MegaBox from Skybound, which you can sign up for today. The Shiva Force characters will also be featured in Scopely’s The Walking Dead: Road to Survival starting Thursday, July 20 (and you can see a look at Ezekiel, who will be free for a limited time in the game, below).

Also recently announced, some other items Skybound will also be rolling at the San Diego Comic-Con, with prices ready…

Pins:

  • Faction pins (4) – $10
  • Invincible Logo pin – $10
  • Atom Eve Logo Pin – $10
  • Battle Beast Pin – $10
  • Saga Sweet Boy Pin – $10
  • Redneck Logo Pin (red) – $10
  • Redneck Logo Pin (GID) – $10
  • Extremity Logo pin – $10
  • Extremity Thea’s Bike Pin – $10
  • Science Dog Logo pin – $10
  • Monstress animal pins (4) – $10
  • Monstress Quote Pin –$ 10

Shirts:

  • TWD All Out War – $25
  • TWD Banner – $25
  • Redneck Immortal – $25
  • Redneck Texas Forever – $25
  • Extremity Bike – $25
  • Saga Foil (unisex and tank) – $25
  • Saga Ghus – $25
  • Saga Lying Cat – $25
  • Monstress Eye (unisex and tank) – $25
  • Invincible Logo – $25

Misc:

  • Lucille Necklace – $40
  • Lucille Earrings – $40
  • Ezekiel Socks – $15
  • Redneck Hat – $20
  • Monstress Tote – $15

Comic Reading Review: Saga #43

Saga #43

  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Artist: Fiona Staples
  • Published by: Image Comics Publish Date: May 31, 2017
  • Notes: Ongoing monthly series, with occasional breaks

Synopsis:

SAGA returns monthly with a brave new direction, and to celebrate Image’s 25th Anniversary, this full-sized issue costs just 25 cents! In a perfect jumping-on point for first-time readers, Hazel and her star-crossed parents embark on a thrilling new adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.”

Personal Thoughts (minor spoilers):

Wow, a comic book for 25 cents!! Pretty much my entire life, I would only expect such the price for a treasure on a used read from a bygone time. But here we are now, for a special deal on a very special series. The price signifies every penny a year, back to Image Comics 25th Anniversary celebration. This issue also offers a jumping on point for new readers. Does this all match up for such a meager price, and valuable time for modern appreciators of the sequential arts? What about its presentation for fans who waited over the recent hiatus, and likely read since #1?

Within, is a heavy issue indeed, packed with much for old and new fans. For those jumping aboard, there is that unexpected peek into the strange, unrestrained universe where pretty much anything can happen or raise the limits of the imagination. This first being the subject matter wherein, where things carry on from the very sad ending to the last issue. I can’t recall anytime a comic has dealt with the initial subject matter, in both a practical need for a resolution to Alana’s current condition, while adding dark humor to it all.

And then, a nice little recap for new readers perhaps. But, there feels not enough for me to recommend this particular issue to a friend. It’s better to lend them your copy of the first trade paperback (still, a very cheap $9.99). It might be fun to just buy extra copies of #43 and leave behind at a waiting area of some dental office or barber shop. If really bored, one can stick around for the reaction..then interject for that life-changing reading recommendation.

But seriously, for those new to this series…start from the beginning. Ask for Saga: Volume 1 at your local book retailer.

Meanwhile..

The story carries on with thoughtful conversations on Alana’s miscarriage, Petrichor’s gender identity, Hazel’s biracial concerns, Marko’s guilt. We got a lot of development here, far more within this one issue I think, than the last story arc. Such still leaves good page-turning room for sudden action with the disgusting attack of the “Dung People.” Suddenly, results in another revelation, leaving a new question in the end.

Anyway, Staple’s art is consistent in its beauty, and I appreciate more on her use of stylish fantastical backdrops. Alana’s outfit is badass and worthy of real life cosplay (though the pregnancy detail may be a bit too morbid).

An overall great issue, a bargain indeed worth the price of the usual full admission.

Saga #43 upcoming at 25¢, and new art print available

Image Comics recently announced the full-length 43rd issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ multiple Eisner Award-winning series Saga will be priced at $0.25.

This new issue’s low price celebrates Image Comic’s 25th anniversary. Saga #43 offers a fresh jumping-on point for new readers, as Hazel and her star-crossed parents embarking on a thrilling new adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

“I am so proud of this issue, and excited for our craziest storyline yet!” said Vaughan. “Fiona and I wanted to thank our incredible readers for five years of loyalty with this special $0.25 issue, but we also hoped to encourage anyone who hasn’t yet read SAGA to finally dip their toes in our water (eww).

“So if you have ‘mature’ friends or loved ones you think might be weird enough to enjoy our series, why not pick up a few extra copies to share with them?” asked Vaughan. “Either way, we know our beloved retailing partners won’t profit as much as they would from our regular $2.99 cover price, so if we save you a few bucks in May, we hope you’ll please consider shifting a little of that money back to your local store by trying Paper Girls or The Old Guard or Stray Bullets or any of the other spectacular collection of creator-owned comics that our friends at Image have been publishing for an unbelievable 25 years.”

Also, limited quantities of a commemorative Image 25th-anniversary print featuring exclusive and all-new Saga artwork by co-creator Fiona Staples will be available in limited quantities.

Preview:

The new print will have a color version, B&W version, and a signed color version. Contact your local comic shop for more info.

The print is scheduled for release on May 31st. Saga #43 also hits comic book stores on Wednesday, May 31st.

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

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Well…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

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

 

Stranger Reads, Comic Review – Saga #41

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

SW Best Comic Book Reads of 2016!

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

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

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

BEST NEW SERIES of 2016

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

The Flintstones (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

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

BEST LIMITED SERIES of 2016

Vision (Marvel) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

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

Divinity II (Valiant) by Matt Kindt, Trevor Hairsine

BEST ONGOING STORY EPICs of 2016

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

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

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

BEST CREATIVE USE OF SEQUENTIAL LAYOUTS in 2016

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

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

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

BEST USE OF COLOR in 2016

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

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

Bandette (Monkeybrain) by Paul Tobin, Collen Coover

BEST UNSETTLING HORROR SERIES of 2016

InseXts (Aftershock) by Marguerite Bennett, Ariela Kristantina

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

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

BEST DRAMATIC STORYTELLING of 2016

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

Vision (Marvel) by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta

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

BEST PARTLY HISTORICAL-BASED FICTION in 2016

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

Britannia (Valiant) By Peter Milligan, Juan Jose Ryp

Rough Riders (Aftershock) byAdam Glass, Patrick Olliffe

BEST FANTASY SERIES in 2016

Monstress (Image) by Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda

Hillbilly (Albatross) by Eric Powell

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

BEST STRANGE NEW WORLDS and IDEAS in 2016

Ether (Dark Horse) by Matt Kindt, David Rubin

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

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

BEST USE OF SCIENCE FICTION ELEMENTS in 2016

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

Faster than Light (Image), by Brian Haberlin

Ancestor (Image) by Matt Sheean, Malachi Ward

BEST SINGLE ISSUE COVER ART in 2016

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

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

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

BEST CREATIVE USE OF POP-CULTURE ICONS in 2016

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

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

The Flintstones (DC) by Mark Russell, Steve Pugh

BEST FULL-LENGTH GRAPHIC NOVEL STORIES of 2016

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

Mooncop (Drawn and Quarterly) by Tom Gauld

Ghosts (Scholastic), by Raina Telgemeier

BEST REPRINTING OF COMICS HISTORY in 2016

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

Moebius Libary: The World of Edena (Dark Horse)

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

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

Orion T

 

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

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

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

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

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

 

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

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Some new comics from last week, yes!

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

RECENT COMICS, RELEASED 11/30/2016:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“”THE WAR FOR PHANG,” Part Four

It’s all fun and games until…”

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

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

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Seriously, I want a print of this.

That’s all until next time. Did we miss any worthwhile reads on the latest shelves?  Do you have further thoughts on the books covered here? Leave a comment below!

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