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Wednesdays Are For Comics: “Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who-Assimilation2 #6”

7 Nov

KJack’s Back.

Star Trek: The Next Generation/ Doctor Who Assimilation #6

Written by Scott & David Tipton

Art by Gordon Purcell and J.K. Woodward

Reviewed by KJack

 

                Nerdgasm. That’s what I call this issue. If you’re a fan of either Star Trek or Doctor Who, and you’re not reading this book, obviously you’re missing out. It’s rare that the popular fan-boy debate about villain vs. villain from a different property actually sees the light of publication, but it’s even rarer still that it’s given such a high quality treatment.

The Tipton brothers have definitely thought about the question: “Who would win a war between The Borg and The Cybermen?” more than maybe anyone should. (That’s a compliment) Not only do they flesh this battle out better than I ever expected a comic book writer could, but they expertly factor in the crazy variables that are The Doctor, Captain Picard, and any companions/crew that might be helping them. The back and forth between the crews of the TARDIS and the Enterprise, the explanations of how the Borg and Cybermen interact, and the attempts to time travel and mess with Picard’s past, all make this one of this week’s most entertaining comics by far. The painted art is beautiful at times and is always true to the characters that we’ve come to know and love. It’s the writing of these characters and their wonderfully complicated circumstances, however, that make this book so enjoyable.

CJack couldn’t let a post go by without using her stupid apps to make a picture.

4 out of 5 POWS!!

Wednesdays Are For Comics…Even Though It’s Thursday: Darwyn Cooke’s “Before Watchmen Minutemen #1”

7 Jun

Once upon a time, in a blogosphere far, far away, CJack provided you, her Intermittent Readers, with tales of Pop Culture and KJack’s comic book reviews on a mostly regular basis. In recent months, this hasn’t been the case, but thanks to KJack’s insomnia and CJack’s lunch break, we bring you back the the days of yore with a belated edition of…

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1

By Darwyn Cooke

Reviewed by Kirk Jackson

Kicking off the entire Before Watchman opus is this single issue about the “golden age” of costumed crime-fighting set in Alan Moore’s seminal Watchmen universe. I must admit, like many, I was a little wary before I read this issue. I’m not from the camp that considers Watchmen too sacred to ever be touched by non-Moore hands, but I love the original just as much as anyone and never want to see mediocre versions of it. My fears melted away however as I took in the very first pages. Right away I could tell by the sequence of different images formed by very similar, circular shapes that Cooke was going to waste no time paying tribute to David Gibbon’s art. Cooke’s style in general is perfect for the pulpy feel of the Minutemen book, but he outdoes himself as he adjusts his style on every page to fit the mood and tone of each Minutemen character. The Moth Man sequence for instance is very dark, ominous, and serious, while Dollar Bill has a colorful almost cartoony commercial appearance. I was further comforted by the familiar visage of Hollis Mason, the original Night Owl, as he’s shown just finishing his book, “Under the Hood.” Like in Watchmen, this book is narrated from within by its own characters. Mason relates the story as he had written it in his book, and introduces each Minuteman one by one. With the benefit of hindsight, he is able to describe them all with accuracy and depth, and this makes for a wonderfully character driven comic.  The action sequences are exciting, the dialogue spot on, and the portrayal of each character has me hanging on to every word. All in all this is an amazing start to what should be the most rewarding comic event of the year!

5 POWS!

Wednesdays Are For Comics: “The Boys #65” by Garth Ennis

4 Apr

The Boys #65

COVER ARTIST: Darick Robertson

By Garth Ennis

Art by Russ Braun,

John McCrea,

& Keith Burns

Reviewed by KJack

Basically, I’m writing this review to let everyone know that the wait is over! After 64 issues of spying, political maneuvering, blackmailing, threatening, and just white-hot-hating the Homelander , the Butcher  finally comes face to face with his wife’s killer. It wouldn’t be a proper Garth Ennis production, however, if it just went down in a straight forward fashion. There’s a twist thrown in and the Boys all race to figure it out in time to keep the Butcher from missing the last piece of the Vought puzzle. 

I won’t spoil it for you, but I will tell you that it goes down spectacularly. By flipping back and forth between Butcher’s showdown and the one the Armed Forces have with the “Superheros,” Garth has given us a truly epic last battle. It has all the blood, violence, heroics, and horrible “superhero” deaths that this series has been promising all along. We’re also treated to the art of all the great artists this series has depended on. Trading off scenes, it only seems right that Braun, McCrea, and Burns are all in it together for this big, awesome climax. Furthermore, it is only fitting that the issue is a special 36 pager with a slightly higher price tag.

Don’t miss this issue folks, or you’ll be missing out! If you’ve fallen behind, now is the time to catch up, because the payoff is finally within your grasp!

I give 5 POWS, and hearty thank you to  the entire Boys creative team!

Wednesdays Are For Comics: Mark Millar’s “Kick-Ass 2 #7”

21 Mar

Kick-Ass 2 #7

By Mark Millar

Art by John Romita Jr.

Reviewed by KJack

It’s the big showdown we’ve been waiting for folks, as Kick-Ass and his fellow heroes face down The Mother-F%$ker and his army of hired goons. The real conflict however, is not hero vs. villain, but fantasy vs. reality.  Each of the people wearing costumes imagines that he or she is living out the great comic book dream. They imagine they are, in actuality, superheroes. However, reality comes storming in….in the form of the entire New York Police Department. Yes, the police are better trained and better armed, but more importantly, they don’t care how any of the fighters label themselves. To the police, all of it – the violence, the vandalism, the public nuisance, and the vigilante justice – is highly illegal. They can’t even tell which costumes belong to the “good guys” and which belong to the “evildoers”. What the cops feel they have to stop is just one big riot.

 There are two individuals, however, who do not operate under any illusions. Both Hit-Girl, and the Hired assassin known as Mother Russia know exactly what their realities are.  Hit Girl has been trained her entire young life to think and operate as a crime fighter. It’s the only reality she knows. To her: one sees injustice, and one acts to stop it – there is no other way. Mother Russia on the other hand is the product of a life of harsh realities. She is a professional fighter and killer and an almost impossible opponent for any 10 year old girl. More than anything else, the fight between these two represents the clash between the real world and the vigilante ideal.

 As can be expected, the outcome is not all happiness and congratulations. More than any other issue of Kick-Ass, #7 smacks our protagonists in the face and makes both characters and readers alike question what it takes to make difference and what it means to be a hero.

 Millar and Romita Jr. do it again with a stunning issue I feel deserves a full 5 POWS!

Wednesday Are For Comics: Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples’ “Saga #1”

14 Mar

Hey….guess what?

It’s Wednesday. And you know what Wednesdays are for, right?

BUT! Before we get to KJack’s review of “Saga #1” I must share with you something. Back, all those weeks ago, when I first started this blog, I mentioned that my main comic addiction was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There will eventually be in-depth discussions of BtVS here at Come On, Mr. Sunshine, but for now I will only say this; I love Spike. I named my dog after him. I have a statue of him in my craft corner. One of the hottest television moments of all time was in Season Six of Buffy when they literally made sweet, sweet love to each other until the house fell down. Hottie McHotterson. Anyhoo…KJack brought me my new comics last night and I gots my new Locke & Key and my new Buffy… and (I promise not to spoil anything here, but HOLY CRAP YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE BUFFY-VERSE LATELY!!!!!!) this is the cover of the long-awaited #7 issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 9.

Just two normal kids, chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool.

I love them.

Enough of your bullshiz, CJack! We don’t come here on Wednesdays to listen to you talk about crap! We come here for KJack’s reviews, dammit!!!

ugh, fine.

Saga: Chapter One

By Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Fiona Staples
 
Reviewed by Kirk (KJack)
 
What I believe we have here is the start of a truly epic tale.
We begin with the actual beginning of our main character’s story, seeing as how the very first scene is that of her birth. The man and woman standing so picturesquely on the cover are not the main characters of this tale at all, but rather, her parents and we don’t lose sight of them either, nor do we skip forward to a time when our protagonist is a bit older and can carry the story on her own. We follow the trials and adventures of these parents (and therefore our newborn hero) beginning mere seconds after her birth.
 
How do I know then, that the real protagonist is the infant? Well, we’re given a tour guide, a narrator that leads us through these events, gives us the background, and sets the stage. The narrator tells us, through disembodied floating captions, that its parents were not only on opposite sides of a galactic war, but were different species as well. She tells us that her parents were meant to be no more than guard and prisoner, were never supposed to fall in love, and definitely were not supposed to give birth her.
But marry and give birth they did, and apparently the trials and tribulations they go through to keep their baby alive (long enough to narrate this saga) are just too good to be skipped over. 
 
So, since this child ages maybe about 1 day in the course of this first issue, I assume we’re in for quite the long haul. This book is indeed a Saga and that’s a good thing! The epic title, however, isn’t the only clue that we can look forward to a nice long story. The characters and dialogue seem real, vital, and even witty. The details of the galaxy that surrounds them are strange and cool. Already in this issue I’ve seen amazing technology (in the form of fornicating robots), fabulous creatures (and a monkey!), and casually-weilded-but-powerful magic.
 
And I love the art by Fiona Staples! She has a way with body language that breaths life into these characters and the things they’re communicating to each other. 
 
Now, I know this isn’t the creator’s fault, rather a necessary evil of the medium, but the only real downside to this issue, is how far it doesn’t advance. Like so many other #1  issues, I’ve only been given enough to whet my appetite, and can’t yet see the true scope of where I’m sure Vaughan is going with this, but all in all, this book was well named and frankly, I’m excited! I will definitely be here for issue #2 when the saga continues.

Until then, I’ll give the first issue 4 POWS!

 

 

 

CJack’s Note: Ummm…I wasn’t really planning on adding any more comics to my “pull list,” but this sounds freaking RAD! Damn you!

Wednesdays Are For Comics: Jonathan Hickman’s “The Manhattan Projects #1”

7 Mar

Last night, instead of writing the intro to today’s comic book review, I ate half a Little Caesar’s pizza, an entire bag of popcorn and drank a whole bottle of Barefoot Merlot. I then moved from the couch to the bed and welcomed death.

As I did, in fact, survive the night, here we are at Wednesday…and if you didn’t know by now…

Manhattan Projects #1
Story by Jonathan Hickman – Art by: Nick Pitarra & Cris Peter

Reviewed by Kirk (KJack)

How many of you out there are lovers of historical science fiction? Well then, how many of you love a good psychotic killer? If you raised your hand to either question, Mr. Jonathan Hickman has a treat in store for you!

As the name suggests, this story uses as its setting the World War 2 era scientific project that gave us the very first Atom Bomb. In Hickman’s twisted version of history however, the Manhattan Project not only won the atomic race for America, but also served as a cover for the weirdest of weird science experiments known to man. This is why the name of our comic is pluralized: there are many projects that comprise the “Manhattan Project,” all of which are as ambitious as the one meant to produce “the bomb”.

Imagine then, the man brilliant enough to oversee such a project. Enter Robert Oppenheimer, the co-father (with Enrico Fermi) of the Atomic Bomb. Then imagine for a second that this man had a mentally unstable twin brother. Now perhaps you can realize the implications.

The layouts Hickman and Pitarra give us read like a simple cause-effect analysis of a situation with the most dire consequences possible. The layouts are even and symmetrical, designed to read like a disaster preparedness manual. The matter of fact presentation of the events as they unfold make them all the more chilling.

Pitarra’s pencils bring the detail and texture one has come to expect of artists such as Frank Quietly and Chris Burnham. His facial expressions are dynamic and his action scenes, exciting. Perhaps some of his figures could be a bit cleaner, but honestly, I feel they would lose a lot of character for it.

All in all, the Manhattan Projects is the best kind of historical fiction. It re-imagines historical events in a way that makes us re-examine those events from a fresh perspective. Sure, we came out ok on the other side of the atomic age, but just how lucky were we to avoid disaster?

I’m eager to see how Hickman’s history answers that question!

I’ll give this book 4 POWS!

Wednesdays Are For Comics: Joe Hill’s The Cape #4

29 Feb

The Wednesday comic book review isn’t really my gig, but before we get to KJack’s review, I would like to share with you, my Intermittent Readers (King’s are “Constant,”  but I’m not quite there yet), a little pre-review tale. Today’s comic is written by Joe Hill. Joe Hill is a BRILLIANT author. His book Heart Shaped Box was divine and I recommend it to horror fans, rock & roll fans, lovers of dogs (although it’s going to be a bit of a tough read, kids) and people with a fascination for the macabre doings of the twisted families we (hopefully) only read about in books…books like this. Since this isn’t a book review, I’ll leave it at this, look up this man’s work. You will thank me. If you’re a Horror/Genre fan but you’ve never considered graphic novels, please, PLEASE go and get the collections of Locke & Key. At one point they filmed a pilot that was going to be sold to FOX, but the studio backed out because they’re either scared of pure unadulterated awesome or they’re idiots.

It would be ridiculous and somewhat shady of me if I didn’t admit that I did not find Joe Hill’s work by accident. While I admire Hill based entirely on his own merits, I found out about him through my love for his father, Stephen King.

I’m a massive King fan (I even have an SK tattoo,  but that’s a whole other post) from as far back as I can remember and while I’d like to tell you all about why Stephen King is the very best author to ever walk the land, today is about Joe. Mr. Hill, who deserves just as much respect and acclaim as his slightly more famous father. Enough from me…Wednesdays aren’t for novels and tv shows with CJack…

JOE HILL’S THE CAPE #4

by Jason Ciaramella

Artists; Zach Howard & Nelson Daniel

Review by Kirk (KJack)

Before I get started, it’s extremely important that I point something out. This book has absolutely nothing to do with the TV show by the same name. Perhaps you remember that unfortunate piece of television that aired in January, 2011, wasted the talents of Summer Glau, and thoroughly disappointed everyone. Unlike that bad slice of airwave cheese, this comic is serious, and starkly beautiful in it’s simplicity. It also includes zero circus performers.

This is the final part of a 4 issue mini-series (plus 1 one-shot), bringing this story to an end worthy of any great Greek tragedy. Powered by Zach Howard’s textured and nuanced pencils. Ciaramella and Hill have fashioned a tidy little tale that ends as suddenly as the prequel issue woke everyone up.

Yet, there is nothing forced about the ending. On the contrary, I would hold this book up as a prime example of writing that allows its characters to go and end where they need instead of being forced to go where they should. The ending may be quick, but it stays organic throughout – and that says a lot for a story centering around a man who gains the ability to fly from his childhood blanket. I can’t imagine how tempting it must have been to prolong the story (by delving into the history of the blanket, for example) but by avoiding such digression, the story stays focused on its main theme: How dangerous the simple power of flight would be in the wrong hands.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love superhero stories. I’m the first to dive into a comic book that depicts Superman throwing things that are too heavy for elephants to lift. But every now and then, I like to see a take on superpowers that doesn’t involve cartoon physics. The randomness with which our favorite comic book characters receive their powers is in reality the most dangerous thing about such fantasies. Enter our main character Eric. He has none of the qualities that make a hero a “hero.” He’s is not well adjusted, brave, kind, patient, nor is he responsible. He carries a lot of pain from his childhood which he blames on everyone but himself. He is the last person one would give the ability to fly. Yet get it he does, and many innocent people pay the price.

This issue depicts its conclusion in the violent and final fashion that such a set up clearly demands. Furthermore, what is great about this final chapter of The Cape (and this is a bit of a spoiler) is this talented group of gentlemen allow these characters to teach us that power, without intelligence, cannot win in the end.

To that I say “Bravo!” and give 5 well deserved POWS!!

~Kirk

Wednesdays Are For Comics: Angelo Tirotto & Richard Jordan’s “No Place Like Home #1”

22 Feb

Some of you, specifically the comic book nerds of you, know the importance of the Wednesday. It’s the Sunday to your Christianity, the Saturday to your Judaism, the Tuesday to your Glee fan. In short, Wednesday is New Comic Book Day.

I wasn’t always a comic book fan per se, but I’d dated various incarnations of the “comic book guy” for years, so of course I picked up an issue here and there. It wasn’t until The Mr. & I started living together that I really got in deep.

Before I moved in with KJack, I had one comic book obsession and that was Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season8. That was pretty much it, but KJack works at a comic book store you see, so my one order of Buffy grew exponentially. Sweet Tooth, American Vampire, Abattoir, iZombie, The Stuff of Legend, Powers, Creepy, Locke & Key.…KJack was my hill, Comics were my snowball and the snow was particularly sticky.

Now that I had a full-blown addiction to so many titles I came to look forward to my Tuesdays nights for reasons other than trying to predict what Sue Sylvester was going to call Mr. Schuester as she passed him in the halls of McKinley. I had a comic book store working husband now dammit! I was getting new books!

Since being married I’ve learned a lot about comics. I’ve learned that not bagging and boarding my comics properly could result in divorce. I’ve learned that when a dude comes in asking to see the “most expensive comic you have,” that he’s more than likely going to try to steal it and I’ve learned that on Tuesdays, at the end of the day, when the store has finally closed, the new books come out….and then they come home to me. Now I don’t know enough about comics to review them here (hell, for the first few months I kinda’ forgot that I was supposed to look at the pictures), but KJack does…..so…every Wednesday, here it is, KJack’s comic book review, because after all…

NO PLACE LIKE HOME #1

By Angelo Tirotto, Richard Jordan

Review by Kirk (KJack)

Tornado Warning.

It’s time for a different kind of OZ, ladies and germs, and this one, for a change, doesn’t promise the usual song and dance! The first issue of No Place Like Home has the look and feel of a classic horror book with all the right elements to set up a good ‘ole nasty story.

It starts with the mysterious and gruesome murder of our protagonist’s parents, which brings her running back to the little town in Kansas where she grew up. The killing is strange and ominous, because it happens during a tornado and is accompanied by clouds of black feathers.

The book then moves into exposition mode where we meet Dee, our hero, who reunites with her two childhood friends after spending the last 5 years in L.A. The dialogue between all 3 girls is refreshingly interesting and believable. In fact, all the chatter between them serves to draw the reader in as opposed to distracting us from the narrative like so much other horror writing. So far then, I am impressed with Angelo Tirotto.

Richard Jordan’s art is right on the money. Not only is his cover gorgeous, but the interiors are easy on the eyes as well. Jordan is so specific with each girl’s facial features and expressions that the reader is able to distinguish who’s who without explanation. These girls are drawn so real and interesting, Jordan makes me want to get to know them. He also uses the perfect amount of shading and shadows to compliment the ominous tone of Tirotto’s script.

So Would I Buy It?
Short answer? Yes.
Longer answer? This book is on probation.
The story is still fragile and has so many directions it can go. The first issue has started at the right pace for horror, but that means I need more than one issue before I can give this more than 4 POWS! We’ll see what Tirotto has to offer in issue #2.
~KJACK
No Place Like Home #1
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