Thursday, March 31, 2016

Seraph of the End: Lucal Wesker

I posted a review of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign Volume 8 at the ComicBookBin.  Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr or at Grumble.  Support me on Patreon.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: DAREDEVIL #1

DAREDEVIL No. 1
MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Charles Soule
ART: Ron Garney
COLORS: Matt Milla
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
COVER: Ron Garney with Matt Milla
VARIANT COVERS: Joe Quesada; John Tyler Christopher; Tim Sale with Dave Stewart; Larry Stroman and Tom Palmer with Rachelle Rosenberg; Alex Maleev (Hip Hop variant); Patrick “Rick” Lance photographed by Judy Stevens (Cosplay variant)
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (February 2016)

Daredevil is a Marvel Comics superhero created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett.  The character first appeared in Daredevil #1 (cover dated: April 1964).  Jack Kirby contributed to Daredevil's creation, but to what extent is unknown.  In Daredevil #7, artist Wally Wood created the red uniform by which the character is known into modern times.  Daredevil is Matt Murdock, a vision-impaired attorney who was blinded as a child after being exposed to a radioactive substance.

Frank Miller had an influential run on the Daredevil comic book series, first as an artist and later as the writer and artist.  He made the character popular and also important in the Marvel Universe.  As part of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” the Daredevil comic book series is relaunched, and it seems (at least to me) to recall Frank Miller and even the work of those influenced by Miller.  Daredevil is written by Charles Soule; drawn by Ron Garney; colored by Matt Milla; and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

Daredevil #1 opens on the Manhattan Bridge in New York City, where Daredevil is rescuing Billy Li.  He is a witness in a case that Assistant District Attorney Matt Murdock of the New York County District Attorney's Office has put before a grand jury.  The target of that grand jury, the mysterious criminal Tenfingers, wants Li dead and has decided that maybe Murdock should also be killed.  Plus, Daredevil's apprentice, Blindspot, continues to learn.

The story by Charles Soule isn't bad, but it isn't anything special, at least not yet.  It simply takes the classic Daredevil paradigm that connects Matt Murdock's case to a bad guy that Daredevil is pursuing.  I guess this is how it should be, and if done right, can be entertaining.

What I do like is the drawing by Ron Garney and the coloring by Matt Milla.  This combination recalls the black and white, original art of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson and also the pencils, inks, and colors of Klaus Janson – all done by this creative duo during their glorious run on Daredevil.  Garney and Milla's work here also reminds me of Jim Lee's art on the first two issues of Deathblow (a 1990s Wildstorm title), which was – let's face it – a rip off of Frank Miller's art on Sin City.

Garney and Milla's jimmied negative space and faux toning simply looks right for Daredevil.  Like I said earlier, this isn't great, but it makes me want to keep reading for a bit.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint or syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 30, 2016

DC COMICS

DEC150363     100 BULLETS TP BOOK 05 (MR)     $24.99
JAN160233     AQUAMAN #50 (NOTE PRICE)     $4.99
JAN160287     BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #26 (NOTE PRICE)     $3.99
DEC150219     JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #8     $3.99
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DEC150349     WORLDS FUNNEST TP     $19.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

AUG150303     BATMAN V SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTICE BATMAN STATUE     $150.00
SEP150346     DC COMICS SUPER PETS HOPPY PLUSH FIGURE     $15.00
SEP150347     DC COMICS SUPER PETS KRYPTO PLUSH FIGURE     $15.00

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 30, 2016

MARVEL COMICS

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JAN160858     HERCULES #5     $3.99
JAN160952     IRON MAN EPIC COLLECTION TP DUEL OF IRON     $39.99
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IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for March 30, 2016

IDW PUBLISHING

JAN160389     BACK TO THE FUTURE #6     $3.99
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Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 30, 2016

DARK HORSE COMICS

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Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 20, 2016

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Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for March 30, 2016

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: DARK KNIGHT III: The Master Race #1

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE No. 1
DC COMICS – @DCComics

[This review originally appeared on Patreon.]

STORY: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
PENCILS: Andy Kubert
INKS:  Klaus Janson
COLORS: Brad Anderson
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson
VARIANT COVERS: Jim Lee and Scott Williams with Alex Sinclair; Frank Miller with Alex Sinclair; Dave Gibbons and Klaus Janson with Brad Anderson; Jill Thompson
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (January 2016)

Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (also known simply as The Dark Knight Returns) was a four-issue comic book miniseries starring Batman.  Published by DC Comics in 1986, this prestige-format comic book was written by Frank Miller; drawn by Miller (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks); colored by Lynn Varley; and lettered by John Costanza, with the book covers drawn by Miller and Varley.

Individually, the books were entitled “The Dark Knight Returns” (Book One); “Dark Knight Triumphant” (Book Two); “Hunt the Dark Knight” (Book Three); and “The Dark Knight Falls” (Book Four).  The series takes place in a future in which Bruce Wayne is 55 and retired from being Batman.  Gotham City's ongoing troubles give Wayne the reason he uses to bring Batman out of retirement, but Batman faces opposition from the city government and the police force.  The series introduces a new Robin, a girl named Carrie Kelley; depicts Batman's final battle with The Joker; and culminates with a confrontation against Superman, which leaves the world thinking that Batman is dead.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (also known as “DKR”) yielded a three-volume sequel, The Dark Knight Strikes Again (also known as “DK2”), published by DC Comics from late 2001 into 2002.   DC Comics has spent the last four years reliving its mid to late 1980s glory days, so now, there is a second sequel to The Dark Knight Returns.  This is an eight-issue series entitled Dark Knight III: The Master Race (also known as DKIII).  It is written by Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello; drawn by Andy Kubert (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks); colored by Brad Anderson; and lettered by Clem Robins.

Kubert and Janson will be the lead cover artists, but DC is publishing numerous variant covers, about 50 for the issue of DKIII.  Each issue will also include an insert entitled “Dark Knight Universe Presents” drawn by different art teams and written by Miller and Azzarello... apparently.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 opens with the return (once again) of Batman, but this time, the authority in Gotham City is even less welcoming.  Commissioner Yindel and the rest of the Gotham City Police Department are ready to take-down Batman.  Meanwhile, Wonder Woman fights and a legendary small city wants help, while Superman remains in limbo.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 is not as good as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Book One.  Let's just get that out of the way.  DKIII colorist Brad Anderson is nowhere nearly as good as DKR colorist, the legendary Lynn Varley (Frank Miller's ex-wife), whose watercolor-like hues were both subtle and vivid.  There is nothing distinguishing about the work of DKIII letterer Clem Robins, certainly not in the way DKR's John Costanza's lettering was so distinctive.

DKIII's art team of Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson capture the spirit and some of the style of DKR's Frank Miller and Janson.  Kubert, however, does not match the imaginative page layouts and awe-inspiring design that Miller gave the original work.

There is a rumor that Frank Miller has contributed relatively little to the storytelling in DKIII.  Word is that DC Comics was developing DKIII independently of Miller and went to him after they'd already made the decision to produce the project.  At the very least, Azzarello is clearly writing the scripts.  It shows.  This is not bad work, but nothing about this suggests the imagination and inventiveness that Frank Miller has brought to all his work:  the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the ambivalent experimental work.  Azzarello, as good as he can be, cannot be like Frank Miller because he is not in Miller's league, no matter how much Jim Lee, Geoff Johns, and the powers at DC Comics pretend he is.

Things could change; I could be delightfully surprised.  But right now Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 is no more special than any other Batman comic book that is a particularly good read.

B

Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom #1 (Insert comic book)
STORY: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
PENCILS: Frank Miller
INKS: Klaus Janson
COLORS: Alex Sinclair
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: Frank Miller with Alex Sinclair

Frank Miller actually pencils Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom #1, with Klaus Janson inking.  And no, it does not remind me of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns or Frank Miller's run on Daredevil, on which Janson was Miller's most frequent collaborator and partner.

This has potential, but it lacks the spark of any of Miller's best work.

B

[Retailer variant cover artists and art teams:
Dave Johnson; Sean Gordon Murphy; Lee Bermejo; Klaus Janson; Rafael Albuquerque; Jae Lee with June Chung; Eduardo Risso; Jock; Walter Simonson with Laura Martin; Ivan Reis with Marcelo Maiolo; Aaron Lopresti; Tyler Kirkman with Tomeu Morey; Brian Bolland; Paul Pope with Jose Villarrubia; Gabriele Dell'Otto; John Cassady with Laura Marin; Tony Daniel with Tomeu Morey; Matt Wagner with Brennan Wagner; Michael Allred and Laura Allred; Brian Stelfreeze; Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts; Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson; Jason Fabok with Brad Anderson; Darwyn Cooke, Josh Middleton; Gary Frank with Brad Anderson; Howard Porter with Hi-Fi; Kevin Eastman with Varga Tamás; Bill Sienkiewicz; Dave Dorman; Greg Capullo with FCO Plascencia; Stanley “Artgerm” Lau; Marc Silvestri with Alex Sinclair; Kelley Jones; Dale Keown with Jason Keith; Neal Adams with Alex Sinclair; Simon Bisley; Tony Harris; David Finch and Scott Hanna with Brad Anderson; Scott Williams with Alex Sinclair; John Romita, Jr. and Danny Miki with Dean White; Adam Hughes; Francis Manapul; J. Scott Campbell with Nei Ruffino; Tim Sale; Bruce Timm; Babs Tarr]


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Komomo Confiserie: My Boyfriend's Girlfriend

I posted a review of Komomo Confiserie Volume 3 at the ComicBookBin.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Book Review: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY
HARPERCOLLINS – @HarperCollins

AUTHOR: Matt Ruff – @bymattruff
ISBN: 978-0-06-229206-3; hardcover (February 16, 2016)
384pp, B&W, $26.99 U.S.

Lovecraft Country is a 2016 fantasy novel from acclaimed cult novelist, Matt Ruff (Fool on the Hill; The Mirage).  Blending fantasy, historical fiction, Lovecraftian horror, and weird fiction, Lovecraft Country focuses on a Black man, his father, his uncle, and a small circle of Black friends and relatives who take on sorcery and Jim Crow-era secret occult societies.

It's 1954.  22-year-old African-American, Atticus Turner, recently received a letter from his estranged father, Montrose Turner.  The letter was a summons for Attitcus, a Korean War Army veteran, to return home to Chicago.  When he arrives at his father's apartment, Atticus learns that Montrose left several days earlier in the company of a young White man.  His destination – a mysterious, small village named Ardham, deep in the Sabbath Kingdom Woods of Devon County, Massachusetts.

Atticus embarks on a road trip to New England to find Montrose.  He is accompanied by his Uncle George Berry, his father's brother and the publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide, a periodical that informs African-American travelers which hotels, restaurants, and business serve “Colored” people.  Letitia Dandridge, a childhood friend of Atticus', insists on tagging along.

Shortly after arriving in Ardham, they find Montrose in chains, held prisoner by Samuel Braithwhite, the leader of a secret cabal known as the Order of the Ancient Dawn.  Braithwhite and his fellow conspirators plan to orchestrate a bizarre ritual that requires Atticus' participation.  To escape, Atticus and company will need the help of Braithwhite's son, Caleb, who has his own need of the Turner clan.

Late last year, I saw the movie, American Ultra, which basically failed at the box office and received mixed reviews from film critics.  I, however, loved it, and I had a blast watching it.  American Ultra reminded me of why I watch so many movies:  no matter how many bad or disappointing movies I watch, I will always find movies that thrill me, spark my imagination, inspire me to make a difference, or just make me happy.

Lovecraft Country does all those things.  I am embarrassed to admit that I seem at a lost to completely and accurately describe how much I enjoyed this book and what it did to me.  There are so many shocking and amazing things about Lovecraft Country.

For one thing, author Matt Ruff is a White man.  His depiction of how African-Americans had to live in segregated, racist, Jim Crow America match what other authors have detailed in non-fiction books written by Black and White Americans, who lived in that America or researched it.  What boggles the mind, however, is that a White man captures the indignities heaped on Black people and the dangers they faced during Jim Crow with such intensity that you might think that he is a Black man.

And let's be honest, Jim Crow may have lost a lot of feathers, but he is still alive.  There are quite a few things that Ruff depicts in this book that I have experienced in our allegedly more enlightened times.  Ruff gets it, so much so that he must be a secret Negro, or he has some kind of telepathic connection with a lot of Black folks – past and present.

The copy on the back of the book jacket calls Lovecraft Country a “...brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination....” and “...a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism—the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.”  That's the triple-truth Ruth.  Lovecraft Country blends the modern fantasy inventiveness of writers like J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman with the inspired pulp fiction imaginations of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard and their contemporaries.

Matt Ruff does these writers one better, however.  His fantastic fantasy invention does not leave out the true darkness and terror, and that is the real malevolence of venomous racial hate, bigotry, and prejudice.  By making his characters Black people living under the yoke of oppression, Ruff dares to imagine a world of magic that is as poisonous as it is wondrous.

Readers are always looking for great books.  Some want the kind of novels that are usually called the “best of the year.”  Well, they should travel to Lovecraft Country.

A+

http://www.bymattruff.com/

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review: SHURIKEN AND PLEATS Volume 1

SHURIKEN AND PLEATS, VOL. 1
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia

CARTOONIST: Matsuri Hino
TRANSLATION: Katherine Schilling
LETTERS: Inori Fukuda Trant
EDITOR: Nancy Thislethwaite
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8525-3; paperback (March 2016); Rated “T” for “Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Matsuri Hino created the bestselling manga, Vampire Knight.  Her other popular series include Captive Hearts and MeruPuri.  Her latest series is Shuriken and Pleats.

It focuses on teenager, Mikage Kirio, a skilled ninja.  After the master that she is sworn to protect is killed, Mikage moves to Japan to start a new, peaceful life for herself.  Soon after she arrives, Mikage finds herself fighting to protect a man being attack by two ninja.

Shuriken and Pleats, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 5) finds Mikage totally dedicated to her master, James G. Rod, who has already lost family members to assassins.  Despite her best efforts, James is killed.  In Japan, Mikage hopes to enjoy the life James had planned for her.  Mikage enrolls in high school, where she finds other teenagers, especially Kotaro Suzuki, to be curious.  Soon, however, Mikage is drawn into the machinations of a powerful family, after she saves a man named Mahito Wakashimatsu.

The Shuriken and Pleats manga is another of those manga that are tailored made for me to love.  I am a fan of ninja manga, such as Tail of the Moon and especially the recently completed Naruto.  Shuriken and Pleats is a different kind of ninja manga, which is what I would expect from Matsuri Hino.

Shuriken and Pleats Volume 1 offers plenty of action involving ninja and also lots of intrigue.  I find it odd that Hino fills the first five chapters of this manga with so much back story, plot twists, plot lines, etc.  It is as if Hino is hurrying to finish this story.  In fact, there were times when I thought that the story was racing to its conclusion because it was a single-volume manga.

I have to admit that I am a little confused about the protagonist or antagonist status of several characters.  Perhaps, that is how Hino intends it, so I hope that Shuriken and Pleats reaches it potential because I do like my ninja manga.

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2015) No. 1
MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel

[This review originally appeared on Patreon.]

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ART: Valerio Schiti
COLORS: Richard Isanove
LETTERS: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER: Art Adams with Dave Stewart
VARIANT COVERS: Valerio Schiti with Richard Isanove; Jason Latour; Shawn Crystal with Chris Brunner; Mike and Laura Allred; John Tyler Christopher; Contagious Costuming and Judy Stephens
28pp, Color, $3.99 (December 2015)

Rated “T”

The Guardians of the Galaxy are a Marvel Comics superhero team.  Created by writer Arnold Drake and artist Gene Colan, the team first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (cover dated: January 1969).  However, the best known version of the Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in 2007.  Created by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, the team's initial roster included Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Quasar, Adam Warlock, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Groot.

Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Groot would go on to be the stars of Marvel Studios' surprise 2014 hit film, Guardians of the Galaxy.  With the launch of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” there is a new Guardians of the Galaxy comic book.  The series is written by Brian Michael Bendis; drawn by Valerio Schiti; colored by Richard Isanove; and lettered by Cory Petit.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 features the team of Kitty Pryde as Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, The Thing, and Venom.  A run-in with the Chitauri leaves the group with a mysterious item and no knowledge of how powerful or dangerous that object is.  Meanwhile, on Planet Spartax, Peter Quill, the original Star-Lord, finds his new life as King to be an utter bore.  He does not realize that excitement is bound to return in many ways...

I last read Guardians of the Galaxy during the story arc, “The Trial of Jean Grey,” a crossover event with All-New X-Men.  Then, I didn't find a reason to keep reading.  I am not sure that this first issue gives me a reason to keep reading this new series, now.  It is not as if this new Guardians of the Galaxy #1 is awful or anything; besides, I am a fan of writer Brian Michael Bendis.  New series artist Valerio Schiti delivers some pretty art and solid storytelling.

I guess it is just that I got this first issue because I am trying to read as many #1 issues in the “All-New, All-Different Marvel” as I can.  I don't plan on reading as many #2 issues, I can tell you that, dear reader.  This is not a bad comic book... I reiterate.  I think fans of the modern incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy will enjoy this comic book.  It is just that if money is tight for you, dear reader, this comic book is not worth $3.99 if you are not a fan.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 23, 2016

DC COMICS

JAN160349     ART OPS #6 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160227     BATMAN #50 (NOTE PRICE)     $5.99
JAN160286     BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #25     $2.99
NOV150269     BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT GENESIS HC     $19.99
JUN150278     BATMAN BLACK & WHITE HC VOL 1 BOOK & DVD BLU RAY SET     PI
JUN150280     BATMAN YEAR ONE HC BOOK & DVD BLU RAY SET     PI
JAN160255     CYBORG #9     $2.99
DEC150318     CYBORG TP VOL 01 UNPLUGGED     $14.99
JUN150279     DEATH OF SUPERMAN HC DVD & BLU RAY SET     PI
JAN160256     DEATHSTROKE #16     $2.99
DEC150320     DOCTOR FATE TP VOL 01 THE BLOOD PRICE     $14.99
JAN160288     GRAYSON #18     $3.99
JAN160293     HARLEY QUINN #26     $3.99
JAN160355     JACKED #5 (MR)     $3.99
JUN150282     JLA EARTH 2 HC BOOK & DVD BLU RAY SET     PI
JAN160259     JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 #10     $2.99
JUN150281     JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL 1 HC ORIGIN BOOK & DVD BLU RAY SET     PI
JAN160356     LAST GANG IN TOWN #4 (MR)     $3.99
NOV150267     ROBIN SON OF BATMAN HC VOL 01 YEAR OF BLOOD     $22.99
JAN160267     SECRET SIX #12     $2.99
DEC150325     STARFIRE TP VOL 01 WELCOME HOME     $14.99
JAN160262     SUICIDE SQUAD MOST WANTED DEADSHOT KATANA #3     $4.99
DEC150344     SUPERMAN & THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA TP VOL 01     $17.99
JAN160282     SUPERMAN LOIS AND CLARK #6     $3.99
JAN160271     TEEN TITANS #18     $2.99
JAN160299     WE ARE ROBIN #10     $3.99
JAN160246     WONDER WOMAN #50 (NOTE PRICE)     $4.99
JUN150283     WONDER WOMAN GODS & MORTAL HC BOOK & DVD BLU RAY SET     PI
DEC150347     WONDER WOMAN WAR OF THE GODS TP     $24.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

DEC150378     BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS 30TH ANNIV BUST     $50.00

Marvel Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 23, 2016

MARVEL COMICS

JAN160776     ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT AVENGERS #7 ASO     $3.99
JAN160864     ALL NEW HAWKEYE #5     $3.99
JAN160869     ANGELA QUEEN OF HEL #6     $3.99
JAN160837     CARNAGE #6     $3.99
JAN160944     CIVIL WAR HEROES FOR HIRE THUNDEBOLTS TP     $34.99
JAN160943     CIVIL WAR MARVEL UNIVERSE TP NEW PTG     $24.99
JAN160946     CIVIL WAR YOUNG AVENGERS AND RUNAWAYS TP NEW PTG     $19.99
JAN160866     CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS #6     $3.99
JAN168296     DARTH VADER #16 ANDREWS 2ND PTG VAR     $3.99
JUN150833     DEXTER DOWN UNDER TP     $19.99
JAN160953     GUARDIANS OF GALAXY TP VOL 05 THROUGH LOOKING GLASS     $19.99
JAN160786     HOWLING COMMANDOS OF SHIELD #6 ASO     $3.99
JAN160734     HYPERION #1     $3.99
JAN160883     ILLUMINATI #5     $3.99
JAN160730     INFINITY ENTITY #3     $3.99
JAN160958     INFINITY WATCH TP VOL 01     $39.99
JAN160754     MARVEL UNIVERSE GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #6     $2.99
JAN160775     NEW AVENGERS #8 ASO     $3.99
JAN160920     OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #3     $3.99
JAN160872     PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT #4     $3.99
JAN160959     PUNISHER MAX TP COMPLETE COLLECTION VOL 02 (MR)     $39.99
JAN160954     ROCKET RACCOON TP VOL 02 STORYTAILER     $17.99
JAN160915     STAR WARS #17     $3.99
JAN160961     STAR WARS LEGENDS EPIC COLLECTION TP VOL 02 NEW REPUBLIC     $39.99
JAN160807     TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #4     $3.99
JAN160801     ULTIMATES #5     $3.99
JAN160903     UNCANNY X-MEN #5     $3.99
JAN160822     VENOM SPACE KNIGHT #5     $3.99
JAN160901     X-MEN WORST X-MAN EVER #2     $3.99

IDW Publishing from Diamond Distributors for March 23, 2016

IDW PUBLISHING

JAN160483     ANGRY BIRDS SUPER ANGRY BIRDS TP     $9.99
NOV150333     AVENGERS GEORGE PEREZ MARVEL ARTIST SELECT HC     PI
JAN160511     DANGER GIRL RENEGADE TP     $17.99
JAN160386     GI JOE DEVIATIONS (ONE SHOT)     $4.99
DEC150522     LOCKE & KEY MASTER ED HC VOL 02     $49.99
NOV150403     ROCKETEER AT WAR #2     $4.99
JAN160395     STAR TREK GREEN LANTERN TP SPECTRUM WAR     $19.99
NOV150467     SUPERMAN ATOMIC AGE SUNDAYS HC VOL 02 1953-1956     $49.99
JAN160436     TMNT ONGOING #56     $3.99
NOV150427     WALT DISNEY DONALD DUCK SUNDAY NEWPAPER COMICS HC VOL 01     $49.99

Dark Horse Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 23, 2016

DARK HORSE COMICS

NOV150098     ASTRO BOY OMNIBUS TP VOL 03     $19.99
JAN160143     BTVS SEASON 10 #25 MAIN CVR     $3.99
JAN160157     ELFQUEST FINAL QUEST #14     $3.50
SEP150103     GAME OF THRONES FIGURE OBERYN MARTELL     $24.99
JAN160135     HELLBOY & BPRD 1953 BEYOND THE FENCES #2     $3.50
JAN160145     SHADOW GLASS #1     $3.99
JAN160166     TOMB RAIDER 2016 #2     $3.99

Image Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 23, 2016

IMAGE COMICS

JAN160570     BIRTHRIGHT #15 CVR A BRESSAN & LUCAS     $2.99
JAN160571     BIRTHRIGHT #15 CVR B STOKOE     $2.99
JAN160521     CIRCUIT BREAKER #1     $2.99
JAN160577     CRY HAVOC #3 CVR A KELLY & PRICE (MR)     $3.99
JAN160578     CRY HAVOC #3 CVR B GANE (MR)     $3.99
NOV150604     DREAM POLICE #8     $2.99
JAN160657     EAST OF WEST TP VOL 05 ALL THESE SECRETS     $14.99
JAN160598     MIRROR #2 (MR)     $2.99
JAN160601     NOWHERE MEN #9 (MR)     $2.99
JAN160602     OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA #17 (MR)     $2.99
JAN160603     PENCIL HEAD #3 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160628     RATTLER GN     $14.99
JAN160609     RINGSIDE #5 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160700     SAVAGE DRAGON GROWING PAINS TP (MR)     $19.99
JAN160614     SNOWFALL #2 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160553     SONS OF THE DEVIL #6 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160618     STRAY BULLETS SUNSHINE & ROSES #13 (MR)     $3.99

Comics, Magazines and Books from Diamond Distributors for March 23, 2016

COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

JAN161576     AGONY TP (MR)     $15.95
DEC151717     AJIN GN VOL 07 DEMI HUMAN     $12.95
JAN161817     AKAME GA KILL ZERO GN VOL 01     $13.00
DEC150966     ALL MY GHOSTS (MR)     $9.99
DEC151177     ALL NEW CLASSIC CAPTAIN CANUCK #0     $4.99
JAN161289     ALL NEW CLASSIC CAPTAIN CANUCK #1 CVR A FREEMAN     $3.99
NOV151390     AMADEO & MALADEO HC MUSICAL DUET     $24.99
FEB161594     ARTEMIS FOWL GN VOL 01 NEW PTG     $12.99
JAN161663     ASSASSINS CREED TEMPLARS #1 CVR A LAMING     $3.99
JAN161664     ASSASSINS CREED TEMPLARS #1 CVR B POPE     $3.99
JAN161665     ASSASSINS CREED TEMPLARS #1 CVR C CALERO     $3.99
JAN161666     ASSASSINS CREED TEMPLARS #1 CVR D CALERO     $3.99
JAN161667     ASSASSINS CREED TEMPLARS #1 CVR E LACLAUSTRA     $3.99
JAN161386     BADGER #2 (MR)     $3.99
JAN161096     BETTY & VERONICA JUMBO COMICS DIGEST #242     $6.99
JAN161225     BILL & TED GO TO HELL #2     $3.99
JAN161818     BLACK BULLET GN VOL 03     $13.00
JAN161787     BLEACH GN VOL 66     $9.99
JAN161750     BLOODSHOT REBORN ANNUAL 2016 #1 CVR A KANO     $5.99
JAN161751     BLOODSHOT REBORN ANNUAL 2016 #1 CVR B BODENHEIM     $5.99
JAN161819     BLOODY CROSS GN VOL 10 (MR)     $13.00
JAN161790     BLOODY MARY GN VOL 02     $9.99
JAN161406     CARPET SWEEPER TALES     $15.95
MAR130847     CHARISMAGIC TP VOL 01 VANISHING     $18.99
DEC151193     CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED TP INVISIBLE MAN     $9.95
NOV151252     CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED TP LES MISERABLES     $9.95
DEC151196     CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED TP MACBETH     $9.95
DEC151198     CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED TP TREASURE ISLAND     $9.95
NOV151389     COMPLETE CREPAX HC DRACULA FRANKENSTEIN HORROR     $75.00
DEC151145     CURSED PIRATE GIRL TP VOL 01 (MR)     $19.99
JAN161622     CYBERINES #2     $3.99
JAN161359     DEAN KOONTZ FRANKENSTEIN STORM SURGE #6     $3.99
NOV151646     DEATH SENTENCE TP VOL 02 LONDON (MR)     $19.99
JAN161388     DELETE #1 (MR)     $4.99
JAN161821     DEMON FROM AFAR GN VOL 06 (MR)     $18.00
JAN161544     DEVIL SURVIVOR GN VOL 04 (MR)     $10.99
AUG151424     DF AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #19.1 LTD SILVER PONSOR SGN     PI
DEC151289     DF DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 IN STOCK TRADES EXC     $27.00
DEC151288     DF DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #1 RARE DCBS EXC ADAMS     $27.00
DEC141482     DF DEATH OF WOLVERINE #1 DF MIDTOWN EXC SGN SOULE     $39.99
DEC141483     DF DEATH OF WOLVERINE #4 DF MIDTOWN EXC SGN SOULE     $39.99
FEB161466     DF STAR WARS MAY FOURS BE WITH YOU COLLECTORS SET     PI
FEB161468     DF STAR WARS VADER DOWN #1 DF EXC B&W COPIEL PLUS 1     PI
MAR151320     DF UNCANNY INHUMANS #0 SOULE SGN     $27.99
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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review: MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #1

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR No. 1
MARVEL COMICS – @Marvel

[This review originally appeared on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder
ARTIST: Natacha Bustos
COLORS: Tamra Bonvillain
LETTERS: VC's Travis Lanham
COVER: Amy Reeder
VARIANT COVERS: Trevor Von Eeden; Jeffrey Veregge (Hip Hop variant)
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (January 2016)

BFF Part 1: “Repeat After Me”

Devil Dinosaur is a Marvel Comics character that first appeared in Devil Dinosaur #1 (cover dated: April 1978).  Created by writer-artist Jack Kirby, Devil Dinosaur is a red Tyrannosaurus Rex, turned red by mutation.  He has a friend and partner, the ape-like Moon Boy, and they live on “Dinosaur World,” a parallel Earth where dinosaurs and primitive humanoid beings live at the same time.

With the launch of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel,” Devil Dinosaur returns in a new comic book series, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.  The series is written by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder; drawn by Natacha Bustos; colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and lettered by Travis Lanham.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 (“Repeat After Me”) opens in Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City.  We meet Lunella Lafayette, girl of science.  Little else in life, but for the scientific, interests her, and we are talking far-off, theoretical, and super-science.  Then, she discovers a glowing stone or orb of some kind.  Meanwhile, in “The Valley of Flame,” events are occurring that will bring new creatures, including a big red dinosaur into Lunella's life.

After only reading one issue of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, I can say with confidence that it is one of the best kids' comics that Marvel Comics has published in a long time.  It is an accessible comic book for kids ages 8 to 12 ('tweens?), but I think that some readers younger than that age group can access this wonderful comic book.

I recently complained that first issues of comic books (especially of ongoing series) tend to be vague, at best a taste of what the series will offer rather than being an actual first chapter of a story arc.  Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 is an actual first chapter.  Writers Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder give readers a good glimpse into Lunella Lafayette (“Moon Girl”), who she is, what she wants, her obstacles and conflicts, etc.  They also provide a solid look at the world from which Devil Dinosaur originates, at least enough to make the reader more curious about the Valley of Flame.

The art by Natacha Bustos is the kind of drawing style one might find in alternative and small press comics and also in graphic novels published by book publishers like Scholastic and First Second Books.  It is clean and recalls classic comic book art of the late 1950s and 1960s.  This allows the graphical storytelling to be clear, but also energetic and rife with possibility.  There is a sense of wonder, of mystery, of the unknown in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur that modern superhero comic books mostly lack.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 is a break-out first issue, and I can't wait for the second issue.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for syndication rights and fees.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: BLOODY MARY Volume 2

BLOODY MARY, VOL. 2
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia

MANGAKA: Akaza Samamiya
TRANSLATION: Katherine Schilling
LETTERS: Sabrina Heep
ISBN: 978-1-4215-8314-3; paperback (March 2016); Rated “T” for “Teen”
168pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Akaza Samamiya has created such manga as Hatsukoi Canvas (First Love Canvas), Torikago Syndrome (Birdcage Syndrome), and Ouji wa Tadaima Dekasegichuu (The Prince Is Gone on Business).  All three of these series have been published in the popular Japanese shojo magazine, Asuka.  Her latest series is the supernatural vampire drama, Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary focuses on Ichiro Rosario Di Maria.  This young man has the “Power of Exorcism,” which enables him to kill vampires.  He meets the vampire, Bloody Mary, who is unlike most vampires because he is both immortal and has red hair.  Bloody Mary wants to die, and Ichiro offers to kill him, but first...  Ichiro wants to kill every other vampire on Earth, and Mary will be his bodyguard.

As Bloody Mary, Vol. 2 (Chapters 5 to 8) opens, Takumi Sakuraba, Ichiro's life-long friend, meets someone who looks like his pal.  This isn't Ichiro, though; it is Yzak Rosario di Maria, Ichiri's paternal grandfather.  Yzak has secrets to reveal and wants Takumi to kidnap Mary.

Meanwhile, Mary digs into his past and unearths “Red Memories” that he has suppressed.  Now, he is sure that he met Ichiro long ago, but tragedy may be involved with that first encounter.

[This volume includes bonus manga content.]

Anyone who has read enough of my reviews may have already figured out that I am a sucker for vampire manga.  Still, I was not sure that I would like the Bloody Mary manga.  For one thing, I have a minor hang-up about men with the name Mary.

I have to admit that I was halfway through Bloody Mary Volume 2 before I started to warm up to the manga.  I think that I am intrigued by both this series' internal mythology and by the possibility of a past full of secrets, which series creator Akaza Samamiya teases.  I must also admit that I am not really buying the tepid boys' love dynamic between Ichiro and Mary.  Still, fans of vampire manga will want to try a Bloody Mary.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: SHERIFF OF BABYLON #1

THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON No. 1
DC COMICS/Vertigo – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Tom King
ART: Mitch Gerads
COLORS: Mitch Gerads
LETTERS: Tom Napolitano
COVER: John Paul Leon
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (February 2016)

Suggested for mature readers

The Sheriff of Babylon is a new comic book series from writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads.  Published by DC Comics' imprint, Vertigo, this eight-issue miniseries opens in Baghdad, Iraq in February 2004.  That is 10 months after the fall of Baghdad in the wake of the United States-led coalition's invasion of Iraq.

The Sheriff of Babylon #1 introduces Christopher, a former Florida police officer who believes that his failure to follow a lead led to a catastrophe.  Now in the U.S. Army, Chris trains men in Baghdad to serve in the new Iraqi police force (because someone thought it was a great idea to disband the “old” Iraqi police force).

When one of his trainees, Ali Al Fahar, turns up dead, Chris is expected to deal with the situation.  For help, Chris calls on Sofia, a former Iraqi exile who has returned to Baghdad in order to take control of the city's criminal underworld.

I am intrigued by the premise of The Sheriff of Babylon, and I am aware of that premise because I obtained a copy of the Vertigo 2015 Preview (which was provided free to customers at comic book shops).  In fact, that preview has more about The Sheriff of Babylon's characters and premise in two paragraphs than in the entirety of first issue of the actual comic book itself.

I know that this is the comic book world in which we live.  As a friend of mine always says, first issues are now teasers in which you do not find out about the series so much as you get a taste of it.  So, if The Sheriff of Babylon #1 is a taste, it is, as I said mere sentences ago, an intriguing taste.

Tom King's Baghdad circa 2004 is every bit the disaster news reporting, documentary films, and television media claimed it was.  No one seems to know what is going on.  Everyone is ready to pass a problem along to someone else.  There is a vast network of people who might be able to help you, but there is certainly always someone who needs your help.

As far as the art by Mitch Gerads, it is standard Vertigo fare, or at least standard as far as comics that depict military situations and criminal settings go.  I generally like such graphic styles.  That said, the storytelling is... well, intriguing.  I plan on trying at least one more issue.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: MOTORCYCLE SAMURAI Book One: A Fiery Demise

THE MOTORCYCLE SAMURAI BOOK ONE: A FIERY DEMISE
TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS – @topshelfcomix

CARTOONIST: Chris Sheridan
EDITORS: Chris Staros and Leigh Walton
ISBN: 978-1-60309-370-5; paperback with French flaps (August 4, 2015)
168pp, Color, $19.99 U.S.

First published on the digital comics website, Thrillbent, The Motorcycle Samurai is a digital comic from cartoonist and comics creator, Chris Sheridan.  Last year, Top Shelf Productions published the first story arc in the full-color paperback, The Motorcycle Samurai Book One: A Fiery Demise.  Top Shelf kindly provided your stalwart reviewer with a copy-for-review.

The Motorcycle Samurai is set in an indeterminate post-apocalyptic future.  Riding the desert wastelands on her motorcycle is “The White Bolt.”  She has a coconut-shell like helmet emblazoned with a calavera-like skull covering her head and face, and she has a katana at her side.  As the story opens, the White Bolt has a bounty strapped to her bike's “sissy bar.”  He is Happy Parker, and the White Bolt is taking him back to small town of Trouble to collect a bounty.

Everything in Trouble, however, is... troubled.  Boss Frankie Parker and Pierre Parker (the “Iron King”) have a claim on Happy.  The new sheriff, Roy Keane, wants him to.  There is lots of want when it comes to Happy, but the White Bolt knows that it's all headed to a fiery demise.

When I first saw the cover of The Motorcycle Samurai Book One: A Fiery Demise, I was inclined to dislike it.  I need to stop judging books by their covers unless they are Henry Cavill or Charlize Theron (but I digress...).  Not far into reading the book, I started to find it to be an enjoyable read.

The Motorcycle Samurai borrows elements of Italian film director Sergio Leone's “Dollars Trilogy” of Western films (starring Clint Eastwood).  Of course, this comic also spiritually summons Japanese film director, Akira Kurosawa's 1961 film, Yojimbo, the movie that influenced the first “Dollars Trilogy” flick, A Fistful of Dollars (1964).

However, many comic book creators use many influences for their pop comics, and The Motorcycle Samurai is a pop confection full of delightful caramels, gum drops, hard candy, jujubes, konpeito, lollipops, marzipan, taffies, etc.  For instance, Sheriff Keane resembles Evel Knievel, and there is a nod to the rocket pack-wearing heroes of the 1930s and 40s.  The entire affair also has the feel of a animated television series destined for Cartoon Network's “Adult Swim” lineup.

I won't call The Motorcycle Samurai a great comic, but its energy makes it a fun read.  You know, a fun comic is often better than a comic book trying to be literature.  The dynamic graphic design, vivid colors, and inventive elements makes The Motorcycle Samurai pure comics, created by a writer-artist who is grabbing at the visual and graphical possibilities of the medium.

Best of all, the White Bolt just looks so cool.  That is saying a lot because The Motorcycle Samurai Book One: A Fiery Demise is full of cool-looking characters.  Fans looking for flashy digital comics and webcomics will want The Motorcycle Samurai Book One: A Fiery Demise.

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux


The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

DC Comics from Diamond Distributors for March 14, 2016

DC COMICS

DEC150329     AQUAMAN TP VOL 06 MAELSTROM     $19.99
JAN160346     ASTRO CITY #33     $3.99
JAN160285     BATMAN AND ROBIN ETERNAL #24     $2.99
NOV150271     BATMAN HC VOL 08 SUPERHEAVY     $24.99
DEC150331     BATMAN TP VOL 07 ENDGAME     $16.99
DEC150223     BLACK CANARY #9     $2.99
JAN160350     CLEAN ROOM #6 (MR)     $3.99
DEC150313     COLORING DC BATMAN ADVENTURES MAD LOVE TP     $15.99
JAN160313     DC COMICS ESSENTIALS SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #1     $1.00
JAN160265     DOCTOR FATE #10     $2.99
DEC150332     GOTHAM ACADEMY TP VOL 02 CALAMITY     $14.99
JAN160242     GREEN ARROW #50 (NOTE PRICE)     $4.99
JAN160306     INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US YEAR FIVE #6     $2.99
DEC150334     JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 TP VOL 01 DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN     $16.99
JAN160226     LEGENDS OF TOMORROW #1     $7.99
JAN160357     LUCIFER #4 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160254     MARTIAN MANHUNTER #10     $2.99
JAN160292     POISON IVY CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH #3     $2.99
NOV150248     QUARANTINE ZONE HC     $22.99
JAN160359     RED THORN #5 (MR)     $3.99
JAN160297     ROBIN SON OF BATMAN #10     $3.99
DEC150339     ROBIN TP VOL 02     $24.99
JAN160301     SINESTRO #21     $2.99
JAN160229     SUPERMAN #50 (NOTE PRICE)     $4.99
JAN160275     SUPERMAN AMERICAN ALIEN #5     $3.99
JAN160274     SUPERMAN THE COMING OF THE SUPERMEN #2     $3.99
DEC150348     SUPERMAN THE GOLDEN AGE TP VOL 01     $19.99
JAN160280     SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN #27     $3.99
JAN160273     TITANS HUNT #6     $3.99

DC COMICS/DC COLLECTIBLES

AUG150309     DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS JOKER & HARLEY QUINN STATUE 2ND ED     $250.00