Comic Book Reviews 07-06-16

Review Scale:

A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

the walking dead 156

The Walking Dead #156 – A
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

The Walking Dead hasn’t given us an “oh shit” moment in quite a few volumes. The book has, in the interest of cranking out volumes, become somewhat blasé since All Out War ended and The Whisperers became a thing.  This issue, though? It’s the first turd to roll downhill in what will eventually become a shit avalanche for all our characters to behold. The big twist is hard to talk about without completely spoiling, unfortunately, but it’s a huge game-changer. Negan spends the entire issue trying to join the Whisperers as a recruit, and let on to some serious backstory and self-reflection (the new Image+ magazine had a Negan mini-story to catch up on) that we’ve never really seen before. Anyway, if you’ve been lolling about and trying to get into TWD again, this issue should convince you to catch up again. – Sherif

Other Comic Book Reviews:

DC Comic Book Reviews:

Batman #2 – A-
Writer: Tom King
Artist: David Finch
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

I’m very happy with the pacing of the story so far and the many characters that are being introduced in the story. I’m still suspicious of Gotham and Gotham Girl (where they come from, what their motivations are), but a lot of elements are being set into motion which should play out nicely. My assumption is that the patient Professor Strange is working with is Roger Hayden aka Psycho Pirate, someone we haven’t seen in a story since the New 52 was introduced. I’m very interested in seeing where the story goes from here. – Travis

Superman #2 – A-
Writer: Peter Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: John Kalisz

I haven’t loved a Superman book so much in a long time. How better to tap into the humanity of an all-powerful being than making him a parent? Superman is now in charge of filling Papa Kent’s role in raising young Jon. There’s a prevalent story in the background building, but honestly, just leaving Clark and Jon to go on adventures together is a good enough time to ride out a few more issues. The story feels very nostalgic – an origin story unfolding in front of us with Superman bearing witness to it all. This creative team knows father/son stories better than anybody else in the industry, crafting the wonderful Batman & Son New52 run. While Superman isn’t your typical beat-em-up book (check out Action Comics for that), it offers a fresh take on Superman that is also beautiful to look at. – Sherif

Green Lanterns #2 – B
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Robson Rocha
Colorist: Blond

Look, I love Atrocitus as much as the next GL fanboy, but on his own, he’s a tremendously dry character. He speaks in such an eloquent, almost Shakespearean manner – which is quite surprising for his character. He even needs a hilarious rage kitten to come across as more accessible. Now, Jessica and Simon on the other hand? This issue was a tremendous look into what it’s like getting your rings (ha, instead of wings… get it??) in the GL Corps. The insight on Jessica is something we’ve really been missing from her character, and having Simon pull her out of her own head to see the bigger picture makes for a promising partnership going forward. – Sherif

Future Quest #2 – B
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Evan Doc Shaner, Ron Randall, Jonathan Case

The second issue of Future Quest brings the best of every property to the table and shows that despite the rather dismal intros to Scooby Apocalypse and Wacky Raceland, two of the other Hanna Barbera properties DC is adapting, they still know how to use some the properties they have at hand. Plus, seeing Space Ghost, Birdman, Herculoids, Jonny Quest, and more together makes the 80s-90s kid in me squeal with glee. Not only is it great to see happen, but the story so far has been fantastic to match. So Jeff Parker is doing things amazingly and the art by Evan Doc Shaner, Ron Randall, and Jonathan Case just put the cherry on top of the ice cream that is this series. The gist of the issue is more portals keep opening around the world and Dr. Zin keeps getting to them before Dr. Quest. All these portals are sending certain characters into the Jonny Quest world causing the crossover to happen. I would say definitely pick this series up if you enjoy any of the properties involved as it is a nearly perfect crossover of them all. – Jacob

Green Arrow #2 – B-
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Otto Schmidt

The new Rebirth Green Arrow has been one of the best incarnations of Oliver Queen I’ve ever read, and we’re only three issues in (counting Rebirth #1, too). However, this third issue falls short in with the pacing. In just a short amount of time, Shado has back-stabbed Ollie using her own daughter, Ollie has died, resurfaced, and recovered, and the bad guys are ramping up for a massive attack. Even familiar faces like Diggle and Henry Fyff seem jammed in there without a lot of explanation as to who they are to new readers or why they are there at all. Dinah, on the other hand, is still perfectly placed and is logically involved. There’s not a lot to complain about, but it does feel like this could benefit from some slowing down. – Sherif

Justice League: Rebirth #1 – C+
Writer/Artist: Brian Hitch
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Although JL: Rebirth suffers a major misstep with the poor timing of its release, it’s still a serviceable introduction for the team flagship book. The whole gang is there, and they each get a decent amount of shared space. With the “old” Superman dead, it’s clear that Batman is the leader of the group. The new Superman kinda comes and goes as he pleases, which makes me think that a lot of the relationship building is going to be slow and painfully relevant for a few arcs to come. One aspect of the book I do love is how Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz work together; there’s a witty Wonder Twins reference in there that got me chuckling. All things considered, Justice League is a book that DC is going to make sure works out, even if it is a bit behind the rest of the DCU. – Sherif

The Flintstones #1 – C
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh
Colorist: Chris Chuckry

The modern reinterpretation of classic Hanna-Barbera characters continues with The Flintstones #1. Since these are characters I was quite familiar with, and the creative team seemed very promising, I had fairly high hopes for this first issue. Starting with the standard cover (by Pugh), I thought it was a perfect introduction to this new world. It had all of the classic tropes of our favorite modern stone-age family, but right off the bat, we see that stylistically, the characters are rendered more realistically than cartoonish. The logo for the series likewise feels familiar yet fresh. Inside the book is 28-page story that brings back a lot of the aspects of the Flintstones we know and love, but it fills in a lot of gaps and sets a completely new tone. I went into it not knowing for sure what to expect, realizing that this was a new take on Fred Flintstone and family. Pugh’s artwork was skillfully rendered as would be expected, and he brings this world to life beautifully. Fred and Wilma take on entirely new dimension under Pugh’s brush with a full range of expression and detail. The environment feels recognizable, and all of the background elements perfectly accentuate the primitive lifestyle enhanced with modern comforts (“Starbrick’s Coffee,” anyone?). The story itself, though, comes across as stiff and serious, which is a huge departure from the writing Russell has done on “Prez” for DC, which was witty, fun, and self-indulgent. Here, Russell focuses on a work life for Fred that is not entirely fulfilling since his boss Mr. Slate is a hard-nosed business man interested in cheap labor in the form of neanderthals, and Fred is tasked with trying to win them over by entertaining them outside of normal business hours. Meanwhile, Wilma is dabbling in the art scene, and her abstract style turns out to have deeper significance based on tribal rituals she participated in when she was younger. All in all, thematically the issue is fairly serious with some slightly dark humor throughout. It feels like the intention may be to delve deeper into the character’s lives to touch on layers that were not present in the original animated series, and some of those aspects could be interesting. But for this introduction, it felt like most of the fun was sapped out of the characters, and we were left with a story that never truly makes a point. – Travis


Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

Civil War X-Men #2 – B+
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Andrea Broccardo 

Interesting twists and so far the most intriguing sidebook to come from Civil War II are what this series and this issue in particular offer. I have really enjoyed all three X-Men series going on at the moment (Extraordinary X-Men, All-New X-Men, and Uncanny X-Men) so having at least two of those teams included in a crossover is fantastic. The dynamic between Magneto and Storm, and even the stories focusing on Nightcrawler and Psylocke have me 110% intrigued in this whole series and to see how all the X-Men handle the happening of Civil War II. More than anything, though, I just like the fact the X-Men are getting their own story to this whole thing since it has felt like they have been on the backburner for Marvel with Fox owning the movie rights. – Jacob 

Deadpool V Gambit #2 – B
Writer: Ben Acker, Ben Blacker
Artist: Danilo Beyruth 

With Deadpool and Gambit working together again, this series only has good things ahead… oh wait.  They have both joined together for a job from the same guy that had them angry in the first place in order to take an artifact from a businessman. But with so much on the line, the line eventually breaks and things don’t look too good for the thief with the cards and the Merc with the Mouth. I absolutely love this series so far, mostly because Gambit and Deadpool are two of my absolute favorite Marvel characters and seeing them together in any adventure together is quite enjoyable. Here is hoping we can see them together on the big screen with Ryan Reynolds and Channing Tatum as well! But since we have no idea if that will happen, buy this book and enjoy these two together for as long as you can! – Jacob

ONI Press Comic Book Reviews:

Invader Zim #11- B-
Writer/Artist: Sarah Anderson

Cats named Tuna, pet cannons, horrible allergic reactions, and more come this month from Zim, the Invader we all love to fear. It is definitely an interesting issue and one that feels a lot like the show, but even though the plot was funny, it was a bit forgettable even compared to some of the worse stories. By far the best part of this issue to me was Sarah Anderson’s art, which is funny since she wrote it as well, but with that being the case, I really hope to see more stories by her with her art as it was one of the best combinations of art and storytelling of this series so far. – Jacob

Valiant Entertainment Comic Book Reviews:

4001 AD: Shadowman #1 – A-
Writers: Jody Houser, Rafer Roberts
Artist: Robert Gill

If you are a Shadowman fan, this issue has been a long time coming. But even despite all the wait to see a new issue of Shadowman, the Shadowman you may be expecting does not even show up. That does not mean the issue is bad, and especially doesn’t mean a Shadowwoman doesn’t appear. After all this story takes place into the future of 4001 AD so many of Valiant’s heroes may be gone at that point, ven if they still have a connection. But Jody Houser and Rafer Roberts (two of my favorite comic writers at the moment) do n absolutely fantastic job making this story grab you and not let go, even after you finish it. You can tell it was well thought out and that it can definitely lead to a rather fantastic series or another single issue in the future. But even if nothing else comes from this issue, it still stands above every comic I read this week as it was nearly perfectly executed in everyway. Now if we can just see this and the normal Shadowman together for a series I would so be there in the blink of an eye.- Jacob

Panel Surfing:

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken credited to their respective publishers and creators; thanks to all the for putting out great books!

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