Comic Book Reviews 11-26-14

Review Scale:

The mythical 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:

Ody-C #1

Ody-C #1

Ody-C #1 – A

I’ve never read a Fraction book before, but if they’re all anything like Ody-C, I might have to start. In short, at its most perhaps offensively basic, Ody-C is a science fiction space opera gender swapped taking its the Odyssey. The book is full of crazy ideas feeling much like a Hickman book – like Pax Romana or the Manhattan Projects. The art is appropriately abstract, colorful, and French looking (think Moebius or Marvel’s Soleil line) to reflect that kind of story telling approach. The two coolest ideas come aboard the ship in which the captain (Odyssia, the gender swapped Odysseus) and her for co-captains must float in psychic in order to stear the ship, and her symphony that must reprogram space as they fly through it. The book is incredibly enjoyable and a lot of fun to look at, and I do highly recommend reading it. My only criticism is the source material: I know I’ve read the Odyssey at least three times in my college experience, as I’m sure any other liberal arts major has, and I found myself being too distracted at times trying to crack the gender code to be able to focus on what was going on. I guess I would have liked either a longer first issue or a more basic one just to get my footing before launching into the crazy stuff so that I could get a sense of what from the original Greek masterpiece mattered. – Cuyler

 

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Alien: Fire & Stone #3 – B

One word – creepy! Creee-py!!! This series continues to be great and It continues to freak me out. However, some aspects are starting to get old and, for the first time since the Fire and Stone series began, I found myself a bit tired with the “mysterious black goo” ponderings. We’ve gotten plenty of examples of what this stuff is capable of and how horrific its effects are on any life form. This is a minor gripe overall, and it certainly doesn’t take away from the story. There’s only one issue left in the Aliens arch of Fire and Stone – this will effectively round out the prequel of the ongoing events. There’s plenty of action left to be had and a ton of mystery to be unraveled. After this many issues, I’m confident that Fire & Stone’s conclusion will be eerily fantastic. – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo: 

Superman #36 – A

Wow, I can’t believe I am this excited about a Superman book. Geoff Johns has gotten me hooked on another superhero I have been skeptical about. Ulysses is finally coming clean about a secret he’s been keeping from Superman. Only, we still have to wait another issue to find out what it is! The reference to Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee’s For Tomorrow stands at the forefront as the best pat of this issue. Superman has since learned that while he is the strongest being on Earth, he still cannot cure disease, cannot control men’s urge for war. It’s some really deep stuff that I really feel deserved to be revisited here. Cheers to another knockout issue for Johns and Romita Jr.! – Sherif

Arkham Manor #2 – A-

After DC has spent the past couple months throwing new Bat-related titles to the wall, I think this could be one that has finally stuck. Arkham Asylum has fallen and Gotham has found the perfect place to house the criminally insane – Wayne Manor. To infiltrate the Manor and find out what is really going on, Bats has disguised himself as Jack Shaw, a John Doe criminal. Things take an interesting turn when it turns out he can’t protect the inmates anymore than he can the other citizens; hopefully he hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew. I love the originality of this series, and it immediately reminds me of Jeph Loeb’s The Long Halloween with the mysterious tone it takes. If you love Batman, or mystery, pick this book up while it’s still in its infancy. – Sherif

Futures End #30 – B-

That… was, surprisingly, not all that bad. I’m going to try to not get my hopes up, but I’m tempted to believe that this might actually go somewhere interesting. This week’s edition of Futures End focuses on one of the plot points that actually seems to matter so far. I’m dubbing this, “Attack on Cadmus Island” (Catchy, ain’t it?). Attack on Cadmus Island has everything I could really want: the action is great, decent art, and to top it all off actually moves the story forward! There’s even a couple of pretty great surprises in store for those who’ve been keeping up so far. To quote Big Barda, “….Did not see that coming.” – Moke

The Flash #36 – C

This trope may have been done before, but when future Barry Allen came to kill present time Barry Allen, things got a little mixed up. Now, they have swapped places… sorta. The Barry Allen from the future is now parading around like he owns the present time while the other Allen is stuck in some parallel dimension. Basically, the story is getting really convoluted, and the point I thought was the climax ended up just dragging the story out a little further. That being said, this future Flash is brutal and efficient, and willing to kill anybody he knows will upset things in the future. I’m not sure where this arc will go, but I can definitly stay on until I see what kind of awkward mess this is going to be for the present-day Flash to iron out.  – Sherif

 

IDW Entertainment:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #2 – A

Most 80’s kids have already imagined this team-up in their heads with toys, but still seeing it come to fruition is awesome! Crossovers are always kind of iffy, as the IDW X-Files one that crossed over with these two properties earlier this year was a little weak, but this one so far has been great. Seeing the banter between Donatello and Egon is exactly what I wanted it to be and the pairing of characters is perfect. The story has just barely gotten past the, “Ghosts don’t exist!” or “You’re a giant talking turtle!” things – which will obviously be there, but it still is setting up something good. The art is as good as you could ask in mixing styles and characters and, all around, this issue is must have for any 80’s kid or any nostaligia-loving enthusiast. – Jacob

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #40 – A-

The fight between the mutants of the series continues in this issue as we see the mutated animals battling the humans-turned-mutants, Bebop and Rocksteady. All this while, Casey helps out the O’Neils, and Donatello is off doing his own thing and may be going behind the turtles back to do so. All of which makes for a great issue of TMNT and although it seemed more to set up next year’s Mighty Mutanimals book, it still felt like a solid piece of the story and was a really enjoyable read. Santolouco continues to impress as the artist and it always brings a smile to my face to see Kevin Eastman contribute on an issue. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #14 – B+

Jack has been on a quite a journey recently since he lost his sword, which was the one thing that could defeat Aku and send him back to his time. In this issue we now see Jack being judged for losing such a weapon of power and whether or not he should be worthy of such a gift again or not. We don’t figure out whether or not they decide on this issue, but we reach a point where everything is on the line and Jack must act out with only his wit and no weapon. This story has been a very enjoyable read and I have loved the art of this whole series, as Tartokovsky’s style transfers so well to comics – which is why his other book, Powerpuff Girls, is so successful, as well. – Jacob

X-Files: Year Zero #5 – B-

This month’s Year Zero brings the story to an end and we finally get to see how the first case in X-Files history brought about what the X-Files is today. Despite being an interesting story and idea I think the execution was a bit wrong as I was never really into the story as much as I usually am when it comes to X-Files. It has a pretty cheesy ending over all and the different art styles for the modern and past X-Files teams makes me more interested in the series both I have not been a fan of most of the art coming out of X-Files as it just has way too may shadows. Ultimately I would say try and pick up this book to complete the series but over all this issue and mini series as a whole is one that will likely be forgotten in time and maybe even retold differently depending on the future of `. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Shadow Show #1 – A-

Shadow Show is not what I was expecting, but that ended up being okay. Initially, I was disappointed because the first page opens up and where I was expected something more fantastical and dark, I was greeted with warm artwork that was more reminiscent of a children’s book or Miyazaki movie. I’m not normally a fan of children’s book artwork in the comics I read, but as the story continued I realized what a great fit it really was. The adaptation of Joe Hill’s By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain was wonderful. The story is sweet and sad, and while the climax may have been a little predictable I was not left wanting. It had a great flow and to it and read really well. While it was a sad story, it still left me with happy feeling when I finished it. I’d definitely recommend this book. – Keriann

Rasputin # 2 – B

They say a picture is worth a 100 words. Whoever they is, they sure are right. Rasputin relies more on the art than it does on narration and dialogue. I’m a big fan for the way the storyline is unraveling itself between his history and the present. It feels organic and seamless and for a story steeped in so much mystery and magic, so the sort of timelessness really works well for the story. The use of red is brilliantly well-used. It’s a life force or death, but it’s the red the use of blood that’s really the narrator. It succeeds in a way that Trees kinda of fails. A lot of information and intrigue happens within panels of each other but while at the same time it doesn’t feel rushed. Rasputin is off with a Antoine to Verkhturye and to his ultimate destiny… (Insert maniacal laugher here.) – Jené

Trees # 7 – C

You can tell that Trees is gearing up to actually start – kinda of like the first act in a film; I think I’ve already said something similar about this storyline the last time I reviewed it. And it still seems that way. I think we only have to wait about two or three more issues until things really start coming to a head. At the moment, it still feels like there are too many characters and storylines; I want them to start weaving together more. I have my favorites and I’m bummed I can hang read more about the artist and the biologist more.  Still not all that sure where Ellis is taking the storyline, but, Transmetropolitan was amazing and I trust Trees is going to be just a good. He’s still doing something right if I’m glad to see Trees on the list to review. Overall, it’s an issues to get to a means. – Jené

American Legends #4&5 – C-

American Legends came to an end this week and it will not be missed. Overall the series just really missed the mark in my opinion. It never really hit that level of excitement I think it was striving for. It was campy as all hell, even through to the very end. The last panel concluded in such cheesy fashion I basically heard 80’s family sitcom music in my head while I read it. Now don’t get me wrong, the series wasn’t horrendous, it had its moments and it came with a really fun premise, it’s just that every week I felt this issues fell a little short and issues 4 and 5 were no exception. Davy, Sally and Mike’s adventure came to a close, naturally, and if anything it was poorly thought out, rushed, and a little confusing with a pretty boring climax. That’s what she said! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The main problem with issues 4 and 5 really was that everything just felt rushed. Maybe it was supposed to be interpreted as nonstop action, but for me it didn’t read that way. It all just felt very choppy and hectic. I didn’t like that Paul Bunyan appeared to be a relatively normal sized man with a blue goat, instead of an ox. Johnny Appleseed was written like a no good dirty hippie, but was still probably the best character in the whole series. And apparently it is extremely easy to kill people with his apple seeds. I’m pleased that the series at least had fun and creative ideas, but sadly in my opinion it was mostly just a flop. – Keriann

 

Marvel:

Superior Iron-Man #2 – B+

I love me some good guys behaving badly. Tony’s acting like a bit of a d*** and I, for one, am thoroughly entertained. Extremis 3.0 is a hit, problematically so. Naturally, one of the more traditional hero-types comes to investigate (Not gonna lie: I didn’t even know Daredevil was in town) [Ed note: Daredevil relocated to San Francisco after his law license was stripped in NY for exposing his identity]. They fight. Hilarity ensues. Let’s be honest, although a bit morally ambiguous at the moment, Tony hasn’t fully crossed into villain territory. I find myself wondering what implications this might have on the Marvel U as a whole.  A**holishness aside, I think I could get used to this new Tony. Though it initially caught a lot of flak, Superior Spider-Man ended up being wildly popular, and I’m just itching to see the type of damage a Superior Iron-Man could cause. – Moke

Scarlett Spiders #1 – B

The Spider-Verse event has begun branching into smaller, varied events that focus on a few particular Spider-Men/Women. Scarlett Spiders follows the three primary cloned Spideys. They’ve been given the very important task of unveiling the secret behind the cloning capabilities of their pursuers, The Inheritors. I really enjoyed the set-up. The setting is gorgeous, the danger feel real, and the interaction between all the Spider-heroes is engaging. I can see the potential for the Scarlett Spiders series. My biggest fear is that it will become cluttered with non-essential and distracting characters. The level at which I’m invested in the Spider-Verse plot and chronology has made me a bit more impatient than typical; hopefully it won’t backfire on me! – Taylor

Spider-Man 2099 #6 – B

I’m all about all the Spider-Men and Women lately! The comic book world has been inundated with Spider-heroes of an infinite number of alternate realities and so far it’s all made for a great adventure. The plot in this series of Spider-Man 2099 maintains it original composition while weaving in the Spider-Verse happenings without making things seem too forced. This issue highlights multi-armed Peter Parker, Miguel O’Hara and (my favorite) May a.k.a. Lady Spider. It’s fairly apparent that the grand planners at Marvel are strategically placing certain Spider-Men in particular storylines. Each one has a specific role to play and thus far this has played out in a very exciting way. Spider-Man 2099 will be one of the branched series to really pay attention to. Their relation and interaction with Morlun is sure to be pivotal to every other arc.

All-New Ghost Riser #9 – D 

Ever since the end of the introductory arc of The All-New Ghost Rider I’ve been losing interest in the series. The first five issues rocked my world; it resulted in a high-set bar for the follow-up story. Filipe Smith (writer) has displayed a vast lack of creativity by essentially copying the plot from the previous arch. Dialogue is incredibly corny. Altered and added story elements are unbelievable and forced. The artwork is quite difficult to read. A lot of aspects are misfiring. The outlook is equally bleak. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for this series to improve – Smith has everything locked in fairly rigidly. To diverge now would feel awkward and unnatural. Our best prospects are to hunker down and wait for this all to pass. – Taylor

 

Funniest Panel:

Superior Iron Man #2

Superior Iron Man #2

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Superman #36

Superman #36

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 from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

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