Comics

AICN COMICS Reviews: ETERNAL WARRIOR! ADAM 12! TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER! INVINCIBLE! NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL! & More!

Published at: Feb. 5, 2014, 12:59 a.m. CST by ambush bug

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

Advance Review: DREAM POLICE #1
BATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL #2
Indie Jones presents ADAM 12 CHAPTER 1
ETERNAL WARRIOR #5
BLACK SCIENCE #3
Advance Review: TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #1
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL #2
Indie Jones presents THE THREAT #4
INVINCIBLE #108
Advance Review: FOREVER EVIL #5


Advance Review: Preview Orders NOW, In stores April!

DREAM POLICE #1

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Sid Kotian
Publisher: Image Comics (Joe’s Comics)
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


If DREAM POLICE seems familiar, give your brain an extra special treat tonight for remembering a title from nine years ago. I was pretty impressed at myself for remembering that far back. In addition to comics, I write and read a few ten thousand other words each week while on the clock for “The Man.” There’s a reason my memory was able to conjure this title, the publisher, the year, and hell even the cover when I closed my eyes without the aid of Google; it was an awesome comic implosion. Not an explosion--that leaves behind marks and shrapnel – evidence it existed. DREAM POLICE, before it vaporized in one issue like a nuclear blast, showed us a take on the world of the nocturnal that is the antithesis of the standard set by SANDMAN.

I had to know if I was right, so I went back to my email from whence this preview came and scribed the following…

Joe,
Is this in any way related to the Icon story from like 10 years ago?

Rob,
We did a one-shot at Marvel Icon, which didn't get very much promotion, I think it was marketed to about ten people, and thus died on the vine.

I always wanted to revisit that universe and revive that book because I think it's a lot of fun and I liked the characters. It had kind of a DRAGNET in the Dreamscape vibe to it that appealed to me enormously. So one of the first things I wanted to do with Joe's Comics was to revert the book back to us and reboot it once we'd established the line as its own thing.

I also fell in love with Sid's work and wanted to bring him in on this before anyone else could grab him once APOCALYPSE AL comes out.

Point being, it's a fresh start, a reboot and new beginning, and a great place for folks to jump in.

joe


Not only did Joe answer my question with the same hyper yet easily digestible detail he puts into his work, he also just half-wrote the review.

However, I don’t think Joe’s analogy can stand on its own. Let me clarify and translate for the younger generation. “Dragnet” was a detective drama from the 1960s; it starred Colonel Potter from M-A-S-H and television’s first character suffering from Asperger’s, Joe Friday. Joe Thursday, one of our two stalwart detectives of DREAM POLICE, is not suffering from crippling deadpan, nor stuffed into a seersucker suit. Likewise his partner is not Col. Potter, but the much hipper and constant deliverer of snappy dialog, Frank Stafford. There’s a sadism to these two characters that comes from policing the denizens of dreamland. If I had to equate them to two other cops, I’m going with the characters from the American version of LIFE ON MARS.

DREAMSCAPE was a movie from the 80s where psychics were popped into people’s dreams to consciously control the outcome. I’ll half-buy this in the sense that Joe and Frank are certainly in control, but I think the comparison marginalizes the complex world and set of rules Joe (the writer) has set for the book. In “Dreamscape” dreams are but a vapor – a place conjured by the dreamer that disappears when the dreamer awakens. In DREAM POLICE, this world exists separate from the dreamer. See, we aren’t the true denizens of this dreamland, but rather mere transients killing time until morning. The true inhabitants that Joe and Frank need to keep in line are the makers of our dreams. If anything, I would compare this landscape to Albert Brook’s DEFENDING YOUR LIFE where angels are the worker bees of purgatory, a place that feels very much like home. DREAM POLICE’S landscape is just as familiar; it’s an amalgam of all American cities replete with appropriate landmarks. The makers of our dreams are trollish craftsman that build the scenes, shape-changers who play the part of our desires, and of course Johnny Law who keeps them all in line.

I found this all fascinating as the two went on calls, made supernatural collars and even had a run-in with the top hat-wearing toothy-mawed gentleman nightmares. Then Joe goes and throws a twist at the end. I don’t need to spoil it here, but it adds a third level to the book that makes you question whether you were just dreaming.

On the art, Joe’s right--Kotian does an amazing job. However, I cannot tell a lie: I did not get the full effect. No one’s fault…well…except the archaic nature of the comic retail model. See, for a book to make it to store shelves it must be issued in Previews. Previews comes out three months before the books are published. Previews gives shit details on what the book is about, so retailers have no means to separate the wheat from the chaff and ordering becomes a game of Russian roulette, especially with #1s, so it’s up to reviewers like myself to look at books while they are still in production so retailer’s decisions can ultimately benefit you when you walk into the shop. On one hand, it’s awesome; we get to see liner notes, editor cut sheets and other behind the scenes details usually reserved for deluxe compilations. There are a few times my review of the rough cut even swayed the final direction, as was the case with Diggle & Jock’s SNAPSHOT. I and my review cohorts gushed so much over the black and whites the boys just skipped the coloring. On the other hand, I don’t get to see cool stuff like…color and rich, fine Corinthian inks. So, yes, what I saw of Kotian’s work in skeletal form made me beyond intrigued to see how much richer the details of this world become once the finish and polish is applied.

Joe’s Comics continues to be a welcome beacon for new comic fans. Its separatist view of titles keeps constraining continuity off the table while an eclectic mix of themes can satiate the thirst of most readers’ favorite genres. I will say, though, the universe has a gap. All of the protagonists in this universe are maudlin solitary sufferers. I’d like to present a challenge: I want to see a family book. Not the dysfunctional families of SIDEKICK or PROTECTOR’S INK; I mean a true family, an intricate lattice of inseparable personalities nor matter how dystopian their trials and tribulations become. Or don’t; I’ll still pick up every damn issue until Joe stops writing them.

Optimous Douche has successfully blackmailed BottleImp to draw purty pictures for his graphic novel AVERAGE JOE coming out in 2013 from COM.X. When not on Ain’t It Cool, Optimous can be found talking comics and marketing on robpatey.com and just marketing on MaaS360.com.


BATMAN & ROBIN ANNUAL #2

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Art: Doug Mahnke
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


Long have I been saying (maybe not here, but in places) that pretty much the only piece of quality I feel came out of Grant Morrison’s run of the Caped Crusader was the introduction of Damian Wayne, flying in the face of conventional comic book knowledge that giving an offspring to a major franchise character rarely begets anything good.

This thought process was firmly confirmed once Peter Tomasi got his hands on the character and turned his overconfident, blowhard machinations into almost a game of one-upmanship with his overbearing father. But because he is like Lucy with a football, we had Damien taken away from us by the man who created him a good year ago. A full year ago, where during said period we have already had many eulogies for the heir apparent. And while this is more a Dick Grayson Robin story and not a Damien Wayne Robin story, and also while it still sucks that Damien is gone, he’s been gone a year now and it’s probably time to put these stories to a rest.

Especially at five bucks a pop.

It’s not a bad little story; it even has some very quality action sequences and nice hotheaded Dick moments when he first donned his Robin garb and did reckless things around an even more touchy than normal Batman, but it’s probably time to finally put Damien to rest, even if just as a framing device.

Considering the big thrust of this Bat book has been about the grieving process for the past year, it seems like it’s having a problem letting go.

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Indie Jones presents!

ADAM 12 CHAPTER 1

Writer: Gigio Longo
Artist: Nick Suders
Publisher: Gbotic Productions
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty


When I heard there was an ADAM 12 comic book I jumped all over it, thinking it would be the first time in nearly 20 years I would be able to use my criminal justice degree for something other than a punchline. But alas, this is not a graphic novel about the Los Angeles Police Department, but rather a tale about a lovable loser named Adam who is on his twelfth chance at life, pretty much forcing the cat world to up the ante. Think "Dead Man's Shoes" from THE TWILIGHT ZONE, except Adam gets a douchey friend instead of a sweet pair of kicks.

Because Adam has already had 12 chances at life -- and failed in each attempt -- he's got the Douglas Quaid syndrome, where's he's constantly plagued by visions of a past life, along with the gnawing feeling that he was destined for bigger and better things. Well, at least bigger than the desk job he has with the housing authority in Philadelphia shortly after China has completed a not-so-hostile takeover of the United States.

Those flashbacks can be a bit confusing at times, at least through the first couple of chapters, as the narrative introduces characters from the past just as we're trying to get used to the ones in the present. It also doesn't help that said characters use all sorts of fantasy-sounding words like "premogenitor" and "Glastonbury Zodiac." It was a little too busy for my tastes, especially this early on, but still enjoyable. What I liked about ADAM 12 is its perspective. I went to school in Philly and appreciate how Gigio Longo -- a fixture in the "City of Brotherly Love" -- injects so many subtle aspects of the east coast metropolis into his story, as well as the not-so-subtle, like the ROCKY statue in a story about an underdog destined to be great. I also like that his futuristic city is populated with so many big-breasted women, and how shape-shifting female enemies are not afraid to tongue kiss or deep-throat a pickle.

I never get to witness that kind of stuff at my local deli.

Nick Suders does a great job of capturing Longo's vision, and I think the cartoony illustrations are a nice touch, as I'm not sure the book would have worked with the industry's prevalent and overused doom-and-gloom palette. It also lessens the creep factor when bitchy ex-girlfriends get their heads chopped off (shivers). Bright and flashy illustrations are indicative of an upbeat tempo, and I prefer that when you have as much slam-bang action as ADAM 12. It's a fun read at a breakneck pace, which probably won't slow down anytime soon for the slower spectators like myself. I can understand now why ADAM keeps dying, as the poor guy never gets a chance to catch his breath.



Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.


ETERNAL WARRIOR #5

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Robert Gill
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


Regular readers know well my love of Valiant. My dalliances with the new V started as a nostalgic curiosity to recapture some of the magic from my youth, but have since blossomed into an outright love affair. As much as I love Valiant and the changes they have made to update the universe, there has been one missing element that kept a young Optimous in a state of rapture of with the old universe: the future.

Valiant of yore played in the past, present and future, melding the three through science fiction trappings of alternate universes, immortals and uncovered artifacts. Valiant of now has merely dabbled in the way back and today. Part of this is due to licensing: the chief catalysts of the future storylines in the old Valiant were Magnus, Solar and Rai, who are now parsed among other companies (except maybe Rai--not sure what his deal is). However, in traditional new Valiant fashion they have listened to fans, and with ETERNAL WARRIOR #5 we get our first glimpse at the famed 4001 A.D.

Also in line with their fresh approach is zero aping of the old vision of the future. Society was in a pretty decent state back then...uhhh…in the past version of the future. With robot fighters (and robot continents), the days after tomorrow were pretty damn shiny and hopeful. No more. Gilad Anni-Padda is the last savior of humanity (makes sense for a guy codenamed the Eternal Warrior) as we bow and scrape by on an agrarian existence. In the opening scenes of the book, we see the Earth’s and geomancer’s champion teaching a group of children how to manually separate wheat from chaff.

What’s also interesting about this tale is that immortality seems to be slipping from Gilad’s grasp. He looks old--real old. Perhaps he is not immortal after all, but rather ages really really slowly. The only barometer we would get as a comparison would be if his two brothers Ivar and Armstrong, also imbued with “immortality” at the beginning of existence showed up salt and pepper.

A late entry into Valiant 2.0, I questioned ETERNAL WARRIOR’S viability as a solo title. Granted, he had his own tale years ago, but he was also way more integral to the universe because of the 4001 seeds, the way back germination in titles like TUROK, and more of a stake in books like X-O MANOWAR. My fears were quelled in part when I found out Pak was in charge, and in the second part when I saw that Gilad’s familial dysfunction was passed to the next generation instead of sticking with just him and his brothers. A daughter with an unquenchable blood lust and a prodigal son now on the side of darkness has given us a reason to feel for this character beyond his bad ass skills with his fists or as just some hippy’s bodyguard. Honestly, his connections with the geomancers who listen to the Earth has been nonexistent except for some brief mentions in ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG.

I don’t want to give away too much of this issue, because it really is a great jumping-on point. Suffice to say his peaceful existence on the prairie is cut short with a very sharp sickle, leaving Gilad and his granddaughter the need to begin their own heroic journey to the big city - “city” being used in the loosest, most Mad Max-like of terms. Gilad is also forced to make a decision based on the village attack that teaches his granddaughter that sometimes lies are a kinder path than the truth. That lesson is always a bitch the first time it is administered.

If you have still been shunning Valiant, I don’t think this is the best place to start. If you’ve been into Valiant and simply missed the first four issues of ETERNAL WARRIOR, now is the time to satiate your completist tendencies. Personally, I applaud Valiant for finally giving me a glimpse of what will come. I expected it to happen in UNITY, but that was ultimately just me sticking my head in the 90s.

Since every other Valiant wish I’ve made has come true, I’m going to throw one more out there. When will we see Ivar get his own title? I think “Dr. Who” has proven the viability of a time travel series, and Ivar’s pub crawls through time with Armstrong and his help in the lost land were welcome breaths of fresh air. With Armstrong the raucous lout and Gilad the pensive pretty boy, Ivar’s Jan Brady counter-balance would give some good fodder for stories as told through the eyes of a man who is the epitome of even-tempered coolness.

If you feel, like I do, that Pak pulled Superman out of a death spiral in the New 52, and need some comics cut from a completely different cloth, I’ll give a money-back guarantee you’ll dig ETERNAL WARRIOR.


BLACK SCIENCE #3

Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Matteo Scalera
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


I don’t want to say I was panicky when I reviewed the first issue of this title a couple months ago but, okay, I was panicked. I was worried that, much as I expect an almost Nietzsche-size lump of nihilism in a Rick Remender work, BLACK SCIENCE was going to be a crushing exercise of it on the level of a Leftover Crack album.

Three issues in, yeah okay, everything is pretty fucked; people are getting deaded or sucking wounded left and right, and all hope is lost. But, despite all that…okay, I think I panicked correctly on this. Don’t get me wrong, I still think what were the strengths of the first issue are still the strengths here – the big sci fi ideas that Remender is tossing about in a multidimensional setting, the kind of back drops these characters have seen so far, and even the backstories of these characters are filling in somewhat nicely.

But by god it is bleak. Between the death and mortal wounding and the bastardry the characters show to each other – be it an illicit affair or corporate greed suckling – it’s just something that eats at your enthusiasm to read if you like to find yourself rooting for at least one or two characters. The ideas are there, the execution is there, and the art is there - they all have been for three issues now - but I’m still looking for a reason to care whether everyone but the two innocent kids sucked into the mess created by Grant McKay and his financial overlord buy the parallel universe farm or not.


Advance Review: In stores this week!

TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #1

Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


Usually with a first issue, if I’m not blown away, I tend to not stick around for a second issue. There are just too many books out there for me to sift through and these days,so my rule is if you don’t get me right away, I’m gone.

I’m going to break that rule here with TUROK for one reason and one reason only. I love the character.

OK, two reasons: I also am a big fan of Greg Pak’s writing. Pretty much everything Pak has touched in the last few years has been ok by me. Pak is a constructor of strong stories, but never fails to imbue characters with character—likable character--and with a property like TUROK in Pak’s hands, I feel like it’s a combination worth investing in.

The issue itself left me a bit perplexed. For some reason, the character of Turok doesn’t really come to light in this first issue. Sure, we know he’s tough. Sure, we know he’s an outsider among his tribe, aAnd he sure seems like the quiet type. But while this issue does a decent job of introducing some hardcore action paired with a solid foundation as far as the realm in which Turok lives, there’s not a lot here of Turok to like so far: as I’ve already mentioned he says very little, and isn’t given much of an opportunity to shine here.

I do think that Pak is definitely going for the slow burn here. Other than the word “Dinosaur” showing up in the title, there’s no indication of any on the inside. The twist at the end proves to be just that, and leaves the issue full of possibility, but seeing how the first issue played out I don’t know if a lot of people are going to have the patience to see that happen.

I had a similar issue with the art, which is strong in terms of design for the Native Americans, but comes off as stiff and lacking in detail in some panels. Mirko Colak seems to be delivering solid panelwork along the lines of a Kubert, but maybe because of the undynamic color palette, it all seems kind of bland to me.

The announcement of the Gold Key characters coming to Dynamite was intriguing. The talent amassed behind the projects is impressive in terms of solid storytellers, but this issue just doesn’t pack the punch of Dynamite busting through the door and screaming “GOLD KEY HAS ARRIVED!”, and for the first in the Gold Key line, that’s kind of a disappointment.

My faith in Pak as a storyteller and the possibility of badass stories following a badass character like Turok are going to bring me back for a second issue. Here’s hoping things pick up with issue two. Unfortunately, these books are going to be compared to Valiant titles, whether that’s fair or not. The problem is that every issue of Valiant, especially the first issues, grabbed me by the balls and let me know that it was worth investing in. TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER has the potential for that, but it hasn’t made a play for my nethers just yet.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 3. He has written comics such as VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He has co-written FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND’s LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in 2013 as a 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment & GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-81. Look for GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES available in February-July 2013 and the new UNLEASHED crossover miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS WEREWOLVES: THE HUNGER #1-3 available in May-July 2013! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitter @Mark_L_Miller.


NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL #2

Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Kid Marvel


With the DEADPOOL KILLS series seemingly over for the moment, someone at Marvel came up with the totally original idea in the meantime to have Deadpool killing more stuff. And what stuff seemed original enough for Deadpool to decimate this time? Well, zombies were chosen, with lots of originality shown there. Sarcastic-sounding distain aside, I’m actually not mad in the slightest; I think in this case the simplicity seems perfect for a Deadpool story, although it probably would have made more sense for a Halloween release, rather than in February. Moving on, thus far the series has shaped up nicely and I don’t see how a Deadpool versus zombies series can be anything less than entertaining and a little lolz-worthy; seriously, this is too simple to get wrong.

In issue one of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL, Bunn uses the book simply to set up story landscape as all first issues should, with the book’s details focusing on Deadpool navigating his way through New York after waking up from his chimichanga-induced coma, before eventually meeting up with a ragtag group of survivors. These survivors then fill the Merc With The Mouth in on what he’s missed during his nap and his complete neglect of the abundance of zombie related news that Deadpool just completely ignored before his food-related hibernation. There really isn’t much of anything in the first issue other than story-painting and scenario-creating, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Moving onto issue two, which finally delves into some actual story in the mini-series, Deadpool has teamed with the previous survivors. They consist of two children who are brother and sister, plus an older man probably in his 30s or 40s. Deadpool and crew are moving from location to location, seeking food, shelter, and safety from the zombies--the usual elements you get from a zombie story, but with all Wade’s fourth wall-breaking and self-aware goodness along the way, really hinting at various tropes and spoofs from famous zombie movies. By the end of the book, Deadpool is back to traveling solo, with a nice twist for the next issue in the series which I’m really excited for.

For the first issue of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEADPOOL, it’s honestly nothing more than scene-setting, but I wouldn’t skip it; I thought it was still a pretty good book. In this series, the zombies are still technically conscious; they just cannot control their bodies and can still talk, with most of them screaming for remorse or being against the actions their bodies are taking. However, they talk in simple-minded statements, which I thought was a cool little addition to the usual mindlessness associated with zombies. Also, the fact Deadpool completely missed out on everything developing around him from lack of f#(@$ given was a perfect setup for issue two.

As for issue two, it’s a huge upgrade in story from one, really shifting into the actual world and what’s left of it. The premise is basic, so this isn’t anything of deep thought process for story, but it is more about the dialogue and pure entertainment about Deadpool killing zombies and kicking @$$. What stood out about Bunn’s Deadpool was he didn’t overdo the crazy like some writers like to do, keeping Deadpool’s quips to a nice middle ground and with some good lines sprinkled throughout the book. Bunn also added some darker elements with certain characters who died, helping to let the book stay lighthearted but a horror story of sorts nonetheless. I think the comedy could be a little better, but when the jokes worked, they worked.

Moving onto Rosanas’s artwork, it’s definitely a plus to the book and fits perfectly with the story and the environment. He mixes the old school NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD grey, except for Deadpool who is the only character actually in color, which was an excellent touch to the book and homage to zombie culture. Another thing that Rosanas did well was Deadpool’s facial expressions, capturing the subtle facial emotions with his mask, adding to Bunn’s dialogue and giving it life. Both issues’ shading and details are finely done, grabbing your attention as a zombie or horror story, mixed with the more upbeat DEADPOOL element.

The series has progressed from good to better in the first two issues, so I’m excited to see how Bunn continues to develop the miniseries. Between art and some solid writing, this book is definitely worth getting for any Deadpool fan and even for the casual fans. Assuming the series continues being as good as it has, I would recommend grabbing the first two issues and the third when it releases.


Indie Jones presents!

THE THREAT #4

Writer: Mark Schmidt and Vince Chuter
Artist: Matthew Weldon
Publisher: Stratum Comics
Reviewer: Lyzard


What is more important: a well-written narrative or a good story? Beautiful art or well-developed characters? For me, though all of these are integral factors in creating a great comic, it is the preparation that is more of a necessity. No amount of flowery language can save a bad plot, nor can any fancy drawings make up for poorly designed heroes and villains. THE THREAT has the makings of a fun series, but the trappings are just lacking.

THE THREAT takes place in a future where the federal government and economy have collapsed, Houston has become the epicenter of Texas, and the cure for a pandemic virus creates more problems than it does solutions.

It’s a good set up. As a former resident of H-town, I find it quite believable that my hometown could rise out of the ashes of a financial crisis, even (and maybe especially) at the hands of a corporate mastermind. The concept of the reaction to necessary medication is mutation, changes that can be positive (ala Colossus from X-MEN) or disastrous (such as a metabolism so fast your body almost eats itself from the inside) creates not only numerous storyline possibilities but raises deep moral and ethical questions to ponder.

But it is the almost infinite options that weigh THE THREAT down. Each issue introduces more and more “virals” and tries to develop their backstories and growing powers all at once. Not only do the 25 pages deal with multiple A, B, and C storylines, but also temporal changes. Here we are in the past, now the present, now the past but further back than before, and not just yet to the present but close…etc. etc. Clearly there is a world here rife for exploration, but in its current form, a world befitting the novel versus comic form.

The dialogue is so expository and overbearing that I tried reading issues by merely skimming through. Upon re-reading I found that I missed little important info with my speed reading technique, and that I owe a lot of that to the artwork. THE THREAT bursts with colors, and this is incredibly beneficial in trying to separate the plethora of characters popping in and out. But artist Matthew Weldon’s greatest strength is in how his characters emote. What takes a single panel seven dialogue bubbles to convey, Weldon is more often than not able to capture the gist of the scene with just his pictures.

By issue #4 THE THREAT has settled into a blistering pace of action and intrigue. You cannot fault the comic as boring, even if it is at times talkative. At least those moments give insight into a fascinating universe. Hopefully, come issue #5, the introductions will be over, the past staying in the past, and the story can stay on the current conflict that is strong enough to carry this series on its own.

Lyzard is Lyz Reblin, a graduate student at the University of Texas pursuing a master's degree in Media Studies... which is just a fancy way of saying she plays a lot video games, watches far too many horror films, and then tries to pass it all off as "research."


INVINCIBLE #108

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Ryan Ottley
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


If there is anything I still will give this book credit for, it’s that I love its shake-ups. Amongst the day-to-day, issue-to-issue dramas that happen and, honestly, really make this one of the most personal and intimate superhero books we’ve seen, I appreciate that Kirkman and Ottley love to drop an atom bomb or two into the mix (sometimes literally) to get things riled up for the next couple years’ worth of arcs.

This latest revelation – that Robot now has an agenda to “take over the world” – has been building for a couple years now, but it was a domino that I wasn’t sure would ever be toppled because of how well-liked and occasionally sympathetic the character has been. I should have remembered whom we were dealing with and realized that means nothing in this book.

So kudos to the creative team again on this turns of events, especially with the timing on this big, villainous (right now it’s mostly anti-heroish given who he brutally put down, but still) moment. We were obviously due something given the lull in action we had seen recently to focus on items like Invincible and Atom Eve’s expected child and the refocusing on Angstrom Levy, but I still did not quite expect this.

Here’s to a tenth anniversary of more blood, tears, and emotional returns in, yes, what is still holding up as one of the best superhero comic books in the universe.


Advance Review: In stores this week!

FOREVER EVIL #5

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: David Finch
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


The slow drums of Evil we’ve been saying have taken too long to hear in the distance are now a Neil Peart, ear-bleeding, arena rock solo. This issue is brimming with so much eeeevvilll, you’ll find your pinky trying to attach it self to your lower lip.

While I’ve loved the juxtaposition of rooting for the bad guys, there has been too much set-up and not enough ass-kickery in this series thus far. Issue 5 rectifies all. We finally shift full focus from the Justice League doing time in Firestorm’s mind to an all-out real world fight for survival.

When last we left FOREVER EVIL proper, Batman and Catwoman had just run into the Luthor League, and then all of them were jumped by Deathstroke and the other sellouts to the Syndicate. Quick side note: more Luthor and Bizarro in main continuity, please; comic gold watching Ego and the Bear interact. Meanwhile, on the other side of the subterranean world, Sinestro set his direct sights on the pussified Green Lantern, Power Ring.

I’ll save you the suspense; Sinestro takes out the anti-Hal in one of the most creative ways I have ever seen. Kudos to Johns for imagining this scene, and to Finch for rendering the bloody, stumpy, aftermath. The big mystery to be seen next is who will get stuck wearing this asshole ring until death’s sweet release.

The ultimate tension, though, comes in the form of “who will lead this ragtag group forward?” Batman’s arrogance by insisting he must lead the crew because killing is bad (hmmmm kay?) would be charming if it wasn’t so blatantly naïve. It did set up a nice zinger from Catwoman, though. Luthor is of course in charge, and his ranks swell after Deathstroke’s team is liquidated and, in some cases, liquefied.

Once ranks are settled, Johns wisely takes us back to the Syndicate (a presence we needed a little more of in all the crossover titles, IMHO). These guys have transcended beyond their initial pastiche. Their own private melodrama is actually way more intriguing than watching them simply overthrow. I would honestly read an EARTH-3 book (get writing, DC, or I set up a fanfic blog) if this deceitful dynamic of lies, adultery and general deceit has always been their norm.

My only complaint with this plot- and action-driven issue is the Malcom McDowell slayer on the last page. That’s right, folks--the entity that destroyed Earth-3 is also responsible for bringing together Picard and Kirk. The Nexus is here in all of its ELO album cover glory. I hope there is something really really dark behind that pink ribbon, and I don’t mean Guinan.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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