Comics

AICN COMICS Reviews: WOLVERINE! JL:WAR Animated Movie! WARLORD OF MARS! THE FOX! & More!

Published at: Feb. 12, 2014, 8:30 a.m. CST by ambush bug

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

Advance Review: BATMAN #28
WOLVERINE #1
TRILLIUM #6
THE FOX #4
JL: WAR Animated Movie DVD/BluRay
WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #35
TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #1
EARTH 2 ANNUAL #2
LAZARUS #6
GREEN ARROW #28
NEW AVENGERS #14
Advance Review: ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR #1


Advance Review: In stores this week!

BATMAN #28

Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


For anyone who has bitched and bemoaned the New 52, plug your piehole, because your universe is back…sort of.

In a time only alluded to as “soon,” BATMAN #28 catapults us in time from last issue’s Zero Year escapades to a time about 5 years from now. I applaud all of DC for holding this one close to the vest: not only did I see the two major players of this issue appearing, but I also had no idea BATMAN ETERNAL was going to take place in the day after tomorrow. When I interviewed Snyder at New York Comic Con ’13, he mentioned ETERNALS would focus on the side characters in the Bat-universe, but didn’t once mention who those characters would be or that they would be future incarnations.

So who’s here? How about Harper Rowe, for starters? Our little friend from The Narrows is a bit more grown up and fighting the Gotham-imposed police state tooth and nail as the character BlueBird.

While Batman shows up in this issue, he’s far from the star. He only appears after Harper is deep inside the layer of Gotham’s new Kingpin of Crime, Catwoman. That’s right, kids--the “will she, won’t she” rooftop tussles of early 52 books have resulted in a Selina scorned.

Why, exactly, is Harper scratching her way into Catwoman’s layer? Apparently in the future The Narrows is a place of mass infection with a disease that makes Ebola look like a head cold. The only one with the cure for this plague is the Cat.

The surprises don’t end there, though. When Selina opens the safe holding the cure, we see the one and only waifish waffle lover Stephanie Brown in a scene from a bondage flick.

/End scene

I refuse to hate on the New 52. The best way to be seen as an old codger is to simply dismiss anything new as rubbish. Have all the choices been my cup of tea? No. Is a 39-year-old man DC’s sole demographic? FUCK NO! While I would never be so naïve as to request perspective from a comic book audience, I will say it’s a fool’s errand to lament time, and a blond man’s folly to ignore that which you don’t agree with. With BATMAN #28 I truly believe the New 52 haters could find a home at DC again. Also, if this truly is a secret glimpse at BATMAN ETERNAL, then you might have a home moving forward. For Gen X, this is the DC we imagined as kids, where Bruce would be a healthy Boomer greeting people at Wal-Mart by day and guiding the next generation of crime fighters at night. While Bruce is a little closer to 50 than 60 in this “soon” time, I’ll take it. Great book and a much better teaser for BATMAN ETERNALS than past efforts. I thought for sure the thing was going to be a modernization of G.C.P.D. Now that it’s a future look, this Elseworlds boy is hella sold for the first issue. I just caution Tynion to ensure he doesn’t copy BATMAN BEYOND as he zooms Back to the Future.

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.


WOLVERINE #1

Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Ryan Stegman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


For what it is, WOLVERINE #1 is not a bad comic. It introduces a new direction for the character, the art compliments the writing, and there's enough intrigue and excitement to tantalize new readers. The problem is, the concept never really sticks the landing. They prepared everything and then tripped on the way out the door.

The newest status quo for our favorite insane midget with knife hands has found him healing less, making him susceptible to injuries and, yes, even death. Not that they'll actually kill Wolverine ever, but now? He's mortal. And it's twisted his sense of self slightly, so now he's going about a new path, namely running a merc squad for a new baddie called The Offer. There are strong moments throughout the comic, like Logan's instincts as a professor and his own idealized path. The Offer, AKA new Kingpin sort of villain, is actually really enjoyable here, being genuinely threatening but also relatively relaxed. He never really changes tone or expression, and the effect is someone I can already tell is going to get stabbed so hard. The art can, at times, become inconsistent, but the coloring work is solid and the pencils are extremely effective when they're pulled back and allowed to move.

Ultimately, the biggest flaw this book runs into is trying to make this particular time Wolverine has gone rogue feel special. He's using a gun, he's leading a merc team, he's willing to kill…these are all things Wolverine has done. He does the killing part almost constantly! It's part of his whole thing. This is being marketed and built up as a major shift in the character, but it never really follows up on that promise. It's Logan, in a bad mood, working with bad people. I can name five comics where that happens off the top of my head. And with the lack of coherent concept, the book falters. It's never exciting because it's stuff we've seen Logan do before. Just because you tell us it's new doesn't make it new.


TRILLIUM #6

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Jeff Lemire
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


I’m not one to easily amuse (outside of cute cat videos, of course), but there’s something about the novelty-that-isn’t-really-a-novelty nature of TRILLIUM that still thrills me with each issue.

The literal shifting of the perspectives between Nika and William in their time-bending drama is definitely not just a gimmick, as I feel it adds that little extra bit of involvement to the story being told. It’s like having to take that extra step of actually flipping the comic as the story alternates between our two adventurers triggers a focus on the off- kilter point of view each of them is now forced into. The key to this storytelling device working so well, obviously, is that the story it is telling is rather captivating even without the visual devices.

And this issue gets even deeper into the nitty gritty of things as these characters are adapting to their strange circumstances and look to find each other and reverse things, with a little emotional bump added to tell some of Nika’s backstory and some very poignant tragedy that befell her when she was younger.

All in all, what we have here is just another shining example of Jeff Lemire’s creative talents in what is shaping up to be one of the top tier miniseries I’ve read this decade.

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.


THE FOX #4

Plot and Art: Dean Haspiel
Script: Mark Waid
Published by: Red Circle/ Archie Comics
Reviewed by: BottleImp


Just this morning I was reading one of those online lists, like you do when you’re on the Facebook. This particular list was devoted to Jack Kirby and some of his stranger contributions to the rich tapestry of the world of comic books. Kirby’s bizarre and fertile imagination stands in stark contrast to most of what I see in today’s superhero comics, where the purpose seems to be not so much to entertain and excite but to keep the steadily-aging fanbase coming back to the well of stagnant storytelling with as little effort as possible. Superhero comics have become oversaturated with their own sense of seriousness, and a genre that used to pulsate with the bright energy of Kirby Krackles has become leaden and ponderous. Luckily, every so often a book comes along that makes a reader remember that once upon a time, before they got uptight and began to be known as “graphic novels,” comic books used to be FUN. For me, that book is THE FOX.

Dean Haspiel and Mark Waid are walking that fine line in paying homage to King Kirby’s outlandish story sensibilities: The Fox’s adventures as a freak magnet evoke the crazy concepts and alien worlds that Kirby did oh so well, but Haspiel and Waid never fall into that trap of becoming a mere Kirby clone. From the Queen of Diamonds’ broken syntax to the bold, dynamic artwork, each page fairly sparks with the kind of energy that has become harder and harder to find on the stands each month. Haspiel’s appealing blend of cartoony simplicity and raw energy gives THE FOX a buoyancy and boldness; this is not your brooding, grim vigilante. Mark Waid’s script takes this sense of big bouncing fun and adds even more quirky character to the mix, giving The Fox a uniquely upbeat Everyman attitude that adds to the series’ charm (my favorite moment is the Fox's stream-of-consciousness dialogue, as his companions The Marvel and the flame-powered Inferno attend to a giant boar: "...oh my god, why am I so hungry FOR BABYBACK RIBS ALL OF A SUDDEN--?").

As an added bonus, the backup story featuring The Shield (written by J.M. DeMatteis with art by Mike Cavallaro) builds to a climax this issue and winds up seamlessly integrating with the central storyline. We can look forward to the past and present colliding next month as The Fox joins forces with the star-spangled WWII hero in a battle for the future of the entire world—which is the sort of big spectacle action that I grew up reading.

It’s worth remembering that in an earlier time, when comic books were bright and colorful and when fun, goofy, spandex-clad characters had to be taken as seriously as possible, the existence of a title that isn’t afraid to take a chance on lightening up is a refreshing breeze that brings back all those old familiar feelings. THE FOX is definitely that breath of fresh air…or maybe that tingle of crackling Kirby energy.

When released from his bottle, the Imp transforms into Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from New England. He's currently hard at work interpreting fellow @$$Hole Optimous Douche's brainwaves and transforming them into pretty pictures on AVERAGE JOE, an original graphic novel to be published by Com.x. You can see some of his artwork here.


JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR Animated Movie DVD/BluRay

Director: Jay Oliva
Produced: Warner Bros. Animation
Review by: Mighty Mouth


Adapted from the “New 52” comics, DC/Warner’s latest animated direct to DVD feature, JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR presents a modern-day reboot for the classic heroes of the DC Universe.

Like its comic predecessor, WAR tells the story of first alliances among Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest to save Earth from an invasion lead by the malicious Darkseid. This assembly will ultimately serve as the foundation for the Justice League; but first, these heroes have to learn to trust one another.

DC’s animated projects over the last several years have been for the most part a sheer pleasure to watch. Some of my favorites include: Under the Red Hood, Flashpoint Paradox and Justice League: New Frontier. Interestingly, the comic this story was adapted from was met with very mixed reviews by fans, so naturally I was cautiously optimistic going in. That being said, JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR goes to the bottom of my list when it comes to these animated features. Fear not though, as one who believes in giving credit where it’s due; my review will not be entirely negative.

I’ll start with the good. Director Jay Oliva, who’s worked on several of these DC direct to DVD films, is more than capable of handling the balance of action and character development. Other than a poor design choice for one character’s costume (I’m looking at you Wonder Woman), they look the part. The animation seems to have undergone a sort of fine-tuning and is quite vibrant and really shines in the action sequences.

Undeniably, I enjoyed some of the early segments of the story. Batman first meeting with Green Lantern has its moments. Wonder Woman’s introduction is quite humorous and entertains, but best of all; we get to see what happens when Batman takes on Superman sans-Kryptonite. Can you say, holy ass whooping Batman! Even the Cyborg’s muddy origin was tolerable. Sadly, once the invasion begins, the story takes a hard nosedive into a loud, drawn-out battle that goes on and on with all the complexity of an eight-bit video game.

Much of the problems lie in the characterizations of these protagonists. Green Lantern was always known to be cocky, sure. Yet in this story he comes off as a straight-up narcissist. Superman and Wonder Woman could both use some serious anger management sessions and Cyborg well, he has major daddy issues. I get that these are supposed to be fresher, untested versions of the legendary icons we all know and love, but their interactions make them come off more like a bunch of tools, than a team of heroes. And don’t even get me started on the films interpretation of Darkseid; saying he’s one-dimensional would be an insult to one dimensional characters everywhere.

Another thing that threw me was that while the narrative seemed to exchange the delicious adult overtones of the previous DC animated adventures; JUSTCE LEAGUE: WAR has the most expletives and raw violence to date. Not really sure who their audience is on this one, potty mouth pre-teens or the Judd Apatow crowd. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a well-placed obscenity or a decapitation, but with such a bare and overly simplistic plot, it came off feeling more an attempt to be edgy than sincere in its handling.

In the past the voice acting in these productions has been first rate. Keeping in line with the reboot philosophy, the decision to seek out new voice talent makes sense on paper. Unfortunately, the voice work here does little to help this production. Don’t expect to hear fan favorites like Kevin Conroy or Tim Daly; it’s a whole new cast. The newcomers are a bit of a mixed bag, while Batman, Flash and Cyborg seem to fit their parts fairly well, Green Lantern and Superman’s are not quite what you’d expect. Not that the actors did a appalling job or anything; it’s just very different and definitely takes some getting used to.

Like the New 52 comics, this animated feature is sure to be met with varying opinions from the fan base. If all you require in a superhero story is powerful beings knocking the hell out of each other, JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR may be for you. If you are looking for more depth, featuring characters that exemplify and inspire true heroism, you might want to look elsewhere. I recommend revisiting the Bruce Timm era Justice League episodes; now that’s good stuff!


WARLORD OF MARS: DEJAH THORIS #35

Writer: Robert Place Napton
Artist: Carlos Rafael<br>
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: Corey Michael Dalton


All I know about Edgar Rice Burroughs' stories of Mars is that my 92-year-old grandpa adores the original books and that the movie JOHN CARTER wasn't half as bad as people wanted it to be. I didn't even realize that Dynamite was putting out a comic starring Dejah Thoris, the princess of Mars, though, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that it's already been around for 35 issues! To have made it to that relatively high issue number, the creative team must be doing something right—aside from ultra slutty covers that would probably give my poor old gramps a heart attack, that is.

Right off the bat, I found myself intrigued by the story. Few single issues grab me on page 1 nowadays, but, to Robert Place Napton's credit, this one did. The story begins with Dejah checking on her new guest, her young niece Tala, whom she has recently rescued from a dangerous and lonely life in the swamp. Tala was apparently abandoned to survive on her own by her father (and Dejah's brother), the cruel Kajak. As Dejah closes the door to Tala's room to let the girl sleep, the reader discovers that Tala is not quite the damsel in distress she seems; she is actually a saboteur taking long-distance orders from her father! Kajak wants revenge on his family and he's not above using his (relatively) innocent daughter to bring the hurt. Pretty good set-up, right? Next, Tala pulls a Prince of Persia and escapes out her bedroom window, avoids patrolling guards, steals an eight-legged horse thing, and travels to a nearby village to kill her grandfather (Kajak and Dejah's dad), Mors.

Not everything in the story is perfect, mind you. For example, I'm not quite clear how Kajak is speaking to Tala (or hearing her) throughout the issue. Some sort of telepathy? If that's the case, though, why does she speak back to him aloud instead of in her mind? It's also odd and a little distracting how everyone says each others' full names when they address one another, even when they're related. For example, when Tala says, "Mors Kajak was the reason we had to live in the marshes," she is talking about her grandfather. Or when Mors says, "Call for Dejah Thoris," he is speaking of his own daughter. Perhaps this is meant to make them sound regal or formal or something? If so—much like Queen Amidala's speech patterns in the STAR WARS prequels—it doesn't work for me. Finally, the cliffhanger of the issue (in which a man who looks a bit like The Rock randomly appears to kidnap Tala) is a bit weak.

By and large, the art by Carlos Rafael is pretty nice, telling the story in a clean style that's not bogged down with too much detail. The storytelling is good, never losing me along the way. Of course, the characters all look impossibly pretty and young—even the older characters. Dejah first interacts with her well-built grandfather (the limp, gray hair is the only real tip-off to his age) and later meets with her dad, who appears to be the same age or younger than her. Perhaps the artist decided to make everyone look 20 because no one's wearing much clothing and he didn't want to put anyone off by drawing lots of flabby flesh? And, yes, Dejah actually does wear that gold G-string/pasties combo that she's sporting on the cover throughout the issue. So, she (naturally) does a lot of suggestive posing while talking to her family members. I don't mind a bit of semi-nudity in my comics (or even nudity, for that matter), but it is a little distracting when dramatic dialogue is being spouted out by a woman with a perfect body who's wearing less clothing than some strippers. The juxtaposition kind of robs the text of its drama, making everything seem just a little more ridiculous. At it's best, Carlos Rafael's art has a Chris Sprouse vibe to it. At it's worst, it's a bit Greg Land-y. The dinner scene between Dejah and her father, in particular, veers a bit too much into Greg Land territory; pretty but static figures sporting strange airbrushed grins and posed in ways that don't quite match the dialogue. I did enjoy Carlos Lopez's coloring throughout the issue, though! Much of the story takes place at night, and the subdued hues made me feel that. Even the colors during the day were subtle, never over saturated or gaudy.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this issue. Based on the rather exploitive, near-nude cover, I wasn't expecting to find much of a story inside. Thankfully, Robert Place Napton didn't rely on the sexy visuals to pull this reader through the issue, hooking me with the writing instead and making me want to actually read the comic. Based on the uninspired ending, I'm not sure I'll come back for issue 36—but I certainly wouldn't count me out.

Corey Michael Dalton has written and/or edited trade books, magazine articles, short stories, novels, comics, plays, review, websites, blogs, and more. You name it, he's probably written it. Except religious scriptures. He hasn't gotten around to those just yet.


TUROK: DIONSAUR HUNTER #1

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Mirko Colak
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Reviewer: MajinFu


Look at that title again. Look at that cover. If you’re not familiar with TUROK, hopefully they illustrate the basic premise: he’s a Native American dinosaur hunter, and if you’re new to this concept or you’re already familiar and would like to see more, then this is worth a looksee, because that is essentially what you should be getting here. Well okay, so maybe Turok never actually gets a chance to unleash his primal rage on some velociraptors, but I’ll go ahead and guess, nay hope, that it’s coming in future installments.

Turok has a long publication history (seriously, wiki that shit!) but up until I found a few dusty issues of TUROK: SON OF STONE from ye olde Gold Key publication a few years ago, I thought he was simply the lead character of a video game. As a wee Fu, playing said game (which shares the same title as this comic) on a friend’s Nintendo 64 was a bit of a revelation. No longer were dinosaurs distant relics of prehistoric time or attractions at a theme park to be feared, they were your prey to stalk and kill however you chose, to include arrows that explode on impact! Wandering around hunting the very creatures that both fascinated and terrified me was tremendously empowering as a kid, and if you’ve never played TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER for the N64 then the sole purpose of this review would be to recommend you check that shit out.

So why do I mention a game from a bygone console in a comic review? Because up until discovering the old comics, the game is what informed me of Turok. It made him look like a badass capable of surviving in a savage land by slaying prehistoric monsters like a boss. This is what I expected going into Dynamite’s new book, and unfortunately this does not entirely live up to preceding interpretations of the character. That does not make this a bad book of course. It’s honestly okay, so while it’s definitely shitty of me to measure a book by what it’s NOT, I would be remiss if this were not mentioned as having some bearing on my opinion of TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER, the comic, not the game. So despite not having all the badass action of a decade-old video game, this is a decent but relatively slow first issue. Like I said, there are hardly any dinosaurs to be arrow’d as the cover would portend. Writer Greg Pak is clearly using this first installment to lay down some character work. Yes, Greg Pak, the guy who penned the iconic PLANET HULK stories a few years back and later helped to write INCREDIBLE HERCULES, easily one of the most fun and compelling superhero comic books to come out in a long time. Unfortunately, this comic lacks a lot of the humor or even savagery you could find with those books, and feels more bland as a result.

Here Turok is an orphan who lives in the woods on the outskirts of his tribe’s village because he’s kind of an outcast. His peers call him “witch boy” and treat him like dirt but no serviceable explanation is offered for this behavior outside of his parents are dead and he’s far more in tune with nature than his fellow tribesmen I guess. This does lead to some fatal manipulation by the titular character and finally we get to see some dinos chomp into a couple of sad sacks but it hardly matches the visceral promises of the book’s cover.

The art has some nice details, especially careful attention to the flora and fauna that really helps to enliven the world (that textured foliage…yummy), but the human figures appear stiff in action. I also took issue with several instances of people getting jumped by an unseen foe even though the previous panel clearly shows nobody is around. Are these people supposed to be some sort of New World ninjas? There’s even a hilarious bit of panel progression where two dudes are suddenly, inexplicably surrounded by a pack of brightly-colored dinosaurs, but that’s neither here nor there. The art like the writing is fine, but hopefully the story and presentation will ramp up as things rolls on.

It probably sounds like I didn’t enjoy this issue, and while that is partly true, it’s only because I estimate this creative team is saving the good stuff for later. In a way that’s kind of a shame because if they had burst out the gate with a story to grip me as tightly as that game did when I was a kid, we could potentially have had the sleeper hit of 2014. As it stands now, TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER #1 is unfortunately a book that is not good enough to fully recommend, but not bad enough to dismiss entirely either. Hopefully things will improve as the story continues, because this is one reboot of an old series I would really love to see get its due. The premise and the little twist at the end certainly tease some big things on the horizon. Fingers crossed super hard this book picks up the pace with the next issue, and a few explosive arrows probably wouldn’t hurt either.


EARTH 2 ANNUAL #2

Writer: Tom Taylor
Art: Robson Rocha
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


Yup, I’m back again to get in all y’alls face places about EARTH-2. I’ll get on my alternate reality soapbox in a minute, but first the platitudes. Tom Taylor has no proven he doesn’t just get alternate realities, he simply gets what makes an amazing comic. This issue will make you feel more for Batman (yes even despite the slight view askew vibrational differences in “canon”) as a crime fighter, a man and a son than we have seen in a very long time. While the character of the new Batman is new to Earth 2 continuity, this issue quickly catapulted him to the top of my favorites. I say this after screaming “Are you fucking kidding me?” when he appeared a few issues ago. I applauded the decision to kill off the holy trinity in Earth – 2 and giving the Golden Age Justice Society new relevance post FLASHPOINT. I did not want Batman, now moving forward, I don’t want to see this book without him.

We’ve seen this alternate twist on Batman before, most recently in FLASHPOINT. Yes, it’s Thomas Wayne under the cowl. However, in this timeline, Martha did not become the Joker, and Tom’s deviances run much deeper than the pursuit of the all mighty dollar.

What we haven’t seen is Thomas this authentically demonized before. Thomas is a junkie…and he’s still using while he is Batman (get to more on that in a sec). Personally, I’ve been waiting for a hero to arise with this much of a monkey currently on his back rather than a forgotten memory. The visible pain makes the act of contrition, like becoming Batman, much more impactful.

One of the reasons this resonated so deeply for me is DC editorial’s courage on this book to cement the age Earth-2 and all of its residents. We are given the point black exact year when Joe Chill “kills” the Wayne’s in Crime Alley (1979). We know the exact date that Thomas met Dennis Falcone and saved his life, the exact moment he met Martha, and the first time the three of them shot up some medical student procured Laudanum (1971). We are bestowed with crystalline accuracy the moment Batman, the true Batman is born (1973), and the day he discovers that Thomas faked his death so he could begin to pay for the deadly events his selfishness put into motion (1994). This issue made me realize how just damn important time is in making a story matter. Without it we are more trapped in amber than and regurgitation of plot lines could induce. If UNWRITTEN tells us anything, fiction is as real as we are willing to make it, and we will only make it real if it has the courage to reflect the same constraints we face day-today, of which time is the greatest.

For all of the naysayers who say there are no consequences because it as an alternate reality, I say the problem is with your system of beliefs. Consequence is merely measured by your own aesthetic distance. Also, I’d like to say the word “reboot” and clarify that it’s mere existence means there is no true continuity to any of the major iconic branded superheroes living in the main book titles. This is honestly the perfect place for anyone who loves DC, but has been put off by the changes in the New 52. The dark pall that has been cast on Earth Prime is absent from this land. There is still a Great Generation beacon of optimism to this alternate earth despite the Darkseid attack that obliterated Superman, Wonder Woman and OG Batman.

And after we learn that dark version of the new Batman’s past, that optimism shines through at the end. If anything in our world right now is hunky dorey, it’s the lives of the Baby Boomers. They reaped the spoils of the last great economic boom and they are in wayyyyy better condition than their parents were in their mid sixties. Now of course our parents couldn’t be Batman for their second careers (that’s why they clog up the entrances at Wal-Mart with their cute blue vests), but Thomas can thanks to a drug that gives him the vitality of Bruce for an hour at a pop. Discuss amongst yourselves the Hourman nature of this change. Personally I think batman is much more than physical prowess so I’m OK, with a more cerebral father figure to guide Red Tornado Lois and Aquawoman back over in Earth-2 proper.

If you were on board for the concept of EARTH-2 when it was released in the New 522 Second Wave, but for whatever reason didn’t jive with Robinson’s writing, there’s a new sheriff in town. I will caution though to NOT rejoin the EARTH-2 main title right when Taylor took over a few months ago. It’s too abrupt as Taylor took the book over almost mid-page from Robinson in the middle of the arc. I just finished EARTH-20 and I can say that’s a safe place. Yes, even with the confusing statements I just made about red Tornado Lois and Aquawoman. If you’re a DC fan of old, you’ll get it quick enough.

I usually wish my favorite new creators Godspeed to loftier titles or places of power within comicdom, but I am selfishly going to hold back that adoration for Taylor. He has truly created wonderful alternate universes for DC with first INJUSTICE, and now EARTH-2. In a time when ELSEWORLDS are a forgotten memory, Taylor is my crack dealer and I will gladly buy all the wares he wishes to peddle. If he can muster the story prowess from his well spring of creativity, DC would be wise to resuscitate a few more vibrational strings along the quantum plane.


LAZARUS #6

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Michael Lark
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Humphrey Lee


LAZARUS #6 here is an example of how sometimes, even when a book is just getting started, it’ll pop out a “slow burn” issue that you’ll see the value of a few issues down the road but at the time seemed jarring in and of itself.

Again, not that these things are necessarily bad in and of themselves, especially in the wake of the “oh shit, things got real” extravaganza that we just had in issue four. But with the revelations and allegations being brandied about in LAZARUS and in the halls of House Carlyle, a couple issues (so far) of detour to essentially watch Forever Carlyle monitor some thieving “waste” and their newest heist and see the horrifying political system in place under the plutocracy in place in action as it screws over a family in Montana who loses everything to a storm seems like an odd step back. It’s the ultimate shift in gears, which, as I said, you need from time to time to really let some big events soak and stew a bit, but I did not really expect things to ramp back like this just a handful of issues into the series.

And while the payout of these threads is obfuscated right now obviously there will be one in the future, but for now we’ve settled the pilot down to Low for that simmer as we watch the oh so close to home future of the rich eating everyone else reality of LAZARUS be pretty brutal to those who it envelops.

Not to sound like a man who doesn’t enjoy his polemics but I could use a little bit of a quickening from here on out as Forever’s “awakening” to the sad state of the world and her role in it takes more of a katana-like shape.


GREEN ARROW #28

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: The Kid Marvel


One of the better and more consistent titles coming out of DC’s New 52, GREEN ARROW continues to be one of my favorite comics in my bin. Everything from Lemire’s writing and the Sorrentino/Maiolo team on artwork, the book is just simply phenomenal among it’s less than stellar New 52 family.

In GREEN ARROW #28, “The Outsider War” is about to get underway and Lemire spends most of the book focusing on various key points to build up, catch up and add layer to his current arc, doing a whole in the issue without making the story overwhelming. Robert Queen reveals more to his involvement with Oliver during his time on the island, Naomi and Fyff are recruited by John Diggle to help against Richard Dragon, while Komodo solidifies his leadership ambitions among The Outsiders, plus a pretty rad fight between Kodiak, Green Arrow, Robert Queen, and Shado. GREEN ARROW 28 contains so many different elements packed into one issue, really adding and fleshing out a lot to this Outsiders War arc.

I can honestly say, I don’t think there was a single negative to this book for me. I like the Robert Queen element, I’m curious as to how things will pan out in Seattle for Fyff, Naomi, and Diggle regarding Richard Dragon and I’m really excited to see how this Outsiders War pans out amongst the weapon clans. Usually reviews where the book is really good and just doesn’t have anything bad, can be difficult to write anything of detail, without crappy elements to rant and complain about be a driving factor. So with that being the case, I’ll just have to heavily focus on why I liked each piece of this story to fill my word count.

First, the Robert Queen M. Night twiest of him still being alive and really being the catalyst behind Oliver’s development as Green Arrow, works so much better for me than the original rich kid ends up on an island origin story. With Robert still being alive, setting up tests for Oliver within the island and ultimately being the reason behind why Oliver ended up on the island, actually adds to Green Arrow’s purpose. Which to me, creating an origin based in a purpose rather than accident, just adds dynamic to Oliver’s character as a hero. Plus it helps a lot in this particular story, with his anger towards his Robert and the feelings towards how he saw his father, furthering the depth of Oliver. It also gives him the opportunity of being handed a particular destiny and a path that he can accept or decline.

Other than curiosity towards the Seattle stage with Team Arrow, I can’t comment more than I’m interested to see how that aspect develops and adds to the GREEN ARROW book. Finally, the buildup of The Outsiders element seems huge. At the moment Green Arrows allies are severally lacking, with Magus doing little recruiting to add some help, but still seemingly way out numbered. So it’ll be really cool to see how Lemire plays this arc out.

Finally, the duo of Andrea Sorrentino on art and Marcelo Maiolo on colors is simply amazing, with most of the pages being more than just story art, but real creativity in how they present the comic. The most unique aspect is how Sorrentino changes focus in certain panels using panels within panels, to express certain emphasis to the situation. The use of pictures within action sounds is also really cool, breaking up action to be something different and presented out of the ordinary. Just the entire use of originality being presented in the art is artistically beautiful and works so perfectly for GREEN ARROW. There’s just so much change within the books art for scenarios and the changing presentations in the panels, it’s really just spectacular. This book’s art is arguably the best out right now or at least to be considered top five.

Conclusion? GREEN ARROW is an awesome book and one of the few really good DC titles out right now, so if you aren’t reading it already, then you need to start, you’re welcome in advance.


NEW AVENGERS #14

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Simone Bianchi
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


Hey, have I mentioned I really like Hickman? Because I'm sure it has. Here at Ain't It Cool News, our esteemed editor Ambush Bug has forbid me from talking about Dan Slott on SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN, FABLES, and THE WALKING DEAD, because I REALLY like talking about those comics. Hickman's got to be joining that list, because I REALLY like Hickman. NEW AVENGERS (especially this issue) are proof of why.

The book opens just as the last one did, with our team observing the death of another world. The enemy coming at our door is strong, and from afar we watch a slightly different Avengers team fall before them. The art is surprisingly detailed at times and helps sell smaller moments, like the alternate Doom being Doom (so being great). Those moments are strong, but nonconsequetial. It is something we saw done last month, so those scenes in the book are a little tired. Still well done, but tired.

It's the other half of the book I'm losing my shit over. See, after Infinity and every other Marvel book in recent memory, Doctor Strange has either been outclassed or useless. And it seems he's just as tired of it as we are, because the good Doctor has gone into the bowls of hell to barter more power, with his very soul as payment. OH GOD I love these scenes. We get to see Dr. Strange deal with demons and angels, we get plenty of Hickman writing, we get a world where the art talents of Bianchi and Dall'alpi feel at home…. Everything about these scenes makes me happier than you can imagine.

So, this is a really confusing book to new people, but if you've enjoyed any of Hickman's works, catch up on this title, especially this issue. It's Dr. strange getting ready to sell his soul. It's great.


Advance Review: In stores today!

THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR #1

Writer: Rob Williams
Art: Simon Coleby
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


(Sung to the tune Royals by Lorde)

They walk around in stately dress
While Nazis make a mess of their country
And they know they can impress
But they stay ducked down, perhaps out of mercy

You see it’s ninety forty, the blitz is hitting London
The Windsor’s have power, but none will dare to use them
It’s not that they don’t care, they just know that the world will perish.
You see every royal bloodline is all possessed with power, that means not just the English but also the Italians.
OK, the oldest Arthur doesn’t care, but he’s an enormous chode.

So, there’s three Royals (Royals)
Henry, Arthur and Rose,
Two have special gifts, but the world will never know.
They hid their power (power)
To abate the world’s envy,
But in a time of crisis
Henry will set them free.


Thank you for indulging me, that was stuck in my head since the book dropped on my doorstep.

Williams confirms what many yanks have believed since we stuck up our finger at George back in the 1700’s – Royals in their current state are pretty much useless (Though Henry 8, did introduce the concept of Royalty being far from divine when he stuck up his middle finger at the pope – just sayin.)!

By imagining a world where Royal bloodlines possessed super powers for countless generations one can’t help but to look across the pond and wonder what’s being wrought from our British cousin’s tax dollars than placebo Rogaine and naked billiards.

Of course watching a bunch of faps in frocks fly around would be a prat move by writer. So instead of being a wanker, Williams builds a personal story around the Windsor line and how their powers skipped a generation and then skipped another…or so the world is led to believe.

To the contrary, the WWII Windsors actually have two super powered beings capable of extraordinary feats of fancy. And again, Williams veers away from heavy exposition by book ending this issue with the youngest boy, Henry, making a death defying leap through countless Nazi’s plane like a blonde bullet.

Personally I found the crisis of conscious between the leaps just as intriguing. Rose, the only girl and an apt telepath can feel the screams of London’s people, supposedly her people, dying around her. Henry, imbued with Superman like powers is as equally aware of the suffering that they could help abate. Their brother Arthur is a chode as I mentioned lyrically earlier. He is truly the weakest and yet still the bully. When I say no one knows about the powers of Henry and Rose…NO ONE KNOWS.

I’m going to hold on why their Father, the good King kept the kids’ powers unknown. I might only behalf right and it’s a tender moment of parental love best left described with Colby’s sorrowful visual to accompany it.

I love alternate history so ROYALS was going to get a first issue read when I saw the solicits a few months ago. However, the first issue’s excellence of an honest representation of a world that was and never was is what will bring me back for issue 2.


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

Remember, if you have a comic book you’d like one of the @$$holes to take a look at, click on your favorite reviewer’s link and drop us an email.


Find out what are BLACK MASK STUDIOS and OCCUPY COMICS here and on Facebook here!




Want more in all things Geek?
Check out PoptardsGo and on Facebook here!




Check out AICN COMICS on Facebook and Comixpedia!


Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus

Top Talkbacks