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Advance Review: FREEWAY FIGHTER #1


Writer: Andi Ewington
Artist: Simon Coleby
Publisher: Titan Comics
Reviewer: Rob Patey (sometimes still Optimous Douche)

While FREEWAY FIGHTER sounds like coverage of Santa Monica during rush hour, it’s actually a tale very steeped in geek culture from a less road ragey time.

In the early 80’s, while American kids were simply “choosing our own adventures” in books, British eighties babies had the “Fighting Fantasy” line of books that combined our simple page hopping with D&D style dice rolling. These books were essentially masturbatory tabletop gaming for kids without siblings or friends, but truly helped set the mechanics for the billion-dollar bonanza that is now video game RPGs.

While a late entry in the “Fighting Fantasy” line of interactive adventures, FREEWAY FIGHTER stands as the most likely candidate to resurrect in comic form given modern sensibilities. In 2022, a plague wipes out humanity, leaving behind a few scattered colonies all with a thirst for the scant drops of oil left in the world. One reason for oil still is to run heaters and generators and such, but also cars. It’s a post-apocalyptic Catch-22 that’s been in our cultural lexicon since Mel Gibson was a batshit crazy Mad Max, as opposed to just being a batshit crazy Mel Gibson.

Not being British, and not having read a choose your own anything since the 1984, this comic is my first entry into FREEWAY FIGHTER. On first blush, Ewington has done an exceptional job breathing a new form of life into a genre with thin treads at the moment. Unlike the new Mad Max, FREEWAY FIGHTER femme heroine, Bella De La Rosa, isn’t terrifyingly insane. The book starts with her as a race car driver, and she continues that same passion for woman and machine in the apocalypse. There’s no ultra icky moments of creepy warlords doing unspeakable things to inappropriately aged girls. Bella is out looking for resources plain and simple.

The original FREEWAY FIGHTER adventure book was the first time the “Fighting Fantasy” line gave dice rolling attributes for the lead character and their weapon (i.e. Bella’s suped-up Dodge. Ewington appropriately has Bella anthropomorphize her hoopty throughout the first two issues to make the car’s contributions to the quest feel almost independent of Bella’s actions. We all know that isn’t true, but it does give a Herbie the Lovebug affection towards Ms. De La Rosa’s ride that makes FREEWAY FIGHTER feel more like a buddy story than a lone sojourn.

FREEWAY FIGHTER will be parking on your comic shelves this May. If you’re a fan of the original “Fighting Fantasy” adventure books, this is a must read. If you dug DC’s recent forays into Auto-Apocalyptica, FREEWAY FIGHTER is more original than the rehash of MAD MAX, and way less confusing than the WACKY RACERS grunge take on our old favorite Hannah Barbara cartoon.

When he puts down comic books Rob Patey is in charge of digital content marketing for a little computer start-up called IBM. Head to IBM Security to see the softer side of the man we’ve affectionately called Optimous Douche for the past 9 years.


Writer: John Layman
Artist: Sam Kieth
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Answering the (very, very niche) question of “How do you follow up a hit comic about a FDA agent who absorbs the skills and past experiences of whatever he eats” comes ELEANOR AND THE EGRET, the newest John Layman comic book. Additionally, you apparently retort to that creative inquiry with hooking up with comic book legend Sam Keith to bring to life a story about a nerdy, bird aficionado named Eleanor who partners up with a magical, talking, and apparently shape-shifting bird to pull art heists. Normally I try and delve just a little deeper for some nifty insight or clever setup to introduce these reviews, but honestly, after all that, I just don’t know what to say about this book to get onboard. It’s the goddamn creators of CHEW and THE MAXX and it’s about a fucking magic bird that helps to steal art. Comic books, right?

That’s also kind of all my mind is running around over and over trying to put into words some analysis about this book because just outlining that premise does about 80% of the work. It’s a magic bird, there’s art theft, it’s by Layman and Kieth. When you have such a weird, eclectic grouping of ideas presented to you, the uniqueness of it or the trust in that kind of creative talent more or less speaks for itself as to if that is the kind of comic book you want to be putting some money toward. And the execution of the book can’t help but accentuate that oddness by playing the story forward pretty nonchalantly. It revels in its own absurdity by the way it puts the perspective of the caper in the hands of two detectives trying to break down the crime. It’s through their eyes this odd tale is somewhat normalized, especially from the perspective of Detective Belanger, who coincidentally becomes entangled with Eleanor as the book progresses.

Much like Belanger finds out about Eleanor in the back half of this book, ELEANOR AND THE EGRET is just an oddly endearing experience. You kind of can’t help but smirk as the two detectives ponder out things like how the mysterious thief picked an advanced lock or bypassed a laser system while the book cuts to this mystical bird whose beak shifts into the form of a key or is flying through those lasers carrying Eleanor in a big stork sack. Meanwhile, when we finally encounter Eleanor in, of course, a pet shop, she’s just a big ball of nerdiness and anxiousness that feels very reminiscent of Olive Chu from CHEW; which by itself is promising from a personality draw standpoint. And then on the way out of this debut her big magic Egret, of course, eats the rare painting they painstakingly hoisted.

I honestly don’t know what more to say about this book beyond coming back to it just having such unusualness about it, it can’t help but be charming. I spent the bulk of this talking about the Layman side of the book’s atypical nature I feel kind of bad leaving out Sam Kieth’s contribution until now, except all you have to do is invoke his name and everything I used to describe the tone from the scripting immediately pops into mind. The man is just a legend in the field and the air of quirkiness his bubbly style brings to this book is a perfect match for what it is presenting. Every step of the way he perfectly renders the extraordinary circumstances in the book like it’s just a casual, everyday thing, and then the everyday items – like Eleanor’s somewhat flirty encounter with Belanger – are filled with their own allure due to his presentation and detail. Overall, the combined talents of this creative crew make for a really spellbinding story, even if I’m not fully sure what they’re trying to conjure up with an oddity. Layman and Kieth show just how good they are in selling with very little effort a book literally called ELEANOR AND THE EGRET with such cool composure you kind of want to hate them a little bit.

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, The MySpaces, 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.


Writers: Jeff Loveness & Ramon Perez
Artist: Ramon Perez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man

As a passing, Sam Nova, fan and a full on fan of Rich Nova, it's kinda hard reading this new NOVA series which promised the return of Rich. And while Loveness and Perez did deliver, they are still threatening to take Rich away at any moment, as Sam is the hero of the book.

Getting into the spoilers, The original Nova died when the so-called 'Cancerverse' imploded/ceased to exist, in THE THANOS IMPERATIVE (Star-Lord and Thanos died with him, although they've managed to return safe and sound years ago). Now Rich has returned, along with a Nova force eating monsters bonded to him. Rich has been losing control of said monster, which attack's Sam's family, so Sam gives Rich a beat down for being a jerk, causing all this. Rich figures the only thing he can do is return to the 'Cancerverse'. When he gets there, it seems that a monster Nova World Mind is waiting for him.

Now my best guess of what's going on: First off, this makes no sense, because the 'Cancerverse' doesn't exist anymore (In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, it's explained that Thanos and Star-Lord escaped just before the final collapse). So I guess Loveness and Perez are saying the 'Cancerverse' never collapsed. Also, the Nova World Mind had long separated from the Nova (Rich), and was never in the 'Cancerverse'. So assuming Loveness and Perez aren't blowing continuity right out the window, my best guess is, this is the Nova World Mind from the 'Cancerverse', and Nova (Rich) has bonded with the 'Cancerverse' Nova (as everyone had a mirror in the 'Cancerverse' and we never saw Nova's). That's all fine and dandy I guess, but....

Are we ever going to get to a point when Rich Rider Nova can get be back? Like Star-Lord and Thanos have? As always, the answer to that question always seems to be, “No”. So if you are not a Rich Rider fan, than this issue is fine. The writing and drawing are all decent enough, as Sam Alexander is well highlighted.


Writer: Mark Russell (Booster/Flintstones), Tony Bedard (Suicide/Banana)
Art: Scott Hanna (Booster/Flintstones), Mark Morales (Suicide/Banana)
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Justin Burkhardt and @justinburkhardt on Twitter

I didn’t know what to think when DC Comics announced their Hanna Barbera crossover annuals. Part of me was intrigued, because I have really enjoyed what DC Comics has done with their THE FLINTSTONES series. And while I’m not personally a big fan, I know many others have enjoyed the SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, FUTURE QUEST, and WACKY RACELAND series. So I’d say DC Comics’ recent Hanna Barbera comics have been a success.

Another part of me however was worried about these annuals. I thought the pairings: BOOSTER GOLD/THE FLINTSTONES, SUICIDE SQUAD/THE BANANA SPLITS, ADAM STRANGE/FUTURE QUEST, and GREEN LANTERN/SPACE GHOST, were odd choices and wouldn’t really work. And I was right. Originally, I planned on doing two separate reviews for both, but my dislikes (and likes) of both of these books were pretty much the same so I figured I would combine the two into one easy read.

Mark Russell (PREZ, GOD IS DISAPPOINTED IN YOU) has done an absolutely fantastic job on THE FLINTSTONES ongoing series. I know I’ve written this before, but it is one of the best books out. The BOOSTER GOLD/FLINTSTONES ANNUAL #1 however misses the mark. In the story, Booster is about to go on a date when an alien lizard race attacks. Booster goes back in time to Bedrock, when the aliens first came to Earth.

THE FLINTSTONES series excels in its mix of humor and social commentary. The social commentary in this annual (this time it’s about religion) is the best part of the story, but the character of Booster Gold just never fits. It feels forced, and there’s just not enough of a back and forth between Booster and the Flintstones. It’s more of a Booster story than the Flintstones, which is why I probably didn’t enjoy it. I also don’t think the humor in this issue landed well.

The SUICIDE SQUAD/THE BANANA SPLITS ANNUAL #1 is even wackier and is one of the weirdest issues of a comic that I’ve ever read. It’s written by Tony Bedard (BLUE BETTLE, EXILES) and the story involves the Splits being pulled over by police and throw in Belle Reve Prison. With the Suicide Squad in trouble, Amanda Waller makes the Splits into a Suicide Squad of their own tasked to go and help out the real Suicide Squad.

The book is even weirder than it sounds. Like the other annual, the jokes really don’t land. I’m sure there are some people out there who will like how ridiculously weird the story is, but not me. Also, the story expects you to know/remember who the Banana Splits were, and most people won’t. Those who will remember will be disappointed in this version of the Splits. It’s better than the Booster/Flintstones book, but not by much. The artwork on both main stories is nothing to write home about as well. That said, I still think both books are worth checking out. Why? Because of the awesome side stories that are included at the end of the books.

In BOOSTER GOLD/THE FLINTSTONES, you get a Jetsons side story written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (HARLEY QUINN, POWERGIRL) with art by Pier Brito (FRENCH KISS, DAREDEVIL). The story is fantastic and is a preview of the upcoming JETSONS series by the team of Palmiotti/Conner.

The side story is a new origin for the character Rosie, the Jetsons’ robot maid. Without ruining the story, it’s an interesting and a little dark spin on the character, and it really works. I enjoyed the JETSONS cartoon as a kid, but you can tell the comic is going to be something different, yet familiar, like THE FLINSTONES comic. The artwork is great and I really love all the updated looks of the characters and the Jetsons’ world. After reading the short story, the new JETSONS series is now one of my most anticipated comics of 2017.

In SUICIDE SQUAD/THE BANANA SPLITS we get a Snagglepuss side story written by Mark Russell with art by Howard Porter (JLA, THE FLASH) and it too is the highlight of the book. In the mini-story, we see Snagglepuss, a gay southern gothic playwright, in 1954 speaking in front of the House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities about his subversive plays. The character is still recognizable, yet there is so much more added depth to this socially conscious expansion of Snagglepuss. The art is great as well and there’s a vibrant and less cartoony look to Snagglepuss.

I never thought I’d actually be interested in a Snagglepuss comic until I read this story. Go watch an old clip on YouTube and then tell me if you though that Snagglepuss would one day be a comic with great political commentary? I’ll be picking up an issue of SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES comic soon from DC Comics as soon as it’s released, and you should too! I give BOOSTER GOLD/THE FLINTSTONES 2 out of 5 Pebbles and SUICIDE SQUAD/THE BANANA SPLITS 2 and a half out of 5 microphones. Ignore the main stories but check out the books for the minis!


Story: Claudio Sanchez
Writer: Chondra Echert
Art: Rags Morales
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Reviewer: Justin Burkhardt and @justinburkhardt on Twitter

For those who don’t know about the band Coheed and Cambria, they are an American progressive rock band lead by frontman Claudio Sanchez. Most of Coheed’s albums during their 22-year career are concept albums based on a science fiction storyline called “The Amory Wars”, written by Sanchez. Coheed and Cambria made music, and then based the concept of The Amory Wars around the music. THE ARMORY WARS series has quite a cult following. A few years ago, Mark Wahlberg’s production company announced they would be working with Claudio to bring the series to the big screen, though there has been no real news since that announcement. There have also been comic book and graphic novel versions of different parts of THE ARMORY WARS before.

This week I’m reviewing Boom Studios’ THE AMORY WARS: GOOD APOLLO, I’M BURNING IV, VOLUME ONE: FROM FEAR THROUGH THE EYES OF MADNESS #1. It’s a mouthful, and it’s also based off Coheed’s third album, which is also their most popular album. In 2005, there was a limited graphic novel released as well, but Sanchez has said that financial issues led to the story not being fully developed.

Sanchez is still involved with the comics, but this book is being written by Sanchez’s wife Chondra Echert (KILL AUDIO, KEY OF Z) who has co-written some of the older Amory Wars stories as well. The Amory Wars can be very dense, so the hope is that Echert will make the story a little bit easier to read, and I can say at least with this first issue she has succeeded. Echert is creating a lot of depth with these characters through some very strong dialogue.

In this first issue, we meet Claudio, the last member of the powerful Kilgannon family, who is learning about his abilities as The Crowning, a messiah of sorts. We also find out the evil Wilhelm Ryan has returned and he wants to be the god of the Keywork. This first issue also introduces us to Ryder, a writer living in the real world who is the true power behind the Keywork. Ryder is creating the Amory Wars, but he’s also a schizophrenic who is heavily medicated. In his delusions, he’s sometimes able to interact with the world he’s creating.

I know that all sounds a bit confusing to new readers, which is why I wish the series had an index of some sort at the back of the comic for new readers. There were times while I was reading the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series that I had to refer to the back of the book to the family guides. I’ve read THE ARMORY WARS before, and I still needed to look some things up before I wrote this review, so it could be tricky for new readers.

However, don’t take that last paragraph as a bad thing, because I believe a lot of the best works of science fiction to be very dense. Heck, even the Star Wars universe can come off as intimidating for those who know nothing about it. With their music, Coheed and Cambria have created a sci-fi space opera that plays out very well in comic book form.

If you’ve never gotten into THE ARMORY WARS before, you absolutely should. There is a lot to explore, and you get some kick ass music to go with it. I listened to the album a bit while reading this first issue and it was a really interesting experience. The band/story may not be for everyone, this much I admit, but not many bands/artists are capable of doing what Coheed/Claudio has done. I truly feel that they do not get nearly enough recognition for it the art they have created.

The art is by Rags Morales (ACTION COMICS, TUROK, DINOSAUR HUNTER). Morales as an artist draws character’s emotions really well and this shines through in this book with the character Ryder. Morales hits all the emotions, both high and low, in Ryder’s schizophrenic world.

I give this first issue of THE AMORY WARS: GOOD APOLLO 4 out of 5 black rainbows. While you can try to jump right in, my suggestion is to catch up with previous stories in the AMORY WARS, then come back and read this book. THE AMORY WARS is a detailed and interesting sci-fi epic that I could see making a great Netflix or HBO TV series someday.


Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Amanda Conner
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man

As a way to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Jack Kirby (if he was still with us), DC Comics brings us the KAMANDI CHALLENGE. Resurrecting the round-robin concept used in 1986, for the DC CHALLENGE. For those of you unfamiliar, a round-robin is when one writer (or team) passes off a story to another writer to finish, or a series of writers. Each one trying to top the last one, while trying to sabotage the next one. As each issue ends with a cliff hanger.

The DC CHALLENGE, as fun as it was, quickly became a mess. DC hopes to prevent another mess by keeping the story focused on Kamandi, the last boy on Earth. While it seems to be helping, three issues in, another problem has popped up. Each issue is an “and then” story. Famously, used in old movie series as the plot didn't move as much as a series of events kept occurring: “Then the room caught fire, and then aliens showed up, and then monsters attacked, and then building exploded, and then and then, etc.” It almost makes me think the true round-robin should take place in the planning stages. Then a controlling editor or writer can form a tighter overall story, and each team can adjust their issues to fit the final story arc better. In both cases the creation of the story is the biggest part of the fun in a round-robin. So the editor's column can go over all the behind the scenes shenanigans as rough drafts were hammered out into the final issue. Anyway, back to this issue.

Getting into the spoilers, although I'm not sure you can have spoilers in a story that has no end destination, per say. So teenage boy Kamandi is kicking it in his home town, when boom! He learns his home town is fake and he's the only real human in town (everyone else is an android, FYI- this is different from Kirby's original set-up). Now on the run from the different tribes of animal men (Kamandi was developed with PLANET OF THE APES in mind), Kamandi is told to find his parents. Who are supposed to be alive somewhere in the world, and then save the world! In this latest issue by married couple Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, Kamandi finds himself in a strange village, who's villagers believe he is a god. As he tries to tell them, he is not a god, he learns of their barbaric nature (which I shalt spoil here). Kamandi manages to escape his hostile hosts, but just like in every other issue, he goes from frying pan into the fire, with another crazy- Kirby inspired- cliff hanger.

For the most part this is all fine and dandy. Both Palmiotti and Conner do a fine job giving us a crazy fun comic. As I've mentioned, the biggest problem (per say) is this issue is a near copy of the last two. Nothing about this future world is explained, we just see another crazy side of it. Another thing wrong with this series is, Kamandi himself. Now, if you are one of the five Kamandi fans out there, you don't know what I'm talking about. Everyone else does. I suppose I'm being to harsh on Kamandi, as his original run lasted 59 issues, nearly 20 issues after Kirby left! But overall this faux post-apocalypses, Planet of the Apes world, with it's long haired, cut-offs wearing teenage hero running in circles does very little to interest me. And it's unsure if any, (given they don't want things to go crazy with the parade of characters at the DC CHALLENGE had) of Kirby's other DC characters will appear in the next nine issues: O.M.A.C., Ben Boxer, Sand Man, Etrigan, Atlas, Manhunter, any of the New Gods. IMHO, adding any of these characters would give the KAMANDI CHALLENGE a little more sizzle (although it would be amusing if Darkseid turned out to be the main villain, as he was the tacked on main villain in the DC CHALLENGE).

As to the fun of how it's all created, the editorial page, is suppose to be the previous writer explaining their issue (the last one) and how they would have solved their own cliffhanger. Unfortunately, they couldn't get Peter J. Tomasi, so we have no idea how he would have solved the cliffhanger. In his place we have the (second issue) artist Neal Adams filling in for Tomasi. No big thing, but a bit disappointing. Still, Adams does a nice job talking about putting the issue together.

Just like the DC CHALLENGE, this is a fun curiosity book. But unlike the DC CHALLENGE which featured nearly all of DC's great characters, I don't think anyone outside of a diehard Jack Kirby will be that into the KAMANDI CHALLENGE.


Writer Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist Daniel Warren Johnson
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Saint Saucey

I really enjoyed issue one and could not wait to read issue 2, to see what came next. But what came next wasn't what we got. Instead we got a flashback issue. Starting with the moment Thea the artist loses her hand. One of my chief complaints was that it was a little too convenient that an artist loses their drawing hand. It turns out it was deliberate. It was taken by Nim, head of the Paznina as punishment for his daughter's injury during a border skirmish. His daughter was so beautiful that commoners begged to gaze on her as their carriage passed by. Since she lost the best of her Nim takes the best of Thea.

I like this idea better than it being a coincidence. Plus the brutality of the scene is a great visual. Nim wears the skull of some sort of animal as part of his armor that he uses to bite off her hand. Wouldn't that be great to see in anime or live action? I do have a problem with us learning of Nim's daughter in exposition rather than seeing the incident on page.

Lots more exposition follows and more story elements are revealed. We learn about the world they live on. Some sort of disaster happened making the ground unlivable. It's referred to as the Ancient Dark. The Roto live on their skiff while the Paznina have laid claim to the highest of the Rising Plains (A sort of asteroid belt hovering above the planet) We find this out as the Roto find some sort of android during their scavenging. It comes to life and saves them from a creature that is referred to as a Leviathan. After the battle Thea's brother tells this android, who he names (Shiloh) their history/legend while their dad comes up with a plan. The Paznina receive a threat and prepare to go to war.

It seems Johnson has a way of winning me over. Remember how I said I wish we had gotten to see the incident with Nim's daughter as it happened. I do believe he did it as exposition rather so the reveal of Nim's daughter would be all the more jarring (Though maybe it would have been better if we had seen her beauty before hand).

Also, it turns out Nim, head of the Paznina is a Queen. Some how I missed that in my initial read and only caught that in the reread. I'm not real happy with the design of her battle helmet. The head of a ram thing I get, but the lips yeesh. Other than that the rest of the art is really good. I love the history of the world that Warren has created and just begun to hint at. It harkens back to THE SIXTH GUN and Joss Whedon's BUFFY world except it is fleshed out here in one issue while it took Buffy seven seasons to delve into it's own mythology. We are only given a taste but it promises so much more.

A few of the characters are a bit cliché. Rollo, son of the Roto chief, being unwilling to shed blood and his dad being gruff and unforgiving is such an obvious trope and the goofy overweight best friend Hobbie is every secondary character/best friend ever. Even still I want to get to know them more. I am really excited to see this story unfold.


Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mike del Mundo
Marvel: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man

Spanning two Avengers relaunches, Mark Waid's Kang adventure finally comes to a close. As the Vision from the end of time helps assemble three Avenger teams to defeat Kang before he can become a threat(and yes, it has a parallel premise to ULTRON FOREVER).

Now while I enjoy a good time travel tale (big fan of Per Degaton), Waid's Kang tale is a bit overly bugnutz crazy with time manipulation. Like many of Kang's recent storylines. This issue appears to deliver the final battle. But as crazy as this story has gotten, who knows. In a three pronged attack: taking out his weapons, his money, and himself, before they all came together as Kang! The current Avengers team-up with the founding Avengers and then some mid-history Avengers (Black Knight, Steve Rogers Cap, Monica Rambeau Cap, She-Hulk and Namor). Just as it looks like the heroes have won, future / alternate versions of Kang: Immortus and Scarlet Centurion, join in the fight. In a rather Batman move, the villains consider Giant Man to be the weakest Avenger, and of course his big brain gets the better of everyone. Once everything has settled down, and Kang is no longer a threat to anyone, ever. Waid then brings in a story point from his THE AVENGERS .0 mini-series. As Avenger X appears- sort of.

Like the bulk of Waid's current AVENGERS run, this story just fails to hit it out of the park. Mind you, I loved the original set-up, of the Vision kidnapping Kang as a baby: Rash actions leading to catastrophe. But in the end it became too much, “wibbily wobbly timey wimey” (Urban Dictionary it). And trying to make logical sense of the story becomes pointless. Artist Mike del Mundo wasn't helping out much either. Mind you, he's a talented artist, but his palette choice and cartoony flare undermine his strong work. Mind you, if you aren't bothered by his drab pastel coloring, you would disagree with me. To get in tune with the season, the coloring of his pages look like Easter Bunny vomit. Which is disheartening, because his drawings are often well done.

In the end, I also feel that Kang is way too overused, like Joker in BATMAN. If I see neither of these villains in the next five years or more, I would consider it a good thing. That said, I'm curious what Waid has in store for us next, assuming the “wibbily wobbly timey wimey” stuff is finally over.


Writer: Steve Orlando
Penciller: Diogenese Neves
Inkers: Ruy Josè & Marc Defering
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Saint Saucey

I'm still not convinced this book isn't an attempt to duplicate some of the chemistry of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. The Main Man Lobo really reminds me of Mick Rory's Heatwave. (Not that that is a bad thing.) The team joins up with the Kravian Rebels and then splits up to take on the various Extremists while Havok solidifies his power by convincing the neighboring countries to join up. With the Extremists being taken out by the other members, Batman, Vixen and Bogda (leader of the Kravian rebels) storm Havok's strong hold for a face to face.

I'm not quite sure I understand the purpose of this book. I thought by calling it Justice League Of America they wanted this team to deal with smaller/more local threats while the big team takes on the fight against the foes no single hero could withstand. But this is an international team taking on alien criminal warlords. It's a fine concept and I am sure the characters they have chosen can handle the threats being thrown at them but change the name to Justice League International.

As for this particular threat, color me unimpressed. His design reminds me a bit of Korg from Planet/World War Hulk and his chronies aren't any more original. There's the guy who looks like Blanka from STREET FIGHTER. There's a Mojo look a like with Medusa's hair powers. And we have a guy who reminds me a bit of Bendis's Ultimate Mysterio. And on the Rebel side we have got Jyn Erso meets Rogue. I know everyone looks like someone and everything is subjective but the character designs seem uninspired and the third world country seems so overly fake it feels like Xanadu.

Historical fact Kravia has been a country in the DC Universe since 1995 and was introduced in NIGHTWING #1. All that aside the Art on this book is a solid 5 out of 5. Beautifully done through and through.


Writer / Artist: Kyle Starks
Marvel: Image Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man

The man who brought us the Eisner nominated SEXCASTLE, is back with another strange one: ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN. So if you like hip and trendy cartoonie art with hobo adventures, this one is for you.

The overall premise seems to be a simple: Set in what seems to be the early 1900's, a mysterious and cool hobo, Jackson, has a map that supposedly leads to the “Rock Candy Mountains”. The Rock Candy Mountains comes from the old timey song of the same name. A veritable paradise for hobos, “...There's a lake of stew, and whiskey too. You can paddle all around them in a big canoe, in the big Rock Candy Mountains.” Starks then pours in a healthy dose of colorful characters. It starts off with a 'devil' man looking for Jackson. Followed by some FBI types chasing Jackson, a bore loser account (getting dragged along for the ride) and the hobo mafia trying to kill him. The hobo mafia is the lead by the son of the railroad, who pretty much does whatever he wants, like pretending to be a hobo.

As with SEXCASTLE, if you are looking for something different, almost AdultSwim-ish, ROCK CANDY MOUNTAIN will fit the bill nicely. Starks definitely has enough moving parts in this story to make it compelling. As for his artwork, I'm a little underwhelmed. While I think his overall style is fine, in a Paul Frank / ADVENTURE TIME kind a way, the finish is too rough and “outsider art” for me. He could also benefit for basic comic book techniques (not strips or web- books). Like having reveals on even pages. That way, the set-up and reveal aren't laid out in front of the reader before they read them. It should be: set-up, turn the page, reveal!

Reading Starks' editorial page, he seems to have a rather unhealthy obsession with the song, “The Big Rocky Candy Mountains.” But what do I know, I never heard of it until the movie, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOUGH. In the end, this is no boring set-up issue, and promises to be a nutty tale.

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

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