Busy busy busy! That’s what I’ve been all week to bring you a wonderful Lightning Review! This week, I thought my reading load would overwhelm me, but they were all so good that the time flew! Well, that and I took a break from playing mobile games like an addict. So, for first time readers, here’s the run down: Every comic I read is either purchased by me on NCBD (PULL LIST) or provided by Comic Crusaders for review (VARIETY LIST). Each gets a quick review with a yay (PULL) or nay (PASS) and the results are tallied at the end to give a weekly rating. I’ve been at this for 4 months now, so I’m glad people are still reading it. THANK YOU! Now, I present something… electrifying!
Animosity #1- PULL! This comic is simply wonderful. My wife is a zookeeper, so I like getting comics that she may be interested in reading with me, but this exceeded my expectations. Aftershock is probably one of my favorite indie publishers and with Marguerite Bennett and Rafael De Latorre as the creative team, this is a huge win. I really wanted to write a full review of this because a few sentences don’t do it justice, but I decided to write one on March Book Three instead. Just know this is freaking awesome. Animals across the globe gain the ability to speak and think as humans do, and while some are protective and loving, most are vengeful against humans. Several pages of textless scenarios with animals are very impactful. Pick this up.
Deadpool #16- PULL! Finally an issue I enjoyed reading! Although a “Civil War Tie-In”, this issue has nothing to do with the event, and focuses on the reason Deadpool attained celebrity status, which has been a mystery since before the first issue. All the Mercs are trapped in a time-locked vault and one of their number (who is not Deadpool) explains his role in making Deadpool famous. I feel a lot more respect for this guy now. Also, Madcap is coming back! Love it! I’ve never had complaints about Hawthorne’s art, but now Duggan has crafted a story to do it justice. I hope this title steers clear of Civil War II from now on because this is way better. Also, the one-liner about Mexican food Tourette’s is hilarious.
Deadpool: Too Soon #3- PULL! The attack of Squirrelpool! Rocket, Groot, Deadpool, and Squirrel Girl must battle this crazy hybrid monster before moving forward in their investigation of who killed Forbush Man! Then, our heroes travel to Miami to question Ant-Man, where further antics ensue. No one is safe in this series and I love it. And Groot has it in his head that there was an extra person at the crime scene… that can’t be, can it? Todd Nauck is a brilliant artist and Joshua Corin has the characters down pat. I hope this is going to be printed as a trade because I would love to have this as a collection. (Also, side note: I’m interviewing Todd this month. Is there any question toy want me to ask? Let me know on Twitter!)
Deadpool v Gambit #3- PULL! Quite a balancing act between to Ragin’ Cajun and the Merc with the Mouth, but this comic pulls it off. Instead of being a team-up or a “versus” title, this is like a forced tolerance with a common goal. There are funny references to Ryan Reynolds and one of the most beautiful beatdowns in Deadpool history. Gambit has a personal crisis and spends a significant amount of time in the hospital. The coloring is great while the art is hard to describe, but in a good way. It totally rips off that scene from X-Men Apocalypse where Psylocke cuts the car in half, but it makes more sense. The last page leaves the reader on edge waiting for the next issue to see how the heck this plays out.
Moon Knight #5- PULL! This is so weird! As soon as I think I’ve got a handle on this trippy universe sculpted by Lemire and Smallwood, I get another curveball followed by a riddle. What is Khonshu’s game here? At this point, I feel crazier than Marc. Or is it Steven? Jake? All I know is that I have to keep reading if I want to figure any of this out. Within this comic, there are several settings that I will dub “dream rooms”, each covered by different artists that add their own spin on the story, all of which are good. I almost wish I could just see a classic Moon Knight story, with a lowlife villain who needs lunar justice, instead of this complete mindf**k. Hopefully soon…
Spidey #9- PULL! This issue is a departure from Peter’s schoolboy woes to focus on another aspect of his secret identity: that of the photographer for the Daily Bugle under the direct abuse of J. Jonah Jameson! He needs to sell photos to get Aunt May a birthday present, but Kraven the Hunter has other plans. I really appreciated Robbie Thompson shifting gears on this to expand Peter’s character profile and I love Nate Stockman’s art on this title! He was such a great addition, supplying boyish charm to the protagonist and experimenting with panel structure. With the Sinister Six building up and Captain America appearing in the tenth issue, Spidey is becoming one of my favorite titles.
Tsum Tsum #1- PULL! When three young superhero fans discover a space crate full of what appears to be huggable marshmallows, they soon realize these plush playthings can mimic their surrounding heroes and their powers! This is definitely a kids comic drawn is a playful, happy style. I play the mobile Disney Tsum Tsum game, so I was intrigued by the idea of a comic. Sure, it’s a silly, stupid way to integrate Disney with Marvel, but you know what? I don’t care. If it gets kids interested in reading comic books, then I’m on board. And it’s only four issues, so no long term commitment! Tsum Tsum is a win win!
Action Lab: Dog of Wonder #3- PULL! This children’s comic is a bit hokey at times (like when our title character emerges in a robotic suit), but overall it is very sweet and fun for pet owners everywhere. The Action Lab League is on a rescue mission to save a Frenchie that has been accused of biting a little girl and has been ordered to be put down. There are plenty of cute jokes and dog-isms throughout the comic and while the action isn’t as prevalent as one might think, there is more than enough heart. One thing I loved that rarely see in comics is a “Coming Soon” section at the end of comic, teasing future developments for that title. Great way to bring back readers after the arc ends.
Angry Birds Comics Vol. 4: Fly Off the Handle- PULL! This trade features a quote on the back cover by a fellow Crusader on the second issue that you can read in full HERE. I agree with the sentiments that kids will love this for several reasons. First, the stories are short, funny, and self-contained so that you don’t need to remember previous comics to enjoy them. Also, there are two retellings of classic literature done in true Angry Bird fashion: The Three Musketeers and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It’s a great way to introduce children to these books in a fun cartoon. The art is completely accurate and there are even several 2-page spreads in the back of artwork. Adult will get a kick out of it, but kids will really have a blast.
Battlestar Galactica #1- PULL! I’ve never seen the show, but this comic is great for the casual reader as well as long time fans of the franchise. Cullen Bunn writes this story involving all the classic characters plunging into a black hole that appears to have manifested out of nowhere, and I for one do not know how Bunn is able to juggle this in addition to his Marvel workload. He still writes a good story though, and when he discusses something from the television show, he adds a helpful footnote stating the episode. The pencils capture the sci fi well, accompanied by light inks and a soft color palette. I’m not sure how much I would enjoy this as an ongoing since I’ve not invested in the show, but I can tell it is good regardless.
Bounty #2- PASS! The art has an over-the-top feel and the coloring is vivid and bold, but I just couldn’t get into this plot. This is not the first female driven space bounty hunter comic I’ve read even in the past month and I couldn’t really keep up with the story as a whole. What I could follow along with want terrible, but I feel like the flow is so choppy that weaving a narrative is impossible. The content is pretty dense to boot. All I know is that these two sisters are on the run, and there are robots and bounties involved, with a chase scene and a cool villain meet-up at the end. And selfies are still a thing. If you’re going to get this, do it for the artwork and I hope you get the story better than I did.
The Discipline #6- PULL! If last issue was the bland salad, this is the delicious main course. What I loved about issue #4 returns in this overly sexual alien monster feud set in beautiful Rome. This arc-ending issue involves a hunt by the newborn discipline to kill a centuries old member of the race of their sworn enemy, the Stalkers. Cool aliens, cool fight scenes, and many genitals, this is definitely not for kids. However, it is a great comic that I really enjoyed. I guess without the last, lackluster issue to set this up, it wouldn’t have been so rewarding this issue.
Giant Days #17- PASS! I am not a fan of this series at all. I read am issue a while back and gave it poor marks, and while this issue is better, it is still no where near the standard I have set for myself. It’s about these college students who go through the weirdness of life together, but the writing has no substance and the art is mediocre. It reminds me of the comic strip Kathy if she was 15 years younger, and trust me when I say that isn’t a compliment. While spying on exes and being undermined by hackjobs may be the gold standard for some, to me, its petty drama not worth the time to read it.
Harley Quinn Rebirth #1- PULL! I prefer her red and black outfit over the movie look, but other than that I have very few complaints about this comic. Conner, Palmiotti, and Hardin are veterans to the Harley party and it shows in this issue, showcasing her journey so far from origin to the last issue before Rebirth. The most surprising aspect of this is the “villain” and the team-up with Red Tool. Literal props for his speech bubbles. This will be a hit for the new Harley Quinn fans thanks to Suicide Squad, but the real test will be issues 2 and 3 once the hype dies down. Great jumping off point though, check it out.
Injustce: Gods Among Us: Year Five Chapter 33- PULL! With the Justice League movie gaining hype, I thought I’d read this just to see what’s happening in the comics. What a spin on these classic characters! Batman being an antagonist isn’t that much of a stretch, but Lex Luther as a good guy? Superman a murderer? This is too much and I love it! The art by Tom Derenick is exactly what I think of when DC Comics come to mind while Brian Buccellato writes these characters as recognizable, despite the obvious personality differences. If I was more of a DC fan, I’d read this…
Jughead #8- PULL! Archie Comics is 2 for 2 from me! After a great issue of Archie last week, I was more optimistic about reading Jughead this week. In this issue, Archie and Jugs are lost in the woods and must survive a bear attack, a retired bully, and a principal with attitude. All because Archie was young, dumb, and full of… lust? Chip Zdarsky writes a bro-mance like these two deserve and Derek Charm has a carefree style that bodes well in this story. One thing I can’t stand is Jughead’s stupid crown, but it is a key part of the character so it can slide. I do believe my opinions on the new and improved Archie are much better than I’d ever expect.
Kill or Be Killed #1- PULL! Is it wrong that I totally agreed with the protagonist’s monologue about how the world is full of bad people who need killed? Yes? Well, I guess I should also be blackmailed by a demon to kill a bad person every month in exchange for my own life. That’s the predicament of Dylan, a pushover and self-proclaimed failure whose failed suicide attempt granted a new lease on life, with a price. Written in a very conversational style, the reader develops a kinship with Dylan. I was afraid this would be a Deadpool rip-off from the cover, but it’s fast from it. The art is shadowy and dark to emphasize the depressing tone. I really enjoyed this, and you will to.
Mickey Mouse: Shadow of the Colossus- PULL! This collects IDW’s Mickey Mouse #10-12, which is composed of reprints of many older and foreign comics, so this isn’t exactly new content. However, there is some classic Disney fun featuring many popular characters and a few that aren’t as mainstream, like Ellsworth the crow and Clarabelle the cow. The main story involves Mickey and Goofy in Greece discovering the mysteries of a 12 story statue that has rich history and many secrets. It’s not something I’d buy monthly due to the lack of new, original content, but this would be great for the coffee table of a children’s waiting room.
Suicide Squad Rebirth #1- PASS! I loved the first half of this comic, with Amanda Waller appealing to Obama about Task Force X and assuring him that under Rick Flag, they will run a tight operation. Then, she proceeds to break him out of Guantanamo Bay. What I did not like was how the only members of the squad are Deadshot, Boomerang, and Harley Quinn and they are tasked with the cliché “stop the small device that will ultimately destroy the world.” The art is alright, but looks too much like an X-Force knock off for my tastes. I just think there could’ve been more team dynamic if there was more team. Plus this does feel like a watered down version of the movie, but I’m assuming that’s what they were going for.
Superzero #1- PULL! I know this has been out for months, but the trade paperback came out this week and this comic has been in my TBR list since I found it for a bargain a while back. The cover art by Amanda Conner really made me curious and excited to read this. I was disappointed that she didn’t do the art throughout, but the story has a good foundation for growth. 19-year-old Dru is superhero obsessed and a bit of a conspiracy theorist out to become a superhero by any means necessary, which means she has to get her parents mugged after the theater! But seriously, while not my favorite by any means, the concept is one I can totally appreciate. Maybe if I find time, I’ll add it to my long list of things to binge read.
Torchwood #1- PULL! It’s a Doctor Who comic, but without the TARDIS, sonic screwdrivers, or the Doctor himself! I thought for sure that I’d hate this comic, but it really isn’t bad. All characters are adequately introduced and the action was paced well throughout the comic. It was easier for me to jump on because it lacks an implied knowledge of Doctor Who, although it did reference him more than once. The art is no-nonsense and there are plenty of science fiction elements throughout, from sea monsters to alien technology to ninjas on flying jet skis. Some beautiful art and smart writing in this successful first issue.
Trees #14- PASS! Without context this has no impact on me since the plot jumps around. Apparently a giant tree grew up through New York City and killed thousands. Mysterious black flowers play an important role, whatever it may be, and a new mayor was bought/elected to office. The issue starts with a combat scene and I have no clue why. I will say the art is very good and I wish it was accompanying better story. Warren Ellis is a good writer, but this is not his best work. Dialogue is good , but structure is faulty. It wouldn’t kill them to add a recap paragraph so that I know what the heck is going on.
Two Girls One Tank #3- PASS! Strong female group blowin’ shizz up and being hunted by the military is cool and all, but this issue was way too heavy on fart jokes and toilet humor this issue. The fact that they aren’t “ladylike” is one of their strong characteristics, yet reducing that down to serving a turd to a food critic as a delicacy is just a cheap gag. I really liked that Sub Girl struggles to find herself throughout, and the art is just as good as the last issue. I feel like the writing took a nosedive though. I mean, it’s a total cop-out for them to essentially murder an entire town of punk rock wannabes and explain it away by saying it’s a robot tourist attraction. They need to do better next issue or I will regret writing such a dazzling review of issue two, found HERE.
What a great week! Only 5 negative reviews of these 23 comics, yielding a phenomenal
3.9 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
I loved my personal pull, and even some of these “pass” comics were pretty good, all things considered. Remember to read those reviews linked in the Variety List, because both are great comics that deserve read. Follow my Twitter (@bamfingbob) because all the cool kids are doing it. That’s it for me! Till next week, BAMF!