Hey everybody! Welcome to Lightning Reviews, where I share condensed critiques of all the comics I read every week. It’s always different and always 100% honest. No agenda, just a nickels worth of free reviews! The system is pretty straight forward, but if you want an explanation, check out one of my previous Lightning Reviews (maybe not the first one, since it lacked ratings and pictures). Let’s Roll!
Haunted Mansion #3- PULL! This issue was better than the last one, which is enough for a recommendation. Danny, our living protagonist, meets a new tour guide after escaping a much more frightening fare of phantoms. This leads him to the library where he makes a life-shattering discovery and encounters the pirate captain terrorizing the mansion. I feel like the plot is moving along at a nice pace and while the art isn’t my favorite, I’m warming up to it. In my last review, the lack of momentum threatened my interest in this book, but I’m happy to state that the book is finally getting interesting.
Spidey #6- PULL! Is it sad that one of the lamest Spider-Man villains, the Vulture, made for a good team-up story? Spidey discovers the feathered foe stealing from Tony Stank (this autocorrect brought to you by Stan Lee, lol) and Iron Man is out to capture the culprit, who he assumes is Spider-Man! Writing is spot on, as always, and while the artist remains the same, I enjoyed many of his choices this week. Going with an older, classic Iron Man suit was the right call for this book and the laws of physics remain (mostly) intact. I also liked Peter’s struggle with his crush on Gwen Stacy and confronting young love. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Robbie Thompson understands Spider-Man and I’ll continue to read his stuff so long as he delivers the web-covered goods.
Uncanny Avengers #9- PULL! Good. Effin. Book. This team’s roster keeps growing (although I hope Spider-Man returns soon) and this issue sees another mainstay in the Avengers finally make an appearance! I missed the Rage of Ultron GN, but this issue relates directly to the events of that story. I’m not going to blatantly spoil it, but I’m glad the cover doesn’t give any hints. We see Gambit in this issue (for real this time) and a newly rejuvenated Steve Rogers taking the lead. I love Uncanny Avengers right now and hope Gerry Duggan & Pepe Larraz keep up the awesome work!
My Little Pony: Adventures in Friendship Vol 5- PASS! So, I’ve read every issue in this collection when they were originally released, and they are okay. The quality has definitely improved over time, but with a different creative team on each issue, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. The book includes My Little Pony Micro-Series #1 and MLP Friends Forever #4 & #28. My favorite is the last issue, which stars Shining Armor and Prince Blueblood, as it is the funniest and isn’t about Twilight Sparkle, lol.
Inferno: Resurrection #3- PULL! I’ve read enough Zenescope to know what to expect, but this comic exceeds those expectations. Instead of relying on busty half-naked ladies and fairy tale rip-offs (no judgment, I enjoy them occasionally), Inferno has a solid plot with a reasonably self-reliant female protagonist sending demons to hell. The art definitely follows the publisher’s style, but not to the extent of others; it’s the story that makes this worth a read though.
Itty Bitty Hellboy: The Search for the Were-Jaguar TPB- PULL! I’ve never read IBH before, but have always thought it was an interesting idea. I am pleased to inform you that this is a really fun book, taking dark, complex characters and making them happy and humorous. Nowhere else in comic shops will you find the phrase “The one who wears the underwear is the leader” with complete seriousness. I enjoy Mini-Marvels by Chris Giarrusso, so this was right up my alley tonally. Although it’s a kids book, children- at-heart will enjoy it too.
Judge Dredd #5 (IDW)- PULL! I’m not a fan of Judge Dredd, as I’ve made abundantly clear in previous reviews, but this is better than gritty violence in black and white. I feel like this has a clearer story, better art, and a pug dressed as a judge. It adds a “child-in-need” element which I love. I feel like it captures the essence of JD without subjecting readers to the normal style. Although it’s still Judge Dredd, it isn’t a bad comic book, which is leaps and bounds ahead of what 2000 AD presents.
Judge Dredd Megazine #372- PULL! Be warned! I was going to rate this as “PASS” until the very last story because I didn’t really like anything in this. However, the main story “Second City Blues” was really good! It has a ton of cool stuff like aliens, mobsters, and a sport that is like a mix between Quidditch and Roller Derby. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would, both story and art. My advice? Skip to the middle of the Megazine to avoid disappointment and get your Slamboard on!
Lazarus, The Second Collection HC- PULL! Including issues #10-21 and bonus materials, this volume is large and in charge! This title is essentially like Game of Thrones set in the future United States, where advanced tech and the families who develop it control the entire world. The Hock family is waging war with the Carlisle family, and this review couldn’t cover everything if I tried. Hell, a full review couldn’t… Anyway, this book is full of politics, war, and alliances which are sure to pull you in. I didn’t think I’d like it, but once again, I have egg on my face.
Red Sonja #5- PULL! Was gonna write a full review on this one, but I think I’m going to concentrate on one comic review a week for a little while (in addition to these LIGHTNING REVIEWS of course). In a nutshell, I love Marguerite Bennett and her writing, so this book was a hit for me. The art is good over overall, but I especially loved the scenes with Red Sonja fighting the giant flaming bird monster. Some pretty solid work on this book; even with no context the plot makes sense.
Strawberry Shortcake #2- PULL! I tried approaching this as a member of their demographic, and it hits all the criteria for a female-driven kids comic. Cute characters, modern elements, and a dastardly villain (complete with twisty moustache) makes this fun to read. Strawberry Shortcake hasn’t been relevant for years, but neither was My Little Pony and everyone knows how popular that got. Now when is Teddy Ruxpin coming back?
Usagi Yojimbo #154- PASS! Not only does this comic lack the writing finesse I expect from a Japanese-based ninja fantasy, but it’s in black and white! The dialogue is flat, the relationships are shallow, and the humor is dry. I do wish this comic had some color because in many scenes the focal point is unclear due to the cluttered art, which has no shading either. I feel like the idea is great, but the writing does it no justice and the art doesn’t make an impression.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #7- PULL! The comic starts slow, but once the groundwork is laid, the action and suspense really takes off. The Eternal Warrior finds himself captured by a powerful manipulator who has built an extensive labyrinth for the sole purpose of besting Gilad. There is a nice blend of advanced technology and the primitive character pitted against it. I really enjoy the red and blue lighting hues used inside the labyrinth and with the user interface. I look forward to reading the next one.
Agree with my assessments? Let me know through the comments or on twitter (@bamfingbob) what you think! Next week is the U.S. premiere of X-Men Apocalypse, so expect my full review online next weekend! So excited to see Nightcrawler, Psylocke, and Quicksilver! Lastly, I wrote my first book review this week on a great novel by Tom King called A Once Crowded Sky and I hope you take a look at it! Until next week… BAMF!