It’s Lightning Review time! I realize that last week my “quick” reviews were still a full paragraph each, so this week I will whittle them down for all you geeks with short attention spans. Also, as this is being posted, I am currently at Niagara Falls with my wife celebrating four crazy years of marriage (if all goes to plan, that is). Due to this absence, I am finishing this article very early, leaving the fine tuning to the amazing Al Mega. So, if there are no pictures or the formatting is different than normal, my apologies. But enough about me, this is all about the comics and after last week’s amazing 3.8 rating, the bar is set very high for this week’s batch. Up, up, and AWAY!
Deadpool v Gambit #1- PULL! So, I honestly had no idea what to expect with this new title because I am not a huge Gambit fan and sometimes Deadpool’s miniseries are hit-or-miss. What surprised me about this first issue is how little we “see” of the two main characters, instead focusing on a heist involving Spider-Man and Daredevil. Really interesting banter and action, with great twists and an element of comradery, prove Acker and Blacker to be great writers. I can’t wait to see how Remy and Wade’s dynamic develops over the course of the series. Now, if only we could get a Deadpool and Nightcrawler miniseries, I’d be in heaven.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #4- PULL! Conclusion of the first arc really brings the drama and the stakes to the extreme! Up top this point, We’ve seen Tommy struggle with Rita’s influence and the team dynamic has suffered because of it, but now the conflict has bubbled over into a full on power struggle! We got zord action, Finster making am awesome monster, and chaos galore! I love the art, as it captures the essence of the nineties show without cheesy costumed robots. Better yet, this issue sets up the next big threat to the Power Rangers so well that you’d be crazy not to pick up the next issue. Also, Bryan Cranston as Zordon in the upcoming film? Heck yes.
Totally Awesome Hulk #7- PULL! Bruce Banner returns!! It’s so wonderful seeing the broken man the Hulk once resided in finally be free to make mistakes and go crazy without the catastrophic consequences… I love Bruce so much. Amadeus Cho does make appearances and is the one true Hulk, but this is Banner’s story. Pak brings his A game as always and Alan Davis returns to drawing the green goliath with his signature style that takes me back to his Excalibur run. It seems as though Bruce will be more central to the Civil War II storyline than I’d expected, with news breaking this week about his involvement. I really like Cho, but Bruce Banner wins it for me every time.
Uncanny Avengers #10- PULL! When the comic says “ULTRON REBORN!” on the cover, you know some crazy stuff is about to happen. Hank Pym/Ultron have returned to Earth after months assumed to be dead and as much as Hank may seem in control, his robotic alter ego is not so submissive. This issue doesn’t see Synapse or Quicksilver at all and only cameos of other characters, but it boils down to Steve Rogers and Wasp in a moral dilemma and Deadpool must decide the fate of Pym! I love Cable in this issue and hope he sticks around for a while. This is a great book that I would recommend to all my comic friends.
2000 AD Prog 1986- PULL! I’m as surprised as you are by this, but this issue was actually really good in my opinion, with all five stories being successes. Judge Dredd dominates the issue with transfers from Texas joining the Judges in Megacity, but I personally preferred Slaine’s stylized jungle monster fight scenes and Grey Area’s space illustrations. As this has various creators, I won’t single anyone out because every one has merit in this particular program. 2000 AD has a long way to go to truly impress me, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Elephantmen: 2260 Book 4- PULL! Set 250 years in the future, this comic sets genetically altered animal-human hybrids against each other in an action-packed battle of beastly proportions. Most of our main characters are based on large African wildlife and they are aesthetically pleasing yet terrifying. Really strong story with plenty of depth and bold artwork that is busy but never cluttered makes this a real page turner. Plus, making these beasts productive members of society after being forced into combat really humanizes them ands makes the reader care about their fates.
Heartthrob #3- PULL! This is still a weird comic, but the addition of two skilled accomplices to Callie and her bank robbing heart donor/boyfriend Mercer help even out the crazy. I reviewed the first issue and was not very impressed. I know the premise is that her new heart comes with baggage of the previous owner and that she loves him, but it feels really schizophrenic sometimes. However, the awesome robbery scene is enough to save this comic from this strangeness.
Over the Garden Wall #3- PULL! I’m really on the fence about recommending this, but since I enjoyed it enough to consider it, I say you should pull it and make your own call. This issue contains two 12-page stories that are very different from one another. The first is a little boy who fancies himself a sheriff who happens upon a cabin erupting with ducks, which was silly yet endearing. The second was just plain sad, about a girl who is visited by her mother’s ghost sporadically for a fortnight. They were both enjoyable in a way, but I came away from it with little motivation to pick up the next issue.
Pretty Deadly #10- PASS! As far as the art is concerned, this is a very deep, complex story involving many incarnations of Death and reapers and those impacted by tragedy, but the writing is so sparse that I felt in limbo myself. The recap page sets you up nicely, then immediately drops you into a surreal landscape of conceptual pondering that has no discernable tie to what is expected. The art is really wonderful, but the storytelling is completely lost on me. If this is a break from their normal format, then it is an interesting display, but if this is how this comic looks every issue, I don’t know how anyone could follow along.
Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess #9- PASS! With a title like this by Action Lab, I was certain that I was going to love this comic. Unfortunately, this issue had very little action, pirates, or fun because apparently last issue was reserved for that. This one has Raven reeling from a fight that her crew didn’t fate too well in and telling a very long story to her unresponsive sister. The story is interesting enough, but the lack of actual pirate content was disappointing. It does have powerful female characters and good art though, so there’s that. Seems like a good series, just not this issue.
Red Sonja #6- PULL! The name Marguerite Bennett has become synonymous with strong female characters, and this comic is proof of that. Sonja swoops in on a giant flaming bird to take back the land that is rightfully hers, with an army of warriors behind her. All of the characters are compelling and beautiful, with a great story that drives them. I love that women are the focal points of the conflict while a man hides in the shadows orchestrating the chaos. This really is a good title.
Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #54- PASS! While IDW dots have some successful titles, I feel this one just falls flat. The Transformers craze is over, in my opinion, and for a casual reader this comic is very cluttered, both visually and character-wise. This is quite action packed and I bet fans have a lot to compliment, but I just didn’t enjoy it. The only joke flopped and any damage or consequence feels trivial. Plus, I think I may be racist because everyone looks the same to me.
So, by my calculations, 9 “pulls” and 3 “passes” grants this week the same rating as last week!
3.8 out of 5 Lightning Bolts
Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@bamfingbob) for updates and opinions that matter to me as well as @ComicCrusaders for the most honest comic book reviews on the web. This week, I posted an interview I had with Gene Ha, creator of the new Dark Horse series “Mae”, linked below. I highly recommended picking up the second issue this upcoming Wednesday because the review will be included in next week’s Lightning Review. Until then, BAMF! Oh, speaking of bamfing, Marvel’s Contest of Champions mobile game is going to have Nightcrawler soon, so I’ve been playing like crazy to have the money/ skills to get him. It’s addictive and I have a problem. Ha ha, okay. Now I’m done. BAMF!