Another week, another Lightning Review! Welcome back everyone to the best damn variety comic review article on the web (because, to my knowledge, it’s the only one). You’ll be pleased to know I found time between playing as Nightcrawler on Contest of Champions and hunting Pikachu on Pokémon Go! to review a healthy amount of comics this week. My last few have been overwhelmingly positive, but can this week continue that streak? Let’s see!
Civil War II #3- PULL! Followers of this weekly review will notice I did not include this title until now, but I will from now on because one of the perks of reviewing is enjoying these events. I enjoyed the first two issues, but this really brought the tension and consequences to a head. Avoiding spoilers (and if you have, you’re lucky), the whole issue is a trial of a hero who uses the visions of Ulysses as justification for an unthinkable act. The art is wonderful and moving while the writing by Bendis is inspired. Both sides have a fair point, but I tend to side with Tony. I honestly think this is a better moral dilemma than the first Civil War and am invested in how this will turn out, along with repercussions throughout the MU.
Daredevil #9- PULL! On principle, I don’t buy single issues of ongoing titles, but the Death of X variant of this one features Nightcrawler, so naturally I make the exception. I haven’t bought it yet due to a condition known as “lackadamoolah” (aka I’m broke), but I did get the digital copy so that I could review it this week. This is a heist team up with Spider-Man, who adds plenty of humor to an otherwise serious undertaking. Charles Soule does a great job capturing the vulnerability of Daredevil in his situation and even writes in some dialogue from Spidey basically saying the black suit phases can be a real doozy. The art feels hazy, with an old-fashioned style reliant on blues and reds as base colors, with a sepia filter thrown in. For a mid-story issue, it actually works great as a one-shot that I really got a kick out of.
Deadpool #15- PASS! I know why Marvel is tying Deadpool and the Mercs into Civil War II, but I just wish it was better than what they came up with. While the disgruntled employees seek to destroy their contracts with Wade, the regeneratin’ degenerate breaks into Triskelion to “kill” Ulysses but ends up fighting Black Panther. This lasts nine pages and has a lot of toilet humor, literally. It is a fun tussle, but is ultimately just unnecessary filler. We also get a teaser as to why Wade has attained super stardom, but no real details. Nothing wrong with the art and I do love Gerry Duggan, but I feel like he’s essentially a puppet dangling from corporate strings, forced to do with Deadpool what works in the big picture rather than be creative and original.
The Adventures of Miru #1- PULL! This is a really fun space fantasy comic with intriguing characters and excellent art throughout. A strange creature falls from the heavens onto a planet called Gaia and is intercepted by a robot and his passenger mouse Scribbles. The local mage heals what we discover is a long gone species of dragon, and our merry band must seek a tome containing the identity of the fallen beast before those of more nefarious agendas can. The writing is excellent and the art exhibits playfulness, even in the intimidating villain scenes. This may be my top pick this week in the variety list for cool, original comics.
Dungeons and Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire Part 3- PASS! Much like the first issue, this comic revolves around six characters of different fantasy races and creeds, now stuck in a land of darkness on a quest to return home. The problem is that all the cool action scenes I liked in the first part is replaced with dreams in a vineyard. The art has a vintage pop comic shading style which I feel is underutilized in today’s industry, but it’s average otherwise. Also, how many hamster quips must Minsc spout off before someone turns around and slaps him? This is pretty run-of-the-mill material that will not add anything significant to your collection.
The Flash #2- PULL! I love the character and watch the show, but as far as comics are concerned, I’m barely a casual reader. So coming into this issue in the wake of Rebirth, I was surprised by the addition of a second speedster, Barry’s coworker Detective Heart. This issue deals with learning the ropes of the speed force and the challenges that come with the power, such as secret identities and revenge. I really liked this issue on the whole, but I do have one observation for continuity’s sake. Mind you, I have no history with recent Flash comics, but young Wally West appears to be black, but his Aunt Iris is white. Did the TV show make the West family black to reflect the comic Kid Flash? Or is the comic following suit of the show to draw in fans? I really would appreciate if some one knows if they’d clue me in.
Gold Key: Alliance #4- PULL! This is a really fun read, even though I had little to prepare me for the plentiful elements of science fiction and comic goodness contained within these pages. Dynamite gives us a King’s Quest type of team (only better) with the heroes Solar, Samson, Turok, and Magnus, who are in a strange parallel world fighting for their lives. Dinosaurs, robots, cavemen, spirits, and crazy animal hybrids make this as interesting as it is vivid. The color tones change with the subject matter throughout the comic and all members have ample attention. This is a really smart way to build interest in these characters to boost the sales of individual titles as well, so kudos there.
Legends of Oz: Tik-Tok and the Kalidah #3- PASS! I bought the Legends of Oz: The Wicked West title a while back, but avoided this spinoff, and for good reason apparently. I liked the Kalidahs and Queen Zixie of Ix, but I hate Tik-Tok with a passion. This ties in loosely with Legends of Oz, but is a story all its own, and sadly this is a big con for me. What drew me to this western take on Oz was the differences and similarities to the books I love so much, but this might as well be something else entirely. If Tik-Tok didn’t look like a s-s-stuttering metal armadillo, I would have liked this more, but this just strayed to far from the source material for my tastes.
Lumberjanes/ Gotham Academy #2- PASS! As far as crossovers are concerned, I’ve definitely read worse, but any action or intrigue that hooked me in the first issue is dropped like a hot potato. This is mostly a bickering mess trying to develop a plan to rescue their captured cohorts who are trapped in an eighties flashback. Also not a fan of the art in this issue. I don’t know if the artist is different from the first issue, but I thought I enjoyed it more. Maybe I’m thinking of Fletcher’s work? I guess I was just expecting more cool stuff in this comic and instead I got shocking realizations about corded phones and encyclopedias. I was just uninterested in this. Sorry not sorry.
Mickey Mouse Shorts: Season 1 #1- PULL! This collection of silly 4-6 page stories is very similar to the shorts currently airing on the Disney Channel between shows, and I thought they were original, well thought out, and very funny. Mickey and Goofy steal the show, although Minnie and Donald are featured as well. The dialogue is such that I voiced the characters mentally. This is of course a children’s comic, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as a kid at heart with a soft spot for Disney. I will say that this isn’t so happy-go-lucky as you may think, having a scratchy at style (especially Goofy) and actual conflict, despite the loony cartoonishness of it all. Great stuff.
Mirror #5- PASS! This fantasy comic misses the mark for me on several criteria, despite having a few redeeming qualities. On the one hand, the coloring is soft and beautiful, and there are very interesting paneling choices that are refreshing to see. However, this causes unconventional and oftentimes confusing formatting of the speak bubbles that made following dialogue harder than it was worth. Also, the diction feels forced/fake in the context of the story, which is easily forgettable. The comic recap is totally cryptic, which both confused me and warned me of the odd comic to follow. The only thing I had to reflect on after reading this was why on earth this is named “Mirror” because it’s irrelevant (as I can tell) to the actual story.
Prometheus: Life and Death #2- PULL! This one straddled the fence for me until the action escalated past the halfway mark, when it tilted in their favor. This comic is about a group of marines who arrive on a strange planet after barely surviving on board with an alien. The planet is far from hospitable, yielding toxic sludge that seems to rot all living things and a horde of Xenomorphs on the prowl. Two exiled soldiers come to their aid with some unconventional backup sure to please fans. The art style is very militaristic, with hard facial lines and the utilization of negative space and infrared tech. Written like a true science fiction thriller, nerds everywhere can read this and leave satisfied.
Ragnarok #9- PASS! I give Walter Simonson a ton of credit for his run on Thor for Marvel in the eighties, but take away the intellectual property that belongs to Marvel and we’re left with a poor substitution. A creepy Skeletor-looking Thor, or “Skelethor”, teams up with a black elf assassin whose daughter died at the hands of the God of Thunder to survive an attack on Asgard that has killed pretty much everything else. This version of the character is much darker and has an ancient presence that is lacking in the Marvel Universe. The writing feels like Walt and the art looks like Walt, but this just doesn’t hold a candle to his portfolio. Nice try IDW.
The Revisionist #2- PULL! It was weird jumping straight into the second issue, but I picked up on the concept pretty fast. Basically, this guy has a time travelling device in his wrist that takes him through time and space to right wrongs in the timeline, according to the wishes of his estranged father, whose consciousness is contained in the wrist computer. Easy, right? He’s sent to 1979 NYC to kill a man, despite his reform from crime. The art is hazy and indistinct at times, but reflects the period and tone nicely. Much like 12 Monkeys, this is a story with many questions and few answers but the journey is interesting, so I don’t mind.
Scooby Doo Where Are You? #71- PASS! There is enough great Scooby Doo material out there to keep anyone busy before resorting to this comic book. I did really like the second feature of the comic, about an ancient pyramid nuisance called “I Want My Mummy!”, but the main story just did nothing for me. The gang ditch their hippie style for camo as they investigate a scary soldier haunting an army base, but everything I love about the characters is stripped away for the sake of the story when I would have rather seen the military deal with their eccentricities. I love Scooby Doo, but you aren’t missing out if you skip this one.
The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #1- PULL! Never watched the show, but my Nuclear Power Systems professor in college was a fan, so the concept is familiar to me. This comic has plenty of action, drama, and situational humor that is sure to make it a hit among fans and new readers alike. This cyborg courtesy of the US government finds himself investigating the origins of the program that has made him the most expensive and dangerous man in America, even if that means defying those who created him. His actions are beautifully agile and I especially liked his computerized internal monologue. A fun take on a classic television show that remains a cool, relevant concept 40 years later.
Wonderland #49- PULL! Okay, okay, I know this is a Zenescope comic so it’s not gonna be a literary masterpiece, but hear me out. The characters show depth and dimension, the plot has structure, and the art is bold and erotic, to put it lightly. I don’t take these fairy tale rip-offs seriously, so by going forward with low expectations, I manage to have a pretty good time. I really liked the Cheshire Cat and his relationship with Calie, and as a young man with healthy libido, I have to mention that the lack of clothing on the cartoonishly curvy ladies was well received. Also, nice touch making the speak bubbles of the Red Queen shaped like hearts. For cheap thrills, chills, and kills, go for Zenescope.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #9- PULL! Trapped in a labyrinth designed to kill and study his secret to immortality, the Eternal Warrior must learn from his past deaths to best the killing machines of a mad man. This guy is a total badass, who at one point cauterised a gunshot wound with searing barrel of an assault rifle. That alone was enough to impress me, along with him straight up calling out his captor. I appreciated the light intermission of the afterlife, but it’s the action hero stuff that I loved. The villain is like if Arcade looked like Colonel Sanders and had a lifetimes long vendetta against one man. It’s just a cool comic that I really dig.
Wow, so a big drop this week in satisfaction from yours truly. 11 thumbs up and 7 thumbs down gives us an overall rating of
3.1 out of 5 Lightning Bolts
This is a drop of a full point from last week, proving that I’m not getting lenient in my reviews, but rather I just have good taste and got lucky. So, I usually avoid talking current events on this article, but let me just say that I am just ripped to shreds about the constant tragedy in the news lately, from Orlando to France to Dallas and the multiple shootings of black citizens in the U.S. I am just glad that I have comics to distract me from all the pain and suffering around us by providing humor and hope, but my condolences to those impacted. I just hope we start moving in the right direction to avoid or prevent attacks such as these as soon as possible.
Follow me on Twitter (@bamfingbob) for more from me, both comics related and personal commentary. I hope to have my computer fixed this week so my comic catalog will be up to date again. In the mean time, keep an eye out for my review of the new Ghostbusters movie that I plan to write this week. Until then, look before you BAMF!