Guess where I’m at? Cincinnati Comic Expo! That’s right, this week’s Lightning Review comes to you from the home of the Reds and the Bengals, where I’ve already had a blast so far! I met the amazing @ToddNauck, whose interview will be posted on our site in the very near future, along with the convention review which will include all sorts of celebrity encounters, pictures of cosplayers, and honest opinions of the experience. I may cut my Sunday short, but by then, most of my To Do list will be complete. In the mean time, please enjoy this overview of my very rushed week in comics.
Civil War II #5- PULL! You want some superhero fight scenes? Well you’re getting some pretty epic shizz in this one! All sorts of heroes are pitted against one another and it’s just cool. Blue Marvel vs Luke Cage, Rocket Raccoon vs Miles Morales, Magik vs Sam Wilson, and many more match-ups that you just won’t find anywhere else. The end was a pretty big shocker and I’m sorry, but if you aren’t Team Iron Man by this point, I don’t know what your logic is. The writing is really great and the art is worthy of a huge event like this. I just worry about where this is headed in the long run…
Civil War II X-Men #4- PULL! This issue has some great moments, from Mystique getting kicked in the face by her son to Magneto getting a glimpse of what is to (supposedly) come. I enjoyed the artist’s interpretations of characters and their powers, but it’s the writing that I’m most pleased with. Cullen Bunn just gets it. Relationships are put to the test and I’m so glad Nightcrawler has some spotlight time. However, I felt bringing in the second string X-Men was unnecessary to the story. This also acted as a prelude to Death of X, as well as IvX, which are both going to be events that I am looking forward to.
Deadpool Too Soon? Chapter 6- PULL! After reading this, my excitement to meet Todd Nauck went through the roof! Joshua Corin is having a very successful comic debut on this series, taking so many interesting characters thrown into the fold, in this chapter is particular (and I’m not just talking Spider-Ham and Dr. Strange). The digital style is great for such a sporadic antihero. There are two scenes of this that I was in love with, and all I will say is that Nauck’s previous projects came in quite handy. I’m definitely getting this as a trade because every issue so far has been a gem.
Deadpool v Gambit #5- PASS! This went from a fun team-up comic to a story about protecting a tree. Seriously. A f***ing tree. Once they started throwing in Asgardian elements and Iron Fist mythology into a story that one would assume to have X-Men elements but doesn’t, I checked out of this like a no-star hotel. The useless Scrambler gets a happy ending, whoop-di-do, but our main characters just walk into the sunset with no definitive goodbye or anything. My final advice will be in the form of a bad Haiku: Read first two issues/ Then, save your well-earned money/ For chimichangas.
Extraordinary X-Men Annual #1- PULL! I quit pulling EXM because, frankly, I hated seeing my favorite character in a crappy book, but this annual had original stories, different creators, and even an unlikely guest star, Moon Girl. The main story is a prison break of two mutants in the path of a Terrigen mist cloud, and it was a nice change of pace. Nightcrawler is knocked out early on, but at least he is featured unlike Colossus the horseman and Iceman the absent. This is still a far cry from what I expect in a good X-Men book, but I’ll take better over bad. Man, I miss Amazing X-Men… now THAT was a good title…
I Hate Fairyland #9- PASS! Color me shocked, but this week’s issue just didn’t hit the spot for me. I feel like the first arc had a solid goal to attain, and these last few issues were interesting to see where things go, but after the amazingly different take on things last month, this one just felt like the same old jokes recycled. In order to clear a gambling debt, Gert has promised a monster a believed-to-be extinct creature as payment. Unfortunately, she must enter her companion’s hat and fight off all the characters she has put there over the years to get it! It’s enjoyable, but only in the way a third or fourth sequel is after one successful movie (Revenge of the Nerds, for example).
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #7- PULL! Never have I seen the Power Rangers in such a hopeless situation (maybe not including the movie) but this was an amazing issue. The Command Center and Zords are at Rita Repulsa’s disposal, Billy and Goldar are roommates, and the only ranger to retain his powers is Tommy, who has recently been under much scrutiny by the others. The worldwide threat is real, the art is fantastic, and the odds are stacked against our heroes. Heck, even the Bulk and Skull featurette is better than the last arc. I highly recommend this because the people at Boom! Studios know their stuff, perfectly balancing nostalgia and originality. Hope the movie can get even kinda close to this level of amazing. (P.S.- Bill Hader as Alpha 5 in the new movie?! YAAAAAAS)
My Little Pony Friends Forever #32- PASS! Let me explain to non-Bronies. Daring Do is an adventurer who publishes her stories as books within the MLP universe who must enlist the aid of Fluttershy to find a spider that will lead them to a long-lost treasure. This is not a terrible comic, but I feel like the pairing is just wrong, almost too forced to feel authentic. The art is far from the source material, even though it is cutesy and fun. Fluttershy is one of my least favorite ponies, so that paired with story and art not quite up to the standard of what I expect from MLP makes this a pass for me.
Action Man #4- PULL! The IDW Revolution event is upon us! Action Man this week delivers some great character building for our title character Ian Noble and Agent Mercy Gale, who revealed last issue that she was the mysterious villain Doctor X! While this issue is prominently a discussion about how Mercy became Doctor X and her pitch to recruit Action Man to her cause, there is still a fair amount of fighting and excitement to be had. Great artwork on this comic as well. Definitely worth your time.
Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od #2- PULL! So, I’m not a big fan of the artwork in this, mostly due to proportionality issues, but the story is a fun dive into historical science fiction that I totally dig. Captured by a military force on the verge of WWII in 1938, Robo and former, uh, partner Helen are led to a base that supposedly holds an incredible power developed by a Chinese scientist they’ve been tasked with rescuing. What ensues is an all out brawl with tanks, robots, and superpowers. This has a goofy element to it, but ultimately reads more dramatic than it would seem.
BPRD Hell on Earth #145- PULL! While the last two issues focused on Nichayko and the demon girl, this one brings the story back to the BPRD headquarters, where a full evacuation is taking place. One resident proves especially difficult and in this issue, SOMEONE DIES! Seriously. I loved all the paranormal creatures released into the wild and the origin of the Dante’s giants. Empathy for our characters is easily achieved as each struggles in a relatable way. The artwork is very interesting and is heavy on the grey tones this week. Another thumbs up for this title.
Harley Quinn #4- PASS! Calling this a hot dog, not because they are prominently featured in the comic, but because there is so much filler! After a semi-cohesive first arc, this is the in-between issue to cleanse your palette for the next big story, but all I taste is an Indian food burp. Harley teams up with Bolly (one of her gang members, which I find useless and a blatant rip off of Deadpool’s Mercs for Money) to go to India and stop a company exploiting what is essentially slave labor in a call center. The art is not my favorite style, but at least it is well done and consistent. The plot is blah though, so skip it.
Herald #7- PASS! Kudos for trying to make this as cohesive as possible, but this is a bit of a stretch. I love the Aftershock title Rough Riders, so you’d think I would also like a story about Tesla, Lovecraft, and Twain trying to solve the vanishing of Amelia Earhart, but it’s just not as well done. A very supernatural series, there is some pretty grotesque artwork monsters which I can appreciate, but the architecture and design choices feel much more modern than they should be. Also, this must be an alternate timeline/universe to be so historically inaccurate. Not a bad read, but still not up to par, unfortunately.
Horizon #3- PULL! This is just great. Action! Romance! Aliens? Yeah! What I loved about this comic was the role change between the “good guys” and the “bad guys”. A dying human race has an extraterrestrial prisoner that they are experimenting on in order to harness any genetic advantages he has to save their race. However, he has a team tasked with rescuing him that has skills of their own! The art is one point, with blurred action and a lot of color. The aliens are so human that it’s easy to forget they’re not from around here, until you see their skin. The extraction sequence is top-notch. Great job Skybound Comics!
Kingsway West #2- PULL! I would argue that this issue is better than the last, and I really enjoyed that one (the full review can be found HERE). Kingsway Law must team up with a stranger with a pet dragon to find his wife, but the U.S. of N.Y. wants to find him first! They send a winged assassin to stop him in return for Red Gold, whose magical properties enable her abilities, among other things. I love the mythical/fantastic beasts featured in this comic, as well as the underlying love story between a former Chinese militant and his Mexican wife. Well written, well drawn, well… read it.
Lone Ranger Green Hornet #3- PASS! This suffers from the same problem as Herald #7, trying to crossover the unlikely and resulting in a lackluster showing. At least this one acknowledges the age discrepancies and moves the story accordingly. Unfortunately, the one action scene is watered down by the flashbacks and dialogue. Bringing in Jesse Owens as the new Lone Ranger was an interesting choice, but I couldn’t help but think of Blazing Saddles watching the Olympian play dress up. The art was not very detailed at times, and too much so with the elderly Lone Ranger’s wrinkles, giving the reader a muddled two-dimensional experience. Skip it.
Lucas Stand #4 (of 6)- PULL! I’m generally not a fan of war comics, and this one walked a fine line between favorable and unfavorable for me, but the addition of time travel elements (think Quantum Leap), demon possession, and time paradoxes tipped the scales. Lucas travels back to the Vietnam War and fights alongside his father, learning his childhood perception of him was way off target. The story was confusing at times, but I enjoyed the work of the artist and colorist, which compensated nicely. Glad this is a mini series though, because I feel this comic has a strong singular story to adhere to.
Raygun #4- PULL! I had doubts due to my bias against colorless comics, but this was a damn good read. Every kid dreams of having superpowers, but young Matthew has to go through some really rough situations to realize his full potential, including losing his family and being experimented on by the government. This comic does a great job of building the scenario and closing potential loopholes. Greg Schoen has written an endearing tale that I could really jump on board with. The art is nothing fancy, but characters are very expressive and the comic is well-defined. Congrats to Alterna for producing such great material.
ROM #3- PULL! I never read this comic, but if this is any indication, I’m missing out on some great sci-fi. Earth has been overrun by Dire Wraiths but contrary to the usual, ROM is at a disadvantage and must rely on the aid of two humans who each have motivations to destroy their oppressors. Scary aliens, lasers shooting out the space knight’s armor, and our heroes resorting to the oldest trick in the book to infiltrate the enemy base make this a great read. The excellent art and characters make this comic out of this world! Was the pun too much?
Seven to Eternity #1- PULL! I really lived the Remender/Opeña run of Uncanny X-Force, so I had a pretty good feeling I’d like this new title by Image. I was blown away. In a world where the dead isnt far removed from the living and magic replaces science as the governing force for change, Adam Osidis must seek the God of Whispers (aka the Mud King) as a response to the destruction of his home and death of his father. A very rich story, this begins with a page long introduction that sets the stage nicely. Incredible beasts, powerful magic, and strong central characters make this a total win. For a full review, click HERE.
Tomb Raider #8- PULL! I maintain the opinion that this is not the classic, curvy archeologist Lara Croft that I am familiar with from my youth, which is somewhat disappointing. That being said, this is a comic with plenty of action, intriguing dialogue, and clever thinking on her part. Lara must escape captivity in an old warehouse in true Tomb Raider fashion and use her intel to save her friend Sam. This has more of a spy storyline than you’d expect, but it works for the purposes of this comic. I can say the art is far from sexist, which is great news for those whose opposing the character for that reason. Lara is still a bona fide badass, but you know what this lacks? Raiding tombs.
Okay, so using my expert math skills (and the calculator app on my phone), I have determined this week’s overall rating to be
3.6 out of 5 Lightning Bolts
Deeming this collection of comics SPARKY! Like I mentioned before, keep on the lookout for the convention review of CCE and the exclusive Todd Nauck interview, both on Comic Crusaders! Speaking of this website, big news dropped last week concerning the future for our company and I am just so pumped about it. More news to drop this weekend, so keep your eyes peeled! In the mean time, read my advanced review for Chimichanga found HERE (Wade Wilson would be proud of that name). For all tweets from me, including stuff from the Expo, follow @bamfingbob on Twitter. Now, I’m gonna do what I do best… BAMF!