Welcome to the Lightning Review! For 25 weeks straight now, I’ve provided my take on what I read in comics in short(ish) paragraphs so that you don’t have to, but also to possibly persuade you to do so. I’ll rate them PULL or PASS, and at the end I’m gonna tally em up and tell you just how good my week was! I got a few free reading materials at the Cincinnati Comic Expo last weekend, so starting this week, I will review one of those a week until they’re all gone, starting with Skyward Volume 1. I also picked up a few books just for me, so who knows? I may throw in a back issue or two along the way. This week though, my cup overfloweth with this, the exclusive Todd Nauck interview, and my review of the Cincinnati Comic Expo. Enjoy my suffering!! Lol
Deadpool #19- PULL! I’m still not thrilled by the Deadpool 2099 issues between bigger arcs, preferring them to be a separate miniseries I can skip, but this one ties in to the present much better than the previous two. A reunion between Wade, Ellie, and Preston is loving and funny in a way. I do not like Warda, the “new” Deadpool doing everything she can to find her mother Shiklah, but at least the story is coming together. Also, why the funk do they have to throw Iron Fist into this as well as Deadpool v. Gambit. Almost like Marvel is pushing him to hype the upcoming Netflix series…
Deadpool Annual #1- PULL! This creative team loves the time vault issues, where they throw Deadpool into comics and situations that didn’t initially include him, and this is no different. Deadpool joins Firestar and Iceman to recreate the Amazing Friends of the animated cartoon, but they are in for a big shock when Deadpool’s methods of defeating the sinister six come to light. Jokes, gore, and nostalgia galore in this story! If that wasn’t enough, it also includes a short about escaping a burning building and another story that I wasn’t crazy about. But that first full comic is worth pulling this book.
Extraordinary X-Men #14- PULL! I’m starting to think I prematurely suspended my acquisition of the floppy copies of this series. Nightcrawler was a much more prominent role in the retrieval of Colossus, while Iceman is not much help at all. In fact, every subplot is solid since Apocalypse Wars ended and I might just back on the wagon if the next issue or two shapes up. I like that Forge is included in the title, but his absence from the recap page is insulting, if you consider his creation Cerebra is listed as a teammate. I want so much more from this title, but the fact that it’s moving in the right direction is about as good as I can hope for at this point. Side note: so glad Ramos is off this title…
Mae #5- PULL! This is more like it! Last issue felt more mad scientist than fantasy world, and this time around, we get back into the groove of things! As always, Gene Ha provides expressive, bright art with bold sound effects and unique characters, but my favorite aspect was the relationship between Abbie and Mae. Both very similar characters, but one is a gung ho fighting machine and the other is the more calculating problem solver. I hope the fight makes its way to Earth soon, but for now, I’m just glad things are developing nicely into the next chapter of the story.
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #46- PULL! Talk about political commentary! In this issue, Mayor Mare gets some competition when businessman Filthy Rich decides to run for office after a playground collapses shortly after completion. Sides are taken, campaigns are run, and tensions fly high. The parallels between these candidates and the current presidential candidates are too obvious to chalk up to coincidence and I feel as though the outcome may reflect some citizens’ fears in the upcoming election. Good job Garbowska and Anderson on this issue! The story continues next month!
Spider-Man/ Deadpool #9- PULL! Not exactly sure where this falls, continuity wise, but the story is a great stand alone issue that leads into a larger conflict, to be developed next issue. The plot structure unfolds nicely, jumping from a fight scene in the present to different events within the past three days. A new supervillain team, Hateful Hexad, emerges to fight the crimson duo, and while they aren’t very formidable, the characters are whimsical. Bigger villain emerges by the end, but I still can’t get over BearBoarGuy (which I believe is a reference to South Park’s Man-Bear-Pig). Kelly & McGuinness can do no wrong, even if the story is taking a weird direction.
Teen Titans Rebirth #1- PULL! After the last team dissolved when Tim Drake “died”, I was pretty disappointed because I liked that line-up. However, bringing Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy together again is so great. Kid Flash (Wally West) rounds out this roster brought together by Damien aka Robin for reasons yet to be revealed. I think this Robin is a brat, but that opinion may change moving forward with these Teen Titans. I stand by the fact that everyone (except Kid Flash) is older and more experienced as a Titan, but I think this looks like a very good team. Writing and art both reeled me in and I plan to follow the series as long as it’s worth reading.
Totally Awesome Hulk #10- PASS! I loved Amadeus in the last issue and in The Fallen, but this comic just didn’t measure up. I am not a fan of how Marvel is throwing Black Panther around, and this issue is a prime example of why. The comic was more about T’Challa and Jake Oh than the Hulk, and that’s not cool for me. Also, I feel like BP is creating conflict instead of resolving it and that’s the last thing we should want. The art unfortunately gets a downgrade, with respect to the last few issues. I did like that fact that Amadeus seeking revenge instead of dealing with a monster crisis proves to be the wrong call, but the monster in question is not of the caliber worthy of the Hulk, as far as I can tell. We’ll see.
X-Babies Reborn #1- PULL! Throwin it way back to 1999, I picked this up last weekend for some cute mutant fun. This was really fun to read. Not only are the bulk of the Uncanny X-Men scaled down and renamed things like Shower, Sugah, Colossusus, and Shadowkitty, but we also get the Mitey ‘Vengers! Iron Ace, Wisp, Thunderson, and more fight the X-Babies over the fate of a liquified Psychilde! It is Little Marvel AvX (by Skottie Young) 15 years before the fact. I love Mojo and the devilishly cute Crawler. A very fun double-sized book for all ages
Assassin’s Creed: Locus #1- PULL! I have only a remedial understanding of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, but this is a nicely done comic. The main character is a man whose has lost the use of his legs, but can still feel incredibly mobile in the Animus as a 19th century agent in search of a relic that could aid in the betterment of mankind. I really enjoy the art style because it gives off an old-fashioned vibe, even in the modern, present-day scenes. I couple pages are kinda wordy, but the issue ends with action and an intriguing introduction that makes the reader curious as to what comes next.
Backstagers #2- PULL! Now that I’m not judging the book by its cover and know what that the interior art is much more cartoony than the cover art would imply, I could appreciate this much better. I liked James Tynion IV’s comparison of the backstage to a magical labyrinth because this is a big brownie point in their favor, as I am a fan of Labyrinth stories. Hunter has a big crush on new kid Jory and gets in over his head trying to show him the paint room guarded by Echo Spiders. We are introduced to the stage managers in this issue, but the goofy stagehands, awkward romance, and fun magical antics are the really take away.
Bloodshot Reborn #17- PULL! This comic has the best parts of a psychological thriller and a big, action-filled war movie. Bloodshot is trapped on an island with other Bloodshot experiments about to escape, but not before trying to redeem the Deathmate seeking to destroy him! Great fight scenes, a hint of romance, and a shocking reveal at the end all add up to an amazing comic book. Not as much Bloodhound this issue, but there is a nice spread a few pages in that is so freaking cool, with a purple background that would make an awesome poster.
Cryptocracy #4- PULL! What I enjoyed about this comic didn’t negate what I didn’t, but this comic was still good enough overall to warrant a thumbs up. For me, the title could mean both a cryptic government and a cryptozoological one, because both hold true in this comic. I loved the wildlife preserve for Bugbears, Dragons, and many other “mythical” creatures and the stories in that facet of the book, but all the political family nonsense and data breaches I could’ve gone without. It’s interesting, but is overshadowed by Death Worm attacks and giant lightning bird rescues.
Descender #15- PULL! This is proof that romance can be the focal point of a sci-fi story and still be incredibly good. The two issues I’ve read in this series have relied heavily on flashback, like Lost, but without a present storyline to refer to throughout. This comic follows the relationship of Effie and Andy, whose journey have grown together and apart through adolescence. This is also a prime example of successful watercolor being the sole art medium of a comic. I can actually see the paper texture in the panels, which is wonderful. Beautiful work.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: A Spoon Too Short TPB- PULL! I’ve seen trailers for the next show based on the character, but this was my first real look at Dirk Gently. I was very confused by this at first, but once I learned what “holistic” means, I got a better appreciation for it. All sorts of weirdness in this comic including rhinoceros nostrils, an orchestra in a truck bed, and vacationers who have lost all form of communication thanks to a mysterious force. The art is interesting and Dirk can clearly break the fourth wall. Also, this is one of the best executions of shedding light on world issues via comics I’ve ever seen.
Scooby Doo Team Up #35- PASS! This is a true Scooby Doo team-up, in that the rest of the Mystery Gang is not invited to the canine crusade. I felt like this comic laid on the dog theme a little too strong, for as little pay off as the reader gets. Scooby, Wonder Dog, Krypto, Ace the Bat-hound, and G’Nort the Green Lantern all visit a planet inhabited by dogs, with their own superteam that apparently fights feline foes all at once. They name every single character during the fight (that our heroes literally do nothing for), but a moment of awareness to the absurdity was much appreciated. Scooby tags along because there are ghosts haunting the SPCA headquarters, but the issue abruptly ends a “To Be Continued” that this reviewer doesn’t intend on continuing.
Skyward Volume 1- PULL! So I was gifted all three volumes of Skyward by editor Kelly Dale last weekend at CCE, so the least I can do is include them in my Lightning Reviews. I genuinely enjoyed the firat 3 issues of this fantasy title about a young boy and his dog on the run from those that destroyed his home and family. Other adventurers encounter their own obstacles in search of the child. The story has amazing artwork, writing, and plotting; I definitely recommend this because Jeremy Dale nailed ro fantasy element without skimping on heartfelt moments. I know it’s a couple years old, but seek this one out and tune in to upcoming Lightning Reviews for the next two volumes!
Smosh #4- PASS! While this comic does have some spunk and humor, it just felt so… dumb. The main story revolves around a new “superhero” Boxman giving his origin story to a businessman looking to exploit his celebrity. Boxman is friends with Ian and Anthony, incorporating Smosh into the story, but their role is no more than hero support. My real issue is that Boxman looks like a guy wearing a box, rather than a being made of and retaining the properties of cardboard. The secondary story is cute in its frustrating nature, but the main feature wasn’t that impressive.
Sonic Universe #90- PULL! The end of a four issue arc, Knuckles and our heroes must dig deep within themselves to defeat the wizard Walter Naugus, who has harnessed the power of the master emerald to destroy them! This is a great kids comic that works for nostalgic adults as well, offering plenty of action and humor with many beloved characters. Even Sonic shows up in this issue! Colorful and easy to follow, this team just gets what their readership wants to see and deliver every month.
Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #734- PULL! The series collects various past Disney comics from different countries, so naturally there is plenty of variety as far as subject matter and quality is concerned. My favorite is a wacky race starring Donald the Duck, followed by a story about Lil Wolf and the three pigs. The Salvador Dali comic was a bit too meta for me, but overall, this is a fun read. Nothing flashy or modern about it, just good old fashioned Disney strips. Judging by how many issues there are, there’s no shortage of material to use!
Zoe Dare #4- PULL! The last of a four issue series, Zoe Dare and her sister Danni team up to destroy the disasteroid! This series really does have a lot of cool elements- motorcycles, aliens, robots, space tech, and kick ass fight scenes. The alien design reminds me of some blue X-Men, which you know I dig, and it’s fitting that the final act of defeating the spacecraft/asteroid mirrors the events of the first issue. It’s kinda cliché that every major player in the comic survives, but it sets us up for a good follow up series if Action Lab decides to do so. Heck, it even ends with “The End. Or is it?” Either way, it’s a strong finish for a title that had its fair share of highs and lows.
If I’m not mistaken, this may be the best reviewed week since I started doing Lightning Reviews! Eighteen positive reviews and only three negative ones yield an astounding
4.3 out of 5 Lightning Bolts!!
This week was ELECTRIC! I’m not sure if I was just on a comics high this week from seeing so much amazing content at Cincinnati Comic Expo or if this week was genuinely just awesome. Probably both! So, since I have so much to compile and edit and post this week, there is a high probability that I haven’t finished my articles about CCE and Todd Nauck, but rest assured, those are on their way and the links will be in Lightning Review #26 for the half-anniversary of this endeavor! In the mean time, entertain yourself with the Tarzan/ Planet of the Apes #1 review I wrote a few weeks ago, since that came out this week as well. Follow me on Twitter (but not in real life, please… that’s creepy) for all the stuff I feel like sharing with you fine folks. The handle’s @bamfingbob. Now, I’ll do what I do best. Auf Wiedersehen! BAMF!