Welcome to my weekly Lightning Review, where I take all the graphic goodness I absorb and provide my input for your reading enjoyment! My milestone 26th review last week will be a tough act to follow, so I’m not going to hold back! There are a few Halloween books I received this week that I am delaying until the end of the month, as are noted throughout this article. Got some great stuff for you this week, so no need to postpone any longer! Enjoy!
Deadpool #20- PULL! This is beautiful. Not like a West Texas sunrise or rainbows at Niagara Falls, because this is Deadpool we’re talking about! No, I mean beautiful in the way you see a character’s heart despite their rough exterior (literally). This stand alone issue has Wade going to a musical and doing some pro bono work alongside a young lady who almost jumped from the ruins of the Unity Squad HQ. The entire issue has Deadpool trying to help Danielle appreciate life and reevaluate her decision to take her own, but this isn’t so easy when you have Deadpool’s personality/bed side manner. Matteo Lolli and Gerry Duggan crafted a wonderful story that I highly recommend to anyone that thinks Deadpool is nothing but toilet humor and violence.
Kill or Be Killed #3- PULL! Surprisingly, no killing in this issue. Instead, our reluctant anti-hero Dylan struggles with justifying his first murder while also building his relationship with his best friend, Kira, into more of an intimate one, despite her sleeping with his roommate. This comic is dark and sexual and demented, and yet the reader cannot help but feel close to the main character, sympathizing with his situation. The demon that haunts his dreams is damn creepy and a young girl watch her mother participate in an orgy is oddly beautiful, although extremely graphic. There is a reason this title migrated from the variety list to the pull list and I don’t regret it one bit.
Legends of the Dark Claw #1- PULL! It’s been twenty years since the Marvel vs DC event of 1996 and the subsequent Amalgam comics spawning from it. I thought now is as good a time as any to read the Batman/Wolverine combination written by Larry Hama, with art by Jim Balent. So a hybrid of two iconic characters, this is actually really good. I loved the villain Hyena, who is two parts Joker, one part Sabretooth, mainly because the concept works so well. The costume design screams mid-nineties and I can’t get enough! If you find this in a bargain bin, do yourself a favor and buy it!
The Mighty Thor #427-429- PULL! You know, for a solo title, this series sure did include a ton of guest characters! I picked up these back issues from 1990 because they guest-starred Excalibur, the British superhero team led by Nightcrawler. While it’s clear the story is centered on Thor and his alter ego, Eric Masterson, the secondary cast of heroes/villains is impressive! In three issues, we see Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Juggernaut, the Wrecking Crew, Excalibur, Code Blue, Quasar, Ghost Rider, and several Asgardian villains. Gets cluttered at times, but I’m glad the focus wasn’t solely on Thor (considering he’s not high on my list of favorite Avengers).
Moon Knight #7- PASS! I’ve dealt with some really strange stuff on this title, but I think this is the limit to what I’m willing to put up with. Most of this issue has Marc in a massive Star Wars- type battle on the moon against space wolves lead by Lupinar! If this sounds completely off the mark for a Moon Knight comic, you’re right! Frenchie is riding in the back seat and ends up dying when Jake Lockley crashes his taxi! Wait, what? Realities flop back and forth, ending with Marc Spectre in Gena’s Diner and everyone is dead! It’s too much effort to juggle this lunacy! Can’t stand the art of the space battle scenes and miss Greg Smallwood sorely. I don’t know if I can finish the arc to be perfectly honest.
Mosaic #1- PULL! As a general rule, I’m not a supporter of the Inhuman movement Marvel is currently hosting, mostly due to it’s consequential phasing out of mutants. However, Mosaic is a great new character that doesn’t carry the baggage of Inhuman lore and culture. When Morris Sackett, 5-time NBA MVP gets transformed by Terrigen mists, he loses is corporeal self and becomes an energy that transfers from person to person, collecting their talents, memories, and emotions with every jump. For a cocky all-star to suddenly be subjected to this loss of personal identity only to gain many others is a great concept that is portrayed wonderfully. Talk about a slam dunk!
Nvrlnd #3- PULL! From a technical standpoint, this comic is fairly average, but the original, modern take on Peter Pan is good enough for me to return to month after month. After tattoo artist (and overall scumbag) Hook steals the shadow from rocker boy Peter, we find our hero growing weaker as his power dwindles. Meanwhile, the investigation of drug-related deaths progresses and we get more insight into the characters of Wendy and Tiger Lily. While a story about teenagers at its core, this is a very adult comic, with its language, sex, and drug themes throughout. The series ends next issue and I’m dying to see how things turn out!
Reborn #1- PULL! Mark Millar does it again with this new project with artist Greg Capullo. This is the story of an old woman who has lived a full life and lost everyone she’s truly been close to, yet fears her inevitable death because she does not believe in any sort of afterlife. However, when the time finally comes, she is reborn as a young woman on a battlefield fighting dragons and wizards and all sorts of strange stuff alongside her childhood pet and father! Not only does the afterlife exist, but it has some serious Tolkien action going on! So many questions raised in this issue that I’d be a fool to miss the next one!
Shade the Changing Girl #1- PASS! I read a short preview of this new title by DC’s Young Animal and thought it looked cool. Unfortunately, both books from this publisher (the first being Doom Patrol) were incredibly disappointing. Instead of being about a quirky girl with abilities that change her surroundings, like I thought, it’s about an alien bird inhabiting her body to get a feel for Earth life. Only problem is that pretty much everyone hated the girl before she became brain-dead, so it creates some real problems for the human players of this book. Art has some cool moments, but it’s just to trippy as a whole to further my interest in the comic. Seems to be a trend for Young Animal…
Skyward Volume 3- PULL! I love this comic! So, this was the last trade gifted to me by Kelly Dale, widow of the writer/artist of this amazing book. Strong fantasy elements surround this tale of growing up and feeling accepted, and now I’m stuck here waiting for the next issue to drop. Sadly, Jeremy passed away before publishing the tenth issue, so (from what I gathered from Kelly) the final issue with complete the story and will be a collaborative effort with several comic creators. It is really a beautiful story that I fell in love with. Action, humor, love, suspense, magic, bunnies… this has it all! READ SKYWARD! (PS- for a full review of issue #8 published two years ago, click HERE)
Uncanny Avengers #15- PULL! I am so glad Hydra-Cap isn’t in this comic, despite being on the cover. Instead, the members of the recently disbanded Unity Squad go to Tokyo to stop the Hand from resurrecting Bruce Banner’s body as a WMD! With the aid of Elektra, our heroes take down a stronghold of ninjas and infiltrate the ceremony site before it’s too late! I really appreciate the creators finally featuring and using the whole team again, because it has felt like they’ve been playing favorites lately. There is still plenty of humor in this comic, despite dark circumstances, and I have renewed faith in title after reading this.
The Black Monday Murders #3- PULL! This was so much more than I was expecting when I first browsed the pages, and it’s wonderful, but in a dark, mysterious way. Almost the entire double-sized issue takes place in an interrogation room, with an elderly banker accused of murder manipulating the situation behind a coy, arrogant persona. Part of the comic is in a stenographer’s transcript style between Viktor Eresko (the suspect) and his attorney, which sounds quite boring but actually gave this depth In it’s omission of sections of the conversation. If that wasn’t enough to draw you in, Hickman throws aliens into the mix. Great story. Great art. Make like Tonto and jump on it.
Black Science #25- PULL! Other than the ridiculously big nose of the imprisoned Grant, I was all for this comic. I don’t follow the series, but I like Rick Remender’s work on this and the concepts are really cool. A scientist and his daughter return from a crazy journey through time and space to their own world, only to be shocked at the changes that have taken place. There is a scene where scientists return from a world with cute cuddly pets that end up causing massive destruction, and I loved how the artist mixed the fluffy into the fury. It’s no wonder this is such a popular Image comic.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III #6- PASS! This is all about the war games, with tactical advantage and gratuitous armed violence dominating the issue. Unfortunately, that’s about all it was and I’m not big on warfare stories. I know next to nothing about the Black Ops team infiltrating a Russian stronghold, so I’m not invested in the series whatsoever. Credit where credit is due though; the action and art are both very enjoyable and the villains, Wet Witch and Red Witch, are formidable. If you want plenty of explosions and military/tech lingo, this is a great comic for you. Otherwise, stick to playing CoD on your console of choice.
The Chimera Brigade #1- PULL! I had mixed feelings about this comic, but I’m totally giving them the benefit of the doubt. Set in an alternate universe 1938 Europe, World War II is on the horizon and the superhuman’s created by chemical warfare in 1919 must fight for their respective alliances to further their cause. The characters and their powers are very interesting, including hypnotism, super speed, metamorphosis, and mechanical suits. The writing and art reflect a tone of military briefing, which was my biggest concern, but it’s interesting and that is what matters. Also, did I mention Marie Curie’s daughter is in it?
Control #5- PULL! This is a crime drama, plain and simple. No aliens, monsters, superheroes, or talking animals to make things “interesting”, and yet the comic is still a very interesting one. A cop digs deep into a story they ends up yielding much bigger consequences than anticipated, with politicians and officials being paid off and the discovery of expensive “rape parties” in a condemned building. The artist makes everything proportional, lending a lifelike feel to his comic interpretations. I also liked the hazy backgrounds and appropriate amount of cursing to feel authentic. The story concludes next issue, so check it out!
Death Force #5- PULL! For a pretty blatant hybrid of Ghost Rider and the Punisher, this is an incredible comic book. Former cop Rick Murphy is endowed by Death the power to harness the energy released by dying souls to heal himself, among other advantages. This comic features Death Force fighting the Black Dragon, whose power seems more than DF can handle. More heart than I’d expect from such a dark comic, but that doesn’t mean they hold back the awesome action scenes. The design choices are freaking cool, the plot and dialogue flow well, and I love the varied background choices during quick panels. Bravo to Joe Brusha, Marc Rosete, Fabio Amelia, and Zenescope in general.
Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Halloween Special 2016 #1- I’m actually delaying posting this until Lightning Review #29, to coincide with Halloween weekend. That should post, coincidentally, on the 29th. See you then!
Letter 44 #28- PULL! As an engineer (someone please hire me!), I can totally relate to the characters in this story. For a critical mission to space, the government is gathering a team to ensure its success by means that are somewhat shady. The two experts featured in the comic are a surgeon with great skill/stamina and the head programmer of the software system of the spacecraft. Both of these characters have personal battles to face before they can be convinced to become astronauts. Charles Soule writes a wonderful origin for these two. The quality of the art doesn’t live up to the writing, but it is still a decent show of talent worthy of this winner by Oni Press.
Puppet Master Annual #2: Halloween 1989 “The Creature”- Again, postponing this review for Lightning Review #29 to commemorate All Hallow’s Eve.
The Shield #3- PULL! I’ve never heard of this publisher before reading this, but Dark Circle Comics put out a pretty damn good comic! Many different factors pulled from various superheroes shape this story about an American hero from the Revolution who has woken up in modern times with little memory of who she is or what her purpose is. We do know she’s a total badass, reminding me of Black Widow, as she completes missions that seem less than heroic. This could honestly stand up to the work of larger publishers like Dark Horse or Image, both in its artwork and writing. The two previews in the back are pretty good too, so keep an eye out for Dark Circle Comics. May be the next breakout publisher…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #63- PULL! This differs from what I am used to with a TMNT comic, but by changing things up, Eastman keeps the reader guessing and invested. I mean, Splinter leading the Foot Clan is pretty far-fetched! I really enjoyed the secondary story about the recruitment of the Turtles’ ally, Harold, into joining the enemy. Another interesting choice was by artist Dave Wachter, whose design of the brothers were more closely modeled after Franklin the Turtle than the classic design utilized in the majority of TMNT properties. The fact that this not a generic, run-of-the-mill tale is what sets it apart and worth a read.
Weavers #6- PASS! I’m not sure if it’s the artwork or the writing that I find most off-putting, but this comic just doesn’t do it for me. I think I read the fourth issue as well and didn’t have anything good to say either. In a world where an alien spider species infects human hosts, giving them powers at the cost of their free will, the recurring theme throughout this issue is betrayal and treachery. It’s almost like a spastic sci-fi soap opera. The dialogue (inner and otherwise) is a battle between whispers and UNNECESSARY YELLING! There were just too many off-putting elements to this to concentrate on any substance it may contain.
Zombie Tramp Halloween Special 2016 #1- You know the drill. Two weeks. Lightning Review #29.
Only four comics this week got the thumbs down out of 21 total, yielding a solid score of 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts!
That’s ELECTRIC! Now, granted, That Chimichanga review and the Halloween specials would have tipped the scales a bit, but I did the math and it’s fairly negligible. I don’t have much to add this week as far as news or commentary. Just remember to stay informed about the upcoming election and vote if you’re able! The future is literally in our hands! Follow me on Twitter (@bamfingbob) although after all this time I’m surprised you aren’t already! Finally, fellow Crusader Dusty wrote an article of the five comics/graphics you should read for Halloween that I recommend you look at, so I’m including it below. See you next week and remember: if lightning is about to strike, all you gotta do is BAMF!