Lightning Review #34

Welcome to yet another Lightning Review! If you recall from last week, I said that this week’s article might be on the light side due to an audit at my place of work, which I assumed would hinder my ability to multitask. In actuality, it didn’t do that much, but a slightly lower reading load was accepted (and appreciated). You will find that this week emphasized quality over quantity, which I loved. Quite a long PICK LIST this time, which may have helped that  outcome, but I ain’t complaining!

PICK LIST

dp-bibDeadpool Back in Black #4- PULL! It’s strange for miniseries to have an issue that hardly ties into the greater plot, but this one actually does a really good job (opposed to Deadpool v Gambit #4 which sucked monkey butt). Venompool is being pursued by Kraven the Hunter who thinks he finally got the drop on Spider-Man in his black suit, but if he’s so good why can’t he tell the difference? The inner conflict between Wade and the symbiote is intriguing, with the early makings of Venom expressing his hatred toward Peter Parker. The fighting is cool, the jokes are funny, and the lead up to the concluding issue is exciting for all the Spidey fans out there. Have yet to be disappointed by this series.

exmExtraordinary X-Men #16- PULL! Finally, things are beginning to resemble a degree of normalcy after this issue ends. Well, for the X-Men anyway. The World Eater is making its move and only Illyana Rasputin can save X-Haven, Limbo, and her young charge Sapna. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler must decide whether saving his best friend Colossus is worth freeing Apocalypse! (Spoiler: it is.) Jeff Lemire ties things up nicely as the war with the Inhumans approaches, putting things in the proper place before facing what could be a devastating event. Art by Ibanez isn’t my favorite, but beats the crud outta Ramos’ contribution. I just can’t wait for this to be over so we can get X-Men Gold underway!

gtotGrimm Tales of Terror Holiday Special 2016- PULL! Much like the GFT Halloween Special, this provides several short stories,, only this time having both Christmas and horror themes. The main tale is of a woman hosting a dinner party to unseen guests and telling a different story with each square of an advent calendar she pulls off. Krampus, demons, succubus, and revenge all have their spotlights. Blending spooky and festive can be a tricky feat, but this is nicely done. While the overall concept is by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, each segment has a different creative team, which makes this a good variety comic while maintaining a concrete vision. Scary Christmas to all and to all a good fright!

ivxIvX #0- PULL! So you’re telling me I could have essentially skipped Death of X? Granted, that last issue had quite a twist, but this pre-issue to Inhumans vs X-Men covers all the bases for anyone who opted against the miniseries that ended last week. I must say, I loved this comic. Better writing, better art, and a complete vision of what happened behind the scenes over the previous 8 months. The two spotlight characters are Emma Frost, who I hate but had adequate characterization, and Beast. Hank McCoy sees one of his very best issues I think I’ve ever read here. It truly embraces his scientific prowess and superior intellect. Did I mention I love the art by Kenneth Rocafort already? I hope he and Charles Soule continue IvX because I was quite impressed.

mmprMighty Morphin Power Rangers #9- PULL! With last issue ending on a glimmer of hope, I was curious how Helms could write a way to make the Rangers victorious in such a dire situation. Well, as unlikely as may seem, Billy convinces Goldar to help him escape and defeat Black Dragon while the other four original heroes tapped into the morphin grid using Tommy’s power coin, making them all green rangers! I love the art so much, but the writing is truly the driving factor of MMPR’s success. The reveal of the true antagonist is a complete surprise and as we move forward, the conflict is constantly evolving and shifting focus. A fanboy’s dream, for sure. For the full review by Fellow Crusader Josh Long, click HERE!

savage_001_cover-a_larosaSavage #1- PULL! This is all new territory for Valiant, literally. I’m not sure if this title will spend more time in the present or in flashbacks explaining why, but I’m honestly okay with either. The comic jumps off with seven pages of pure action, with a teenage wildling battling a fierce dinosaur with only a large talon as a weapon. Kick back to a soccer star and his publicist wife who survive a plane crash with their infant son on a strange island, where it is clear they will be stranded for a very long time. I’d love to see more of the boy wonder is his element, but the broken family on a dino island is way interesting, with art to match in both areas. Whether this will tie into the greater Valiant Universe has yet to be determined, but we’ll see…

s2eSeven to Eternity #3- PULL! Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña once again give us a vivid comic full of mystics (called mosaks), beasts and the all-powerful Mud King! I wish I’d reread the second issue before diving into this one because a lot happens in a short time span, and without proper context it can be hard to follow. But we now get some insight into more characters than just our main character Adam Osidis, which I really appreciated. It is now going to be a motley caravan of seven outlaws on a months long journey to save the world! The writing has a way of going full circle in each issue, and I have a feeling the whole series is going to work that way too.

t-potaTarzan on the Planet of the Apes #3- PULL! Anybody who thought this series would be a hokey primate team-up for the sake of the similarities between the two properties is eating their words by now. In addition to the Mangani, Tarzan, dinosaurs, and the multitude of apes involved in this complex crossover, this issue introduces Pellucidar and alternate universes to the fold. Seeley and Walker blend this sci-fi masterpiece flawlessly and the extra-dimensional artwork by Dagnino and Molina is just spectacular. This keeps getting better and better with every issue! For a full review of this comic by one of the newest Comic Crusaders Andy Hall, click HERE!

tahTotally Awesome Hulk #12- PULL! After several issues of dealing with Black Panther and the fallout from the death of Bruce Banner, this comic finally brings closure to the Civil War II tie in era of TAH. The action of this issue is fairly inconsequential (although interesting enough) but the two big takeaways are 1) Maddy is done babysitting her brother the Hulk, and 2) Amadeus finally confronts Clint Barton after his killing of Bruce. It’s good to see the title end its first year on such a definitive note, with next issue being a basketball-related in-between arc. Also, this totally frees up Cho for his Champions business, which is an amazing new book. This is an emotional issue, but ends quite hopeful.

 

VARIETY LIST

2000-ad2000 AD Prog 2009- PULL! As always, this variety comic lives up to its reputation by providing five gritty, science fiction periodical comics that are diverse and unique, yet easily fall under the 2000 AD umbrella. The Judge Dredd comic centers on a villain who has developed the taste for human flesh, thanks to a “Soylent Green” type situation, which I thought fit well into this world. Others include a dark, hyper-realistic spaghetti western (with a dinosaur), a colorful mercenary mission with aliens, a Star Wars knock off one-shot that goes full circle in only 4 pages, and an unlikely team-up between a police officer and a fugitive for the greater good. Some are better than others, but that is the nature of the beast with comics like these.

adventuretimeislandAdventure Time: Islands OGN- PULL! More like a graphic novella or giant-sized one-shot, this prequel was a wonderful short read, mostly because it didn’t remind me of the Adventure Time cartoon at all. I know nothing about the Islands spin-off show but I really enjoyed this story of how Jo (aka Bunny Girl) must adapt to a new, harsh environment all alone after an animal attack. The art is simplistic, reminding me of MS Paint doodles I used to do as a kid, but that childlike expressiveness by Diigii Daguna is a huge plus for me. Paired with the writing of Ashly Burke (from the show), I was caught off guard by how much I liked this in all aspects. There’s a short Adventure Time comic at the end featuring BMO, but it can’t hold a match up to the main piece.

cryptCryptocracy #6- PULL! Familial hierarchies aside, this was packed with action, magic, and monsters that would make any cryptozoologist cream himself. I read an earlier issue and found the parts with mythical beasts to interest me more than the “why” involving nine families with control over the world, and this issue is over 80% fantasy elements. A horde of creatures led by the dark wizard Hum must fight to overcome those who keep them trapped in a preserve and let me say, the battle is epic. The language makes this more of an adult comic, but that’s the way (uh huh, uh huh) I like it. This ends the arc, but the potential is significant for greater things. Plus, the bugbear is a badass!

exodusExodus The Life After #9- PULL! Of everything I read this week, this was as close to a “PASS” as I got, but I wasn’t going to ruin my first shot at scoring a perfect 5 Star week on my last comic to read over something as silly as me not understanding why God is a potato. This was incredibly confusing, I will admit, but overall the comic had some great moments that could justify overlooking it. Someone dies in this issue and it is quite sad, but the best parts were the holy war/riot in all its gory glory and their “escape” through a propoganda version of the It’s A Small World ride. You’d think a religious-type comic would be less inappropriate, but this has plenty of swearing and blasphemy to go around. Not my favorite art style either, but that’s just a personal preference as there is nothing necessarily damning about it.

gkGodkiller Book 1- PULL! What a strange combination of concepts! Even after 300 pages I don’t think I really understand everything, but what I read, I liked. In a post-apocalyptic world after nuclear fallout, a young boy must find a heart transplant for his dying sister. That’s the basic plot. Add in the manipulation of quantum physics, the consumption of untainted blood for its life essence, and the  numerous scenes where oral sex is performed to grant extraordinary abilities, and you have Godkiller. It’s a total mindf*** that is well written and very artistic, with it’s anime stylings and mixed media usage. It’s really mature, but great if you want to read something very different. Published by Black Mask.

revolRevolution #5- PULL! This is about as exciting as a comic book can be. Three large teams and several standalone heroes must face an enemy that even their combined forces have difficulty against! This high-octane, non-stop action crossover has explosive color and complex storylines that are always mingling together. Not only must the likes of Rom, Transformers, GI Joe, and Micronauts defeat the terribly Baron Karza, but they must learn to work with one another to do so! For me, it felt almost too busy at times, but having not followed Revolution until now, I kinda deserve it. Cullen Bunn, John Barber, Fico Ossio, and Sebastian Cheng hold nothing back in the final issue of IDW’s biggest crossover yet!

twTorchwood #4- PULL! I’ll preface this with your weekly reminder that I am not a Doctor Who fan and only partake of the fandom when I receive comics from Titan. I like Torchwood because it is set in the Whoniverse (heh heh) without being all “timey-wimey” and sonic screwdriver nonsense. This issue has the crew of the Ice Maiden dealing with several simultaneous problems that jeopardize the success of Torchwood, like a mysterious stow away and the death of the master of Torchwood House. Much of the story is over my head, due to not following the comic or anything on the BBC, but I like the art and my interest never faltered while reading this. Plus, the last few Chameleon pages were so exciting that none of my downsides even matter.

For the first time EVER, I did not have a single negative review so it doesn’t take a genius to calculate the weekly score of

5.0 out of 5 Lightning Bolts!!!

5-stars-crown

Normally I’d rate this as ELECTRIC, but a perfect week deserves a rating of PERFECTION!! A couple issues had some critiques, but I stand behind this as the best week (overall) I’ve had since I started this 8 months ago. BAMFTASTIC! This week, I also finished reading Book Four of the Fablehaven series, a children’s fantasy story that is expecting another installment early next year. Loved it. You know what else I love? That the Dallas Cowboys are 11-1! Thursday’s game was touch and go for the most part, and many will argue the Vikings got cheated, but blame the referees! Cowboys came through!

Sorry, enough sports talk. What else… did everyone watch the Three Night Crossover of DC shows on CW? I did! I refuse to count Supergirl because I watched Monday and the only crossover footage was replayed the next night on Flash. But overall, a great story that I really enjoyed! Barry sure did step in it, lol. Lastly, I wrote a review of Elf Book One, a Kickstarter that was a really funny read that I totally recommend to lovers of fantasy and farce. No link yet, but keep an eye out on my Twitter (@bamfingbob) for that! And speaking of Kickstarter, still have a long way to go before reaching our goals on Geekery Magazine getting funded by the 19th, so what are you waiting for?? Go pledge HERE! Until next week, stay shocking and don’t forget to BAMF!

geekery

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