Lightning Review #39

Hello, one and all! Casual readers and die-hard enthusiasts, nerds and geeks and fanatics! Welcome once again to my weekly run down of all the things I read, from the great to the lackluster. I am writing this Saturday afternoon, as I have been behind due to a new commitment to exercising more, which is going well by the way. This week has a lot of Image comics and crossovers, and of course Marvel, but I’m hoping I represented a good sample of the new comics this week. Let’s get to it!

PICK LIST

DP 24Deadpool #24- PULL! Everyone here knows I love Deadpool, even before the movie craze, so I try to be unbiased when I review comics with him as the star. I can’t though, because he’s freakin Deadpool! This issue has Wade and Agent Preston hunting down the man who released a virus that threatens their families and it’s… Bob? Well, not really, but Madcap is growing like a nasty Voldemort wannabe out of his gut and he’s got a vendetta against the Merc with the Mouth. Also, in return for the cure, Deadpool must make a deal that may have very steep consequences. Lolli does a decent job with the art, but Gerry Duggan is my reason for returning issue by issue to this comic. The end of the current arc, anything goes starting in issue #26 after the conclusion of Deadpool 2099. Not really a fan of that, so I’m glad it’s almost done.

DKD 4Die Kitty Die #4- PASS! What I found cute and witty about the first three issues were either lacking in this one or felt recycled. The format is practically cookie cutter, and unfortunately the content isn’t far from it. It is still an enjoyable comic, especially if you pick this up as a single issue, with plenty of jokes, pokes at the comics industry, and blokes trying to kill the witch. However, there is an assumed knowledge of past issues leading into this one, so the reader may be at a loss without proper background which I found to be more entertaining. I really do like the series as a whole, but this one went in a weird direction for me. Art is still fun as the writing will allow though. The next issue is a subseries called Die Kitty Die: Hollywood or Bust, which may or may not be a boob pun, and I hope it gets a rejuvenated story with plenty of new material while maintaining the spirit of Kitty.

FK 3Foolkiller #3- PASS! Is Foolkiller an interesting character with an interesting concept for this comic? Sure thing!  It’s not the greatest, but a known contract killer set to rehabilitate or eliminate his peers is original and fun to read. But now, after this issue, it looks as though that premise is shot… literally! A figure from Greg’s past uncovers that he is being used as a pawn, so he *ahem* cuts ties with those enabling him. Where do we go from here? What I loved about this title only lasted three whole issues. Not only that, but this wasn’t fun or whimsical at all! The cute little moments of dialogue or uncanny characters are completely missing. I decide to read this every month for a simple fix, but now I’m pretty sure I can kick the habit. Don’t expect a review of issue #4.

God Country #1- I am not including this in my weekly rating because I reviewed this when it was made available to me several weeks ago, but I really enjoyed this and highly recommend it. Story, line work, and coloring are all just phenomenal.  Check it out. If you want a more fleshed out opinion, read my Lightning Review #33 HERE!

IVX 2Inhumans vs X-Men #2- PULL! I’m glad my X-Men are being represented in a way I can be proud of. I thought, from the looks of the end of last issue, that it would be an all out assault on New Attilan (which I’d love to see, to be honest) but instead the Children of the Atom seek to isolate the Royal family and spare all civilians. We are forceful, yet holding true to our heroic nature (well, for the most part). Our more savage members unleash their wild side. I’m glad Nightcrawler plays a role because it looked as though Magik was going to be the sole teleporter in action. I feel somewhat sorry for the Inhumans until I remember the immense danger mutants are in. I’m sorry, but for me, mutants will always have priority over inhumans. Period. Creative team is amazing; hope they can keep it up!

JLPR 1Justice League Power Rangers #1- PULL! Even though I wouldn’t normally review two Justice League team-ups in one week, I am too big of a Power Rangers fan to pass up this event. Heck, I’m only a casual fan of Batman and the Ninja Turtles, but I ate that series up. So, this comic don’t give us the full Justice League yet, instead having just Batman and the Flash interact with Rangers (with a Superman appearance) and I think this is a smart movie. The story is very MMPR oriented, with Zack the Black Ranger playing a significant role which I love because he is normally put on the back-burner alongside Trini. Lord Zedd has infiltrated the Command Center, and a teleporter malfunction sends Zack and Zedd to the world of the DC Universe, where Batman is mistaken for one of Rita’s monsters. Now the Power Rangers come to the rescue and Flash is back-up and Zedd is on the lose! A great first comic with a fun art style. Well done. (Side Note: I HATE how little Marvel plays with other publishers for neat crossovers like this. Having Disney and Star Wars to play with is fine, but most of DC’s books I read are in collaboration with outside entities.)

JLSS 4Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4- PULL! This one is all DC though, with their two big teams squaring off against a new threat, a band of villains that comprised the first squad breaking into Belle Reve to kill Amanda Waller and obtain a dangerous artifact housed there. My fixation with this comic is from the role reversal, from the villains being selfless to our heroes turned dark, like Lobo who is wonderful in this. He is an underrated character who is just a total badass, and I’m glad he is finally getting some value in the DC comics. This series is undoubtedly the precursor to the new darker Justice League title with Batman, Lobo, and several other “shady” characters. This comic does a fantastic job pitting different members of both teams against each foe, and even pulling their archenemies from the claws of defeat. As a package, DC delivers in every way.

ROUGH RIDERS VOLUME ONE REVIEW, 5 STARS!

SMDP 13Spider-Man/ Deadpool #13- PASS! Normally I love this series and the Kelly/McGuiness team is a total delight, but this fell flat for me after a 2 month break for guest issues during the holidays. I thought we were gonna get so heavy plot progression with Itsy Bitsy, but what I got was an adventure in Weirdworld that frankly felt like yet another in-between issue. After their pad got ‘sploded, Deadpool pulls Spidey into Weirdworld to heal where time passes slowly, but they encounter all sorts of problems like monsters and witch queens and uncomfortable “did you peek?” questions. I was just expecting more relevant story. Also, the bad Spider-man and good Deadpool dynamic is throwing me off. The last page is finally looking like we have everything back in track just in time for issue #14, which is going to feature Nightcrawler. WAIT WHAT?? Spider-man and Deadpool and Nightcrawler all in the same freaking comic!! I didn’t get this from the solicits last month so I had no clue, but I immediately e-mailed my comic provider to get a copy of this, which I’m sure I will have bagged, boarded, and signed at some point. Can’t wait for next month!

TAH 14Totally Awesome Hulk #14- PASS! I like Amadeus Cho as the Hulk and I appreciate the write doing something different by having a basketball themed story arc with fellow super-Asian Jeremy Lin, but if the point is to add depth and progress to the overall story, then this is just pointless filler. After his video games are hacked to come to life by Quasimodo (who I’ve been noticing a lot lately in less prominent titles), a motley crew must play basketball with Kegger (Cho’s robot) to destroy a giant tech monster. They need to toss it into a two foot wide access that will destroy the whole thing, a clear Star Wars ripoff that is even referenced. The final b-ball breakaway is some good, fun sports action, but other than that, all we get from this issue is a reaffirmation that Amadeus and Maddy are still fighting. Oh and another throw in NBA cameo that is absolutely useless.

VFT 2Voracious: Feeding Time #2- PULL! Last issue was a complete 180° from what I fell in love with about Voracious, a comic about a chef with a time machine who opens a restaurant that specializes in dinosaur meat. Well, here we pick up with Nate and his problems that include a potential job in New York, relationship woes, and the Saurian cops awaiting them in the past when he goes for his next shopping trip! Feeding Time takes this concept to a whole new level by introducing alternate timelines and heavy sci-fi elements. The coloring is bold, the line work is cool, and the writing is a blast. They even include extras in the back of the comic like recipes, fan contributions, and behind the scenes comic creating processes. Arguably my favorite Action Lab comic on shelves, Voracious is a melting pot of genres that I gobble right up.

 

VARIETY LIST

CTG NYCharlamagne tha God’s Marvel New Year’s Eve- PASS! When a celebrity writes a comic book, I always have reservations because it’s almost always a gimmick. Penn Gillette did it last November on Spider-Man/Deadpool #11 and it was way meta but successful. This one also involves the writer throwing himself head on into the Marvel Universe, where apparently he is a huge deal even among heroes and villains. Not only that, but he outs himself as an Inhuman when a battle breaks out, which is funny considering no one had a clue even though they go through a cocooning stage. Will he appearing in future books as an Inhuman hero? No. So why do this to your character? Everyone dreams of being a superhero, but this just isn’t a successful way to do it. Stick to being “tha God”.

Deep 1The Deep #1- PULL! My wife loves watching Wild Kratts on PBS, a show about two brothers who explore animals with interesting traits and abilities, and while it is a kids show she absolutely loves it. This gives off the same feel of that show, entertaining for children but appealing to adults in a way too. A family of scientists lives in a submarine laboratory, exploring the deep and discovering new creatures and landmarks. They are non-white, but not clearly a specific race, which is great for diversity’s sake. The father finds ties between recent earthquakes and a fabled dragon territory, so he and his wife, daughter, and young son go to investigate. The son takes a major role and finds himself in the belly of the beast, literally! Fun art and a easy-to-follow concept makes this series a great semi-educational kids comic.

GH 2The Green Hornet Reign of the Demon #2- PULL! After the last issue, I entered this comic with much less apprehension than I began with and I was not disappointed. It starts with a three-way confrontation between Green Hornet  (and Kato), the villainous Demone, and newcomer The Swashbuckler over several young Asian girls attempting escape from a sex ring. The story builds as alter egos deal with the situation in their own fashion without uncovering their secret identities. I love Green Hornet’s façade as a villain, even though the new Police Commissioner. The whole comic just feels like an old Noir story. There are times when the close up art doesn’t flatter the characters, and I still hate Hornet’s mask, but overall the story is measuring up to be a pretty good read.

KHAAL #1Khaal #1- PULL! What sets this apart from many comics I’ve read is the focus on the tyrant leader rather than the uprising against him. Khaal is a powerful ruler of the humans aboard a multi-generational space prison also housing the Ethereal and Telepaths, who want to overthrow him. He is a vicious man with secrets to his power that, if they were uncovered, would be his undoing. The art in this is just gorgeous, with a realistic approach to every alien character and setting, even showing some gnarly gore and nudity. After reading a few issues of 2000 AD, I feel this type of story would thrive there, or as a fellow reviewer pointed out, Heavy Metal. I really liked this, with gladitorial fights and military strategy set in space. A very good debut issue from Titan. For the review by Andy Hall, click HERE!

MS 4Moonshine #4- PASS! I really wanted to like this. I mean, it’s got werewolves and gangsters and some sexy time and, of course, moonshine which is an obvious play on words. But I just really didn’t like the artwork. Aside from a couple of cool panels, everything was felt incongruous and sloppy. I can appreciate that this is set in the south before the civil rights movement, but I felt way uncomfortable while reading any scene associated with black characters. Maybe that’s the intention though. A lot of the coloring is really nice though and the plot is not bad, even if the script could use work. If this general idea got a makeover, then I would probably be a big fan. But as is, I can’t do it. Sorry.

MC 2Motor Crush #2- PULL! The first issue did a great job setting up the scene of both the televised and the illegal motorcycle racing Domino Swift takes part in, with plenty of high-speed action and thrills. Well, now we get into more drama and real conflict, as Domino’s stash of the drug Motor Crush is all but gone and her ex-girlfriend Lola is in deep debt with some really shady characters. There is still some brawling and racing, but what grabs the reader is her relationships and risks and the question of why she alone has some immunity to Motor Crush. I love the lesbian love story as well, because it is more about the aftermath of a relationship, rather than a head-over-heels smoochfest. It feels real, even in such an unreal setting. A very enjoyable comic with layers. And the shocker on the last page! Wow!

motro-3Motro #3- PASS! I’m having a hard time putting into words the problems I had with this issue, not because I don’t know but because I’m trying to avoid words like “dumb”, “bad” and “ugly”. I don’t want to demean a comic with such blunt and shallow words, so let me try to be more critical. While most of the characters are mostly human, their facial structures differ drastically from one to the other, mostly in the eyes, and none of them are that pleasing. It’s a fantasy story, so elements like the Frog Wizard and ice dragon are pretty awesome, but other than that, the plot was underwhelming. There is a character called the rockmaster for crying out loud. The coloring is very subtle and the comic is needlessly dense. The good parts of this comic are upstaged and outnumbered by all the not-so-good parts.

NINJAK_023_COVER-A_BODENHEIMNinjak #23- PULL! Loved the last silent issue, and this is no different. Well, except it actually has plenty of dialogue and narration. This issue is predominantly Roku breaking into an impenetrable prison of the very worst criminals to extract 5 of the Seven Shadows for one last mission, and if you ever needed evidence that Roku is a total badass, this is your golden ticket. I never knew she was so formidable until this comic, and man is Ninjak in for it. It’s strange to change gears so drastically from last month to this one, but I get so much pleasure from reading it that I barely notice. Kindt and Laming are so gifted and well-versed in their respective roles as writer and artist that I am completely sucked into the world they’ve created. Although we get very little Colin King in this, I am even more pumped for Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe after this comic.

RA THO 2Red Agent: The Human Order #2- PULL! This reminds me of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first season, when the idea of superhumans was still a novelty. Zenescope has had winners and losers in the superhero department, and this one has some potential. It’s part of a 12 issue series, so there is plenty of room to get invested and enjoy some epic powers battling each other. The premise is that a group of highborns (powered people) are scouting for rogue members of their classification for the sake of humanity, and this issue involves explosions of cathedrals across the globe with no discernable cause. The art is dynamic and the writing is on par with most superhero comics. And of course two of the operatives are foxy ladies with blonde hair and curvy physiques. Oh Zenescope, you rascals…

RJ ONERenato Jones: The ONE% Season One- PULL! Although I’ve already read an issue of this and I could’ve made a decent assessment only halfway through, but I enjoyed it enough to finish it out. This book done entirely by Kaare Kyle Andrews is a wonderful view of how the insanely rich and powerful elite could rule the world and corrupt humanity as we know it. His hero, the Freelancer, is one of these 1% who seeks to choke out the beast and seeks retribution for the lives destroyed by their greed. Whether it’s slavery, poverty, or sexual exploitation (which there is a ton of and it is graphic), Renato Jones is a violent and merciless killer that I can’t help but love. The secondary characters like Wicked Awesome, Bliss, Church, and a tycoon-turned-politician who reminds me of a certain President Elect make this a thought-provoking and powerful read. Throw in some real life ads for the comic within the comic in a luxurious fashion and this is something unlike anything you’ve read before.

SD 219Savage Dragon #219- PULL! I know very little about this comic aside from some general knowledge, but what I got from the story is enough to interest me. So, the Savage Dragon is in jail after killing a man and his son is a cop who is involved with the trail of Mr. Glum, a little red dude who used the “God gun” to enslave the world is on trial for his crimes. One of Glum’s minions has a huge fight scene and breaks him outta the court, but not without some resistance by big green. Sure, there were many parts that were over my head, but the writing is fine and the art/action is entertaining. Oh, and there are political mobs chanting “No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!” & the son says “Look, I’m your side! I didn’t vote for him either!” Does my heart good when comic creators tie in real world politics into their works of fiction (so long as I agree with them, that is, lol).

VL #3Violent Love #3- PULL! This wouldn’t be my normal fare in any medium, as most gore makes me cringe and the romance is minimal for a so-called “violent love” story, but I cannot deny this is a well done comic. Daisy is a young woman who finesses her way into a holding cell of a dangerous Mexican criminal for information on a gang while her boyfriend (or at least I’m assuming as much) storms the castle of the cartel housing said criminal, taking out everyone in sight from grunts to the head honcho, Ramon. Barbiere writes an intriguing story and Victor Santos channels some southern Californian style in drawing these Hispanic characters. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s done work for Amigo Comics. A lot of color, blood and otherwise, splashed across these pages. I must also applaud the short story beginning this issue at the end called “A Constant Distraction” because it’s very good too.

With exactly two-thirds of my reviews being PULLS (14 of 21), the weekly rating is naturally

3.33 out of 5 Lightning Bolts!

I was surprised by how many Marvel comics I disliked, but I have to be true to my tastes, even if it differs from my brand loyalty. Still, a lot of great comics this week that I totally think you should check out. Be sure to do all that jazz I always tell you about, like following me on Twitter (@bamfingbob) and being awesome. Next week is the inauguration of President Trump and I am very sad to see the Obama’s leave the White House, but such is the nature of American politics. Also, I’m sure looking forward to seeing the Cowboys get some revenge for the 2014 playoffs against the Packers on Sunday night. I hope this gets posted before that so I’m not looking so foolish if they aren’t able to beat the Pack. Anywho, that’s it for this week. Until next time, BAMF!

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