So, I’ve been doing these Lightning Reviews for two months, and by now we’ve reached the point where if most of my viewership has some idea of what to expect. If you’re new, welcome! I only had one comic on my pull list, but I still have a ton in my variety list to discuss. To pull or not to pull, that is the question. Well, here’s the answer!
My Little Pony Friends Forever #29- PULL! This title tends to be hit or miss, but this issue is great! Even more shocking is that it stars two of my least favorite characters, Maud Pie and Rarity, who team up to discover a gem-filled cave before their rival, Buried Treasure. I think what I hate about Maud is her dry, emotionless demeanor and this comic addresses that head on, with Rarity practically yelling at her to be more passionate. The art is better than usual thanks to Brenda Hickey and the story is meaningful on multiple levels that fit together perfectly. I’m glad Pinkie doesn’t show up to steal any of Maud’s attention because she is so comfortable with her unamused sister that she is just accepted as is. This story makes me like Maud way more and is actually a very smart team up.
Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises #3- PASS! For a comic about one of the greatest martial arts film stars, there is surprisingly little fighting from Lee. There are two fight scenes: a bar brawl featuring only antagonists, and a dressing room showdown with Joe Toomey and Bruce Lee versus some bad guys holding someone hostage. At times, it almost feels like a 70s black martial arts film more than Bruce Lee, thanks to his old pal Joe Toomey reliving his days as an actor. There’s some kids who add little to the plot yet occupy a good third of the comic. Honestly, I was pretty disappointed that the most subject-appropriate artwork was on the cover, which is misleading to the interior content. I appreciate what the creators are trying to do, but it fails to kick ass, which is key on a book about a martial arts legend.
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor Year Two #10- PULL! Since I’m no fan of Doctor Who, most of this comic was over my head. Series details aside (due to ignorance on my part), this is actually a pretty good comic. The characters have depth and the sci fi elements are pretty cool. I love the full page of the Doctor in his TARDIS floating through space. In fact, there are several pages of art that are quite beautiful, thanks to Simon Fraser and Gary Caldwell (art and colors, respectively). Writing has emotional moments and interesting dialogue, with the Doctor saying such gems as “I am very, very, very smart!” So, while I’m out of my element on this one, I still give it a thumbs up because I recognize good work when I see it.
Ghoul Scouts: Night of the Unliving Undead #1- PULL! I saw this and rolled my eyes because of the corny pun title, but this comic was better than expected. I read a comic with a similar premise a month ago and it was pretty awful, so my expectations were extremely low. This title combines 4 boy scouts with two girl scouts who discover their troops are gone due to a zombie invasion. The plot is much more believable (though still far fetched at times) with relatable characters and creepy monsters. The art is not realistic, which is a smart move for a comic I’m assuming is aimed toward a younger audience and the conduct of the scouts is understandable. This still isn’t a great comic, but as an age appropriate substitute for The Walking Dead, it’s suitable.
King’s Quest #2- PULL! Having recently read all five miniseries leading up to King’s Quest, I can appreciate this what this comic is doing. All of our team members easily justify solo hero status, much like the Avengers, but are so unique that there is very little repetition concerning skillsets. They even brought in a female Phantom with an interesting trait revealed at the end of this issue. Mandrake the Magician is a favorite who does a very cool card trick to defeat his foes, but everyone gets ample attention throughout the book. Not my favorite in terms of art and composition, but there is one page in which the standard comic panel reading sequence is thrown out the window and it’s quite successful. Call it a hunch, but I think this would be much more satisfying if I’d read the first issue beforehand. (Also, how cool is it that Sasha Baron Cohen is slated to play Mandrake?)
Invisible Republic #10- PASS! This ends the second arc of this comic run and seems to end on a tease for things to come, but everything that happens in this is a jumble of flashbacks and the consequences 42 years later. Granted I have no clue what happened in the first nine issues to set this up (and for all I know this was a great issue in context to the story as a whole), I just didn’t care what happens to anyone. This involves the publishing of the diary of a revolutionary some for decades prior and the struggles to overcome the political forces against them. There is a futuristic element to the story, but the dark and subtle art just loses my interest. It just didn’t impress me like I hoped it would, but feel free to tell me likewise.
Island #8- PASS! I really didn’t like this book. Both stories sucked and one was double-sized, making this a 72 page failure. The first story is essentially posing an ethical question about war, reincarnation, and Saturn. It looks like something a middle schooler would show off to his friends, with very basic art and ridiculous writing concepts. The second is futuristic yet retains some semblance of savagery. I hate the lettering, which may be due to the comic being completely done by one guy, Simon Roy. I won’t say there aren’t cool elements to the comic, but I just couldn’t enjoy it when I had to struggle to read it. Totally skip this.
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1- PULL! So, this is my first experience with either of these properties and I will say this crossover is set up quite nicely. We see both the Lumberjanes and the students of Gotham Academy in their respective bases before a common factor brings them together in a secluded forest. There, the groups unite to escape a fearsome foe and one of their ranks goes missing! This style is more of the Lumberjane aesthetic than Fletcher’s on Gotham Academy, but it’s not bad. I know that separately they are probably superior books, but with the content presented, this is a crossover worth reading.
Sonic the Hedgehog #282- PASS! You know why Nintendo hasn’t seriously gotten into the comic book medium? It’s because characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, and Link get their appropriate stories within the realm of video games. In this issue, the reader is subjected to two short segments about what feels like all the characters from the franchise, and then some. Sonic is a were-hedgehog who, instead of running/rolling fast, has stretchy arms. What the hell! Elements such as chaos crystals and gaia keys are central plot points, but there is nothing that interesting happening here. Kids may dig it, but I feel like they’re beating a dead horse. He’s dead Jim! Which is a great segway for…
Star Trek #58- PULL! This conclusion to the Legacy of Spock arc is one that impacted me in its brilliant and emotional ending. I will say that Spock is my favorite of the original crew and this blends the new franchise with Leonard Nimoy’s version with grace, much like the first film of the most recent trilogy. The Vulcans are at the mercy of the Romulan Empire and refuse to call upon the Starfleet due to their earlier failure to save their planet from destruction. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but there is a flash forward where the memory of Spock is honored and true to his character. I love the artwork, both the cover and the interior, which is very distinct in its portrayal of the actors who embody these characters, especially Nimoy. This is great and deserves a read. RIP Leonard Nimoy.
So, I think I’m going to start averaging my weekly findings into an overall rating. Six pulls and four passes on this Lightning Review, giving this week an average rating of…
3 out of 5 Lightning Bolts
My birthday was good, thanks to Italian food and old comic book firsts. Next week will probably have more in the Pull List, so be ready for a Marvel-ous time! Finally, I also wrote a review for a book I’ve been casually reading for a while now and I hope you check it out using the link below! See you next time! BAMF!