Author Archives: George Carmona 3rd

Review: Batman/The Flash: The Button

First I’m truly surprised at how good the Batman/The Flash: The Button collection is and this is not a slight to the skill and talent of the creative teams. It’s just I’ve been BURNED these last few mega crossover events and this being a tie-in to one of these, I came in with low expectations. And that’s not the only reason I passed over these books initially.

As a fan of The Watchmen, I haven’t been the biggest supporter of rehashing this universe. Despite the lineup of talent, I’m not big on the idea of that universe intersecting with the DCU proper.

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The deluxe edition of The Button collects Batman #21-22 and The Flash #21-22, with all of the variant covers for you to eyegasam. And without spoiling too much here’s why you should give it a read.

The feel of the book takes me back to Batman’s Brave and the Bold days, where each month he would team up with a different character of the DCU. Picking up the story from DC Universe: Rebirth #1, Batman and the Flash continue to investigate the mysterious Button that appeared in the Batcave when Wally West returned to the DCU. This investigation gives the heroes a few more clues to who has been influencing their world for the past few years, setting the stage for the next event Doomsday Clock.

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Writers Tom King and Joshua Willamson bring to the table an ability to highlight unique traits in characters, and this is one of several reasons why I really enjoyed this book. The way they connect Batman and the Flash with forensic science is so simple and basic, that it makes them work as friends on such a higher level. I haven’t been reading King’s run on Batman, I’ve heard good things, but this makes me curious about it. And these guys work on pulling your heartstrings with some interesting story beats.

The art team for these books also bring their “A game.” Jason Fabok‘s art is as clean and sharp as ever, but it’s his subtle nod to the art and style of Dave Gibbons’ original Watchmen, using a grid pattern for the storytelling. That helps enhance his beautiful line work with the visual brutality that fills most of this chapter.

And I’ve missed Howard Porter’s art, I’ve been a fan of his stuff since his run on JLA with all the dynamic, over the top, hyper-kinetic energy, which is perfect for The Flash, even when he’s not running Porter has energy crackling off of the Flash giving you the sense that he is Speed.

Putting the cherries on top, the colors by Brad Anderson on Bats and Hi-Fi for the Flash bring a rich depth to these books that play off of Batman’s dark tones and the Flashes intense vibrant flare. Assists also go to Deron Bennett and Steve Wands on the lettering, bringing the words to the page might seem easy but there is an art to using it to help guide the reader and not distract from the art.

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Please note if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for someone who likes Batman or the Flash, but don’t regularly read the comics, this might not be the right gift as it’s a stepping stone from a previous one-shot to a bigger event coming up. If they like a good story with amazing art for under $20 this makes a great stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift.

If you want a second opinion about The Button, check out another opinion from the GP team here.

Story: Tom King and Joshua Williamson
Art: Jason Fabok and Howard Porter
Color: Brad Anderson and Hi-Fi
Letters: Deron Bennett and Steve Wands
Variant Covers: Tim Sale & Brennan Wagner, Mikel Janin

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Michael Cray Visits Anyone Comics

IMG_1260On Thursday October 12th, I made a short trip to Anyone Comics in Crown Heights Brooklyn, for the sold out release of Wildstorm/DC Comics newest title Wildstorm: Michael Cray.

This new series is part of the Wildstorm revamp, taking established Wildstorm characters and putting a new spin on them. The new line was launched with The Wild Storm, and Wildstorm: Michael Cray is the first spin-off series of the line.

For Michael Cray, the creative team sets up shop on an Earth similar to main DCU Earth-One, with our title character getting his latest assignment from a shadowy government agency. They also bring a very fresh, down to earth feel to the book, from the dialog, to the art, to the colors and letters, they make Cray a solid jumping off point filled with some interesting twists to familiar characters. The main character is a super assassin with a conscious, killing only when he deems that the person this agency wants dead needs killing.

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For the award wining artist N. Steven Harris, one of the co-creators of Aztec, this was a great return to DC and introduction into the Wildstorm Universe.

It’s interesting because it’s not super people in tights, and that’s why they hired me to do the book, they wanted an artist that could tackle real life day-to-day clothing, not a superhero type artist, and it’s fun dealing with the topics that the writer wants to hit.

Cray is a dark book with a slick feel, a ton of potential and I’m glad I have it on my comic pull list.

 

Michael Cray
Writer – Bryan Hill
Penciler – N. Steven Harris
Inker – Dexter Vines
Colorist – Steve Buccellato
Letterer – Simon Bowland
Cover – Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz

Defending the Night, One Beer at a Time.

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Write drunk, edit sober was never a truer statement. With New York Comic Con less than a month away, this past Thursday I journeyed to the far away land of Brooklyn (not really) for the sixth annual launch of the Brooklyn Defender.

Not a comic or Netflix spinoff, the Brooklyn Defender is a specially crafted beer made by Brooklyn Brewery for New York Comic Con and ReedPOP, the organizers behind Comic Con.

For the past few years Brooklyn Brewery and ReedPOP have collaborated on this beer, designing the bottles label by recruiting comic book artists like Cliff Chang, Khary Randolph and Jamal Igle to help create the look of that years Defender. According to the ReedPOP representative Fallon Prinzivalli, this year was a “special year as it’s the sixth time or 6-pack” Defender team-up with Brooklyn Brewery. This year had a departure from previous years as it looks like the art chores were handled in house by Brooklyn Brewery with a retro silver age style, cape, underwear on the outside, and even emphasizing the four color spot process of making comics. As a beer drinker, I love the Brooklyn Brewery brand and I’m generally ok with the Defender beers, I found this year’s crisp, flavorful and light, a definite step up from a solid beer, the Brooklyn Defender gets 4 capes.

Ms. Prinzivalli also told me that “for the first time ever we have a couple of backdrops and props that people are going to be creating their own story of them defending beer with their friends. So then we’ll have a giant fan going that you can stand in front of and you can pretend that you’re flying through the clouds of New York City.” In addition to the Instagram contest, there was also a raffle and cosplay contest, with winners taking home 3 day passes to Comic Con.

Fans who were lucky enough to make it onto the rsvp list were also treated to free pizza from local pizzeria Sizzle Pizza, cake, and of course a bottle of the latest batch of the Defender beer.

Brooklyn Defender can be found all around New York Comic Con which runs October 5-8th, but will still be available well after.

Flashback Friday Review: The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century

MW1We all know someone who’s never seen Star Wars or doesn’t gets it when you say “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!,” it’s from Jaws by the way. Whenever I meet someone like that I let them know how they have a void in their life that needs filling. When it came to Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons Martha Washington I was the one who had a void to fill, but thanks to Dark Horse Comics for publishing The Life and Times of Martha Washington in the Twenty-First Century, this trade paperback collects every page of Our shero Martha Washington. My life is complete as I take a flashback to this visionary work from two of comics greatest storytellers.

The late 80’s- early 90’s saw a huge number of creators becoming so disenfranchised with the big comic companies that they struck of on their own or headed to smaller companies to form boutique labels. This new freedom allowed Miller the ability to further his critique on current events and society from the viewpoint of heroine Martha Washington.MW2

Woman, soldier, leader, weapon, protector, explorer, Earth Mother all attributes and details that give you a very broad description of Washington. This black woman born in the slums of Chicago’s infamous Cabrini–Green Homes housing project, a maximum security “home” in this story, becomes the most influential person in history, saving the US and Earth from enemies foreign and domestic. Again the most basic, lay explanation of this book I could think of because Miller and Gibbons create a world that hits a little too close to home with a parody of US international and domestic politics, thankfully Washington is there to help them survive.

MW6This edition collects every appearance of Martha, including the short black and white stories, now fully colored and remastering and has a great crossover with Miller’s other creation, Big Guy from Big Guy and Rusty. The trade is graced by a brief introduction from Miller but the true value is Gibbons insight for each stage of the various story arcs, backstory of the series publishing herstory in addition to pages of concept notes and design ideas.

MW5Sadly the importance of this book is I feel more relevant in today’s world of 45*, ecological disasters on the horizon, Hydra-Cap, the seduction of artificial intelligence and America at a critical juncture for its collective soul. You won’t be able to not compare timelines and you’ll wonder if her version of the 21st century is better than ours, if only Millers crystal ball of social comictary could comfort us in knowing that we’ll make it through the next four years with only minor bumps and bruises.

If you’ve never read it go fill that void in your life like I did.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken #1

I love Star Trek and among my favorite episodes are the Crossover episodes, you know the ones where they go to the Mirror Universe and interact with their evil counterparts. “Evil” Spock has a beard and the Federation is the opposite of the benevolent society we’ve all come to know.

And now IDW Publishing is taking us through the looking glass again to explore the Next Generations crew in this alternate reality with Star Trek: The Next Generation: Mirror Broken. This is the second trip to the Mirror Universe for the writing team of Scott and David Tipton. Their previous IDW series Star Trek Mirror Images gave us the tale of Kirk’s rise to power along with a single issue dedicated to a young ensign Picard.

For Free Comic Book Day they jumped to the NextGen era for a preview of the new series. Told from the character perspective of fan favorite Reg Barclay, this standalone gives the lay of the land aboard the ISS Stargazer, under the command of a buff Jean-Luc Picard and the state of galactic affairs. I’m not sure how theses voyages fit into the standard Trek universe as by season 2 of Deep Space Nine the Empire has been completely crushed. ST:TNG-MB retools the Mirror-verse so the Empire hasn’t been fully dismantled or subjugated by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, just pushed back to the Sol system with a ragtag fleet holding the line. Still the tactician, Picard decides to further his fortunes and rundown the rumors of the Empire’s newest warship the ISS Enterprise.

The Tipton’s write a tight story with the dark elements we would expect from the side of the mirror and artist J.K. Woodward brings the story to life with a moody palette that helps reinforce that this isn’t the Trek we’re used to. He also has a great eye for this eras character designs. Besides a steroid cocktail and beard for Picard, his goth/vixen look for Inquisitor Troi fits with her mischievously cold character and subtle nod to her casual dress during most of the NextGen run. Just as distinct is Woodward’s creepy look for Lt. CMDR Data, with his modular limbs of torture and near Borg-like appearance, this Data is more likely to examine the human experience from the inside by dissecting his fellow crew mates.

An entertaining read for the fans of Star Trek’s dark side, I recommend setting a course for your local comic book shop and engaging at maximum warp speed.

Review: Catalyst Prime – FCBD and Nobel #1

CATALYST PRIME – FCBD 2017

Writers – Christopher J. Priest and Joseph P. Illidge

Artists – Marco Turini and Will Rosado

This is what FCBD is suppose to be about. An introduction into a world of comics for beginners who only know what their geek other has dragged them to on opening night, up to the longtime reader who knows the difference between adamantium and vibranium. And not just a stand alone, one shot gimmick but something that will bring that reader back to a comic store to buy the next issue. The book itself is also the launch of a new line of comics which have promised to not only entertain, but address problems the industry faces on the page and in the back offices.

The Catalyst Prime writing team of Priest and Illidge, hit all the right notes; great starting point for new readers, technobabble without deep diving into a Ph.D. program to follow, quick glimpses into the future of the upcoming books as well as planting the big conspiracy seed for the overall story arc. And a comic wouldn’t be a comic without the art, which Turini and Rosado provide with a style that blends into a realistic sci-fi noir, from the school bus to the space station, it all works visually.

If you know your comic place runs out of the free stuff quick on FCBD and you need to be online at 7:00am, then hit those sheets early on Friday or hope they put this in the collected trade. Recommendation cop this.


NOBLE – #1

Writer- Brandon Thomas

Artist- Roger Robinson

Issue 1 of Noble jumps right in with a very brief and redacted file giving us the highlights, the who and what’s. We don’t get the “spider bite“ but Thomas picks up one year from where the FCBD Catalyst Prime left off, and gives us close to 24 pages of action showcasing Nobel’s powers.

People will finally see what Robinson can do with his art. A long time ago I was a clerk at DC Comics and got to see his original art, somewhere in the printing process the ink and colors got super muddy and took away from the work that he put in. This time around whatever was messing his art up is out the way and his work shines.

These two books make for an amazing jump point for readers new and old.


George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Friday Flashback Review: Static Shock: Trial by Fire

StaticTBFFor my first installment to the GP Time Portal that is “Flashback Friday,” I’m going to go back to the 90’s for a re-read of Static Shock: Trial by Fire, originally Static issues #1-4, the name change came with wanting to capitalize on the cartoon from the WB.

This collection is the first appearance of our hero Virgil Hawkins aka Static, a superhero most of us could relate to, a scifi geek making it through high school, battling the bad guys while trying to get the girl and this is only a taste of what the Milestone crew brought to this series.

Co-written by Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III, both gone too soon, you would think that something written over 20 years ago would be dated. The writing is able to balance humor and danger like phasers and photons. With the exception of one or two words, the pacing of the dialogue is a master class in writing teens, the issues our hero faces in and out of costume are sadly problems young kids still face today.

static-01-02And let’s not forget the art, the early work of then newcomer John Paul Leon is full of energy and I’m not just talking about Static’s power effect. From fighting to walking down the street, JPL infused a crazy amount of kinetic flow into the movement of the characters, but he doesn’t stop there. His character designs, based off of Denys Cowans work in the Milestone bible, Static is like a snapshot of today’s kids walking around being teenagers, minus the video chatting.

If by this point I haven’t persuaded you to run to your local store to track down this trade. I’ll put it to you this way, if you like Miles Morales and Riri Williams, you can thank Virgil for paving the way. Static is that super smart, geeky kid that shows us how anyone can be a hero and still be cool. This series was that it talked about bullying, dating, gangs and just about everything else a modern teenager faces today and not in a condescending manner, instead it did it in a way that makes you think about how these issues can be fixed.

For more of my money bring back Static, bring back Milestone.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

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