Author Archives: jenisaur

Rainbow Bridge banner ad

Review: Uncle Scrooge #30

Uncle Scrooge #30 collects two international stories in one book, reprinting one story from 1981 and another from 2011. The book will likely pique interest in those who are jumping on the Duck Tales revival train—myself included—and if you’re just here for classic Duckburg humor then you’re in the right place.

It’s hard for me to recommend purchasing the book, however, as it’s arbitrarily reproduced stories from older books. I can’t help but compare my reading experience to Duck Tales, which may not be fair, but it’s not to be helped, either. The television reboot is original, clever, and seamlessly blends classic Donald Duck comics with the cult-hit 90s cartoon.

In comparison, Uncle Scrooge is the same joke dragged out ad nauseam, which makes the story predictable. Where the new show works hard to give each of the triplets their own personality, and Donald his own meta-twist where his speech is only understandable about 60% of the time, the older stories feel dismissible in comparison. Donald uses complete sentences, Scrooge has no accent, the boys are referred to as clones (with good reason), and Scrooge is so cheap he charges interest on bus fare.

Maybe I’m coming down hard on the book because I hold Duck Tales and Donald Duck so very dear. I don’t like to see them mistreated. But Uncle Scrooge does just that. If the book used the older comics as bookends, like the newer Archie books, I would be much more inclined to return to “Uncle Scrooge” in the future. As it stands now, I think I’ll pass.

Story: Carlo Chendi, Daan Jippes, Jonathan Gray Art: Daan Jippes, Giorgio Cavazzano
Cover Art: Giorgio Cavazzano
Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #3.7

Eleventh_Doctor_3_7_Cvr A“Year Three” of the Eleventh Doctor in comics features the two-part arc The Memory Feast, which takes place over issues #3.6 and #3.7 of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor. In the story, Eleven, his human companion Alice Obifune and their, uhm, progeny?, a creature called “the Sapling”. The three find themselves on an impossible ship in deep space, chased by hooded figures through portal after portal of an alternate reality. The Doctor soon determines that the ship is a memory ark for an extinct species called the Xerzes. The species only exists now in the memories stored by the ship. Immediately, he empathizes and encourages his companions to help him eradicate the hooded baddies called the Thrake.

Comics adaptations can sometimes feel forced, like they’re a simplification of the original rather than a re-interpretation for the comics format. The Memory Feast is the latter. Artist I.N.J Culbard uses a two-page spread to show the companions running through portal after portal, and another to let a Xerxes projection explain the species’ fate to Eleven without exchanging a word. The climax of the arc takes place largely without dialogue, as well; instead the events unfold in dramatic artwork. The result is a story that feels like it exists specifically for a comic book.eleven.png

 

sapling

Sapling, where did you COME FROM?????

It’s nearly impossible to read George Mann‘s dialogue without hearing Matt Smith’s voice, from his goofy non-sequiturs to his panicked shout when The Sapling finds himself in danger. While Eleven’s behavior is certainly screen-accurate, Mann avoids leaning on Smith’s many catchphrases or tics, including only one interrupted “geronimo!”.

 

Personally I like that the dialogue and interactions were original rather than grabbing directly from the show. It reflects back on the original while staking a claim on its own territory, as well.

Overall, The Memory Feast is a fun, quick arc in what I hope is a deeper story from start to finish. 3.6 and 3.7 together make for what feels like a “filler” episode in the main storyline: Alice and Eleven’s creation of the Sapling. That said, it’s worth keeping on the shelf if only for the art. I will definitely be diving in to the rest of Year Three to find out what happens next.

Story: George Mann Art: I.N.J. Culbard
Colorist: Triona Farrell Letterings: Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #3.7

Tenth_Doctor_3_7_Cover AWelcome to the Vortex Butterflies story line, featuring the Tenth Doctor and his comic-exclusive companions Gabby Gonzalez and Cindy Wu. #3.7 is the second issue in the Vortex Butterflies arc, so I recommend picking up 3.6 before diving in. However, the arc so far is a wonderful entry point into the Doctor Who comics. Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor #3.7 starts with the Doctor at a space junkyard, picking up a machine that will help him record temporal waves and register “vortex leaks”. He left his companions at a safe house in London, and their travel buddy Noob on the Xenopsychology planet of the Zokadyll. All three stories unfold simultaneously, and their narratives are well-balanced and easy to follow. There are answers to some questions (what do Gabby’s new powers actually DO? What is Noob up to on that giant library planet?) while others are left open-ended, meaning I’m now anxiously awaiting 3.8!

Writer Nick Abadzis captures David Tennant’s interpretation of the Doctor (as well as a couple other show-based cameos) and blends him right in with original characters like Gabby and Cindy. He introduces them with a equal measures of exposition and character action, making them well-rounded and compelling even after the Doctor leaves them behind for some intergalactic alone time. And isn’t that the mark of a truly great companion?

marcieNoobThe book has appeal for both die-hard Whovians, and those new to the series. Most importantly, it adapts the show into the comics format seamlessly. There is plenty of timey-wimey talk, but the elements that matter get a closer examination, making the rest the familiar background noise of our favorite show-off timelord.

Artists Giorgia Sposita and Iolanda Zanfardino don’t miss a beat, bringing both 20th century London and deep space to life. Colorists Arianna Florean and Nicola Righi‘s do some heavy lifting, as well, with remarkable renderings of the time vortex, deep space, and multiple planetary backdrops, and Gabby’s new powers are delightfully other-worldly. The characters are stylized just enough to keep those based on actors from dipping into the uncanny valley–something other Who books sometimes suffer from. Letterers Richard Starkings and Jimmy Bentacourt enhance the book, as each species has their own distinct speech pattern, reflected in a completely unique rendering.doc in space

Rose and DocRachael Smith’s bonus comic at the end of the book took me by surprise. It’s a breath of goofy fresh air at the end of a high stakes adventure-in-progress. I don’t think I stopped smiling from the first panel to the last. Bringing Rose back to Ten’s side in such a realistically teenage way while kicking the comedy up to eleven (no pun intended). I hope this is a tradition we will see continued in future issues.

Story: Nick Abadzis Art: Giorgia Sposito
Colorist: Arianna Florean and Nicola Righi
Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy (but pick up 3.6, too.)

Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #14

Ninth_Doctor_14_A*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*

The Bidding War, Part One begins in an unsettling fashion–with Rose Tyler giving birth to a purple alien baby. It turns out that she’s plugged in to a futuristic device which gives her access to “Memgram”, the 54th century equivalent of Facebook, and everyone has an account. The Doctor has a small collection of “experience spheres” which he, Rose, and Tara are using to find the legendary Jack Harkness. Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #14 kicks off a new arc in the Ninth Doctor’s story, where he and his companions are once again in over their heads, and things are going to get worse before they get better.

For those of us just tuning in, the book includes a convenient “previously on” section which explains Jack’s jumbled up timeline. The trouble with such an expansive universe is that “previously on” doesn’t really cover it without explanations of things like “who is Zloy Volk” and “how are there two Jacks” and “what’s up with Tara?”. That’s not to say this is a bad place to start for Who fans, especially those (like me) drawn to the series by Nine and Rose. If you’re completely new to Who, however, I’d

Ninth_Doctor_14_C

A more stylized approach, by Arianna Florean

suggest you start a little further back, or perhaps catch up on Nine’s original adventures on screen.

 

Once the team finds out Jack’s memories are stolen, and they’ve been set up, Nine winds up on the bidding block of an intergalactic auction. Even as a Doctor Who fan, I had a little trouble following the story in this issue, and found myself reading the book two or three times before I figured out the thread. In the past I’ve read my Who comics in trade format, and feel I’d enjoy this one more in a trade as well. The writing (Cavan Scott) was either too slow, or too fast, but until the next issue I can’t quite tell.

Another problem I have with the book, and any comic with characters based on actors, is the uncanny valley. The art is dead on in some instances, and in others doesn’t even bare a passing resemblance. If the design was consistent, it wouldn’t be as intrusive, instead it becomes a focus while reading. Artists Cris Bolson and Adriana Melo stretch their muscles in the last few pages, however, as Nine’s memories are on display for the bidders at the auction.

Story: Cavan Scott Art: Cris Bolson, Adriana Melo
Colorist: Marco Lesko Letterers: Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Titan provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Archie #22

Archie22Main

*Warning Spoilers Below*

Archie #22 is the latest addition to the “Over the Edge” event in the relaunched Archie books, and it raises the stakes even further. Told in the same patchwork style as the previous issue, Archie #22 gives us flashbacks in to Betty Cooper’s origins, from her days as a screaming baby, to her childhood friendship with Archie, to the day she met Veronica. Unlike previous issues, the comedy is completely dropped from #22, keeping tension high throughout the book and giving the final moments the gravity they deserve.

Mark Waid’s script brings drama to the series in a way that’s been on hold since “Death of Archie” in 2014, the last major event when life or death played a part in the Archie universe. This time, however, there’s more “life” than “death”, as we finally discover that Betty has in fact survived the crash from issue #20. She flatlined at the end of issue #21, but in #22 the doctor’s bring her back from the brink. The accident still had a major impact on her, however, as the issue ends with a big reaveal: Betty can’t feel her legs.

While Betty’s fate is resolved here, there are still plenty of questions to answer. What consequences will Reggie face (Archie was released from questioning by police in issue #21, but they made reference to “dealing with” Reggie later)? Is Betty’s condition permanent? How will this effect Archie’s relationships with both Betty and Veronica? And is someone’s life still on the line?

Pick this one up for yourself–it looks like “Over the Edge” is building up to something bigger.

Story: Mark Waid Art: Pete Woods Lettering: Jack Morelli
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Babyteeth #1

book_BABYTEETHThe first issue of the new series Babyteeth already has me anxious for what comes next. Writer Donny Cates‘ quick-cut storytelling unfolds in a flashback as the narrator, sixteen-year old Sadie Ritter, tells her son the story of his birth. In just a few short pages, more questions are asked than answered in the best possible way. Who is this mystersious child, born on waves of earthquakes and bringing with him the end of the world? And if the world is over, how is Sadie still getting cell service?

While the story of Babyteeth is unexpected and pleasantly unique, its stand-out qualities most certainly lie in its ink and charcoal style black-and-white art, created by Garry Brown and Mark Englert. The art enhances the storytelling experience through tight zooms and agressive close-ups, enhancing the drama and expanding the suspense for readers even in the space of this premiere 20-page issue.

If subsequent issues follow suite, readers are in for a high-speed story that barely gives you time to come up for air.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Garry Brown
Color: Mark Englert Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover A: Garry Brown  Cover B: Elizabeth Torque
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Archie #20

Archie20-MainCover-666x1024Right on the tail of Riverdale‘s season finale, Archie Comics keeps up their momentum with a fresh storyline in their “All-New” Archie comics. The series rebooted in early 2016, so another reboot so soon would be largely pointless. “Over the Edge” continues the story that kicked off in issue #1, but raises the stakes from will-they-won’t-they to life-or-death.

It’s clear that at least some of Riverdale‘s appeal has rubbed off on artist Pete Woods, as Archie spends several pages gratuitously shirtless while he and Betty work on his classic jalopy. Much like every other element preserved from the original comics, the jalopy gets a backstory and becomes more important to our characters than ever before. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the vilification of Reggie Mantle, Riverdale’s ultimate bad guy.

Even in his own mini-series, the final words on Reggie declare him the “prince of darkness”, and this time he’s back with an attempt to steal Archie’s car (and possibly his girl.) *Spoiler – Highlight the text to read* However, all his plans are derailed when Betty speeds in to stop the plot, and they crash into each other mid-race. “Over the Edge” truly begins when Betty and Reggie go careening off the side of Serpent Hill. The story concludes with a line-up of the possible casualties of the storyline: Archie (already marked “safe” after this issue), Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Reggie. *End Spoiler*

Writer Mark Waid has boosted the Riverdale gang to a new level of sophistication, without losing any of their timeless appeal. This continues in “Over the Edge”, as Veronica name-checks clothing designers, Betty remains fiercely protective of her friends, Jughead drops by with a bag of half-eaten burgers and Archie himself trips his way through life both literally and metaphorically. Waid remains easily one of the best things to happen to Archie since the whole universe rebooted in his “All-New Archie #1”, and the now infamous Lipstick Incident.

Archie Comics has raised the stakes before, most notably with their “Death to Archie” storyline, as well as their duel “Married Life with Archie” stories. “Over the Edge” seems more like a classic Life with Archie story, where life or death is teased for the sake of temporary drama, although the repercussions will only cause a small ripple in the universe as we know it. “Over the Edge” kicks off a little slow, but should slam into high gear by part 2 or 3.

Story: Mark Waid Art: Pete Woods
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0  Recommendation: Read

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Fish Kill side ad
Recent Entries »