Tag Archives: action comics

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 400

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for February.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 400 in sales.

Yup, top 400.

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list, but the only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 for March’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.

7406691-the-consultant-4The Consultant #4 (Action Lab)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 489 / 589
The final issue of a series that highlights the fallout of super battles, the central character is a former Navy S.E.A.L. who specializes in making the sins of superheroes vanish, so if you like the idea of Superman hiring hookers and somebody needing to cover that up, then this criminally under-read series is one you should be on the hunt for.

Lord Of Gore #4 (Devil’s Due)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 467 / 718
Lord Of Gore, as I’m sure you can tell, won’t be for everyone. But the name comes from the B-Movie franchise within the comic, whose star murdered the young actress years ago. A series that takes a dark look at the entertainment industry and the procedure of Hollywood. Look beyond the horror sheen and you’ll find a fascinating story.

Call Of The Suicide Forest #1 (Amigo) 
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 458  / 780
A comic that follows a person about to end their life in the suicide forest of Japan, only for the denizens of the forest in both sides of life, to begin a war for her soul. Oddly transcendent, this comic should have a bigger audience than the numbers Diamond reported.

Vs #1 (Image)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 424 / 1,278
Blending violence, dark humour and the juxtaposition of sport, science and social media, Vs presents a world where war is fought for entertainment. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so damn possible. A familiarly fresh comic – give this a look next time you’re shopping for comics.

 


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Vulture – The Story of Trina Robbins, the Controversial Feminist Who Revolutionized Comic Books – Some solid comic history.

ICv2 – ‘Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes’ Sets a New Bar for Museum Shows of Comic Art – Anyone checking this out?

The Beat – Delisle, Ollmann, GG, Jacobs, and Willumsen lead this year’s Doug Wright Award nominations – Congrats to all!

The Comichron – Action 80 Years leads hardcover reorders as Action #1000 goes on sale; Venom #1 tops advance reorders – For those that like the horse race.

 

Reviews

Newsarama – Action Comics #1000

Atomic Junk Shop – Babylon Berlin

ICv2 – Dan Dare Vol. 1 He Who Dares

Review: Action Comics #1000

Celebrate 1000 issues of Action Comics with an all-star lineup of top talent as they pay tribute to the comic that started it all! From today’s explosive action to a previously unpublished tale illustrated by the legendary Curt Swan to the Man of Tomorrow’s future-this very special, oversized issue presents the best of the best in Superman stories!

Action Comics #1000 feels like an end, a beginning, and a celebration of a landmark moment, one thousand issues and almost 80 years of Superman. The issue is full of some top notch talent with numerous stories of varied style and quality. All of it though is entertaining in some way.

The issue opens up with writer Dan Jurgens‘ finale to his latest run with “From the City That Has Everything.” It’s clear from his latest run (and all his Superman material) that he loves the character and this story which features art by Jurgens, ink by Norm Rapmund, color from Hi-Fi and letters by Rob Leigh, is that recognition as Metropolis honors the Man of Steel. It’s a cheesy story but one that is so in a way that a speech from someone honoring someone else might be. Touching and a fine way for Jurgens to wrap up his run.

The second story is a really cool one that weaves a story out of what is essentially pin-ups. It’s a great way to include such a thing in a comic without it just being images. I hope we see more of this and the art is from a who’s who of creators. It involves Superman going through time and gives a way for artists to take advantage to take us readers through Superman’s history, some of his key moments, and different artistic styles we’ve seen. It’s an utterly brilliant story and presentation and a highlight of the celebration.

Marv Wolfman and Curt Swan team up for “An Enemy Within” which feels like a bit of a retro story in both pacing and art. While not bad it’s an interesting reminder of how much storytelling has changed over the years. I don’t want to give too much away but the story has some nice twists involving a hostage situation.

“The Game” sees Superman and Lex Luthor match wits in a game of chess. Paul Levitz and Neal Adams team up for the story and it’s interesting and one you can probably debate about the deeper meaning. It’d be nice to see this story in a longer form as there’s a lot to work but with just a few pages we don’t get a lot of depth, just fun twists that feel like they’re from the 80s and an homage to an Adams classic moment.

Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, and Olivier Coipel come together for “The Car” which has a criminal recounting how his car was destroyed by a mysterious flying man. The art is fantastic and I think some of my favorite work by Coipel who seems to be channeling Frank Quitely. It’s such a simple story but one that really digs into what makes Superman super.

“The Fifth Season” sees Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque come together as Superman and Lex Luthor come together in Smallvill. It’s an interesting story that again explores the relationship of the two characters. Particularly it focuses on Luthor being oblivious to the good that Superman does that he doesn’t acknowledge or is even aware of. It’s another story that can be debated as far as its deeper meaning and themes.

“Of Tomorrow” is Tom King, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, and John Workman having Superman revisit Earth one last time before it’s consumed by the sun. It’s a reminder of the loss of the character and a deeply touching entry.

Louise Simonson and Jerry Ordway come together for “Five Minutes” which reminds us that Superman has a few jobs, hero and reporter (as well as husband and father). It’s a fun story that plays on the speed of the character and that how he can some times mess up one job due to the other. A funny ending that gave me a chuckle.

“Actionland!” has Paul Dini and José Luis García-Lopez focus on our favorite imp who has it out for Superman. It’s the odd story of the bunch with the focus on the villain but is a reminder that like Superman, some of them have infinite power that they hold back due to… something.

Writer Brad Meltzer and artist John Cassaday honor Christopher Reeve with “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” that has Superman racing to prevent a gun going off and killing a woman. It’s a fantastic story and I had no idea how it’d resolve. Again though, it’s a reminder of some of the things that makes Superman great and boils the character down to his goodness and how he inspires and is inspired.

“The Truth” is Brian Michael Bendis‘ DC debut with art by Jim Lee and what is supposed to lead into the miniseries The Man of Steel which kicks off Bendis’ run. Out of all of the stories, this is the low point of the issue honestly. Maybe it’s the hype but there’s a new baddie who’s out to kill Kryptonians and while Metropolis is getting destroy two civilians are focused on Superman’s underwear? It’s very Bendis and while funny, especially with Lee on art, it doesn’t quite work and honestly lowered my excitement for what he has coming.

There’s a lot packed in here and something for everyone. No matter the era of your enjoyment there’s a story that fits it and this is really a comic that has an amazing amount of talent. It’s truly a celebration of such an iconic character and for the celebration alone it’s a purchase. At times, comics like this are a let down, but this is the exception with every story entertaining in some way and a few that shine. It’s the rare oversized celebration comic that lives up to the occasion.

Story: Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Neal Adams, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Dan Jurgens, Patrick Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, José Luis García-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee
Ink: Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams
Color: Hi-Fi, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McGaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Nick Napolitano, John Workman, Carlos M. Mangual, Josh Reed, Chris Euopoulos, Cory Petit
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you looking forward to? Sound off in the comments.

While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Comichron – New: The complete Action Comics postal circulation record, 1960-89 – Some cool comic history.

Metal Injection – Carnifex Frontman Announces His Death Dreamer Graphic Novel – Interesting.

Hyperallergic – An Afrofuturist Graphic Novel Revives the Lost Histories of Women-Led Slave Revolts – This sounds cool.

CBR – Universal Acquires Feature Rights for The Prince and the Dressmaker – Is there anything not acquired at this point?

 

Reviews

The Beat – Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1

AiPT – Death or Glory #1

ICv2 – Fighting American Vol. 1

Comic Attack – The Immortal Men #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Joe

Top Picks: Daredevil #601 (Marvel) – The Mayor Fisk arc has been wonderful, and with the twist from last issue I am waiting what this one will bring. This is turning into one of the best runs on Daredevil I have read in years, and Soule and Garney keep rolling!

Infinity Countdown #2 (Marvel) – The Adam Warlock issue and the first issue of this event that is leading to another event (but don’t call it an event!) was filled with great set up. I am more than excited that Logan is back, and the characters they chose to have the infinity stones is very interesting and should lead to some great fun.

The Avengers #689 (Marvel) – Every week this comic delivers classic Avengers action while jugging many team members and creators, and I can not recommend it enough.

Action Comics #1000 (DC) – A landmark moment for comics, superheroes, and the one to spawn generation after generation of heroes. This is the guy who made it cool to wear the underwear on the outside (wait that’s not cool?). One thousand issues is insane!

The Black Monday Murders Vol. 2 (Image Comics) –  I love this creepy detective occult series and this volume is just as wild as the first. Hickman is one of the best writers around today, so do not miss this!

 

Shay

Fight Club 2 TP (Dark Horse) – I am fangirling pretty hard for this soft cover version of my signed never taken off the shelf hard cover copy. Finally a copy that can come with me and an excuse to reread it.

Harley Quinn #42 (DC Comics) – I’ve been warming to the new team behind Harley and I am a sucker for seeing what the future holds my favorite villain.

John Wick #2 (Dynamite Entertainment) – More of the John Wick origin story and it should keep me going until the 3rs installment comes out next year.

Kick-Ass #3 (Image Comics) – Patience Lee is taking names and kicking ass so obviously I am all the way here for it.

Runaways TP Vol. 10 (Marvel) – Teens being teens and trying to save the world the way teens would.

Calexit #1 (4th Printing) (Black Mask Studios) – Because it is the start of an amazing series!

 

Brett

Top Pick: Fence #5 (BOOM! Studios) – BOOM! has been killing it with sports series that bring the popular manga genre to the west and this series is one of the best out there. Great characters, interaction, and stories.

Lucy Dreaming #2 (BOOM! Studios) – A fun start that seems to blend the magical girl genre with sci-fi.

Mister Miracle #8 (DC Comics) – One of the most intriguing comics out today. The second half of this series has me excited to see where it all goes and what the creative team has in store. A brilliant maxi-series and will absolutely be on many best of lists.

James Bond: The Body #4 (Dynamite Entertainment) – An intriguing series that has explored Bond in a new way and really breaking down the character in various aspects. A must for any Bond fan.

Transformers: Optimus Prime #17/Transformers: Optimus Prime #18/Transformers: Lost Light #17 (IDW Publishing) – Any week with Transformers comics I’m happy, but three in one week makes me beyond excited. So much more than meets the eye.

C2E2 2018: The Action Comics #1000 Panel

At C2E2 this past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Action Comics #1000 panel, which had a lot of information about that specific issue as well as reveals of upcoming Superman artwork and stories, mostly involving new DC Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis. Along the way, the talented group of creators on the panel talked about their connection to Superman while teasing their stories, and some surprise swag was given out at the end…

It’s seriously insane that a monthly comic book has hit four digits in issue numbers and has basically been published since 1938. Some of DC’s best creators convened at the Action Comics #1000 panel to talk about their work on upcoming Superman titles, their relationship to the iconic hero, and most importantly, should his costume have underwear on the outside, or not? The panel included writer Brian Michael Bendis (Alias), who is making his DC Comics debut on Action Comics #1000, writer/artist Patrick Gleason (Superman), writer Tom King (Batman), artist Clay Mann (Batman), artist Jill Thompson (Beasts of Burden), and artist Philip Tan (Suicide Squad: Rebirth).

It kicked off with some information about the 80 page celebration that is Action Comics #1000 as well as a 384 page hardcover book called 80 Years of Superman with all kinds of essays, tributes, stories, and art that looked perfect for a coffee table along with an unpublished story by Jerry Siegel and artists from Joe Shuster’s studio. Continuing with the unpublished theme, Bendis reminded the moderator that Action Comics #1000 has some unpublished art by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan that Marv Wolfman scripted over and geeked out about it. He showed a real passion for being involved with Superman and DC Comics on the panel.

After saying he had almost no time off between doing his last Marvel book, Invincible Iron Man #600, and his first DC book so he could jump in on Action Comics #1000, Brian Michael Bendis set up the first reveal of the panel. It was four pages of lettered Jim Lee art as well as his and Bendis’ first original DC creation, the mysterious villain Rogol Zaar. (There was a snarky joke about red trunks in there too.) Bendis said that the villain will be connected to a secret from Superman’s past. The secret will be revealed in Action Comics #1000 and then expanded upon in the weekly Man of Steel miniseries. He then told Rogol’s secret origin, which was connected to his hospitalization for a MRSA infection in late 2017. Dr. Rogol was a no-nonsense doctor in the hospital, who helped him get better so he decided to name his first big DC villain after her. When Bendis told Dr. Rogel this, she nodded like he was crazy. The next day, she had Googled him and brought out an old Marc Silvestri drawing and said she should look like a bloodstained, bikini wearing barbarian woman. It’s safe to say she wasn’t impressed with Jim Lee’s final design. In his first DC story, Bendis made sure to “write big” for Jim Lee and was influenced by some of his collaborations with Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder on Justice League and Superman Unchained respectively in the salad days of the New 52.

The topic turned to May 2’s DC Nation #0, which is coming out the same week as Free Comic Book Day, but is on sale for $0.25 so the comic could feature more story pages. The book has previews of Tom King’s upcoming work on Batman and Scott Snyder’s upcoming work on No Justice as well as a brand new Superman story by Bendis and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Working with the 70 year old Garcia-Lopez was on Bendis’ bucket list, and he came out of retirement to deliver some beautiful pages featuring group shots of the Daily Planet bullpen reacting to Superman. Also, apparently he’s a super nice guy and still lives for collaborating on comic book stories.

About a month after DC Nation, The Man of Steel #1 will be released with Brian Michael Bendis writing and Ivan Reis and Joe Prado on artwork. In each issue of this weekly miniseries, Bendis is collaborating with a new artist he’s never worked with before except Kevin Maguire and diving feet first into the DC Universe. Bendis talked about how he wanted to make Metropolis a lived-in setting where each nook and cranny has its own story much like Gotham and also how he wants to show why Clark Kent became a reporter to “tell the truth Superman can’t”. He pointed out that unlike his powers and coming to Earth as an infant, becoming a reporter was his choice. Plus there’s going to be a big space conspiracy story featuring various alien races, including the Guardians of the Universe, and its logo was based off of John Byrne’s Man of Steel even if the stories aren’t really similar.

The Man of Steel leads into Action Comics #1001, which will be written by Bendis and drawn by Patrick Gleason, who previously was the co-writer with Peter Tomasi and occasional artist on Superman. Gleason says that Action #1000 is the celebration/jam issue while the real story starts in issue 1001. He talks about how Superman is an all-out superhero book while Action Comics will focus on the Clark/Superman dichotomy and also build up Metropolis and the Daily Planet. He then proved that he is one of the harder working creators in comics and said that he had to draw 15 pages of Action Comics #1000 while also doing full interiors on Superman #45, his farewell to the title. Luckily, all 15 pages of his Action Comics #1000 story “The Neverending Battle” were splashes and was a love letter to Superman stories across time. One of them featured the old Superman “S”, which his six year old son said was incorrect. His son ended up appearing on a page where Superman stops a train, and all four of his kids helped ink a page with Superman fighting Nazis in World War II with Sgt. Rock.

The moderator turned the focus to Tom King and Clay Mann’s five page Action Comics #1000 story, which is already available online. It is set way in the future, fairly depressing, and King began with a little joke about how Batman was better than Superman. King said that he when was he younger that he thought Superman was a fairly “generic” hero. However, through his grandmother, who is from Nebraska and his wife, who is from Chicago, he began to see him as an embodiment of Midwestern values aka focusing on the solution, not just the problem. Then, artist Clay Mann got a nice ovation from the audience for his art skills and talked about King giving him reference material of Mars to draw this future Earth. He also joked about Superman’s tears not evaporating in the sun, which severely hurt Tom King’s “scientific” credentials. King’s explanation was “super tears”, which led to Bendis telling a story about how he wrote an angry letter to John Byrne while he was a comic book store clerk about how Superman shaves with a mirror and heat vision and ended up getting roasted by Byrne in the letters page of Next Men #8. The ghost of John Byrne definitely seemed to be haunting this panel.

Next, Jill Thompson teased some of her art for the upcoming Action Comics Special story with Mark Russellwhich is about Clark Kent roasting Lex Luthor at the White House Correspondents Dinner. It looks super hilarious, and various members of the Justice League are there in dressier versions of their costumes. The wrestler Alex Chamberlain posed for her art. Then, the moderator asked her and the panel who their favorite Superman artists were. Thompson said she liked Steve Rude, especially his work with Dave Gibbon on World’s Finest, where he gave Metropolis and Gotham two distinct looks. Philip Tan’s definitive artist was Alex Ross on Kingdom Come and Mann’s were the aforementioned Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jim Lee, Dan Jurgens, and John Byrne. King picked Byrne and Curt Swan because “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” is his favorite Superman story. Patrick Gleason said he liked the Superfriends and Bruce Timm Superman cartoons before getting into comics, but his favorite artists were Jurgens and Ross. Bendis closed by giving a shout out to the jam issue (He loves those.) Action Comics #400, which featured Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, Moebius, and more’s take on Superman. And they all commiserated over the difficulty of drawing the Superman “S”.

Towards the end of the panel, Brian Michael Bendis talked about how what a solid foundation Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason left him on the Superman titles as they went from having two Supermen to just one hopeful, optimistic Superman even with some super crazy stories like the Boyzarro and Rozarro starring Superman #45, which is basically a Bizarro-verse version of the DC Rebirth one-shot. Bendis says the ideal is taking over a struggling book, like Frank Miller on Daredevil, because you have creative freedom, but it’s a tougher challenge to take over a book that has hit a creative peak like Superman.

Bendis said that his take on Superman wouldn’t be a reboot and that he had a seven page manifesto of Superman is relatable to him, especially as a father. (Of course, King quipped about Batman being more relatable.) Plus there is a lot of adoption in his family. He retold a story where as a struggling artist in Cleveland, he took on a gig to do art for a Superman parade where he was paid for Superman merchandise. Siegel and Shuster cancelled so Stan Lee of all people was the guest of honor and called him by name, but it was really because he was wearing a nametag. However, this parade gave him to the opportunity to talk with many comic creators about his career, including George Perez, who gave him 20 minutes of solid advice, including to focus on one project at a time, which has helped him with all those crazy deadlines and juggling multiple books.

The panel concluded with a roundtable discussion about the return of Superman’s red trunks, and Gleason talking about how he and Jim Lee basically designed around them when they were coming up with Superman’s new costume for DC Rebirth. But the panel seemed pretty pro-trunks, and each member of the panel audience was rewarded with their own pair of Superman trunks (Mostly XL.) with #TheTrunksAreBack embroidered on the back.

Basically, Action Comics #1000 seems like it’s going to be historic and epic, and you should pick it up when it drops on April 18.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! We’re still recovering from AwesomeCon (literally, stupid con crud). Some of the team will be at C2E2 (which we’ll have coverage) and of course we’ll be having some geeky fun! What are your plans? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Chicago Tribune – Iron Circus Comics brings diversity to the comic book market – And you should check it out!

Kotaku – Report: Stan Lee’s Stolen Blood Was Used to Sign Marvel Comics Sold in Las Vegas – As if things couldn’t get any weirder.

Broadway World – Nanits Universe Launches New Digital Comic Book Platform – Ok…

Newsarama – Black Panther to be First Movie Shown in Saudi Arabia in 35 Years – This is pretty cool.

The Comichron – How Action #1000’s reported 500k copies, DC Nation #0’s million might rank among century’s top comics – For those that enjoy the horse race.

 

Reviews

CBR – Venomized #1

Library of Awesome: Paul Levitz, Dan Jurgens, and DC Comics at the Library of Congress. Watch the video!

The Library of Congress celebrates the 1000th issue of seminal DC comic book series Action Comics, a commemoration of 80 years of Superman, with a live interview featuring DC legends. Former publisher and president of DC, Paul Levitz and famed DC writer and artist Dan Jurgens, known for his work on the Superman series and the pop culture phenomenon “The Death of Superman,” discuss the history of superhero comics, the writers and artists who create comics and the legacy of DC’s iconic Superman character.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things will you all be doing? We’ll be watching I Kill Giants!!! Can’t wait. While you wait for the work day to end and weekend begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

PBS NewsHour – Opinion: Why ‘Black Panther’ and other comic books belong in the classroom – We can support this!

The Comichron – Action Comics #1000 takes 10 of Top 12 advance reorder spots; Infinity Gauntlet, Rick & Morty rule reorders – For those that dig the horse race.

The Mary Sue – Elizabeth Olsen Calls Out Empire Magazine for Photoshopping Her Beyond Recognition – Good.

Newsarama – Chris Evans Has ‘No Plans’ To Return To Captain America After Avengers 4 – Wasn’t this a known thing?

 

Reviews

The Beat – The Family Trade Vol. 1

Talking Comics – Infidel #1

Comics Bulletin – Usagi Yojimbo: The Hidden #1

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