Tag Archives: comic books

Review: Curse Words #1

cursewords_01-1I have read Charles Soule comics, and knew he is a capable writer. I loved his run on Inhuman, while I found Uncanny Inhumans to be hit or miss at times. Now I don’t think that is entirely his fault, as the book had been bogged down with Civil War II, and other constant moving pieces at Marvel, but I did find it to drag at times. But this review isn’t for Soule’s work at Marvel, which also includes Daredevil, and the mutant and inhuman events, Death of X and Inhumans vs. X-Men, but a new book from Image. How is it? Fantastic. Moments like these make me happy to see creators who are held back by the big two, getting to let loose and really shine on characters they created themselves.

Curse Words #1 wastes no time getting right into its lighthearted nature. We see a musician named Johnny begging Wizord (who is the bearded character you see on the cover) to make him platinum. Now this seems like the usual kind of request in stories featuring The Devil and a musician selling his soul to become a star, but the request is literal. Johnny, the character who seems to channel Justin Bieber, wants to literally be made of platinum. Wizord, who is a wizard-for-hire, fulfills his request in a funny and silly scene which launches us into not only the appearance of someone from our main wizard’s past, but also a flashback of how he came to our world. It is interesting, fun, and it really sets the series up for a ton of possibilities.

01_cursewords01Ryan Browne draws the hell out of this comic. There are panels and pages that I want as posters or prints on my wall. The colors with the help of Jordan Boyd, and Michael Parkinson are bright and give everything a really cool digital painted effect. I have seen this art style before, don’t get me wrong, and it can be jarring, but I am happy to say that isn’t the case here. It is beautiful, and even amidst the chaos, you still stop and admire how pretty it really is. There is a really fantasy element to it, and while it doesn’t look anything like Dauterman’s work on The Mighty Thor, I feel it works in a similar way to compliment the story.

Curse Words is a comic I would absolutely recommend without any hesitation. We have seen some really great magic comics lately, and not just Doctor Strange, but titles like Ether, Seven to Eternity, and The Wicked + The Divine. Curse Words so far, even with this one issue seems to belong in that great company. This issue does enough to set up a premise that is both fun, and refreshing. Wizord is just plain awesome, and his past leaves enough shadiness for us to question him, but for now, he does seem to be the wizard we need. Also, this comic has a centaur in it, and that gives it an extra point for that alone. I think we have a great series in the making. To be blunt, this comic casts a spell of @$#& awesome!

Story: Charles Soule Art: Ryan Browne Color: Ryan Browne, Jordan Boyd, Michael Parkinson
Story: 9.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Justice League of America: The Ray Rebirth #1

rayinteriorThe Ray is my new favorite superhero. Writer Steve Orlando and artist Stephen Byrne craft together a sad, yet eventually heartwarming origin story of a young man, who has to stay away from light, or he will die in Justice League of America: The Ray. His mom won’t even let him have candles on his birthday cake, and he spends most of his days watching old movies and reading superhero comics passed down by his late father, who had the same ability as him. Ray Terrill grows up as the urban legend “Midnight Boy”, and when he sneaks out one night to finally see the outside world, it isn’t very kind to him. Orlando and Byrne use Ray’s inability to go outside or be around people as a superpowered metaphor for growing up queer in a non-urban area where it’s difficult to find people like you.

Orlando and Byrne tap into a deep vein of loneliness in the character of  Ray, who just wants to see the sunlight or moonlight and hang out with his friend Caden, who he partially blinded after an accident with a Polaroid camera. Until Ray uses his powers heroically, Byrne’s art stays in the shadows with lots of greys and muted tones. Whenever he uses his abilities, a shock of yellow envelops the panels, and this frightens people early on, but eventually Ray realizes that he can’t be in the shadows anymore and uses both his invisibility and light powers to protect Caden, his friend turned the passionate and openly gay mayor of Vanity, Oregon. The final pages are a well-earned catharsis for the literal invisible state he is in for most of the comic because he is afraid that using his light powers will create a scene and get him kicked out (or worse) from his small minded town.

jlareb_ray_cv1_open_order_varThe Sons of Liberty antagonists that Ray faces and protects Caden from are pretty one-dimensional, but serve a great purpose as the first obstacle in his superhero career. They represent hate and discrimination and just caring about yourself instead of helping out or empathizing with those around you. Ray is the exact opposite of this as he only actively uses his powers to protect his old friend, who uses his political office to give him an endorsement and also a touch of swag as he changes his look to The Ray costume. He also starts going to movies with cute boys instead of just by himself in his invisible form and lives confidently in all areas of his life.

Stephen Byrne’s artwork is slick with a varied color palette that offers a window into Ray’s feelings along with Steve Orlando’s dialogue and captions. I liked how the use of yellow earlier in the comic was seen as a negative thing whereas when Ray goes into action, it becomes a cool, signature move as he turns the curse of his abilities into a blessing.

Orlando and Byrne don’t shy away from showing Ray’s suicidal ideation as a kid in Justice League of America: The Ray #1 when he thinks that going outside and possibly dying is better than a life of isolation. However, Ray’s story is inspiring because he overcomes his loneliness, sadness, and isolation to become a great hero even though he still had bad days. I love how his favorite fictional characters got him through some hard days as both a kid and a young adult, and especially can’t wait to see how he fits in the new-look Justice League of America. All in all, Ray Terrill is another great addition to DC’s pantheon of LGBTQ superheroes.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: Stephen Byrne
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Monsters Unleashed #1

monsters_unleashed__1It’s all hands on deck with the Avengers, Champions, Guardians, X-Men and the Inhumans as they clash with monstrous threats that threaten to destroy every corner of the Marvel Universe. Who are the Leviathons? Who controls them? How can they be stopped before Earth becomes another tragic, barren world in their wake?

Marvel has a great history with monsters in their comics with some classics gracing the comics page. Recently though, the attempt to reboot, relaunch, rework, some of these classic characters into the modern Marvel Universe has resulted in mixed results, but mostly negative.

Enter, Monsters Unleashed #1, a comic that feels like it’d have been more at home being launched during Halloween.

Written by Cullen Bunn, the first issue feels like a modern tail of kaiju as comets come crashing from the sky bringing with it giant monsters for the worlds’ heroes to battle. While there’s something generally fun watching folks fight giant monsters, this issue feels like it misses exactly what. It’s not Pacific Rim where we saw giant robots grappling giant behemoths. Instead, we’re given quick cuts as teams around the world deal with the monster invasion each part given just a few pages and mostly consisting of “What’s going on? Who knows, just punch it.” This is a big, turn your brain off, monster budget monster movie, on the comic page.

There’s a bigger mystery going on as it’s hinted someone is controlling, and maybe creating, the monsters that are attacking. It’s a twist I feel like I’ve seen before in a comic/tv/movie though can’t remember exactly where and when. The comic is also hampered by the fact that Inhumans vs. X-Men is currently going on and last we’ve seen the X-Men were threatened with not being able to step on Earth and they’re at war with the Inhumans, but everything is hunky dory here.

But, there’s a lot going for the comic too with Steve McNiven on art rendering the battles in the masterful way he does. For as thin as the story is to start, the art is superb. The monsters look huge and even though there’s tons going on the battles are fairly easy to follow and the art doesn’t look jumbled at all. This is big action that’s easy to follow.

Monsters Unleashed #1 is a big summer popcorn film. Visually amazing and only paper thin when it comes to the actual story. I realize this is just the first issue, but it’s also supposed to be what hooks us to read the rest. The first issue teases a lot, but doesn’t deliver quite enough. While the first issue was turn your brain off fun, it didn’t deliver enough story to justify the price and investment.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Steve McNiven
Story: 5 Art: 8.15 Overall: 5.45 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

monsters_unleashed__1It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? 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.

Around the Tubes

The Beat – A year of free comics: Scott Gilbert’s Mysterioso is inky 90s goodness – More free comics to check out!

Newsarama – Fox’s 24 Reboot Legacy Gets Comic Book Prequel – Nice!

The Beat – 12 Million Graphic Novels Were Sold in Bookstores in 2016 – That’s a lot of graphic novels.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

The Outhousers – Birthright #21

Newsarama – All Time Comics – Crime Destroyer #1

Talking Comics – Detective Comics #948

Talking Comics – Loose Ends #1

Newsarama – Monsters Unleashed #1

Talking Comics – Wonder Woman #14

Preview: Venom #3

Venom #3

(W) Mike Costa (A/CA) Gerardo Sandoval
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 18, 2017
SRP: $3.99

After working as a Guardian of the Galaxy and a Space Knight, all of the Venom symbiote’s good deeds have left it abandoned, starving and alone… Bonded to a new host – far crueler than Flash Thompson ever was – the symbiote finds itself returning to its old ways. Get ready to sink your teeth into the deadliest Venom story yet!

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Preview: Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor #9

DOCTOR WHO: THE NINTH DOCTOR #9

Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist:  Adriana Melo
Cover A: Chris Bolson
Cover B: Will Brooks Photo
Cover C: Matt Baxter
FC – 32pp – $3.99 – On sale: January 18

The Ninth Doctor, Rose, and Jack head to Brazil on the next stop of their transtemporal mystery tour. The Iara have long been thought a Brazilian myth, but when these unearthly mercreatures prove to be aquatic aliens making an unscheduled stop on planet Earth, the TARDIS team must establish their intentions and broker peace across the water barrier…!

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Preview: Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess #3

ATHENA VOLTAIRE AND THE VOLCANO GODDESS #3

Writer(s): Steve Bryant
Artist Name(s): Steve Bryant
Cover Artist(s): Steve Bryant (COVER A), JK Woodward (COVER B)
32 pgs./ T / FC
$3.99 (reg.), $4.99 (var.)

The all-new series starring the fan-favorite pulp heroine concludes. The Nazis stand on the precipice of harnessing the power of the Hollow Earth. To stop the ultimate evil from seizing world domination Athena Voltaire must fight them to the death atop an active volcano!

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Preview: Kong of Skull Island #7

Kong of Skull Island #7

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: James Asmus
Artist: Carlos Magno
Cover Artist: Nick Robles
Price: $3.99

Now an ongoing series! As the Kongs spread through Skull Island and begin to inhabit the land on their own from the humans, they will face its true horrors.

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Preview: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #6

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe #6

John Lees, Nick Pitarra, Brahm Revel (w) • Nick Pitarra, Brahm Revel (a) • Freddie Williams (c)

Behold the debut of the TMNT’s weirdest foe yet: Wyrm! When Michelangelo tries to help find a missing person in the sewers, he ends up discovering something he wished stayed in the dark!

FC • 32 pages • $4.99

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Preview: Kiss #4

Kiss #4

writer: Amy Chu
artist: Kewbar Baal
covers: Lucio Parillo (a), Shouri (“Catman” Emoji variant) (b), Photo (c) incentive cover: Lucio Parillo (“virgin” art),  Shouri (“Catman” Emoji “virgin art”), Photo (“virgin”)
Fans & retailers, order the cover of your choice!
FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+

Twin troublemakers Eran and Noa are back home. They now know Blackwell’s secrets, but will anyone believe them? Fortunately, they have some tricks up their sleeves, and with some help from KISS, they are about to turn their world upside down…

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