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Review: Atlantis Chronicles #5

Atlantis Chronicles #5

This last season of Game Of Thones was a mix of what the fans loved about the show and what made them frustrated.  The steeped mythology, the endless secrets, and the connection all these characters had to each other is what has made the audience so enamored with the series.  The investment required by fans, the fact that you cannot pick up the show anywhere in the timeline, the medieval setting, and the mostly Caucasian cast, could be turnoffs for anyone who did not give the show a chance. The show was definitely at its pinnacle as it fulfilled many plot points that they had sewn even from the first episode.

This is where the show shined. It reveled in the many different conflicts while unveiling major character flaws. It’s what made the show beautiful.  Family is one of the major threads that strings all the stories and characters together. What one does for love makes it that much more endearing. The show revealed to the audience that having more than one conflict can actually be done well and makes the story even more interesting. The fifth issue of Atlantis Chronicles continues this epic story which unravels more of Atlantis’s dark history.

We find the people of Atlantis under invasion from Kordax and Dardanus, as Kordax I the first Atlantean to control the sea creatures, even pulling sharks to attack kingdom dwellers. King Orin and what is left of his royal court go into hiding, so they can regroup and fight another day. As readers finally get what everyone had been waiting for, as Shalako and Orin have their fight in the afterworld while Kordax and Fiona, battle where a surprise victor emerges. By issue’s end, Oren is no more, and the kingdom is in Cora’s capable hands as the Atlanteans more than adapt but thrive.

Overall, though the story feels complete, David and his fellow creators give fans of this book their penultimate episode. The story by David is clever, powerful, and epic. The art by the creative continues to be stellar. Altogether, a story that will have fans clamoring to get to the next issue.

Story: Peter David
Art: Esteban Maroto, Eric Kachelhofer, and Gaspar Saladino
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Sunday Roundtable: What run or comic series do you love and feel like nobody else read?

JLA Roundtable comics to readSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

What run or comic series do you love and that you feel like nobody else read? What made you enjoy it?

Logan: I always felt like the only one reading the Bravest Warriors comics even though the cartoon is super popular, and Catbug is literally everywhere!

I loved the book b/c it featured a queer character in an all ages book, really expanded on the cartoon’s mythology (especially with Catbug’s backstory), had nice pop culture riffs on stuff like The Great Gatsby and Pacific Rim, and Ian McGinty‘s art is animation translated to the comics page.

Daphne: I loved Bravest Warriors! I’ve been catching up on the comics by buying the collections Comixology sells whenever they go on sale. I am a few volumes behind I think but it’s such a fun series.

Daphne: Bone, by Jeff Smith. I know it’s actually critically acclaimed and it did get Jeff a decent amount of press and attention, but it feels criminally underrated and forgotten to me. It’s this amazing mixture of high fantasy and Peanuts-style character interaction, with these really believable and real-feeling characters caught up in a fantasy war with rat creatures, dragons, a sentient locust swarm, undead, and ghosts. But it never loses sight of the heart of the story, which is the eight or nine characters we follow all through the plot. It was how I discovered comic books as a little girl and it is a really important and special series to me. I hate that so few people seem to have read it.

Javier: This is the kind of stuff I used to buy for my kids, but secretly was really for me. Scholastic reprinted these a few years back, and I bought my son the entire set.

Alex: Ha, most of the superhero stuff I love is, I feel underrated, but ‘ll start with C.O.W.L. It’s a series written by Kyle Higgins, set in the 60s (or so) where the city of Chicago’s unionized superhero outfit is about to go on strike as they try to negotiate a new contract with the mayor’s office. The problem? They’re so good at what they do that they’re not needed anymore…

This 11 issue series ignited my interest in exploring the concept of superheroing as a paid occupation, corruption, and the nature of power. It’s fantastic, and needs some love.

Brett: I started reading that one and stopped. I should definitely go back and see what I missed.

Paul: The New Warriors, the original run. I loved the original line up, and the new additions that came and went. It was so 90s and it was great. Young teen heroes, turned away by the established teams so they form up and show them how it’s done. And they had some great villains; Psionex, Mad Thinker (who actually helped these kids learn about themselves), Folding Circle, The Sphinx, Force of Nature…so many great stories. I think this is the only title were I bought every single issue, #1-#75 and annuals. I still pull the box out and read through the run. It really stuck with me and still is one of my favourite books (not including the unfortunate relaunches).

Alex: I enjoyed the most recent relaunch with Scarlet Spider, to be honest.

Paul: It started out pretty good..but I couldn’t stick with it after the talking dog and cat beings from Wundagore. There was potential though…I did enjoy Scarlet Spider and Hummingbird

Alex: Heh, I actually enjoyed those quite a bit. I’d read them all on Marvel Unlimited after plowing through some Moon Knight from the 2006 run, and they were a nicely pleasant change.

Paul: I’m glad someone enjoyed it smile emoticon

Alex: If you liked the way Scarlet Spider was written, you should check out the 25 odd issue run by the same writer. It’s fantastic

Paul: I would love to see the originals in a new run…older, wiser..like 3 ex Avengers (Justice, Firestar, Speedball), bring back Turbo, rescue Alex Power from the Future Foundation…boom, you got a book tongue emoticon

Alex: I’d be interested in that, and I never read the originals

Elana: I like the idea of villains helping young heroes understand themselves. Any idea roughly which issues that was?

Ryan: How about Alan Moore‘s totally under-appreciated run on WildC.A.T.S.? Even with all the quality creator-owned stuff coming out of Image these days, I still maintain that this is the best-written run of any Image title. It sold well, but like a lot of the stuff that came out at that time, people bought it, but never actually bothered to read it. That’s a real shame because while this won’t leap-frog V For Vendetta or From Hell or Watchmen (or Providence, his best series in decades) on anyone’s list of favorite Moore comics, it’s a thoroughly engaging, imaginative, stylish, and dare I say even modestly ambitious run of issues that are richly deserving of critical re-appraisal and a far more considered examination by anyone so inclined.

Brett: I think Joe Casey and Dustin Nguyen’s run in Wildcats 3.0 was even better. That’s a run that’s woefully overlooked and so ahead of its times. It had the team more as a corporation dealing with not just powered villains but the oil lobby.

Elana: Need to read both of those! There was a lot of creative work by top writers in the Wildstorm universe.

One of the comics I would include here as an overlooked great would be the Wildstorm summer special of 2001.

There’s Hawksmoore parkour, Zealot in a beautiful silent piece stealing apples, a hilarious bit with The Engineer’s dating woes that includes what HAD been the iconic Midnighter moment until his solo series.

I referenced it in my review of Midnighter. Apparently he wears his mask even when he’s hanging around their headquarters in an undershirt and underwear. And ironing clothes.

Elana: Grant Morrison and Jae Lee‘s “Fantastic Four” 1,2,3,4. I’ve only met one other person who’s read it. I LOVED his take on the characters. He seems to be the only person to ever care about Sue’s psychology. The art is really sexy when it needs to be (ie when Namor shows up to seduce Sue). His Alicia Masters is smart. Ben Grimm’s dialog about becoming the Thing makes me cry. The art is beautiful and moody and the book is a tightly put together package of “Oh, so this is how the fantastic four works” written for modern readers.

Alex: That sounds like it might be interesting. When did they come out?

Paul: Sounds very interesting

Elana: 2001-2002. It was in the Marvel Knights imprint. There was one issue dedicated to each member.

Alex: Interesting. I may try and find those issues if it’s only the four

Elana: Alex they are in a tiny trade paperback.

Alex: Awesome! I’m heading to the comic shop anyway later today so I’ll check for them

Ryan: I read it, but don’t remember it striking much of a cord. Guess I’ll have to dig out my back issues and give it another look —

Javier: Kirby‘s Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. I’m on a bender trying to get every issue. I’m short an odd 17 issues. I don’t really remember how I got into this character. I was 8 years old when this series ended, and I didn’t start collecting til I was 14; but I had a few beat up issues in my collection. Much later I looked to buy the collected TPB, but much too late; and it is now out of print and sells at a premium. I did the math; and looking for the originals will cost about the same as buying the collected trades. I know it’s suppose to be a rip-off of the Planet of the Apes, but Kirby’s art and writing still holds. The idea of a “Great Disaster” that not even Superman was able to prevent is classic. I can’t figure out why it was cancelled so early, since everything I read on it said sales were good; and to this day, back issues sell cheaply (when you can find them).

Ryan: One of Kirby’s very best series — shoot, we could do a whole roundtable discussion on under-appreciated Kirby titles, from OMAC to Captain Victory to Silver Star to Devil Dinosaur to Black Panther to 2001 to Machine Man to his 1970s Captain America run — all are crackling with more ideas per page than any ten entire comics are today.

Elana: Ryan: let’s do it! Also the success of Adventure Time is def a reflection of Kamandi’s brilliance as a story

Christopher: I would have to say the lesser known Neil Gaiman works, that the now defunct Tekno Comix published; Mr Hero: The Pneumatic Man, Teknophage, and Lady Justice. The story is good, albeit a bit strange but, it is Neil Gaiman after all. I have found a few issues of each, but finding them in sequential order is a frustrating challenge. In addition to that I would have to say, Alan Moore‘s Fashion Beads run. Another weird, strange yet, detailed and wonderful story. I would say Grant Morrision’s six issue, Batman RIP run. Great story, and art.

Brett: I didn’t know any of those Gaiman comics. I’ll need to check them out.

Elana: Do Peter David‘s decades on X-Factor count as overlooked? It’s an incredibly long run that doesn’t seem well examined. I grew up on it.

Brett: I grew up on that run, a favorite of mine too!

Well, that’s a lot of good suggestions folks. What do you readers think? Sound off in the comments below!

Review: Doc Savage: The Spider’s Web #1

doc savage

Throwing the reader straight in at the deep end, Doc Savage: The Spider’s Web #1, opens with gusto. The aftermath of an enormous earthquake has all of Doc Savage’s team investigating the cause, particularly as it seems to have occurred out of the blue. The artwork is intense, depicting the chaos with detail and real purpose, really helping to draw the reader in.

As the team discuss the peculiar events it is of course Doc Savage who recognizes a vital clue. The readers, and other characters, are then taken on a trip down memory lane, to 1935 and the events leading to the Second World War. This is an impressive storyline with key elements of mystery, suspense and tension, and the writing is excellent.  I was really intrigued to find out what was going on and ultimately how Doc Savage and his team were going to prevent any further events.

A huge clue to the recent developments in the modern day mystery is revealed to the reader towards the end of the comic, and the artwork used to display this is fantastic! The feelings are completely visible in the image, and this is supported by some fluent and impressive writing.

At the end of the issue I was left with a burning desire to find out what was going to happen and exactly how the next set of events were going to unfold, the sign of a truly great comic.

Story: Chris Roberson Art: Cezar Razek
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

 

Review: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1

star wars rebel heist 1 coverA young Rebel meets one of the Alliance’s best for his first mission. But the young man’s hero worship is crushed by the reality of Han Solo. A botched escape, a ship that doesn’t work—could it be that Solo is just a lucky bumbler whose luck has run out?

When I heard writer Matt Kindt was penning a Star Wars series, I immediately got excited. Even with recent news that stories like these are no longer official Star Wars cannon, what Kindt has created is an exciting action comic that focuses on who Han Solo is through the eyes of a Rebel recruit. That perspective is fun and interesting, and sucks in the reader in, making the story east to relate to. Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 isn’t about crazy galactic battles, or the Rebel’s ongoing battle with the Empire. The story is about how batshit insane Han Solo must look to the average person. And the funniest thing is, until this comic brought it up, I never thought about it. That realization evolves for that Rebel recruit, much like it did for me as a reader. As things go off the rails, and opinions change, I found mine doing the same. That’s part of the fun of the comic.

Working with Kindt is artist Marco Castiello, whose pencils are enhanced through Dan Parsons‘ inking and Gabe Eltaeb‘s coloring. The look of the comic is solid, with characters, designs, and elements that are identifiable in a world most reading this will be familiar with. Characters look like they should, vehicles fit known designs, and the mood and color matches the world this story takes place on. It’s good work, that has the action smoothly flowing on the comic page.

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 throws you into familiar territory with characters you know, and a world you know. The perspective though is new, and voice interesting. Mixing action and humor, I found myself getting to the end with a smile on my face, having wrapped up the first issue of an entertaining adventure. One that got me to laugh, and took me for a ride. Even if you’re not a Star Wars fan, this first issue is a fantastic start and a great read. I figured Kindt would deliver something special, and it looks like he has.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Marco Castiello
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review