Tag Archives: rick leonardi

Preview: Aquaman #33

Aquaman #33

(W) Dan Abnett (A) Ricardo Federici, Rick Leonardi (CA) Stjepan Sejic
In Shops: Feb 21, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“The Crown Comes Down” finale! With Mera’s life hanging in the balance, Aquaman must find a way to bring down the Crown of Thorns! But King Rath’s forces are more resolved than ever to take down Aquaman…and time is running out before Mera pays the ultimate price!

Review: Cable: The Hellfire Hunt

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Cable!

Cable: The Hellfire Hunt collects Cable (1993) #1 and #48-58, Cable & Machine Man Annual 1998, Machine Man & Bastion Annual 1998 and Wolverine/Cable by Michael Higgins, Joe Casey, Karl Bollers, German Garcia, Ryan Benjamin, Ed McGuinness, Rick Leonardi, Martin Egeland, Stephen Platt, and Jose Ladrönn.

Get your copy in comic shops today and bookstores on November 28. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: Scooby Apocalypse #17

Scooby Apocalypse #17

(W) Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis (A) Dale Eaglesham, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green (CA) Carlos D’Anda
In Shops: Sep 13, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Now that the mega-monster has been untangled, a small army of monsters lurks around every corner waiting to destroy the gang forever. Little do they know, the greatest threat is one they can’t see. Can Scooby’s nose save the day? Then, in our backup story, Secret Squirrel embarks on his latest mission with the help of his trusted partner, Morocco Mole.

Review : The Sandman Special #1

At this point, there have been way more comic book “Sandmen” than a person can rightly count, and while the most popular remains the Neil Gaiman iteration, it owes a heavy debt — and over the course of its run makes references both tangential and concrete — to the version of the character introduced by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon in 1974. Simon and Kirby had collaborated on another “Sandman” altogether around three decades previously, but the ’70s version, while short-lived, remains beloved by fans and creators alike, and so when DC announced its series of specials in celebration of The King Of Comics’ centenary, it was certain he’d be making a return appearance — and so he has.

The Sandman Special #1 is neatly divided into three distinct sections — the first story, written by consistently-busy veteran Dan Jurgens and illustrated by nowhere-near-as-consistently-busy veteran Jon Bogdanove, sees the land of dreams’ sworn protector, along with colorful and loquacious sidekicks Brute and Glob, working overtime to try to contain the extra-powerful imaginings of a precocious little boy; the second, scripted by Steve Orlando with pencils by Rick Leonardi and inks by Dan Green, sees a now-grown version of Jed, who figured prominently in both the Simon/Kirby and Gaiman series during earlier phases of his “life,” trying to make amends with his past after the death of his grandfather; and the final third is a collection of “Strange Tales Of The D.N.A. Project” back-up strips by Kirby himself that originally ran in the pages of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. That’s the particulars out of the way, then.

You already don’t need me to tell you that the final section of this $4.99 book is the best one and worth the price of admission alone (that is if you haven’t read all these short, two-page strips already), so let’s talk about the new material : the Jurgens/Bogdanove yarn is definitely the stronger of the two, and while it’s entirely predictable, that’s also the source of its strength and charm — you know who the over-active little dreamer is from the get-go (or at least you know who you want him to be), and events play out precisely as expected. Jurgens’ script is simple and efficient, and really just gets out of the way and lets Bogdanove, who treats us to some sumptuous double-page spreads (including an amazing Kirby-esque collage) have all the fun. That’s as it should be. The art style is pure homage all the way, yet delivered in a manner free of the curse that is intentional irony, thereby allowing it all to look and feel as entirely respectful as it is. Nobody’s re-inventing the wheel here or anything, but I defy you not to have an ear-to-ear grin on your face by the time it’s all said and done.

Somewhat less successful, but still not too shabby, is the Orlando/Leonardi/Green strip — it’s great to see Jed again, don’t get me wrong, but having his grandfather be a physical doppleganger for Kirby feels like a clunkier and more forced tribute than the more seamlessly-woven one delivered just a handful of pages previously. It’s okay enough in its own right, but only that — okay. Again, the art is basically what we’ll call an extended, and entirely polite, tip of the hat to The King.

On the whole, then, I admit that I had plenty of fun reading this book, and a supremely cool cover by the great Paul Pope provides the icing on the cake for this birthday tribute celebration. I paid for this comic out of pocket and didn’t feel ripped-off in the least, and I’ll look forward to reading it again when I go through all these specials in a single sitting once they’ve all been released. Of the three that have come out so far, I’d rank this one in the middle of the pack, just a notch behind Howard Chaykin‘s The Newsboy Legion And The Boy Commandos Special, but well ahead of the dull and unimaginative travesty that was Shane Davis‘ New Gods Special.

Okay, fair enough, the greatest tribute one could pay to Jack Kirby would probably be to create new and innovative characters and concepts that actually push the medium forward, but if you’re bound and determined to play the “nostalgia card,” you could do it a whole lot worse than it’s done in these pages.

Story : Dan Jugens and Steve Orlando  Art : Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi, and Dan Green

Story : 7  Art : 8  Overall : 7.5  Recommendation : Buy

 

 

Preview: The Sandman Special #1

The Sandman Special #1

(W) Dan Jurgens, Steve Orlando (A) Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi (CA) Paul Pope
In Shops: Aug 16, 2017
SRP: $4.99

Don’t miss two new tales starring Jack Kirby’s costumed Master of Nightmares from the 1970s. Sandman, Brute and Glob battle an onslaught of dreams so powerful that they are invading the dreams of other people! Then, a grown-up Jed Walker returns to his childhood home, only to find himself haunted by dreams from the past. This issue also includes “Strange Tales from the D.N.A. Project” from SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #142-144, 146 and 148, written and pencilled by Jack Kirby and “Turn on the Heat,” starring the Newsboy Legion, from STAR SPANGLED COMICS #27, written and illustrated by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Review: The Sandman Special #1

SandmanSpecialCoverBetween the Sandman with the gas mask and gun and the Gothic, critically acclaimed one, there was the red and yellow superhero suit wearing Sandman created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1974. In a pair of stories, DC Comics creators both old and new show the imaginative potential of this superhero and his unwilling, monstrous assistants Brute and Glob. First, Dan Jurgens, Jon Bogdanove, and Madpencil tell a heartwarming story with a great twist ending about a young boy whose vivid dreams of monsters and superheroes threaten to break out of the dream world and into reality. Then, there is Steve Orlando, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green, and Steve Buccelato’s slightly wilder tale of the now adult Jed Walker, a supporting character in Sandman, battling his childhood nightmares with a cameo from basically the Grim Reaper. The comic is rounded out by a collection of two page “Strange Stories of the DNA Project” from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories.

What initially drew me to The Sandman Special was Jon Bogdanove’s uncanny ability to make his art look like Jack Kirby’s while using modern techniques like photo collages to show the surrealness of the young boy’s dream world.  I wish DC Comics put him on more projects. There is weight to Sandman’s throws and punches, and Madpencil cooks up an old school color palette straight out of the 1970s, like a smooth orange take on the classic Kirby krackle. Even though it has banter, punching, a sick team-up move from Sandman and Brute, and a tentacle monster that gets handily defeated, Jurgens and Bogdanove’s story is more metafictional than a straight up superhero adventure ending in a final panel that may make you cry.

Sandmaninterior

Through action and a couple heart rending Jurgens monologues towards the end, The Sandman Special looks at the important of embracing our fears and weaknesses through the dream monsters and then facing and defeating them as symbolized by the young boy’s superhero, who is an amalgamation of Kirby’s takes on Thor, Orion, and a little bit of Captain America. The battle between Sandman and the young boy’s nightmare monsters is also a wonderful tribute to Jack Kirby’s career where he would switch from drawing superheroes to monsters and vice versa from his first work at DC and Marvel in the early 1940s to his later work in the 1970s and 1980s. And sometimes monsters could be heroes, like the ever loving blue eyed Thing, which is why it’s nice to see Bogdanove homage Fantastic Four #1 in one of his panels and have the monster that Sandman fights talk and have feelings.

Unlike the lead story, which quickly establishes Sandman’s kooky status quo with a double page spread, Orlando, Leonardi, and Green rely on previous knowledge of the character of Jed Walker and his grandfather Ezra from Kirby’s Sandman. I vaguely remember Jed from the “Game of You” arc from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, but luckily the story kicks up a notch when Sandman, Brute, and Glob end up fighting the angel of death in cowboy form Psychopomp on train while looking for a dream about Jed’s grandfather to scare away his now adult nightmares.

Orlando doesn’t really establish Jed as a character except his constant nightmares and that he left his unwelcoming hometown and only returned for his grandfather’s funeral so the big emotional moment isn’t as powerful as it could be. But he does make a human connection to Jed’s nightmares, which are about the fact that he didn’t spend enough time with his grandfather while he was alive. On a more fun note, the banter between Sandman, Brute, and Glob keeps the story from getting too doom and gloom as they sneak and mess around with Psychopomp. Also, I liked that Dan Green used a grittier, inking style for Jed in the “real world” and his feelings of guilt and a cleaner one for Sandman and his more traditional punching and magic whistle blowing heroism. The design for Psychopomp is also a perfect bridge from Jack Kirby’s Sandman to Neil Gaiman’s.

The second story leans too much on previous reader knowledge, but Sandman Special is a fantastic tribute to the well-designed (Both Madpencil and Steve Buccelato make that red and yellow costume pop), filled to the brim with imagination Sandman of the 1970s. It also shows the literal power of dreams to craft limitless opportunities for storytelling

Story: Dan Jurgens, Steve Orlando Art: Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi with Dan Green
Colors: Madpencil, Steve Buccelato

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Flintstones #12

The Flintstones #12

(W) Mark Russell (A) Steve Pugh (CA) Rick Leonardi, Scott Hanna
In Shops: Jun 07, 2017
SRP: $3.99

You are now leaving Bedrock! The Great Gazoo is on his way home to the stars, while Fred and company leave the Church of Gerald, and Mr. Slate leaves behind being a jerk- at least for a little while. Say good-bye to Pebbles, Bowling Ball, Philip the turtle, Fred and Barney, and the whole cast in this final issue of what critics are calling the best comic of 2016!

Review: The Flintstones #12

You are now leaving Bedrock! The Great Gazoo is on his way home to the stars, while Fred and company leave the Church of Gerald, and Mr. Slate leaves behind being a jerk- at least for a little while. Say good-bye to Pebbles, Bowling Ball, Philip the turtle, Fred and Barney, and the whole cast in this final issue!

Some times we can’t have nice things. That’s how I feel about The Flintstones which wraps up its run and does so in a emotional way that feels like a solid end chapter to what is some of the smartest writing in comics today.

Writer Mark Russell has delivered some of the best social and political commentary anywere in his twelve issues and here he wraps up that run focused on whether science and religion can live side by side. For twelve issues the series at times has felt a little sarccastic and on the down side of things, but here we get an issue that’s weirdly positive and hopefully.

Russell nails the ending with an issue that’s bookended with thoughts from Gazoo about humanity and its likelihood for survival and ability to flourish. The words spoken are truly an observation about today’s world and ends in a way that gives a glimmer of a smiler and wink. That includes giving us a satisfying conclusion to the animal appliances in what feels like an almost revolutionary statement in this issue.

Artist Steve Pugh along with colorist Chris Chuckry deliver the usual solid art that has grown on me over the twelve issues. This isn’t the traditional style, but the team has constantly given us art that forces you to disect every inch of the page to catch all of the jokes that drive as much of the story as the words themselves. Just solid work.

This had to end eventually and twelve issues feels too short in many ways. Hopefully we get more Russell soon because I know this usual satisfied my craving for smart commentary through comics. Some of the smartest writing anywhere wraps up that way and shows off why it’s exactly that.

Story: Mark Russell Art: Steve Pugh
Main Cover: Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Covers: Rick Leonardi, Scott Hana, Steve Buccellato

Color: Chris Chuckry Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.45 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Astro City #44

Astro City #44

(W) Kurt Busiek (A) Rick Leonardi (CA) Alex Ross
RATED T
In Shops: May 17, 2017
SRP: $3.99

A tale of murder, mystery…and a cat. Starring Nightingale, Sunhawk…and their cat. Did we mention the cat? The cat’s the lead character. Featuring guest art by Rick Leonardi (SUPERMAN, Spider-Man 2099). Mreow.

Preview: Booster Gold/The Flintstones Special #1

Booster Gold/The Flintstones Special #1

(W) Mark Russell, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti (A) Rick Leonardi, Scott Hanna (CA) Michael Allred
In Shops: Mar 29, 2017
SRP: $4.99

Welcome to the 25th century, where the Earth is a polluted post-industrial nightmare, most animals are extinct, and reptilian aliens are invading cities across the planet! In their time of need, the world’s citizens turn to the time-traveling Booster Gold to save the day. To learn why these aliens are seeking revenge, Booster dives deep into the prehistoric past to see what happened the last time they hit the planet. In this bygone era, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble must help Booster learn the truth and return to his own time armed with the information that will bring down the invaders – if Booster can convince them to help him. No problem – we all know how persuasive Booster can be, right? Right?! And in the backup feature starring The Jetsons, in a new twist on an old twist about our future, The Jetsons live in a world of robotics and gadgetry. But how does dying change when grandma’s brain can be digitally imprinted onto a housecleaning robot?

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