Tag Archives: teshkeel comics

Review: The 99: Sacrifice

Within the medium of comics, no one gets death as deftly as sequential art does. Books, can portray a death quite convincingly, describing every detail, as if you were in the room. Movies and tv shows, do it well too, as they show the viewer visually and sometimes not, what occurs. As the death of a beloved character, can make the audience gasp or cheer.

This last season of Game Of Thrones, saw the death of Littlefinger, a villain within the books and the TV show, who seemingly was behind every sea change within Westeros. Then in the recent storyline of Detective Comics, saw the death of Clayface, a once hated but now redeemed character, that divides Bat Family. Either way, much like in life, when one person is so attached to other’s lives, their fatality can be devastating. In this newest volume of The 99, every wielder of the Noor stones face a sacrifice or a demise of someone close.

Dr. Ramzi,  at the beginning of the book, asks every member what personal sacrifice each undertook before they discovered their powers. One of the wielders talks about how each got sold in to child slavery but got turned into a cold-blooded killer and receives the Noor stones this way. Another finds one of the heroes finding his powers through being bullied and almost killing someone. By book’s end, the giving up of something or someone in this book, shows the true measure of a hero.

Overall, this feels like the “After School Special” of the series, which can be good, but this team has told better stories. Stuart Moore and Fabian Nicieza feels seral in this book, which is not exemplary of the series. The art by the different artists is the one consistency from the rest of the series that is in this volume. Altogether, the series has done better than this volume, skip this one and find the rest.

Story: Stuart Moore and Fabian Nicieza
Art: Ron Wagner, Joe Rubinstein, Paco Diaz, Chris Schons, Steven Yeowell, Kevin Kobasic, Don Hudson, Mark Buckingham and Steve Buccelato
Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Review: The 99: New Blood

I am old enough to remember the 90s X-Men cartoon, which set a pretty high standard for cartoons at the time. First, there was nothing like it, as many of the cartoons on TV at the time pretty much were purely entertainment. Gone were the days of Silverhawks and Robotech, where you could learn something from a cartoon. This is exactly why the X-Men were an anomaly, as they had mature themes, but understood the show was for children.

This was before the world fell in love with Wolverine, as the Brian Singer movies had a lot to boost his popularity as well as Hugh Jackman, for many kids, if they did not read the comic, this was their first introduction. Here we found a character, who was really a loner and all about business, something Jackman has conveyed in spades, but this show did it first, and much more convincingly. The best part of the show, is when they found new mutants, where the audience got to meet someone new with powers. In this issue of The 99, the reader gets that, as we are introduced to a few new carriers of the Noor stones.

Dr. Razem, at the beginning of the issue, continues to find wielders of the gemstones, as one by one, finds their power. We are introduced to Kyai, Amira, Hatem, and Rafie, each seemingly ordinary but each quite unique and powerful. We find out how each, gets to know their power and some even save some lives. By issue’s end, Razem, has found a few new recruits, each willing to fight for good.

Overall, probably the best of the issues thus far I have read, proving that great stories come from all over the world. The story by Fabian Nicieza is exciting and hard hitting. The art by Ron Wagner is gorgeous. Altogether, a fun collection of origin stories that will introduce the world to a new set of heroes.

Story: Fabian Nicieza Art: Ron Wagner
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Review: The 99: Futures

Genre television has been around for decades, but the gap in quality has only gotten better in the last few years. I remember as a kid growing up, watching Adam West’s Batman, on the television, just about every afternoon.  It was fun watching the Dark Knight, before he was so dark, he was all business, but family friendly. I also remember watching the Incredible Hulk, a much sedate heartfelt version not only the big Green guy also of Bruce Banner.

As both of these examples still hold a special place in most fans hearts, it is hard for most of those fans to see how unfaithful these shows were to canon of both of these characters. In recent years, a lot of these characters including the Dark Knight, a la Gotham, has their stories told much more in step with what is canon.  This why I am pretty obsessed with The Gifted, as this shows a world after the X-Men, and is pretty close to how the world is, as it was portrayed in X men: Days of Future Past. This is what this particular issue of The 99 reminds me of, entitled Futures.

As the team gets caught up in a trap, Hadya, The Guide, gets seriously injured, Dr.Hamzi, becomes desperate to know what lies ahead. He summons Aleem The All Knowing, to soothsay all the possible futures the team may encounter. As each future is revealed, one direr than the other, and each could be changed with one decision. By book’s end, each team member sees as long as every decision counts.

Overall, a great issue in the series, a mix of Quantum Leap and Sliders. The story by Naif Al-Mutawa and Stuart Moore is funny, and action packed. The art by Joe Rubinstein and Ron Wagner is beautiful. Altogether, a great book, that lets the world see POC characters in spaces that they would otherwise not been seen.

Story: Naif Al-Mutawa and Stuart Moore Art: Joe Rubinstein and Ron Wagner
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: The 99: Beginnings

Hari Kondabolu recently made a documentary about one of the world ‘s recognizable, as well as its most stereotypical characters ever in animation, Apu. The very fact that the character is not voiced by someone of Indian decent, is a tradition, that goes back as old as the artform itself. As some people know that the character of Cleveland Brown on Family Guy is not voiced by an African American actor. The difference between Cleveland and Apu is not that one is more problematic than the other, but it is a matter of quantity.

In Kondabolu’s documentary, “The Problem with Apu,” most the interview subjects who grew up in America, expose the world to what most to of us know, Apu is not representative of any experience by any South Asian American. He also exposes, a systemic issue, one where every South Asian American, growing up, is identified with this character, one where the actor himself, refuses to even be interviewed for. The movie drives home that representation matters and that applies to all art forms. So, when I heard a bout a few years back, of The 99, I was intrigued to read this book about Muslim superheroes.

We are introduced to Dr. Ramzi Razem, who as a child discovered the Noor Stones, and the power they held, while visiting Spain. Years later, he became obsessed with finding al 99 of them, which were spread across the globe, and just each stone carried a unique power, it required a unique individual to possess it and wield its power. The reader gets to find out how each member of the 99 comes to find their own stone, and how they found their synergy with it. By book’s end, Razem, has assembled an awesome fighting force, that has to be ready for the war that is coming.

Overall, a great book that shows diversity matters and that great stories can come form anywhere in the world. The story by Naif Al-Mutawa and Stuart Moore is intricate, adventurous, and fun. The art by June Brigman, Albert Deschesne, Monica Kubina, Roy Richardson, and Dan Panosian is gorgeous. Altogether, a great book to a new universe that looks like the world.

Story: Naif Al-Mutawa and Stuart Moore
Art: June Brigman, Albert Deschesne, Monica Kubina, Roy Richardson, Dan Panosian

Story: 9.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: BUY

JLA/The 99: Where’s the Outrage!?


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JLA/The 99 #1We’ve chronicled the controversy surrounding the comic books series The 99.  You can read our past posts about it here, here, here and here.  The short version of the issue is simple, the right wing hates Muslims.  Well, this week DC comics released a crossover with The 99‘s publisher Teshkeel Comics which saw the super team meet DC’s Justice League of America.

A threat from beyond the stars brings the World’s Greatest Heroes together with the World’s Newest Heroes to stop a globe-spanning invasion of Earth in this 6-issue miniseries! DC Comics’ JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA joins forces with Teshkeel Comics’ THE 99 to create an unstoppable army of super-powered beings the likes of which the world – and comic shops – have never seen before!

We’re not going to go into the review of the comic (it’s bad), but more importantly the significance of it and what a missed opportunity this is.  The right’s issue with The 99 stems around their belief that it’s goal is to brainwash our children and turn them into Muslim terrorists.  Often incorrect statements are made about the characters and of course hyperbolic statements whose only goal is to cause fear are thrown around.

So here’s a rundown of the points we see about this comic book both good and bad:

  • It’s an introduction to The 99 – Most folks have not read this comic series, and I’d imagine most have never heard of it.  So, this is their first introduction to them.  I myself have never read an issue.  So, right away it gives us an introduction to these new characters.
  • The word Muslim is uttered 0 times – For a “Muslim” super hero team, the word Muslim or Islam appears zero times in the entire first issue.  A missed opportunity here.  We do see one female character in a burka, that’s the only hint we’re given.  Maybe The 99 will save the day, and then there’ll be a reveal giving us a moment to reflect on their religious beliefs and our thoughts towards them.  My guess is, that’s not going to happen.
  • Where’s the outrage!? – Isn’t this just an easier way for the Muslims to gain a mass audience and brainwash the comic reading public!?  You’d think the right wing nuts would be all over this calling for boycotts of DC comics.  They went apeshit over one panel in a Captain America comic and that caused Marvel to lose their balls and apologize for free speech.  The comic has only been out for a week, so we’ll see.

But, I’ll give credit to DC.  They knew what they were getting into with this, and they published it anyways.  The problem with highlighting this comic is, it depicts the characters in a totally reasonable light.  There’s nothing controversial about it.  I fully expect some outrage to eventually manifest, and expect us to cover it.

But, unless that outrage manifests, those hating on The 99 comic book series and soon to be cartoon are nothing but hypocrites who pick and choose what they want to rage against to get attention and spread hate and fear.