Saturday Morning Comics

After weeks of empty pull lists and a hurricane that delayed books, it’s time once again to sit down with an important part of your complete breakfast and review the comic books.

Hypernaturals #3 written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; art by Tom Derenick and Andres Guinaldo; published by BOOM Studios. In spite of having the feel of a middle parts story, this issue is pretty solid. The middle parts are happening quickly enough and feel engaging rather than stalling. Add to this a heaping helping of enjoyable character interaction, including a scene in an isolation cell in prison at the heart of gas giant’s storm, and you’ve got yourself a good solid read. Hypernaturals is easily my favorite book right now because DnA know how to tell a story in both long form and short form. They’ve also created an interesting and rich world in which their stories take place. To help in fleshing out this world, Abnett and Lanning include a short supplemental text piece at the end. These have been interviews with the characters or other “in world” documents. They’re short and interesting reading. It’s still early days for you to jump on. This is a book you should be reading.

Transformers Regeneration One #83story by Simon Furman; art by Andrew Wildman (p) and Stephen Baskerville (i); published by IDW. When the solicits for this new series came out, I was apprehensive. I don’t like IDW’s Marvel Continuity GI JOE book, so I was worried that the TF book would suffer from similar problems (namely feeling too silly and cartoony). So far it hasn’t. For the last three issues I’ve thorough enjoyed everything about the series except Optimus Prime. The art is fantastic. There’s always something to punch or shoot. Soundwave is sneaky, Megatron is frightening, Kupp is cranky, and the Wreckers are wrecking. But Prime has been sitting on his robo-ass whining and pontificating like he’s about to take a walk across America with JMS. This issue changed things. Furman gives Prime a reason to move again; he does everything except write the line, “Megatron must be stopped. No matter the cost.” Hells yeah!

The Boys #70 written by Garth Ennis; art by Russ Braun. This penultimate issue was a nice breather from violent explosions of the last several issues. Ennis ties up some loose ends that didn’t need tying, but they were enjoyable none the less. We also have a nearly literal cliff-hanger set up for the next and final issue of this series that both Jesse and I have been following and mostly enjoying since the beginning.

Also this week:

Action Comics (vol. 2) #0 was okay. There’s a nice moment in Perry White’s office that reminded me of the time John Byrne taught Jesse and I how to draw a Superman symbol, and there’s a purple derby.

Earth 2 #0 was slightly better. I’m still not 100% convinced that the red headed man purporting to be Terry Sloane isn’t actually Lex Luthor. This issue is a flashback to the war with Steppenwolf. 

The problem for me with both of these books is that they feel like generic brand soda. I enjoy Dr. Pepper, and Dr. Thunder is close, but it’s missing something. I pick up a DC book and I see slightly unfamiliar and dull/ flat versions of characters I know well. It’s missing something. I feel a grumpy post about the New 52 coming on.

Muppets #3 maintains the high quality of the last issue, telling a story focusing on Pops. I’m going to miss this when it’s gone.

From Last Week

The Goon #41 by Eric Powell; published by Dark Horse Comics. With this issue we’re given a look at where things are headed and indications that Powell wasn’t floundering in those last three (enjoyable but fluffy) issues. Everyone’s favorite top hat sporting witch doctor takes the spotlight. I suspect that it’ll be knife to the face time before too long. Yay!

This week’s covers

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Saturday Morning Comics

This week I’m settling down with a bowl of Cookie Crisp and taller than usual stack of comics. It’s a big week, and it’s a good week for comics. With that in mind, I’m going to keep most of the reviews brief.

The Muppets #2 story and art by Roger Langridge; published by Disney Comics (a Marvel imprint). With no color problems this go-round, the issue is much better. It’s summer and the Muppets take a crazy trip to the beach. What keeps this arc from being perfect are the damned covers. Kermit and Fozzie are horrible to look at here. Why? Why? Why?

Action Comics vol. 2 #12: written by Grant Morrison; art by Rags Morales, CAFU, Rick Bryant, Bob McLeod, and Andrew Hennessy; published by DC Comics. Yeoman’s work. After 12 issues we finally have a real clues as to the over arching conflict…and it involves the 5th Dimension.

 Love and Capes: What to Expect #1: by Thom Zahler; published by IDW. I’m so glad this is back. It’s still fun and a joy to read. As suggested at the end of the last arc and the title of this arc, we can expect a super birth by the end. It works well if you’ve never read any of the previous Love and Capes stories, but there’s an extra layer for those familiar with the world and the established character dynamics. Check it out; it’s clever with winks and nods to comicdom’s goofier moments.

Transformers: Regeneration One #82 story by Simon Furman; art by Andrew Wildman (p) and Stephen Baskerville (i); published by IDW. HOLY MOLEY! Hang on to your butts because Megatron is back and he’s more of a bad-ass than he’s been in a while. If your jaw was on the floor when we saw what he’s done to Earth in the last issue, this issue tops that.

Hypernaturals #1&2 written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; art by Andres Guinaldo, Brad Walker, and Mark Irwin; published by BOOM Studios. Easily the greatest thing about this week’s shipment. When I saw that DnA had a new superhero book out I thought I give it a shot. I was not disappointed. The great strength of these first two issues is that they are fast paced, yet everything necessary to understand the world and the characters is apparent within the first four pages of the issue. Unlike the team books of Distinguished Competition, we’ve got a whole team in issue one and we know the threat. The characters are familiar but interesting. Math is used like magic and a villain leaves his fingerprint on an entire planet.

I’m reticent to make a comparison because it will make the book sound misleadingly too derivative, but there are shades of the JLA, the Legion of Superheroes, and the Guardians of the Galaxy throughout this book. Maybe it’s more fair to say that DnA have taken the best BIG concepts and feelings from these three titles and woven them into an original and enjoyable work.

If you’re a fan DnA’s work on titles like Guardians of the Galaxy and Legion of Superheroes, or your a fan of good story telling where real stuff happens before the sixth issue, this is the book you need to be reading. It’s one of those books that will make you feel you as when the Earth was new.

In other news, Rasl is out this week with a final issue. I’m missing a couple of issues so I’ll get back to you on how it is. Also, I’m reading James Robinson’s Earth-2. It’s James Robinson; it’s the Justice Society; who are you to judge?

THIS WEEK’S COVERS

Saturday Morning Comics

Once again it’s time to settle in with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and peruse this week’s comics offerings. It’s a strong showing with the return of The Goon and a couple of monthly favorites.

Wolverine and the X-Men #14by Jason Aaron (w); art by Jorge Molina (p) and Norman Lee (i); published by Marvel Comics. This issue was a huge improvement over the previous one. Although it’s tied to the A vs. X story, it’s more relevant to the book as a whole. We see that the school is woefully understaffed thanks to the war. There’s some Toad-related disturbing humor and a date that doesn’t go so well. Kitty and Colossus are written well here, and their discussion seems to show the direction for the ending of the overall crossover. The only down side to this issue is that gag of Deathlok spouting probabilities is a little over played. Relegating him to a C-3PO type of role is a waste.

Manhattan Projects #5 by Jonathan Hickman (w); art by Nick Pitarra; published by Image Comics. This alternate-history is equal parts wonderful and deeply disturbing. The way Hickman handles Earth’s first contact is interesting and surprising. One thing I really appreciate about the series as a whole is the cover design. It’s spare. This series stands out on the comic racks because of its covers.

The Goon #40 by Eric Powell; published by Dark Horse Comics. While waiting for another long-form story, fans of Eric Powell’s Goon are treated to three short tales related to prohibition and fast cars. The second of the tales stands out; it’s a spoof on The Dukes of Hazzard complete with Waylon Jennings style narration. The problem with these last several issue (and problem is a relative term) is that these are stories that, while featuring Frankie and the Goon, don’t need either of the book’s two main characters. Why not end The Goon and pick up with an anthology of weird tales? These last three issues have shown that Powell has the chops to do something like that without being shackled to a specific character.

This Week’s Covers

Saturday Morning Comics

Good morning all, once again it’s time to settle in with a bowl of King Vitamin and peruse this week’s comics offerings. It’s a light week for me; there were only two books on my list. One was worth reviewing and one wasn’t, so I’m also looking at a book from last week that came in late for me.

Fantastic Four #608 story by Jonathan Hickman; art by Giuseppe Camuncoli (breakdowns) and Karl Kesel (finishes); published by Marvel Comics. Hickman’s time on the Fantastic Four books is quickly coming to an end. It looks like his final arc will deal with Wakanda. This issue has Reed and T’Challa traveling down into the depths of the Earth to enter the Wakandan/ Egyptian equivalent of Elysian Fields. They confront the Bast the cat faced goddess, and T’Challa is given a hard choice. Simulanteously Sue, T’Challa’s sister Shuri, and Storm go on a drug induced spirit quest to fight Anubis, Death.

On the one hand the Reed/T’Challa bit was strong. As a reader and fan of Reed Richards, it’s nice to be reminded that he has friends outside of his foursome. Mostly Reed is shown to have colleagues (Pym, Stark, McCoy, etc…). Hickman shows the relationship between Reed and T’Challa as friends first and colleagues second. It works.

The b-storyline with the women, while told in parallel to the a-story, feels rushed, hasty, and unnecessary. If the idea is to show that the women are as capable as the men, don’t magically end their arc on its seventh page as a result of something happening in the a-arc. That Hickman is running against a clock felt most obvious with this issue, and his usual careful pacing suffered for it.

Transformers: Regeneration One #81 story by Simon Furman; art by Andrew Wildman (p) and Stephen Baskerville (i); published by IDW. After 21 years, the original Marvel series picks up again. And boy does it pick up. This issue deals with the Wreckers and their difficulty finding a place in the new cybertronian order. If the last two pages don’t make you squeal with glee like a 14 year-old girl at a One Direction concert, you don’t remember the 1980’s.

For me, and many others, Wildman is THE transformers artist, and that hasn’t changed. Like Kevin Maguire, his strength comes from the emotions conveyed on his faces. Amazingly, he does this to equal effect with characters like Optimus Prime where 3/4 of the facial cues are covered by a faceplate.

The one thing that I’d like to see change on this title is the coloring. The computer coloring is too busy for me. There are too many different shades of color happening and not as much shading with inking. If you look at cover B, you’re reminded of how it used to be. For me, on Transformers, that’s how it should be.

 

THIS WEEK’S COVERS