Saturday Morning Comics

Weekly comics reviews are moving to Saturday mornings starting this week.

In honor of the move, the weekly review feature is getting a new name and a new look.

The Muppets #1 story and art by Roger Langridge; published by Disney Comics (a Marvel imprint). As Jesse mentioned earlier in the week, this is a story fans have been waiting for and worrying about. When BOOM! ended the series, shortly after Marvel was purchased by Disney, this (second to)last arc’s future was uncertain. Disney had already reprinted three of Langridge’s arcs in a large magazine format, and they promised Four Seasons would be on its way. The wait is finally over this week with Spring. True to the other arcs, it essentially follows the format of the television show: the back-stage story is broken up with on-stage acts in between. This particular issue celebrates spring with a love story between animal and a dancing gorilla. Like the previous issues and the current running Snarked!, the “musical” acts are poems made up by Langridge. Story and art-wise this issue is of the same high quality as the previous arcs.

I did have two problems on the production end. The first is that we’re deprived of the original Langridge cover. In its stead we are given  something less than satisfactory…almost…cute and cuddly. I’ll put both covers below in the cover section. The second problem is with the coloring. Kawaii Creative Studio is credited, and they should be ashamed. Outside of Fozzie not being the same color from page to page, the Pigs in Space uniforms are inexplicably red. RED? You see that Piggy’s skirt is also colored blue. The costume ends up looking more like one of those cheap Wonder Woman knock-off costumes. The last problem is that Statler’s suit appears grey/navy (as it should) in the first half of the book, but changes to a brown to match Waldorf’s in the latter half. This book appears to have been made piece-meal by a committee of people from around the world without any quality assurance. I’d have thought Disney might be a little more careful.

Wolverine and the X-Men #13 story by Jason Aaron; art by Nick Bradshaw(p/i), Walden Wong(i), and Cam Smith(i); published by Marvel Comics. Ugh. This issue gives us the back story of the Warbird assigned to protect Gladiator’s son while at Wolverine’s school. It’s really boring to read as all manner of interesting things appear to be going on in the background. Why aren’t we getting a view of what the students are doing/ feeling during all of this Phoenix foolishness? Again I say,”Ugh.”

Saucer Country #5 story by Paul Cornell; art Ryan Kelly; published by Vertigo (a DC imprint). After reading Jesse’s description of issue #1 some time ago, I decided to add it to my list. What’s not to like about the concept: popular and influential politician has encounters with UFO’s, decides to run for president, and conspiracy ensues. The problem is that there are two way to go with this concept. The fast paced exciting and interesting path or the slow plodding path. That Cornell is taking the second path sucks the life out of the book. This isn’t even story decompression. I read these issues and it feels like nothing has happened of interest. There is a story, but it’s pretty dull… I don’t know where this is coming from because I liked Cornell’s work on Action Comics and Captain Britain and MI-13. This is lacking his punchy dialogue and well developed characters.

CHEW: Secret Agent Poyo #1 story by John Layman; art by Rob Guillory; published by Image Comics. I’m working on a review for CHEW that will see the light of day next week, but for now you will have to be satisfied with a review of a one-shot. For those not in the know, Poyo is a rooster whose famed for his cockfighting skills. Not that the world of CHEW is a serious one or one with a firm basis in our reality, but this one-shot devoted to a rooster pushes the boundaries of plausibility within the world that Layman and Guillory have created. Still, it’s a helluva lot of fun. It’s got everything you never realized you wanted or needed in a comic book: a homicidal cybernetic rooster; farm animals as precipitation, a battle against the hordes of Hell itself. It’s a fun book and it doesn’t really require a working knowledge of the main book to enjoy. If you liked Hitmonkey, but felt it a little too serious, this is the comic for you.


This Week’s Comics

This is what I like to see, a bunch of new comics that don’t just focus on superheroes or Big-Two properties.  It’s going to be a good week!  Here are this week’s noteworthy titles.

  • ADVENTURE TIME #2 – While I stand by my review of issue #1, Matt makes some excellent points about this title, as he does so frequently.  Specifically,I agree that the focus should be on done-in-one stories.  Still, I enjoyed it a great deal and am psyched for the new issue.
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #604 – Good news: Marvel isn’t releasing this the same week as FF.  Bad news: the cover price has been jacked up to $3.99, which means it’s getting dropped.  That’s a real shame, since I’m just starting to get current.
  • GLORY #24 – A bit of Promethea-lite (but without all the Magick and funnier), the Extreme relaunch is still going strong.
  • MARK TWAIN TALES OF MYSTERY HC – I mention this new IDW release for Matt, who’s notrious for liking his mysteries Twainy.
  • SAGA #1 – A new creator-owned title by Brian K. Vaughn, who’s been sorely missed recently.  Truth be told, I don’t really know what this is going to be about, I just want to be on-board based on the creators.

  • SAUCER COUNTRY #1 – See the above, but replace BKV with Paul Cornell.

I feel like Jonathan Hickman is re-embracing his creator-owned indie roots.  With the news that he’s leaving both Fantastic Four and FF after a truly epic run, Manhattan Projects seems poised to fill the void.  Like a Warren Ellis comic, it’s full of dark science, big ideas, and life-or-death action.  Also — at least in the first issue — like a Warren Ellis comic it’s somewhat sterile, and full of scientific madness, but not a lot of characterization yet. There’s a good start with Oppenheimer, and Hickman appears set to recreate the Reed Richards/Victor Von Doom dynamic which I hope it is built upon, but the family aspect of both FF books are what kept it grounded and such fun to read.  With those, Hickman was able to rely on our previous familiarity with the characters and improve upon it.  With Manhattan, he has to invent that from scratch.  I have no doubt he will, and I understand there’s only so much room in a first issue, but that’s what will have to happen to take this from a good book to a great book.

The big surprise of last week was the TMNT Micro-Series Donatello one-shot.  A solid, fun story featuring the brainiest of the group, it was a nice look at how Donatello tries to relate to his three brothers and how isolated he is.  While Bryan Lynch’s writing was solid and fun to read, the art by Valerio Schiti was amazing.  Well-detailed, with expressive faces and plenty to look at each panel, I was really surprised at how well-drawn it was.  Not that I’ve had problems with artwork on any of the previous issues, but it’s generally been a more sketchy house style.  Schiti was like a breath of fresh air.

I confess I bought Hell Yeah based on some pre-release hype (and a nice Dave Gibbons-lite cover), but I was more or less pleased that I did.  In a world where superheroes only started to emerge about 20 years ago, they’re treated like gifted students and carefully raised.  Our main character has powers, but isn’t quite sure what to do with them, and has to figure that out along with everything else that has to go along with being 16.  He’s not a villain, but he’s not a hero yet, either.  It’s a nice bit of character examination that has him asking important questions about how you  become the person you will be, and yet never descends into cliche.  The art by Andre Szymanowicz is nice enough, but the characters are stilted enough there still seems to be room for growth.  The layouts are excellent, though, and the backgrounds and environments are well drawn.  Joe Keatinge’s script has me curious where this is going but, much like I’ve been railing about perpetual mysteries in other titles, I wish more #1 issues had more of a mission statement for where the book was heading.  I feel like more and more first issues read like they’re the second or third.  Oh, and Image?  The scanning on the first few pages was abysmal.

That’s it for this week.  What looks good to you?