Comics

The Flash: Season Zero #10

by Alan Rapp on July 2, 2015

in Comics

The Flash: Season Zero #10After breaking out of an A.R.G.U.S. facility where he was being held against his will and racing into a situation he didn’t fully understand, the Flash is forced to work with the Suicide Squad to hunt down a terrorist with plans of an imminent attack.

The introduction of King Shark (thankfully closer to his classic look than the New 52 revamp) and the addition of Cupid continues to round out the group and give the Task Force X a more comic book feel that works better on the printed page (but certainly raises some questions about whether we’ll ever see a character like King Shark appear on the television show). It also helps beef up the group in terms of giving them the heavy-hitter they have been missing.

Given its focus you could certainly argue that The Flash: Season Zero #10 is more a Suicide Squad issue than a Flash issue, but our hero still finds moments to shine (such as getting rid of the explosive device in the comic’s climax) even if it leaves limited opportunities for his supporting cast to earn much time. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Usagi Yojimbo #146

by Alan Rapp on July 1, 2015

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #146Usagi finds his hands busy in the middle issue of “The Thief and the Kunoichi” dealing with an army of ninja and keeping Chizu from taking her aggression out on Kitsune all over the botched robbery of a worthless scroll that holds a secret tied to an old enemy of the rabbit ronin.

The reveal that the scroll leads back to Hijiki, whose actions led to the death of Usagi’s Lord and his fall from samurai to ronin, make this latest adventure hit close to home for the wandering warrior. As Usagi and Chizu attempt to keep the small group alive Kitsune tries to cash in on the situation by blackmailing Inouye and once again raising the ire of Chizu.

It seems Usagi’s thankless (but very enjoyable) job to keep the two women from killing each other is far from over heading into the final issue of the storyline. Usagi Yojimbo #146 is filled with the type of action and comedy Stan Sakai’s creation is known to deliver, I can’t wait to see how the story ends. Must-read.

[Dark Horse, $3.50]

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Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #10

by Alan Rapp on June 29, 2015

in Comics

Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #10A museum putting on display of a cursed ruby in their Egypt exhibit brings both Mystery, Inc. and Johnny Quest‘s family to investigate. It doesn’t take long for things to pick up with the appearance of a mummy who steals the jewel.

In Scooby-Doo fashion the culprit is unmasked as a henchman of the evil Dr. Zin who has nefarious plans for the jewel which means a journey for all of the investigators to Monster Island (which thankfully is populated with man-made monsters, also keeping with Scooby tradition) in order to save the day.

To this point I’ve much preferred the issues of Scooby-Doo! Team-Up involving Scooby and the gang teaming up with various super-heroes than various Hanna-Barbara characters, but Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #10 is quite fun as the gang joins forces with the Quest family to solve a mystery. The mummy and the theft of the jewel create a natural crossover for the teams while providing some fun moments between various characters (including Scooby and Bandit discussing their crazy human counterparts). Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Doctor Fate #1

by Alan Rapp on June 26, 2015

in Comics

Doctor Fate #1Although different versions of the character have popped up around the DCU it has been more than 20 years since any version of Doctor Fate was given his own series. Several characters over the years have donned the Helm of Fate, and Doctor Fate #1 continues that tradition by introducing Egyptian-American Khalid Nassour as the latest to be chosen.

The choice to make the new Doctor Fate an Egyptian-American actually plays well on the comic character’s bizarre past, although I’d certainly prefer the hero to look far more traditional in his full-on Doctor Fate mode. We’re introduced to Khalid here but see little of him as Fate leaving some question as to what the character will look like and act going forward.

The opening issue which introduces a talking cat along with hinting of plenty of old magic and mythology which suggests Doctor Fate may could struggle to find its own peculiar corner of the DCU. I’m curious to see if he flourishes or flounders. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Black Canary #1

by Alan Rapp on June 25, 2015

in Comics

Black Canary #1I had serious doubts about DC’s new Black Canary once I heard the concept of turning the hero into the lead singer of a traveling rock band running into problems at every stop (rather than, you know, let her be a super-hero). It’s kind of like Scooby-Doo without the necessary zaniness to sell the concept. Gail Simone’s transformative version of the character seems long forgotten at this point by DC Editorial.

Black Canary #1 puts Dinah and her self-titled band on the road showcasing violent episodes the group has had to deal with at every stop including the latest where monsters appear to attack a young girl the super-hero has taken under her wing.

Those expecting to see Black Canary kick ass will be disappointed as most of comic deals with the behind-the-scenes of a traveling band (which may be interesting but isn’t really why you pick up a comic titled Black Canary). I’m happy to see Dinah get her own title but at the same time I disappointed that it had to be this one. Hit-and-Miss.

[DC, $2.99]

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Robin: Son of Batman #1

by Alan Rapp on June 24, 2015

in Comics

Robin: Son of Batman #1Taking place outside of the events of various other Bat-books, Robin: Son of Batman #1 introduces a new storyline for Damian as well as his own sidekick in the monstrous Goliath whom he must rescue after his pet breaks out of his cage.

Robin: Son of Batman #1 is a mixed bag. Skeletons from Damian’s past resurfacing seem to be the major theme introduced in this first issue as Damian accepts responsibility to deal with the mysterious “Year of Blood” which is tied to his birthright as the grandson of Ra’s al Ghul. He’ll also have to deal with he daughter of Nobody who has a vendetta against the Bat-brat for what Damian did to her father.

It appears that Damian’s short-run with super-powers has come to an end (thankfully), forcing the character to return using his deadly skills and brains to deal with whatever situation might arise. I’m more sold on the Nobody arc, and the addition of Goliath, than the Year of Blood (which is vaguely hinted at), but I’m not sure that’s enough to keep me on board for more than a couple of issues. For fans.

[DC, $3.99]

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Secret Six #3

by Alan Rapp on June 22, 2015

in Comics

Secret Six #3Four months after the release of the last issue the adventures of the new Secret Six continue with the recently thrown together team moving into the suburbs together. Needless to say they make quite an impression on their neighbors.

Although I’m still not completely sold on the make-up of the new team, writer Gail Simone has fun bouncing the various group members off each other under the same roof for the first time. While the comic doesn’t have much in the way of action it does reveal a traitor among the group as well as the true identity of Mockingbird this time around.

Sadly the issue does have its problems starting with the incredibly disappointing look at Catman in his new costume. The early scenes involving the bare-chested warrior (whose run in with the cop could have been toned down a bit) bring back the character Simone masterfully brought to the forefront of the DCU, but his new duds (making him look like a failed back-up dancer for a Michael Jackson tribute band) are the worst thing to happen to the character since Kevin Smith. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Starfire #1

by Alan Rapp on June 19, 2015

in Comics

Starfire #1Starfire is a difficult character to get right (you need look no further than the backlash Red Hood and the Outlaws created). The new series by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti seeks to strike a difficult balance of the sweet yet still highly-sexualized Tamaran princess turned slave turned hero. Going back to basics, the writers embrace Starfire’s fish-out-of-water tendencies used so well on Teen Titans Go! by transporting Starfire to Key West to begin a new life post-Outlaws.

Starfire #1 is quite a fun read. Although there’s nothing all that special about the story of Starfire meeting the local sheriff and a few of the townsfolk, there’s a twinkle in the character’s eye that has been missing in comics for some time. Emanuela Lupacchino’s art certainly helps sell the vivacious character who is equal parts innocent girl and strong woman.

I enjoyed Palmiotti’s work on Ame-Comi Girls (a female-character-driven title I was sad to see disappear for DC’s digital line-up) and the team-up with Conner seems to be a good match. I’m curious to see where the pair and Lupacchino choose to take the character from here. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Arrow Season 2.5 #9

by Alan Rapp on June 18, 2015

in Comics

Arrow Season 2.5 #9A ghost from the Queen Family comes calling in the latest issue of Arrow Season 2.5 when Caleb Green, the son of a man laid off from Queen Consolidated years before whose fortunes quickly dropped from bad to worse, comes looking for revenge against the son of the man who ruined his life. Oh, and did I mention, he’s also completely out-of-control and super-charged on Mirakuru?

The start of the new arc not only gives us the cured Roy in his new Arsenal-wear but also forces Oliver to come up with a makeshift costume on the fly (one I’ll agree with Roy that we don’t ever need to see again) when he finds himself under attack against a homicidal mad man in the middle of downtown Starling City.

Although both the killer and the vigilantes manage to get away from the police, the need to create another batch of Mirakuru cure sets up further issues of this arc by sending Oliver back to Lian Yu (taking Harper along for the ride). I’m curious to see what buddy bonding the two might go through, and what trouble they might get themselves into, in Ollie’s old stomping grounds. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Samurai Jack #20

by Alan Rapp on June 16, 2015

in Comics

Samurai Jack #20Although it has far less of our title character than any other issue of the series, Samurai Jack #20 is a fitting end to IDW’s comic adventures of the time-displaced samurai. Set years in the future, the issue centers not on Jack but a scribe named Mako (in deference to the actor who so brilliantly voiced the Jack’s nemesis in the cartoon) who has spent his life gathering stories of Samurai Jack.

On the eve of Jack’s latest, and largest, assault against Aku, Mako luckily runs into someone that not only has firsthand knowledge of Jack but who can lead him straight to the legendary warrior’s camp not only allowing Mako to hear countless new stories of Jack but also meet the man himself.

Comics based on cartoons can be a real crapshoot, but Jim Zub and company delivered a strong monthly series that added rather than detracted from the franchise. Even if I’m not the biggest fan of Andy Suriano’s rough art on display, this issue is a must-read for fans of Samurai Jack.

[IDW, $3.99]

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