Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #147

by Alan Rapp on July 27, 2015

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo #147“The Thief and the Kunoichi” comes to a conclusion as Usagi and Chizu make the best of Kitsune‘s plan to sell Inouye’s secret treaty back to the merchant. The warriors decide to use the time and setting of the transaction to their advantage by destroying a secret shipment of Ginseng Inouye is counting on to help fund his underhanded dealings.

Usagi Yojimbo #147 continues to force Usagi in between the two women and into the role of peacemaker which leads to a humorous farewell with both women that leaves the rabbit ronin all but speechless. The end of the arc also provides plenty of action as Usagi and Chizu work to cut a wide swath through the merchant’s soldiers and provide Chizu a measure of revenge (even if it did mean having to save Kitsune’s life).

The unusual threesome provided by Stan Sakai proved to be a great way to relaunch the ongoing series after it’s lengthy hiatus. Usagi is back and, if this arc is any indication, the rabbit ronin will have his hands full with whatever fate has in store for him next. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $3.50]

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Doctor Fate #2

by Alan Rapp on July 25, 2015

in Comics

Doctor Fate #2Khalid Nassour‘s rocky journey into becoming the DCU’s new Doctor Fate continues as he stops fighting the Helm to learn a bit about where the knowledge of power it offers come from as well as save his father from a traffic accident caused by the minions of Thoth who demand a blood price our young hero is unwilling to pay.

Two issues in I’m still on the fence about Nassour as Fate. There’s certainly plenty of room for Nassour to grow into the role, and I like the character, but Doctor Fate has always been one of the most powerful magic users of the DCU and it looks like some time before Nassour will ever truly command that much knowledge or power. I also have to wonder about previous Fates. Did they exist in the DCU after the New 52 relaunch? If so, are they living or dead, and might we see someone like Kent Nelson show up as potential ally or rival? Given how shabily DC relaunched its characters without answering basic questions about their backstories I have to wonder if they’ve even considered these questions. Until they do, and until Nassour truly grows into his role as the new Dr. Fate (complete with costume, please), I’m likely to stay a bit wary of this title. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Arrow Season 2.5 #10

by Alan Rapp on July 23, 2015

in Comics

Arrow Season 2.5 #10Oliver and Roy‘s journey to Lian Yu proves fruitful as the pair get the blood sample they need from Slade Wilson in order to fight the latest Mirakuru-powered madman with a grudge against Oliver walking the streets of Starling City.

The issue does offer another confrontation between Oliver and Slade, while teasing Ollie’s return with Thea to the island in Season Three’s “The Return,” but given his continued imprisonment in the A.R.G.U.S. facility his appearance is rather short and mostly uneventful.

The rest of Arrow Season 2.5 #10 deals with events back in Starling involving Caleb Green‘s (who sadly is a far less interesting character than Slade) short encounter with Laurel Lance (which, as intended, drives Oliver crazy). The issue also spends time filling in the gap between Season Two and Season Three to help explain how Quentin Lance became Starling City’s newest Police Captain. The first-half of the issue works better than the second (each was released previously as digital-first issues), but fans can still find some enjoyment here. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Secret Six #4

by Alan Rapp on July 22, 2015

in Comics

Secret Six #4Secret Six #4 is a tease of the comic we should be, but aren’t, getting. Thanks New 52. After the new team makes its way to the suburbs they are almost immediately attacked by three of Mockingbird‘s assassins who will be familiar to longtime fans of the team well-before they are unmasked: Scandal Savage, Ragdoll, and Jeannette (who seems oddly toned-down here). Despite still missing Deadshot, and insisting on dressing Catman in that awful fetish costume (#BringBackTheCowl), Secret Six #4 has a bit of the old magic (even if it is unnecessarily stomped on by quite a few superfluous characters).

Ragdoll’s unique voice has certainly been missing in the comic. His addition works well here while Scandal, as enemy rather than one of the major driving forces behind the group, is a bit off-key. The latest issue opens with a buddy-buddy moment between Catman and the nondescript detective-ish guy (a character so forgettable neither I nor the Internet seem to remember who the hell he is) which only makes me miss Catman’s best bud even more. Oh well, at least there’s some fun to be had. For fans.

[DC, $2.99]

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Astro City #24

by Alan Rapp on July 7, 2015

in Comics

Astro City #24While offering glimpses into the world Sticks left behind, and his reasons for doing so, the latest issue of Astro City concludes the warrior-ape turned drummer turned super-hero turned nomad’s story which includes a stint with the super-group Reflex 6 who, among other adventures, fought to close illegal alien speakeasies in Astro City where human brain chemistry and dreams were the drug of choice for an elite clientele. Like super-apes who play the drums are known to do.

As with the opening issue to this two-part tale Astro City #24 offers some twists and turns as Sticks struggles to find his role in Astro City where it’s too dangerous to be a drummer and too hard to be a hero. His solution, thanks in part to an unexpected pep-talk from the Samaritan allows the character to create an unorthodox solution that not only allows him to live the life he’s always wanted but still find a way to put his obvious skills to use. And if he’s got to occasionally dress up in a monkey suit, so to speak, well that’s a small price to pay for finding the freedom to play beautiful music. Isn’t it? Worth a look.

[Vertigo, $3.99]

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Every Justice League Member Ever

by Alan Rapp on July 7, 2015

in Comics

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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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