Comics

Samurai Jack #19

by Alan Rapp on May 21, 2015

in Comics

Samurai Jack #19In another single-issue adventure, and one of the goofier adventures of Jack in his current IDW comic series, Samurai Jack is hired by the Canine Archaeologists who need the samurai’s help with the haunted tomb of the world’s first talking dog.

It’s fun to see the comic bring back Sir Drifus Alexander, Sir Angus Mcduffy, and Sir Colin Bartholomew Montgomery Rothchild III and pair the intrepid archaeologists with our hero for a adventure involving an unearthed tomb and a ghost who, like all dogs, just needed a bit of love and attention to stop acting out and driving all of his descendants crazy.

Christine Larsen steps in to do the art for the latest issue that’s more comedy than action (although Jack does have to defend himself against his old friends when they become feral and possessed by the ghost). Larsen offers some fun reaction shots of our hero to the bizarre situation he finds himself dragged into while Jim Zub continues to have fun adding to the legend of Samurai Jack. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

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Convergence: Harley Quinn #2

by Alan Rapp on May 18, 2015

in Comics

Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 (of 2)In the most bizarre Convergence tie-in issue yet Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 pits the pre-New version of the Joker’s sidekick against the leader of the Zoo Crew. That’s right, it’s Harley Quinn vs. Captain Carrot. And it’s kind of brilliant.

Sadly the rest of the Zoo Crew is marginalized to little more than cameos, and those unfamiliar with the pre-New 52 storyline centering around Harley’s attempt at a normal relationship may feel a bit lost with the issue’s B-story, but what Steve Pugh and artist Phil Winslade deliver here feels like a bizarre Warner Bros. cartoon with the homicidal Harley pulling out all the stops to take down a rascally rabbit (including lying to the hero about her super-powers, destroying most of an amusement park, and faking the death of a member of the Zoo Crew).

Convergence: Harley Quinn #2 teases a dangerosly dark New 52-ish twist, but thankfully Pugh and Winslade know their audience and allow the issue not to end on a dark note but with Harley and the Captain sharing a moment of camaraderie together that’s as strange as every other piece of this issue. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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The Trial of Atomic Robo

by Alan Rapp on May 16, 2015

in Comics

The Trial of Atomic RoboEver since his first appearance in Atomic Robo’s Free Comic Book Day issue back in 2012 Dr. Dinosaur has been my favorite character in Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s insane (with genius!) comic book universe. Released as a free digital one-shot, The Trial of Atomic Robo pits Atomic Robo against the pain in his ass once again when the dinosaur attempts to sue in court for the same legal rights Robo has been granted.

Of course with his limited attention span, and the fact that he’s completely insane, it doesn’t take long for Dr. Dinosaur’s case to be thrown out leading the villain to declare Jungle Law and introduce his Omnisaur into the proceedings causing destruction and mass panic. Luckily a heroic science-adventurer is on the scene.

[click to continue…]

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Morning Glories #45

by Alan Rapp on May 12, 2015

in Comics

Morning Glories #45Teased in an earlier issue, Morning Glories #45 offers Jade‘s resurrection of her mother following a traffic accident and the fallout that event which haunts her to this day. Much like “After Life” from the Sixth Season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the latest issue centers around the double-edged sword of returning someone to life who doesn’t wish to be taken from their eternal rest and reinserted unnaturally into the world.

Discussion of these ideas is brought about by Guillaume who lets Jade in on a bit of Jun’s (really Hisao) plan and her unfortunate role in it. Despite his pleas to bring Hisao (really Jun) back from the dead, Jade is forced to decline understanding all too well how such a “gift” would be received based on her mother’s reaction.

Since we’ve already seen multiple sightings of an older Jade helping to usher various characters onto the right path we can be confident she’s not going to be Jun’s sacrifice. Nor does she appear willing to bring back Hisao on her own, but if bringing back a loved one turns them into an enemy I have to wonder what bringing back an enemy might result in. Worth a look.

[Image, $3.50]

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Red One #2

by Alan Rapp on May 11, 2015

in Comics

Red One #2The second issue of the translated French political super-hero story arms Vera Yelnikov and sends her into action as her super-hero alter-ego for the first time. We also get more examples of Vera struggling to fit in to her new life in America and face difficult choices between being a super-hero and following orders to track down the Carpenter (which is the true end goal of her mission for Mother Russia).

Terry Dodson’s art continues to be the highlight of the series while Xavier Dorison writes himself into corners at times getting too political but continues to deliver fun moments of Vera, both in and out of costume, enjoying her life in America. Because the conservative and fascist themes are so integral to the story Dorison wants to tell (however unsubtly expressed) Red One will likely continue to be a mixed success at best as the character (I’m already completely sold on Vera and the hard choices concering her true allegiances which should dominate later storylines of this series) often gets drowned out by the message. I don’t have much interest in Red One versus the Carpenter, but I would like to stick around to see Vera continue to evolve as a hero. For fans.

[Image, $3.50]

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Convergence: Booster Gold #1

by Alan Rapp on May 9, 2015

in Comics

Convergence: Booster Gold #1The first tie-in issue of Convergence not centered around a transplanted city in a dome gives us not one but two Booster Golds, but (against all decency and common sense) somehow neither is the classic character wearing his trademark Elvis-collar costume with gold pants as both are stuck in lesser variations of the New 52 character’s look.

In a special prison on Telos for time travelers, the New 52 Booster joins with Rip Hunter to search for the Future’s End Booster Gold who is reacting badly to the laws of time and space being warped so drastically on the planet all the heroes find themselves trapped on.

The structure of the story, not centered around an entire year without powers as so many of the Convergence tie-ins have been, is a nice change but the comic does loose points for blatantly refusing to give us a recognizable pre-New 52 Booster in all his glory. On the plus side Booster’s jumping willy-nilly gets the New 52 version beat up by the Legion of Super-Heroes and reunites the other Booster with an old friend. For fans.

[DC, $3.99]

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Princess Leia #3

by Alan Rapp on May 6, 2015

in Comics

Princess Leia #3Princess Leia‘s mission to unite the survivors of Alderaan leads Leia and Evaan (who spends the issue wearing Luke’s jacket from the celebration at the end of Star Wars) to Sullust where the pair are met with a good deal of distrust and animosity by the group’s leader Lord Junn.

Despite the arrival of Imperials, which Juun first blames Leia for, the princess does manage to make inroads with the survivors. With only two issues to go from here the storyline doesn’t appear to have much room to develop much past this point, especially with the Empire now tracking Leia down.

Although I still have mixed feelings about the inking of several panels, Terry Dodson’s art continues to be one of the highlights of the five-issue mini-series which, at least to this point, seems to have bitten off more than it can chew in such a short run. The only real question now is will Evaan survive the final two issues and pop-up somewhere else in Marvel’s current Star Wars run? For fans.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #45

by Alan Rapp on May 5, 2015

in Comics

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #45Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #45 immediately walks back last month’s shocking cliffhanger and the death of Donatello at the hands of Rocksteady and Bebop. The return of the Fugitoid brings new hope to the shocked family and offers a slim chance to save their fallen brother.

I understand the reasoning to bring Donnie back in some form, but wwith the announcement of the current series concluding with issue #50 the series flees from a real opportunity to delve into the change in the group dynamic following Donnie’s death. I have no doubt Robot Donnie will turn out to have an interesting arc over the final five issues but with the Foot Clan looking for revenge and the Turtles down a man there were several other (albeit it bleaker) paths for the story to go down.

The issue also gives us Casey (seemingly fully-healed from his life-threatening injuries) hitting the streets and teases a new partnership for the Shredder and Baxter Stockman which will also likely play a role in the final arc of the series. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.50]

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Convergence: Shazam! #1

by Alan Rapp on May 4, 2015

in Comics

Convergence: Shazam! #1Although not as memorable as Grant Morrison‘s recent The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1, also focused on giving fans a taste of classic Captain Marvel storytelling, writer Jeff Parker and artist Evan Shaner certainly deliver one of the better Convergence tie-in stories with Convergence: Shazam! #1.

In terms of storytelling, layout, and style the issue feels like a throwback to an old Captain Marvel adventure giving us Billy Batson and his world trapped on the Convergence world with appearances by several supporting characters (including Tawky Tawny) and villains (Dr. Sivana, Ibac, and Mr. Atom).

Although the writing and basic set-up of so many Convergence issues has, more often than not, led to disappointment, Convergence: Shazam! #1 is certainly on of DC’s event’s stronger issues as the return of the magic lighning comes none to soon to save Billy, Mary, and Freddy Freeman from a group of the Marvel Family‘s classic foes. Worth a look.

[DC, $3.99]

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Samurai Jack #18

by Alan Rapp on May 2, 2015

in Comics

Samurai Jack #18The single-issue tale from writer/artist leads Samurai Jack to a marketplace where the temptation and chance to return home to the past puts the warrior in the middle of a trap laid by the evil that is Aku.

“Samurai Jack and the Fallen Four” pits our hero against a resurrected robot army Jack much face and the legendary four fallen warriors who won the battle also temporarily returned to life. After providing art for many of the previous issues of Samurai Jack, Suriano does double-duty giving us an action-packed issue that, while enjoyable, does lacks the humor of some of the best issues of the series. The twist of the Fallen Four joining Jack’s side also leads to an anticlimactic conclusion as Samurai Jack is largely a bystander in the climax of the battle.

After several multi-issue arcs I’m happy to see IDW try their hand at a few one-shot adventures and explore a variety of adventures the lost samurai can have in the dystopian future. Hopefully this is a trend we’ll see continue to break-up some of the longer arcs of series. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

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