Comics

New Warriors #9

by Alan Rapp on September 17, 2014

in Comics

New Warriors #9With the set-up of the team settled and the New Warriors victorious over the High Evolutionary I decided to pop back in on this title and give it a look. New Warriors #9 has two things going for it: lots of Scarlet Spider and an insane giant basketball mascot intent on proving himself a hero. This my friends is a good time.

Returning Kaine to Houston against his will Vance Astronik attempts to sell the hero on staying with the team when the city’s former basketball mascot, transformed into a giant 100 ft. insane bear, shows up to take down the “super-villains” and prove himself the true hero of the city. Scarlet Spider vs. giant stuffed bear? Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

The B-story involves the rest of the team blowing off some steam by hitting a nightclub in Prague. Although it gives the various other characters less a role to play (which is fine by me with Kaine picking up the slack), this lighthearted subplot does foreshadow dark times ahead for one particular member. Must-read.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Velvet #7

by Alan Rapp on September 17, 2014

in Comics

Velvet #7Although she doesn’t make an appearance in this issue other than in a flashback, Velvet Tempelton‘s spirit can be found of every page of the latest issue of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Velvet. Where the previous issues were spent to set-up the premise and the mystery of searching for the truth of what happened to the super-spy turned secretary, Velvet #7 is focused on the woman herself and how she’s viewed by the two men leading the search to find her. Even if, for the first time, we aren’t seeing the world from her perspective, the latest issue arguably offers readers the clearest picture of the character yet.

Velvet’s continued actions baffle Colt and Roberts who are only beginning to suspect that there’s likely far more to the story than the simple frame job suggests. Colt’s perspective gives us a glimpse at the dangerous false trails one finds while searching for a master spy while Roberts more analytical approach searches for assets and leverage which can be used against Velvet, although he discovers just how far he’s been lagging behind his target in the final couple pages of yet another terrific issue. Best of the Week.

[Image, $3.50]

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Smallville Season Eleven: Chaos #2

by Alan Rapp on September 16, 2014

in Comics

Smallville Season Eleven: Chaos #2The second issue of Smallville: Chaos focuses on the misadventures of Lois Lane and Superman dealing with being trapped on a parallel Earth under control of the Manhunters while back home Lex Luthor capitalizes on the Man of Steel’s absence to put his plan into action.

The storyline involving Eclipso continues as well, but it’s not given much space to develop and feels somewhat neglected given the focus on various other storylines happening here. We do get more of Booster Gold in action, stepping in to be the hero of the hour in Superman’s absence along with Hank Henshaw (although neither appears ready to step into Superman’s shoes just yet). Sadly don’t get more of Zatanna this time around.

The main takeaway from Smallville Season Eleven: Chaos #2 seems to be that no matter what Earth Superman may find himself living on, his dead computerized father is still a giant jerk. For fans.

[DC, $3.99]

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Fairest #29

by Alan Rapp on September 14, 2014

in Comics

Fairest #29The latest issue of Fairest splits its attention continuing to examine Reynard‘s misadventures with the angry family of the beautiful farm girl he bedded in their barn (who may not be quite as much of Deliverance cliches as the previous issue suggested) and the continued clamor of the various Fables of The Farm over the five available glamours which will soon be up for grabs in the coming lottery.

More intriguing than Reynard’s tale, the main story on The Farm this month centers around Owl and his wife the Pussycat whose dreams of traveling with her husband to various exotic locales have only intensified since the news of the lottery for the five new glamours.

The Owl and Pussycat story is worth picking up, especially given the husband’s sweet attempt to give his wife a small taste of what she’s been missing for hundreds of years, but even with the twist Reynard’s tale is taking up far too many pages of the series limited number of issues for my liking. For fans.

[Vertigo, $2.99]

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Rocket Raccoon #3

by Alan Rapp on September 12, 2014

in Comics

Rocket Raccoon #3After breaking out of prison and surviving a murderous armada made up of dozens of Rocket Racoon‘s pissed-off ex-girlfriends, Rocket, Groot, and their friend/hostage take a bizarre trip to Sendak and Funtzel’s Intergalactic Towing and Recovery Service (of course that’s after Rocket goes super-violent on a couple of amateurs foolish enough to refer to him as a “raccoon”).

There’s plenty of mayhem and crazy violence for fans of Rocket Raccoon here along with finally giving a hero a look at the impostor who has been killing in his name. Longtime fans of the character should also be keenly aware of the mention of the Book of Half-World foreshadowing where this journey may ultimately lead our hero.

We’ll have to wait at least another month for the story behind the other raccoon, and probably even longer to find out how the latest setback effects Amalya’s murderous plans, but Skootie Young delivers yet again matching art and story for some bizarre fun. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Batman ’66 #14

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2014

in Comics

Batman '66 #14Although he never actually appeared on the 60s television show, there’s little doubt such a creation like the Batrobot (which we’ve seen in various forms over the years in different media such as most recently in Batman: The Brave and the Bold) would be right at home in the campy confines of this version of Gotham City.

In an issue that instructs the reader about advances in technology and their limits, Batman ’66 #14 features Batman creating a giant Batrobot to police the city giving the Dark Knight Detective and Robin a vacation. Despite the early successes the robot taking down the likes of Clock King, Louie Lilac, and the Archer, the robots limitations are revealed when it fails to handle the team-up of the illogical combination of the Joker and the Riddler. It looks like Batman’s job is safe for the time being.

Widening the Batman ’66 universe to include the wacky comic storylines that the TV series inspired, Batman ’66 #14 offers a fun issue all around in what is easily one of the title’s best issues to date. Must-read.

[DC, $2.99]

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Grendel vs. The Shadow #1

by Alan Rapp on September 11, 2014

in Comics

Grendel vs. The Shadow #1Finding himself sent back in time to 1930s New York after his encounter with an ancient artifact, Hunter Rose makes the best of the situation by using his well-honed skills and knowledge of the future to go about carving out a new empire in the name of Grendel during the waning days of prohibition.

Written and drawn by Mark Wagner, the comic begins in the black-and-white style of a Grendel comic before transporting the deadly Grendel into the past. Although The Shadow becomes aware of a new figure murdering his way through the various criminal families, the paths of the two characters do not intersect until the final page of the issue.

A fan of both Hunter Rose and The Shadow, the first issue of the three-issue mini-series is a joy to read. The double-sized prestige format makes the comic a little pricey, but it delivers in both story and style pitting my favorite of Wagner’s creations against a hero nearly as mysterious and deadly as Grendel himself. Best of the Week.

[Dark Horse / Dynamite, $5.99]

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Superman #34

by Alan Rapp on September 9, 2014

in Comics

Superman #34Superman‘s joy over reuniting Ulysses with his parents is short lived when the two orphans find themselves battling the man behind the recent attacks on Metropolis. First The Machinist manages to take control over Ulysses pitting him against his new best bud, but the tragedy for the Man of Steel comes later when his new friend takes deadly action to stop the madman which only leaves an innocent dead. Well, I guess it could have been worse. I mean Ulysses could have completely ignored every other conceivable option and just snapped the guy’s neck. Right?

Next month’s issue will tell readers quite a bit of what Geoff Johns has planned for Ulysses and how Superman reacts to his new friend’s use of deadly force. (Zack Snyder suggests a high five.) Too by-the-numbers for my taste, “Men of Tomorrow” seems to have taken its expected dark turn leaving the continued bromance between the new friends in serious doubt. For fans.

[DC, $3.99]

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All-New X-Men #31

by Alan Rapp on September 9, 2014

in Comics

All-New X-Men #31With the instructors busy with other business, the time displaced X-Men along with the returned Angel and X-23 (whose new relationship is cause of great interest for the entire school) set off to find and rescue a young mutant just coming int her powers. However, what the group doesn’t yet know is the type of her mutation and how her uncontrolled ability to open doorways to alternate dimensions will leave on member of the team stranded in the Ultimate Universe.

Although I think it’s very possible for these characters and this comic specifically to get time/space dimension fatigue beginning so quickly after wrapping up a storyline involving villains from the future, Brian Michael Bendis’ choice to bring Jean Grey into a universe he knows so well (he did help create it after all) does open the door for some intriguing possibilities as long as the arc doesn’t overstay its welcome (a problem the title has had issues with in the past). Worth a look.

[Marvel, $3.99]

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Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #2

by Alan Rapp on September 8, 2014

in Comics

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #2In the second issue of the mini-series set 20 years into the future of Usagi Yojimbo, the pair of wary warring armies attempt to deal with the unexpected arrival of an alien spaceship crash landing in the middle of the battlefield. It’s obvious from their actions, attacking both sides indiscriminately, that the squid-like aliens don’t come in peace.

The invaders’ hidden motives, technical superiority, and odd tripod constructed machines pay homage to H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and we see Usagi’s life has gotten no less complicated over the years as writer/artist Stan Sakai continues to tease us with hints of our hero’s past and regrets regarding his son.

We still don’t know what the aliens ultimately want, but Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #2 certainly sells them as a legitimate threat which only someone like our own rabbit ronin might be able to handle. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $3.99]

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