Toe Tag Riot #4 by Matt Miner and Sean Von Gorman releases today. I had the pleasure of sitting down with a young man who was fortunate enough to attend Toe Tag Riot’s concert, which took place outside the home of Westboro Baptist Church attendees Fred and Shirley. Enjoy this fantastic interview with the guy who elbowed you in the mosh pit.
We Can Never Go Home #1 is the newest comic Black Mask has to offer. If you have been paying attention to our Indubitable Issues segment lately, you will have noticed these Black Mask comics are no joke. There are some very strong books out there we think you should be reading. Titles like Critical Hit, Toe Tag Riot and Godkiller to name a few. If you missed these books, then I have great news for you: the best Black Mask has to offer is coming out next week March 25th, and it’s named We Can Never Go Home.
Action Comics #40 am worst comic of the week. Dean hate Action Comics #40. Dean am so upset with purchase of Action Comics #40 this week. Dean am never going to write a positive review about this book. Greg Pak am terrible at writing, and Aaron Kuder am worst Superman drawer.
On one hand New Romancer is a fun, interesting and relevant comic. On the other hand it feels cluttered, jumpy and distant. New Romancer is another Vertigo #1 to come out before the new year. I’ve been impressed with many of the books and New Romancer was actually one of the most anticipated of the bunch. Unfortunately I was not left with the satisfying feeling that so many of the other number ones have given me. There are definitely some funny concepts in here and a few solid jokes, but it seems to be at the expense of character development and plot direction.
The premise of the comic is that computer programmer Lexy, who has been fired by a large software company, is working for a small dating website and tampering with the idea of setting up fake profiles of historic characters with built in A.I. so it feels like you are actually chatting and flirting with these characters. Sounds lonely and sad. Which is what it is supposed to sound like. Lexy is herself, lonely and sad. She is obsessed with historical poets, which fuels her project with the company New Romancer. Lexy has stolen some A.I. software from her old company Incubator to make her vision possible. As she is putting the finishing touches on the A.I. for the dating website, a solar flare storm hits the city and the A.I. gets transferred into a few deceased bodies. Lexy is pumped because she is actually going to get to meet the man of her dreams, Lord Byron. Turns out the man of her dreams is a misogynistic horn dog. He ends up leaving her in the street as he hops in a convertible with some hot babes.
The book has a lot of promise. The concept of a lonely computer programmer “mad sciencing” her dream guy from the 1800’s and him turning out to be a jerk. It is the slightly raunchier, slightly more dangerous Kate and Leopold. What missed me was the choppy plot delivery and the shallow character work. After the first issue I should have a good sense of the book, but I don’t know what could possibly be coming in the next issues. I have no idea where they could take this plot for it to be interesting enough to carry a series. I’m not sure why Lexy was making this program for New Romancer in the first place, it sounds like a terrible idea and nothing was really said from her hard ass boss, except for if she doesn’t get her work done everyone is fired. What really has me confused is the calmness of all the characters. Why isn’t Lexy freaking out that she seemingly brought a dead poet to life and why isn’t Lord Byron concerned about this. He seems to be taking things pretty well for a guy who was just displaced through time and space. I do not feel like I know Lexy or Byron by the end of this, plus Byron is a dick so I really don’t care about him. The lack of character depth and plot development will be the reason I do not pick up the next issue. If this sounds interesting to you, by all means give it a shot, but it missed me too many times.
All-New Hawkeye is one of those Marvel books which reset it’s numbering after the Secret Wars event. Prior to the renumbering, Ramon Perez was displaying his versatility on this title. The story was focused on Clint and Kate’s relationship with a number of flashbacks to Clint as a child. The art difference between the past and the present pages was astounding. While the art for the present aped a David Aja style, the past was a more flowing dream like sequence. Paired with Jeff Lemire’s ability to channel emotions, these flashbacks proved to be quite powerful moments in the comic. Flash forward to the renumbering. Lemire and Perez are at it again. This time with flashes 30 years into the future. Kate and Clint have had a falling out. In the present we witness the falling out, but in the future they are forced to come together for another mission. They have to tie up a loose end that was the very same thing which tore them apart, 30 years later, it could bring them back together.
It’s clear in the future that Clint is not doing so well. This was evident in the first issue but in issue #2 we start to see his physical and emotional decline. In the present we have a fantastic two page progression of cuts between Clint in his apartment and Clint chasing bad guys. His apartment is a mess but not in an obviously over the top way. It is messy in a very subtle lived in way. Some clothes have made it into the hamper but some have not. Books are sitting on the bookshelf but are placed in difference orientations. It looks very much like a bachelor pad. As the scene cuts back and forth between Clint in his apartment and Clint in action, his apartment panels remain almost identical. Clint sitting at his desk eating supper. It is clear that each time we see this panel, time has passed. Clint is looking a little more filled out, with a little bit more facial hair and a lot more beers on his counter. After we witness the depressing few pages of Clint’s decline he picks up the phone to call Kate. Unfortunately Kate has had it with Clint and she refuses to pick up. Later we see Kate meeting up with Ms America Chavez, where she screens Clint’s call and decides to go dancing. This scene is heartbreaking. We know what is happening to Clint and we know that this is the point where his life starts to go downhill. It is like watching Friday Night Lights for a second time. You know they are going to lose the state final, but you still watch with hope in your heart, maybe they will do something different this time and win. Kate doesn’t answer the call and Clint drinks another beer.
Ramon Perez is doing something very similar on this run of Hawkeye as he did on the previous one. When we shift to the future scenes he changes his art style to be far more rough, it’s nothing like the art in the present or even the art style he was using for the past. The scratchy art makes the scenes almost feel a little fabricated. The pencil lines are very clearly seen. This rough art style creates the illusion that these scenes are not set in stone, these scenes are just drafts. Maybe if Clint and Kate can make the right change in the present they can rewrite the future. This illustrations gives a sense of hope. I am still rooting for Clint and Kate to work things out in the present.
All-New Hawkeye is one of the best Marvel books right now. Lemire and Perez are actually the perfect pair. Lemire’s emotional character work mixed with Perez’s beautiful illustrations makes this a power and at sometimes depressing comic book.
I am sure all of my colleagues agree with me, choosing the week’s finest is a tough job and at most times a very stressful job. At first it sounds like a fun task. When I walk into a comic shop and see all the great books, my eyes light up with the chance to choose what I think is the best of the best. However when I sit down to tackle that stack and each book is as fantastic as the last, the stress settles in. It is a lot of pressure to pick the best book of the week, but is it a terrible thing that book after book is great? Of course not! This is a great time to be reading comics. So many fantastic books on the shelf. This week Shutter #7 was the finest of the week.
Greg Pak has done a large amount of work for Marvel comics, but these days his most notable writing is with his current run on Action Comics. Pak was tasked with writing a character that seems to be slowly dropping in popularity. With no help from the blockbuster movie Man of Steel, Superman was facing some dark times. Greg Pak threw himself in the middle of Action Comics and began to pick up the pieces and use this book to show the depth the Superman character can have. Although the Hulk character is quite different than Superman they share some similarities. While the Hulk is a crowd pleaser on the big screen, he suffers to sustain a solo story. He is an ensemble character which makes it hard to have a successful comic with Hulk in the title. I think the problem is that Banner doesn’t like turning into the Hulk. He tries to avoid it at all costs, but as a reader that is what we bought the book for, to see the green guy. We find ourselves rooting against the will of our main character so he can smash stuff. In Totally Awesome Hulk, Greg Pak gets a clean slate. This long time Hulk writer is no longer bound by the Bruce Banner story threads, he is now able to cut loose and do the Hulk comic he wants to write.
The Totally Awesome Hulk may be a silly title for a comic book, but it is a great fit. Super genius teenager Amadeus Cho is the new Totally Awesome Hulk. Being a teenager, Amadeus does the three things that teenage boys do: he eats, argues with his sister and flirts with girls. Pak has a fantastic way of humanizing superheroes. He finds the connections that we as readers can make to the characters and brings those front and center. Turning into the Hulk doesn’t just give Amadeus a boost in physique, it also supercharges his hormones. Pak plays up those three traits of a teenage boy to bring a very fun feel to the book. Amadeus is constantly eating and the arguments with his sister tend to reach screaming volumes. But, the best part of this book is his compulsive need to flirt with woman, no matter what age. Just imagine a teenage boy with Hulk powers. His sex drive is off the charts. No matter who the woman are, victims, allies or even enemies, Cho’s wants to flirt. Pak scripts this rise in teenage hormones so that the final panel is both an eye rolling and burst out laughing moment.
First Amadeus turns into the Hulk and saves a young woman. He is definitely more concerned with getting this girls number then making sure the monster is unconscious. This almost results in a drastic mistake, but he regroups and gets the job done. Of course he would flirt with a hot victim, who wouldn’t. Later he goes to fight alongside the Avengers where he starts to flirt with She-Hulk. It is in this scene we start to see that he just can’t help himself. With his sister constantly telling him not to flirt with She-Hulk, and Amadeus denying it saying he wouldn’t flirt with her cause, “Dude, she’s like, forty”. Finally, Lady Hellbender shows up and lays a beating on Amadeus. With a foot smashing his face into the ground he tells his sister he is fine, she questions his choice of words saying that he doesn’t look fine, to which he response “I mean she’s kinda fine, if you know what I mean.” This issue scripts a perfect progression highlighting the idea that teenage boys only think with their penis.
Totally Awesome Hulk is a fun and humorous debut for the writer and artist team. Frank Cho’s fun cartoony style fits perfectly with Pak’s enjoyable characterization. I was not planning on continuing with this story past issue #1 but now I definitely will as Totally Awesome Hulk was my favorite Marvel debut of the week.
This is not Thor: God of Thunder Ron Garney. I thought I knew what art to expect when I opened this book up and I was wrong. Ron Garney and colorist Matt Milla are brilliant in the series debut. Garney has always been a solid artist, but he reaches such a rough and shadowy level on Daredevil #1. Garney and Milla make a terrific team and place their stamp on this book in a big way. Unfortunately I cannot say the same about Soule. His lack of definitive style leaves the book cold and boring.
Soule has always been hit or miss. He burst onto the comic scene with a bang and became the hottest writer for hire in a hurry. Unfortunately. either I got used to his style or his work started to suffer. I enjoy Soule on books where he can let his goofiness shine through. Comics like She-Hulk and Lando hit all the right beats, while talking head books like Civil War and Inhumans put me to sleep. The problem with Soule paired with Garney and Milla is that the goofy Soule writing won’t work. Even though Matt Murdock can be sort of a goofy character, at least that is what worked for Waid, Soule finds himself caught in the middle. He is trying to write a tough Matt Murdock to fit the art style while still making him likeable. Somewhere in the middle he is falling flat leaving the reader with no connection to the character. In the end I’m just looking at fantastic art wishing there was something cool to go along with it.
Matt Murdock is set to take on his new role in New York city, that of a Prosecuting attorney. This is part of the new take on Matt as the tough guy. A guy who is sick of defending the guilty and is ready to put the criminals behind bars and I’m not a big fan of the switch. The reason Matt is such a good defense attorney is because he knows when people are lying, so he never has to defend the guilty. Matt starts his first case and is out to prove that he is in fact a hard ass.
Garney and Milla’s panels of Daredevil in costume are so beautiful that I feel disappointed when it’s just Matt. Mix that with Soule’s uninspired dialogue and I completely lost interest by the last few pages. There is even a big twist revealed in the final panel, but with little character development and my attention fading, the “Oh shit!” they were going for felt more like a “Hmmm okay”. If the story improves this could be a great comic, if it doesn’t improve it is a waste of some top notch art. I think Soule has it in him if he focuses the style and figures out who he wants Matt Murdock to be, he just hasn’t found it yet here.
I’m not sure what to think of Jacked. It is Wanted meets Limitless except for one problem, it isn’t unique enough and therefore doesn’t match up to those titles. It is a decent comic with some funny pages, but there is nothing that makes it stand out. Eric Kripke, creator of the hit show Supernatural, paces the story very well. While John Higgins brings a terrific Steve Dillon like style of art to the book. There is really nothing “wrong” with this comic, but in a terrific week of books, it doesn’t stand out.
The story flows like that of a television show or a movie. It’s fast paced and gets into the conflict immediately. The main character Josh is what we would call “a loser”. He is a middle aged man sporting the middle aged man’s body. To go along with his bad back, enlarged prostate and hemorrhoids, he has no job and no hope of getting one any time soon. Josh has boring sex with his wife and spends most of his afternoons taking himself on a “J” date instead of brushing up on his interview skills. Like I said, the guy is a loser. But, here is where Eric hits you with a little character depth. Josh is stuck in a vicious cycle. He wants to be that man his wife married; he wants to be the great dad his kids look up to. Josh can tell his wife has lost respect for him and when that happens, good luck finding respect for yourself. The want to be a better man is strong inside Josh, but the scars of rejection and the mundane keeps the drive low as he crawls through his lackluster life.
One night surfing the net, Josh finds a drug that can turn things around. It’s a drug that will help him focus so he can finally nail one of these interviews. His drug of choice is “Jacked”. It comes in the mail, he takes a pill and after a psychedelic trip he finds the strength to save a man from a burning car. The drug doesn’t just make him focused, it seems to give him an incredible strength. No matter how much of a loser Josh is, we can’t help but cheer for the guy. But, you know what they say? With great power comes the burning desire for more power. This drug has the potential to turn Josh’s life around, but it is suggested he runs into a few speed bumps along the way.
Jacked #1 is a very good introduction for Kripke and Higgins. The art is top notch and the characterization of Josh and his family is spot on. Unfortunately it is all just too familiar and doesn’t bring anything new and exciting to the table.
Jupiter’s Legacy is a fantastic comic. It would be incredible if we could get more sometime in the future, but seeing as it took 2 years for 5 issues to be released, I won’t be holding my breath. However, the prequel, Jupiter’s Circle from Mark Millar and Wilfred Torres definitely holds up to the great quality of Legacy. While Legacy introduced a world where superheroes and their identities are household names, Circle allows Millar to focuses the story on the original league of superheroes and the things they had to struggle through both public and private to arrive at the world of Legacy. While Legacy would get pushed off for months, Circle comes out with their second #1 in a year.
If you have not read a Millar Jupiter title before Jupiter’s Circle, Volume 2 #1 is actually a great introduction to the world. It is a nice and relaxing issue to kick off the new arc. However, if you haven’t read Jupiter’s Legacy you will completely miss the uneasy tone of this issue. It will simply feel like a beautiful story about a perfect couple and their lonely single woman friend. Let me give you some background just in case. This issue of Jupiter’s Circle features two woman: Jane Sampson who is The Utopian’s wife and Lady Liberty who is The Utopian’s wife many years later in Jupiter’s Legacy.
Jane Sampson tells the story of how perfect her marriage is. She gushes over the man she is married to. Jane did not travel to the island and get super powers with Sheldon. Jane is not super powered, hence the space suit every time he takes her to the moon for dinner or to Jupiter’s moon for an anniversary. Jane is completely in love with her perfect man and can’t believe he is also the most powerful man in the world.
Lady Liberty, also known as Grace, is in the desperation dating phase. She really doesn’t care at this point what kind of man she ends up with, she just wants a man. The problem is, she is extremely intimidating. She can’t even get a one night stand to stick around for the actual sex part before running off. Jane and Sheldon are worried about Grace and wish she could just find a guy that makes her happy. Well, be careful what you wish for Jane. Giving up on the hope of romance Grace spends her evenings and weekends reading on the beach, while Jane and Sheldon eat in Paris…again.
This issue is completely conflict free, on the surface. If you happened to forget that Grace and Sheldon are married in Jupiter’s Legacy then you may read it as sunshine and rainbows. I would suggest controlling those warm fuzzies and reading it again, because this perfectly happy Jane, doesn’t end up with her perfect man.
While Millar is mastering all the details of this love triangle he also throws in a very humorous villain who wreaks havoc on the world for about an hour as he takes all the color out of the world. A very appropriate joke for a comic set in the 1950’s.
Millar and Torres keep their form up, as Jupiter’s Circle delivers yet another great issue. You should not be missing this one.