More FCBD reviews
Not a really important post, but I’ve made a little more of a dent in that FCBD stack and had a few more thoughts to share.
The Transformers vs G.I. Joe was a big dissapointment. The art alone just wasn’t my style, but the story itself felt really dumbed down. Perhaps that was what thye were going for….something like the mini-comics you used to get with certian toys like He-Man, but it’s really not my style. I really had high hopes for this too, because I loved the crossover that Devil’s Due did back in 2006. I just don’t understand how no one seems to have been abel to get this right since then.
Jelleby was a huge surprise. I got it because it looked fun and interesting. it’s cute, and really addictive. There’s some great heart in this tale of a boy who finds a monster and made it his pet. This issues does exactly what it is meant too. It makes me want to check out the rest of this series and I recommend you do too.
Intrinsic and Entropy on the other hand, they kind of fail in this purpose. They both give us a taste, but not enough to get me into the series. A shame too, Intrinsic in particular shows promise with good chemistry between the characters but not enough story to get me interested.
Courtney Crummin was excellent as always. I’ve followed this series off and on for years and it never fails to entertain. There’s more to this story than the FCBD issue though and they may have me hooked enough to finish this arc out.
You know what? The Donald Duck comics were way more fun than I expected. My friend Ben from Pop! is a huge Uncle Scrooge fan and I have always enjoyed hearing him talk about the character. I’ve also enjoyed Disneys FCBD offerings. This is a straightforward Disney story, the main feature bing about Donald and Uncle Scrooge cursed and their personal gravities messed with…it’s fun and FEELS like classic Disney.
Buck Rogers was a bit of a dissapointment. I really wanted to see more of Buck and less of Wilmas Nephew. I really like stuff like this and the Donal Duck comic though, collections that look like they are straight out of a newspaper.
Then there’s Scratch 9.
I don’t know why I like this so much. I’ve been hooked on this story since I got the issue at FCBD last year. The cats have great chemistry and it has a funny tone to it….I really just can’t explain it. Just find the series and pick it up.
Uber has a good concept, what if WW2 went differently….and it’s a lot of reading. Less of a comic and more of a magazine telling the story in prose with some pics.
I read Scam Crosswords mostly for the art. It’s got a great dynamic Image house style. wasn’t planning on liking it but it’s got a good vibe. For some reason it really makes me feel like a Bruce Willis movie. I’m not entirely sure what I just read, kind of a hit man with some underworld connections…? I do want to see more of this, but I think I want to read more of it before I commit to buying some.
There’s a few others that don’t really warrant much discussion. Steam Wars was interesting but pointless. The over sized Street Fighter issues was excellent, but I think I’m too far out of the loop with these characters to really make this work. Catian Midnight was finally my chance to check out the character….though he dosen’t bear a lot of resemblece to the character my father told me stories about . THey kind of hit the nail on the head when they say his super power is that he has an airplane….
All in all I’ve really been enjoying the FCBD stories and can’t wait untill next year! Until then though, I’ve got to head out and get some Violent Blue done for tomorrow!
FCBD : the comics
I’ve managed to make a good dent in my Free Comic Book Day comics and thought I’d share some of my observations. It’s not a proper review, but then again, they aren’t all proper comics….
The Guardians of the Galaxy book was one I was interested in seeing. It’s a good introduction to the characters and explains a little bit of why Iron man was in the book for a most of last year. I like the idea of Venom hooking up with them, and the framing sequence of Tony telling Venom all about the guardians makes for a good intro, but also meas we don’t really see enough of them in action and almost feels a little anti-climatic. The Rocket raccoon book is actually a better one, with plenty of action. It’s a fun book, but that skottie young cover made me expect a little more craziness. Not complaints though.
Bongo’s Simispon’s issues is always a FCBD must. This one is no exception. Tehre are times when the comics are better than the show….
I LOVED the DC offering – a futures end for the New 52 featuring Batman Beyond. I’m not a huge fan of BB, but this was a great story for him… leading into the futures end series coming this summer.
THE tick is another great intro to the character and this was a fun alien story, spoofing the Braniac and Bottle City of Kandor ideas. I laughed and this left me in a surprisingly good mood. I remember the Tick from when it came out back in the mid 80’s, and though I’ve never been a rabid fan, I do enjoy him here and there and the free comic book day issues have always satisfied.
FUBAR feels like a missed opportunity. Not a terrible story, but it seems like it ‘s slow. It takes too long to get to the zombies, and when you do there’s not enough. Good ideas though, what if Saddam Hussein was creating zombie viruses instead of chemical weapons? Interestingly, the soldiers here remind me a whole lot of the ones in ALIENS.
I was also presently surprised by the Teen Titans GO! book. Unlike a lot of kids books and FCBD offerings, this was pretty much a full TT book, rather than a complication of different stories smushed together.
Archie comics released a Sonic the Hedghog / Megaman flip book. The Mega Man section looks very much like screen grabs from a cartoon, while the Sonic section claims to be an origin story. It kind of is….talking about how his team came together. I’ve enjoyed previous FCBD sonic issues better.
Valiant released a handbook this FCBD, an I love this. I’ve always had a thing for reference books, ever since DC’s Who’s Who back in the 80’s. This is a nice slick looking guide to Valiant characters and it really keeps me jazzed about the current Valiant universe. I can’t wait to dig into my X-O issue.
That’s about all I’ve gotten through. Mouseguard was excellent as usual and I really only got the Avatar : The Last Airbender issue for the Itty Bitty Hellboy story (which I was dissapointed only clocks in at two pages!).
It’s been a fun haul…but the weekend didn’t end with the comics did it? A certain movie opened over the weekend too….
but more on that later.
Last Weeks Pulls
This week I dipped my toe in a bunch of titles that I haven’t been reading in a long time. The problem with doing this however, is you can feel like you just walked into the middle of a story and end up quite lost.
Spawn manages the feat of making me feel like I’m in the middle of a story I don’t quite understand while at the same time feeding me more of the same old same old. It’s more “Who do you work for????” “Jason Wynn!” “Wynn’s coming for you!” Chains, power countdown timer, menace. I’ve seen all of t his before. On the other hand, it’s been a long time since Spawn has been cutting edge. The most revolutionary thing they’ve done in the 21st century was to change the identity of the title character from Al Simmons to ….I don’t even know his name. Perhaps if I cared more….
On the plus side though, this has spectacular art. It’s very similar to Tim Bradstreet, very much like the dark noir look of the best modern Daredevil stories. Last week I mentioned that Jerry Ordway was one of my favorite artists. I’ve always favored a more realistic look to the dynamic, hyper stylized feel of a Liefield or McFarline drawing. This works really well. I’d love to see this guy do a Hellblazer or a Hellraiser.
Army of Darkness is always a fun title, but you have to understand, this series has strayed miles from the movies. That makes it easy to feel lost. The thing is though, they haven’t really done any world building. This isn’t a tight continuity. They seem afraid to move far from the established characters and continuity of the films, so we just wander from situation to situation without ever really creating a narrative.
When a female Ash arrived at the cabin (now floating in another dimension, at a causal nexus of some sort), I was really hoping they were making an attempt to integrate the new Evil Dead movie into this series. It would have been a smart move and all this talk of multiverses seemed to point that way. The cliffhanger makes it clear that it’s not.
Finally there was Hawken : Genesis. Despite the fact that there are several gamers in my Violent Blue comic, I’m not one. I built myself a Pac Man Machine and decided I never had to buy another platform.
The point being, I had no idea this was based on a video game. It’s a great idea though. The art is stunning and the concepts are fascinating. I can absolutely see how this would completely flesh out a game world. These are very short stories, about half the size of a regular comic, but well worth it if you can track them down. I ended up having to go online to find the previous entry in the series.
I also grabbed Extermination. This really seemed like just indie superhero fare, but seemed to get a little dramatic towards the end. I haven’t read enough of this series (this was the first time I’d noticed it) to know if it had earned that kind of theme. I think I’m too lazy to go back and find previous issues though.
I happen to love Sherlock Holmes. My grandmother introduced me to the character when I was a child, but I only really started to appreciate him when I was a teenager and rediscovering it in reading class. I wasn’t this comic to be good. i really do. It has a beginning and and ending t hat both catch you, but the middle of this book just slogs on. It’s part one of a story so you almost want to give it some slack, but it just doesn’t keep my attention enough and the art in it is awful. Technically good drawing I suppose but it completely misses the soul of the characters and the era. I’m just not into it. I will probably get the second part of this, but it better get real good real quick or I’ll be dropping it.
Speaking of dropping, I think I’m done with new Valiant’s Bloodshot for a while. It’s not a bad book, it just isn’t my thing. I didn’t really get way into the original series and that may be having an effect on me. Archer and Armstrong on the other hand, continues to be a fun ride and genuinely better than it’s predecessors. I like how they are trying to ease some world building into this series by introducing the Eternal Warrior and t he idea of the Geomancer in through this series – and it’s the perfect place for it. Armstrong always put me off a bit in the old Valiant, but I like him quite a bit in this incarnation. Maybe it’s the hair or the better dress sense. I don’t know.
The Green Hornet on the other hand….I do believe they have the shark in their rear view mirror, having jumped it about the time Britt jr and Mulan Kato started gettin’ busy. Now with an attack on the home base…I know these are all classic comic book tropes, but this series is only like, two years old. Isn’t it a bit early to be hitting these cliches already? I like some of the extra elements they’ve come up with and the expanded cast, and I’ll keep reading as long as it runs, but I don’t think I’ll really miss it when it’s gone.
I saw there was a new Crow series out and thought I’d give that one a try for old time’s sake.
Why do I keep doing that to myself?
Actually the idea of a Crow at a death camp in Nazi Germany isn’t a bad one, but it’s just not enough for me to care. This concept has gotten so watered down over the years, it almost seems like anyone who dies violently comes back as a crow. I half expect batman’s parents to come back as the Crow!
Grifter is still a good series. I’ve heard this one is getting cancelled and that really does make me a little sad. I’m liking it and really enjoying the newer take on the character. This issue has him facing the Suicide Squad which is pretty much just flat out fan service aimed directly at me….or it would be if it were a Suicide Squad I recognized. Still, it’s actually a better handling of most of those characters than I’ve been seeing in thier own book. I love how he describes them : “Everyone in t he squad is dangerous.They’re Black Ops criminals with nothing to lose”. I’ve never really heard them referd to in that manner before and I love it. This story also establishes a prior working relationship between Grifter and (the new 52 character who isn’t anything remotely like) Amanda Waller. This particular comment alone is enough reason to get this book.
I miss fat, middle-age Amanda Waller. I totally believed that character WAY more than I do with this young, slim imposter.
Anyhow. Can I talk about She-Ra now?
First and foremost, we don’t see She-Ra in this series, we don’t get the entire Secret of the Sword treatment either, but rather we get just before that. This character and series is apparently going to be intergrated into DC’s MOTU series eventually and I can’t wait.
It’s itneresting, they address something I had felt for years – Adora’s costume. In t his she is still aHorde Force Captian, just like in Secret of the Sword. However, in that cartoon, she was wearing the same Adora costume that she wore for the rest of the series (which is fine. I get limited animation and all of that). Essentially a jacket and a nice confy cotten shirt. Everyone else in teh Horde wore armor and bats and sigils and she just didn’t fit. This changes that… and her horde armor is stunning, not to mention the name : Despara. Just great stuff. She fits in better with the Horde here, rather than coming off like a princess wandering through the halls of evil treading on rose petals all the way….now, she looks evil. Moreover, when she takes that helmet off….she looks damaged. You can see the brainwashing in her eyes, the chopped hair just adds to it all. I love this.
When we open, it mentions that we are on Etheria – in the dark dimension of Despondos. That tells me that we aren’t throwing out all of the previous continuity from the failed MYP series in 2002, and that’s a good thing. While there were elements I really didn’t like about that series (most notably the designs for He-Man and the Sorceress) That series worked very hard to add some mythology to this world that had never been as well developed as it’s contemporaries in Transformers and GI Joe. It added a great deal to the MOTU story and I had feared most of that would have been thrown right out the window since that series was now out of favor.
That was in fact, enough of a boost for me to finally crack open that copy of the Origin of Skeletor I’d had laying a round for months.
Seriously. We’d gotten what I thought a spectacular origin for him in the MYP series and I was heartbroken that someone was going to come in and just re-write it. It turns out they didn’t exactly re-write it after all.
This story explores Skeletor’s past. Yes, we knew he was actually Randor’s brother Keldor. We had even expected that he was really his half-brother. And we see him treated as the Half-brother by his parents. Always out of favor, always passed over. Interestingly ( and heartbreakingly) enough, Randor is the one standing up for him. He is perhaps the only person ever to really love Keldor. Interesting but predictable. We probably could have guessed most of this.
What no one ever considered before, was that Keldor was the older brother.
Seriously. This changes everything.
Before, he was just some megalomaniac. He was just a James Bond villian who wanted to take over the world. Now….he’s the elder. He has a legitimate claim to the throne….perhaps even a more legitimate claim than Randor. His madness is what now makes him unfit to rule, but before losing his face and submitting to Hordak’s magic and apprenticeship?
This is a whole new dynamic. It took the MYP series to make this into a generational story. DC has taken it and turned it into a generational drama. I love this. I haven’t been this excited about MOTU in a very long time and it’s just great.
That wraps up this week. Christmas is coming. I hope you all survive it…I’m going to go look for He-Man shaped presents under the tree.
Last Weeks Pulls
So let’s start off with Youngblood, shall we? Actually I think this title has begun to hit it’s stride. It was nice to see the team seriously being heroic for a change, and the subplot with Jeff Terrel and the dead vogues has begun to shape up nicely. I’m actually looking forward to each next issue of this series. A little surprising considering…well it IS Youngblood.
Grabbed the Shadow Annual as well. This is a lot closer to what I want to see in the character. Gangsters and New York. Not sure how I feel about the supernatural element though. I supposes it could be explained away as TK and delusion if I want to approach it from a Skeptic point of view. That’s the thing about the Shadow though, he’s not really about ghosts and demons, he’ more about human monsters. I’d have no problem with him fighting Leatherface or Michael Myers, but I don’t want to see him against Freddy or Pinhead.
Speaking of Pinhead…..
I don’t know why I keep reading Boom Comic’s Hellraiser series. No, that’s not true. I know exactly why. I have a deep emotional connection to the series. I absolutely adore the first two movies, and I still like the later ones. I have workprints of two of them and I own all of the Epic Comic series. Those are hit and miss, but when they hit…they are amazing.
I liked that Boom made it about Pinhead and familiar Cenobites. The Hellraiser movies of the last decade show us precious little of that and the Epic comics really used the established Cenobites as supporting characters to their newly created comic characters. The problem is Boom almost immediately strays. Hell is referenced as the Christian Hell rather than a transdimensional realm of order and torment. Clive Barker himself has stated in the past that the Hell of Hellraiser is not the Christian hell…it’s just a place. We call it Hell because that’s the closest description we can find.
Speaking of Clive, I know that the series professes to be written by him, but lets be honest. “Writing” those comics probably involves handing over an outline initially and coming into the office or teleconferencing once every few months to approve the plot. Whatever. Attaching Clive to the project doesn’t impress me anyhow. He did the first movie. He wrote the novella. Since then, he’s had virtually no involvement with teh series. Peter Atkins, Gary Tunicliffe and even Rick Bota have had far more influence on Hellraiser and would be more accurately described as it’s creators. When they talk about the series, I listen. When Clive talks about it, I honestly don’t think he understands what Hellraiser is. The mythology has grown far beyond that short story or that one off movie.
But I digress.
The idea of Pinhead and Kirsty trading places probably seemed like and interesting proposal, but it’s been drawn out far too long and meanders without direction. We’ve spent three issues of Kirsty uncovering Pinheads past when one could do. Back on earth, a newly human Elliot Spencer seeks other avenues of power to take over the world. None of this feels like Hellraiser. Even if it weren’t ridiculous, they missed what makes Hellraiser scary. It’s a small quiet story, destroying the lives of just a couple of people. When you try for a grand scale, it just doesn’t work – look a the third nad fourth movies. A million deaths is a statistic. A single death is a tragedy.
I can’t drop this book as much as I want to….but I just don’t know what to do….
Still loving the Anime-Con Girls digital books. I really want to read these with my daughters. I think they’d have fun with them. It’s still just anime action with slightly familiar faces and no real story, but it’s fun fluff.
I also grabbed the next Masters of the Universe digital edition. I’m glad to see Orko is still a loveable little scamp in this series. It was an interesting idea, a different art style for every page, but somehow it just didn’t work for me. It came off as annoying rather than cool. Still, this series has earned enough goodwill from me to get a pass on this one.
I jumped back on a couple of bandwagons this month just to test the waters a bit. First was Steed and Peel – the Avengers. The art’s gotten better in this book, I’ll admit that. Steed and Mrs. Peel look a lot more like they should. unfortunately, the rest of the book has a very 21st century look to it. I almost hate to say it, but these days, The Avengers NEEDS to be a period piece. You just can’t update these characters, they fit so perfectly in the 60’s. Indeed, I’d rather watch an episode of The Avengers to any James Bond movie of the same period. So when you do a period piece, it has to look like a period piece. Steed and Peel aren’t the only ones that need to look like they are coming out of the 60’s, so does everyone else….and they don’t. The hair is wrong, the lines of the clothing is all wrong, the monsters look very 2012. It pulls me right out of the book. I suspect this is a hard book to create and there may be bumps in the road still to come.
I also picked up the Green Hornet. I like this series, I really do, but somehow, it seems to fall right off my radar pretty frequently and I really shouldn’t let that happen. (Same thing keeps happening with the Walking Dead) On the other hand it is nice to grab the trades and just read an entire arc at once….
This one looks to have potential, a little light hearted but a cool superhero look and I really feel a nice familiarity with the characters that makes this title fun to return to.
I also decided to try out a couple of titles I’ve never read before. The first was Phantom Lady. I was thinking to myself as I grabbed it that this was a mistake. I don’t mind the character. I fond memories of first seeing her in old issues of All Star Squadron, but she never seemed like the kind of character that could successfully make the transition to the modern age. I may have been wrong about that . I like the costume, the action was fun and the repurposed black light is actually a little scary…the idea that it chills you, makes you feel empty. I like that. I also love the time limit on her phantom form and the banter between her and Dollman is actually quite entertaining. In fact they had me untill the last page where this villain appeared.
Just saying. This will likely be one of those titles I occasionally borrow a friends copy of to keep up on, but probably will never buy.
Also got Idolized. I think I’m the wrong audience for this. It’s basically “American Idol” for superheroes. The main character’s family was murdered by a super villain, she has powers and goes on this show to become a real superhero and avenge them. It’s just so full of Teenage High School-like drama and that’s just wasted on me. I would kind of like to know where this goes, and might take another look in a few months. I don’t know.
Higher Earth on the other hand was a pleasant surprise. The cover made it look a bit like a postapocalyptic story, but the inside felt more like Lost. We have a refugee society on an island, with one character making raids for food and supplies on parallel earths through a portal in a cave….it’s really more compelling that that sounded, I promise. I really didn’t even see the cliffhanger twist at the end coming.
That’s it for last week. I’ve got a stack of comics that just came out yesterday waiting for me and no time to read them (which is why you probably shouldn’t expect this to be a weekly feature on the site!)….busy weekend, cons, work, and a haunted house, not to mention I got to get some Violent Blue done too.
Sleep? What’s that?