First, Jake and Leon. Then I explain the post title.
So why does Leon wear costumes while reading comics on the floor? Click the picture to learn that and why one of this week’s hauls didn’t end up in the comic.
So…the title. Here’s the deal, folks. New comics come out on Wednesdays. I pick my comics on Thursday, payday at work. That gives me about 3-4 days to read and review every comic I picked up. When I was only getting three comic on a regular basis that was fine. Even with two titles going away (stupid Marvel), most of that is thanks to three Transformers a month minimum and two Doctor Who comics, as well as all the Phantom stuff. Well, now it seems that putting together a weekly wrap-up every week takes up my entire Sunday, and I really need the time to do other things, mostly around the living space. Plus notice how late this week’s review is.
Besides, Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, and I tend to spend it writing articles. By the time I’m done, I don’t have the urge to even post them at ComiXology lately. And sometimes I don’t even have time to give a proper review. I suppose I could just review a few of them, like Chris Sims does for “The Week In Ink”, but that’s just not me. I like giving my opinion on all of them because it helps me focus on how to make my own stuff, which is the secret purpose of this whole blog.
The best solution I can come up with is to drop the Sunday comic reviews. But I still like reviewing these comics. So what to do? I had thought to just review a comic a day, but I didn’t want to over-inflate my post count, and putting them in each article would waste space. Then I realized something. I’m well past 100 posts and didn’t care. The number of posts isn’t a big deal. I could have done 100 posts in a day, which is why I don’t know why bloggers make such a big deal about it. But that’s just me.
So following the footsteps of better bloggers, such as Bully, The Little Stuffed Bull and Siskoid’s Blog of Geekery, I’m doing the two post a day deal. Starting NEXT Monday, I’ll post a review of one of the new comics I picked up over the week at 6PM ET with the usual rant at 7PM ET. That should give me time to get ahead with the reviews. I’ll also hopefully get to post the spoiler-blocked version at ComiXology, but that’s not a big priority. (Unless they want to pay me, and I doubt my reviews had that big a following.) If it happens that I run out of new comics, I’ll either take that day off or review an old comic that wouldn’t be huge enough for a “Scanning My Collection” article. These posts will run Monday-Saturday.
What about Sunday, you may ask? I’ll keep posting Jake & Leon and give out my “Best Scene of the Week” award as one post on Sundays. Otherwise, I’m going to use my Sundays to relax and maybe get some light work out of the way. It’s the best system for me, at least for now. So I apologize to anyone who really likes these weekly wrap-ups. Let’s hit the weekly review one last time. This one’s for Johnny!
Buck Rogers #7
Dynamite Entertainment (2009)
WRITER: Scott Beatty
ARTIST: Carlos Rafael
COLORIST: Carlos Lopez
LETTERER: Simon Bowland
COVER “B” ALT. ARTIST: John Watson
(cover “a” shown)
Buck, Buddy, and Dr. Huer go looking for Buck’s lost spaceship, and find an underground society collecting surface technology, including nukes and Buck’s ship. The trio are taken prisoners by the “nuclear cult” and are on their way to Old Faithful. Meanwhile, Kane rescues Ardala and Wilma tries to make a deal with a culture living in a flying city.
What they got right: While you can make a drinking game out of the sci-fi cliches in this story, Beatty makes them interesting. Rafael’s art and Lopez’s colors just add to it, with some great visuals.
What they got wrong: With four different stories (including updating what “The Pack” is up to) going on, Beatty is going to have to be careful he doesn’t fall into soap opera territory or worse–Simon Furman’s usual Transformers stories.
Recommendation: The same solid read I’ve become used to with this title. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes classic science fiction with a modern update.
And yes, I will keep this formula for the daily comic reviews. Why toss out what works with what doesn’t?
Julie Walker is…The Phantom!
WRITER: Elizabeth Massie (with additional input by Rafael Nieves)
ARTIST: Paul Daly
COLORIST: Stephen Downer
LETTERER: Josh Aitken
EDITOR: Joe Gentile
COVERS “A” (shown) & “C”: J. Anthony Kosar
COVERS “B” & “D”: Paul Daily with Jason Jensen
New York: 1889. Reporter Nellie Bly is planning to beat the record of going around the world in 80 days. However, her crusading journalism has made her one nasty enemy and he plans on making sure she doesn’t make that trip. When Kit is hurt trying to protector, his twin sister, Julie, once again assumes the mantle of Ghost Who Walks, protecting Nellie from one attempt after another.
What they got right: Julie’s place in the Phantom mythos is legit, as she’s taken on the role in the previous comic books, if not the actual strip. (I haven’t seen her in the comic strips, but I have seen stories in the books, while I’ve not actually seen her brother’s adventures.) She even keeps her brother’s practice (and that of her ancestors and decedents) of wearing shades while out in public, since only a select few may see the Phantom’s face, even a back-up Phantom. The art is fantastic, and while I don’t really give enough credit to letterers, Josh Aitken really outdid himself on this one, going between narration, Julie’s journal, the Phantom speaking, and the other characters. Everything works perfectly.
What they got wrong: OK, there is one slight hiccup. I’m not sure making Julie so..gifte…oh, let’s just say it. The Phantom should be sleek and all, but the Phantom shouldn’t have boobs like that. I don’t remember being quite as endowed in other stories, even with a female’s build. If anyone ever got to really see her in the daytime, I’m sure anyone who knows the Phantom isn’t “the Woman Who Cannot Die” isn’t going to be fooled so it’s a good thing most of the times she’s spotted is in the dark.
Recommendation: Anyone who wants to see a female Phantom in action, is a fan of period pieces (Nellie Bly was a real person who actually made the Verne-inspired trip), or just likes a good story should pick this up. It does all three very well.
Mass Effect: Redemption #1
Dark Horse Comics (January 2010)
STORY: Mac Walters
SCRIPT: John Jackson Miller
ARTIST: Omar Francia
COLORIST: Michael Atiyeh
LETTERER: Michael Heisler
COVER ART: Daryl Mandryk
Set between the first game and the upcoming second game, Dr. Liara T’Soni has come to the space station Omega in hopes of finding her lost friend (or lover, depending on how you played the game), Commander Shepard. Omega isn’t a very nice place (and neither are the guys on her transport in), but she makes contact with someone who claims to know Shepard’s whereabouts–and two groups who want the Commander for their own reasons.
What they got right: Getting the head writer from the game, Mac Waters, was a good idea. I’ve not had the opportunity to get far in the game, but so far it feels like the game, including the Elcor, which have the funnest speech pattern in the game (at least for those of us on the outside ). Since I haven’t met the good doctor T’Soni yet, I can’t tell how well her character is done in the comic, but I do like her. The art captures the look of the 3-D game well, while still remembering it’s a 2-D comic. It’s pretty good, and not all dark colored. The hardest part, however, is trying to keep Commander Shepard, and the relationship with Liara, ambiguous. Based on how you play Mass Effect, Shepard can be either male of female, and Liara may or may not be lovers with either version of Shepard. (In fact, you could end up playing in a way that you end up with no lovers, or one of your other companions.) I’m betting that’s going to be hard to pull off.
What they got wrong: Actually, it could be more like what I got wrong. For fans of the game, when last I got to play, German Shepard (I didn’t plan on fully playing with that character, so forgive the name) had just become a Spectre, so I’m not sure if anything is off from the game. Also, I’m probably going to end up spoilering myself like crazy.
Recommendation: If you’ve played through the game, or even if you haven’t, I think this is a good comic to get a hold of.
The Phantom Double Shot: KGB Noir #1
featuring “Death Angel”
COVER ART: Dennis Calero (only one cover? about time!)
WRITER: Mike Bullock
ARTIST: Fernando Peniche
LETTERER: Josh Aiken
In Rome, a group of Communist Russia loyalists are hoping to cause a disaster which will lead Russia back to the Soviet ways. The Phantom fails to stop them from getting away with a detonator, but is able to infiltrate the operation as one of the agents.
What they got right: There are actually people in Russia who want the Soviet Union back, mostly former KGB agents (hence the title, I imagine) who lost the power they had acquired or somehow thought Russia would be a solid as the US in a short time. (Took us years, people–and I’ll keep from going into a political rant at this point.) So it’s not as farfetched as you might think, but tends to go underused as being a ripoff of the 80′s or that the WRITER won’t let go. The “black and white” style for this story is very good.
What they got wrong: Since Moonstone boasts a “noir” style to begin with, and I know so little about noir, I can’t really judge if making it black and white really qualifies as “noir”. I can, however, ask why Kit went and got the phone number of the cute flight attendant. Was he playing a role? Isn’t he married to Diana? Or is this some alternate timeline, or perhaps a tale of the next Phantom, who is long overdue to age in the comics, both strip and books? (Honestly, why isn’t the ultimate Legacy Hero given a chance to continue the legacy?) We really aren’t given a clue here.
DEATH ANGEL credits
WRITER/CREATOR: Mike Bullock
ARTIST: Michael Mecalf
LETTERER: Josh Aitken
In an undisclosed city, a man is being beaten because he won’t commit what he considers an act of treason. Then they go after his wife, planning to rape her. However, the couple is rescued by a person in an angel-like costume, but with a death head for a mask. The person gives the name “Death Angel”, and tells the surviving bad guy (or at least the conscious one) to get out of the city. Later, in a church, Death Angel is seen reciting Psalms 23:4 and takes off the mask, revealing a woman.
What they got right: This is Bullock’s creation, and he seems to have created an interesting character. The outfit is a bit dark for someone who recites the Bible in a church, but the costume itself is a nice design.
What they got wrong: Then again, I’m not sure how the wings are supposed to work. The biggest problem, however, is that it’s short, but there’s obviously more story here. Who is Govniuk? Why were those guys after him and his wife? What act of treason do they want him to commit?
Recommendation: I’m hoping we get more backstory out of both stories. Which version of the Phantom is this? Who are the characters in the other story and why should we care? They have, however, succeeded in arousing my curiosity.
Simpsons Super Spectacular #10
Bongo Comics Group (12/19/09?)
LETTERER: Karen Bates
EDITOR: Bill Morrison
The other comics have their own staff, and will be listed accordingly. I’ll otherwise be doing the stories in “modified speed mode”.
WRITER: Ian Boothby
PENCILER: John Costanza
INKER: Phyllis Novin
COLORIST: Robert Stanley
People are mysteriously going bald all over Springfield. Bartman and Homer attempt to bring the thief to justice. I’ll keep the villain a secret, but he wants to use the hair to make a coat so he can track down Bigfoot. An interesting use of one of the usual cast, but I kind of wish Bartman would team with Homer’s “Pieman” at some point, to sort of bring continuity to…oh, wait. It’s The Simpsons. There’s not a lot of continuity there, outside of Sideshow Bob’s annual attack.
RADIOACTIVE MAN credits
WRITER: Batton Lash
PENCILER: Tone Rodrigues
INKER: Dan Davis
COLORIST: Rick Reese
One of Radioactive Man’s old foes gets out of prison and locates a mad scientist’s failed time travel experiment. He finds away to use the flaw to his advantage to become Retroactive Man. Definitely something that would work in the less cynical (and boring) Silver Age tales Radioactive Man parodies. I like it, but I still wish they’d give Radioactive Man back his own comic and put it out monthly, or even bi-monthly.
THE UNLEASHED LEGION credits
WRITER: Mike W. Barr
ARTIST: Mike Kazaleh
COLORIST: Alan Hellard
When the rats of Springfield decide to take over, four of the animal characters develop superpowers with no backstory. Santa’s Little Helper is the Krypto-esque “Ultradog”, Snowball X? is magic user and team leader “Conjure Cat”, Mr. Teeny is the practical joker “Monkey Business”, and that sea captain’s bird becomes the telekinetic “Poindexter Parrot”. Personally, I found the story kind of pointless, and my lack of knowledge of at least two of these characters doesn’t help. I’d rather they go with one of Radioactive Man’s super hero supporting cast, or Bartman and Pieman instead of bringing this story back.
Recommendation: While the “super pets” are kind of “meh”, the other two are still worth getting the comic for.
Transformers: Tales of the Fallen #5
IDW Publishing (December 2009)
(You have to wonder how many of these comics were set up before Diamond declared a “skip week”.)
WRITER: Simon Furman
ARIST: Alex Milne
COLORIST: Josh Perez
LETTERER: Chris Mowry
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Denton J. Tipton
EDITOR: Andy Schmidt
The story takes place after the movie.
After being shown the scene in the movie where Bumblebee plays “Mortal Kombat” with Ravage, we see him on a table, suddenly awake. He’s sent to track down the remains of the appliances that were brought to life by the All-Spark fragment in the first scene with the Witwickys, but Soundwave doesn’t know who was able to reactivate him.
What they got right: Ravage gets a nice focus, for what amounts to a bunch of fight scenes where he’s either attacking or running away. The art is rather good for this title, but the only Transformers in the story, Ravage and his little ball bearings of death, are easy to tell apart.
What they got wrong: While I’m going to defend it, it still has to be called out. Ravage DIES in the movie. Sorry for the spoiler, but it’s an old movie, and it’s a bad one. Plus it’s right there in the first page, a huge splash page. However, according to interviews and blog posts with and by the editor, the story was written before the movie came out (after this long?), and so they didn’t know Ravage was going to have his spine ripped out by Bumblebee. (BAY!) So they had to work around it. Who reactivated him and why is probably a start to another Furman mystery that will split into five different subplots if he’s true to form.
Recommendation: I fear what is to come, but at least this story worked out well under the circumstances.
Best Scene of the Week
Mass Effect: Redemption #1
Actually, the whole scene in strip bar was kind of neat, but I just chose the best moment of that to save time and space. So next Sunday it’s just Jake and Leon, probably with a bit more commentary in place of making fun of my haul. There probably won’t be a “Best Scene of the Week” award until the week after, when I’ve done my daily review of whatever comic I read that day. (Actually, the Monday review will be the comic I read on Friday or something.) Maybe I’ll have time to get stuff done and actually enjoy all my comics without worrying about a deadline. I’m thinking it’s for the best. You may now complain.