New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 3/21/18

Ninja-K #5 (Valiant)

This one wraps up the arc for going down memory lane of the lettered Ninja under MI6 (I believe). Ninja-C and Ninja-K assault the shadowy hidden branch of MI6 that has manipulated the Ninja since the beginning of the program. Once the information is secured, C turns on K and wants to just dump it all, for all to see. K understands that if they dump it all instead of selective parts of it, that innocent people will be harmed in the process so this leads to C vs K and a last ditch battle.

The art is once again beautiful in this book and it does turn out to be a pretty good ending to an arc that I felt was full of setups. I’m going to have to go back and reread it all together now that it is all out. Sometimes a binge can make it feel more complete than reading and waiting for the story to build monthly (just like in TV). On a side note, I did enjoy Colin calling LiveWire at the end and getting closer to her. I do hope they can be together after the coming Harbinger War 2 tears them apart.

Ninja-K was the only new book this week so that’s all I have for review. Additionally, I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite arcs in The Uncanny X-men and X-Factor on Marvel Unlimited: Inferno. The cover art, especially the art for the X-men books is quite literally epic in these. It’s been a long time since I have reread them and it’s just as enjoyable now. I remember being mesmerized by the events of Inferno on the page when I was a kid. It felt so “adult” to me, which is kind of what the X titles should feel like to young readers. There should be a level of maturation when moving from something like Avengers to X-men. Back in the day, the Marvel group of excellence was X-men. Avengers were that superhero-y team that always had happy endings. Whereas the X-titles took you on a journey that really put all of the characters through an emotional ringer.

While I’ve read, and enjoy several of the current X-titles, they don’t come off as being the same as the X-titles from the 80’s and 90’s. It doesn’t feel like they are on another level from the “goody-goody” Avengers. Marvel really should get back to using the X-men as the mature titles that readers “move into” when they are ready. Bring back the more complex plots and deeper emotions that were once pivotal to an X-story from the 80’s and 90’s.

HellSpawn The Complete Collection (Image) – Review

HellSpawn The Complete Collection (Image)

The issues of Hellspawn take place sometime between when Al Simmons defeated Malebolgia and when he tried to kill himself with his own powers. The most important story here deals with Malebolgia’s concubine being born into the Earthly realm and trying to convince Al to become the ruler of Hell, which he was entitled to after winning the throne.

I love the art throughout this series. Spawn is at it’s best when it is dealing in the horror and occult genre and has the dark painted panels of art that go along with it. There are some genuinely creepy and horrifying panels of art in this book. The first several issue have the Bendis dialogue, which works well with the Sam & Twitch series but not so much for Spawn. Too much of the Bendis Dialogue really wears a person down. Make no mistake, he’s a great writer but the stutters, repeating of words, and ticks he uses may emulate some real world conversation but not to the overuse that he does it. He really uses these gimmicks way too much. Thankfully… by the time we get to Hel showing up, the dialogue is being tempered and much more easy to read (I didn’t catch who was doing the writing at this point).

A word of warning (since so many are easily offended wussies these days) if you want to pick this up, this is an adult comic with cursing, nudity, and violence. If hard fantasy and horror are too much for you, go grab yourself an Archie and leave this stuff alone for the rest of us. It’s an excellent series and a welcome addition to the continuing mythology of Spawn.

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 3/14/18

Ninjak vs The Valiant Universe #3 (Valiant)

I’m actually liking this series for the coming web series more than the current title. There has been way more action in it, while the regular series keeps wasting time on introducing and then giving a whole issue over to each lettered ninja. I’m tired of setup issues Valiant. Give me the damn story in a more interesting way!!! This book is doing just that. Plus… It’s the closest thing we have to a Unity book right now. Why is there no ongoing Unity book??? So yeah… right now, Ninjak vs The Valiant Universe is my favorite Valiant title. Only one more to go and the web series should also be released in April I believe… Don’t quote me on that.

Side note: I like Ninjak’s costume better in this than in the regular series too. It looks way more high-tech!!!

Scooby Apocalypse #23 (DC)

The gang are taking refuge from the monsters of the apocalypse in a mall and this issue is mostly prep. Though we do get to see Scoob take on a monster to protect the kid who is becoming his friend. I get TWD Carl vibe from the kid… I hope he grows out of that. It’s still really good art and an interesting story (BETTER than TWD!!!). My only complaints are the first page or two being used to summarize what happened last issue in character dialogue. Just make a paragraph summary and get to it. We already lose precious pages to this damn Secret Squirrel back up story which I NEVER read. That being my second complaint. All in all… good issue, nice art, and at least things are moving forward!!!

That’s the only NEW stuff this week so far. If I get anything else I’ll review it in a supplemental. Read on comics fans!!!

New Comic Book Reviews Supplemental for 3/12/18

Prism Stalker #1 (Image)

I admit, the cover drew me to this one. It’s a very trippy cover and you know how sometimes you get a cool cover but then the inside is completely different? In this case, it’s not. While the trippy artwork works for the cover, inside it somewhat assaults you. It’s hard to make heads or tail of certain scenes. The story could use work too. The starring character is named Vep and she’s a refugee working in an insectoid society, or hive with trippy colors. When another group sees her ability to act fast, they want to take her for a job of their own. The big problem is, the artwork is a barrier to getting into the story that is really limiting to begin with. Chances are, I probably will not pick up the next issue.

Dissonance #1 (Image)

Another new comic I checked out on Comixology was Dissonance. This is a futuristic alternate Earth where there are powerful human-spirit hybrids called Fantasmen who control the direction that Earth politics and society play out. The art is okay but nothing groundbreaking and again, there are some trippy characters (the spirits) who not only look trippy but talk trippy (Cheech and Chong bro!!!). There is a brother and sister that are trying to one up each other too, and the sister likes to beat her slave/assistant (I think??? This isn’t very clear what she is.). It’s starts with a set up for this universe but honestly… it’s really confusing. I just couldn’t get into it and as such, I’ll probably not be picking up this one either.

God Complex #1- 4 (Image)

Ding Ding Ding… We have a winner!!! I picked up the first 4 issues of God Complex and I’m hooked. This is a very cyberpunk world that is controlled by these masters that have mythological God names. When 3 acolytes from a Trinity Church are killed, it sets off a mystery as to who did it? Were the masters behind it? A shadowy revolutionary group? The Trinity Church itself? All issues for the lead detective, named Seneca, to find out. The art is beautiful inside and outside. If you like cyberpunk sci-fi then this is one you should definitely pick up. The next issue hits in April and I can’t wait!!! I’ll be adding this to my Comixology subscription list for sure!!!

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 3/7/18

Bloodshot Salvation #7 (Valiant)

From the summary: Master Storyteller Jeff Lemire takes the helm for the year’s most terrifying, most memorable special issue – told entirely in PITCH-BLACK DARKNESS!

The Reality: This is the “artless issue” and I paid $3.99 for pages of blurb story on black panels with a final page of actual artwork. I’ve been dreading this issue because I knew this crappy gimmick was coming and here it is. Does it work? NO!!! It’s disappointing and lazy. At least put some effort into it and make shapes on the panels in some fashion, not black panels. $3.99 for no art is a rip though. Was the story worth it? Not for $3.99. The entire “story” could have been written out in 3 pages without breaking it up into panels and then you could actually have art throughout the rest of the book. You get your “tension” in the first three pages followed by some action. Nope… just black panels. Valiant should give everyone a free comic for this transgression.

Gideon Falls #1 (Image)

This is the first issue of a new ongoing series that is creator owned by Jeff Lemire (same guy who wrote the above BloodShot), and Andrea Sorrentino. So far… I LIKE IT!!! It’s got that really dark and moody art that swims in realism while giving you those tinglies down the back of your neck. This is just the first issue and it’s a really intriguing set up. One man in the city appears to be somewhat crazy and a collector of nails and hinges that he believes to be evil, and talking to him, while a new Catholic Priest to a small town is pulled into creepy mystery of how the prior Father died and that Father’s ghost leading him through a field to a black barn.

Okay… I’m hooked. I want to know more. The Horror/Occult genre really works well in comics. Spawn proved that and Gideon Falls has the feel of the most occultish Spawn books. It’s got an interesting story with some impressive visuals. I’ll be getting issue #2!!!

That’s all for this week!!!

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/28/18

Spawn #283 (Image)

Another month another excellent Spawn cover and beautiful interior art. In this issue, Al and Cyan are returning from Japan, where things didn’t go so well, as far as protecting Cyan was concerned. We also get to see some new powers that Cyan can use. Is it just me or does a spin off book or series starring Cyan seem to be making more and more sense now?

To protect Cyan from the evil that wants her, Spawn comes up with a new idea, one that requires him to kidnap a rapper, who seems to be part of that evil, and then get publicly linked to him via pictures and every social media known to man. I’m not sure what the overall plan is but color me intrigued!!! Also, the return of an all new Violator is coming next issue, so this promises to be an interesting direction. Spawn is by far my favorite book right now. The quality of art, occult horror story, and reality (the way dialogue is spoken) based dialogue make it such an interesting book to follow. I’d encourage anyone who likes adult based comics to get on board!!!

X-O Manowar #12 (Valiant)

X-O Manowar recently has been… “Damn look at the awesome cover art!!!” Then open the book and … “Oh… well this is somewhat regular.” Issue #12 is no different there. I’m really underwhelmed by the inside art and layouts. We start out with a naked Aric by a pond who is set upon by some stragglers. There’s a fight, he takes their clothes. Then he sets out to confront the council who deposed him. Meanwhile, there are panels of the bounty hunter group discussing what to do with the X-O Manowar armor, followed by one of them wanting to try it on, which is yet again another retread of what happens when someone not suited for the armor tries it on. When Aric confronts the council, Bruto gets the drop on him after the bounty hunters show up. All but one on the council is struck down and then Aric welcomes the armor back to him as a second skin. There are no panels to show the armor escaping the containment field it was in, or flying to the council room, or even a hint of how it got there.

The best way for me to describe this issue is “janky.” I get the feeling that the bounty hunters will be disposed of in the next two issues which really makes that bounty hunter origin issue a complete waste of time. This second volume started out really well but has since dropped off with the current story. Like I said in an earlier posting, Valiant is spinning wheels in prep for the Harbinger War 2 event and as such the monthly’s are suffering for it.

Saga #49 (Image)

I can’t review this yet because I’m not caught up with my past reading but issue #49 of this excellent series came out today and this series is a no-brainer to pick up because it so damn good!!!

My Favorite Joker List

1) Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Heath Ledger made Joker his character. In one of the last roles Ledger would ever play before his death, Joker will be the character and the role for which he defined. He’s an anarchist yet sensible. He’s scary yet humorous. The way he intones and speaks as Joker will never ever be something that another actor will master. Heath Ledger is Joker.

2) Jack Nicholson (Batman)
Jack Nicholson made Joker a serious gangster with an infatuation for not just power but art and love or lust. Specifically his love… er… lust, for Vicki Vale. His Joker wasn’t as much for anarchy as Ledger’s, but more planned with a side of jokes in the mix. “Wait ’til they get a load of me.” And with that line Nicholson would hold the top spot until Ledger dethroned him.

3) Jared Leto (Suicide Squad)
Jared Leto’s Joker may just be the closest to Joker in the comics by mentality if not looks. He a high functioning psychopath with a love for Harley Quinn. He also seems like the type that flip a switch between methodical and crazy. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Leto as Joker in movies to come.

4) Cesar Romero (Batman TV Show)
He had the look of Joker if not the demeanor. Of course the Batman TV show was all camp so of the villains, Joker was the most tamed down of the bunch. And don’t forget how Cesar Romero refused to cut his mustache so you can see it through the white paint on his face.

Honorable Mention: Mark Hamill as Joker in the cartoon series and the Arkham video games. 
While not a Live action Joker, many will say that Mark Hamill’s treatment of the Joker is the best there has ever been across all media. And he does it with just his voice so while this list is mainly for the Live action films, he deserves a spot even so.