New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 5/23/18

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X-O Manowar #15 (Valiant)

Aric is headed back to Earth but the armor wants to remind him of how worthless humanity is, so this is a flashback tale to times before Aric ever had the armor. The art inside is just as beautiful as that of the cover art… however… this is a flashback issue. So no real X-O Manowar here. For much of this run, Aric has been separated from his armor in some way and all I can think of for a reason, is the Superman effect. X-O Manowar is just too powerful of a character and the current writer doesn’t seem to be capable of figuring out how to let him be full on X-O and have an enemy.

Don’t get me wrong here, I like the current writer but as we have seen from years and years of Superman, only certain writers can get powerful characters correct and make them interesting. The other nagging feeling is that this is just more “filler” in the lead up to Harbinger Wars 2. I’ve said this about this series and the current Bloodshot series lately, and it just feels like both are offering up filler to hold off on doing anything exciting until the summer HW2 event has completed.

HW2 looks to be awesome but I feel like X-O needs a new writer for a fresh infusion and a change of pace. Hopefully the main event this summer will lead to that.

 

 

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 5/2/18

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Harbinger Wars 2 Prelude #1 (Valiant)

It begins. The government goes too far and while keeping LiveWire distracted, they go after LiveWire’s Secret Weapon psiots. However, a small power fluctuation allows LiveWire the ability to break the psiot dampening in the building she is in and she learns of the threat to her the Secret Weapons. This is the first shot fired and it pushes LiveWire into the position making a massive move back. In this case, killing all of the electronics in the country. As in EVERYTHING!!! Now the stage is set for the Harbinger Wars 2.

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LiveWire is my favorite female comic book character. I love her story. I love that she started out as a somewhat side character and her story naturally progressed to the point where she is one of the most powerful characters in the Valiant Universe. I know that this HW2 is going to put LiveWire and Ninjak on opposite sides (they’re in a relationship) and this is going to be intense when it plays out.

Of special note in this issue, LiveWire is “hearing” everything done through technology and remember in Superman Returns when Superman is hearing everything and trying to tone out all of the voices, she is somewhat in the same boat but I think she is really “hearing” and “seeing” even more. I love the way this “over stimulation” plays out in this issue. I highly recommend jumping on this massive event NOW!!!

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Spawn  #285 (Image)

This is a great issue. Spawn is playing the game of being powerless and mute, moving the pieces on the board to achieve his ends. What are those ends? We the reader don’t really know yet but it works. The art is still terrifying and beautiful to behold. I’m loving this journey that Spawn is now on. I’m all in on this ride!!!

 

 

 

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 4/25/18

X-O Manowar #14 (Valiant)

This has to be one of the BEST covers of the year!!! I also love that the art inside is now back up to a gold standard. The last several issues, the art had been pretty sub par. I’m happy to say, every panel of this issue looks beautiful.

Aric returns to Earth, just in time for the Harbinger Wars 2 Event that starts next month. We don’t know where the battle lines are drawn but I’m willing to bet that LiveWire and Capshaw are on alternate sides here, both vying for X-O’s to join their side. We also get to see how the armor has grown in character too. I like that the armor can now speak, it makes for more character depth as the armor really is another aspect of the X-O character. You should definitely pick this one up!!!

Saga #51 (Image)

This starts out as more of an in between issue for our characters. We get to see daily events pass as they wait for the reporters to come through on the identity changes for Robot and his kid. Yet, don’t think it is all just normal life playing out. We lose a character in this book and I’m willing to bet there will be some major fallout in the next issue. Saga is still one of the BEST books out there and you can’t help but to be moved by these complex and interesting characters every month. Pick it up!!!

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!!!

New Comic Book Reviews for the Week of 2/14/18

Ninja-K #4 (Valiant)

There’s this trend happening throughout Valiant and I’m hoping it comes to an end soon… That trend is what I call: The Set Up. It seems like month after month each book is doing a set up. Recently it has been set ups for the bad guy or group (Bloodshot – Rampage, X-O Manowar – A bad guy group). In Ninja-K it has been a set up for each ninja of the alphabet that MI6 has used. In this issue, it is Ninja-G, a black woman betrayed by MI6. The entire book is her history so basically Ninjak just stands around listening. Thankfully, by the time I got to the end, the blurb said that this arc will conclude next month. This volume started out well enough but it is really no match for the prior volume. It really does feel like Valiant is spinning its wheels and doesn’t want to let anything get started before the coming of the Harbinger War 2 event. It’s been frustrating to say the least. Art was once again beautiful but the story and direction don’t live up to the “Ninja Spy” tales we had been promised so far. Ninjak is a character with so much more storytelling potential, hopefully it moves in a direction more like the last volume and less like what we have been getting.

 

Bloodshot Salvation #6 (Valiant)

Bloodshot takes his baby to the Deadside in this issue, in the hopes of finding some way to save her life. This issue flies by mainly because you are hypnotized by the beautiful artwork that is on every single page. Oh yeah… and at least we get some more Ninjak here!!! There really isn’t much action in this one and I’m already dreading issue #7 because it is the “blind issue” where every panel but the last page is black. I don’t feel like skimping on artwork next month, at $3.99 an issue, is a nice thing to do, but I will give them credit for the art in this issue which again, was beautiful in every panel.

 

Scooby Apocalypse #22 (DC)

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… Scooby Apocalypse is way better than The Walking Dead. Same premise… monsters instead of zombies, but a much better and humorous story. The art is always fun to see and the bickering between the members of the team are hilarious. In this issue, they want to finally settle down and take over a mall as a base of operations. It was brought up in the last issue that that is the major mistake that happens in every zombie movie, but hey… why not? Daphne and Fred go into the mall to scope it out and they see two different sides of warring monsters, but because they are warring on each other, none of the monsters from outside are trying to get in. So Thelma thinks it’s still a good idea to take over some part of the mall and fortify it while these two groups kill each other off. I’m still happy with this series. It’s an enjoyable read. I do wish they would kill of the backup Secret Squirrel story and devote more pages to Scoob and the gang but… oh well…

Streamline (Stream of Thought) 1/29/18

Inbox/Gmail and the Missing Notifications

I’ve about had it with Google Email. I’ve been using Inbox for years now and all of sudden, about 3 months ago, it just stops giving notifications for new mail. Yesterday, I re-enabled Gmail notifications, in the hope that the notification would come from there but no dice. No notifications and when I open Inbox it asks me if I want to disable the Gmail notifications so I don’t get dual notifications… SMDH… I’ve been moving more and more stuff over to Outlook so it looks like that is the direction it will all go. Google never fails to disappoint me these days.

I NO Political

It’s been great being on the outside of the majority of political talk lately. For the most part, I’ve been avoiding it like the plague on social networking. I switched from listening to WSB talk radio to Alt 105.7 and the Woody show, just to get away from the constant barrage. Seriously… I was and am so over every aspect of politics being talked about and investigated. Sure, I still know the happenings and bullet points for the day and I speak on that but then after sending it out (mostly via a Streamline entry here), I let it go. I have no interest in debating political plot points any longer. It’s a waste of time and listening to it all of the time just creates undue stress for something that you cannot change. You get soaked in political rhetoric, then you debate it to no end, and you are still left stressed about it. No thanks. A side note: I sure don’t need politics in my entertainment either. So if a “star” or “celebrity” is on the soapbox, it means nothing. Think about it… Social media allegedly had a ton of Russian accounts pushing for Trump but at the same time social media had all of Hollywood and every celebrity (with much more followers I might add) telling their followers to vote for Clinton. How is that different? It’s not.

What’s Going On Valiant???

Rumor broke this morning on Bleeding Cool that Valiant Entertainment (My favorite comic book company) had been sold. Last night Dinesh Shamdasani (Valiant CEO and the most EXCELLENT frontman for any comic book company outside of Stan “the man” Lee) tweeted out: “Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.” -Jim Shooter, 1992

UPDATE: DMG Entertainment has bought Valiant Entertainment in its entirety. Dinesh is being transitioned out (sad because he was the fan of Valiant as a kid who grew up to buy the comic company he loved). The really horrifying part of all of this is that the CEO of DMG said that this buy was to move the properties into movies and other media and “NOT to expand the publishing.” That to me, makes me think that Valiant Comics will be an afterthought and the characters I know and love will just be used/pushed for movies and TV. That is a sad proposition as Valiant Comics has the BEST universe in comics right now. While it would be awesome to see these characters on the big screen, it would suck to lose them in the comic book form. I’ll guess all we can do for now is wait and see how all of this pans out… Crossing fingers…

Shameless Season 8 Finale

Season 8 of Shameless came to an end last night and it was pretty good, maybe a little disjointed. It seems like the individual Gallaghers are all on an upswing, while Frank, who started the season on an upswing is back on a downswing. Season 9 will be back on Showtime closer to the end of 2018.

I purchased Showtime via Amazon Channels and I have to say, Showtime needs to purchase more bandwidth. Everything is fine until Shameless was ready to go live weekly, then the drops from HD would take effect. This never happened on HBO during Game of Thrones, who I guarantee has more viewers than Shameless (though Shameless probably has the most viewers of any of the Showtimes shows). The great thing about Amazon Channels is that you can purchase for monthly viewing and then cancel at anytime. Shameless is really the ONLY thing interesting right now on Showtime so now that it is over, I’ll cancel my subscription. When it comes back on, I may wait for the entire season 9 to add up and air so I can just buy the channel for a month and binge watch it, or I’ll just wait for it to hit Netflix. The bandwidth issue is seriously annoying to the viewing experience and I don’t feel like paying for the channel over a 4 – 5 month period only to fight with bandwidth every week. So hey, Showtime!!! Buy more bandwidth!!!

I’ve got nothing else… That’s the Stream for today…