Monday, September 17, 2018

Review- KILL OR BE KILLED VOL. 3


KILL OR BE KILLED VOL. 3 (Image, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Kill Or Be Killed #11-14 (cover dates August- November, 2017)

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser



It's difficult to talk about this series without spoilers, but I will try to keep them to a minimum. Dylan supposedly imagined the whole thing, with the demon being the result of him being off of his psychotropic meds. With this realization (or his perception of it?) he decides to stop killing “people who deserve it” cold turkey, and you know what? Nothing happens. No demon. He doesn't die all of a sudden. Life goes on.



Dylan takes this opportunity to reevaluate his life and work on things that are important to him. Things like his female friend/ love interest Kira. This is where his recent past catches up to him, when the Russian mobsters have traced him to her place of employment. This spurs Dylan back into action as the masked vigilante and brings us to the end where we see...



...Sorry folks, I try to avoid spoilers. Let's just say that Brubaker likes turning things on end over and over.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

The covers are collected in the back of the book, a major pet peeve of mine. While there is a blank red page which serves as a chapter marker for each issue, I dislike it when the covers aren't placed before the issues. Your mileage may vary.

Paper stock: Matte coated stock with minimal sheen. This is some fantastic paper.

Binding: Perfect bound paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Matte coating on the cardstock which is remarkably resistant to scuffing. Image makes quality books these days, and I'm not just referring to the content.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review- WOLVERINE- OLD MAN LOGAN VOL. 7: SCARLET SAMURAI


WOLVERINE- OLD MAN LOGAN VOL. 7: SCARLET SAMURAI (Marvel, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Old Man Logan #31-35 (cover dates January- April, 2018)

Writer: Ed Brisson

Artists: Mike Deodato and Ibraim Roberson

Colorists: Frank Martin and Carlos Lopez



This title continues to surprise me. Maybe it's because this series is an anomaly in terms of continuity. While we are in the main Marvel Universe, Old Man Logan is actually Wolverine from an alternate future timeline, so his past and future are irrelevant to the jigsaw puzzle that is the Marvel Universe (or 616 as the kids like to call it).

Brisson's run is nowhere near as heady or trippy as Jeff Lemire's timeslip rollercoaster ride, being more rooted in traditional superhero fare. Gorgon has gotten his hands on Regenix, an experimental pharmaceutical drug that can regenerate body parts. Gorgon wants it to give to the ninja clan The Hand so that he has an unstoppable army.


You get lots of ninja carnage and bloodshed this time out. This is certainly not all ages reading, but kids today probably play video games with more violence than this. This is a pretty straightforward superhero adventure and was just what the doctor ordered.



I am a big fan Deodato's panel layouts, as he takes what are actually widescreen panels and chops them up into three parts, forcing you to stop moving on each. It tricks the eye into thinking it's a camera pan. It's a neat trick. Roberson steps in and the series doesn't miss a boat. I am still digging what is going on so I will come back for Volume 8.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Paper stock: Glossy coated stock. It's a bit on the thin side.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback. This book is pretty thin and feels like a big fat periodical.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Review- SPIDER-MAN BY ROGER STERN OMNIBUS


SPIDER-MAN BY ROGER STERN OMNIBUS (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Hardcover)

Collects Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #43-61, 85, The Amazing Spider-Man #206, 224-251, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16, 17 (cover dates June, 1980- May, 1984)

Writers: Roger Stern with additional writing by Marv Wolfman, Steve Leialoha, Bill Mantlo, Marie Severin, Jan Strnad, and Tom DeFalco off of plots by Roger Stern

Artists: Pencilers- John Romita, Jr., Ron Frenz, John Byrne, Denys B. Cowan, Bob Hall, Ed Hannigan, Greg LaRocque, Rick Leonardi, Steve Leialoha, Luke McDonnell, Al Milgrom, Jim Mooney (also inking), Marie Severin, Jim Shooter, and Mike Zeck

Inkers- John Romita, Sr., Terry Austin, Brett Breeding, Vince Colletta, Gene Day, Kevin Dzubian, Frank Giacoia, Al Gordon, Dan Green, Dave Humphrys, Klaus Janson, Bob Layton, Pablo Marcos, Steve Mitchell, Bruce Patterson, Josef Rubinstein, Dave Simons, Frank Springer, and Bob Wiaceck



I've bought and read these comic books so many times across various formats over the past 35 years. I go into greater detail in my previous reviews of this material: Essential Spider-Man Vol. 10 and Vol. 11, Spider-Man: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut, and Spider-Man: Origin Of The Hobgoblin.



If you are done reading those nostalgic ramblings linked above then you are about to be subjected to more. I feel lucky to have been a 9.5 year old kid on that cold morning of January 9, 1983, when my mom let me get one of those Whitman three-packs of Marvel Comics at Farmer Jack (RIP). I didn't realize that I was witnessing the dawn of a villain who would go on to dominate the next four years of the title, or that I was reading something by a writer whose run would go down in history as one of the best in the history of the character. I was just a kid who liked reading comics and was bit by the collector bug that day.


Stern starts off slow over in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man, but over the course of his 19 issue run he finds his voice with the character. By the time he gets promoted to the flagship title, The Amazing Spider-Man, he has shifted into high gear. We see the rebirth of The Vulture, an outstanding issue with the Foolkiller, and a two-part Black Cat story which would set the stage for what Al Milgrom would build on over in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man.



Stern did lots of two-parters. 229-230 are the legendary Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut, which are possibly the most inspiring underdog comic books of all time. I am sucker for the Cobra/Mr. Hyde two-parter (231-232) ever since I got a quarter box copy of 231 back in 1983. 238 and 239 were the introduction of The Hobgoblin, with 240 and 241 showing the Vulture as a major contender, something not truly seen since the '60s.





After that Stern plays it a little looser, running subplots behind the main issue's action, all building toward #250. Then Stern decided to jump ship for reasons I'm unsure of. Tom DeFalco comes on board without missing a beat, and his run is as much a favorite of mine as Stern's.



I can't wait to buy this material again when the Marvel Masterworks reach this era. Kill me now.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.



The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Linework and Color restoration: This is the Blu-Ray/4k version of these comics. While they have been remastered before for various collections, many of these issues were remastered again by the same team which does the state-of-the-art Marvel Masterworks.

Left: Nothing Can Stop The Juggernaut PHC restoration. Right: This book's restoration. Night and day. 


Paper stock: Lightweight coated stock with a slight sheen to it. Marvel switched to a thinner paper in their Omniboo back in 2013 and I don't like it as much. The only plus that I can give this paper stock is that it makes the book lighter. This book is nearly 1,300 pages as it is, and it was still a heft beast.

Binding: Sewn binding. The book lies completely flat, a real feat when you are dealing a book this size. The downside with Marvel's more flexible binding is that the heavy book block has a tendency to sag a pinch when stored vertically. Many collectors advise storing these book horizontally, while others customize Post-It note pads to the exact height necessary to support the opposite end of the binding. I'll be dead and gone before this is a concern and my kids can deal with this crap.


Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: The dustjacket has the same high quality lamination and weight as always, but it's the casewrap which has been decontented with the 2013-on Omnibus book. Gone are the faux leather grain and dye foil stamping, in are paperwrap with a chintzy coating which is easily scuffed. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Review- DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA VOL. 1




DIVIDED STATES OF HYSTERIA VOL. 1 (Image, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects The Divided States of Hysteria #1-6 (cover dates June- November, 2017)

Writer and Artist: Howard Chaykin

Colorists: Jesus Aburtov and Wil Quintana



What happens when a member of the Left's old guard makes a comic about the divisive nature of politics in the 24/7 news cycle, echo chamber feedback loop social media world? The modern Left lose their collective minds, apparently. To be honest, I had no interest in reading this comic book until Joe Glass at Bleeding Cool threw a temper tantrum calling Chaykin a bag of meat that should be fired and condemning Image for not censoring their artists. It was hilarious and it has since been deleted, a shame since it was a textbook example of the complete lack of tolerance that the so-called tolerant modern Left have.

Like Chaykin, I am what is called a 'classical Liberal'. I guess that I would be considered a Centrist by modern political standards. Chaykin uses this series as a way to point out the glaring hypocrisy of the Left and the Right, and has stated that he expected that this series might get him arrested in the United States. Ironically, it was the Leftists calling for this to be banned and Chaykin to be fired. The virtual torch and pitchfork Internet mob was in full swing. The Left used to be the bastion of Free Speech and the arts but have since been brainwashed and now actively call for banning things that they disagree with. We are a notch away from book burning, folks, only this time it won't be the Right calling for it. Whoever is pulling the strings here is a genius.

The gist- In the not too distant future the United States is hit with another terrorist attack. Frank Villa is fired from the CIA for failing to prevent it from happening but is hired by a company known for operating private prisons. He is tasked with assembling a team to take out the terrorists. This “A-Team” of criminals consists of Henry John Noone, a black racist who killed nine white people, Christopher Michael Silver, a drag queen/ transsexual who murdered Iraqi diplomats, Paul Evan Burg, a money-hungry Jewish person who happens to poison people, and Cesare John Nacamulli, a mob hitman. All of these characters are stereotypical caricatures and are intended to offend you.



The story meanders along and ticks off every box of what is considered offensive while peppering the proceedings with a glimmer of insight. There isn't a single character in this book that anyone can identify with, relate to, or even root for. The majority of comic fans, none of which actually bought or read this book, called for it to be banned, saying that it went too far and shouldn't even be published. I say that the series didn't go far enough. There should have been more thought put into the protagonists and their motivations. The series should have been longer than six issues to make its point. The Internet would have exploded had this series continued beyond six issues, though.

Art is supposed to have an emotional impact on you. Art is supposed to inspire thought and conversation. It is not the job of art to make you feel comfortable or to reinforce your personal belief system. Chaykin uses every hot button topic of the day in a provocative manner, ironically ending up with the outrage that can best be described as life imitating art. The Divided States Of Hysteria is a cautionary tale told in the form of satire that nobody seemed to get the punchline of. Weep for this country, especially the youth who seem to have lost all objectivity.



That said, this series simply isn't very good. The writing isn't good, the artwork isn't good, and the coloring isn't good. The page layout is the most hideously over-rendered pile of gobbledygook imaginable. This series did not live up to the potential of its initial promise. It was boring and a chore to read. Like all faux outrage and virtue-signaling, this burned white hot for a minute and then was all but forgotten. Rinse. Repeat. And the beat goes on.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Matte finish.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Review- FATALE: THE DELUXE EDITION VOL. 2



FATALE: THE DELUXE EDITION VOL. 2 (Image, First Printing, 2015; Hardcover)

Collects Fatale #11-24 (cover dates January, 2013- July, 2014)

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorists: Dave Stewart and Elizabeth Breitweiser



I quit buying the trades after Volume Four, as the double dip game was getting old back then. I've since quit that merrygoround of upgrade insanity. The first two-thirds of this book were a reread for me, and if you want to see what I thought about Volume Three and Volume Four, feel free to click the links.



We see everything tied together nicely in the fifth arc and are brought to a satisfying conclusion. Fatale is/was a fantastic series. This was easily the best thing that Brubaker and Phillips did...until I read Kill Or Be Killed.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.



The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Paper stock: Thick coated stock with minimal glare.

Binding: Sewn binding. I dislike the squared spine found on so many hardcovers these days. While they look pretty on your bookshelf they are less enjoyable to handle when you actually read your books. Does anyone actually read these books though? It seems like collected edition fans buy stupid amounts of them and they sit unread.

Hardback cover notes: Image printed on the casewrap. No dustjacket required. The coating on the casewrap is matte and is resistant to scuffing. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Review- FATALE: THE DELUXE EDITION VOL. 1


The double dip is the bane of the collected editions fan's existence. The upgrade is a never ending chase to experience a story in the finest “fidelity” possible. It's the comic book equivalent of being an audiophile. Collected editions are a curse, but so too is the femme fatale...


FATALE: THE DELUXE EDITION VOL. 1 (Image, First Printing, 2014; Hardcover)

Collects Fatale #1-10 (cover dates January- November, 2012)

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorists: Dave Stewart



Since this was a double dip and reread, I turn you over to my reviews for Volume One and Volume Two of the trades to see what I thought at the time. This held up every bit as well on the reread years later.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.



The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Paper stock: Thick coated stock with minimal glare.

Binding: Sewn binding. I dislike the squared spine found on so many hardcovers these days. While they look pretty on your bookshelf they are less enjoyable to handle when you actually read your books.

Hardback cover notes: Image printed on the casewrap. No dustjacket required. The coating on the casewrap is matte and is resistant to scuffing.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Review- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 7




AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 7 (Marvel, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Amazing Spider-Man #29-32, 789-791 (cover dates August, 2017- January, 2018)

Writers: Dan Slott with Christos Gage

Artists: Stuart Immonen, Greg Smallwood, and Wade Von Grawbadger

Colorists: Marte Gracia, Jordie Bellaire, and Rain Beredo

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Crossovers can be an exciting thing. Done from time to time, and done right, they can generate excitement and entice new readers to jump on board and discover titles that they might have otherwise overlooked. Done wrong, they serve to make entering comics impenetrable and aggravate long time readers, giving them the perfect jumping off point with endless relaunches.



Marvel was in full panic mode as the PR disaster known as Secret Empire sent longtime readers packing. The “Superior” Doctor Octopus proved to be an interesting adversary, but then we got slapped right into the middle of the Secret Empire crossover with fake Hulk, etc. Then it's back to Doc Ock and the fallout of Parker Industries. This is what Dan Slott will be remembered for, aside from being a Twitter bully. The years long fan fiction garbage that he kicked off before#700 which sent me and many other readers packing. Don't believe me? Well numbers don't lie.

Behold! The carnage of Dan Slott's Spider-Man run in units and dollars!


Issue 32 didn't feature Spider-Man at all unless you count Norman Osborn's hallucination of him. It was a good issue nonetheless, as it is the turning point in which Norman Osborn is bound and determined to undo the cure for the Goblin Formula so that he can once again become the Green Goblin.

The Mockingbird as Spider-Man's girlfriend bit is already tired and needs to be done away with. The battle with the Human Torch in #791 is one of the dumbest things I've ever read. Slott really outdid himself making a horrible issue this time out. And then we have the return of Sandman who is now...not a man? She-Sandman? Sandwoman? Sandgirl? Did Flint Marko become transgender? I haven't a clue because s/he appears without any context or explanation. Clowntown!

I've plowed through seven Amazing Spider-Man Worldwide trades. They were free from the library and I still feel ripped off. I feel sorry for anyone who paid to read this crap.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.

Library copies are fascinating studies in the durability of these books. I look at them like science experiments, as the average human handles their books like the Samsonite Gorilla when compared to how I handle my books.

Paper stock: Fair weight coated stock with a glossy sheen. I would stop short at calling it full on glossy stock.

Binding: Perfect bound paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.