Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Review- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 5


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 5 (Marvel, First Printing, 2017; Softcover)

Collects Amazing Spider-Man #20-24 and Annual #1(cover dates December, 2016- April, 2017)

Writers: Dan Slott and Christos Gage with Humberto Ramos (Annual #1)

Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Roberto Poggi, and others
Colorists: Jason Keith and others

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Crossovers suck, exhibit A. Let's say for a moment that you are a new reader who decided to follow one title, and that title is Amazing Spider-Man. Let's say that you follow the title via collected editions and have been buying them as they came out. You're four volumes in, and you crack open Volume 5 to find...Doctor Octopus alive in the first panel with a *footnote telling you it happened in Clone Conspiracy #1, out now! What's the point, Marvel?

While they quickly explain what you missed there is a feeling that you missed a lot of stuff, which you undoubtedly did because you chose not to buy the big fat hardcover which collects everything in this book except for Annual 1 plus the other 21 issues which Marvel expects you to buy. I love comics, but sometimes I feel like this industry needs a crippling bubble burst to wake up. They had one in the '90s and they seem to be doing everything in their power to make it happen again, only this time I doubt that print will recover.


Clones, Clone Sagas, alternate universe doppelganger fan fiction like Spider-Gwen...face it tiger, you just hit the convoluted jackpot. This is impenetrable to the mythical new reader. That is if you could find a new reader who were willing to pay $3.99+ each for 26 comics for one story that is hard to follow.

Once we get past all of that gobbledygook we get a somewhat entertaining battle with the new Jackal, the old Jackal, Spider-Man, the new “Superior” Doctor Octopus, and a whole town of clones. Peter Parker's personal life as a CEO is left out of this book and I am thankful for that. I'm just glad that this was a library book and that I didn't pay for it beyond my property taxes.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.75 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.

Binding: Perfect bound paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Review- SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL VOL. 7




SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL VOL. 7 (DC, First Printing, 2013; Softcover)

Collects Action Comics #596, 597, Adventures of Superman #436-438, and Superman #13-15 (cover dates January- March, 1988)

Writers: John Byrne and Jerry Ordway

Artists: Pencilers- John Byrne and Jerry Ordway; Inkers- Karl Kessel, John Beatty, Keith Williams, and Leonard Starr



John Byrne relaunched Superman in 1986, back when relaunching and rebooting was a bold concept. DC wanted to make an entry point for new readers instead of being saddled with 50 years of continuity. We all know what has happened since then and things are as messy as ever, but journey with me to a time when the status quo was the status quo.

John Byrne and Jerry Ordway handle all of the scripting and the penciling portion of the artwork. They keep the continuity tight as a drum in spite of the fact that these issues are part of the Millennium crossover, one of those crossovers that required you to buy 46 different comics to get the whole story. Those are what drove me out of buying monthly comics as the '80s wound down.

I really enjoyed seeing John Byrne draw the Spectre for the team up in Action Comics #596. Adventures of Superman #437 is one of those split screen stories that Byrne first did back in Fantastic Four #277. One story runs across the top half of the page for the entire issue and another story runs across the bottom, with the events being tied up over the last few pages of the issue. It was a novel idea at one time but I find it to be annoying today. Not all experiments work in retrospect.



Not only are these issues fun to read but there's a lot of great character development going on here. Superman #15 is especially great. Adventures of Superman #438 features a new Brainiac, or at least the consciousness of the old Brainiac beamed into the brain of someone else. I am a sucker for circus stories so you can see why I liked that one.

I fail to see why DC hasn't repackaged this run in a series of Omnibus books. It seems like a no-brainer. They did it with the George Perez Wonder Woman trades so it's not impossible.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 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.

Linework and Color restoration: It's DC, so while the color palette is faithfully maintained for the most part the blends are harsh and lazy and some of the linework is washed out.

Paper stock: Thin pulpish paper. Some folks like it, some don't. I prefer a heavier stock for collected editions.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Review- AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 4




AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 4 (Marvel, First Printing, 2017; Softcover)

Collects Amazing Spider-Man #16-19 and Free Comic Book Day 2016: Captain America #1(cover dates May- December, 2016)

Writers: Dan Slott with Christos Gage (#19)

Artists: Javier Garron, Giuseppe Camuncoli R.B. Silva, Cam Smith, and Adriano Di Benedetto

Colorists: Marte Gracia, Frank D'Armata, and Jason Keith

I borrowed this book from my local library.

All of the dangling subplots from the last three volumes are beginning to wrap up. Like one of Dan Slott's long-winded, virtue-signaling Twitter temper tantrums (before he quit Twitter in a temper tantrum), it has taken us forever for the point to be made.



There is a new Jackal, and he is behind the groundbreaking cloning company New U. New U is trying to get Parker Industries to back them, so you get the gist of this fresh coat of paint on an old rivalry.

The Peter Parker as CEO angle is stale and boring, something that should have been put to bed some time ago. There is some nice intrigue going on here, with Parker Industries employee The Prowler going on a recon mission at New U.



The stage is set. Dead No More is next. The artwork is a notch better than the last three books, so that's a plus. The price is right since this is a free read from the library, so I'll continue reading.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 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.

Binding: Perfect bound paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Review- Free Comic Book Day 2018


FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2018

I was suffering from seasonal allergies on this year's Free Comic Book Day. The pollen kicked my butt and I felt like I was dying from the bird flu. I don't know what the bird flu actually feels like, but it couldn't be any worse than seasonal allergies. Spring was late and came on with a vengeance, with every pollen known to man killing my sinuses. I took very few pictures this year because of this.



My kids and I hit five shops this year:

Time Travelers in Berkley, MI



Warp 9 in Clawson, MI- They had a line wrapped around the building before they opened due to their offering 10 free comics per person.



Abbas Discount in Sterling Heights, MI

Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, MI



Big Ben's Comix Oasis in Allen Park, MI


A huge thank you to all of the shops who participate in this event. I tend to buy something at each shop that I stop at, as the comics are not free to retailers and nobody likes a vulture. I'm bummed that I was not feeling good this year. 

On to the reviews. None of the stores listed above endorse these reviews. All opinions on these comics are my own. I am doing this one in a pellet review style.


Barrier #1 Free Comic Book Day Edition (Image, cover date May, 2018)

Brian K. Vaughn and Marcos Martin bring us this intriguing landscape-format comic with 50+ pages of story. This is timely, dealing with a Mexican drug cartel and aliens, both illegal and extraterrestrial, and it poses many interesting questions.

While this is extremely well done, my major gripe is that much of the issue is written in Spanish. Why Vaughn couldn't write the dialogue between <brackets> like this and have a * with a box stating Translated from the Spanish is beyond me. This is standard operating procedure in comics for translation in scenes. It soured me on wanting to read more of this series. I guess that my not being bilingual makes me not educated enough to read BKV's work. That's okay, my money is just as green as anyone else and I'll be keeping it in my wallet.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3 out of 5.



Relay #0 (AfterShock, cover date May, 2018)

Wow, this is absolutely brilliant. I am 100% in for the inevitable trade paperback.
Junk Food For Thought rating 5 out of 5.



World Of Aspen 2018 #1 (Aspen, cover date May, 2018)

Split book, with Dissension: War Eternal being enjoyable and Nuway being kind of blah. There's nothing here that is going to make me open my wallet.
Junk Food For Thought rating 2.75 out of 5.



Silver #1 (Dark Planet, cover date, 2018)

Black and white comics live and die by mood. Silver is a Crime/Noir series, but the cartoony artwork does the story a bit of a disservice. It's not bad but it's not great, either.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3 out of 5.



Scout Comics Presents: The Mall #0 Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Scout Comics, cover date May, 2018)

A highly entertaining coming of age period piece, The Mall has a strong enough hook for me to read if I came across it at the library or if I had a free copy to review.
Junk Food For Thought rating 4 out of 5.



Die Kitty Die! FCBD 2018 #1(Chapterhouse, cover date May, 2018)

An Archie/Harvey character spoof riff done with enough gusto that I can dig it. Entertaining and fun.
Junk Food For Thought rating 4 out of 5.


There were no true cover scans available online so I made one. 

Ann Arbor Comics Art Festival (Fifth Avenue Press, cover date May, 2018)

Local artists doing a FCBD tie-in to help promote the former Kids Read Comics Festival (now the A2CAF) which takes place every June. This comic wasn't my cup of tea but it wasn't awful, either.
Junk Food For Thought rating 2 out of 5.



Valiant Icons Sneak Preview (Valiant, cover date September, 2017)

Valiant has a lot of passionate fans. While the stuff certainly is readable enough I don't have any ties to due to the fact that I was on sabbatical from the hobby their first time around. Solid stuff that doesn't click with me for whatever reason.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3 out of 5.


There were no true cover scans of the Green Brain Comics variant anywhere online, so I made one. 

DC Nation #0 (DC, cover date July, 2018)

Since the FCBD powers that be blackballed DC due to DC's lazy efforts over the last few years which comprised of reprints, DC instead flooded retailers with this bargain priced comic which ties into three upcoming events. From what I've read, the wholesale cost of this .25 comic was less than the wholesale cost of any FCBD comic, making it a favorite of retailers to stock up on weeks ahead of time and hand out en masse. Well played, DC.

Your Big Day is possibly the best Joker story that I've ever read. The two other stories aren't my cup of tea but your mileage may vary.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3.5 out of 5.



Marvel Rising #0 (Marvel, cover date July, 2018)

The Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel team up wasn't too bad. My daughter might like it.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3.5 out of 5.



Bob's Burgers Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Dynamite, cover date 2018)

The cartoon series always left me cold, but this was a terrific read. I especially enjoyed Where The Fried Things Are, a stylized spoof of my childhood favorite Where The Wild Things Are. I would read more of this if the library had them.
Junk Food For Thought rating 5 out of 5.



Free Comic Book Day 2018: General (Dark Horse, cover date May, 2018)

This split comic features an Overwatch story, which I was indifferent to. My son likes that game, I think. I don't let him play it at my house but I've heard him talk about it. The second half of the comic is The Quantam League, an interesting timeslip superhero riff. Might be worth a second look if the library has it or if someone wants to slide me a review copy.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3 out of 5.



Doctor Who: Free Comic Book Day 2018 #1 (Titan, cover date June, 2018)

Slick and polished stuff, but I am not a Doctor Who fan and it left me cold.
Junk Food For Thought rating 2.75 out of 5.


Papercutz Free Comic Book Day #12 (Papercutz, cover date 2018)

There are times when I feel old and cynical, like maybe I've been reading comic books for too long. That tends to come into play when I read stuff like this, which is such a retread and so regurgitated that it blends so many established concepts together that it's almost indiscernible. This is the comic book equivalent of white noise to me. If I were a kid and didn't know all of the reference points I might have liked it better.
Junk Food For Thought rating 2.5 out of 5.



The Metabaron (Humanoids, cover date 2018)

Great stuff from Humanoids. I was on quite a Humanoids kick years ago but had to cut some stuff out to stay in the game. This is a great read and if you are able to walk away from your core superhero stuff this will tickle your fancy.
Junk Food For Thought rating 5 out of 5.



2000 AD Free Comic Book Day Prog 2018 (Rebellion/2000 AD, cover date 2018)

What happened??? 2000 AD usually has pretty high standards, but this is all abysmal dreck.
Junk Food For Thought rating 1.5 out of 5.



Invasion: Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Chapterhouse, cover date 2018)

This left me cold.
Junk Food For Thought rating 0.75 out of 5.



Strangers In Paradise XXV: Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Abstract, cover date 2018)

This was incredible. I am a big Terry Moore fan, and this reminds me that I need to finish reading Rachel Rising. I want to pick this series up as well now. Crap.
Junk Food For Thought rating 5 out of 5.

P.S. The Omnibus is way out of print and is very expensive. It must be spectacular.



James Bond- Vargr: Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Dynamite, cover date 2018)

Outstanding stuff by Warren Ellis with fantastic artwork by Jason Masters and Guy Major. There are several of these books out if the advertisements are any indication. I will gladly accept review copies and/or gifts if anyone wants to send some my way.
Junk Food For Thought rating 5 out of 5.



Berlin: Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Drawn And Quarterly, cover date 2018)

Berlin was an unknown quantity to me until now. This fantastic historical fiction is set in 1928 with the echoes of World War I still present and the beginnings of what would become the Nazi Party bubbling up under the surface. There have been 19 issues published in the past 22 years, with a projected 22 issues needed to complete the story. It's been three years since the last issue was released. Crazy. This ranks up there with Age Of Bronze for timeliness in publication.
Junk Food For Thought rating 5 out of 5.



Shadowman: FCBDay 2018 Special (Valiant, cover date May, 2018)

I was on sabbatical from the hobby when Valiant had their first go 'round. Their relaunched universe has a lot of fans. I don't have any emotional attachment or nostalgia unlike people 5-10 years younger than me, so I am not in. This all seems well done and entertaining but I can't buy everything. Lord knows I've tried.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3 out of 5.



Shadow Roads Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Oni Press, cover date May, 2018)

This is one of those things that scream “muh IP!”, something that is solely done to get a movie option. It was readable but unremarkable.
Junk Food For Thought rating 2.5 out of 5.



Free Comic Book Day 2018: Avengers/ Captain America #1 (Marvel, cover date May, 2018)

I feel guilty because I can't get into a lot of what Marvel is doing today. I read this comic, I liked it well enough, but I can't let go of my '60s-'80s versions of these characters. My guilt comes in because my 11 year old son really enjoys modern comics, and I wished that I still enjoyed Marvel with him. There are too many major changes to these characters for them to still feel like they are “mine”. Times change and torches get passed. My son is the future, not me. I can live with that, and it pleases me in many ways. I read them with him sometimes still, and I see it through his eyes and remember what it was like to be 11.
Junk Food For Thought rating 3 out of 5.



Free Comic Book Day 2018: Amazing Spider-Man/ Guardians Of The Galaxy #1 (Marvel, cover date May, 2018)

Oof. This was rough. Nick Spenser sucks and so does the art. This was downright painful for me to read.
Junk Food For Thought rating 1.75 out of 5.



Actionverse Featuring The First Hero #1 (Action Lab, cover date March, 2015)

Every year some store slips dead stock into the FCBD offerings. Since I do multiple shops every year I won't grab doubles of anything but will pick up stuff like this. This is kind of readable I guess. It's not bad but it doesn't make me want to throw my money at it either
Junk Food For Thought rating 2 out of 5.

That's all, folks! 25 comic reviews in one post. If any of you are still here, thanks for reading this far. I'll try to post my FCBD 2019 review in a more timely manner. This one fell between the sofa cushions.