Monday, November 12, 2018

Review- WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES


WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (Boom, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects War For The Planet of the Apes #1-4 (cover dates July- October, 2017)

Writer: David F. Walker

Artist: Jonas Scharf

Colorist: Jason Wordie


Timing is everything. This prequel to last year's movie would have been more enjoyable had I experienced it when the single issues came out around the movie release. Instead these comics were released in a collection which was pushed back several times. As it stands, it is still a highly enjoyable read that fills in plenty of gaps between the second and third act in the rebooted trilogy.


If you enjoy the new Apes films then you will enjoy this. If you dislike them then you will also dislike this. I enjoyed the explanation of the virus as well as what drove The Colonel to go rogue. It's a brisk read and a pleasant way to spend an evening.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 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: Super glossy coated stock. I'm not kidding. You get light glare with no lights on during the day, even when you are nowhere near a window. If you get stranded on a desert island and have this book with you then you could use the pages as a reflective substance to alert the search planes as they pass by.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Matte coated cardstock cover.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Review- PLANET OF THE APES VISIONARIES: ROD SERLING


PLANET OF THE APES VISIONARIES: ROD SERLING (Boom, First Printing, 2018; Hardcover)
Original Graphic Novel

Writers: Rod Serling, adapted by Dana Gould

Artists: Chad Lewis with David Wilson

Colorists: Darrin Moore, Miquel Muerto, and Marcelo Costa


Rod Serling's movie treatment for Planet Of The Apes is the stuff of legend. It is set in a futuristic city like the book. The scenario is very, very similar to the original movie, only with an Ape City which looks an awful lot like Manhattan, robbing the Statue Of Liberty ending of all of it's shock during the twist ending. The rest of the differences are subtle and the story plays out more like a 90 minute episode of The Twilight Zone.


Serling did multiple swings at bat with his treatments, and this is sort of a hybrid of the later ones. The basic framework of the original film is largely unchanged. The Apes live in a society that appears to be the mid-1960s and are intelligent and civilized. Humans are primitive animals kept in cages. Elements of the original production art are utilized here. The original design of Doctor Zaius is used in this book.


None of the wow moments in the original movie are present here. The writers who came in after Serling punched things up considerably. If the movie were made to this script it would have been successful but not as fondly remembered. It's easy to take the movie for granted today, but those special effects were cutting edge stuff for their time.


This is a good read, but that's about it. It's not great. The artwork has a storyboard vibe to it, being left intentionally unpolished. I would have liked to see it spit shined to mid-60s photo realism perfection. I'm glad that this book was released, as Rod Serling's treatment deserves to be experienced after all of these years.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 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: Semi-glossy coated stock.

Binding: Sewn binding.

Hardback cover notes: Matte finish casewrap with no dustjacket. The spine is super squared, a trend that I will never understand. Looks great on the shelf, feels uncomfortable when you actually read the book.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Review- DEADMAN


DEADMAN (DC, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Deadman #1-6 (cover dates January- May, 2018)

Writer, Artist, and Colorist: Neal Adams



After reading Batman: Odyssey maxi-series I had all but given up on Neal Adams. I picked up the first issue of this series and read it with my son. It was almost as confusing as Batman: Odyssey but had enough of a hook for us to pick up issue 2. I forgot to pick up the rest of the series until I saw this trade.

The optical illusion with the lion on the cover of the second issue is intact in this trade. Unfortunately the glow in the dark cover of #1 can't be replicated in the collected edition.

Adams tries to set the record straight for Deadman's origins. The original 1960s issues were admittedly confusing at times, with revisions and reveals one after another. Adams didn't write those original issues, so he was not to blame. The problem is things were already smoothed over and this is yet another set of revisions. Oh well, I can't keep DC's continuity straight anyhow so who cares.

The Hook, Nanda Parbat, Rama Kushna, and The League Of Assassins are all brought back front and center. Adams drags in The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre, Batman, The Demon, and Zatanna. Neal Adams draws an incredible version of Zatanna and I would be interested to see what he could do with a series for her.


While the writing in issue 1 was somewhat confusing it improved and was more readable until #5 and 6. That's when Adams' newfound tics of throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks started kicking into high gear. His dialogue wasn't as groan inducing as Batman: Odyssey...thank god. That book gave me a headache.

Adams' artwork has deteriorated. His panel composition and layouts remain great, but he insists on inking his own work and his clean lines have devolved into a chicken scratch mess. It's too bad that Adams retains such creative control. A strong editor could tighten up the dialogue a bit and pair him with a strong inker who would complement his style. Adams' coloring seems outdated, and I mean that in a bad way. He plays with Photoshop bells and whistles in a way that is reminiscent of colorists a dozen years ago. The tricks aren't new and they aren't convincing. Your mileage may vary.


The book ends on a nonsensical cliffhanger, promising a book two. So far not a single issue has been solicited. This was decent and entertaining enough for me to pick up the second trade if or when it is released.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.25 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: Glossy coated stock.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review- LADY KILLER VOL. 2


LADY KILLER VOL. 2 (Dark Horse, First Printing, 2017; Softcover)

Collects Lady Killer 2 #1-5 (cover dates August, 2016- August, 2017)

Writer and Artist: Joelle Jones

Colorists: Michelle Madsen

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Ho ho! We see a change of location and a change of circumstances for Josie and her family this time around. We also see the introduction of a major complication by the name of Irving, who sets everything on its head. The gore and the violence are turned up to 11, along with the plot developments and dark humor. This book has everything which made the first volume great, only more of it.


The artwork is a little different this time out but is still great. The coloring is worlds different, with Michelle Madsen replacing Laura Allred. Madsen uses more bells, whistles, and Photoshop gimmicks than Allred does but knows when to dial it down to a more “flat” look when appropriate. There are times when her color art looks better and other times where I wish Allred were still on board.


The story moves forward and is as tight as a drum. As with Volume 1, we have enough loose ends for another arc. That isn't on the horizon for the time being, as Jones is currently doing work over at DC, but you never know.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 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: Coated stock with a slight sheen to it.

Binding: Sewn binding.

Cardstock cover notes: Matte coating with spot varnish.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review- LADY KILLER VOL. 1


I read the first issue in the Dark Horse Number Ones trade last year and was blown away by it. My local library has a pretty kickass graphic novel section and I was pleased to find this book there.


LADY KILLER VOL. 1 (Dark Horse, First Printing, 2015; Softcover)

Collects Lady Killer #1-5 (cover dates January- May, 2015)

Writers: Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich

Artist: Jamie S. Rich

Colorists: Laura Allred

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Lady Killer is the story of Josie Schuller, your average middle class housewife circa 1960 who has a side job. The Jackie Kennedy American post-war prosperity aesthetic and optimism is a fantastic contrast to the extreme gore and senseless violence that her side job provides. Josie is a hitman...er, I mean hitlady.


Like all working women who juggle family life with a thriving career, Josie is burning the candle at both ends trying to make it all work. She tries to compromise family life and scheduling with her hits and winds up making neither side happy. This is where her situation gets sticky for everyone involved.

Without giving away anything, this is a fun, fast-paced read high on style. Those with an aversion to excessive gore or black comedy would do well to stay away from this comic. If you can giggle at the over the top nature of the series then you will have a blast reading it.


Everything wraps up nice and neat at the end while leaving enough loose ends for further investigation of the series. The writing is solid, the artwork has a style that balances between nostalgic and modern, and Laura Allred's coloring is second to none.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 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: Coated stock with a slight sheen to it.

Binding: Sewn binding.

Cardstock cover notes: Matte coating.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Review- SPIDER-MAN: THE COMPLETE ALIEN COSTUME SAGA BOOK 1

God bless Marvel's collected editions program. If you sit back and look you can see the pieces of the puzzle being assembled across multiple formats. The Spider-Man By Roger Stern Omnibus bumps right up to these two chunky trades which bump into the Epic line. You can get almost four straight years of Amazing Spider-Man, with the gaps before and after those years being rapidly filled in.


Back in 2003 I descended down this rabbit hole of madness stumbled upon the Essential line at the now-defunct Borders Books And Music in Oakland Mall. I dreamed of owning the entire run of Amazing Spider-Man in such a format. Within the next few years we will likely have the first 30 years of Amazing Spider-Man completely restored and available in collected editions.


SPIDER-MAN: THE COMPLETE ALIEN COSTUME SAGA BOOK 1 (Marvel, First Printing, 2014; Softcover)

Collects The Amazing Spider-Man #252-258, Marvel Team-Up #141-145, Marvel Team-Up Annual #7, and Peter Parker,The Spectacular Spider-Man #90-95 (cover dates May- November, 1984)

Writers: Tom DeFalco, Al Milgrom, Cary Burkett, Tony Isabella, David Michelinie, Jim Owsley, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern

Artists: Pencilers- Ron Frenz, Greg LaRocque, Rick Leonardi, Al Milgrom*, Paul Neary, and Bill Sienkiewicz*; Inkers*- Josef Rubinstein, Bill Anderson, Brett Breeding, Sam De La Rosa, Mike Esposito, and Jim Mooney


Journey into nostalgia with me as we head back to the magical land of 1984, where a 10 year old kid was spinning the spinner rack at 7-11 around on a cold wintry day that February and stumbled upon a bizarre cover: Amazing Spider-Man #252. Try to imagine (or remember if you are old enough) a world with little access to the Direct Market (comics specialty shops as they were referred to at the time), no real media hype or interest when changes happened to canonical characters, and actual honest to gosh surprise when you saw the issue cover and had no idea what was about to happen. It was magic. Each issue was the moment that you lived in. No past, no future, only the current issue on the spinner rack determined if a series lived or died.


I read all of the new Amazing Spider-Man issues dozens of times in 1984. I started picking up Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man with #92 and read it monthly through 1989. Aside from the Annual, all of these Marvel Team-Up issues were new to me. I wouldn't pick that series up until #147 that fall.


I loved watching the entire saga unfold, with Peter learning about the costume along the way. #258 blew my mind when it came out. I was also reading Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars back then. Many people erroneously claim that Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars #8 was the first appearance of the black alien costume symbiote. This is false. ASM #252 was the first issue that the costume appeared in.

Puma was a favorite of mine when he was introduced. I loved watching The Answer/Black Cat/Kingpin/Silvermane/Cloak And Dagger saga unfold over in Peter Parker,The Spectacular Spider-Man. These are some of my all-time favorite comic books even if I realize that they are not among the greatest comic books ever made in a big picture sense.

I didn't realize at the time that panel 4 was a Ron Frenz homage to Steve Ditko. Kraven The Hunter and Spider-Man were posed in a similar manner by Ditko. 

The solitary nature of this hobby circa 1984 is something a fan could never have today. Spinner racks with no Previews (or even Marvel Age, which at the time was a comic shop exclusive), no Internet to discuss and speculate, only the imagination of a 10-going-on-11 year old kid driving things. While I love the Internet and interacting with other fans, I really feel that this hobby (and the world in general) traded off a lot of things in the process for better and sometimes worse. It is what it is, but I'm glad that I was a kid in the old world. And I am glad that I was there when these comic books were originally released.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.75 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.

Linework and Color restoration: Excellent throughout. There is an odd dropout in a word balloon or two but nothing any sane person would notice.

Paper stock: I love the matte coated stock that Marvel uses in their trades of material with flat coloring. It looks and feels like a comic book but doesn't feel cheap. It also smells nice.

Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Review- KILL OR BE KILLED VOL. 4



KILL OR BE KILLED VOL. 4 (Image, First Printing, 2018; Softcover)

Collects Kill Or Be Killed #15-20 (cover dates January- June, 2018)

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorist: Elizabeth Breitweiser


Damn! I don't really know what else to say about this series and its ending other than...damn. Things aren't always as black and white as they seem, but maybe sometimes they are. Or maybe not. Either way, this is now my favorite Brubaker/Phillips collaboration. Elizabeth Breitweiser is one of the best colorists in the business, adding texture and mood to every scene.

This series is timely and timeless. Mass shooters are a seemingly daily occurrence, and Dylan fits the mold. History of mental illness, injudiciously prescribed psychotropic drugs, illegally obtained firearms...this is a nightmare story for any parent in the 21st century. Put the crime/noir/occult overtones in and you have a series worth reading.


I would like to thank my local library for carrying the first two trades. I am extremely choosy with my purchases these days but had to buy this series after reading those two books. I regret nothing.
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.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review- THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN: COMPLETE COLLECTION



THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN: COMPLETE COLLECTION (Image, First Printing, 2017; Hardcover)

Collects The Astounding Wolf-Man #1-25 and Invincible #57 (cover dates May, 2007- November, 2010)

Writer: Robert Kirkman

Artists: Jason Howard with Ryan Ottley* and Cliff Rathburn* (*Invincible #57)

Colorists: Jason Howard, Fco Plascencia, and Ivan Plascencia


Life is a funny thing. You just never know. You can think that you have everything all sewn up nice and neat and then something happens and your life is forever changed. Something like...I dunno, being attacked by a werewolf and becoming one yourself.


The Astounding Wolf-Man, while having a supporting cast and recurring antagonists, is about Gary Hampton and his rise, fall, and redemption. This was both a double dip and a re-read and it held up extremely well the second time through. Sadly I have come to the realization that I will likely never reread any book that I own unless I double dip on an upgrade, since my OCD compels me to read every book that I buy, and I have so many unread books in my backlog waiting to be read.


You can see what I thought about Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4 back when they were first released. Maybe I'll upgrade to another super duper deluxe edition and read it again someday. I really enjoyed this ultraviolent, fast-paced, action-packed superhero comic for the 21st century.
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: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.

Binding: Sewn binding. While the book block does flex so it lays about 80% flat, the square casing prevents 100%. Who ever thought that these super squared spines were any good? They look great on your shelf but dig into your hand when you are reading them.

Hardback cover notes: The image is printed on the the laminated casewrap.