Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review- Free Comic Book Day Offerings Part Two

Free Comic Book Day Offerings Part Two

Free Comic Book Day 2016: Civil War II #1 (Marvel, cover date May, 2016)
Like Marvel's other FCBD offering this year, this book has two stories. The first one is a sneak peek at Civil War II. The original Civil War event was great. This sequel doesn't seem to have anything to do with the original. Instead, it looks like some crossover with Thanos and has the name of Civil War attached to it to ship more units. Think Secret Wars II when compared to the original Secret Wars and you're pretty close.

Brian Michael Bendis writes it, so of course he has swearing in what could have been a good gateway for a young kid discovering the medium on FCBD. Instead, most parents will take this comic away from their kids because of that. Am I really that old-fashioned because I dislike superheroes swearing and don't want my son reading that? It's just so unnecessary. Does anyone actually pick up a comic book because it has swearing in it?

The other story in this book is the story of the new Wasp which leads right into All-New, All-Different Avengers #9, on sale now, which is honestly pretty genius. It is well done. Mark Waid is a good writer who gets it. He has written hard-edged adult stuff but has enough common sense to keep his superhero stuff accessible to everyone. That is because Waid is a pro who gets it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Micronauts #1 (IDW, cover date April, 2016)
Like ROM, Micronauts has been in licensing Limbo for some time, although Image did an attempt at it in the Aughts. Also like ROM, Bill Mantlo created so many characters that are owned by Marvel that it makes reprinting the original series impossible by anyone other than Marvel. This was an okay read but it lacked the depth of Micronauts: The New Voyages. I don't think that I will ever be satisfied by anything other than a Marvel reboot of these characters.

And no, this was not a FCBD comic. I paid for this one. I try to pick up something at each store, as the free comics that my kids and I snagged from each store cost the retailer money. I gave this to my son after I read it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

Free Comic Book Day 2016: Serenity/ Hellboy/ Aliens (Dark Horse, cover date May, 2016)
I know nothing about Serenity, as I watch very little television. As a comic book, I was lost when reading it. It made no sense to me, as it made no effort to actually introduce new readers to the concept or characters. I don't know much about Hellboy either, but the difference is that Mike Mignola knows how to bring someone fresh off of the street into the fold while the story unfolds. Having legendary Horror artist Richard Corben bring your tale to life doesn't hurt your cause, either. Aliens I know from the movies. The comic is enjoyable, and it seems like it would be a cool read.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

America's Army #0 (IDW, cover date 2014)
This title is an adaptation of the U.S. Army sanctioned propaganda video game designed to suck impressionable kids into joining the Army. This is readable as a comic in spite of this. While not technically a FCBD comic book, this was passed out by one of the shops I stopped at.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.75 out of 5.

Eternal Warrior/ Bloodshot And The Hard C.O.R.P.S. Flip Sketchbook #1 (Valiant, cover date July, 2013)
Another dead stock FCBD giveaway, this is a sketchbook with no story in it.
Junk Food For Thought rating: Inapplicable.

Point One #1 (Marvel, cover date January, 2012)
Yet another dead stock FCBD giveaway. This is basically a sneak previews for forthcoming titles with nine pages of story interspersed, stringing together a story where two invaders infiltrate the Watcher's base on the moon and peer into several events in the near future. The events being previews of forthcoming Marvel Comics. An interesting if unnecessary read. At least I didn't pay $5.99 for it like the cover price states. Cripes. I would be ticked if I blew six bucks on this. For free it was all right though.

Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5. 

There will be more FCBD reviews in the coming days and weeks. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016


STAR WARS VOL. 1: SKYWALKER STRIKES (Marvel, First Printing, 2015; Softcover)

Collects Star Wars #1-6 (cover dates January- June, 2015)

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassady
Colorist: Laura Martin

Dark Horse had the Star Wars license ever since Marvel and Lucas parted company in the 1980s, building into an entire line of comics. I haven't read any of the original Dark Horse material but I do know that it is well regarded by the fans.

Marvel has taken a somewhat different approach, treating Star Wars as a universe of comics unfolding across all titles at once. There are events in this title that also occurred simultaneously with the new Darth Vader title and vice versa. And it works. It really, truly works.

There is some considerable talent on this book. Writer Jason Aaron gets it. John Cassady is a master, with a cinematic style of comic book art that fits a comic book based on the cinema like a glove. Laura Martin provides solid, tasteful coloring that compliments but never overpowers the art. That is the real trick with modern colorists. They have a million colors to choose from, and the results are often a garish S-P-L-A-T right across the art. Not so here.

The story takes place between Episodes IV and V, stretching known movie continuity to its limit with the lightsaber battle between Luke and Vader. Nothing flies in the face of anything, so including all of this stuff from earlier and later films works. Luke returning to Tattooine stretches it, though, as we are led to believe in Return Of The Jedi that he never thought that he would be back there.

There are lots of crowd pleasing stunts here, like pitting Boba Fett against an inexperienced Luke Skywalker. I thoroughly enjoyed the bargaining between Darth Vader and Jabba The Hut, as did my son, who checked this book out of our local library and asked to read it with me.

My 9 year old son's take: It was really good. He liked the fact that they used Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. He felt that there was suspense through the whole thing, like that one bounty hunter that they don't tell you who he is. It bothers me that they don't tell me who he is. He also said that he liked that there was minimum swearing.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan there is nothing more that I could possibly ask for out of a Star Wars comic. My son was equally impressed with it. I am pleased with everything that Disney has done since acquiring Lucasfilm. The future is bright. Star Wars lives!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone-
Paper stock: Good weight coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Laminated cardstock cover.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Review- Free Comic Book Day 2016 offerings, Part One

Free Comic Book Day 2016 offerings, Part One

2000 AD Free Comic Book Day Prog 2016 (Rebellion/2000 AD)
This year's 2000 AD FCBD title is standard comic book size, a shift from it's larger format in past years. Judge Dredd is drawn by Goon artist Eric Powell to great success. The Order is an interesting concept. Rat Fink is great. This was a worthwhile read.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.25 out of 5.

We Can Never Go Home/ Young Terrorists- Free Comic Book Day 2016 (Black Mask Studios)
Two different titles are showcased here, and they are well done and slick. You can do worse for sure, but I am a cynical middle-aged bastard who is very selective with what he buys these days. If I were to buy one of these, though, it would be We Can Never Go Home.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2 out of 5.

Bruce Lee- The Dragon Rises #0: Free Comic Book Day Edition (Darby Pop Publishing, cover date May, 2016)
Shannon Lee is the co-writer and co-creator of this comic, where her father Bruce Lee didn't die but instead was cryogenically frozen. Lee wakes up after an earthquake causes a security guard's coffee to spill and short out his containment unit. He awakens to the modern world with amnesia but full retention of his martial arts abilities. There are many funny moments as he tries to acclimate himself to the modern world. This is a fast-paced, action-packed read that is appropriate for all ages.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

Free Comic Book Day 2016- Suicide Squad #1 Special Edition (DC, cover date May, 2016)
This is a reprint of Suicide Squad #1 from 2011, and it was okay. It's not my cup of tea, and that is okay too. I am not the target audience for this title or the forthcoming movie, and I am more than okay with that.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 2.75 out of 5.

Free Comic Book Day 2016: Captain America #1 (Marvel, cover date May, 2016)
The Captain America story is very good, and the Spider-Man Dead No More preview looks promising as well. Bringing back Gwen Stacy from the dead stopped being shocking in 1975, though.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.

Rom #0- Free Comic Book Day 2016 (IDW, cover date May, 2016)
ROM has risen! ROM has been in licensing Limbo for years. IDW has done a good job of rebooting the character for the 21st century. I was surprised to see the Dire Wraiths included here, as I thought that they were created by Bill Mantlo and owned by Marvel. Bill Mantlo made the original comics more interesting and longer lasting than the toy. Mantlo created so many characters that it makes it impossible to reprint the original run of this title or Micronauts by anyone other than Marvel. The artwork left me cold but the writing was good enough to carry it. Welcome back, ROM. The world needs you now more than ever.

Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.