Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Comic Book Wednesday
Issue #24
(Part One)

Looks like we're back on track this week. I'm in between biiiig projects (information soonish!), so I had a little while to do a good ol' Comic Book Wednesday review. This first part includes reviews of Angel & Faith, Cloak & Dagger: Spider Island, Casper's Scare School, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. First, though, here's something super cool. I also bought a bunch of Zenescope books (I don't review those because, as I'm writing for those kind folks, I'm not the most unbiased of sources) and I was flipping through the Grimm Fairy Tales: Halloween Special 2011 (click here to order - see, I told you). In the back, there's a full page ad for my upcoming issue of the series. Check it out:

Definitely made my day. For those who would like to order the issue now (please, he said with a hopeful smile), you can follow these links:

Cover B (pictured above): click

Cover A (art by one Mr. Mike Debalfo): click

Now that that shameless bit of self-promotion/sharing of coolness is over, let's get to the reviews.

Angel & Faith #3
Live Through This - Part Three
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Rebekah Isaacs
Dark Horse Comics

As with many third acts, this is very much setting up the pieces for the conclusion. Christos Gage continues the story nicely, leaving the readers with that "What happens now?" feeling at the end of the issue. This chapter is very Faith-centric, as the eponymous slayer keeps holding more and more things back from Angel as he pushes forward in his misguided journey to resurrect Giles. There's a brief scene with Nadira, who is never as interesting a presence as Angel and Faith, but what the scene does is play on the idea that Faith has become the responsible slayer - or, as she's referred to here, "the grownup." It's both funny and intriguing in its delivery, because while Faith takes offense at the implication that she's old, she can't help but wonder "who went and made me responsible all of a sudden?"

A colleague of Giles, who was a great little guest star, replies, "Why, my dear girl... you did."

The final scene is just great. Isaacs' art has never been better, and there's a great moment between Angel and a Mohra demon that I'm not going to spoil - read the thing for yourself.

All in all, great issue. It's especially cool, because I met Rebekah Isaacs at NYCC, and she was just a lovely human being. She gave me an issue of her creator owned series, MAGNUS, which was just great. I hope to do a spotlight on that issue soon, because it's definitely something fans of ANGEL & FAITH should seek out.

Cloak and Dagger: Spider Island #3
Written by Nick Spencer
Pencils by Emma Rios
DC Comics

Nick Spencer can do no wrong.

I love the last two issues of this series, and this conclusion is no different. This book brings the storyline (Mr. Negative has discovered that Dagger will kill him, so he decides to fuck with her) to an amazing conclusion, changes the central characters in a big way (note the italics), and sets up many plot threads for future issues... which seems to indicate that Nick Spencer and Emma Rios want to make this an on-going series (pleasepleaseplease). This issue is emotional, beautifully drawn, fast paced, and smart. The whole thing reads like the best of Gaiman's SANDMAN with a bit less metatextual commentary.

Incredible conclusion to an incredible story. I'd urge readers to check out the letter section in the back, because Marvel is well aware that fans want more of the Spencer/Rios team on CLOAK & DAGGER, but they're unsure if the series could survive in the current market. Here's what you do: go out and order these issues if you haven't already read them. Then, when the TPB comes out, buy that too - and keep sending those letters in to Marvel. It's comics like these that keeps the superhero genre fresh, alive, and inventive.

Casper's Scare School #1
Halloween is for the Dogs
Written by Paul Morrissey
Art by Sabrina Alberghetti
The New Kid
Written by Landry Walker
Art by Amy Mebberson
APE Entertainment

I bought this issue to see how the series turned out. I pitched stories for this book to APE a while ago, and unfortunately didn't get in. However, I did leave the experience with an appreciation for this new take on Casper. The movie and show are great fun, and the comics manage to translate the energy of the animation to paper quite well. The main story, Halloween is for the Dogs, is fun and sometimes clever, and the back-up story (the four page long The New Kid) is just great.

The best thing about this book, though, is how fantastic the art in Halloween is. The colors jump off the page, the characters look better than they do in the actual cartoon, and the storytelling is super kinetic. If you have a kid that you're trying to get into comics or read, this is a great book for that. It also includes two classic Casper stories that are great fun.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3
Story by Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz
Script by Tom Waltz
Art by Dan Duncan
IDW Publishing

Eastman and Waltz keep on bringing the awesome with this series. Most of the issue focuses on Raph and Casey Jones, the latter of whom is an absolute badass in his hockey mask. It's obvious (and essential) that Raphael is going to end up with the other turtles, but the scenes with these two fighting crime here makes me was a spin-off... badly. The history of the turtles continues to build through the flashbacks, and while most of what is revealed here was apparent from the last issue, the scene is still very, very cool - especially when we see Splinter and the turtles realize that they have mutated.

Dan Duncan and Tom Waltz do a great job of making sure the readers know which turtles we're seeing (this version of the turtles is similar to the original comics in that the masks are all red, unlike the cartoon which has a different color for each turtle). The names are often thrown into conversation by Waltz, but in the cases that there are no names to go off of, Duncan makes sure that the turtle's signature weapon is in plain sight.

Again, another great issue. So glad that IDW is allowing me to relive my childhood through these comics - and hey, while nostalgia is great, it doesn't hurt that this is a fantastic story with beautiful art.


Now... I see your raised eyebrow. It's all sorts of raised and eyebrow-like. I totally skimped on the second part of the reviews last week. To make up for it, here's a brief run down of the issues I missed.

Wonder Woman (Azzarello/Chiang): Very good. Better than the first issue, which is saying something. I never thought I'd be very interested in a Wonder Woman story, but this tale of creepy gods and mysterious origins is quite a surprise - and a welcome one at that.

Birds of Prey (Swierczynski/Saiz): I really wanted to collect this series in trade instead of singles... but damn. It's just too much fun. Starling is a great character (very Faith-esque, actually), and the story just gets more and more interesting as all the members of this team assemble. And with the introduction of Poison Ivy (WHAT) into the squad, I'm not sure that I'll be able to resist the third installment.

DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS: Deadman (Jenkins/Chang): This is a well-told, intriguing story that feels very different from all of the other DC books - so much so that it almost seems as if it's set in a different world. The vampires and demon bars are straight out of Angel, and it's great to see more aspects of the DCU getting explored. The philosophical/existential tone of this series is interesting, and it's making me enjoy a book I was initially skeptical of.

SOON: Reviews of Justice League Dark, Aquaman, The Flash, Superman, and The Savage Hawkman.

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