Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Jan 03, 2018)

Rank up to six of the week’s #1’s, then compare the two in the top and bottom position. We call it Love It Hate It for the week of January 03, 2018!

Happy New Year . . . Woo-hoo 2018

Ok, enough of that frivolity, it’s time to get down to business . . . I’M BACK!! And I’m excited for this new year. I’m excited to see what comic publishers and creators bring us this year, and I’m excited to write about what I find worthy of my love and of my disdain.

Let’s face it, it’s January and a brisk 10 degrees or so outside, so we have to find things to pull us, sometimes kicking and screaming, through the next 3-4 harsh winter months, right? Sometimes that’s not easy to do. I really think that’s why New Year’s Resolutions came into existence. People needed to find something to focus their energies on and attempt to make it through ’till spring. I’m not much for resolutions, though. I don’t like starting my new year by setting myself up for failure or disappointment.

So I start each New Year with a word. A word that I try to carry with me all year long and that guides me not just through these harsh winter months, but all year. This year’s word is mindfulness. And with that, let’s get started.

Love It Hate It Contenders: Jan. 3rd

So this reviews Love em/Hate em are:

  1. Exit Stage Left: Snagglepuss Chronicles (DC Hanna-Barbera)
  2. Rogue and Gambit (Marvel)
  3. Koshchei the Deathless (Dark Horse)
  4. Star Wars: Adventures Forces of Destiny Princess (IDW)
  5. Transformers Vs the Visionaries (IDW)
  6. Rise of the Black Panther (Marvel)
  7. Planet of the Apes Ursus (Boom)
  8. Batman and the Signal (DC)

LOVE IT: No. 1 Exit Stage Left: Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 (DC Hanna-Barbera)

Tough week for the first week in the new year. I gotta admit that Snagglepuss was the last comic I read of the 8, and until I read it, Rogue and Gambit was #1 with Koshchei the Deathless coming in a close second. But then I read Snagglepuss. And it was ok, until I got to about mid comic . . . then my interest skyrocketed and I began reading it with much more interest and intrigue. So, why?

Exit Stage Left: Snagglepuss Chronicles

So I grew up on Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The FlintstonesHuckleberry HoundYogi BearTom and Jerry, and the list goes on. I loved these characters, and I remembered Snagglepuss as well. In his original creation, his greatest desire was to be a stage actor, and one of his catch phrases, often used to escape trouble, was “exit stage left.” So clearly, this comics’ title caught my eye. Never did I expect what I got though.

The story is by writer Mark Russell with art by Mike Feehan. I also have to throw a shout-out to the colorist, Paul Mounts for the gorgeous color pallets he used: absolutely perfect for this comic. The coloring matches what I would expect for the artwork; the lettering, by Dave Sharpe also matches what I would expect for the story and the artwork; it all works beautifully together. The layouts are clean with mostly crisp, white gutters and some nicely done overlapping of panels when appropriate.

The page to the right, however, is what grabbed my attention. Let’s back up a little bit though. The comic is set in early 1950s New York, and Snagglepuss has clearly made it, as he is now a famous playwright. We quickly realize that the world is a compilation of humans and humanoid animals coexisting peacefully. Snagglepuss is married to a likewise famous actress, Lila Lion. So far, it’s an interesting concept, but nothing to write home about. That is, not until the page shown here. The minute I saw the first panel of this page, I knew where this comic was going and my interest was piqued.

You can see in the background of that first panel the word “Stonewall.” Immediately I knew that this comic was so much more than it appeared on the surface. It wasn’t just written for nostalgia, but also to pay tribute to the turbulent history of the 1950s. I would love to break this comic down page by page, but that would totally spoil the comics, and this one is sooooo worth reading that I can’t do that to you.

Just know that this comic is a history buffs dream. It will also appeal to the LGBTQ community. And again, it doesn’t make the queer elements of the comic the focus of the content, but rather just as part of the story. A very important aspect for me when it comes to including diversity in comics. This is a comic worth the cover price!!

LOVE IT Runner Ups: Rogue and Gambit (Marvel) & Koshchei the Deathless (Dark Horse)

These two books were definitely in the running for the book I loved the most this week. I’m not a huge of the X-Men/Marvel fan, but I love Rogue and Gambit and their never ending/always ending relationship story. Creators Kelly Thompson (W), Pere Pérez (A), Frank D’Armata (C), and VC’s Joe Caramagna (L) do a great job of producing a fun and interesting comic.

And what’s not to love with a Mike Mignola story. This one is another one that I will be following. If you love Hellboy or BPRD, you’ll love this book as well.

HATE IT: Batman and the Signal (DC)

STOP IT DC!!!! Seriously, stop it already. Stop using the back of Batman to try to launch every other character you create. I’m sick of it. And they know they are doing it. Even the writers Scott Snyder and Tony Patrick voice these sentiments in the comic. The Signal tells the Bat Family he knows what they are thinking, “You’re thinking, Hell No. You’re thinking we have enough bat-people already. Look at this table.” And he would be right.

There are more than enough “bat-people,” as he puts it, and I’m tired of DC doing this crap week after week. So perhaps for the first time, DC takes both the top spot and the bottom. I know Batman has been DCs main staple since what, 1939? But they have to stop this crap. Let’s hope this comic is truly only 3 issues and let’s move on. Stop with all of these Metal tie-ins and stop with using Batman as a total cash cow. For those of us who LOVE and admire Batman, you are going to ruin it.

Ok, enough about DC. I’m excited to keep writing this year, and hopefully maintain more of a consistent schedule, posting every week or two. Here’s to a prosperous New Year to all of you and we’ll see ya in the funny books.


Want more? Check out the Love It Hate It archive!

Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Nov 08, 2017)

Rank up to six of the week’s #1’s, then compare the two in the top and bottom position. We call it Love It Hate It for the weeks of Nov 08, 2017.

So I spent two weeks traveling for work, and then returned home to prepare for Thanksgiving last week. With family coming in from out-of-state, there were things that had to be done, and writing my Love It Hate It blog post, while on the list, didn’t make the cut. I did, however, get to read all of the #1s from the 8th while I was traveling, and I have to admit, the choice of the one I loved the most and the one that just wasn’t quite up to snuff was more difficult than usual.

For instance, there are two that could easily make the number one spot. Both Coyotes and Port of Earth are interesting reads and I would advise anyone to pick them up if you haven’t gotten the chance. Choosing one to be at the bottom was likewise difficult. I struggled choosing between Black Hole Repo and Master of Kung Fu. Interestingly, I at least remember what Master of Kung Fu is about, while Black Hole Repo seems completely foreign to me at this moment. But I’ll stick with my initial gut instincts and leave Master of Kung Fu at the bottom.

Love It Hate It Contenders: Nov. 8th

So this reviews Love em/Hate em are:

  1. Coyotes (Image)
  2. Port of Earth (Image)
  3. She Hulk (Marvel)
  4. Moon Knight (Marvel)
  5. Black Hole Repo (Heavy Metal)
  6. Master of Kung Fu (Marvel)

LOVE IT: No. 1 Coyotes #1 from Image

This week was another tough decision between Image’s Coyotes and Port of Earth. So what won me over to Coyotes? A badass female character, what else?

Coyotes

What’s not to love about this book? The art, the coloring, the lettering, the layouts, the story telling: all of it comes together to make for an outstanding  read. The cover art alone, by Caitlin Yarsky, was enough to draw me to this book. As we all know, the promise of an interesting story on the cover doesn’t always carry through to the rest of the book. This time . . . it certainly does.

The story is by writer Sean Lewis and ALL of the art is by Caitlin Yarsky. In fact, these are the only two credited with the creation of this comic. Perhaps that’s why it seems so tight. The coloring matches what I would expect for the art work; the lettering matches what I would expect for the story and the art work; it all simply works together, including the layouts, to make one awesome comic book.

If you feel like there are two, maybe even three issues/chapters in this one issue, you are not alone. And this caused a bit of confusion for me initially, but by the time I reached the end of the comic, it all made sense, kinda. It doesn’t necessarily all come together, but you begin to see how the individual parts make up the whole. I know this sounds a bit cryptic, but I try hard to not give anything away in these reviews and that can sometimes create a bit of ambiguity. I think, overall, it’s worth it.

I will tell you that the story revolves around what Lewis calls “The City of Lost Girls” and our protagonist, a badass young woman named Analia/Red. The city, clearly a boil on the ass of humanity, is where cops like Coffey get sent when they’ve stepped over the line. In other words, when they challenge the corruption in their department. It’s clear that Coffey isn’t going to take what’s going on in the City of Lost Girls laying down. When Analia’s friends rescue her from Coffey’s interrogation room (with a bit of force involved), he rants that they can’t do that because he’s a cop. The woman’s (perhaps the Duchess) response? “You stop letting our bodies end up in ditches and we’ll stop pissing on your badge.” I look forward to reading more!!!

LOVE IT Runner Up: Port of Earth (Image)

This book was actually impressive. Creators Zack Kaplan (W), Andrea Mutti (A), Vladimier Popov (C), and Troy Peteri (L) create a tale that is both sci-fi and a little to real. The premise of the book is that earth finally makes first contact with aliens. Actually, they’ve known about us for a long time, but never needed anything from us until now. What they need is a port to supply their ships with water for power.

What could possibly go wrong with this scenario, right? What could possibly go wrong with the US seeing an opportunity to make money on a natural commodity that should belong to everyone?

Pick up the book to find out in this latest sci-fi comic.

 

HATE IT: Master of Kung Fu #126 (Rebooted with continuing numbering) from Marvel

Hate? Such a strong word. One that I rarely use and that I feel is overused in today’s world. People hate too much and don’t appreciate or try to understand enough. And no, I didn’t HATE this book. It’s actually kind of fun in places. This is a reboot of a comic that use to exist and now they’ve brought it back with it’s original numbering.

So again, we have a comic that is really a #1 . . . and yet it’s not. The very fact that it has the number 126 indicates there have been 125 issues that came before it. Issue #125 was published in June of 1983. Now I don’t know about y’all, but that’s a bit far back for me to be able to easily fine these issues and catch up on the Master of Kung Fu.

So tell me, what exactly are Marvel and DC trying to prove with this new (not new) technique of picking up the numbering where it last left off. Anyone new to comics who just happens to head into their local comic store to see what they can find would NOT be willing to pick this up.

Creators CM Punk (W), Dalibor Talajic (A), Erick Arciniega (C), and VC’s Travis Lanham (L), do a good job of incorporating backstory within the main story, so we at least know how the monkey came to be our main characters side-kick. But a new reader is not even going to pick this book up unless they have a really good comic book person to explain how this all works.

I feel like I spend a great deal of time ranting when it comes to the book at the bottom, but maybe that’s how it should be.

Here’s the plan for the next few reviews. I did this review because it’s just not fair to lump a bunch of weeks together and pick only one love it and one hate it. That said, we’ll see what the #1s look like for the weeks of Nov. 15th, 22nd, & 29th to see how we’ll proceed. If it’s too much, we might just forget the weeks of the 15th and 22nd.


Want more? Check out the Love It Hate It archive!

Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Oct 25 & Nov 01, 2017)

Rank up to six of the week’s #1’s, then compare the two in the top and bottom position. We call it Love It Hate It for the weeks of Oct 25 and Nov 01, 2017.

It’s not so much about me running behind as it is the lack of #1s coming out each week for Love It Hate It. In fact, last week there were only three comics that I even thought worthy, and reviewing just three comics makes it tough to really choose one you love and one you hate. So for now, we’ll go with the every two week format until more #1s start dropping.

For the weeks of Oct 25th & Nov 01st, choices were limited, but we managed to find eight #1s to read and consider for this review. As I continue to flesh out this column, I’m wanting to start defining a few things. For instance, if you release a comic as a #1, then anyone should be able to pick up the comic and read it without any prior knowledge of your franchise or comics that have come before. For me, that’s rule numero uno. I can let about anything else slide, but not that.

The Past Weeks’ Love It Hate It Contenders

So this reviews Love em/Hate em are:

  1. No. 1 With a Bullet (Image)
  2. Hack/Slash: Resurrection (Image)
  3. The GraveDiggers Union (Image)
  4. GhostBusters: Answer the Call (IDW)
  5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/GhostBusters 2 (IDW)
  6. Atomic Robo: The World’s Greatest Adventure Magazine (IDW)
  7. Power Pack (Marvel)
  8. Eternity (Valiant)

LOVE IT: No. 1 With a Bullet #1 from Image

No. 1 With a Bullet #1 coverThis week was a really hard decision between No. 1 with a BulletHack/Slash: Resurrection, and The GraveDiggers Union. The latter two deal with zombies and perhaps apocalypses on a grand scale, but I chose No. 1 with a Bullet and here is why. It’s unique and relevant.

The Story

First, and for some, perhaps most importantly, Jacob Semahn (W) has not created a story that is easy to get into. That being said, it doesn’t feel like it’s because there is some back lore or story that I would have to have knowledge of in order to understand, it’s just a difficult story to follow when you first start reading. Not all stories need a degree of complexity to be good. In fact, I would argue that most don’t. But this story is different.

Second, I’m not even sure what the title means. Maybe this will become more meaningful as the series progresses (in fact, I’m betting it will), but right now it seems fairly ambiguous. As far as we know, there are no “bullets”, literal of otherwise, that stand out in this first issue, but I’m fairly certain this will make more sense later on.

Next, we have our protagonists, Nash Huang, and this is the reason the comic makes the number one spot this week. Once again, we have a diverse character (a lesbian in a same-sex marriage) without the entire comic focusing on that diversity. Instead, Nash seems to have an obsession with social media and documenting her life: sound familiar to many of us? And she’s harsh when it comes to people getting caught in compromising situations when it comes to social media. Her exact words “Fuck that. It’s the internet. Don’t want your shit out there? Then don’t make it easy for people to take advantage.

By the end of this first issue, however, Nash finds that life might not be that simple. That perhaps her motto of “Hackers gonna hack” is gonna actually come back and bite her in the ass. So yea, this is a comic that I’ll have to read a couple of times to get all of the nuances of it. But as of right now, I can’t wait for issue #2 to drop. Let’s hope it doesn’t disappoint.

The Art

No. 1 With a Bullet #1 detailThis is a story that would be nothing without the art. The art by Jorge Corona and the colors by Jen Hickman set the tone and the mood of this piece so perfectly that it’s actually kind of surreal. The colors are bold and in your face and the story needs that to carry it through. The interjection of social media is also done in such a way as to not slow the pace of the story are make it awkward to read.

There are times that certain sequences are a bit confusing to follow, but in this instance, I feel it works in the comic. And to be honest, by the end of the story we know there has been a shift. The sequence before is full of reds and oranges with some deep purples. The feeling is that things are intense, and they are. But the following sequence is full of light greens and pastel like colors. At least until the final page when one panel is back to brutal blood red.

The point is, the art works with the words to tell a story. A story I’m not fully up to speed on yet, but I’m willing to let that slid this time. It feels like the type of story that needs to have a degree of ambiguity before it all becomes clear. Here’s hoping the next issue is just as good as this one.

LOVE IT Runners Up: Hack/Slash: Resurrection, and The Grave Diggers Union (both Image)
Hack/Slash: Resurrection cover

Grave Diggers Union coverBoth of these books are definitely worth the read. It was a difficult choice this week to choose a LOVE IT book because of how much I loved these two books. I think I’m discovering that I have a love/hate relationship with everything zombie in general and with zombie comics specifically. Funny what we learn about ourselves in doing this job.

HATE IT: Eternity #1 from Valiant

Eternity #1 coverGotta be honest. This is one of those books that I felt like I needed a lesson on this universe before diving into it. I felt the same way about Power Pack, but at least that book tried to give me a crash course in what I needed to know. And after a little research, I found that I’m right. According to Oliver Sava who had a sneak preview of the book, this book looks deeper into “The Unknown” that was introduced in Divinity.

I did not know this until I looked it up while writing this piece. Yet I somehow sensed that I was missing out on something. That there had to be another book or series that this one was branching off from. The problem with that is that I know NOTHING about this “The Unknown,” and I felt I should. Listen people, #1s should start the user out fresh. If there is any backstory we need to know, either tell us up front, or somehow weave it into the first issue.

UGHHHHHH, the frustration here is real. And I KNOW that I’m not the only one who feels it. This very thing is why we can’t get newbies to pick up comics and start reading. They grab a number one in hopes of being able to start fresh with something new and lo and behold, they soon learn they have no earthly or multversely idea of what the hell is going on in the comic. But let’s say they are determined, and they stick with it for another 2, 3, maybe even a full story arcs worth. Are they rewarded for their diligence?? Likely not.

Now I know what you are thinking. There is no way a DC or a Marvel could catch the reader up on decades of Batman, Superman, Spiderman, or the like. And you are right. But I think newbies understand that aspect. EVERYONE knows how long these characters have been around. If they pick up a number 1, they know it’s not the beginning, but rather a continuation of a lore, a legend, that they at least have some clue about. But books like Eternity? Noooooooo. This should either give me enough back story so that I at least know there is something prior to this, or start fresh.

Enough ranting. I now return you to your regularly scheduled review.

So there you have it. My humble opinion of the #1 issues of the past two weeks. I’m off galavanting around the country until Thanksgiving, and, well, then it’s Thanksgiving. So here is wishing you and whomever you choose or not to celebrate the holiday with a really, really good one. And keep reading those comics. I’ll see ya in December!!!


Want more? Check out the Love It Hate It archive!

Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Oct 11 & Oct 18, 2017)

Rank up to six of the week’s #1’s, then compare the two in the top and bottom position. We call it Love It Hate It for the weeks of Oct 11 and Oct 18, 2017.

As promised, I’m still running behind, so I’ve combined another two weeks of Love It Hate It. Here’s hoping that the first of the year will see a bit of slack in my schedule (only one planned travel week) and that there will be enough #1 issues to support a once a week review.

For the weeks of Oct 11th & 18th, there wasn’t a lot that interested me, so I’m thinking for the future I might start looking at things I typically wouldn’t pick up. To be honest, that’s the best way to find gems in the massive rubble that often makes up #1 comics. For now, let’s see what the past two weeks had to offer.

The Past Weeks’ Love It Hate It Contenders

So this reviews Love em/Hate em are:

  1. Eugenic (Boom) (from Oct 4th, somehow overlooked this gem)
  2. Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan (Marvel)
  3. Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil (Dark Horse Comics)
  4. Maestros (Image)
  5. God Complex Dogma (Image)
  6. Evolution (Aftershock)
  7. Ragman (DC)
  8. Kid Lobotomy (IDW)

LOVE IT: Eugenic #1 from Boom (Oct 4th)

Eugenic #1 coverI’m not really sure how I managed to overlook this book when it came out, but I’m glad my friend Ashlie at the comic book store made sure she put it in my hands, literally. There is much to appreciate and like about this comic.

The Story

Writer James Tynion IV is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I know his work from the re-release of Detective Comics last year when he brought Batwoman back into a serious comic. And he did it well. Tynion IV knows how to include queer characters into comics without that diversity being all about the queer characters.

It’s true that many comic book fans want more diversity, but then publishers get it in their heads that the book itself needs to be all about that diversity, and that’s just not right. Those books, as we’ve seen time and time again, just won’t sale. The story needs to come first, and yes, the diverse characters have to be considered when creating that story, but that’s where it should end.

Here, Tynion IV creates a queer comic about ending diversity once and for all.  His main character, Doctor Cyrus Crane, who is a geneticist and just happens to be gay and married, makes the ultimate sacrifice to see his dream come true. It seems somewhat ironic that a diverse character with a marginalized identity wishes to end diversity once and for all. This story is a must read.

Eugenic #1 detailThe Art

As I’ve mentioned before, and I’m sure I’ll mention again, art and the words to talk about art often elude me. I can talk about color and layout and panels, and etc., but I often feel there are terms I should know that I just don’t. Suffice it to say that the art by Eric Donovan (Illustrator) and Dee Cunniffe (Colorist) is quite amazing. Don’t take my word for it though. Here is a sample from a two page spread.

My photo clearly does not do the image justice. This is why you should check this one out for yourself. The panel layouts go beyond the typical reading of left to right with nice clean borders, and the use of black for borders fits perfectly with the overall feel of the comic. I really do love this comic.

HATE IT: Kid Lobotomy#1 from IDW

Kid Lobotomy #1 coverI wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. Quite frankly, it’s a bit hard to put it in the “hate” category. However, of the eight books I read for this review, it definitely was my least favorite.

When I dislike a book, it almost always boils down to the story being told. That’s the case with this book as well. Peter Milligan’s (W) story just doesn’t have enough to hook me for this one. We have a kid, who ends up having a new kind of lobotomy in hopes of curing his insanity. He then turns to helping others by performing lobotomies in his hotel and eating the removed parts of his patients/victims brains. The results are not always what he’d hoped.

The problem is that I don’t get it. I don’t know why he does it, I don’t know why he eats the sections of brain he removes, I don’t know if it gives him some sort of power, I just don’t know!!! And for me, not knowing usually means I’m done with the book.

It’s a book I won’t pick up again, and for that reason, it moves into the Hate category for this review.

 


Want more? Check out the Love It Hate It archive!