Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Sep 27 & Oct 04, 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 Sep 27 & Oct 04, 2017.

My mantra of late has been “better late than never” and I’m sticking to that for the next eight weeks as my day job keeps me hopping from one location to the next, with never enough time in between to ever actually feel like I’ve caught up to Love It Hate It.

But comics . . . well, they help me keep my sanity, so here are the best and the worst from the past couple of weeks. And if you don’t see your picks on here, it’s simply because I wasn’t interested and had to somehow make this manageable. 🙂

The Past Weeks’ Love It Hate It Contenders

So this weeks Love em/Hate em are:

  1. The Tick (New England Comics Press)
  2. Slots (Image)
  3. Glitterbomb: The Fame Game (Image)
  4. Punisher: The Platoon (Marvel)
  5. Spirits of Vengeance (Marvel)
  6. Astonisher (Lion Forge)
  7. The Shadow Batman (Dynamite)
  8. Shadowman: Rae Sremmurd (Valiant)

LOVE IT: The Tick #1 from New England Comics Press

Tick (2017) #1 coverWhat’s not to love about this re-issuing/new beginning of The Tick? I’m guessing it’s come out now in conjunction with the television show, but I’m ok with that. Writers Cullen Bunn and Jimmy Z along with artist Douglas Paszkiewicz and colorist Erika Rolbiecki have created a book that is both fun to read and enjoyable to look at. Let’s start with the art.

The Art

It’s the combination of the way this comic is drawn and the colors that make it a sheer pleasure just to flip through and look at. It very much gives me a sense of nostalgia without taking it to the extremes that some creators do to give one that feeling. It’s colorful without being over the top. Often in a book like this the colors would be vividly bright, to the point of actually hurting your eyes if you look for too long, but Rolbiecki keeps the bright colors without making them eye bulgingly vivid.

Douglas Paszkiewicz’s (A) art is simple without being simplistic. I think there is a difference. The lines are clean and the panels focused. You see exactly what you need to see to know what is happening in this comic without a lot of fluff. I absolutely love the look of this book. Would this work for something like Sink or Slots . . . absolutely not, but it’s perfect for these characters.

The Story

Many would call be a wordsmith in my profession. I teach writing, I write, and I elocute, so yea, words are kinda my thing. So the storyline of this book had me hooked from the moment Tick said “AND PRESTIDIGITATORS ARE TOO SECRETIVE TO EVER TEAM UP WITH ANYONE!” Really? Who uses prestidigitators in a comic? I love it. After Tick’s exposure to gas, he branches out and becomes a connoisseur of the fine arts.

Tick’s adventure along with his sidekick Arthur will take them and us to the one place we all need to go: the origin of Tick. Who doesn’t need to know where the superhero Tick originates from?!! Of course we do, and apparently so do Ninjas and clowns!!

HATE IT: Shadowman: Rae Sremmurd #1 from Valiant

Shadowman Rae Sremmurd #1 coverThis book is beyond bad, and I was not expecting that. The first three pages had me hooked, but when I flipped to the fourth page . . .? It went downhill fast. I’m talking downhill skiing kinda fast. Like whooooooooaaaaaa look out for that tree kinda fast.

So I’m a huge blues fan and the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil so that he could play the blues is probably well known to many. So clearly, Eliot Rahal (W) hooked me in the first three pages of this comic with a retelling of this story. The art work of Renato Guedes fits the storyline perfectly. The muted earthy colors and indistinct watercolor style of art works.

But then, it all went so terribly wrong. For me, it’s just a modern day version of a story that is already a classic. Why mess with it? We have the same devil offering the same type of deal to two youngsters. They, unlike Johnson, have no idea what they are really getting themselves into. So when their day of judgement comes, they turn for help . . . Shadowman.

So ok, maybe the story works to a degree, but it’s just not great. What’s even worse though? The artwork. There are several panels where I’m wondering if someone had taken photos of individuals and run them through a filter to get the artwork. It’s not every panel, but it’s enough to make me NOT want to look at it anymore.

So yea, when I really dislike a comic, I REALLY dislike it. This is one of those.

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

Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Sep 13 & 20, 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 Sep 13 & 20, 2017.

Last week I was out of town and couldn’t pick up comics, so this week I’ve decided to look at some of last week’s #1 comics as well as this weeks. Therefore, I actually read 11 – yes count ’em, 11 – comics for this week’s Love It Hate It.

Let’s dig in.

This Week’s Love It Hate It Contenders

So this weeks Love It is:

  1. Sink (ComixTribe)
  2. Realm (Image)
  3. Wonder Woman/Conan (DC)
  4. Angelic (Image)
  5. Generations: Ms. Marvel (Marvel)
  6. Gasolina (Image)
  7. The Evil Within: The Interlude (Titan Comics)
  8. The Librarians (Dynamite)
  9. Retcon (Image)
  10. Mr. Crypt (Alterna Comics)
  11. Dark Ark (After Shock)

LOVE IT: Sink #1 from ComixTribe

Sink #1 coverI was honestly unsure about this comic by John Lees (W) and Alex Cormack (A), but it was recommended to me by one of my comic book peeps, so I had to give it a try.

Horror comics can be either really, really good, or really, really bad. There really is no in-between for me on this. So I was hesitant, but willing to try this one.

My reaction? “Damn, this shit is sick.” And it is . . . in many ways.

So I have a confession. I think part of my enthusiasm for this comic is the fact that I just visited Glasgow for the first time a couple of months ago. So it was like I immediately had a connection. When I saw the comic art representing a statue with a construction cone on it’s head, I instantly recognized it. So yea, this comic felt right.

And it feels right for more reasons than me having just visited Glasgow. As horror comics go, this is one that fits the really, really good category.

The Art

First there is the art and color by Alex Cormack (A). The character depictions are unique and each one looks like an individual. That might seems like a dumb thing to say, but I’ve read plenty of comics where it was difficult to tell one charter from another. Not with the multitude of characters in this comic.

Next, the gore is definitely gory, and the panels that depict action are full of it. Sometimes to the point it’s hard to no what’s up and what’s down, but in a horror comic that NEEDS, no, HAS to build suspense and fear, this is exactly what the art work should do.

Finally, red is red. Again, an important feature in a horror comic. Horror is dark and sinister, so when red pops into the panel, it needs to be the bright, bloody red we all expect, and Cormack delivers.

The Story

Beyond the art, however, is the writing of John Lees (W). Even though the art is just as important, if not more so, when it comes to horror comics, you still have to have a story on which to base that art. The story first takes us to a critical point, brings us back down with a type of resolution, and then shocks us back to our main characters reality at the end.

The worst thing about this comic? Knowing that it’s a limited series of only five comics. Then again, I’m not sure my heart could take much more.

HATE IT: Dark Ark #1 from Aftershock

Dark Ark #1 coverHate is a strong word, but I gotta admit, it’s pretty accurate to the way I feel about this book by Cullen Bunn (W) and Juan Doe (A). The question is why.

It’s not the art or even the storytelling. For me, this comic loses me with it’s topic. The topic interested me, however, so it makes me wonder if I would have liked it with a different story teller??!! Impossible to say . . . all I know is that it failed to impress me with this one.

Part of my issue is what I perceived as the overuse of red in certain parts of the comic. Red is a powerful color, and I firmly believe that too much can be hard on the eyes and cause a person to not spend a lot of time looking, which when it comes to comics, is unfortunate.

My other issue is just the story itself. I like the idea of there being a “dark ark” that carries the mythical and underworld beast during the 40 day floods, but other components of the story are just off-putting to me. Others will likely love the story.

Until next time.

Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Sep 06, 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 week of Sep 06, 2017.

This week’s #1 comics were much better than in previous weeks. Instead of six, I actually ended up with seven premier issues for this week’s Love It Hate It.

Let’s see how those seven stack up against each other…

This Week’s Love It Hate It Contenders

So this weeks Love It (and I really did) is:

  1. A tie between Scales & Scoundrels (Image) & The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Titan Comics)
  2. Made Men (Oni Press)
  3. Bombshells: United (DC)
  4. Iron Man/Ironheart: Generations (Marvel)
  5. Kingsman: The Red Diamond (Image)
  6. What Is a Glacier (Retrofit / Big Planet Comics)

Scales & Scoundrels #1 from Image Comics

Scales and Scoundrels #1 coverI knew I’d love Scales and Scoundrels by Sebastian Girner (W) and Galaad (A) from just looking at the cover, or at least I hoped it would. As one of the comic book store geeks said, it has the look and feel of Rat Queens, and that is one of my favorite books to come out in a long time. I’m happy to say that Scales and Scoundrels did not disappoint.

I’ve mentioned before – art is not my strength when it comes to reviewing comics. I either love it, simply like it, am generally not impressed at all with it, or out and out hate it. With that in mind, what I can say about Scales and Scoundrel is that I LOVE the artwork.

It, along with the vibrant colors, are enough alone to hook someone into this comic. It’s truly stunning just to sit and slowly page through without ever reading a word. The final 2-page spread, completely without words, is brilliant and begins to hint at the origins of our protagonist. And now that I think about it, I don’t believe we ever learn her name in this first issue.

Clearly, I love the story as well. It’s really difficult to get comics who have a really strong female lead and Girner does an excellent job of giving us just that: a protagonist that, at first glance, we are going to love. She is one who takes no shit from anyone, but who also has a heart and that heart sometimes interferes with her need for riches. So yea, I love Scales and Scoundrels.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo #1 from Titan Comics

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo #1 coverBut what about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Sylvain Runberg (W) and José Homs (A). I honestly did not know what to expect from this book, and I was sooooooo pleasantly surprised. And don’t let the price tag of $5.99 scare you off. It’s absolutely worth every penny of that for this 62 page, no ads, comic.

My hesitation on this comic stemmed from the fact that I read ALL the books several years ago, when they were first a #1 sensation in the US. The books were brutal at times, but the kind of books you couldn’t – or didn’t – want to put down. I wondered if they would be able to bring that same brutality and suspense to a comic without it becoming too much.

They did. From page one, I was hooked. They expertly put into images the very first pages of that first book. I immediately recognized the original book in the comic. For me, that’s talent. This book was just as suspenseful and page turning as the original novel. So much so that I can’t wait for the second one to come out.

But the art – well, the art is unique/unusual. It feels raw and gritty. There were times I didn’t want to see the images at all, but I was pulled into them and felt compelled to look at them even though I didn’t want to. I feel like that says a lot about the artwork here. It’s not what I’m used to, and perhaps that’s what makes it so damn compelling.

I loved both of these books so much that they will now be on my pull list. That says a lot. I don’t often get sucked into comics that I review, but both of these #1s have me hooked!

What Is a Glacier from Retrofit / Big Planet Comics

What is a Glacier #1 coverAs for the book I hated, well, I truly hated it – Sophie Yanow’s What Is a Glacier? is not for your typical superhero reading comics fan. That’s not to say it doesn’t have an audience, but at a $6.00 price tag, I’m not sure who that audience is.

The book is done in black and white, which I typically love, but not so much this time. The ambiguity of our main protagonist left me wondering if I was intended to know the sex/gender of the character. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I think I’ve nailed it down, and I still think I finally figured it out, but I’m not sure I should have to work that hard at it.

So the artwork is ambiguous at best and simplistic in it’s rendering of images. The story, however, is where it really lost it for me. I kept waiting for something – anything – to happen, and not in a superhero kind of way; clearly it’s not that kind of book.

I felt I should have had some type of reveal, some type of existentialist moment . . . something . . . anything. Instead, I was left feeling like I hadn’t really learned much about why our protagonist is obsessed with glaciers. I also didn’t feel like I learned whether or not I should be taking climate change as an emergency or something that’s beyond our help. Sorry, but What Is a Glacier? left me wondering why anyone would pay $6.00 for it.

Until next time.

Love It Hate It: The Weeks #1’s (Aug 30, 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 week of Aug 30, 2017!

Below are the four debut comics I read for Love It Hate It, ranked in the order from  favorite to least-favorite.

This week’s #1 comics were pretty slim pickin’s. In fact, there were four (well actually only three) that I had any interest in whatsoever, but I ended up with a fourth one just to make it an even number.

This Week’s Love It Hate It Contenders

So this weeks Love It (and I really did) is:

  1. Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye#1 (Marvel Comics) followed by
  2. Star Wars: Mace Windu—Jedi of the Republic #1 (Marvel Comics)
  3. Doctor Who: The Lost Dimension #1 (Titan Comics).
  4. and the one I hated (and I really did) is… Darkseid Special #1 (DC Comics)

Darkseid Special #1 from DC Comics

Darkseid Special #1 coverI know I dogged on last weeks Over-sized issue as well, and a lot of my problem with it was the art work that was made to look more nostalgic.

The main story of this week’s issue by Mark Evanier (W), and Scott Kolins (A) did not attempt to recreate a comic that looked or read “old school.” In fact, as I read the story “The Resistance!” I enjoyed the art, the layouts, and the coloring.

So what happened? The story just . . . well, died. The ending was so unbelievably WRONG. It was a really good story, but cut short in mid-stride.

If not for the poor ending, this main story could have been in the running for the top spot this week. But in order to make that rank, you have to have a solid story from beginning to end.

There’s also the little problem of the other story “OMAC: One Man Army Corp” not being good either.

I don’t even know what to say about it. I did not enjoy it: I did not like the story, did not like the art, did not like the colors or layouts. I liked nothing about it. Sorry Darkseid, better luck next time.

Enough about the Hate It comic, let’s talk about the one that I LOVED.

Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1 from Marvel Comics

Generations Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1 coverThis week’s top pick is Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1. Maybe it isn’t fair to include Generations each week, but they are listed as #1’s, so I figure they are fair game. And this week, I’m glad I did or it would have been another week of a having a “Love It” that was second rank.

Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1 by Kelly Thompson (W) and Stefano Raffaele (A) appealed to me from beginning to end. The writing is superb as is the story.

Something I ALWAYS appreciate in a story is humor, and Thompson effortlessly weaves humor in and out of the story at just the right moments. Kelly’s ability to integrate “asshat” into the story multiple times without it seeming forced is a testament to her ability with words.

While I typically want layouts in comics to be creative and unique, I also appreciate the use of a clean straightforward layout as well – with nice white borders and defined panels.

If I had to find fault with this comic (almost all of the Generations comics actually), it might be the fact that they do not use enough of one time period or another in the art.

For instance, the only clue to past/future is in the costumes, and for someone not familiar with the old/new outfits, this would not be enough. At least in the Thor issue last week, there was a definite time period (old) with a modern Mighty Thor inserted.

Even this is minor as the writing makes it clear the younger female Hawkeye is time traveling. Overall, this issue is A+. Definitely LOVE It.

Until next time!

Love It Hate It banner photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash