Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Comic Book Review: Critter #1 Ongoing

Critter #1


Writer and Creator: Tom Hutchison


Art and Colors: Fieo Ossio


Letters: Kel Nuttall


Publisher: Big Dog Ink


Cover Price: $3.50


Genre: Superhero


Recommended to: All ages, fans of teen superheros, fans of Supergirl


Cassia Crawford, teen age superheroine Critter, has moved to Los Angeles to join the cat themed, all-girl super team Purrrfection. But as with many who venture to the City of Angels for a new life, Cassia finds that LA wants things...her way. A new costume and a new superhero name, to start with, and a hefty paycheck to ease the pain of leaving behind her life as Critter to fill the role of a dead teammate. Meanwhile Paradox continues to watch Cassia unseen to try and create a future he wants. 


The Critter series, continuing with this first issue of the new ongoing series, reminds me of the beginning of Robert Kirkman's Invincible. Like Invincible, Critter follows a young hero learning how to become a big time superhero, and like the early issues of Invincible, there's a lightheartedness to it. Critter, though, has more foreshadowing that things aren't always going to be lighthearted, thanks to the ever watching time controller Paradox. Critter also reminds me of our amazing friend Peter Parker because a focus for her series has always included how to balance her private life with her superheroing. 


Ossio's art for Critter #1 was clean and effective. He's got an impressive handling of story panel layout and style which helps the story flow along the page. I'm not saying Critter is the best series on the comic rack, but it's worth a chance. It's a fun series if you want a break from the overwhelming drama sweeping most of the supe titles. I know I do...


Buy Now: Big Dog Ink's Critter Ongoing Series #1

Saturday, December 24, 2011

USA Today's Year in Comics 2011, part 2

Continuing our look at USA Today's year in comics 2011...

Best Ongoing Series: USA Today - Locke and Key. Joe Hill's Locke and Key has been fabulous, absolutely, but I question its description as an "Ongoing series". I may be over technical, but I see it as a series of mini-series.

So...

Evil Genius Comics - a tie between Marvel's Thunderbolts and Boom Studios's Incorruptible. Marvel got my attention back when I found out the Man-Thing was joining up. Throw in Juggernaut and you've got two of my favorite Marvel characters and I can't just pass it by. But more importantly, Jeff Parker has made the comic exciting and unpredictable, as a series about super villains trying to reform should be. He made us feel bad for Juggernaut before he got his hammer to join in the "Fear Itself" campaign. He brought in a second team of Thunderbolts including Centurious, Boomerang, and Mr. Hyde, untrained and poorly screened leading to a group of Thunderbolts jaunting through history fighting alongside Captain America and the Invaders in World War II and back further to England and Jack the Ripper.


Mark Waid had made headlines with his series Irredeemable about a Superman level hero turning on humanity and ravaging the world for his own, still unknown, reasons. But as fun as that series has been, his second series, Incorruptible, about Max Damage, a villain scared straight in the wake of the Plutonian's rampage, has been more eagerly looked for in the Evil Genius labs. More so than the Thunderbolts do we see how difficult fighting against our past can be.




Best Miniseries: USA Today - Mark Millar's Superior. I picked this series up briefly, but it didn't hold my attention,

So...

Evil Genius Comics - I would say Locke and Key. Keys to the Kingdom finished in 2011 and Clockworks began. They also gave us thee Guide to Known Keys which carries the titillating hint of other keys yet to be found. In Clockworks we've been getting some of the back story of Key House all the way back to the Revolutionary War. The taunting caption on each cover counting down the number of issues until the end remind us that the fanciful ride which started in 2008 is almost over. We can't wait to see how it ends but desperately don't want it to end.






Best Book You May Not be Reading: USA Today - Gladstone's School for World Conquerors. 


Evil Genius Comics - Agreed. Yes, it's for all ages. Get over it. That doesn't make it childish. I love my villains and enjoy seeing how evil they can be, but young villains learning the world they were learning to terrorize and the parents they idolized aren't really true is a universal story of growing up and the loss of innocence, an ironic concept when dealing with villains, admittedly. Being able to read an issue and hand it to one of my children, the eldest being 9, is just an added bonus.


Best Comic Book Movie: USA Today - Captain America - *cough* Um, seriously? Ok, I liked it, yes. But it's number four of, well, four. X-Men: First Class was a more entertaining period superhero flick and Green Lantern has better action and humor,

but...

Evil Genius Comics - Thor - Thor had it all. Great action. Effective humor. Serious drama. All blended together into a wonderful story. They stayed true to the characters better in Thor than in First Class, Tom Hiddleston's Loki was more realistic than Hugo Weaving's Red Skull, which is not to belittle Weaving who played an excellent Johann Schmidt and should reprise the role for Avengers 2.





Best Comic-Book TV Series: USA Today - Walking Dead - I don't watch television until it comes out on DVD and I still haven't gotten a copy of Walking Dead season 1 (you hear that Santa?), but a friend Tivoed the first three episodes and loaned it to me. Good stuff. And as USA Today points out, there's not a whole lot of competition this year. I haven't given up on Locke and Key which I heard was great and I didn't hear about Wonder Woman,

So...

Evil Genius Comics - Agreed.


Join us again tomorrow, or soon, depending, it is Christmas day tomorrow after all, for more on the USA Today's year in comics with Evil Genius commentary.



Friday, December 23, 2011

USA Today's Year in Comics 2011, part 1

USA Today has come out with their Year in Comics list for 2011 and I give USA Today much props for dedicating an article to Geekdom's weekly habit. Face it guys, comic books are a drug and we comic geeks are habitual users who, by Wednesday, are pacing, itching, saying, "Is it Wednesday yet? How come it's not Wednesday? Tuesday sucks because it keeps me from Wednesday."

 Here's the Evil Genius Comics opinion on USA Today's opinion about the 2011 Year in Comics:

Best Writer: USA Today - Scott Snyder - Ok, USA Today says Snyder is a nice guy who does a hell of a job in the horror genre and is looking to put his name in Batman history along the lines of Morrison, Kane, and Miller with the Batman relaunch. Unfortunately, Snyder's credits involve a lot of titles I don't follow. I did follow his run on Detective Comics and found it very well done and can see how his dark, horror rooted sensibilities work for Gotham City.

 but...


Evil Genius Comics - Geoff Johns - There are a number of writers whom, when I see their names attached to a project, will almost guarantee I'll pick it up. Eric Powell, Paul Grist, Mike Mignola, Robert Kirkman and Keith Giffen are some of the names which will get my attention every time, but the Goon's sporadic releases and Godzilla: Kingdom of Monster's failure to really hold my interest hurt Powell. Grist was almost absent this year. Giffen finished up his entertaining Justice League: Generation Lost series and went on to helm the relaunched Omac series, but the problem with DC's 52 relaunch was, you just couldn't pick up everything you wanted to give a shot. Omac was one of the titles I reluctantly didn't even give a shot. Kirkman and Mignola have gotten into a very entertaining, looking forward to it every month, groove, but they've not really done anything new. Which left me with either Johns or Brian Michael Bendis. And it seems ironic to say, but Aquaman saved the day for Johns. If you roll your eyes when you see the relaunched Aquaman on the rack, take a leap anyway and give it a chance. Johns did the best thing he could do for Aquaman. Rather than fight against the ever present Aqua-mockery, he embraced it and ol' Arthur has to handle that mockery from the civilians he tries to protect. Anyone who can make Aquaman a fun read without pretense and haughtiness, as prior Aquaman series have been prone to, deserves major kudos. And that doesn't even include his work on the relaunched Justice League (Green Lantern's reaction to meeting Batman is priceless) and making Sinestro the hero in the relaunched Green Lantern.


Best New Writer: USA Today - Justin Jordan - I haven't read The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, so can't say...


but...

Evil Genius Comics - Shawn Gabborin - Admittedly I'm not positive Fracture is Gabborin's first series, but my quick, slipshod fact check didn't bring his name up with another series. Jeff's life get turned upside down when he learns he has a split personality, the superhero Virtue, or two, the super villain Malice.





Best Cover Artist USA Today - Lee Bermejo
Evil Genius Comics - Agreed









Best Superhero Artist USA Today - J. H. Williams III
Evil Genius Comics - Agreed. Most artistic pages out there. Beautiful.
















Best Non-Superhero Artist USA Today - Rob Guillory for Chew Evil Genius Comics - Agreed Check in tomorrow for some more comments on USA Today's Best of Comics 2011






Tomorrow we'll see if Evil Genius Comics agrees with USA Today on Best series, movies, and TV shows.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Comic Book Review: The Vault #2

The Vault #2

Story by: Sam Sarkar

Art by: Garrie Gastonny and Sakti Yuwono

Cover by: Garrie Gastonny and Bagus Hutomo

Published by: Image Comics

Cover Price: $3.50

Doctors Michael Page and Gabrielle Parker have found a strange sarcophagus sunken in one of the pits off of Sable Island, "the Graveyard of the North Atlantic." Hoping for treasure, their equipment tells them there is a bizarre skeleton, not quite human looking, inside.

Now the team who has put so much time and money into the search for treasure off of Sable Island have to decide what to do. Against the wishes of one voice of reason, the sarcophagus is opened revealing what is believed to be a sculpture of some sort with a rod and gold medallion.

But tensions get worse as the rod and medallion disappear and the not human skeleton sculpture...awakens...

It is no disrespect when I say Sarkar's horror comic seems written more with a movie director's eye than a comic writer's. Some subtleties which work onscreen are not quite as effective in comic format, but still show an impressive scope and vision for the tale he tells. A shift from dream sequence to reality is muted, the sudden, unexpected movement is spoiled by an errant eye glancing across a panel too early. But that does not belittle the tale here. The question is, with one issue left, can Sarkar pull it off. What happened to the rod and medallion? Did someone in the expedition know what they would find? And can a skeleton sculpture be killed?

Gastonny and Yuwono's art convey the story well, although without any of the grand, beautiful, creepy splash pages like issue #1.

I look forward to the next and final issue and wonder if Sarkar isn't hoping for some follow up series to finish the tale. After all, we have question from this issue compounding the question about the angels and demons opening in issue #1. It seems like a lot to wrap up in one issue.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Comic Book Review: The Cape #1

The Cape #1

Written by: Jason Ciaramella, based on the short story "The Cape" by Joe Hill

Art by: Zach Howard

Colors by: Nelson Daniel

Letters by: Shawn Lee

Published by: IDW Publishing

Cover Price: $3.99

Joe Hill is making a name for himself amongst horror literature fans with his 2005 collection of short stories, 20th Century Ghosts and his 2007 novel Heart-Shaped Box. Most recently he's published Horns in 2010 and been working on the IDW horror/fantasy comic Locke & Key. I've learned that when Joe Hill is involved, I need to give it a read.

So when The Cape came out on July 27th, I had to pick it up. As a child, Eric found a cape which allowed him to fly, but after an accident, he thought the cape was gone. But he finds it again as an adult.

So what happens when a punk kid, well, punk grown-up, gains superpowers in a normal world? Does he believe that with great power comes great responsibility? Or something else?

Eric's ex-girlfriend has been found dead and the police ask him questions, take some hair samples, etc. What will Eric do with the cape?

We've had common man find supernatural artifact to become a hero like Matthew Blurdy in "The Helm" from Dark Horse Comics. And villains are all the rage these days and getting their own series. But Hill's story isn't about a world conquering megalomaniac or even a spandex class sociopath. It's a normal guy finding he can do what others can't...and abusing it. In a world with Captain America or Superman, he's be nothing, but in a world where the only justice, the only avenging of wrongs, comes from the police...the average joe with a little power can become a frightening villain.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Comic Book Review: Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch

Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch

Written by: Emily McGuiness

Art by: Emily McGuiness

Letters by: Terry Blas

Publisher: Latchkey Studios

Cover Price: $15.97

Available at: Lulu.com

Adele and Ira and the rich children of a world wandering couple whose only contact with their children are letters which arrive with regularity. As Emily McGuiness describes them, they are "parents by mail."

Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch is the story of the man Ira becomes and how he developed to be that man and what happens when the letters stop coming.

I have to admit that I'm a superhero/horror kind of guy when it comes to comic books, graphic novels, and well, really anything, to be honest. So when I sat down with this slice-of-life drama I knew I needed to consciously give it a chance. But then, a short way in, I found myself going from page to page not forcing myself to give it a fair break, but honestly wanting to see where things were going with Ira and from where he had come.

Ira's not the nicest character you'll find. Hell, he's a jerk. But you'll still find yourself sympathizing with how he became the jerk he is and he even has moments where he gives off a heroic cast...well, anti-heroic, anyway.

Throughout the graphic novel, Emily McGuiness has included snippets of letters the siblings received from their absent parents which create an impressively solid pair of characters considering they are, like with Adele and Ira, absent save for the letters. I began looking forward to those to find out more about the absentee parents.

And Emily McGuiness's art here is very good. Her simplistic faces may create a concern about characters being mistaken for each other, but she cleverly keeps them distinctive primarily with their hair. With almost a hint of irony, the characters in this story dependent upon hand-written letters carry a resemblance to emotes from an email. Perhaps a comment, considering the realistic appearance of the letters, on the impersonal feel of our modern, oft used electronic forms of communication?

Ties: A Chronicle of Letters and Scotch is an impressive debut in graphic novels for Emily McGuiness and one you should be sure to check out.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic Book Review: The Vault #1

The Vault #1

Written by: Sam Sarkar

Art by: Garrie Gastonny

Color by: Sakti Yuwono

Cover by: Bagus Hutomo

Published by: Image Comics

Cover Price: $3.50

Release Date: July 27. 2011

A small team of treasure hunters struggles to excavate a dangerous and legendary treasure pit before a massive storm hits Sable Island, the "Graveyard of the North Atlantic".Equipped with all the latest technology, the scientists believe they are prepared against all of nature's fury, but nothing can prepare them for what they are about to unleash from The Vault.

Image's new horror mini-series starts off with a splash this week as Doctors Michael Page and Gabrielle Parker try to find treasure in Sable Island waters off the coast of Nova Scotia. This first issue is a well developed introduction to the characters and the conflict. Five people trying desperately to find a treasure to reward their hard work. One newcomer with the right equipment to finish the job and the demand for more money. One hurricane barreling their way. And the mysterious discovery.

The art by Gastonny and Yuwono does an impressive job portraying the events, especially the underwater scenes. Also, the first couple of splash pages, carrying a bit of foreshadowing as well as mystery, are very impressive.

Sarkar's tale is an intriguing one even if, admittedly, not devoid of horror movie cliche. But Sarkar's use of real islands and real events creates a realistic feel to what we know will become unrealistic supernatural mayhem. And I love unrealistic supernatural mayhem. Sarkar's tale does have a slightly choppy feel and some of his transitions could be smoother, but it's not so detracting to ruin the tale.

If you like horror movies and horror comics, then plunge into The Vault. You won't regret it.