Friday, May 25, 2018

Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel #1

Bought this one last summer at New England Comics, Quincy MA.

Title: Batman '66 Meets Steed & Mrs. Peel
Issue: 1
Date: September 2016
Publisher: DC Comics / Boom! Studios
Writer: Ian Edginton
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Cover: Michael Allred, Laura Allred
Editor: Kristy Quinn, Jessica Chen, Chris Rosa

This was a must-buy for me, as it features a mashup of my two favorite vintage TV shows. That being said, movie/TV adaptations are hard, and most of this felt like a good attempt, but just a bit off.

The story involves a series of jewel thefts that have spread from England to the US. Bruce Wayne is showing corporate executive Michaela Gough around Gotham's rare gemstone exhibition when the Catwoman shows up with a group of henchmen intent on looting the place. Bruce Wayne signals to Robin and Alfred to make the save, but before they can arrive, John Steed and Emma Peel make short work of the bad guys in their own distinct style.

It's not long before the Dynamic Duo are teaming up with the We-Can't-Use-The-A-Word, and a group of Cybernauts have arrived to take out Catwoman.

This set a pretty impossible set of high expectations for me, and it tried really hard to make them. There were some places where it worked great. Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara were spot-on. Robin had his moments, and Catwoman and Mrs. Peel admiring each other's choice of outfits was perfect (sorry, purrrrfect!).

The banter between Steed and Peel wasn't really there, Mrs. Peel's fight scene felt a lot more like a generic comic fight than Emma Peel, and the Adam West Batman's lines felt forced (and unfortunately, not in the way that Adam West Batman's lines are supposed to feel forced).

There was enough here that I would like to keep reading to see how it plays out, and I totally appreciate the absolute brilliance of the concept. I'm hoping this will get better as it hits its stride.

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Daredevil Noir

From from my unread books pile. I'm not sure where I got this one.

Title: Daredevil Noir
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: 2009
Writer: Alexander Irvine
Artist: Tom Coker
Colorist: Daniel Freedman
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Editor: Axel Alonso, Sebastian Girner, Jennifer Grunwald

Hardcover collection of the original four-issue series.

Set in Marvel's "Noir" alternate universe, this 1930s-era version of Daredevil has most of the classic elements readers will expect: Wilson Fisk, Foggy Nelson, Hell's Kitchen, and even a "Bullseye Killer".

This was a very well crafted story that stands on its own, and retains the heart of Daredevil's mythos. The action sequences were excellent, and the characters were spot-on. Foggy Nelson and the Kingpin were especially good.

Really, in many ways, this story could have been done in the standard continuity as easily as in this alternate world, and some readers may find that it is not enough of a departure. The changes made from the standard Marvel continuity didn't feel like much of a leap: Matt Murdock is an assistant to Foggy, a private investigator. Other than that, the biggest change is a new interpretation of Bullseye, and the addition of gangster Orville Halloran, and up-and-coming mobster who serves as an effective new villain.

The pacing of the story was a nice build to an effective conclusion, and I thought the climactic twists and action were effective, along with a really fun open ending in the final pages.

This is a good story that hits Daredevil's classic thematic elements through just enough of a different lens to make it feel fresh.

Rating: 8.5/10

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lumberjanes Volume 3: A Terrible Plan

Bought this one last summer in the US (don't recall which store). My review of Volume 1 is here, and my review of Volume 2 is here.

Title: Lumberjanes Volume 3: A Terrible Plan
Date: February, 2016
Publisher: Boom! Studios (Boom Box)
Writer: Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters
Artist: Carolyn Nowak, Brittney Williams, Aimee Fleck, Faith Erin Hicks, Rebecca Tobin, Felicia Choo, T. Zysk
Colorist: Maarta Laiho
Letterer: Aubrey Aiese
Cover:  Noelle Stevenson
Editor: Dafna Pleban, Whitney Leopard

The opening story here is really a collection of stories, as the campers gather around the fire to tell spooky tales, which are lovingly illustrated by a series of guest artists. This makes for an eclectic mix that does a nice job of reflecting the personalities of the characters as they act as storytellers.

The real plot, though, has the campers split up on a day of free time at camp. Mal and Molly take a picnic lunch and set out on their very first date, only to encounter the Bear Woman and take an unintended trip to a dimension of lost things. Lost things, of course, include hungry dinosaurs.

Back at camp, April, Jo, and Ripley get busy trying to earn all of the most boring badges they can think of, competing in ballroom dancing, cake decorating, fence-painting, and scrapbooking ("More glitter!!!").

The plot back at camp provides the comic relief, but this story is all about the budding romance between Mal and Molly, and it is so adorable that it completely steals the show. There are a bunch of great character moments, a few fun nods to Jurassic Park, and enough imperilment to keep things entertaining.

I also felt with this volume that I've seen enough of the Lumberjanes world that the rules and logic are falling into place, which ends up strengthening the plot as events feel more consistent and less random than they did in the first two volumes. The worldbuilding is subtle but effective, and it provides the foundation to better focus on the character development, especially of Molly and Mal.

This was sweet and fun, and I will definitely be seeking out more soon.

Rating: 9/10

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dark Sights

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Dark Sights
Publisher: Against Studios / No Name Press
Date: 2005
Writer: Tom Lin
Artist: Amie Key

This is the companion comic to Dark Signs (reviewed here). The focus here is on a homeless man traumatized by a past encounter with demonic forces. There is a lot of time-jumping, plus a cliffhanger ending, and the result is a plot the feels disjointed. It does capture the main character's disbelief and doubt of his own memories nicely, and the demons have a distinctive and creepy look.

There are also some super-powered characters who emerge to battle the demons, but not much is given in terms of their story.

This book has a nice look, but it didn't give me enough story to really hook me.

Rating: 4.5/10

Friday, May 18, 2018

Doodles Vol. 1

From the random stack of unread comics.

Title: Doodles
Issue: Vol. 1
Publisher: KS Productions / Kaiser Studio
Artist: Bryan Kaiser Tillman

This is really a sketchbook, as the title suggests.The sketches are mostly characters, with some pages focusing on detail work like heads and weapons.

The art all has a science fiction/fantasy vibe, with a lot of video game influence. It's all very nice technically although it doesn't feature much diversity in terms of body type. The characters all look like pretty standard types of the genre. The close-up details on heads and faces was nice, as were some smaller sketches featuring some nonhuman creatures.

A small number of handwritten notes accompany a few of the pieces and serve to give some additional insights into the mind of the artist.

This was a visually enjoyable book, but it didn't have anything that really stood out.

Rating: 5/10

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Batwoman #7

A cover variant that I got in 2012 when I was reading a bunch of DC's New 52 titles. It ended up in the random stack of unread comics after I hit New-52-burnout a few months in.

Title: Batwoman
Issue: 7
Date: May 2012
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: J. H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman
Penciller: Amy Reeder
Inker: Rob Hunter
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover: Amy Reeder
Editor: Harvey Richards, Rickey Purdin, Mike Marts

The last issue in this run that I read was #3 (reviewed here), which had Batwoman going up against the urban legend figure known as the Weeping Woman.

Now, the Weeping Woman has been revealed to be part of something larger, a criminal gang with supernatural abilities and connections led by a man named Falchion. The opening scene sets up their confrontation, but this issue is almost entirely flashbacks. There is enough here to piece together the basic scenario but it's got probably a few more parts in motion than it really needs to have.

I did like the modern urban fantasy vibe that smoothly meshes high tech cop drama with supernatural magic, and it sets up what looks to be an epic showdown that will hopefully be worth the convoluted path getting there. I do have issue #8, so I should get to find out soon.

Rating: 6/10

Monday, May 14, 2018

Princeless Book 4: Be Yourself #1

I picked this issue up last summer at Double Midnight Comics in Manchester NH.

Title: Princeless Book 4: Be Yourself
Issue: 1
Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment
Date: June, 2015
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Emily Martin
Colorist: Brett Grunig
Letterer:Emily Spura

Adrienne, Bedelia, and Sparky crash-land in Grimmorium Swamp, home of such flesh-eating goblins, electric fish, and squirrels. Things rapidly go from bad to worse.

Meanwhile the King's latest attempt to bring out Devin's manliness instead ends up playing to his budding detective skills, and it may unlock the path to rescuing the Queen.

There were a lot of good details and creative challenges here that keep right on the edge between comedic and deadly serious. The character interplay was great, and the story veered into some fun unexpected directions, while continuing to bend and twist gender tropes at every opportunity.

Rating: 8/10