Thursday, July 12, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi #1

Another Star Wars comic the Kiddo picked out at Merrymac Games and Comics in Merrimack NH. Star Wars books are the Kiddo's go-to comics of choice these days.

Title: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Issue: 1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: July 2018
Writer: Gary Whitta
Artist: Michael Walsh
Colorist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: VC's Travis Lanham
Cover: Mike Del Mundo
Editor: Heather Antos, Tom Groneman, Emily Newcomen

First part of Marvel's film adaptation for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The book captures the pacing of the film well, and there is a nice bit of internal monologue from Luke Skywalker that adds a bit of perspective. But of course, an adaptation is somewhat limited by its own nature. I liked the film, and the comic does a good job retelling that story.

It does leave out one of the more memorable comedic moments from early in the movie, and the space battle scenes fall a bit flat in terms of the actual action between spaceships. Paige Tico's scene is handled really well, though.

This generally works, but does not add a whole lot if you've seen the film.

Rating: 5.5/10

Monday, July 9, 2018

Metamo Kiss Volume 1

I got this one at a Little Free Library in Nashua NH it's also a Bookcrossing book. I'll be releasing it back into the wild at a Little Free Library in MA later today.

Title: Metamo Kiss
Issue: Volume 1
Date: 2007
Publisher: Tokyopop
Writer: Sora Omote
Artist: Sora Omote

After being separated from his family for most of his childhood, Kohamaru discovers that they have a rather unique property: Each family member has a soulmate with whom they can switch bodies upon kissing. Kohamaru finds this out the hard way in an awkward collision with a girl on a train platform, and it only gets more awkward from here.

The comedy relies a bit heavily on pretty simple switched-gender humor, but there is some depth to the background of the family and their strange abilities that opens the potential for the story to get more interesting as it goes.

Rating: 6/10

Friday, July 6, 2018

Journey To Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Captain Phasma #1

Got this one at Merrymac Games and Comics in Merrimack NH.

Title: Journey To Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Captain Phasma
Issue: 1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: November 2017
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles
Cover: Paul Renaud
Editor: Jordan D. White, Heather Antos

This story fills in the gap of how Captain Phasma manages to escape the destruction of Starkiller Base after being tossed into a garbage chute by the Resistance.

The action and artwork are quite good, but I feel like the fans (myself included) really want to see more character development for Phasma, and the brief interactions she has with people in the midst of the mayhem of Starkiller Base falling apart don't really give enough of that.

Fortunately, the seed is planted for an ongoing story, where more of Phasma's character can be revealed as she attempts to track down a possible traitor to the First Order.

There was nothing really original or surprising here, but it fills a gap in the story and was a good setup for possibly more interesting events to come.

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, July 5, 2018

DC Nation #0

First of several reviews of comics I got while visiting the US on summer break. I got this one at Newbury Comics at the Maine Mall in Portland ME.

Title: DC Nation
Issue: 0
Date: July 2018
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tom King, Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson
Artist: Clay Mann, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Dexter Vines, Jorge Jimenez
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire, Alex Sinclair, Alejandro Sanchez
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Josh Reed, Andworld Design
Cover: Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez
Editor: Jamie S. Rich, Brittany Holzherr, Mike Cotton, Jessica Chen, Rebecca Taylor, Andrea Shea

Three stories here, all lead-ins to summer releases from DC.

First up is a Joker story with the Joker holding a random guy hostage while he waits for the mail to arrive. This was the kind of thing that would have been creepy and disturbing in the late 1980s, but is just run-of-the-mill Joker stuff today. The ending was pretty much the least interesting of all possible outcomes.

Things improved significantly with the Superman story, which focused on the very underappreciated Perry White. It was great to see Perry get some solid character development. It also opened up the possibility of some interesting workplace drama at the Daily Planet with the introduction of a new antagonist with a lot of potential. It felt like a bit of a soft reboot, which are way too common in comics these days, but the characters really carried the story.

Third was a big cosmic-scale Justice League story. There is a rather silly reason given for the creation of four new teams based on the properties of Entropy (Batman, Lobo, Deathstroke, Beast Boy, Lex Luthor), Mystery (J'onn J'onzz, Superman, Starfire, Sinestro, Starro), Wonder (Wonder Woman, Doctor Fate, Etrigan, Raven, Zatanna), and Wisdom (Damian Wayne, Flash, Atom, Cyborg, Harley Quinn).

So this is all just an excuse for ridiculous teamups between heroes and villains. It had its moments. And Etrigan rhymes, so that's something anyway. I still have questions... How the heck did Damian Wayne land on team Wisdom? Is Wonder Woman just on team Wonder because of her name? Starro? Really? Starro?

The last bit reveals the cosmic threat that has prompted all of this, and it's... the Celestials, freshly arrived from the Marvel Universe! Well, I guess technically not, but they are too pretty and colorful to be Eldrazi, so they are Celestials for all intents and purposes.

Hopefully those wacky teamups will be fun, because the overall plot of this looks as dull as can be.

I suppose one out of three for a book like this is about all that could be hoped for.

Rating: 3.5/10

Friday, June 22, 2018

Marvel Fanfare #2

I got this last summer from a dealer at NJ Gamer Con.

Title: Marvel Fanfare
Issue: 2
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: May, 1982
Writer: Chris Claremont, Michael Golden, Roger McKenzie
Artist: Michael Golden, Trevor Von Eeden, Armando Gil
Colorist: Michael Golden, Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen, D. Albers
Editor: Al Milgrom

Marvel's (mostly) out-of-continuity anthology series from the 1980s had some real gems. The main feature here is a Spider-Man/Kar-Zar/Angel team-up set in the Savage Land by the team of Claremont and Golden. This was the second part of the story, and it had Angel and Spider-Man "devolved" into monsters as Kar-Zar tried to free them from the control of a group of Savage Land mutants. This had a very 1980s X-Men vibe to it, and it featured a decent amount of plot twists and left an opening for continuing the story.

The backup story is a Fantastic Four story done in the style of their early adventures in the 1960s when Reed Richards was trying to find a way to cure Ben Grimm of being The Thing. There's a recap of the FF's origin here, and solo battle between Reed and Annihilus. This was fun for the nostalgic feel.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 1: Squirrel Power

I bought this at a book fair at my school in Shanghai.

Title: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Issue: Volume 1: Squirrel Power
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: 2015
Writer: Ryan North, Steve Ditko, Will Murray
Artist: Erica Henderson, Steve Ditko
Colorist: Rico Renzi, Christie Scheele
Letterer: VC's Clayton Crowles, Brad K. Joyce
Cover: Erica Henderson
Editor: Jon Moisan, Jake Thomas, Wil Moss

Trade paperback collecting the first four issues of Squirrel Girl's first solo series, plus her debut appearance from Marvel-Super Heroes #8 in 1990.

Doreen Green, who has all the powers of a squirrel along with all the powers of a girl, is moving into her college campus in New York City. She's dealing with the usual issues: Annoying administrators who mess up schedules, a new roommate, Kraven the Hunter, Whiplash, and, um, Gaslactus.

This was amusing from start to finish, with Doreen's roommate, Nancy, almost completely stealing the show. There was also an awesome discussion about non-gendered pronouns between Doreen and Galactus,

The art is a perfect fit for the story and pacing, and Doreen's common-sense approach to dealing with villains is a winning formula.

The backup story is Doreen's debut appearance from 1990 where she takes on Doctor Doom. It does not go well for the Monarch of Latveria.

Rating: 8.5/10

Monday, June 4, 2018

Darth Vader #1

The Kiddo picked this one out last summer at one of the Newbury Comics stores.

Title: Darth Vader
Issue: 1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: July 2016
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover: Jim Cheung, Matthew Wilson
Editor: Jordan D. White, Heather Antos

This picks up directly from where Revenge of the Sith left off, showing us a newly-armored Vader who is still very much the young, angry man who was brought over to the dark side by Emperor Palpatine.

His initial quest is to gain a lightsaber of his own, and this apparently has to be done to old-fashioned way: by killing someone for it. Of course, with Order 66 already in the books, finding a Jedi may be harder than actually defeating one. As is usual at this stage in the saga, it's all pretty much a win/win for Palpatine.

There was a fun little callback (call-forward, really) to the climactic moment of Return of the Jedi, and the characters and setting look excellent. I didn't find myself all that invested in Vader as a lead character. He's still the whiny Annakin of the prequels here, and it looks like it's going to be a bit of a tall order for this solo (see what I did there?) series to make much of a change in that.

Rating: 5.5/10