Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chakra The Invincible: Free Comic Book Day Special

Title: Chakra The Invincible: Free Comic Book Day Special
Publisher: Graphic India, Stan Lee's Pow Entertainment
Date: 2013
Writer: Stan Lee, Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra, Ashwin Pande, Jeevan Kang, Scott Peterson
Artist: Jeevan Kang, Ashish Avin
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Editor: Ashwin Pande

An old-fashioned superhero story set in Mumbai, with no less a personage as Stan Lee co-credited as creator. Chakra the Invincible is a super-powered teenager protecting the city of Mumbai from crime and supervillains.

The story, or rather, what little of the story we get in this special, is pretty familiar stuff. It's hinted that protagonist Raju Rai gained his chakra-based energy powers in some sort of scientific mishap. Raju is written as a young Peter Parker type character. Orphaned and raised by his older brother, he keeps his powers a secret while he and his brother struggle to make ends meet. But at night, Raju defends the city as Chakra.

Jeevan Kang does a very nice job with the artwork, especially with the effects around the chakra energy powers. Chakra has super strength and flight, and his energy projection abilities give a bit of a Green Lantern flavor to the action scenes. The drawing style reminds me of the DC Animated Universe comics.

The use of Indian culture in the story works well. It's not over-explained, but there are tons of little setting and culture details in the background that help give a bit of flavor to a story that feels fairly familiar.

Although the stories presented in this issue are very introductory, I was impressed with the look of the book and the general positive vibe of the storytelling. This is a nice start for Stan Lee's collaboration with Graphic India.

Rating: 7.5/10

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lesbians 101

I don't normally review webcomics here. I'm making an exception because...

1) This comic seemed appropriate, given the events of this week.

2) It is an essentially complete work, rather than something open-ended. There are some areas still to be filled in, but it has a beginning, middle, and ending as written.

3) It's pretty awesome.

Title: Lesbians 101
Date: 2013
Publisher: A. Stiffler and K. Copeland
Creators: A. Stiffler, K. Copeland

Stiffler and Copeland present a simple online introductory course in comic form on what lesbians are. And what they are not. This is very cleverly written. It's funny and heartfelt and adorable, while presenting its information in an accessible way without holding anything back.

And quite a bit of it feels like its stating the obvious. Except that in stating the obvious, this comic does a great job of pointing out that for many people (people who would ask idiotic questions like "which one of you is the man in the relationship?"), there is a lot to be learned. Including a lot of the basics.

The last of the seven lessons was particularly great in affirming that sexuality is personal and that each person's sexuality and how they choose to express it are unique.

This is an important conversation, and it's done in a fun and casual style with cute artwork, a sense of humor, and a sense of caring.

Rating: 8.5/10

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rival Angels: Rookie Year Volume 2

Title: Rival Angels: Rookie Year Volume 2
Date: 2010
Publisher: Rival Angels
Writer: Alan Evans, Justin Riley, Dan Head
Artist: Alan Evans, Dan Head
Colorist: Dustin Yee, Jessica Hunsberger, Marcia da Piedade Nunes Patricio

Trade paperback compilation of the Rival Angels webcomic. I picked up the first volume last summer at Otakon, and bought this one when I ran into creator Alan Evans at Anime Boston 2013.

This is a pro wrestling comic, telling the story of fur rookie wrestlers in their first year in the "big league" of the Rival Angels federation. Kayfabe story. All of the in-ring action is considered real.

In the previous review I mentioned that Alan Evans knows his wrestling. The action is familiar enough to be authentic and original enough to stay interesting. There were some in-ring moments that would look awesome in an actual wrestling match (the "tsunami"!).

What I especially liked in this volume, though, was the out-of-ring character development, especially the relationship between "Ultragirl" Sabrina Mancini and "Lil Dragon" Sun Wong. They have some great scenes just developing their friendship, even as events are happening that will threaten the friendship down the road.

The story had good, complex backstage intrigue happening, and it also used flashbacks to give more insight into the backgrounds of some of the lead characters, including what amounted to a complete origin story for Sun.

This volume showed a lot more character depth, and the out-of-ring storylines moved away from the reality-TV flavor that characterized the first volume.

I'm a longtime wrestling fan. I bought this volume because it was a good story about wrestling. I'll be buying the next volume just because it's a good story.

Rating: 8/10

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Holy Crap Waffles

A minicomic from the backlog. I got another of Sophie Goldstein's minicomics at MECAF 2012, so this one probably came from that show as well.

Title: Holy Crap Waffles
Date: 2001
Publisher: Sophie Goldstein
Writer: Sophie Goldstein
Artist: Sophie Goldstein

Eight-page micro-minicomic with color cardstock cover, from the co-creator of Darwin Carmichael is Going To Hell.

This is a tale of a waffle-making mishap involving an overenthusiastic waffle iron.Goldstein does a great job with the anthropomorphic waffle iron's "facial" expressions. And it is "Based on true events, kinda."

Amusing example of how you can make anything into a comic story. Not long on plot, but fun.

Rating: 6.5/10

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Why Go To Slovakia?

Why Go To Slovakia?

This comic that I picked up from Marek Bennett at the Rochester NH Free Comic Book Day Festival answers that very question.

Title: Why Go To Slovakia?
Publisher: Marek Bennett
Date: 2011
Writer: Marek Bennett
Artist: Marek Bennett

Another micro-minicomic. This was written and drawn by Marek Bennett as an answer to the title question. As it turns out, there are many reasons, and Bennett presents a mini-lesson in Slovak language as he lists them.

With the narrator in anthropomorphic bunny form, the reader gets a mini-tour that covers art, food, music, history, and culture in 30 small one-panel pages.

I particularly enjoyed his perspective on church murals and stained glass as an ancient form of sequential art (comics are komisky in Slovak!).

This was a nice bit of insight into Slovakia as well as the artist's life and thought process.

Rating: 8/10

Crazy People

Here's a minicomic that came from a comics workshop for kids run by Marek Bennett. I picked it up at the Rochester NH Free Comic Book Day Festival.

Title: Crazy People
Publisher: Marek Bennett
Date: 2013
Writer: Jackson RoBichaud
Artist: Jackson RoBichaud

Quarter-sized stickfigure minicomic created by one of the participants in Marek Bennett's comics workshops for kids. This book has two stories. The first involves a person falling off of a table in a less-than-conventional way. The second is about crazy drivers, or rather, it is a profile of two drivers, one of whom is crazy. The other is not.

I had to squint a bit to read some of the dialogue, but this was funny in an oddball sort of way.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, June 24, 2013

DC Nation Super Sampler: Beware The Batman #1

From Free Comic Book Day 2013.

Title: DC Nation Super Sampler: Beware The Batman #1
Issue: #1
Date: July, 2013
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Mitch Watson, Scott Beatty, J. Torres
Artist: Luciano Vecchio, Todd Nauck, Larry Stucker
Colorist: Heroic Age
Letterer: Wes Abbott, Phil Balsman
Cover: Dave Bullock
Editor: Alex Antone, Sarah Gaydos, Jeanine Schaefer, Tom Palmer Jr.

This is DC's all-ages offering for Free Comic Book Day 2013. The main story here is a fairly typical Batman tale, with the Batman taking on a gang led by a villain named Tobias Whale, who looks like Marvel's Kingpin and talks with the same random scattering of nautical terms as the Penguin in the 1966 Adam West Batman film.

The Batman takes on some thugs, they get the better of him for a brief time, then he uses his various skills and devices to turn the tables, with Alfred and the Bat-Sub(!) lending a hand to (literally) torpedo Whale's weapon-smuggling plot. At the end, a new threat is revealed, which turns out to be a new look for a familiar villain.

Luciano Vecchio gave this a very nice look, and the pacing and action were good. The dialogue could have been better, and there was nothing particularly groundbreaking plot-wise, but it served its purpose as a good introduction to Batman action and the Beware the Batman series.

The backup story was a Teen Titans Go! reprint featuring the team doing battle with a villain with a stage magician gimmick and real magical powers. The action was a bit confusing, and the villain's plot seemed a bit uninteresting. He could do all of this nifty stuff and chose to use it to rob a bank. Robin gets hit with a spell that makes him speak in Zatanna-speak (but without her powers; he just says everything backwards), and a fair amount of the story is just jokes around nobody being able to understand Robin. One interesting gimmick that I had never seen before: A maze and a connect-the-dots puzzle incorporated into the artwork. Clever.

There were a couple of other short backup features: A character profile of Cyclops, and a two-page introduction spread featuring the characters of Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld. I don't know much about this character, but I did like her origin as an introverted video game designer. Might have to give this version of Amethyst a look sometime.

Rating: 6/10

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Soul Rescue Volume 1

We had our first yard sale of the summer. Here at Ogremoot, even the yard sales are geeky, with comics, manga, board games, Magic cards, and a ton of SF/fantasy books. We did well, but there were  expected long stretches without customers, so I grabbed one of the manga volumes I had up for sale somewhat at random (I looked for books that were the first volume in their series). These are mostly books I haven't read. I picked them up to sell online, and suspended online sales to put them in the yard sale.

So this is what I ended up reading today in between yard sale customers and helping my son manage his lemonade stand.

Title: Soul Rescue
Issue: Volume 1
Date: 2006
Publisher: Tokyopop
Writer: Aya Kanno
Artist: Aya Kanno

When warrior-angel Renshi disobeys orders one time too many, he is hauled before a sort of heavenly court-martial and is exiled to Earth by God Himself (depicted here as a dude in a weird helmet with tubes and goggles).

Renshi is stripped of much of his angelic power and given the gift of soul rescue, a power of complete physical and spiritual healing. So the warrior needs to learn to live and think as a healer. Furthermore, he will not be allowed to return to Heaven until he has healed 10,000 souls. This does a nice job of setting up the potential for this to be a very long series. Especially since he only successfully uses the power twice. So, two down, and 9,998 to go.

After the introductory scenario, the volume basically can be broken into three stand-alone stories. All three are good. In the first, Renshi and his heavenly-assigned assistant, Kaito, encounter a young woman and her two young siblings. A friendship quickly forms, but just as quickly, the woman's dark past begins to catch up with her.

In the second story, Renshi finds his soul rescue power unable to cure the ailment of a dying princess. He uncovers a deadly plot, which had a nice twist that I never saw coming.

The third story introduces devils to the mix, as the forces of Hell stir up trouble in a town that has been pushed to the breaking point by a greedy feudal lord.

This was a good start to a series with a ton of potential, and it provided three quality tales. The only weakness was the fight scenes, where it could get hard to tell what was going on until they were resolved.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Amazing Cynicalman #33

Gynn picked this one up from Matt Feazell at SPACE 2013.

Title: The Amazing Cynicalman
Issue: #33
Date: 2013
Publisher: Not Available Comics
Writer: Matt Feazell, Jim Mackey
Artist: Matt Feazell

Stick-figure minicomic anthology featuring characters from the Cynicalman universe. First up, it's Cute Girl vs. pizza ordering, and what happens when she's the only vegetarian in the group and it's time to decide on pizza toppings. Then Cynicalman deals with an upside-down Christmas tree, and a "Days Without An Accident" sign. Finally, Cynicalman takes on snow in three different strips, one of which was written by Jim Mackey.

The Cute Girl bit was my favorite of these, but all of them were good for a chuckle.

Rating: 7/10

Friday, June 21, 2013

Midnight Snack

Title: Midnight Snack
Date: 2012
Publisher: Trees And Hills
Writer: Colin Tedford
Artist: Colin Tedford

When a kid brings home an unusual Halloween treat from the "creepy house up the street", it's up to Mom to fight a midnight battle against an evil snack food.

Clever and funny. This micro-minicomic is a great example of telling a good story in a minimum of space and page count.

Rating: 8/10

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell: Free Comic Book Day

Title: Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell: Free Comic Book Day
Date: 2013
Publisher: Papercutz
Writer: Paola Mulazzi, Teresa Ridice, Tea Orsi, Jim Salicrup, Stefan Petrucha, Jayjay Jackson
Artist: Benedetta Barone, Daniela Vetro, Roberta Zanotta, Caterina Giorgilli, Jayjay Jackson
Colorist: Stefania Santi, Litomilano, Studio Kawaii
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Cover: Emilio Urbano, Elisabetta Melaranci, Andrea Cagol
Editor: Jim Salicrup, Michael Petranek

There are three Fairies stories here, plus a backup story based on the Stardoll website.

The real centerpiece is the tale called "The Wings of Rani". This story of how the water fairie Rani lost her wings is adapted from the novel Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg. It's a really great story, and the framing sequence in the comic is well done too. Unfortunately, due to the flashback nature of the story, there were some points where it lost some of its emotional impact and felt more like a summary than the real story it needed to be. Still, this was a pretty lovely tale of friendship and sacrifice.

The other two Disney Fairies stories were humorous shorts. The art is nice throughout, and I liked some of the fairie dialect, especially "I'd fly backwards." as an expression of regret and apology.

The Stardoll story really just introduces the characters, who are students in a design/fashion-focused high school in Los Angeles. One nice touch was the focus on a variety of fashion-related career paths, not just modeling and fashion design. The plot has the brother of one of the main characters trying to turn their house into the setting for a reality TV show that he is planning to film and then upload to the internet.

Not much else happens, as the story doesn't get far before it runs out of space. It didn't do much for me,but I'm neither a fan or the website nor much of a follower of fashion. I'd fly backwards.

Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Truth Or Consequences #0

Another find from the 2013 SPACE convention.

Title: Truth or Consequences
Issue: #0
Publisher: Torc Press
Date: 2013
Writer: Joseph Morris
Artist: Joseph Morris

Three rather surreal superhero stories make up this standard-comic-format volume. Up first is "Mango-Habanero", in which Dr. Dream gives Octopus Jones some much needed assistance in defeating a toxic sludge monster. There is also another monster whose only dialogue is to repeat the word "Goat!" throughout the story. Which is actually pretty awesome.


See what I mean?

The second story is a Jack Kirby style epic cosmic battle featuring Cactus Joe the Clown and Pengy the Penguin in their cosmic incarnations taking on a Nullaphon.

And finally, an introductory sequence set at an intergalactic burger joint introduces an impressive-looking and mysterious new cosmic being.

The artwork had a few moments where it was difficult to figure out exactly what was happening in the action, but I liked the wacky surreal feel to these cosmic adventures. The pacing was good and the characters were intriguing.


Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Identity Issues

Here's an autobiographical 24-hour minicomic that we picked up at the SPACE convention in Columbus OH.

Title: Identity Issues
Publisher: Canada Keck
Date: 2011
Writer: Canada Keck
Artist: Canada Keck

Minicomic created for 24-Hour Comic Day 2011.

When a new piece of software shows up at work promising "Identity Management", the narrator takes us on a trip back through her own identity issues.

Using Erik Erikson's theories as a framework, the author explores the different identities she created for herself in high school, college, and as a mother. The simple pen and ink art style and one-panel-per-page format work well to convey the story, and there were some cute touches of humor.

Rating: 7.5/10

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kizoic Presents Strawberry Shortcake/123 Sesame Street

One of our freebies from Jetpack Comics' Free Comic Book Day Festival in Rochester NH in May 2013.

Title: Kizoic Presents Strawberry Shortcake/123 Sesame Street
Date: 2013
Piblisher: Kizoic
Writer: Jason M. Burns, Russell Lissau, Meredith Lissau, Tim Beedle
Artist: Amy Mebberson, Edgar Manjarrez, Tanya Roberts, Peter Wonsowski
Colorist: Dustin Evans, Amy Mebberson, Antonio Peniche, Fernando Peniche
Letterer: Deron Bennett
Cover: Peter Wonsowski
Editor: Matt Anderson, Weldon Adams

Flip book. This is Kizoic's Free Comic Book Day offering for 2013.

The Strawberry Shortcake side of this book has three stories. First up, Strawberry's friends have to handle the lunch hour rush at the cafe when Strawberry comes down with a bad case of the blueberry flu.

The second story has the girls following a map to dig up some pirate treasure.

In the third story, Blueberry is searching frantically for Plum Pudding, who accidentally took the book that Blueberry was in the middle of reading.

These stories were heavy on the cuteness factor and fairly light on plot. The humor is fairly predictable, but I thought the first story did the best job of playing up the friendship theme of the Strawberry Shortcake characters.

Flip the book over, and it's Elmo meeting up with Super Grover, who gives him a lesson in how a hero can act heroic without flashy superpowers.

This was well written with a nice mix of humor and thoughtfulness. With only one story taking up the whole space allotted to Sesame Street, this story got some breathing room and was able to make good use of larger panels.

Centerpiece of the book is a nice two-sided poster.

Rating: 7/10.

All-Star Superman #1 (Special Edition)

This was "free with any purchase" at Barnes & Noble this week. Free comic? I'll take that, please.

Title: All-Star Superman
Issue: #1
Date: August, 2013
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciler: Frank Quitely
Inker: Jamie Grant
Colorist: Jamie Grant
Letterer: Phil Balsman
Editor: Brandon Montclare, Bob Schreck

This is a reprint of the first issue of the All-Star Superman series from 2005, reissued this year as a free promo given out at various retail stores (I got my copy at Barnes & Noble; I know it's also available at Sears) in conjunction with the release of the film Man of Steel.

Superman rescues a mission organized by Dr. Leo Quintum to research the sun. The ship had been sabotaged by Lex Luthor. As a result, Superman is poisoned by an overdose of solar radiation, the Dr. Quintum determines that Superman is terminally ill. With only one year to live, Superman begins to think about what there still is to accomplish.

This story reminds me a bit of Alan Moore's "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" in the sense that it embraces much of the Silver-Age fantastical elements of the Superman mythology and still tells a serious story. This is not a toned-down Superman for the sake of realism. This is a Superman who flies into the sun.

It's also a complex story written for readers who know Superman. There is a lot going on, even in this first issue, and the large cast of supporting characters shows plenty of promise.

Frank Quitely's art is perfect for capturing the awesomeness as well as the humanity of the Man of Steel.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Bards Comic Relaunched #1

Nikki O'Shea was one of the first artists I ran into at Anime Boston's artists alley this year, and I picked up this compilation of her webcomic.

Title: The Bards Comic Relaunched
Issue: #1
Date: 2010
Publisher: Dragon Press Graphics
Writer: Nikki O'Shea
Artist: Nikki O'Shea

Standard comic format collection of the Bards Comic webcomic. This collection introduces Jack and Samantha, two new members of the Bards.

This issue starts off with a series of strips about something I could definitely relate to: the difficulties of creative work done in the presence of toddlers and cats. This was some good, funny, geeky, and true-to-life material.

From there, it was time to put the band back together, or rather, to recruit some new members of the Bards before the intrepid musicians (and artist!) set out on their latest adventure.

As you have probably figured out from past reviews, I'm a sucker for a good geeky autobiographical comic, so I was having a lot of fun reading this just because of the familiarity of the different personality-types who appeared in the story.

The jokes were good, and the plot looks like it has potential, although a lot of the second half of this issue was setup and introductions. The comic suffers a bit in its transfer to print in terms of layout and small font sizes, but that is partly the result of trying to get a decent number of comic strips (41!) into one issue.

Overall, this was entertaining and fun with lots of good nerdy references.

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Birds of Ball Point

And now for a small something that we picked up at SPACE 2013 in Columbus OH.

Title: The Birds of Ball Point
Date: 2012
Publisher: Fridge-Mag
Writer: Suzanne Baumann
Artist: Suzanne Baumann

When I say that a minicomic is quarter-sized, what I typically mean is that it is the size of 1/4 of an 8x11 sheet of paper.

In the case of this micro-mini, we have a comic that is approximately the size of a quarter.

This "doodlecraft" features a selection of fanciful bird sketches for imaginary species like the Sullen Mudfoot and the Golden Wetwee. The art style a cute cartoony look that is reminiscent of the Angry Birds game.

I always love how Suzanne Baumann stretches the definition of what a comic is, and this is just one "small" (and adorable!) example of the type of work that she does.

Rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Even the Deformed Stub Their Toe

Unfortunately, during the hiatus the to-be-read pile has gotten pretty disorganized. I believe that this is one that my wife brought home from the SPACE convention in Columbus OH.

Title: Even the Deformed Stub Their Toe
Publisher: Pedophobic Records
Date: 2013
Writer: Mike B.
Artist: Mike B.

Quarter-sized minicomic credited to Mike B. The illustrations are one-per-page with accompanying text.

This is essentially an illustrated poem, accompanied by a set of drawings of bizarre and stylized body parts and organs. The artwork is an effective accompaniment to the words, and the whole thing does a nice job of being creepy and disturbing.

Rating: 7/10

Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye #5: Raining Cats and Detectives

Here's a book we picked up at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland ME this past May.

Title: Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye #5: Raining Cats and Detectives
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Date: 2012
Writer: Colleen A.F. Venable
Artist: Stephanie Yue

This is an all-ages book printed in a squarebound 7"x7" 46-page softcover childrens' book format.

Sasspants the guinea pig and his best friend Hamisher the hamster have decided that they will only leave the pet store with an owner who is a stylish detective. But when the perfect owner shows up, he only has enough money to buy one of the rodent detective team.

And to make matters worse, an important case has come up. The cat who resides in the bookstore next door has vanished. This is particularly alarming because Tummytickles the cat never ever moves under his own power. Clearly there is foul play involved! The detective team won't be able to work as a team to solve this mystery, but perhaps they can arrive separately at the same conclusion.

The actual plot took some time to get going, but I really didn't mind because this story was absolutely loaded with quirky jokes. And the final resolution was handled in a perfectly adorable way.

Fun characters, a great sense of humor, and some clever mystery writing make for a winner here.

Rating 8.5/10

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic In One Volume

Here's one that I can use as part of my excuse for being away from the review blog for so long!

Also, please note the product placement/plug for Sky Pirates of Valendor in the picture! Sky Pirates is produced by Jolly Rogue Studios, who are our neighbors at many conventions when we're out promoting our own comics.

Title: Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic In One Volume
Publisher: Cartoon Books
Date: 2004
Writer: Jeff Smith
Artist: Jeff Smith

And he means it when he says "Epic"!

This is the complete version of Bone. All 1332 pages of it. This is widely considered one of the most influential comics of the last few decades, and it lives up to all of the accolades.

Bone is the story of three cousins who are run out of their home town by an angry mob after the moneymaking schemes of the oldest cousin, Phoncible P. "Phoney" Bone, finally anger the wrong people (which in this case is basically everyone in Boneville).

The cousins cross a desert and find themselves in a valley inhabited by talking animals, monstrous rat-creatures, and a grandmother and granddaughter named Ben and Thorn.

The story begins as a light comedy and morphs brilliantly into a fantasy epic while still keeping its sense of humor.

I absolutely love the handling of the characters Thorn and Grandma Ben throughout the story. Not only do they both fall into the category of strong female characters, but they are complex, well-rounded, and central to the plot. Furthermore, in over 1300 pages, neither of them ever has their capabilities questioned on the basis of gender. Not once. Awesome.

The story takes its time ramping up, but once it gets going, it's in high gear straight through to the finish. This is easily among the best fantasy stories to ever appear comics, and it's quickly become one of my favorite fantasy stories in any format.

Totally worth the 1332 pages of reading.

Rating: 10/10 (Which is a first for this blog!)

I had the privelege of meeting Jeff Smith at the recent Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland ME. Here are a couple of bonus pictures:

Monday, June 10, 2013

X-Men #1

Back for the summer and hopefully beyond!

I had to drop this review blog for a few months when things got a bit too busy at the day job. Now that school is out (I'm a high school teacher), I've got the time. And I am certainly not lacking in unread comics.

For my big return to reviewing, however, I stopped by my local Newbury Comics to check out the recent releases. This seemed like a good one to start with.

Title: X-Men #1
Date: July, 2013
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover: Olivier Coipel, Laura Martin
Editor: Jennifer M. Smith, Jeanine Schaefer

I picked up the "sketch-cover" version of this. The blank cover (that is available for drawing on) is made of a cardstock that helps the book hold together better, and the regular cover is underneath. Nice. I'll probably be buying more of these versions when looking at new comics.

This is the (upteenth) relaunch of X-Men, and it got a fair amount of attention in the press due to the fact that it features an all-female cast. Specifically, the team lineup is Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, and whatever Rachel Summers is calling herself these days.

It's set at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning (for those not up on your X-Men lore, that's the current incarnation of Xavier's School), so there is a huge potential supporting cast. In a sense, this is not precisely an all-female X-Men team, but rather a comic about the X-Men as a whole that heavily focuses on the six female starring characters.

The story here concerns John Sublime, who is actually a telepathic microorganism who has the ability to possess human bodies. It seems Sublime has an even worse sister who has similar abilities with technology, and she's back on Earth and looking to make trouble.

There's a train-imperilment sequence that showcases the current X-Men working as a team, which they do quite well so far, and a lot of set-up for future plot, but the whole thing moves along with a reasonable mix of character development, suspense, and enough action to keep it from dragging.

Nothing shocking or groundbreaking, but a good solid X-Men story that does a great job of focusing on the new lineup without it ever failing to feel like the X-Men.

Rating: 7.5/10