Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spectra #5

Here's  the fifth issue in this educational series that I picked up at the National Conference on Science Education.

Title: Spectra
Issue: 5
Publisher: American Physical Society
Date: 2013
Writer: Rebecca Thompson
Artist: Kerry G. Johnson

Holofoil cover that looks great in person, but loses a bit in the scanning process.

Having reached at least a truce with rival Tiffany Maxwell, Lucy Hene focuses on the upcoming state championship swim meet. Lucy and the Nikola Tesla Middle School Chargers are set to face their arch-rivals (wait for it...), the Thomas A. Edison Middle School Wizards. The audience cheers are nicely full of Tesla vs. Edison references, of course.

But something strange is going on with the Chargers' coach. He seems to have developed some water elemental style superpowers of his own, and when mayhem breaks loose at the state finals, it's up to Lucy and her friends to bring the... um... corn starch? No, really. It's a viscosity thing and it totally makes sense. At least enough for the story to work. Besides, what comic has ever had a climactic battle that hinged on corn starch? I would guess that Spectra is the only one.

This was fun, but it felt rushed in places. There was more story here than there was really page count for, although Thompson and Johnson do a good job of fitting in all of the essential plot points.

Still. Corn starch. For the win.

Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lady Skylark and the Queen's Treasure Act 1

I picked this one up at MECAF.

Title: Lady Skylark and the Queen's Treasure
Issue: Act 1
Date: 2013
Publisher: Jackie Musto
Writer: Christopher Parent
Artist: Jackie Musto

Writer Christopher Parent teams up with artist Jackie Musto (of Kay And P) for this steampunk tale.

A mutiny leaves rogue captain Skylark stranded on a mountaintop. Fortunately for her, the airship Lady Abbess happens by, but the captain of the Lady Abbess is a sexist oaf, and he also happens to have gotten his hands on some cargo that could mean serious trouble.

This was a fun opening to what promises to be a great steampunk adventure. There were a lot of little details in the artwork that add to the story, and the character and ship designs are great.

This volume also included several pages of concept sketches and notes, and a short flashback story.

Looking forward to seeing more. This story is available as a free webcomic here.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lex Talionis: A Jungle Tale

A recent dollar store find.

Title: Lex Talionis: A Jungle Tale
Date: January, 2004
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Aeurin Wright
Artist: Aeurin Wright
Letterer: Blambot

The first thing I noticed about this book was the odd format, with the spine located at the top of the front cover, rather than on the left.

This is a story of a gorilla attack in an unspecified region of Africa. It's fictional, although it makes mention of the real events surrounding the death of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey in 1985.

The style and pacing of the story give the impression of a hardboiled crime novel, and essentially that is what Lex Talionis is at its heart. It also raises some interesting questions about human and gorilla intelligence and emotion.

The story is simple, but very effective, and Wright's artwork brings the intensity and the violence of the story without excessive gore.

This is a good, tightly constructed short story in graphic form.

Rating: 8/10

Friday, June 6, 2014

Superman #206

 Here's another comic that I got at Free Comic Book Day 2014 at New England Comics in Quincy MA. Once again, this was an extra giveaway, and not one of the official FCBD books.

Title: Superman
Issue: 206
Date: August, 2004
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Brian Azzarello
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Will Dennis, Eddie Berganza
Cover: Jim Lee

This continues a storyline (I review issue #205 here) involving Superman attempting to intervene to stop a war in the Middle East, as told through the frame of Superman talking with Father Leone, the Metropolis priest who has served as an informal spiritual advisor to the Man of Steel.

In this issue, Superman recounts the end of the civil war, and his actions once he realized that victory for rebel General Nox is inevitable.

I'm still enjoying the approach of no easy answers for Superman in this storyline. The situation in the fictional country where it is set is complex and constantly changing, and Superman is just trying to do good, even if it means he must give his support to Nox, who has his own insurance policy in the form of super-soldier Equus.

There is some nice buildup to a full battle with Equus. Superman's frustration comes through loud and clear as circumstances keep preventing him from having that confrontation.

This continues to be a good, complex story.

Rating: 7/10