Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story #1

The Kiddo picked this one out at one of the Newbury Comics locations when we were in the US this past summer.

Title: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Issue: 1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: June 2017
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Emilio Laiso, Oscar Bazaldua
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles
Editor: Heather Antos

First of all, let me just say that I LOVE these action figure variant covers. So much fun!

This is the first issue of the official adaptation of Rogue One. It moves at a pretty fast pace to get to the point where present-time Jyn Erso is introduced and then takes its time a bit more from there.

The fight scenes look good, and the story becomes more focused in the second half of the issue, with the adaptation making some good choices in what to emphasize or cut.

This is competent and visually appealing, but there is a limit to what a comic can do adapting a film, and the result is something that never gets much past feeling like it's a competent adaptation

Rating: 5.5/10

Sunday, October 8, 2017

True Believers: Star Wars: Lando #1

I can now say that I've been to comic conventions in three countries! This past Friday, I attended the Shanghai Comic Con with the Kiddo. We had lots of fun, and I brought back a small haul (working on a somewhat limited budget):

Those two Thor comics are promos for the con, and they're in Chinese, so I won't be reviewing them here. I found a vendor selling recent American comics and picked up three Marvel books. I also bought comics from two small-press creators. Those were also both English-language (actually one is bilingual, with all of the dialogue in English and Chinese).

You may have noticed that I have not been reviewing much in the way of standard-format comics since we headed back overseas. This has mostly been an organizational issue. I brought a stack of over 100 comics with me from the US to read and review. Some of those were new purchases over the summer, while most are from my supply of unread comics in storage.

I've added these items from the Shanghai Comic Con to that stack, and I'll be starting to review them on a regular basis, beginning right now.

Title: True Believers: Star Wars: Lando
Issue: 1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: July 2016
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Cover: Alex Maleev, Edgar Delgado
Editor: Jordan D. White, Heather Antos

What a fun book! This is a Lando Calrissian solo story (without Solo! Ha!), and it really nails Lando's personality as he charms his way into not even having to perform the heist he's originally set out to do.

Unfortunately, debts in the underworld of the Star Wars Galaxy tend to add up, and Lando sets his sights on one more job to get himself free and clear. Not surprisingly, he finds that easy money is never really easy, as the ship he steals is going to cause him a lot more grief than he had ever planned for.

This had some good character development that never felt like it got away from the Lando we know and love. It also heavily featured Lobot, who gets some good screen time as Lando's partner-in-crime. The setup of the new heist flows smoothly, and the final complications at the end set up when should be plenty of fun in the issues ahead.

Rating: 8.5/10

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rival Angels: Rookie Year Volume 4

A friend picked this up for me and got it signed for me at Anime Milwaukee 2017.

Title: Rival Angels: Rookie Year Volume 4
Date: 2012
Publisher: Rival Angels
Writer: Alan Evans, Justin Riley
Artist: Alan Evans
Colorist: Aaron Daly

As a WWE fan, this series continues to impress me with its clear love for pro wrestling. This issue tool place almost entirely at a single PPV show, the Rival Angels Federation's equivalent of Wrestlemania.

All four of the "Upstarts", who have been the focus of the comic, have matches on the card, with Sabrina "Ultragirl" Mancini pulling double duty. She's got her first title match, the finals in the TV title championship, followed by an "I Quit" match inside a cage with Hell's Belles faction leader Chloe DeSade.

Doing an entire wrestling card in comic form in a challenging endeavor, as the pacing of comics isn't going to work as well as video for capturing the action, and there is the danger that the story will seem repetitive with multiple matches needing to be covered. This volume does an impressive job of handling those challenges, making good use of backstage subplots to break up the action happening in the ring, and providing good variety in the matches themselves.

Plenty of classic wrestling tropes were on full display here, with matches won by outside interference, post-match beatdowns, and drama between the commissioner and the talent.

The dialogue could be a bit stilted at times, especially when going for humor, and the attempt to portray the announce team doesn't quite feel "real", but there is no denying the fun of this series.

The final match was a great climax to the Ultragirl's first really big rivalry, and the storyline following the ppv event set the stage for some new directions as the series moves into its second season.

Rating: 8/10