Posts tagged IDW

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Comics Review: Batman Silver Age

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Comics Review: Batman Classics–the Silver Age Newspaper Comics vol.1 by Ellsworth, Moldoff, Infantino, et. al

Review by Prof. Jenn

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What a fun collection of vintage comics featuring everyone’s favorite dynamic duo! It’s a trip into the cheesy one-liner past of Batman’s late 1960s appearance in newspapers. This collection begins with a wonderfully detailed rundown of the history by Joe Desris, and is enlightening to read just before plunging into the series of snippet-length strips.

These are not old comic books, they are comic strips from newspapers 1966-67, so they are all brief, cheesy, sketchy, mid-low quality art, with a little joke or a PSA at the beginning of each (“Never fight with a smiling fortune-teller.” “Unless you want to strike a happy medium!”). We meet several of our favorite villains, with some I’ve not heard of before. And yes, there is some material here not appropriate for a modern audience, in the realm of sexism, and racism especially. Any of you Batman nerds remember The Laughing Girl? Ugh…

For all its vintage kitsch, this volume is a pleasure to read, and certainly anyone who collects Batman should have this in their library, even if they prefer the dark Nolan variety of the Caped Crusader. It’s a funny, refreshing collection that is a nice reminder of where Batman was before his gritty reboot.

Bottom Line: This collection is highly recommended, old chum.

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Comic Review: 24-Underground #3

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Previously on 24… Jack has been trying to help protect his girlfriend’s family from the Russian mobsters who are after them. Things got tense though when said mobsters came knocking on the door. Will Jack be able to save them? Let’s find out…

We’re now on issue #3 of our adventure with Jack in Ukraine, and things are really starting to heat up. The Russian mob is after him and his girlfriend Sofiya’s brother (Petro). In the last issue Jack was able to save Petro’s family, but in this issue we see that Sofiya has been kidnapped by the mobsters, and they are now looking for an exchange: Sofiya’s life for Jack. Now Jack has to find a way to save her.

SUPER SPOILER TIME! STOP READING IF YOU WANT TO STAY SURPRISED.

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Everything seems pretty straightforward up until this point. Jack needs to save his girlfriend, plus the CIA is still after him (but finally starting to wonder if there’s more going on than they realize). The big twists come at the end. One is that while Jack is gearing up to meet the Russians, his girlfriend manages to escape in a scene I imagine would have been pretty badass in the tv series. So Jack is walking into what is probably a trap right now, and doesn’t even have to. Hopefully Sofiya can contact him before it’s too late. Oh, and he also has to watch out for the CIA because Petro’s kid has just called in with information on his whereabouts. Pretty much Jack is in all kinds of trouble, but it’s not like that is anything new. Will he be able to handle the Russian mob and the CIA without getting caught (or worse)? We’ll have to wait to find out. Personally I hope the CIA shows up at Jack’s meet-up with the mob and ultimately ends up helping him escape by accident. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to let you know how right or wrong I was as we continue this adventure with our hero: Jack Bauer.

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Locke & Key Omega #5 Review

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Writing: Joe Hill

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Review by Melissa Megan

 

Locke & Key Omega #5 is the final issue in what was originally rumored to be the end of the series, but now we know Locke & Key will actually close with two extra long issues in an ‘Alpha’ set. This one is by far one of the most intense and harsh issues to date and that’s saying a lot.

Dodge has finally succeeded in opening the black door, trapping the graduating class of Lovecraft Academy in the drowning cave with him. The dark shadows are his army now as he begins to march the students to their deaths at the bottom of the cave. Kinsey is trapped on the walkway, being tormented by evil versions of her friends who have become terrible servants of Dodge. She does everything she can to keep some hope that her family will rescue her, but with every minute that passes death creeps in.

Tyler Locke is hanging on the edge of life himself thanks to an accidental gunshot wound to the stomach. His mother races to save him using a magical medical cabinet. Her desperate move sets up a heartbreaking and honest reunion between Tyler and his late father.

As Dodge wastes the lives of students who either refuse to follow him or do follow him but are apparently found to be unfit for the blessings of the black door, he presents Kinsey with a horrible choice. A game to set up the final scene of his plan. What is his plan? That is unclear at this point, which is a genius approach to take.

The dark shadows are moving in from every side, the black door is open and the alien terrors have begun feasting on souls. The few members of the Locke family still alive and free from Dodge’s grasp don’t seem to have the power, ability or time to help Kinsey. The entire situation is looking very grim. Without any knowledge of exactly what Dodge is doing with the black door and the only person with full knowledge of who Dodge is being the mentally challenged Rufus, Locke & Key Omega does not appear to have a happy ending.

This is a fantastic final issue for Locke & Key Omega, but obviously not the end of the story for the Locke family. Good thing, because after all the suspense and sadness this story has built up, if this were the absolute end I would be pissed. I need to see this thing to the close, even if that means watching the brutal destruction of the remaining Locke kids. The Locke & Key series has been both fun and crushing. Endearing and sweet but dark and heavy. It is a perfect marriage of writing and art, making the ultimate love child of a comic series. Locke & Key will forever be on my ‘top recommendations’ list.

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Review: Locke & Key Omega #3

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Writing: Joe Hill

Art: Gabriel Rodriguez

Colors: Jay Fotos

Review by Melissa Megan

 

The evil, murderous Dodge has settled himself in to little Bode Locke’s body and succeeded in getting his hands on the long sought after Omega key. The “Last Dance” has begun and it’s ugly. Bode/Dodge is headed to the black door to welcome his terrible, alien friends to this world and he won’t let anyone stand in his way, starting with poor Nina Locke.

While darkness is falling over the Locke house, Tyler and Kinsey are enjoying prom with their friends. Tyler accepts what he can get from the woman he loves and comes to terms with the tragedy of being in love in high school. Kinsey revels in the unique qualities of her closest friends and as the night comes to a close, chooses the after party over home. Everyone is headed for the caves, where the final party of the year is just beginning, in more ways than the Locke family realizes.

If you’ve been reading Locke & Key, by now, if you have a heart, you should be desperate to see this family come out on top. At the least see them stop hurting. The Lockes have lost so much and struggled so hard to keep their family whole, it kills me to watch them be defeated by the weasley, arrogant Dodge. And as much as I really, really hate to see Locke & Key come to an end, the suspense of how it will all end is becoming unbearable. Oh please, please let the Locke family stop the demons. They deserve that much.

 

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Review: Criminal Macabre: Final Night- 30 Days of Night Crossover #2

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Writing: Steve Niles

Art: Christopher Mitten

Issue #2 of the Criminal Macabre / 30 Days of Night crossover continues the clash of Cal Mcdonald, hunter of everything supernatural and evil, and vampire leader Eben Olemaun. Eben is building  a huge army of blood sucking monsters in hopes of taking over the world from humans. Cal and his ghoul sidekick, Mo’Lock, have teamed up with a pretty female FBI agent named Alice Blood. For the first time, Cal is actually getting some assistance from law enforcement, mostly because the vampires have been massacring agents and police officers all over L.A.

Cal is a ghoul now and having some challenges adjusting to that, but it hasn’t stopped him from carrying on his business or living hard. Eben Olemaun is kicking ass inside his circle to reclaim the remains of his wife and to express his rage over her death on the human race. Very soon, these two will clash and the battle will be ugly.

Crossovers are a tough thing in comic books; stories are not written to melt in to each other and combining them often takes something away from one or the other. This combination is working, maybe because the backdrop of supernatural power struggles are so similar in Criminal Macabre and 30 Days of Night. The personalities of Cal McDonald and Eben Olemaun are both intense and raw, there can only be an explosion when the two are brought together.

Steve Niles has been rumored to say that only one of these characters (and their series) will survive this crossover. Personally, I’m betting on Cal McDonald and Mo’Lock. I’ve been a fan of the Criminal Macabre series for years and it would be a terrible loss to comics to see his story end. Do you hear me, Steve? Let Cal live!

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Review: 30 Days of Night #10

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Writing by: Steve Niles

Art by: Christopher Mitten

Eben’s vampire army is growing by the hundreds every day. He’s driven to get revenge for the brutal death of his love, Stella. he is also attempting to forge some kind of alliance or at least a truce with the deceitful European vampires. At the same time, FBI agents are crossing lines to find an advantage in their fight against the blood thirsty creatures. They’re bringing big guns and no fear, throwing rules and protocol to the wind.

Scary tale spinner extraordinaire Steve Niles continues the trek of Eben and his immortal tribe of vampires in 30 Days of Night #10. This series has been going for a long time now, and it’s featured a few artists along the way, but the work of Christopher MItten feels really harmonious here. Issue #10 doesn’t bring much action, really, but instead takes a slow burn to build up the tension for upcoming confrontations and likely messy battles.

30 Days of Night is one the best horror series on the shelves today, so if you aren’t already reading it, start now. There’s plenty of material out there already.

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Review: Womanthology: Space

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Womanthology, if you haven’t already heard, is a large group of all female creators who put together a huge anthology of work and funded the publication through Kickstarter last year. The fundraising and the book were a huge success, shining a spotlight on many talented ladies in the comics industry, at all levels of accomplishment. After the success if the original anthology, IDW has decide to support a new 5 issue series from Womanthology, starting with Space!

Womanthology: Space offers five short stories from industry talents such as Bonnie Burton, Rachel Deering, Ming Doyle and Alison Ross, just to name a few. Some of these stories I liked better than others, but they were all well thought out and creative. Since each one is very short, I don’t want to say too much in the way of spoilers here, but I will touch lightly on each.

“Waiting for Mr. Roboto” is a cute take on the ‘searching for Mr. Right’ theme and takes place in a space diner. The characters are all either alien or robot. Trixie is a bored waitress hoping for something new and exiting to walk in the door. This was probably one of my favorite stories, simply because it’s easy and light hearted, the artwork simple and clean.

“Dead Again” is a creepy ghost story taking place on a lonely ship, just one man left to keep it afloat. He made a mistake one day and that mistake hasn’t let him rest ever since. I also enjoyed this one for it’s spooky, sci-fi vibe and nicely colored and textured art.

“Scaling Heaven” follows the efforts of American and Chinese astronauts to beat each other to the moon. The art of this story is soft and flowy, layered nicely; I really liked this particular style. I will say, however, the story itself was not my favorite. It just felt a little disjointed and open ended. 

“Princess Plutonia” reads and looks like a silver age comic, very vintage and brightly colored, the story full of fantasy alien names and space creatures battling for survival and love. It’s a super short but entertaining little adventure.

The final story is called “Space Girls” and it’s presented in a web comic style, all black and white, very simplistic. Sort of a silly portrayal of an all female spaceship that encounters a very special sort of alien presence while exploring new planets. There’s not much to say about this one, it’s basic, cartoonish and should make you smile.

All in all, Womanthology: Space is a nice little collection of tales of space exploration, by a mixed pot of creative women making their names in the comic industry. The first Womanthology book was created to benefit a charity called Global Giving Foundation. The new series of books are being created to get some exposure and creative props to the many skilled women in the comics industry. Regardless of the quality and enjoyment you get from these stories, one of those should be reason enough to support Womanthology.

Available now from IDW.

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Double Review: Axe Cop & Star Trek / Dr. Who Crossover

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It’s another two-fer review, readers!


Axe Cop: President of the World, Part 2
If you are a regular reader, you’ll know I am already an Axe Cop fan. President of the World delivers all the strange, fresh fun and weirdness that makes Axe Cop so entertaining. It’s interesting, though–remember when I interviewed Ethan Nicholle, and asked him what he predicted would change about Axe Cop once his little brother starts getting older? I noticed two things right away about President of the World that are significantly different than older Axe Cop issues: one is, Axe Cop actually has a female best friend (she’s “one of the only girls he [does] not think of as dumb”). And she’s pretty cool, too–though she appears so briefly in this story, I’d like to see more of what the Water Queen can do.
The other most significant difference in this recent Axe Cop might just be me, but it  strikes me that this issue is much more violent than previous stories. It’s, well…kind of dark in some places. The bad guys really are working with complex psychology, and there’s lots of mass devastation, too. This is a good thing–I think the more Axe Cop evolves, the more compelling it will continue to be.
Also, it’s really cool to have Axe Cop in color.

 


Star Trek TNG/Dr. Who Crossover, Assimilation2 #4
Wil Wheaton is right when he shares memories of the future that Star Trek TNG is quite talk-y. This could make for a very static, text-heavy comic, even with the eccentric action of the Doctor thrown in. However, the almost-Impressionist style of art in this comic makes for much emotion and movement in every frame, even just in discussion scenes. The painterly style with its rich jewel-toned color and broad brush strokes is lovely to look at.
About the premise: does the idea of the Borg and the Cybermen teaming up terrify the bejeezus out of you as much as it does me? Also: duh, of course Guinan and the Doctor are sort of a breed alike. Actually, I’m now convinced Guinan is actually a Time Lady.
This issue is sort of a detective story, in that the crew and company are investigating what happened down on a planet between the inhabitants, the Borg and the Cybermen. So we do the classic away team and go investigate. It’s got the Star Trek and the Doctor Who tropes I want as a reader, along with the novelty of the mashup, and the story rolls along like a good episode of either. I found myself hoping Amy’s red hair didn’t make her a redshirt.
Really, when I first heard that they were going to do a comics mashup with Dr. Who and Star Trek, I thought, “Why hasn’t that happened before?” This is delivering.

I recommend both of these comics, highly.   ~Prof. Jenn

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Review: Locke & Key: Grindhouse

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Writing by: Joe Hill

Art by: Gabriel Rodriguez

Review by Melissa Megan

This week the Locke & Key team gives us a little bonus, stand alone story called Grindhouse, which tells yet another utterly creepy tale of some of Keyhouse’s earlier occupants. It’s a violent tale of a Canadian trio of gangsters pulling off their grand finale of heists, robbing some rich resort patrons and then planning to hide out on an exclusive island and enjoy their new wealth. In order to pull off their escape, one of the gangsters suggests they use the boat launch owned by a wealthy family who occupy an isolated mansion. Unfortunately for the brutal group, they chose the wrong family to victimize, and the wrong mansion to hide in. Keyhouse is not a safe haven for those who are not invited as guests.

The art style is very Silver Age, a change of look for Gabriel Rodriguez, but it works well for the story. If you’re a fan of Locke & Key already, which I am, Grindhouse is a special treat. The book also includes a very detailed “Guide to Keyhouse”, with notes and locations of each room and the secret rooms contained within them. As Joe Hill explains, the house has been continuously added on to and more developed through the various story lines of Locke & Key, and special attention was always paid to an accurate representation of the architecture in each story.

If you’ve been keeping up with Locke & Key then you already know these books are top notch, and Grindhouse is no different. It’s quality writing, great art and some of the most creative stuff on the comics market right now. If you aren’t familiar with Locke & Key, what the hell are you waiting for? There are multiple books out there, I suggest you get to reading them right away. Definitely required for any self respecting comic fan, especially if you enjoy your comics with a healthy dose of creep factor.

Locke & Key: Grindhouse is available this week from IDW Publishing.

 

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Review: Monocyte Collected Edition HC

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Written by: Kasra Ghanbari

Art by: Menton3

Review by Melissa Megan

My local comic shop guy messaged me online: “The Monocyte hard cover is here, bagged and ready for you. I thought I should let you know right away, since you’ve been excited for it to come” ‘Excited’ is definitely an understatement here. I admit I don’t frequent my local shop as much as I should, but they know that for the last year I’ve never been late to pick up my latest Monocyte issues. This one, in particular, had me itching to get my hands on it. Nerds in Babeland readers are well aware of my addiction to these comics, as I have reviewed and highly recommended every single one. Creators Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari felt that the horrible grandeur of Monocyte could not be contained in tiny comic book pages, so they brought fans a collected, hardcover edition that is so, so much more than just the story of Monocyte.

Collected edition size comparison to Monocyte single issues

From the minute you turn the book to take in the entire wrap around cover it is obvious that it was created with an incredible love and dedication to the power of Menton3′s art. He’s by far one of the most unique and impressive comic artists of recent years and Monocyte was, I believe, the creation that really got him noticed by readers, art collectors and artists. Within the first few pages of the book I became painfully aware of just how limiting those single issue comic pages had been for Monocyte. All I can compare it to is maybe seeing a film in IMAX for the first time. You have no idea how much you’ve been missing until you see it in all it’s glory, splayed out in giant size images that you can’t help lingering on after you’ve already read the words.

This is not at all to downplay the quality of writing that Kasra Ghanbari brings to Monocyte, which is the backbone of the book. He writes like he’s carving mythology in to a modern world, building characters and events on each other with unflinching grace and balance. The story is complex and requires your full attention, but if you allow yourself to be present in it, you will not be disappointed with the reward. I will stop gushing about how much I absolutely love Monocyte because as I promised, this collection is so much more than just the story of Monocyte.

art by Chris Newman

The Monocyte Collected Edition is a 224 page hardcover book. It contains the entirety of the original Monocyte story, plus the previously digital only prequel. The book also offers over 60 pages of new content, including a gallery of Menton3′s conceptual and design work for Monocyte, plus a very impressive guest artist gallery. Creepy little child demons by sculptor and fine artist Scott Radke. Sexy, gothic pinups by Alberto Ruiz. Fluid, surreal digital art by Chris Newman. Even some bad ass metal sculpted Monocyte head pieces by Tim Roosen. The book is literally stuffed with so much breathtaking art. One of my personal favorite pieces is a super goulish, almost 3D painting by David Stoupakis that I haven’t been able to stop looking at.

art by Aaron Ryan

The Monocyte Collected Edition is not only a magnificent representation of one of the best comics to be released in the past year, but it’s a guaranteed brag book for your collection. Set this book down on your coffee table (be careful not to spill on it!) and there’s no way someone won’t pick it up and get sucked in. Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari are up to huge things this year (44FLOOD, anyone?), but Monocyte is the beginning of their magical union and one that every self respecting comic book reader should experience. if you’re a Menton3 fan or just a Monocyte fan, this book is a must own. MUST OWN. Not maybe. Get it now and bask in it’s awesome power of pure, artistic unicorn blood voodoo. Get it HERE.

 

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