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Atomic Robo / Neozoic / Bonnie Lass Free Comic Book Day 2012 [Review]

ATOMIC ROBO

Words: Brian Clevinger
Art: Scott Wegener
Colors: Matt Speroni
Letters: Jeff Powell
Red 5 Comics: Paul Ens, Scott Chitwood

This story reminds of me how much I tend to enjoy the Atomic Robo FCBD editions. As far as I can tell, this is a new/original story. Robo and Dr. Dinosaur team up to stop some Time/Space disaster, but the evil doctor has other schemes…which don’t exactly work out according to his plans, leading to everyone truly having to team up in order to save the day.

The writing’s solid, and the art is good. Unlike many, many other comics…this just simply is. It’s Atomic Robo, and for me, that’s all it needs to be. The story and art are what I know of the character, so it’s like simply checking out a random episode of some tv show and NOT finding a new group of actors or something different than I’m used to.

I’ve been reading these Atomic Robo FCBD issues for years now, but unfortunately it has yet to translate to me buying any of the single issues (due to pricing) or any of the collected volumes (again, pricing). But I do think I’m closer than before to biting the bullet and buying a collected volume, even if the price of the entire library of Atomic Robo seems overwhelming at present.

If nothing else, this was a welcome story in a stack of FCBD stuff, and made it to my “initial reads” stack, and this is absolutely a key issue well worth being a specific FCBD comic to seek out.

Rating: 9/10 Continue reading

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Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Buffy Season 9/The Guild flip-book [Review]

BUFFY SEASON 9

A year ago, I would have probably been thrilled with the Buffy story. As-is, I’ve not followed the Season 9 comics (even dropped the title from my pull list once I realized I hadn’t READ an issue in several months), and have yet to get to finish Season 8. So I don’t know what the deal is with Spike, which really made this issue quite surreal.

Visually, Buffy doesn’t look unlike what I’ve come to expect for the comics, and the art for this story is not bad at all.

Story-wise, I was a bit lost…but certainly appreciated the nods to the Aliens franchise here.

I assume this one’ll be of interest to Buffy fans, who are relatively current, or at least know what the heck’s going on with Spike at this point in the characters’ continuity.

Rating: 6.5/10

THE GUILD

I’ve had a mixed sorta relationship with The Guild. Namely, I tend to go long periods of time without it in my life, followed by short periods of catching up on it. I’ve recently watched what I believe is the most recent season (fifth) in one go, so this story is a real treat.

Torn on where to have their in-person monthly meetup, the Guild has their avatars battle to the death for who gets to decide the location. Clara wins, and opts to have a beach day. The way each reacts to/handles the beach is the height of the story, and keeps quite true to the characters.

Like the Serenity cover (on the other Dark Horse FCBD 2012 issue), this one is really well-done, and really “gets” the characters and the actors. And the interior art is a lot more cartooney…but given the nature of The Guild, it works quite well here.

The story would make a great setting for a partial season of the web series. As-is as a comic, this has me suddenly quite interested in getting the collected edition of the mini-series from several years back.

…Which I suppose is ultimately the goal of something like this: provide an entertaining story, AND send the reader to other existing material.

Rating: 8/10

ALABASTER: SHELTER part 2

This is another 2-pager that really doesn’t do much for me. Story, art…just too short to really be meaningful.

Rating: 3/10

Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Buffy Season 9/The Guild Overall Rating: 8/10

Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Serenity/Star Wars flip-book [Review]

SERENITY

From this issue’s cover, I was hooked. One look, and my first thought was “Awesome!” Daniel Dos Santos perfectly captures Nathan Fillion as Captain Mal Reynolds. The story itself sees the Serenity put down on a world for some business. While the others go into town, Mal remains with the ship…but quickly finds himself defending it against a local who has determined that he’s going to take the ship for himself.

The story is quite short, but for being a new, original story of the Serenity and her captain any length is quite welcome by me. I could “hear” Fillion‘s voice as I read, a definite credit to the consistency from the story being kept “in the family.”

The art was a bit less to my liking after the cover. While the cover image captures Fillion‘s image as the character, the interior art is very much its own thing. It’s not hard to follow the action or pick up on who’s who, but I would not immediately see the actors playing these characters if the adaptation went from comic to screen.

Ultimately, well worthwhile, and this should be quite a treat for Firefly/Serenity fans to get a little more Mal with a hint of the other characters still around in this series.

Rating: 8.5/10

STAR WARS

This flip-side’s cover is nowhere NEAR as appealing as the Serenity one. The image of Han and Chewie seems extremely familiar like I’ve seen it used elsewhere. But hey…the issue’s free, I already read the Serenity side, so might as well read this, right?

The basic story is rather sitcom-ish and follows Han and Chewie making a drop-off. They’re dealing with a rather unsavory character who not only refuses to fully pay the smugglers for their smuggled goods, but decides he wants the Millennium Falcon itself. Of course, that doesn’t go over well with Han or Chewie, and the buddies survive to meet Luke, Leia, etc. in A New Hope.

Story-wise, pretty simplistic, if a bit amusing. I’m not all that impressed, but reading the story wasn’t a complete waste of time. The art’s about the same…nothing impressive, but it’s not horrible.

All in all, this seems really standard fare, likely to appeal to others specifically interested generally in Star Wars. For me, it simply pales next to the enjoyment I found in the Serenity story.

Rating: 5/10

ALABASTER: SHELTER part 1

Squeezed in between Serenity and Star Wars, this issue gives us a two-page short from some title called Alabaster. The short text overview before the two-pager gave me more context than the story itself, which for a comic is a BAD thing. I only vaguely pick up any real concept, and to try to convey it in this review would be to render it pointless to read. Conceptually I’m mildly interested, to the point I’d probably look at the collected volume if I saw it, but there’s not enough here to truly “sell” me on it.

Rating: 3/10

Dark Horse FCBD 2012: Serenity/Star Wars Overall Rating: 7/10

The Hypernaturals Free Comic Book Day Edition [Review]

Written by: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art by: Brad Walker & Tom Derenick
Inks by: Mark Irwin, Tom Derenick
Colors by: Stephen Downer
Letters by: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Dafna Pleban
Cover by: Francesco Mattina
Published by: Boom Studios

The appeal for me of this issue is exactly what its back cover celebrates: “Abnett & Lanning do Cosmic at BOOM! Studios.”

I’ve enjoyed Abnett & Lanning‘s work on other cosmic stuff from Marvel (what I’ve read so far of the Annihilation stuff and am looking forward to with War/Realm of Kings and so on). So, being a free issue, this caught my attention for their names alone.

Reading the issue itself, I’ve decided that part of their appeal for me came from their work involving characters I already had familiarity with, rather than all-new characters I know nothing about.

The basic bit of this issue is that we’re in the future / in space somewhere, and there’s this super-hero team that’s been around for ages, with a continual change in membership as folks try out for the team. At present, there’s some sort of celebration of the centennial for the team, but an emergency crops up that seems to be well beyond the capabilities of the current team, and may necessitate calling retired/former members of the team back to some kind of active status.

This seems to be largely prologue material–I get the feeling this is a sort of zero-issue, and the first issue will drop the reader right into the action, some of the events being shown “on-screen” in this issue but otherwise being mere exposition for the main series itself.

The story itself isn’t bad, and I kinda like the concept as this truly plays with the idea of legacies; and having a super-hero team for a century with all sorts of people moved through it in that time in varying capacities holds a lot of potential. The art’s not bad, though it’s not overly appealing to me. I had a certain distraction to trying to figure out/follow timing and the new terminology used throughout the issue, so the art wasn’t all that high on my priorities.

This is the sort of issue I tend to most enjoy from Free Comic Book Day: a new series, a new concept, and a relatively full-size issue’s worth of content that introduces the main characters/concept and really sets things up a bit for the debut issue. I’m intrigued, but I’m not sure that it’s enough to get me to pay the presumed $3.99 for this series, though I’d possibly pick it up for just $1 less at $2.99.

If you’re an Abnett and Lanning fan, I’d definitely recommend picking this up, though…especially as THIS issue’s price is quite right.

Rating: 7/10

Valiant Comics FCBD 2012 Special [Review]

It wasn’t all that long ago that I got pulled in to the revival of Solar, Magnus, and Turok from Dark Horse and their Free Comic Book Day special that year. I credited (if only to myself) some of that to the retroactive nostalgia I had for the old Valiant titles, though these revivals were far closer to their original incarnations than the licensed Valiant versions from the early 1990s.

Now this year, Valiant is back, launched this very week with X-O Manowar #1. This FCBD issue proves something of a supplement to that, and while I was predisposed to at least try out X-O Manowar, this issue has me “sold” on trying the other titles as well.

This issue provides several pages from X-O #1 and next month’s Harbinger #1, and then moves much more into preview/promo material for the various pending Valiant titles. There’s a “dossier” with plenty of redactions (making the read rather frustrating) for Bloodshot. We also get single-page mini-interviews with Joshua Dysart (Harbinger), Duane Swierczynski (Bloodshot), Fred Van Lente (Archer and Armstrong), and Robert Venditti (X-O Manowar). The center of the issue is a double-page spread of the Valiant Universe (I’m tempted to pull it out and use it as a poster), and we also get teasers for two titles (Eternal Warrior, and Rai) to follow this first wave later this year in “Winter 2012” and “Spring 2013,” respectively.

As a Free Comic Book Day issue, this does a decent job–new fan or old, this is a new launch of Valiant titles, and this issue touches on the four launching this summer and successfully has me “sold” on the universe. However, I’m not all that impressed with its content in general, as this feels more like something that would have been put out ANYWAY, and I would have much preferred to see at least a half-length original story for FCBD instead.

But all in all, if you’ve any interest or curiosity in the Valiant stuff this is well worth snagging. Just be aware that it’s geared more toward selling you on other comics than being a truly stand-alone/independent issue of its own.

Rating: 6/10

The New 52! #1 [Review]

The New 52! #1

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Kenneth Rocafort, Gene Ha
Color: Alex Sinclair, Rod Reis, Blond, Art Lyon
Cover: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Kate Stewart
Editors: Dan Didio & Eddie Berganza

This issue is mostly teaser, and seems especially designed more for those following DC‘s The New 52 for the past 9 or so months moreso than a brand-new reader that might be sucked in for Free Comic Book Day 2012.

We’re shown a sentencing for a trio of characters, all of whom–if not off the bat, then by their fates–have a certain familiarity, as we see the origin of “Pandora,” who we see here has a much larger role to play in the new DCU in the near future. These three characters have been condemned by The Wizard (as in Shazam), punished for contributions to harm of mankind. In the present day, Pandora stirs up some trouble stealing back her box as she seeks to unravel her curse, and we’re then shown a glimpse into the near-future of the DCU, and the coming “event” due out “next year.”

There’s a whole mix of art to the issue, culminating in a fold-out posterlike 4-page spread by Jim Lee spotlighting the main Justice Leaguers in the “near future.” Overall, given this is essentially a sampler issue and I had no idea what to expect of it, the art didn’t stand out all that much to me. Some characters are familiar, others not so much, and I’m not sure if the unfamiliarity I have is with the New 52 in general, or with concepts being “introduced” in this issue.

Story-wise, there’s not a whole lot; this is like having the “origin” of Pandora (and a couple other characters) thrown in front of us to pull one in, like “hey, remember these guys? Here they are! See! Now you HAVE to read the coming event!”

As a free issue…yeah, this is worthwhile. If it weren’t for the credits taking up much of the bottom of the image, I’d be inclined to pull the center out of the issue and stick it on the wall as a small poster, at least. Almost half this issue is a section of 2-ish page “previews” of the second wave of DC titles, and I skipped over ’em. I already bought Earth 2 #1, and NOT being an art person, have no interest in the 5-7+ page previews DC‘s often stuck in the back of its books, and 1-2 pages mean even less.

Probably for the worse (to me), this issue makes it clear that The New 52 is building toward some huge event (coming next year, though), and since I’m not willing to invest in a bunch of titles as-is, I have even less interest now.

Story: 4/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 6/10

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