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Molly Danger FCBD 2013 [Review]

mollydangerfcbd2013Story and Art: Jamal Igle
Inker: Juan Castro
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Letterer: Frank Cvetkovic
Editor: Adam P. Knave
Published by: Action Lab Entertainment
Cover Price: $0.00

I was kinda surprised by this issue’s cover, as it seemed at first glance to suggest that Molly Danger could be a more fantasy-esque series than I’d thought, and that she might have a “sidekick” picked up in a story titled “Princeless.”

However, that’s certainly not the case! What happened here is something that I’m not used to, as I’ve stuck pretty much to mainstream stuff from the big publishers of late. That is, with these “independent” publishers, creators get a lot more freedom to work together, and so in this case, Igle‘s Molly Danger can be featured with Whitley‘s Princeless, and it works.

And that’s what this issue is: we get a Molly Danger story, my introduction to the character–and we get a separate Princeless story (that I’ll cover below).

I’ve heard of Molly Danger–I recall there was some sort of Kickstarter campaign awhile back, and I’ve seen stuff posted online. So I was curious…and here, fulfilling one of the greatest things about Free Comic Book Day, I’ve been given a chance to read a story of the character withOUT having to sink $3-$4 into it.

This story opens with a couple pilots responding to an alert, and reference to something called D.A.R.T.–apparently the group they belong to. We see that the city’s under attach by a large mech, and come to realize that D.A.R.T. seems to be a sort of analogue for Marvel‘s S.H.I.E.L.D., and they ‘support’ Molly Danger, that she’s got some sort of super abilities, but can’t (effectively) do it all herself. When the mech surprises her and knocks her over a mile away, she finds herself in a tough spot–with authorities blocking the area off, she needs to get back in–which is where those pilots come in.

There’s something a lot more fun and elegant to the story itself, that my words do not convey…as with any story: the difference between experiencing it, and being told ABOUT it.

The art has a nice quality to it–something I can’t quite put to words. But it’s good, and IS Molly Danger. I enjoyed Igle‘s work on Supergirl a few years ago from DC, and having sampled his creator-owned stuff in this: I’m inclined to seek out the series itself, and look forward to more of this character.

Continue reading

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TMNT New Animated Adventures FCBD 2013 [Review]

tmntnewanimatedadventuresfcbd2013Story: Erik Burnham
Art: Dario Brizuela
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow
Cover by: Dario Brizuela
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $0.00

I’ve been “expecting” this series for quite awhile. I recall thinking it’d be one of the first TMNT things put out by IDW, and precede the new animated series. Obviously I was wrong in that expectation, but that also made me all the more curious about this issue, having watched most of the episodes so far of the tv show serving as inspiration.

I was quite gratified to find that this issue totally fits–for me, anyway–within the continuity of the show. It was like an adaptation of an episode, yet even better–because it’s an original story, with some really good art, that simply captures the spirit of the show while doing its own thing.

We open with Mikey showing off some new moves and getting teased by his brothers. Splinter steps into things, and uses the brotherly rivalry as a teaching moment–the turtles are all quite good with their chosen weapons…but what’s their skill level with an unfamiliar weapon? Ordered to maintain a temporary weapon swap, the turtles head up out of the sewers, and wind up fighting some Purple Dragons before encountering an even larger menace, and learning the wisdom Splinter set forth.

The story has these characters nailed–the personalities from the nick tv show shine through on all involved characters, and some of the quips are highly true to the show. I was especially impressed at a moment with Raphael and Donatello where Raph grabs Donnie and instructs him “Don’t you EVER try and finish that sentence”–the context and hearing the voice from the cartoon in my head nearly made me laugh out loud in a way that so rarely happens.

Visually I really enjoyed the art. Brizuela‘s name is familiar to me from work on a number of issues of Tales of the TMNT from 2004-2009. It’s very cool to see another “veteran” of Mirage TMNT doing some new TMNT work for tmntnewanimatedadventuresfcbd2013backIDW…something I hope to see more of from creators with any interest in doing so. The characters all look like their animated counterparts (though admittedly CGI to 2D); but the art’s still got a certain uniqueness about it. It’s obviously based on the cartoon, but it’s not trying to BE the cartoon. It’s also quite a lot better-looking than stills taken from the cartoon itself.

This is easily my favorite Free Comic Book Day issue this year, and I’m really looking forward to the first issue of the actual ongoing series this summer.

If you can only grab one FCBD issue this year, I’d highly recommend this to fans of the TV show or fans of Burnham or Brizuela‘s other work, and general fans of the TMNT as a whole.

Infinity FCBD 2013 [Review]

infinityfcbd2013Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Assistant Editor: Jake Thomas
Editors: Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $0.00

Given my history with Thanos, Adam Warlock, the Infinity Gauntlet (and the Infinity Gems’ involvement in the Ultraverse)…even though I REALLY don’t want to get sucked into another Marvel Event, I wasn’t about to ignore the Infinity issue Marvel‘s got out as one of the Free Comic Book Day 2013 offerings.

The cover has a rather iconic look about it, a shattered pane falling away to reveal Thanos’ grin behind it–and images of a bunch of characters from around the Marvel Universe looking rather disconcerted.

The story is fairly simple, as we’re introduced to some aliens, including one whose latest mission was a success. The alien is given another task, which it sets about accomplishing quickly. A “tribute” is extracted from another alien people–who are but thousands where they were once millions. This tribute is presented to Thanos. And on Earth, we learn that tribute will be demanded there as well, or the world will burn.

This issue certainly serves its purpose–to be a “teaser” of sorts, something within the main story of Infinity yet probably not absolutely essential to understanding the story. This reeks of “prologue,” and other than seeing Thanos, I was honestly not very interested here. I don’t consciously know anything of any of these aliens or their worlds. I’ve yet to get through all of Annihilation, Conquest, or the Thanos Imperative, so other than tidbids of spoilery stuff, I’m not really current with Thanos…but this issue doesn’t hold up, considering I’d expect from the cover to either have more of Thanos himself, or of the general Marvel Universe presented.

The issue also reprints a Thanos backup story from Logan’s Run #6 in which Thanos once more survives the wrath of Drax the Destroyer. This was more to my liking, in that at least the focus was on Thanos, not a bunch of characters I didn’t know. Also, I’d never read this particular Thanos story, so it was still new material to me.

The art of the main story is pretty good, and quite to my liking. Thing is, I’m more interested in a story that I enjoy than I am pretty pictures, so it doesn’t make up for the lackluster story snippet. Meanwhile, the art from the Logan’s Run backup at least looks like classic Thanos, and while not entirely to my liking, is easily forgiven as a product of its time.

All in all…I’m not at all impressed with this “preview” or “prologue” or whatever-the-heck-it-is for Infinity. However, as a free issue, this is certainly worth it, if only for the reprint of the classic Thanos story.

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

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

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