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Hypernaturals #5 [Advance Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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Losing Two Titles From My Pull-List

Two out of the Three Boom! Studios comics I’ve been following end this January. Higher Earth with #9 and Extermination with #8.

Neither of these series has had enough time (to me) to REALLY build a true foundation. They’re only just now starting to gain some tread after laying the groundwork in the first few issues. So much of the potential they hold seems like it’s just being tossed down the drain.

It’s also rather discouraging as I figured I’d hop on board with the singles instead of “just” waiting for eventual collected volumes the way I usually do. Yet, here these are canceled and it just seems sorta pointless.

While Hypernaturals gets to continue, who’s to say it won’t just be canceled in another month or so?

For $3.99/issue, I’d rather be investing in something that’s at least gonna be around a year or more, and see room to really grow organically from an actual foundation. That’s already more than paid off with TMNT at IDW, and seems to be paying off with Valiant.

Bad enough one title’s being ended, but two? Out of THREE? Not exactly much incentive to buy the single issues until a series is a couple years in and proven it’s more likely to stick around awhile.

via Bleeding Cool’s post: Avatar, Boom, Dynamite And Valiant Solicitations For January 2013.

HYPERNATURALS #7 MAIN CVRS

(W) Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning (A) Andres Guinaldo, Tom Derenick (CA) Tom Derenick, Kris Anka

With their greatest enemy on the loose, the Hypernaturals are left with little choice but to pursue the only avenue of inquiry they have left, one that might save the Quantinuum, or plunge the universe into a greater, more terrifying darkness…

———-

HIGHER EARTH #9 MAIN CVRS

(W) Sam Humphries (A) Francesco Biagini (CA) Frazer Irving, Garry Brown

THIS IS IT, THE FINAL ISSUE!For the first time in her life, Heidi is absolutely certain of what she must do next…and Rex is forced to face the consequences of the events he has set in motion, as the final push against HIGHER EARTH comes to its epic conclusion!

———-

EXTERMINATION #8 MAIN CVRS

(W) Simon Spurrier (A) V Kenneth Marion (CA) Tom Derenick, Antonio Fuso

FINAL ISSUE! It all ends here — in the heart of the Abattoir, Nox and Red Reaper attempt to unleash Absolute on the world. Will their final gamble succeed in ridding our dimension of the EDDA infiltration? Will they both survive the encounter? And what will become of the post-post-apocalypse? The superhero epic comes to its conclusion, straight from the minds of Simon Spurrier and artist V Ken Marion!

Hypernaturals #4 [Review]


Full review posted to cxPulp.com
.

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5

The Rest of the Stack: Week of September 5, 2012

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

THE HYPERNATURALS #3

I’m continuing to get drawn in, and the odd vocabulary elements are feeling a bit more normal. I’m liking the flashbacks that are fleshing out the present, and beginning to get a sense of the continuity that’s been built from the start of this series. You know something’s being done right when I’m interested in going back to re-read the issues so far just to appreciate the world that’s been built in such a short span of time. The story is engaging and the characters are easy enough to identify with. The art continues on a high note as well. Though I saw this issue’s end coming a couple pages early that ramped up the tension which made the cliffhanger both that much more appreciable and a bit anticlimactic, as if it ended a panel or two too soon.

BLOODSHOT #3

Three issues in, and I’m quite enjoying this series. Having figured out the art style for the flashbacks vs. the present, I quite enjoy the shifts, as we follow Bloodshot on his quest to find out the truth about his past. While he seeks his past, Project Rising Spirit is determined to remove him from the field permanently. The story kinda sucked me in on this issue; as said, recognizing flashbacks made this a much more enjoyable read and didn’t seem disruptive at all. I like both visual styles as presented here. As I keep saying, I’m enjoying this new take on a “classic” character; even knowing this isn’t the original “version” doesn’t bother me. Sort of a cross between Marvel’s Ultimate Comics line and DC‘s New 52, with the best of both worlds. Definitely looking forward to the next issue.

ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG #2

The cover to this issue puts me in mind of a cover from the early issues of the Wolverine relaunch back in ’03 or so, where we see grumpy Wolverine on the ground, a line of bullet-holes across the wall–and him; and just looking at it, you know someone’s in for a world o’ hurt. Here, we get a look at the two title characters and a scene that kinda plays on the state of things, and (at least to me) comes off as rather amusing. Archer with a crossbow, pondering the Armstrong, who he’s shot umpteen times but calmly (cheerfully, even!) drinking a beer. With his parents’ reality revealed, Archer breaks from them and decides to join Armstrong, and the two begin their quest for the parts of The Boon that are scattered throughout the world. Of course, it wouldn’t be a quest if it was easy, and things sure don’t start easy for the pair. I really like this new take on the characters–it’s fresher and somehow seems a bit more realistic than the classic. I also like that the title characters don’t spend the entire first arc or two against each other–I’m far more interested in how they handle things as a “team,” with such drastically different backgrounds, personality, and abilities. The story keeps me interested, and I like the art–and the character designs. This Armstrong looks younger–and more presentable–than the classic, and somehow, that brings more of a sense of “fun” to the title, amidst the darker, more serious elements.

TMNT MICRO-SERIES #8: FUGITOID

This issue introduces us to the Fugitoid–an alien scientist in a robot body. This issue as a whole is “the origin issue” for the Fugitoid, detailing the robot as well as Dr. Honeycutt, and the motivations that led to the Fugitoid’s situation. While the essense of the original origin is present, details have obviously been changed–and it works really well for me. The art’s pretty solid, and pulls off the “alien, yet similar to Earth” vibe. The story itself is good, though I found out after reading this that the issue spoils something from the next issue of the main TMNT title–though I didn’t feel like there was anything particularly revelatory, and actually thought this played off stuff we’ve already seen. We get a glimpse of an entire culture that works far better for me than their use in the classic cartoon–taking a campy, goofy concept and making it a valid, reasonable element for the current continuity. The issue ends with no ad for a next issue, and I’m unsure if there will be any more–the first collected volume was 4 issues, and this is the 8th–making another complete 4-issue volume. I hope these continue; as I’ve indicated before–I’d gladly keep buying this companion series to the main title, with different creative teams and spotlight characters.

TMNT COLOR CLASSICS #4

While the turtles are out searching for Splinter, they are ambushed by the Foot, who want revenge for the death of Shredder. While battling the ninjas, the turtles come across a strange building marked with the letters “TCRI”–which they recognize as the same as what was on the canister of goo that mutated them. When they investigate the building further, they find plenty of oddities, including the inhabitants of the building, and an alien device they’ve built that spells major issue for the turtles’ future. The story is fairly simple, and things kinda scoot along quickly. This is still early in the existence of the TMNT, so for me it’s more the ideas that were put forth than actual grace in execution of the story. The art’s solid, and quite a contrast to contemporary takes on the characters. Still, I like it, and it’s really cool to see this colorized in a single-issue format; if I didn’t know it started out black-and-white and had no attention called to it, I’d have a hard time believing this wasn’t a color comic to begin with. Despite the various collected volumes already out, I hope this Color Classics series lasts long enough to re-present the entire Mirage vol. 1 TMNT series…though I wouldn’t entirely mind if it skips a bunch of the middle stuff and just re-presents the “core” Eastman/Laird stuff of the first 11 issues, Micro-Series, Return to New York, and City at War arcs.

True Fresh Starts vs. Mere Rebooting of Numbering

archerandarmstrong001New #1s may work. In a way, they’ve worked quite well on me in the past year. If I recall off the top of my head, I bought around 30 of ’em last September/October with DC‘s New 52 initiative. Of course, I didn’t stick around very long on any of the titles, topping out around 8-9 issues of Animal Man and Swamp Thing. While I’ve largely kept up with Batwing, that’s been always a month behind for the “discount” on the digital, and I suppose another exception would be following up from Batman with a couple digital issues closing out the Night of Owls stuff.

extermination001cBut this summer, I’ve found myself fairly invested in and enjoying 7 new titles from #1, as well as the just-past-the-one-year-mark Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title from IDW.

Despite the $3.99 pricing, I’ve made exceptions for these for being non-Marvel/non-DC mainstream books.

And they’re all either completely new, original properties, or PROPERLY-done relaunches/reboots.

The Boom! titles (Higher Earth, Extermination, and The Hypernaturals) bloodshot001are all brand-new original properties that I’ve gotten in with on the “ground floor” from #1 (or the FCBD) issues, and thus far am following them with the new release of each single issue. As new properties, obviously these are fine being in the low numbers. They’re not mere continuations of existing continuity or new iterations of otherwise identical titles (and sometimes creative teams).

And then with the Valiant books (Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, and XO Manowar), the original titles have been gone more than 12 years, and the current company is ITSELF a whole new iteration, sharing only name and teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw001properties with the original Valiant. And since they’re not picking up with where the original Valiant properties left off in the late-1990s, it only makes sense to start fresh, with both new #1s and new continuity.

Even TMNT is forging a whole new universe from any of the prior-existing universes, and I’m enjoying the plethora of stuff that IDW‘s been pumping out there. With a year or two between the end of the “Volume Four” series by original TMNT co-creator Peter Laird and draining the last of the done-in-advance queue of work on the higherearth001aTales of the TMNT title, a whole new company in control of the characters, a new license…it makes sense there’d be a new #1, and new “history” for the characters.

It just does not sit well with me the constant renumbering that Marvel–in particular–does; such that it’s actually in itself on principle turned me off to everything post-AvX (and got me to drop all the tie-in AvX titles). DC has at least had the “guts” to hold to the new numbering, keeping the books on schedule, and giving in and having various “waves” of books–cycling titles OUT that aren’t working and xomanowar001cycling in new ones, such that there’s beginning to be a hint of numerical diversity rather than “everything” being the same number each month.

But having come through the 1990s and the 2000s, having followed many characters for nearly two decades, the new stuff just isn’t (as a whole/in general) sitting well with me, and I’m even more put off by the pricing. I’ve bought DC and Marvel since their output was $.75 to $1, and as the prices have crept (and LEAPT!!!) upward…it’s just so hard to “justify” $3.99 (even $2.99) on titles/characters I hypernaturals001aremember paying only $1.50 to $2.25 or even the more recent $2.50 for.

With the Boom and Valiant stuff…it’s starting at $3.99, and broken record though I am, I’m just somehow more “able” to accept the higher price for stuff that’s rooted in the present, with today’s prices, rather than paying today’s prices for yesterday’s properties.

I also don’t have lengthy backstory to try to catch up on at high prices or out of print collected volumes to justify paying high premiums for. harbinger001And rather than be told that continuity doesn’t matter because of the sheer volume of continuity…these are all young enough titles that the “continuity” isn’t even an issue yet any more than it would be for ANY self-contained story.

After 23 years of keeping up with comics, it’s sort of sad to realize that of the ongoing titles I’m keeping up with, I’m looking to bail on the only title in triple digits (The Walking Dead) in favor of the collected volumes, which leaves the highest-numbered issue to the TMNT at #13 (last week).

Boom! Studios’ The Hypernaturals

Back in May, I reviewed the Hypernaturals Free Comic Book Day Edition.

Since then, I ended up deciding to throw in with several Boom! titles (Higher Earth and Extermination as well as this one) and though it lacks the familiarity of a Marvel or DC title, I’m quite enjoying this so far.

So far in this first arc, the Hypernaturals centennial team is feared lost, which means that a couple of retired team members are forced to come out of retirement, joined with a couple of didn’t-quite-make-the-team teens, as they set out to discover what actually happened to the newest team and rescue them if possible.

The first issue sees the “rescue team” come together and set out on their mission, where they get a really big clue as to what they’re up against. The second issue sees the team through their first battle together while flashbacks reveal more about the characters themselves and their motivations.

Story-wise, I’m enjoying this series on the whole. There are a number of characters, and while they are individually recognizable and stand out when I see them, I’m not yet all that invested in them, and character names don’t stick with me beyond actually reading the issues or paging back through FOR names. I like the somewhat super-hero feel to this series mixed with the “cosmic,” which makes a lot of sense since it’s written by Abnett and Lanning. The concepts and world-building have been interesting and make sense in their context, without making the environment overly “fantastic.” This is definitely sci-fi and all, but at its heart the story is familiar and timeless.

Walker, Derenick, and Downer make the whole thing look really good. This series looks like a standard super-hero comic–futuristic machinery, uniforms, the works. Given this is an entirely new series, nothing jumps out at me as being ‘wrong’ and I like the various character designs so far. In some ways, this puts me in mind of something vaguely Fantastic Four-ish with a definite hint of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

I also like the backmatter, as we (at least on the first two issues) have a double-page “interview” with one of the protagonists, allowing some further insight into the characters that just isn’t possible within the pages of the story itself. For what I imagine would be obvious reasons, these remind me a bit of Watchmen.

All in all, this is another new title from Boom! that I was hesitant on initially due simply to the $3.99 price point, but have recently thrown in with as an alternative to Marvel and DC. I’m not thrilled with the price, but it doesn’t bother me so much here as it does from standard Marvel and DC fare. So far, I’d say if you’re interested in stuff by Abnett and Lanning, this would be a great series to check out for something new from them that is not constrained by a corporate sandbox.

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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