Sunday, November 29, 2015

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #13 - A Review

John Carter and Dejah Thoris have been trapped in the desert wastes for five days. Things look grim until they find an oasis... and barely survive a deadly encounter with a creature dwelling in the inviting waters. This leads them into an underground city... and a deadly secret that could lay waste to all of Barasoom!

This story by Ron Marz and Ian Edginton proves exciting enough and worthy of the legacy of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I particularly like how realistic survival skills are depicted throughout the issue. Though I question the efficiency of bullets that explode upon being exposed to sunlight underwater, I'm willing to write that off as pulp science being pulp science and merely enjoy the fact that it is the scientist Dejah, not John the adventurer, who takes the lead in this adventure.

Ariel Medel continues to deliver some impressive visuals. Of particular note is the two-page spread where we first see the vast underground city John and Dejah discover and we see their conversation unfold as they move through the great backdrop Medel has created. The colors by Nanjan Jamberi perfectly finish Medel's pencils and inks.

Superman: Lois And Clark #2 - A Review

Thanks to the secret intervention of Clark Kent, The Space Shuttle Excalibur has landed safely, though the crew has mysteriously vanished! This is a matter of great concern to Mr. Chambers - a government agent who seems as mysterious as the incidents he investigates. But Clark Kent has other concerns of his own. Namely, the armed men who are chasing after his wife and son...

The plot thickens in this second issue of Superman: Lois and Clark, though not much happens beyond laying more ground work for the new series. This is a different kind of Superman story and one I'm glad to see being told. Most of the issue's focus is off of Clark Kent and set on Lois Lane, who proves as capable a heroine as ever in defending herself and her son before Clark shows up.

One wonders how long they're going to try and deny their secret lives as savior of the world and investigative author to their son. This issue shows that  Jonathan iss already becoming suspicious of his parents' lies... even without the hint he's discovered his super-hearing at issue's end.  Still, the story by Dan Jurgens is tightly-plotted and riveting to read.

Jurgen's script comes to life perfectly under the art team's direction. Lee Weeks' character designs look great and his pencils are perfectly enhanced by Scott Hanna's inks. And the colors by Brad Anderson are well-chosen.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

All-New Wolverine #2 - A Review

Identity issues are part of the package when you're a clone. Yet Laura Kinney is experiencing a whole new range of odd emotions with the discovery that she has "sisters" - imperfect clones who lack her powers but have been granted a superhuman-tolerance for pain and a complete lack of empathy. Or so the scientists who created them claim. Of course Laura would be reluctant to kill these girls even without her suspicions there's more going on than is obvious. But will the trio of remaining assassins have the same qualms about sparing her if The Wolverine forces a fight?

Any fears that Tom Taylor might be forced to hold back on the humor while writing a dour, serious X-Title have proven totally unfounded. While not as uproariously funny as his work on Superior Iron Man, there are still some truly funny bits amid the action of this issue. And the action is top-notch as well!

Taylor's scripts are brought to life beautifully by David Lopez and David Navarrot. The character designs give each of the Laura Kinney clones a distinct look. There's no trouble telling who is who, even ignoring the differences in age and one of the clones being an albino.  It's a subtle touch but a nice one and it's good to see they didn't leave the characters' visual identity entirely in the hands of colorist Nathan Fairbairn.

Rick and Morty #8 - A Review

Many holidays are celebrated in the vast expanse of the multiverse and Rick and Morty have discovered a new one - Blumbus. It's a bit like Christmas, only their version of Santa Claus is a pervy old man with the legs of a spider. Naturally, Morty is fascinated by the little differences while Rick only cares in so far as the holiday makes it harder for him to find an open bar.

Yet Rick and Morty will both find themselves caring quite a bit about The Blumbus Spirit very soon. For another time-honored Blumbus tradition involves taking strange teenage boys into your home on Blumbus Eve and allowing them to mate with your daughter... before the whole family settles in for a glorious feast on their new "son-in-law". And Morty just caught the attention of a very affectionate young blonde...

Zac Gorman pulls double duty as both writer and artist on the main story this month. Gorman's style doesn't quite fit the usual house-style this book usually adheres to but Rick and Morty are still easily identifiable. The final product looks like a combination of the standard Rick and Morty animation and Edward Gorey, which is oddly appropriate for a twisted holiday tale like this.

There's also a wonderful little back-up comic, also written by Gorman, with artwork by Marc Ellerby that I couldn't include any scans of due to its brevity. Suffice it to say, we get some goodly parodies of It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. And the color art by Ryan Hill in both comics looks wonderful.

All in all, this issue is a welcome antidote to the forced holiday cheer that is so prevalent at this time of year. And it's a story worthy of the Rick and Morty cartoon. A splendid Blumbus to you all!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Superman #46 - A Review

Clark Kent's quest to find the sinister hacker HORDR has led him to Oakland, California. Flat broke and unemployed, he's forced to join Mythbrawl - a fighting league where the gods of old replay the stories of their mythology with a modern flare, in the guise of actors. Clark feels oddly at home among his new friends... until the one friend he has left from his old life reappears just as Clark finally gets a lead on HORDR's whereabouts.

I noted last month that Howard Porter's style has change dramatically in recent years. His figures are as bold and brave as ever, but there is a bit more fine detail than I recall in his earlier works. And the colors by Hi-Fi leave everything looking as super as one would expect.

If Neil Gaiman had ever been given a chance to extensively play with the Superman mythos and explore the idea of Superman as a modern god, I don't think he could have done quite so fine a job as what Gene Luen Yang has done here, though it might be similar in scope and shape. This doesn't read like any Superman story I've ever seen before and that's a welcome thing. I shan't spoil the end of this issue, though I will say I'm cynical there will be any lasting changes.  That being said, I still can't wait for the next one.