Posts Tagged With: Review

Review: Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters Paperback Collection

jack-kirbys-galactic-bounty-hunters-tpbTitle: Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters Paperback Collection

Publisher: Marvel Comics’ Icon Imprint

Cost: $19.99

Storytellers: Jack Kirby (concept), Lisa Kirby, Michael Thibodeaux, Steve Robertson and Richard French (developers and writers) with Michael Thibodeaux, Karl Kesel & Scott Hanna with Jack Kirby and Mike Royer (artists)

A love letter to Jack Kirby, this series focuses on Mainframe, a retired member of the Galactic Bounty Hunters who becomes a comic creator and starts a family. Jack Berkley is a famous comic creator, using his previous adventures with the GBH as fodder for his comic stories. When one of his former enemies seeks out Jack’s evidence on his mother, Jack’s son Garrett is kidnapped and whisked away on an intergalactic journey, learning that his father isn’t a “joke” and that he was once the hero Mainframe. Suiting up and getting his old team back together, Jack seeks out his captured son and goes all out in order to defeat Slugg and stop the evidence keeping Slugg’s mother in prison from being destroyed!

A very short synopsis, but one that sums up this amazing tale. While some of Kirby’s art is used in this collection, most of it is not Jack’s but the artists do an amazing job of coping his style and giving the whole trade a great feel. I wish this collection had been in hardcover, as that is my preferred way to collect trades, but just having this is great. I really love the Kirby esthetic, which includes his writing style, which this does a fine job of mimicking, and his character designs, with their unique costumes and color pallets. The story here is great, allowing all of the members of the GHB to shine and giving us some father-son realizations in the process. We even get a cameo from Captain Victory, which is amazing!

Each of the six collected issues is massive, allowing the story to breath. Also included is a bunch of art and interviews with the creators behind this collection, which adds more depth, if reading that stuff is your thing. All-in-all, what can I say, I’m a Jack Kirby fan and even though he didn’t writer or draw this entire collection, with his daughter at the helm, if fells as if he had!

Recommended

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Review: Heavy Metal Magazine #282- “Sci-Fi Special”

heavy-metal-282Title: Heavy Metal #282

Publisher: Kevin Eastman

Cost: $7.95

Storytellers: Grant Morrison (Editor-in-Chief and writer); Donny Cates (writer) with Ian Bederman (artist), Zeljko Pahek (writer and artist), Rian Hughes (artist), John Mahoney (designer), Jakub Rozalski (designer), Craig Wilson (writer and artist), Enki Bilal (creator), Leonie O’Moore (creator), Diego Agrimbau & Pietro (creators), Dwayne Harris (writer and artist), Donny Cates & Dyman Burnett (creators), Bill Sienkiewicz (creator), and Mozchops (creator).

I will not be reviewing each, individual story in this issue, but I will rather give an overview.

It has been sometime since I picked up an issue of Heavy Metal, an actually read everything within it’s pages. The last issue that I grabbed, was for an article on Jack Kirby’s Lord of Light contributions in issue #276. Once the article was read and the art absorbed, it was bag ‘n’ boarded and put away. Before that, I was in high school, some 20 years ago, and even buying the issue was a challenge, because Heavy Metal is known for it’s graphic violence and sexual content. However, since then, I have been interested in the magazine, but have never found a copy at my local comic store, instead, having to go to a Barnes & Noble to seek one out. What usual kept me from purchasing a copy, was that most of the stories inside were continuations to stories in previous issues, and I didn’t want to be lost or have part of a story. While this issue does contain stories like that, parts of a whole narrative, most of the content within this issue is self contained or art based.

I must say, that I’m definitely impressed with this issue of Heavy Metal! The issue has a theme, science-fiction, and sticks to that, providing almost a dozen tales with a sci-fi bent. There are also some cover galleries, entries in a cover contest, which are great to look at. In fact, the covers are the best part of Heavy Metal overall. I don’t mean to downplay the creators on the inside of an issue, but the covers always grabbed me, whenever I would see an issue in the “wild”. They provide me tons of ideas, which is great for a gamer, especially one who is the “Game Master” most of the time.

If you love the comic medium, especially one where any idea or art style is printed, then this is the magazine for you! I was never around for the days of the magazines, especially Marvel’s Epic Illustrated, and Heavy Metal is one of the only survivors. You get a lot of entertainment for the price of admission,  and in this day, that means something!

Recommended

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Review: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Volume One Paperback Collection

mighty-morphin-power-rangers-vol-1Title: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Volume One Paperback Collection

Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Cost: $19.99

Storytellers: Kyle Higgins (writer) with Hendry Prasetya (art) and Matt Herms (colors); The Ongoing Adventures of Bulk & Skull: Steve Orlando (writer) with Corin Howell (art) and Jeremy Lawson (colors).

Taking place after the Power Rangers free Tommy from Rita’s clutches, the Green Ranger is the newest member of the team. Tommy is having some problems with adjusting to taking orders and his new life in Angel Grove. Tommy keeps having visions of Rita, who derides him, driving him to take risks and disobey orders. This is all part of Rita’s plan to use Scorpina to gather the chaos energies of the Green Ranger in order to open a portal. Sending Putties after Tommy while at home,  Scorpina is able to make an imprint of the Dragon Dagger, which Rita uses to take over the Dragonzord. After the battle with Scorpina and the Dragonzord, the Rangers capture her and bring hero back to their base. The Rangers are angry at Tommy, who is constantly disobeying orders and getting himself into trouble, but it’s all too late as their anger activates the fake Dragon Dagger and opens the portal, destroying the Ranger’s base.

This is a fun and fantastic read, especially if you love the Power Rangers! I watched the original series, back in the day, and really enjoyed the concept and action of the show, while the dialogue is painful, especially today. But with that said, this series takes what I liked about the series and amps up the action and set-pieces, and gives us much better character interaction and dialogue, and frankly, a much better story! The art is also great, feeling a bit anime at times, and seeing as how the Power Rangers have a connection to Japan anyway, this fits. The main story is more serious than anything Power Rangers I’ve every read.

The back up feature focuses on the goofballs that are Bulk and Skull, and their attempts to get the girls to join their Power Ranger club. While it’s odd and the art doesn’t hold up to that of the main story, it’s still fun and reminiscent of the Bulk and Skull adventures seen on TV series.

All-in-all, this is a great collection, filled with great art and fantastic two fantastic stories, and I can not wait for this story to be continued.

Recommended

 

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Tales from the Bargain Bin and Review: Last of the Viking Heroes #1

last-of-the-viking-heroes-1Title: Last of the Viking Heroes #1

Publisher: Genesis West

Cost: $1.50 (cover price in 1987), I got it for free!

Storytellers: Michael Thibodeaux (writer, artist, colors and letters), Jack Kirby and Michael Thibodeaux (cover)

At some point last summer, while back home in South Jersey, my friend, LabyB, found this little gem for her boyfriend, who has a minor swords-and-sorcery comic collection.

Well, fast forward to today, when I discover that he’s “trimming-the-fat” from his collection and he gives me this issue, because he noticed that it had a cover by Jack Kirby. I thanked him for the gift and flipped though it, disappointed that it didn’t have Kirby art or story on the inside, but having just read Silver Star, and getting myself in a Kirby-mood, I decided to read this issue anyway, and boy am I glad that I did!

While Kirby only provides the cover, the story and art belong Michael Thibodeaux, a name I wasn’t familiar with. This comic has fantasy elements and takes place at the end of the Viking Era and features a group of Viking Heroes that could rival the Warriors Three. This issue sets up our heroes and their conflict and does it by telling an interesting story with interesting characters and does it in an “old-school” manner that hasn’t been seen in a while. Even though it’s not Kirby, the art really holds up and pretty darn good for the genre, feeling like a marriage between the Marvel’s Conan comics and their Epic Illustrated magazine.

I’m glad that my friend was cleaning his collection and that this little gem could have landed in my lap, because I now on the hunt for the remaining issues, because I need to know what happens to our Last Viking Heroes! 

Recommended

 

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Review: Jack Kirby’s Silver Star Hardcover Collection

silver-star-hcTitle: Jack Kirby’s Silver Star Hardcover Collection

Publisher: Image Comics (hardcover collection), Pacific Comics (original issues)

Cost: $34.99

Storytellers: Jack Kirby (creator/writer/pencils), Mike Royer (inks/letters, issues #1-4), D. Bruce Berry (inks/letters, issues #5-6).

Truly Jack Kirby’s wildest concept, Silver Star tells the story of Morgan Miller, a name who is the next evolution of human: Homo-Geneticus! During an engagement Viet Nam, Morgan displays a feat of incredible strength, by lifting a throwing a tank, and afterward discovers his true potential, as a super-powered being. Wearing a silver suit, designed to contain his powers, Morgan becomes the Silver Star, a man with the abilities of atom rearrangement (think Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen), he can teleport, astral project and create with a thought. He becomes aware that his father, a doctor and scientist, had experimented on many subjects, including his own son, while they were in the womb, in order to create a version of man who could withstand the atomic bomb. Morgan is connected to these “Others” and wishes to seek them out in order to stop one of their own, the villain Darius Drumm, a powerful Homo-Geneticus who was raised by a cult, which has given him many mental scars (to match his outward ones) and seeks to remake the world as he sees fit. Drumm and Morgan seek the “Others”, with Drumm killing off most but Morgan is able to find a few, one of which is a female stunt woman named Norma Richmond, with whom he starts a relationship and helps him defeat Drumm.

My synopsis on this one isn’t great, because there is a lot going on here, but if you liked anything that I mentioned, then you must read this, because I absolutely loved this story! I love, pretty much everything that Jack Kirby has created, so I can’t tell if I’m biased or not, but I thought that there were some very interesting concepts here, that could have been explored, had this been written in a post-Watchmen era. Jack’s art is fantastic and the new coloring makes each page stand out, especially Jack’s double-paged splash pages. The story is good, but most of the dialogue is a bit dated by now, but that’s to be expected. This collection also includes a copy of Jack Kirby’s original screenplay, because this story was meant to be a movie with the ability to expand into other mediums.

I picked this one up on a whim, not knowing what to expect from it and I’m glad that I did! This was the last series that Kirby did and I think that he ended his creative and professional career on a high note!

Recommended

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Review: Warhammer 40,000- Damnation Crusade Paperback Collection

Title: wh40k-damnation-crusadeWarhammer 40,000- Damnation Crusade Paperback Collection

Publisher: The Black Library

Cost: $14.99

Storytellers: Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton (writers) with Lui Antonio, Greg Boychuk, Daniel Lapham, and Kevin Chin (artists)

This large paperback collection tells the story of three different warriors of Black Templar, one of many chapters of Space Marines in the Imperium of Man. Brother Gerhart is well respected Battle Brother, but some believe that he seeks too much glory, while Neophyte Raclaw is a new recruit, from a barbarian planet, who is trying to prove his worth to his master and the Emperor. Lastly is the Dreadnaught Tankred, a venerable warrior, whose body is gone but his mind and essence is placed in a living sarcophagus-of-sorts, and is made into an engine of destruction, one which is rarely called on, unless the circumstances are dire. This story skips between the three protagonists, showing us different battles and military engagements, but never really wh40k-dc-begin-issue-1giving us a sense of when these events occur or if, somehow our three heroes will ever meet. There are a lot of battles and many different enemies, from Xenos to Chaos, and our three heroes do their duty and protect mankind from these threats. It isn’t until the last issue that you come to understand that the three heroes will never meet, because they are the same individual, and that this story is being told out of order, hoping between the different time periods. Raclaw is his name when he was a barbarian and a neophyte and when he becomes a full-fledged Battle Brother, is takes his fallen master’s name of Gerhart and when he is grievously wounded, he is preserved and placed in a Dreadnaught and become Tankred and continues his service to the Emperor.

Wow, I did not see this ending coming! I had expected that the three separate stories would merge at some point, but I never guessed that they were all the same Space Marine. Up until the ending this was only an alright story, focusing heavily on battle with many different confrontations at that. The art is great, better than expected, because I’ve heard wh40k-dc-end-issue-1that some of the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 comics can be “hard on the eyes”.

I can not recommend this collection enough! I you love 40K or enjoy unique science-fiction, then this is the book for you. If I had two complaints about this collection, is that, first, the issues aren’t clearly defined, but if you’ve every read a comic or a comic collection, they you can probably guess where each issues ends and begins and second, you don’t get any additional content such as a cover gallery or behind the scenes art, but what you do get for $15 is well worth it. If they released this in a collector’s edition with some additional content and a hardcover, I would most certainly buy it!

RecommendedI was able to find some of the covers online, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see them!

 

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Review: He-Man and She-Ra- A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures Hardcover Book

motuc1-450x600Title: He-Man and She-Ra – A Complete Guide to the Classic Animated Adventures Hardcover Book

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Cost: $39.99

Author: James Eatock

This is the third massive hardcover from Dark Horse Comics, featuring He-Man and She-Ra. This time, get an extensive episode guide, featuring tons of information and art based on the many episodes of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power.

Each episode gets at least two pages devoted to it (some with more), and provides the episodes original air date (in both the US and UK), the writer and director and even when the script was approved. We also get a cast list for each episode along with some trivia and memorable quotes, as well as an episode synopsis, the episode’s ending moral, and a review. We also get some info (as well as some art) on deleted scenes and a segment called “Same/As”, where Eatock tells us were characters, items and places were reused for episodes. With all of that, they greatest aspect is the included art. I have a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe episode guide by James Eatock, but because it was unofficial, it has no art, just the write-ups on each episode. It is also paperback and on lesser quality paper, than this guide. While I’ve found that most of the info in that book is the same here, this hardcover provides us with much more, including the added art and the inclusion of She-Ra, Princess of Power.

Even though I’ve already read a good portion of this book, this was a must have for my collection. The new layouts, and added art, add so much more to the enjoyment of this episode guide, which also includes episodes of She-Ra, which in my opinion, is the better series, make this one highly…

Recommended

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Review: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Hardcover Collection

9781616558772Title: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Minicomic Hardcover Collection

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Cost: $29.99

Storytellers: Too many to list, with some going uncredited. However, the one’s listed on the back cover include Robert Kirkman and Bruce Timm.

This, novel-sized, think monstrosity, contain over 1230 pages of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe related minicomics, which were packaged with the original toys produced by Mattel. This hardcover collection includes comics from the Masters of the Universe (1982), Princess of Power (including the fashion guide), He-Man: The New Adventures, Masters of the Universe (2000), and Masters of the Universe Classics toylines, as well as some unpublished works and designs.

This collection is not for the faint of heart. It is a massive collection of some of the oddest and weirdest stories every told in the comics. The stories presented in the original minicomics are nothing like the animated adventures of He-Man or She-Ra. In fact, the first few issues of the ‘Masters minicomics aren’t even comics, they are more like a Golden Book, where there is one picture/scene per pages with some text underneath. This collection also includes some commentary, which is present at the bottom of the page, giving you more insight into these classic tales.

I find myself enjoying these versions of the characters better than their animated counterparts, as the comics come off more serious and less childish, if that can be believed. One thing that I found interesting, is how, in the early issues, He-Man talks about changing outfits or armors depending on the situation. They were definitely toying around (pun intended) with the ideal of He-Man having different accessory packs, where he could change armors depending on how you wanted to play with him, which is odd, because changing outfits is a feature of dolls!

Anyway, if you’re a ‘Masters’ fan or someone who wants to read, or re-read, these unique promotional items, which were used to flesh out a world for the toys to inhabit, then this is the collection for you. I loved everything about this one and it currently sits front and center on my book shelf!

Recommended

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Review: The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Hardcover Artbook

the-art-of-he-man-and-the-motuTitle: The Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Hardcover Artbook

Publisher: Dark Horse Books

Cost: $39.99

Writers: Alan Oppenheimer (foreword), Tim and Steve Seeley (captions) with James Eatock (captions chapter 4)

The first book of (so far) five announced He-Man collector’s books published by Dark Horse Comics, the Art of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is curated by a host of ‘Masters’ experts and is a wonderful addition to the collection any MOTU or toy/animation enthusiast.

The book is broken down into 10 chapters, each focusing on one aspect of the ‘Masters’ Universe, from the classic toys, to the comics, the 80’s motion picture and the current collector’s toy line. With hundreds of pictures and captions, this book contains a wealth of information on everything ‘Masters’, no matter your interest in the property. I really enjoy the first chapter, which goes over the creation of He-Man and the development of the toy line.

Whether you love art books, coffee table books, actions figures or the ‘Masters’ property, you can’t go wrong with this book!

Recommended

 

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Thought Balloon/Review: Valiant Entertainment’s 4001 A.D Summer “Event”

4001-ad-summer-event

A few weeks ago saw the conclusion to Valiant Entertainment’s summer event, 4001 A.D.

First off, let me tell you that I loved this story! I enjoyed everything that Valiant published for the 4001 A.D series, but I just don’t feel that this really qualifies as an “event”, at least in the way that most comic fans are used to.

To start off, let me give you a rundown of how this “event” was organized. The main story, told in 4001 A.D, involves a conflict between Father, the AI the space station that is New Japan, and Rai, Father’s protector over New Japan and his weapon against any who oppose him. You can learn everything leading up to this event in the first 12 issues of Rai, which has been collected in an exquisite hardcover deluxe collection. Without getting into too many specifics, Rai joins forces with the future Gilad, the Eternal Warrior and together they battle their way back onto New Japan and defeat Father, who has succumb to a virus and is separating sections of New Japan and sending them crashing to Earth. If you just want to know about the 4001 A.D storyline, proper, all you really need to read are these 4 issues.

The second story is told within the pages of Rai. Spanning issue 13 through issue 16, we actually get a glimpse into the past and learn about the first Rai, a female Rai and the Rai before our current hero. Overall, these issues have nothing to do with the main “event”, but do help flesh out the setting and show us what some of the other Rai’s were like. Issue 16 is important, because it takes place directly before issue 1 and sets up the entire series.

The last, and mostly fringe, stories are told within the various one-shots that involve the other heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the X-O Manowar issue, we learn about the origin of the X-O Mecha that Rai and Gilad use to get back to New Japan. In the Bloodshot issue, you discover that Bloodshot’s nanites have evolved past their original intent and are being on their own. In the Shadowman issue, we learn about an Earth city with a connection to the Deadside, and the formation of a new Shadow person. Lastly, in War Mother, we’re introduced to a new character, a hunter and scavenger of New Japan tech with a sentient rifle. With the exception of the X-O Manowar and Bloodshot issues, I believe that the stories told in Shadowman and War Mother will become a bigger part of Rai’s world come 4002 A.D.

So, with a third of the “events” issues taking place in the past, and the other third taking place on Earth, in separate communities, I feel that this is not a normal comic “event”. While this doesn’t change my opinion of the overall story or my love affair with Valiant, I feel that comic companies need “events” to sell titles and get comic shops interested in buying odd, random one-shots and new mini-series. I wish comics were in a different place right now, but they aren’t. Marvel is constantly doing massive, for over-reaching “events”, many of which are never completed on time, dragging on for months, while DC keeps reinventing itself in hope of catching up to Marvel’s numbers and sales. With these two big juggernauts out there, I can see why Valiant calls this little story, which takes place in the future of their universe, an “event”, because they need that boost, just to get shelf space.

I’m really, really tired of “events”! I remember when they used to be fun and exciting and rare. I can get behind what Valiant’s doing here, making the “event” accessible, by breaking the story up into groups, so that you don’t have to go broke reading everything, I just wish they would save the word, “event” for something bigger!

 

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