Saturday, August 19, 2017

Clue #3

I'm going to say that issue #2 was a hiccup because this issue was great. The smarmy British charm of Upton is back. Interactions with the editor in relation to the story is back and quite funny. Plus, it feels more like an interactive whodunit again as opposed to a closed off episode of Law & Order. 

In this issue Professor Plum and Dr. Orchid are on the run from the detectives called to investigate Mr. Boddy's death. Colonel Mustard's complex past is revealed. Plus Sen. White and Mr. Green get really excited about Scarlet's bouquet of flowers. 

This issue felt like I was playing the game Clue again. Issue #2 did not! I don't have any idea who is behind the murders. Well, I have a theory- that I won't share least I spoil it- but it's kinda out there. 

Judge Dredd's Nelson Daniel continues to amazing with the art. But once again, it's the anonymous colorist of this series that is the real star of the book. Come on IDW- give that person or person's their just due. They really add to the game feel of this book and if it was up to me, I'd nominate them for an Eisner.

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Varmints (Family Comic Friday)

Young Ned and his sister Opie are on the hunt for their Pa. Only Opie knows that their father is also the illusive criminal kingpin known as PA. As they search for their missing patriarch, the siblings undertake a number of exciting adventures involving giants, horse rustlers, and a thrilling cross-country race in which the winning gets an exclusive face-to-face meeting with PA!

This book was awesome. Science Comics' Andy Hirsch did such a magnificient job on this all-ages graphic novel by First Second. The story was excellent and very funny and yet poignant at all the appropriate times. Extremely original while mixing in iconic elements from the Old West, Varmints would have ranked on my top of 2016 list if I had found this book in time. But that's okay- better late than never.

The thing I loved the most about this book is the artwork. Back in the 80s and 90s, animator Don Bluth was killing it with such films like An American Tail and the Land Before Time. His flowing style of humor, heart, and song was all the rage in family animated features both with and without Disney.

Varmints feels like a Don Bluth film. In fact, if Bluth's studios with FOX Animation doesn't pick up this book and turn it into a movie, they missed out. Hirsch's artwork jumps off the page. Look at the cover, it appears that Ned and Opie are about to leap off the cover and land in the reader's lap. And there's dozens of amazing spreads just like this cover or even better.

I really am in love with this book. The characters are memorable, especially the animals, like Maggie the burro whom Ned is tricked into buying for the big race. I don't think I will ever forget this book and I hope you readers won't either. Plus, I would not be opposed to a sequel or two detailing more adventures of Ned and Opie. 

Top notch excitement that broken into small chapters for easy read and a very fast pace of action!

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Vision, Volume 2: Little Better Than a Beast

Things go from bad to worse in the exciting conclusion of 2016's The Vision. Tom King- that guy, I am starting to think he could write the phone book and I would be captivated by it. The Batman/ Elmer Fudd Special writer is just amazing at his craft. I know in the early 2010s, King was getting a lot of flak for writing that was considered uneven and just so far in outfield, that if he was a center-fielder, he be playing in the parking lot across the street. But over these past few months, I'm really warming to his style and thinking most of the hate is by online trolls who wouldn't know good writing from a kids menu at a retirement home.

This volume of the Vision gets as down and dirty as the closing chapter of volume 1 promised. But I love the Nick Fury-esque ending in which a little manipulation of the truth leads to a happy ending, but the uneasiness still lingers. While this series of the vision is complete, the ending gives hope of a second chapter. Though, I am can't imagine how you'd top the second half of this killer series.

The art is second to none. Artist Michael Walsh does such a tremendous job drawing the android Vision family with both a body of cold, hard electronics and a dash of the human spirit. Walsh's talents help make this one of the best Pinocchio-type stories of inorganic being wishing to become real ever created.

This is a series that should not be overlooked!

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

Robin: Unmasked

A few months back, I read the Batman War Games trilogy. Okay, it was a 4-volume set with one book being a prequel (War Drums.) But it was still a trilogy. In War Games, Tim Drake was no longer Robin. The reason why was a mystery to me. But not anymore.

Robin: Unmasked explains the reason's behind Tim having to step down from that role. But that's not the only change for Tim. Fables scribe, Bill Willingham takes over the series beginning in this volume from 2004. Along with having to stop being the Boy wonder, Tim is placed in a new school, with new friends, potential new loves, and much more. Tim also has to struggle with the fact that he may have killed a man while flying solo as Robin.

The art was 50/50. The first couple of issues are drawn by Kabuki's Rick Mays. Those issues are visually stunning and I love the color palette. For the last couple of chapters, Robin is illustrated by Aaron Sowd. He's slightly Manga-style was still was good. But when you compare it to those amazing first segments by Rick Mays, it's like asking for Ham and getting SPAM instead.

Robin: Unmasked was a great read. It answered quite a few questions about segments in War Games that I didn't understand, like why there was this assassin all of a sudden trying to kill all the teen boys in Gotham aged 14-16. I probably would've have enjoyed this book better had I read this first. But that doesn't always happen when collecting comic books.

Worth Consuming!

8.5 out of 10 stars.

1977: A Madman Turns 40: 2017- Day 228

Today marks a 40th anniversary. It's one of which inspired me to develop A Madman Turns 40.  40 years ago today, the King died. Yes, I'm talking about Elvis.

Elvis Presley was a cultural icon. He maybe didn't develop his country-bluesy style. But he was the one who brought 'black music' as his critics called it, to the masses. 

Elvis is one of those people who was in the right place at the right time. His gyrating hips would have been unthinkable if he has hit the music scene earlier than he did. But by the 1950s, a new populace was arising in the US- the teenager. Prior to World War II, teens and kids weren't mass marketed to. But with the baby boom, marketers saw a new untapped resource in which to advertise to. Elvis was the perfect product for kids looking to rebel a little from their ultra-conservative and uptight parents.

Elvis takes his last journey out of Graceland.

My Grandmama loved Elvis. She had seen every one of his movies. Had every one of his albums. So when the news broke of Elvis' death 2 things happened:

1. She cried, and cried, and cried.
2. She packed a bag and drove all night to Memphis to Graceland in order to be among the mourners and well wishers.
Funeral Procession of Elvis. Somewhere in this picture is my Grandmama.

Before she passed in 1990, my Grandmama returned to Graceland to tour it. I remember her showing me pictures and postcards. We'd listen to her Elvis records while she either put together a puzzle or made chocolate Elvis suckers for some community fundraiser or another.

A few years after she died, I asked and got for Christmas a 3-D puzzle of Graceland, which I put together thinking of her and listening to Elvis tunes. 

I think more than anything, on this day, I missed her more than the King.
Scenes from Elvis' funeral August 18, 1977.

I also think this is all I can do today for my look at my favorite year. 

Before I go,  have a listen at the favorite Elvis tune of both my Grandmama and myself.
Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, Suspicious Minds....

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Wrong Wrights (Secret Smithsonian Adventures #1) (Family Comic Friday)


Young Eric loves airplanes. So when he and three classmates win a trip to the Air and Space Musuem in Washington DC, he's in heaven. But all is not great as somebody has tampered with the timeline!

Where did all the planes go? Why are there hot air balloons in their place? It's up to Eric, his buddies and a friendly tour guide named Al and his computer Smitty to save history.

The kids are sent back in time to New York 1909. Eric and company are decked in holographic period clothing and wear a compact version of Smitty on their wrists. The Wright Brothers are about to debut their wonderful flying machine to a skeptical public. However, there's saboteurs afoot looking to wreck the Wright Brothers flyer and it's up to the time travelling students to protect the plane. But it's going to be a challenge as the baddies looking to ruin aviation forever are from the future as well.

The Wrong Wrights was awesome. I am an advocate for comics doing so much more than just entertaining. This 2016 graphic novel is the first is a series from Smithsonian Books called Secret Smithsonian Adventures. The book's authors Steve Hockensmith and Chris Kientz do a fantastic job. The kids and their enemies of time are really memorable characters. Plus they make history and science fun. The writers also know how to embellish the story enough to not lose the historical significance of the events in history the kids are trying to restore.

I also liked the art and colors by Lee Nielsen. Each character has a distinct look that allows you to know who is who is different outfits. The mysterious main baddie is super creepy looking. Plus the illustrations of the flying machines, especially the Wright Brothers flyer look amazing.

If the Wrong Wrights is any indication of the overall future quality of this series, then fans are in for a treat. (There’s at least 1 other book already published.) I think this has great potential and will be a favorite among readers, parents, and teachers.

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

SummerSlam 2017 Special

Writers: Box Brown, Ryan Ferrier, Aaron Gillespie
Artists: Derek Fridolfs, Kendall Goode
Published by Boom! Studios

Epic Battles

Next to Wrestlemania, SummerSlam has been the WWF/WWE’s top showcase. Some epic battles have happened over the years at the event. Hulk Hogan & the Macho Man Vs. Ted DiBiase and Andre the Giant. Bret Hart Vs. The British Bulldog. And who can forget when the Undertaker fought the Undertaker?!

 The annual summer match-up is just a couple of weeks away. This year’s going to be a big one as it’s the 30th anniversary. In celebration of the event Boom! Studios has teamed with the WWE to bring fans the 2017 Summer Slam.

Major Talent

   The special gives background ‘stories’ to some of fans most beloved wrestling team-ups. Andre the Giant biographer Box Brown chronicles the class struggle between the American Dream Dusty Rhodes and elitist Macho King Randy Savage. D4VE’s Ryan Ferrier examines the twisted psyche of Mick Foley right before a match with the Undertaker. Looney Tunes’ Derek Fridolfs brings back those insane Australian wrestlers, the Bushwhackers. Then modern era grappler, Seth Rollins, in given nightmares by Lady Death’s Aaron Gillespie.

    Overall, these stories weren’t bad. The Mankind/Mick Foley story was a bit spastic but so is Mick Foley. I didn’t quite understand everything going on with the Seth Rollins story. But that's because I don’t really keep up with wrestling that much any more. But the stories set during the 80s and 90s were fun trips inside a scrapbook of SummerSlam memories.
  The artwork was pretty decent. Daniel Bayless, Rob Guillory, Fridolds, and others do some amazing work making these wrestling legends come to life. I only wish that Box Brown was allowed to give Dusty Rhodes and the Macho Man story his distinctive artistic touch. But hey, only getting the story by Box Brown is better than no Box Brown at all.

A Pessimistic New Day

   There was one story that I absolutely hated. Titled ‘The New Day’s Optimistic Odyssey’, it features the trio of wrestlers call ‘The New Day.’ My reasons were multiple. First of, all this was part 5 of a series. Okay, I get that but where are the other 4 parts to be found? So, right away, I didn’t understand anything that was going on. Why are there unicorns and marshmallow cereal everywhere?

    Secondly, and this is coming from my godson- the New Day’s gimmick is considered incredibly racist. My godson is African American and he’s told me that he and his friends had to stop watching WWE due to the New Day. He says it’s because of how the WWE portrays this stable of black gospel singing wrestlers as ‘stupid and dumb.’ I think the word he was going for was ‘stereotypes.’ But if it’s a good enough reason for my godson to not like, it’s good enough for me too!

Money Trouble

      Lastly, let’s talk price. The book retails for $7.99. In the past couple of years, I have shelled out eight bucks for holiday specials. But not for only 42-pages of material!!! It’s a special, I get it. So I could maybe pay $5.99. But eight bucks? If this was a 64-page or 72-pager, I could do it. But this price is just way too steep for me.

I suspect this one is going to wind up in bargain bins pretty soon and that's a shame. It's a decent collection of wrestling themed stories. But that price tag is going to put quite a few fans off of getting it.

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

Review originally published August 9, 2017 on