Thursday, June 21, 2018

America's Best Comics Primer

I didn't need much of a reason to be convinced of the quality in Alan Moore's America's Best Comics imprint. But to find this collection of first issues for only $3 was a deal I could not pass up. 

I had read about half of the issues contained within at one point of another. But I didn't own them and they were so very good that I did not mind reading them at all. In fact, I am glad I did because I am now wanting to give Promethea another try. Plus, I have a near complete wish list in which I can look for the remainder of the other titles still in need of my consumption!

Alan Moore might be a rather odd fellow in person. But I am a big fan of a lot of his work. His Swamp Thing tenure was amazing. Top 10 is probably in my top ten indy titles of all-time. And Moore's Vigilante stories and the Superman epic 'For The Man Who Has Everything' are probably some of my favorite one-shot tales ever!

The ABC books are not that hard to find. But it's not the easiest of stuff to locate either. So when I can get my hands on something from that 1999-roughly 2008 line, I snatch it up without hesitation. I know that the stories from Moore are going to be excellent. Plus with a line-up of talented artists like Arthur Adams, Jerry Ordway, Yanick Paquette and Gene Ha, I know that I am in for a visual treat!

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 10 out of 10 stars.

(Note: This book is also listed as the America's Best Comics Sampler.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77

A decades spanning epic starring the cast of Batman '66, Wonder Woman '77 and Ra's al Ghul!

Jeff Parker does a masterful job starting the story in the 1940s in which the first season of the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series was set. Then we jump to the 1966 era Batman and finally we end up in 1977 where we meet an aged and retired Batman, a grown-up Robin now Nightwing and a new Commissioner Gordon.

To me, there was one BIG continuity error as the first act had the Eartha Kitt Catwoman. But in the second two-thirds of the story, she's white. Jeff Parker claimed that he did this in order to honor all three actresses who played Catwoman during the run of the Batman TV show. However, in previous issues of Batman '66, it was established that both the Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriwether  Catwomen were 'copy-cat' thieves taking advantage of the Julie Newmar's Catwoman being incarcerated in Arkham. So while the tribute is great and all that, it contradicts canon that Jeff Parker himself had established in this franchise of Batman '66 titles.

Regardless of the mistake, this was a really good story. I only hope that this isn't the end of the Batman '66 tales. I really would like to see Batman '66 meet Superman '78 and Flash '90. That last one might be a little too far in the future to really happen. Though the Flash does have the ability to time travel. But maybe we'll see those Legends of Superheroes characters one day. 

Hey, a comic book collector can dream...

Featuring some great covers by two of my personal favorites Alex Ross and Michael Allred!

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Aw Yeah! A Hasbro Action Figure Jam

Who says that the adults get to have all the fun?

 In honor of the epic IDW Hasbro crossover Revolution, the publishing company decided to make an all-ages version! Bringing together Rom: Spaceknight, GI Joe, Transformers and the Micronauts, Aw Yeah! A Hasbro Action Figure Jam crafts a story that will delight fans of all-ages of any or all of these franchises. 

However, I felt that a little something was missing to this book by Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans). I think it's that his long-time art and story partner, Franco isn't involved in this miniseries. Normally in an Art Baltazar and Franco adventure has tons of inside jokes, Easter eggs and is fun, fun, fun. This  yarn was missing at least one of the funs and a bunch of the hidden treasures. 

I enjoyed a large majority of this story. Having a very popular good guy changed into a member of COBRA was awesome! Seeing the Micronauts and Snake Eyes fighting together was epic! And anything with ROM is just pure old school fun!

But I hated the ending. It was ambiguous and stories without definitive endings are a huge pet peeve of mine. However, if you are a grown-up or parent who is looking to share over 35 years of Hasbro toy history, this is a very good place to start.

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage

A supernatural thriller that starts out really good, gets kinda confusing and then ends as greatly as it started. 

A paranormal investigator who can speak to the dead, has one little problem. Unable to locate her deceased husband, Doctor Mirage has lost her passion for life. But when a former covert ops agent seeks Mirage's help to release himself from a demon, she discovers a chance to reunite with her spouse.

The first third of this book is so much like The Sixth Sense. It wasn't a rip-off of that movie. But it just flowed so well that I didn't want that segment to end. 

The middle act gets a little like that Robin Williams afterlife picture What Dreams May Come. In that regards, things get really metaphysical and weird. (Now, I will admit the Director's Cut commentary at the end of this volume helped clear things up. But it was too little, too late.)

The final act didn't return to The Sixth Sense. But it was such a beautiful ending, I didn't want it to end. If the book had cut out that confusing middle act, I would read further adventures of Doctor Mirage.

This wasn't a bad read from Jen Van Meter (Captain Marvel.) The art from Robert Le Torre was okay. His demons were quite terrifying but some of his other characters were hard to decipher from one person to another. Especially the human characters.

A series that wasn't very smooth in it's transitions. However, there is enough promise that I
would give it another try. 

Worth Consuming!

Rating 7 out of 10 stars.

Family Comic Friday

Family Comic Friday will return on Friday July 6th. 

Until then, read more all-ages comics!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Thor: First Thunder

Relive the first year of Thor's return to earth in this 5-issue collection from Marvel. In terms of an origin story, there's not much being rebooted. But there's not much being rehashed to where I felt that I had read this story before. 

The real crux of this story is the relationship between Donald Blake and Thor. It answers a nagging question that I have had about Thor and Blake for a very long time- where does Blake go when Thor is summoned and vice-versa? 

Donald Blake's love-affair with Jane Foster is another key element that has matured somewhat in this retelling of Thor's origin. It's not that insipid soap opera drivel that Stan and Jack did back in the 1960s. Of the many things Stan Lee could do well, writing a love story wasn't one of them...

The one thing about this book that I had trouble with was the art. Or maybe it's the inks. Heck it could be both. Tan Eng Huat (Legion: Sox of X) is the artist. I admire some of his subtle nuances, like having Donald Blake's bad leg be atrophied. But when it came to noses, the artist gives everybody the same one- a long green bean of a thing. And for some reason, Huat liked to draw faces where you can see up their nose. 

The last quarter of the book is inked by a different person other that Huat ,who for the most part does double duty. The new inker's stuff looks much cleaner and more in the style of John Bryne or Sal Buscema. I like it better as the Huat pencils which also tend to look blurry. That would be okay for action scenes, but even the static ones look out of focus.

A good story with art and inks that need polish. 

Rating: 6 out of 10 stars.

Friday, June 8, 2018

My Little Pony: The Ponyville Mysteries #1 (Family Comic Friday)

I hope you like a good mystery because today’s featured comic involves a trio of sleuths, a pair of suspects, and one baffling crime. For this edition of Family Comic Friday we’ll be looking at IDW’s newest all-ages entry in the My Little Pony Franchise: The Ponyville Mysteries.

My Little Pony: The Ponyville Mysteries #1
Written by Christina Rice
Art by Agnes Garbowska
Published by IDW Publishing

Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle are the founding members of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. They go around Ponyville doing good deeds and earning merit badges. Their latest episode of volunteer work take them to Ponyville Hospital where they stumble upon a real mystery.

Someone has been stealing supplies from the storage closet. Is it the very grumpy (and scary) old janitor, Distemper? Could it be the very sweet and timid Nurse Redheart? Or is one of the patients involved in this sticky-fingered crime? It’s up to the Cutie Mark Crusaders to find the culprit and save the day!

My Little Pony fans of all ages will delight at this new series. Compared to a lot of all-ages mystery stories, this one isn’t at all scary. It was smartly written and the mystery was actually a very good one. This story has some real twists and turns to it.

One thing Christina Rice doesn’t seem to do is name the members of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. If you are already associated with them, it will not be hard to know who is who. But considering that this was my first encounter, I wouldn’t have known the names of Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle if I hadn’t looked them up. If IDW is trying to win new readers, they got to remember to incorporate the characters names. Maybe not do it for every issue, but at least attempt the introductions in the first issue.

The artwork seems pretty standard for the new style of My Little Pony. In the 80s, the characters were depicted as being softer and more life-like akin to how a real horse should look. The modern version is more Manga styled with sharper edges. Plus, there sure are a bunch more unicorns that I remember from when I was a child.

The Ponyville Mysteries is a series that will delight, tease and maybe even make you smarter. You have to really study the book for clues! The story really felt like an Encyclopedia Brown mystery, only with ponies. Recommended for readers 6-8 years old, the My Little Pony Brand has universal appeal with both boys and girls of all ages. This title is no different as any Pegasister or Brony is gonna love it! With 4 more issues in the series left to be published, the real mystery is what are you waiting for? Get it today!

My Little Pony: The Ponyville Mysteries #1 debuted in stores and digital platforms on May 30th. Issue #2 is schedule for later this month.

Worth Consuming!

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

This review was published concurrently at