Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #1 (Archaia/BOOM!)

Witches

CREDIT: Archaia / BOOM! Studios

Rating: 4/5 – Fantasy Worthy of Jim Henson’s Name.
by ComicSpectrum Reviewer David Akers.

I’m a fan of Jim Henson and his work. No, that’s an understatement. I’m an uber-fan. I have seen everything I could find that he had a hand in creating, and I’ve loved it all. And as much as I love the Muppets, with their chaotic anarchy, it was in his Storyteller series where I think I really learned what Henson wanted to do with his art. Using acting, puppetry, and computer animation, the series was a charming introduction to German, English, and Russian folk tales, and later to Greek myths. This first issue captures the charm of that series perfectly.

Written and drawn by S. M. Vidaurri, this family-friendly story tells the tale, as fables often do, of a princess, her father and brother, a witch, and the Lord of the Forest. Oh, and there’s a magic swan goose. The princess searches for a way to prevent a curse from falling on her brother following the deaths of her parents. And it’s marvelous. That’s not to say that it’s a perfect story. I had some difficulty at the very beginning in figuring out what was happening in the story, and thought the tempo is a bit uneven. With the setup taking the first half of the book, the journey the princess goes through seemed short and rushed, but overall it was a very satisfying read.

Told in what are essentially splash pages, each panel reminded me of tapestries, telling the epic saga of the princess’ travels. There is so much style here, including the fabulous way the text was used to both tell the story and become an element of the art.  The entire package came together to create a unique storytelling experience.  The style carried me through the tale and at the end I wanted to read it again.  I think Jim Henson would be proud.

Reviewed by: David Akers
(david@comicspectrum.com
) – also found at www.davidakers.com
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in Archaia, Boom! | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Avengers #24 (Marvel)

cb709d6e-8a61-4bb6-a075-750ad94db4a8

CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 5/5 – Read This Book…Before Time Runs Out!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

Just when you think the Avengers books couldn’t get any darker, Hickman proves us wrong. In New Avengers number twenty-four, Hickman takes the reader eight months into the future and shows us where the story is headed, and it’s not a pretty place. With the tagline of “In 8 Months…Time Runs Out” heading the cover, you get the sense of impending doom and that carries right on into the pages. It’s a dark story, but one where the villains are the focus. For so long, New Avengers has been a dark book as the heroes of the Illuminati have been forced to do some horrible things in order to save their world. As we look ahead, it’s now Namor’s Cabal that is making those horrible things look tame by comparison.

As the issue opens, we see Namor having a discussion with Dr. Doom. Namor is recounting how he’s lost control of the team he’s assembled to prevent the incursions that have been occurring since this series started. Thanos, Corvus Glaive, Terrax and more make up Namor’s villainous team and while they prevent each incursion from happening, they’re taking too much joy and pleasure in the counter world’s destruction and death.  It’s a pleasure to see Hickman writing Thanos again, and in a particular scene Hickman shows us just how dark and disturbing of a villain he can be, which is further proven by Valerio Schiti’s artwork, which is just as strong as the writing in this issue. He’s able to go from the quiet scenes between Namor and Doom that rely so much on emotion and facial expressions, to the violent scenes of the invading earths. Doom looks as regal and imposing as he should while the Cabal, especially Terrax, look and feel terrifying. Schiti looks to be one of Marvel’s new go-to artists and it’s exciting to see him on a book that feels so important to the larger Marvel Universe.

Hickman’s writing of Namor and Doom is the highlight of the book as their personalities are perfectly showcased, each acting exactly how you’d expect them to, with some nice moments as Namor realizes how much things have spiraled out of his control.  As exciting as this single issue was, we still haven’t seen just how it got to this place. There’s so much more story to be told which makes my anticipation of future issues even greater.  New Avengers is a “must read” for me, I’m all in on this storyline.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in Marvel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Superman: Futures End #1 (DC)

Superman futures end

CREDIT: DC Comics

Rating: 4.5/5 – Great Character Development for the Futures End Superman.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Gabe Bustamentez.

“Where is Superman?” has been one of the many mysteries surrounding the New 52 Futures End. This masked Superman that’s in the Futures End series doesn’t seem to be as strong as Superman, he doesn’t speak like Superman, and he sure doesn’t act like Superman. In Futures End #17, it was revealed who was under the helmet,  which led to many more questions.

There are questions Lois Lane wants answers to and she goes looking for the only person who might know the answers. What she gets is not a story about what happened to Superman, instead it’s a story about inspiration and doing the right thing. Most of the issue is Lois Lane performing an interview, yet, it doesn’t feel like I was reading an interview. Jurgens has taken this opportunity to further develop the New 52 versions of some classic DC characters. He does this by using a wonderful and touching story about what Superman can mean to people.

Dan Jurgens has a very long tenure as both a writer and an artist on Superman and that experience helps make this issue so enjoyable. He has a tight grip on what makes Superman so important to everyone in the DC Universe and how he is able to inspire hope to people and even be an inspiration to fellow super-heroes.  Lee Weeks provided very dynamic art throughout the whole issue. From big fight scenes and large action all the way to the simple dialogue scenes I felt a depth and weight to Weeks’ art. This issue felt  important to me. More details about the big war between the heroes, villains and the forces of Apokolips are given during this issue. A war that has been teased at a lot and has been the major backdrop for much of the Future End’s overall story.  A war that I hope we get to see in comics soon.

Reviewed by: Gabe Bustamentez
(gabe@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in DC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roche Limit #1 (Image)

ROCHE-CVR-2-b6f12

CREDIT: Image Comics

Rating: 4.5/5 – Noir Sci-Fi Mystery in Space!
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

The first issue of Roche Limit sets the stage for what looks to be a big story that encompasses a few genres, most notably science fiction, mystery and what seems to be the strongest part genre presented far, a fictional biography. Although it combines three genres, each one is given it’s fair share of time and attention making the entire package into something special and unique. The story and art compliment each other beautifully over the course of this first issue, and you get the sense that the creators, Michael Moreci and Vic Malhotra have a great passion and love for the material they’ve created.

The opening scene of Roche Limit sets the tone of the series, letting the reader know that all is not well on the Roche Limit colony. What was supposed to be a utopia/haven for the most brilliant and courageous minds to explore the universe, is now a place that is all alone in the darkness of space. It’s very reminiscent of the video game series Bioshock which is a very good thing, as that series is known for it’s fantastic storytelling. Roche Limit was a colony built in space, created by a billionaire Langford Skaargred who we get to learn about through captions within the panels of the story, as well as a two page text piece at the end. His story and just what happened to the Roche Limit colony is the most fascinating part of the story and will surely leave readers wanting to know more. The main story also introduces us to a female investigator who’s on the hunt for a missing girl, giving the book that mystery/noir feel. Writer Michael Moreci is packing this issue with a lot of different story threads, but it never feels rushed or confusing. It’s well paced throughout, although the ending will leave you confused and possibly a bit disappointed after such a strong opening.

The art by Vic Malhotra works perfectly with the storytelling. With the sci-fi setting, Malhotra keeps everything grounded. The science fiction elements are rough and worn, not clean and sterile. This is a world that feels lived in and feels aged. The art style feels right for the multiple genres this book covers, and the colors by Jordan Boyd go a long way in adding to the tone and look of the book. Image continues to put out some of the best books being published today, and this looks to be yet another example of the original and creative material they continue to release. There’s a lot to love in this first issue of Roche Limit and it looks as though this is the beginning of what could be something big.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in Image | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thor: God of Thunder #25 (Marvel)

Thor God of Thunder #25

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 4/5 – An Ending that is Really a Prelude of Things to Come.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.

Thor: God of Thunder is easily my favorite of the “Marvel NOW!” relaunches. Set over the span of millennia, this volume features Thor in three periods of his life: young brash ally of the Vikings, proud Avenger, and king of a shattered Asgard. Often, the stories in this book explicitly link these very different personalities into the main narrative, while other times the connection is subtler. Yet every time it expands upon the grand mythos and vision that writer Jason Aaron is creating. While issue #25 marks the end of this volume, in many ways this issue is a prelude of things to come.

This “God-sized Final Issue” features three tales, with the first used as a vehicle to transport the reader into the other two and to ultimately tie them all together. I found each tale fairly average as stand-alone stories, but the issue ends on a high note as Aaron masterfully ties them together to show the reader that he has a plan. With a two-page splash, he teases images of his forthcoming agenda, which includes the much-publicized female Thor debuting next month. Despite the premature misgivings of many, I think Aaron has proven that he can be trusted with Thor’s legacy so I look forward to this change in the status quo. Either way, the future Thor has been featured quite prominently this volume, so those with reservations need not worry too much. Overall, I think Aaron skillfully sets the stage with this issue for a saga that promises to be epic.

This final issue is brought to life by a litany of artistic talent. Series regulars Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina illustrate the main story and keep the issue artistically cohesive, while RM Guera, Giulia Brusco, and Simon Bisley provide their own flair with the remaining stories. I don’t usually like when different artists are used in one issue, but having them illustrate different stories within an issue is a good way to showcase different creators without disrupting the flow of the story. Sadly, this issue marks the end of Ribic’s run on Thor. He has defined the look of this volume since its first issue and has done a spectacular job. Like the new direction of the story, I look forward to Russell Dauterman taking over on art duties, he will have some pretty big shoes to fill.

Thor: God of Thunder #25 ends one of the best runs on Thor in recent memory. It would truly be a distressing turn of events if it weren’t picking up right where it left off next month with its relaunch. As such, the issue was less of an ending and more of a bridge to the new series, doubling down on Aaron’s ambitious tale that spans the ages. I believe that Mjölnir is in good hands with Aaron and the future looks bright, if not for “Thor classic”, then definitely for the readers.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
(adam@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in Marvel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors from the Counter World #1 (DC Comics)

Multiversity-Society-of-Super-Heroes-1-Spoilers-1

CREDIT: DC Comics

Rating: 5/5 – An Amazing Look at the DC Multiverse.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

The Multiversity event takes us on a voyage through Earth-20 and the Society of Superheroes consisting of Dr. Fate, the Blackhawks, the Atom and many more. Where the opening chapter of Multiversity took us through multiple earths, this issue keeps the focus on just one (two if you count the invading earth), and because of that, feels tighter in it’s storytelling and gives you the sense of a complete story. It has a silver-age feel, not only because of the characters chosen to make up the team, but also in some of the ideas presented, the clean crisp art by Chris Sprouse, and even the title of the story, “Conquerors from the Counter-World”.

Reading through this issue reminded me just how great Sprouse’s artwork is, and I wish he was working on a monthly book. His layouts are fantastic and the way he choreographs the multiple action scenes throughout this issue give me the sense that I was watching a blockbuster movie. Aerial battles between the Blackhawks and the forces of Vandal Savage, and US forces being invaded by robots as well as zombies are just two of the scenes that demonstrate just how versatile Sprouse can be. His art is consistently great through this issue’s forty pages and I was sad that I won’t be able to return to this earth and Sprouse’s art next month since this is a one shot.

Although there were a few instances where the story presents some confusing ideas in relation to the multiverse and the Monitors, writer Grant Morrison can sometimes get very detailed, this is mostly a straight forward done in one tale that’s I thought will be accessible to all readers. This is the first we’re seeing of Earth-20 so it’s new to everyone, and Morrison did a great job of giving me a sense of the world, without having to detail everything and everyone. It’s an earth that seems to be from the 1940s with “Doc” Fate leading a team of heroes that seem less super, and more “pulp-like”. As Earth-40 and Vandal Savage attempt to invade and conquer, Doc Fate and his team make every effort to stop them.

Morrison’s writing at times can get complicated in its big meta ideas, but they’re introduced in a way that excited me as a reader, bringing me along for a wild ride. A knowledge of the DC Universe will help, but this is still a story that can be enjoyed by all readers. Two issues into Multiversity and it seems to be getting even better. In both issues the writing and the art has absolutely delivered on my high expectations, and in this issue it surpasses them. If the New 52 has left you feeling less than excited for DC as a whole, give Multiversity a try and reconnect with some of what made the pre-New 52 DC Universe so special.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in DC | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parallel Man #1 (Future Dude)

Parallel Man #1

Rating: 4/5 – A Fun “What If” Journey Through the Multiverse.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.

Parallel Man tells the story of an alternate Earth (dubbed Alpha 1) where technology was developed to “skip” between worlds/realities along the multiverse. The United States of Alpha 1 used this technology to conquer their planet and move on to annex the Earths of other realities, allowing them to extract limitless natural resources while enslaving billions. Known collectively as the Ascendancy, they now set their targets on annexing our Earth into their growing empire.  This wasn’t on the 9/24 “new comics” shipping list from Diamond (I saw a 10/1 release date), but it was on the rack at my LCS, so keep your eye out for it.

The premise of this story drew me in immediately. I love a good tale about alternate realities and “what ifs,” and the opening pages of Parallel Man #1 didn’t waste any time in demonstrating that in this story, our Earth is obsolete. The Ascendancy easily whisks away President Obama (not a fictionalized president, which I thought was a nice touch) and gives him the “there’s no hope, so don’t even try” speech before sending him back to clear the way for their eventual occupation. With that foreboding introduction as a backdrop, the issue quickly shifts to our protagonist, Ascendancy Intelligence Agent Nick Morgan. This issue worked for me because writers Jeffrey Morris and Fredrick Haugen set up the narrative while packing in the action. They also subtly world build as the issue unfolds, alluding to a system of categorizing Earths (alpha, beta, gamma) and that the planets must meet some criteria before they can be annexed by the Ascendancy. Little things like that helped pull me into the story they are building.

Artist Christopher Jones does a great job bringing the many realities to life, illustrating a giant traveling refinery on Chinamerica, dinosaurs on dinoback, and many other outlandish realities. The backgrounds weren’t overly detailed, but his pencils were clean and the details were focused where they mattered. Paired with some beautiful colors by Zac Atkinson, the solid art kept the story moving and kept me interested.

With 36 pages of ad-free story, Parallel Man #1 was a “meaty” debut issue that provided enough set-up, story, and a suitable cliffhanger to clearly dive into the next issue. I loved the small taste of alternate worlds that were shown this issue and I hope to see many more as Morris and Haugen continue to flesh out their characters and ideas. It’s not always easy to hook me with a first issue, but the creative team found the perfect balance between action, exposition and intrigue here that has me definitely planning to return for next issue.

Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
(adam@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

ComicSpectrum ComicBookRoundup Comic Blog Elite Follow ComicSpectrum: ComicSpectrum Twitter ComicSpectrum FB

Posted in Future Dude | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment