by ComicSpectrum reviewer Adam Alamo.
Every year on the first Saturday of May, comic shops and fans celebrate Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). It is a day aimed at bringing in new readers by offering select free comics from various publishers. Every shop celebrates it differently, hopefully with fun and festivities to draw in the crowds. As a comic reader, I enjoy making a day of it to hang out with fellow readers, chat with my local comic shop owner and creators, and see the wonder in the eyes of many kids. My comic shop allows people to choose three comics from the dozens that are offered. The following are my thoughts on the three I chose.
All-New, All-Different Avengers (Marvel)
Rating: 3/5 – A Preview of the New Marvel Universe
With the All-New, All-Different Avengers book, Marvel offers up “a special peek into the future of the new Marvel universe.” I was interested in what this issue had to offer because I’m considering whether or not I want to dive into Marvel’s new universe post Secret Wars. The issue offers seemingly self-contained stories featuring new Avengers and Inhumans teams, but other than a shift in the line-up, they aren’t doing anything particularly ground-breaking. The stories didn’t seem all that new or fresh from what Marvel is currently releasing. If anything, the story and art seemed average to a bit underwhelming compared to what I’ve been reading the past couple years with the “All-New” Marvel initiative. The stories were fairly new-reader friendly, so from that standpoint it looks like the new Marvel universe will be a great jumping on point for new fans. For me, I didn’t see anything to convince me to stick around.
Dark Circle Comics (Archie/Dark Circle)
Rating: 4/5 – A Taste of the Dark Circle Universe
Dark Circle is the new superhero imprint of Archie Comics that launched earlier this year. Their FCBD offering focuses on the three titles that are spearheading the launch, with sizeable reading selections from The Black Hood and The Fox and a glimpse of The Shield. As a current reader of all the Dark Circle titles, this book didn’t have much to offer in the way of new material. My biggest interest was in The Shield preview, since the title has yet to launch, but it didn’t offer much. Putting myself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t read Dark Circle Comics, I think this book achieves the FCBD mission. The reading material was more than enough to pique interest in the titles and it showcased some fantastic art, including the beautiful cover by Francesco Francavilla. In a display filled with books, it had the “curb appeal” to help it stand out. I would definitely pick up these titles if I wasn’t already doing so. The end of the issue provided a teaser image for an upcoming new title and that is what made me most excited about this book.
Valiant 25th Anniversary Special (Valiant)
Rating: 5/5 – The Ideal Free Comic Book Day Offering
Valiant celebrates FCBD and its 25th anniversary with an offering aimed at new and existing readers. The lead story is an original tale that bridges the gap between The Valiant miniseries and Valiant’s newest title, Bloodshot Reborn. It gives a new reader everything one needs to know to jump into the new Bloodshot series, while providing new and insightful material for current readers. The second featured story is a selection from the recently launched Ninjak title. This is aimed squarely at new readers and there couldn’t be a more exciting introduction into the Valiant universe. Rounding out the issue is another original tale that provides new readers with a glimpse of Valiant’s flagship title, X-O Manowar, while again throwing a bone to current readers. Sprinkled throughout the rest of the issue is a guide to important moments in the Valiant universe, which can point even veteran readers in the right direction. In all respects, the package Valiant put together is the way to do FCBD. It had something for everyone and showcased Valiant’s most exciting titles, brilliant art, and top-notch writing talent. As a current reader, I feel like I got something new out of the issue. I also feel like this is the book I could give people to introduce them to Valiant comics.
Reviewed by: Adam Alamo
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