FCBD 2016: Gold Books

There are 12 “Gold” comics for Free Comic Book Day each year, and every shop that is participating in the FCBD event  is supposed to carry all the Gold Books, so you should be able to find these at any local shop you find here: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator

I covered the 5 “all ages” books the other day.  I’m not allowed to talk about the Marvel book until the official release date, FCBD May 7th.  So in this installment of ComicSpectrum’s FCBD 2016 Review Extravaganza I’ll be covering the 6 remaining Gold books that are targeted at Teens and up.

Remember, these comics are free to you as a fan, but are NOT free to your comic shop.   Shops pay some amount of money for each of these comics you carry away with you, so browse around at your local comic shop and buy a few comics while you’re there picking up your FCBD selections!  Get to your shop early for best selection as many shops will run out of free comics later in the day.  Find local shops participating in FCBD here: http://www.freecomicbookday.com/storelocator



CREDIT: Archie

Archie #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (Archie)
Rating: 5/5 – Phenomenal Re-Imagining of the Riverdale Gang.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This comic re-presents the recent re-imaging of Archie by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples and is superb.  Most everyone knows who Archie is and here Waid & Staples bring him firmly into the current day in the best way possible.  This to me means they kept the core of Archie and his friends and made them seem like they’re living in the world we live in instead of a time capsule world of several decades ago.  To add a cherry on top, this also includes the 1st 8 pages of Jughead #1 by Chip Zdarsky & Erica Henderson.  This is my “pick of the page” and if you have not checked out the new version of Archie & the gang do yourself a favor and snag this comic so you can check them out!



CREDIT: Dark Horse

Serenity/Hellboy/Aliens FCBD 2016 Edition (Dark Horse)
Rating: 3.5/5 – Thumbs Up For Hellboy, the Other Two Missed the Mark For Me.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

You can see the 3 stories in this issue by reading the title up above.  In the Serenity story River tells a bedtime story to Zoe’s baby girl, which flips to cartoony art and essentially introduces the cast in really “fairy-tale-ized” versions.  I’m a fan of Firefly/Serenity and the story didn’t really click with me, but that does not mean some other Serenity fans won’t love it.  The Hellboy story is by Mike Mignola with Richard Corben art.  Set in 1954, Hellboy goes in search of a mirror that holds a witch and her demonic consorts.  An entertaining short that felt “classic Hellboy”.  In the Aliens story, a lead in to the Defiance series we recently reviewed on ComicSpectrum, we get what is essentially a fight scene between a spaceship crew that takes their ship into atmosphere in an attempt to rid themselves of the aliens.  The fight does not resolve and leaves this as a lead-in for the series if you want to see what happens next.  This didn’t grab me sufficiently to make me want to seek out any more.  Rated individually, I’d give Serenity & Aliens both 3/5 and Hellboy 4/5, averaging this out to about a 3.5.




Doctor Who: Four Doctors Special FCBD 2016 Edition (Titan)
Rating: 2.5/5 – Not Sure Who This Comic Is Targeting.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I’m aware of the Doctor, but don’t religiously follow the show.  I have watched all of Christopher Eccleston, part of David Tennant, a few Matt Smith episodes, and zero Peter Capaldi.  Personally, when I read a comic based on a live action TV show, if the actor likenesses are not  fairly decent, it immediately takes me out of the story.  The Peter Capaldi was not close at all, but the other 3 Doctors were passable resemblances.  I didn’t know who a lot of the characters were, but thought that may have to do with my lack of experience with the show, so I turned  my son, who was an officer in the Doctor Who club at his University.  He read them and his first comment was that the 12th Doctor looked nothing like Peter Capaldi.  Our first point of agreement.  The second story featured Absolm Daak, who I was not familiar with but figured was on some episode I had never seen.  My son also had no idea who he was and felt this chainsaw wielding guy who seemed like he stepped out of a Mad Max film seemed really out of place.  An internet search reveals him to have been a character in the Doctor Who Weekly comic from the 1980s.  That’s going back a bit, and quite an Easter eggs for people who have only watched the TV show and non-fans alike.  The story of the Tenth Doctor also featured characters both I and my son were unfamiliar with.  Best guess is they have appeared in other issues of the IDW comic, but when doing a 6 page story to try to garner new readers (I assume this is a goal of a FCBD comic) it seems best to be as inviting and non-confusing as possible.  In general this issue failed at that for me, a casual fan, and also for my son, a hard core Whovian.




Rom #0 FCBD 2016 Edition (IDW)
Rating: 4.5/5 – The 80s Fan Favorite is Back!

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Rom has been a favorite of fans who grew up in the 1980s for years.  Originally a toy, he captured the hearts and minds of comic fans, most of whom never actually had the toy, but they sure loved the Spaceknight from Galador as he battled the Dire Wraiths.  The series ran for 75 issues and 4 annuals from late 1979 through early 1986.  But Rom was owned by Hasbro, so after the license lapsed, Marvel couldn’t reprint the comics!  That said, a lot of the elements of the comics had been created by Bill Mantlo for the Marvel comic, like Galador and a lot of the other Spaceknights.  That’s why we see Spaceknights popping up in Marvel comics from time to time, just no Rom.  So, here we get Rom’s revival from IDW.  The Dire Wraiths are present, redesigned from the Marvel days, and I prefer the version her.  But no Galador or Spaceknights, Rom is now a Lord of the Solstar Order, but this is functionally equivalent to the Spaceknights of Galador, so I’m OK with it.  Another thing I’m happy about is that, unlike so many other publishers in their FCBD offerings, IDW puts a little establishing text block on the inside front cover that sets the stage.  This intro is 11 short pages but they do a good job of establishing the new status quo.  Add to that 4 pages of design sketches and I was very happy with this issue.  Then IDW went even farther ad added in a 6 page intro for Action Man, even adding a full text page explaining the genesis of the character; I never knew he was the direct UK version of the GI Joe figure (who was way too American to sell to British youth).  While Action Man didn’t click with me like Rom did.  I’m looking forward to the launch of the regular series in July!


Suicide Squad #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (DC)
Rating: 3/5 – Leveraging the Suicide Squad Movie to Promote the DC Backlist

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Re-presenting Suicide Squad #1 from 2011, where fan favorite Harley Quinn was added to the team, is a way to leverage excitement over the upcoming movie and drive customers to DC’s backlist of collected editions of the previous Suicide Squad series, which are advertised in the back of this comic as the next step for readers.  This version of Harley is certainly more similar to what Margot Robbie seems to be doing in the movie trailers than the version Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor are currently writing in the standalone Harley Quinn series.  There was not a whole lot here for me, I read this issue when it came out 6 years ago, I did not particularly care for it then and dropped the series after a few issues.  Perhaps this will resonate more with fans today who only know the Suicide Squad from the movie trailers.  I’m not sure how similar this “not the most current” incarnation of the team will be to what DC has planned for the Rebirth version of the team, but it will be interesting to see if fans who like this and buy the collected editions, liking them also, will react to the Rebirth version, whatever that will be.  Time will tell.


FCBD_2016 Cover Final Final.indd

CREDIT: Valiant

Valiant 2016:4001 A.D. FCBD Special (Valiant)
Rating: 4/5 – Short Teasers for Bunch of Valiant Series.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

On the plus side, this is very new reader friendly.  The 5 page 4001 AD Prologue pretty much serves to catch readers up on the status quo for Rai and Valiant’s 4001 AD setting.  What it did NOT do was give me any solid story hook that would compel me to seek out the mini-series.  I think Valiant missed an opportunity in not having 4001 AD series artist Clayton Crain do the 5 pages here.  His distinctive style could be the tipping point to get readers excited about the mini-series.  Clayton Henry is a fine artist, but he’s got a “super-hero standard” type of style that didn’t knock my socks off.  Beyond the 4001 AD teaser, Valiant presents a bunch of other samples that are good representations of what they have to offer.  I think someone reading these samples will be solidly informed about what they have in store for them if they pick up the series.   5 pages each for Divinity II, Archer & Armstrong, and Faith, with 6 pages for Bloodshot there are a lot of cool comics to sample here.  Valiant continues to be an alternative to the standard super-hero comic.  Very action oriented and while mostly not ‘costumed’ heroes, they nonetheless feel one-step removed from their cape & cowl cousins at Marvel/DC and are a good next step for readers who want to branch out from an exclusive diet of costumed super-heroes.

27 reviews (out of 50) complete!   I’m past the midway point but still have a long way to go….Will I make it by the end of Saturday?  I need to sneak in some work at my day job, a viewing of the Captain America: Civil War movie, and visits to some comic shops for FCBD in there too!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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1 Response to FCBD 2016: Gold Books

  1. Pingback: Free Comic Book Day 2016: A Comic Fan’s Holiday… | ComicSpectrum – Bob's Blog

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