FCBD 2016: Action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

There are lots of different comics available every week in your shops, from quite a few publishers.  In this round of the ComicSpectrum FCBD 2016 Review Extravaganza we’re going to see action, sci-fi, adventure, steampunk, fantasy and various mix-ups and crossovers of these genres.

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   You can give your shop a call to see if they will be carrying any of these Silver books you’re interested in, not all shops will carry all Silver books.


Bruce Lee

CREDIT: Darby Pop

Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (Darby Pop)
Rating: 4/5 – Bruce is Back, in This Fish Out of Water Martial Arts Mystery.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

I missed an all ages book when I was doing the initial sort….Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises.  Co-created and written by Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon, along with Jeff Kline, this is the story of Bruce Lee apparently waking up from some sort of suspended animation in 2012 (the Year of the Dragon).  Is it really Bruce?  Only time will tell, he has amnesia, but remembers the martial arts moves.  Oh, and since he’s been “on ice” for 40 years, he doesn’t know about computers, the internet, mobile phones, etc. so we get some nice fish out of water moments as Bruce befriends some kids, meets an old friend, and ends up with some ominous characters on his trail.  There’s a lot of heart on display in this comic and it’s get some great messages for younger readers….but that ad in the back for “Bruce Tea”?  There’s a lot of marketing going on attached to Lee’s name and memory…



CREDIT: Z2 Comics

Z2 Comics Lab FCBD 2016 Edition (Z2 Comics)
Rating: 3/5 – A Wide-Ranging Assortment of Comic Samples from the Lab.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This sampler has all kinds of stories, from kid-friendly to mature readers, and the overall package felt a bit disjointed to me but had a connective element of reading comics in the first 3 stories.  The first 2 seemed more targeted at kids: Hyper Force Neo is a Power Rangers-ish team that transforms into ‘Neo Mode’ to fight the bad guy.  The next several stories don’t identify themselves on the 1st page, though they are named on the inside front cover.  Welcome to Showside is the creation of Ian McGinty (Bravest Warriors) and also exists in animation form.  In the tale presented here the gang steps into a comic and appear as comic heroes, along with a shift from animation-style to a super-hero style of art.  After the kid friendly stories we switch to Carver, which is both not kid friendly and with the “inside a comic story” theme also really not a good indication of what you’ll get if you buy the Carver comic (which I’m a big fan of).  The issue wraps with a prologue to Indoctrination and the premise explained for the series Legend: what if cats and dogs ruled the world after a biological terror agent wiped out most humans?  I appreciate the wide variety of samples but this was a bit too much of a mixed bag for me.  The whole issue is not something I’d give to a kid, the one series I’m familiar with, Carver, is not represented very well, and the last 2 offerings are too short and superficial to hook me.  This could have been more effective if it would have picked a target demographic and focused there with a package that compelled the reader to pick up more of what is being sampled.



CREDIT: Automatic Publishing

Con Man’s Spectrum FCBD 2016 Edition (Automatic Publishing)
Rating: 3.5/5 –Action Packed Introduction to the Spectrum Universe.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Con Man is a web series by Alan Tudyk & Nathan Fillion that features actors who had previously been a part of a beloved and short-lived sci-fi series (Spectrum) who are now on the convention circuit.  Any similarity to the actors work on the short-lived series Firefly is, I assume, purely intentional.  The comic Spectrum is a look at the world of the show-within-the-show, namely the Spectrum sci-fi world.  Spectrum is the name of the ship (Serenity anyone?), but that is where the similarities to Joss Whedon’s ‘Verse end.  This is not similar to or an homage to Serenity at all, it is a completely new setting and universe which is ably described inside the front cover of the issue (which I greatly appreciate).  New readers are immediately brought up to speed on the status quo for the Spectrum universe, this issue is the definition of “new reader friendly”.  Personally, I was not a fan of the art and I thought the colors did more to obscure the art than enhance it, so I struggled with the visuals, but the story was intriguing.  With a different art team this is definitely a story I’d follow on a regular basis, but the visuals are too key a part of the comics experience for me to keep on with this beyond this FCBD issue.  That said, remember that art appreciation is a highly personal thing and you may love the art, so give this a look and see how you feel.



CREDIT: Benitez Productions

Lady Mechanika #0 FCBD 2016 Edition (Benitez Productions)
Rating: 3.5/5 – Re-introducing Lady Mechanika

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This issue re-presents the story from Lady Mechanika #0 “The Demon of Satan’s Alley”, as well as providing excerpts from the Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 collected editions.  Lady Mechanika is a Steampunk take (and I may be misusing that term, but from an outsider not steeped in the Steampunk world that is what this looks like).  A Victorian England type of setting where the heroine, Lady Mechanika, is a kick-ass woman with mechanical limbs.  The mixture of elaborate period costuming with mechanical technology not appropriate to the era mixed in makes this a genre beloved by many.  The art by Joe Benitez is a spectacular example of the style pioneered by Michael Turner, if you dig this art, you should like the series from the visual aspect.  For me, the dialogue felt a bit stilted, but it was going for a period feel, so perhaps that is part of it.  Volume 2 and the current series out in single issue at shops now has transitioned from Benitez as writer to M.M. Chen, so perhaps this has been addressed.  Worth a look, if you like the art give it  a shot.



CREDIT: Aspen Comics

Worlds Of Aspen FCBD 2016 Edition (Aspen)
Rating: 4/5 – A Jumping On Point for New Readers.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

It has been a while since I’ve read an Aspen comic and I never really clicked with their flagship ‘Fathom’ character in the past, but there appear to have been some big changes since I last checked in.  Something has happened, something big.  In the opening pages we see a scene of Sydney Harbor as a dried up desert landscape.  This intrigued me.  Throw in a huge dragon, some magic, and I’m ready to give this stuff another shot.  I thought writers Joshua Hale Fialkov & J.T. Krul did a particularly effective job on this issue in making it new reader friendly.  There was enough intro/exposition to get me up to speed on what was going on and they added in some “Who’s Who” type of pages at the back to introduce readers to the key players in the Aspen shared universe.  This is a lead-in to Aspen Universe: Revelations, available in July, and it was effective in that I’m now going to be checking this series out!  This one gets my “pick of the page” for this time around, watch ComicSpectrum in July for a review of the series after it kicks off!

38 down 12 to go…..this whole “read and review all the FCBD comics is seeming more attainable every time I publish one of these review sets!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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This entry was posted in Aspen, Automatic Publishing, Benitez Productions, Darby Pop, Z2 Comics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to FCBD 2016: Action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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

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