FCBD 2016: The Final Five!

…and here are the last 5 “Silver” level comics from FCBD 2015!  There are 2 based on video games, 2 manga/anime themed samplers, and a sample of a magazine about comics and pop culture.  I feel like I’ve finished a comics marathon with these 5 reviews.  Even though they’ve all been short, I’ve done 50 reviews this week for the ComicSpectrum FCBD 2016 Review Extravaganza!

In past years I had to do this all on the evening of and days after FCBD after having visited a bunch of shops to score the full set of books. This year I’d like to extend my thanks to the kind folks at Diamond who sent me the full set of comics in advance of FCBD for review purposes.  It has allowed me to take a bit more time in reading these and collecting my thoughts.  Free Comic Book Day gets better every year and this 15th anniversary year has been my favorite so far.  A really great set of samplers that should give anyone who grabbed a handful of comics on May 7th some things to think about buying on an ongoing basis!

Let’s get to the final 5 reviews!



CREDIT: Titan Comics

Assassin’s Creed FCBD 2016 Edition (Titan)
Rating: 4/5 –The Premise Was Unclear to a Noob, Probably Best for People Who Play the Games.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

A comic based on a video game universe is going to have a built-in audience of people who play the game.  But what about appealing to people who have never played the game?  Some concepts are just cool and could make for a decent fantasy/adventure even for those who are not gamers.  Assassin’s Creed seems to fall in this category and this comic almost made me want to continue to explore the universe, but fell just a bit short.  There were really solid writers on this comic, Anthony del Col & Conor McCreery on the main story (who I followed on their creator-owned Kill Shakespeare) and Fred Van Lente on the second story (who I have followed from Action Philosophers through his Marvel work to his recent stuff for Valiant).  In the end, this fell just a bit short, leaving me in the dark on some key elements of the Assassin’s Creed world that would have helped me enjoy the stories a bit more.  The first story involves a chair that allows Assassins to jump through time somehow and also hints at the “creed” of the Assassins but does not tell me what it is.  The second story is also displaced in time, set in China in 1927.  The sad part is the whole thing could have been cleared up by a couple of paragraphs of text on the inside of the front cover that spell out the premise of the universe and give me the context of the assassin’s organization and  mission.  It seems better suited for people who play the game, see this, and say “Cool! I didn’t know they made an Assassin’s Creed comic!” but could have easily been made accessible to those coming into the property cold.   Solid book for fans of the franchise, though.




Street Fighter V #1 FCBD 2016 Edition (Udon)
Rating: 4/5 – Exciting Fighting Action Leveraging Characters From the Game.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Much like the Assassin’s Creed comic, this is playing to the audience of people who have played the game and are looking for more exploration of the world.  That said, the fighting-based stories were simple enough that I could follow along without really understanding the extra layers of who these people are and what relationships they might have to one another in the game.  As an introductory comic, this would have still benefited from a short text blurb introducing new readers to the basic situation and characters, but seemed to be something that would work just fine for fans of the franchise.



CREDIT: Kodansha Comics

Attack On Titan Anthology Preview FCBD 2016 Edition (Kodansha)
Rating: 4/5 – Going Beyond the Manga with Popular Western Creators.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This is yet another FCBD comic that is targeted squarely at people familiar with the franchise it represents to the exclusion of new fans.  If you’ve never watched the Anime I don’t think this is a good place to jump in.  I’m going to sound like a broken record, but it would not have killed the Editor at Kodansha to have included a text piece introducing the world and premise of the series.  They have plenty of text pieces, mostly crowing about the Western comics creators they have scored to work on the anthology.  Stories presented here include ones by Michael Avon Oeming (Powers, Mice Templar), Brendan Fletcher/Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr (Batgirl), Afua Richardson (Genius), and Evan Dorkin/Sarah Dyer (Milk & Cheese, Dork!).  Visually it’s cool to see these creators, but I wish I knew what was going on.  This is highly recommended for anyone who is familiar with the Attack on Titan Franchise, they’ve produced a quality package with some top notch creators.  If you’ve not seen Attack on Titan, this is probably not the place to start.



CREDIT: Viz Media

One Punch Man/My Hero Academia FCBD 2016 Edition (Viz Media)
Rating: 4.5/5 – Right-to-Left Action & Adventure That Manga Does Best!

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

Finally, a sampler that actually adds in some capsule summaries of the premise behind the stories present.  That wasn’t so hard…Thank You, Viz Media!! In One-Punch Man we meet Saitama who, though very average and weak looking, has never found an opponent strong enough to beat him.  He takes them down with one punch (thus the name of the series).  A good scene was presented here that illustrates exactly what this manga is going to be like, if you like what you see here, go grab Vol. 1 for more.  In My Hero Academia, we visit the standard comics trope of people manifesting super-powers, called “quirks” here, and there needing to be schools to train them in the use of their powers.  This is necessary because, here’s the difference, 80% of the population has powers!  Fun stories suitable for young teens on up.  This one gets my “pick of the page” for being new reader friendly.


Overstreet’s Comic Book Marketplace FCBD 2016 Edition (Gemstone)
Rating: 4/5 – Chock Full of Information for Comics Fans.

by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

This is a great sampler magazine for people new to reading/collecting comics as well as for those who have been at it for a while.  Highlights for me included a trio of “75 years of” articles on Will Eisner & The Spirit, Archie, and Wonder Woman.  I also liked the articles on Supergirl and Star Trek in the comics.  A couple of cosplayer spotlights, while not my personal cup of tea, were interesting insights into these people who like to dress up.  And, lest I forget, there was a selection of classic covers by Murphy Anderson, who passed away in October 2015 at the age of 89.  There was certainly a lot of info jammed into this issue, well worth grabbing a copy if you get a chance!

There you have it… 50 FCBD comics read and reviewed in the past 7 days (all posted on Thursday/Friday/Saturday).  If you missed any of the titles that you think you’d like to check out, ask your local shop.  Sometimes shops have various titles left over after FCBD.  If you ask nicely you may be able to score some extra titles during the week that you didn’t get a chance to pick up today.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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1 Response to FCBD 2016: The Final Five!

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

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