Panel-to-Panel, My Favorite Comics of 2016

From the Hundreds Read, Here Are Some Highlights

(in no particular order)
Moon Girl and Devil DinosaurMoon Girls and Devil Dinosaur
(Marvel Comics, Brandon Montclare)

A young, smart, girl of color who is single-handedly stealing the hearts of Marvel fans and edging her way into great-importance in the Marvel Universe. Add in some social commentary on the education system and an endearing Devil Dinosaur, and you have my attention (for good). Luella Lafayette (Moon Girl) being the newest addition to the Inhuman lot is the least of her buzz, she was quick to be ranked as the smartest being in this Earth-616. Move over Stark, Banner, and Cho, here comes Moon Girl to make some waves!

Miles MoralesSpider-Man: Miles Morales
(Marvel Comics, Brian Michael Bendis)

Miles Morales. Period. I can’t find a more fresh, multi-dimensional, and growing character in the Marvel line-up right now. Sure, there has been buzz about the new multi-racial Spider-Man for some years now, but his reverence keeps growing. His role in the Civil War II event not only placed him in the middle of some confusing judgment, but it also showed a new side—one that could lead him to some trouble (which is so exciting).

Seven to EternitySeven to Eternity
(Image Comics, by Rick Remender)

Dedication and true love for ones work is unmistakeable. That’s what I see in Rick Remender’s Seven to Eternity. Read More

Batman: The Killing Joke – A Review

Comic vs Animated Movie… Two Sides of the Same Coin?

IMG_4422Days before the 2-day theatrical release of Batman: The Killing Joke, all the headlines pointed to one huge mistake the filmmakers made when adapting such a major comic story into an animated film: the fact that they changed the whole story. Okay, okay, that may have been a bit hyperbolic, but once rumors got out of the Batgirl/Batman sex scene, the nerds readied themselves with pitchforks and fire to rage-complain on the internet. Unfortunately, this animated film became the victim of overcompensation of past critiques, but not so unfortunate for the fans who can look past the first 30 minutes, it was still a very entertaining experience.

Batman: The Killing Joke is a 1988 one-shot story written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. The story focuses on the Joker’s origin, as well as his latest plan to cause mayhem to Gotham. The story is pivotal for many reason: Joker now has an origin story, Barbara Gordon is shot and paralyzed, Batman and Joker are juxtaposed as “two sides of the same coin,” and Batman has a dark monologue about the ultimate fate—maybe fatal—of the Batman and Joker rivalry. This story is quick, gritty, and shows many of the vital characteristics that both characters grow on.

And on the other hand, we have the animated film. Directed by Sam Liu and written by Brian Azzarello, but, more importantly, featuring voice acting from Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker, respectively. The film was intended to be released directly to home-video and as digital download, but the studios then decided to premier the film at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22, followed by a 2-day theatrical release in select theaters. Read More

The Long Halloween & Dark Victory – Quick Reviews

Journeying through the Dark Knight’s early crime fighting days.

We saw Batman begin his journey into crime fighting, and having a rough time at it, on Batman: Year One. A lot has changed since then, we have some new bad guys terrorizing Gotham City and we also have some new friends, if you could even call some of them that. The difference with these next two installments is that we are beyond meeting Batman, he has made his mark and he has placed his fear upon the villains, but of course, in a city overtaken by criminals, some of them don’t want to comply with the Dark Knight. In other words, we are done with the origin story and into the crime thrillers. Let’s see how Batman does with these felons.

Batman: Long Halloween

Long Halloween CoverThe classic Batman detective stories define the Dark Knight, and Long Halloween is regarded by many of the biggest Batman fans as one of the best among the many. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sales team up for this 13-issue comic book thriller to create a perfect world of words and color, from the tones that shape Batman’s baddest antagonists to the shades that hide Batman himself in the darkness of Gotham City. What most people take away from this (and the following series by the same team) is how creative and thought-out the crime thriller actually is. Batman is wrapped up with trying to find the mysterious Holiday, who kills only on holidays, all the while working with Captain James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent to calm the war between Gotham crime families Maroni and Falcone. Not to mention the Calendar Man, who almost works as a Hannibal Lecter type prisoner here, giving away hints but not the identity of Holiday, for sake of staying relevant himself (since Holiday and Calendar Man kill almost in the same fashion). Read More

God Loves, Man Kills – A Review

The X-Men take on racism, segregation, bigotry, and discrimination; it’s brilliant!

10883925When anyone argues with me about the legitimacy of comics, I quickly point them towards a couple of my favorites: Maus, Watchmen, and X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills. Taking on the topic of racism is no easy task, such a sensitive subject can be hit-or-miss with the public. Well, the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills takes on an age-old topic, with a mutant twist, and teaches us a lot about ourselves as human beings and how we treat each other. Read More

A Man Without A Country – A Review

Kurt Vonnegut chats with us about life, art, politics, and more.

AManWithoutACountryI think it’s safe to say that anyone that has ever read Kurt Vonnegut has hoped to one day be able to sit down and chat with him, about everything from life and sex, to technology and politics. Well, with the 2005 collection of essays, A Man Without A Country, it’s the closest we can come to this wish. Vonnegut’s limitless wit will have you hooked and chuckling throughout every page.

To go along with his humorous introspective, Vonnegut supports his essays with playfully quaint illustrations. So not only can you sit and have a conversation with one of the greatest authors of our generation with this little collection, but you can also watch as he creates high-spirited drawings that will bring you to a weird junction of absurdity and gravity that you couldn’t think possible. It’s like reading A Man Without A Country shows us what it would be like to sit in a coffee shop with Vonnegut, as dribbles sketches on a napkin, and rambles about politics these days, and how he feels our country is holding up. It’s what I would imagine a perfect afternoon to be like.  Read More

Marvel Now! Teen Heroes Pack – Quick Reviews

A new age in Marvel heroes takes over, will they last?IMG_0644

Earlier this year, Marvel release a cool little pack including teenage heroes from the Marvel Now! series. Including their first run at a Muslim superhero, a new team of heroes fighting for the right to be the world’s defenders, an old hero with a new origin, and a classic tale of the past meeting the present. I gotta say, these were fun. Check out the quick reviews below. Enjoy!

Ms Marvel (2014) #1 – MAYBE

IMG_0648Classic tale: the unpopular, unattractive, un-superhero teen gets their wish of becoming a super important, super awesome, superhero. Yup. Little Kamala is fed up with following her family’s Pakistani customs and constantly being teased, she is tired of missing out on the cool kid’s parties, and while a suspicious cloud blankets Jersey City she wishes upon a fog and is suddenly given extraordinary gifts. The writer, G. Willow Wilson, is herself a Muslim from New Jersey, so this is like a cool way for her to make herself a comic book hero. I’m intrigued by this story, and the art is exactly what I enjoy, I might not pick it up right away, but it’ll stay on my pull list for the future.

New Warriors (2014) #1 – NO

Well, there’s a lot going on here… actually, too much going on. We have a bunch of heroes scattered around, some we know, some we’re just now meeting, and they want to be like the Avengers. The problem is that I was barely just told that, and never really shown the group’s potential. There is no team set, no plan in motion, just a bunch of isolated accidents that I can only assume lead to the creation of the New Warriors. This first issue doesn’t really tell me much more than how some Evolutionaties wreaking havoc, and a couple of teens can stand up for themselves. I probably won’t keep reading, not very interested in these heroes (all shown below), except for Vance Astrovik.  Read More

Days of Future Past – A Review

The most famous mutant superheroes take on time travel and save the world before it was ever even in trouble in The Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past

IMG_0029Well, for starters, the whole storyline they sell you in the Marvel comic app is pretty pointless, I feel like the whole Days of Future Past story is really told in just two issues: “Days of Future Past” and “Mind Out of Time,” aka “This Issue: Everyone Dies” (The Uncanny X-Men issues #141 and 142, published in 1981). The other four issues with this bundle don’t add much at all to the story, other than background info that isn’t fully necessary. Aside from that, the actual Days of Future Past story is so captivating, so well produced that I can’t help but read and re-read. Read More

10 Free comiXology Comics: Check Them Out!

Just here to show you that you can find some great comics outside of the Marvel and DC world (and yes, maybe some crappy ones as well).

These quick reviews will give you an idea of what comics are out there, non-Marvel and non-DC, and which are even going for FREE right now over at comiXology. Check out the comiXology description of each comic, and just so you get my honest opinion, I’ll give you a YES or NO on whether I would continue reading or not… whether they are worth spending money on them or not. Click the titles for links to the comics themselves in the comiXology website.

Moth City #1 (Published by Flying Whities) – NOIMG_0463

“The Nationalist Army of China comes to Moth City to purchase a mysterious new weapon to win 1930s civil war, and instead steps into shadowy intrigues as a daughter tries to escape her father, a scientist tries to avoid his death sentence, and a dictator tries to control a world falling apart.”

IMHO: Digital medium done almost right. A crime/horror tale, with great transitions and movement within the comic app, but the story is lacking in my opinion. It’s too slow, it didn’t draw me in or keep me there, I can easily walk away and not regret it.

Bone #1 (Published by Cartoon Books) – YES BONEIMG_0468

“After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one they find their way into a mysterious valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. The first chapter in the exciting adventure that became a worldwide graphic novel phenomenon!”

IMHO: Exactly what I would expect out of a publisher like Cartoon Books. With a hint of Peanuts humor, these three bone cousins get into some funny situations and have enough character to make you enjoy their antics. Perfect for Sunday morning, breakfast reading material. Read More

The Dead vs The Dying

Comparing Marvel Death Stories: Marvel Zombies vs Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe

Deadpool Kills 8In the last week, I delved into two different Marvel comics dealing with total death throughout the Marvel universe. Cheery subject, right? One story seeks it while the other is consumed by it. I don’t know why, but I think I can compare these two completely different stories just because deadness is the central concern in both, a.k.a. here are two quick reviews of these dead-filled Marvel comics. Enjoy. Read More

leveL: a web comic

A quiet boy thrown into an adventure to find out the secrets of leveL… hmm, not sure if I’m talking about Cael or myself…

L_DayPoster_001Because of the many projects I work on daily, I have to keep a strict schedule to get anything done at all, it’s just how I prefer to work. During my self-appointed homework time, 1:30-3:00pm, I take some minutes to StumbleUpon, to see if I come across anything interesting. Well, I came across something interesting: leveL, a web comic by Nate Swinehart.

This little sci-fi adventure web comic grabbed my attention from first sight: the weather worn wall with the word leveL printed on it, the L beaming with light; the bright blue sky, fluffy clouds, and the words “a city unlike any other” piquing my interest; the black sphere of air and the open square picked out of the sky, where our main adventurer peaks his wandering eyes out into the sprawl. As the creator puts it, leveL is “full of fun characters, exciting action, and mysterious happenings,” which I can attest to, it’s a valid description, but it’s the other side of leveL that gets my attention, “however, there might be something deeper at work here, waiting to crack through the surface, so tread lightly, dear reader.” Read More

Batman: Year One – A Review

Year One: Two Paths Cross and A City is Changed Forever

Batman: Year OneGotham City is in need of a hero. Prostitution, thievery, corruption, drugs, and much worse happens each and every day, but on this special day, two heroes make their way towards the derailed city, sprouting hope and light onto the darkest of corners of Gotham City. Batman: Year One covers the coincidental first year of Bruce Wayne’s vigilante days and Jim Gordon’s rampage through Gotham City Police Department’s corruption. Writer Frank Miller, along with illustrator David Mazzucchelli and colorist Richard Lewis, create what I believe to be one of the best blends of story and art in comics. Not only does Year One give you a dramatic interpretation of these two Gotham heroes’ green days, it also portrays it with an artistic flow that will keep you glued to the pages. For this Year One easily became the first comic book I fell in love with, it’s on another level. Read More

In Cold Blood – A Review

Capote’s Sweet Voice Detailing A Not So Sweet Event

In Cold Blood coverTypically a strict fiction reader, I steer clear from mystery and crime books, they are not my cup of tea. This strange September, I veer away from my norm, which is hard for me to do with books, and I picked up In Cold Blood, and in all honestly, it was in most part because of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance in the film Capote. Oh boy, was I pleasantly surprised. The book brings a detailed account of a family’s murder in the small town in Holcomb, Kansas, progressing deeply into an assortment of neighborhood anecdotes and rumors, detective reports and theories, psychological assessments and recommendations, and even lawyer depositions. Although being a non-fiction, crime mystery, Capote does a wonderful job of concealing this by creating a flow with the narrative that makes you feel like you’re reading a fiction novel.  Read More

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