ROCKET / TITANS / REGRESSION / BUG! / ZOMBIES ASSEMBLE [Reviews]: You People Have Issues.
Exploding off the big screen into his own solo – comic, is Rocket Raccoon in Rocket! We meet with Rocket in bar where “hives of scum and villainy” consort; drinking as he’s taking some needed PTO from guarding the galaxy. As he tells the bartender his sad, sack of a story we meet trouble in Rocket’s femme fatale, Otta Spice, and boy do they share a history. She enlists him to pull off just that “one more job” — for more than just selfish reasons, for a greater good of sorts. Rocket enlists his old crew a ragtag crew of mercenaries that he calls The Technet: China Doll, Scatterbrain, Numbers, Ferro2 and an egg. The less said about the egg, the better.
Writer Al Ewing (Ultimates 2) makes the comic breeze along like something out of a Guy Ritchie film or Ocean’s Eleven. This Rocket is a down-on-his-luck superhero that gets sucked back into the “life” to take down that one big score, just one last time. It’s pulpy crime fiction caper — wait for it –– IN SPACE! 3/5 Bibles.
I’ll preface this review by saying that I’ve only ever read one Teen Titans story and that was “The Judas Contract,” which may be why that story doesn’t resonate with me as much as it has for many others or even as I’d expected from the story where Dick Greyson, one of my favorite characters in all of comics, becomes Nightwing. For that reason, I really had virtually no interest in the Titans/Teen Titans/Deathstroke crossover “The Lazarus Contract,” which is a very clear alternate take on the aforementioned “Judas Contract” and begins with Titans #11. The opening pages of this issue made that even more clear, but about halfway into this issue came the twist–the point this story diverges from Judas–and it hooked me hard. It certainly helps that this story shifts the focus away from the Wilson family drama and Terra, two things I have no attachment to, to Wally West, my favorite Flash and another of my all time favorite characters. The last page reveal, in particular, had me wishing I had my hands on the next chapter already.
The type of story this is shaping up to be seems a perfect fit for Titans writer Dan Abnett, particularly if you’re a fan of his work on Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians 3000. Brett Booth‘s artwork is also good, if a little standard if you’re familiar with his work on Flash related titles. It’s also interesting to note that this story seems to share some similarities with the ongoing storyline on The Flash TV show, so it’ll be interesting to see if this winds up being a good jumping on point for fans of the show who are not yet Flash readers. Ultimately, this issue serves as a pretty good introduction to “The Lazarus Contract” by doing much of the heavy lifting, exposition-wise, while still successfully showcasing the potential that this story has going forward. 3.5/5 Cosmic Treadmills.
Warning: If you have Entomophobia (Fear of Insects), do not read this comic. Now that that is out of the way, wow. After one issue of Regression, I can already tell that this rabbit hole is going to go DEEP. There was so much action packed into this one issue, creating more questions. It honestly makes me wish this series came out more frequently than once a month. The art style and use of colors by Danny Luckert (Haunted, The Other Side) and Marie Enger (Pistol-whip, We are in a Dark Place) bring out all the darkness needed to tell a story of this caliber. The story by Cullen Bunn (The Empty Man, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe) has such a quick, natural progression. The story starts off with a bug-filled corpse being cut open and some pretty ominous dialogue. This then cuts to the main character, Adrian, at a party. That’s when the hallucinations start, and our anxiousness kicks in for issue #2. 4.5/5 Lacerated Carcasses agree!
If you are a fan of everything that Gerard Way’s Young Animal has been pumping out lately or get all misty-eyed thinking about Jack Kirby’s “FOURTH WORLD SAGA!”, then chances are you’ve already devoured this issue more than once; but if either of those qualifications has you licking your lips in anticipation of imminent sequential-narrative delight and news of this book has somehow slipped past you, then I have the best news.
It is, as Chris Claremont might have captioned it thirty years ago, “a nigh-impossible task” to recreate the pulse-pounding imagination that Kirby was blasting out at the dawn of the seventies when he left Marvel. Many have tried and failed. Talents no less titanic than Byrne or Simonson took substantial whacks at it in the nineties, and I’ve enjoyed Didio/Giffen’s latest efforts, but really, nothing’s come closer than Starlin/Mignola’s gloriously self-contained 1988 masterpiece Cosmic Odyssey, which crashed a substantial portion of Kirby’s New Gods cast into the main DC Universe and is absolutely a template for how Big Summer Events should be done today, but that is a tirade for another cup of coffee. You, dear reader, are hoping at any moment to actually start learning something about the first issue of BUG! THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER that was released this week. It’s just that a little bit of context helps.
The first page of the issue functions as basically a PREVIOUSLY, ON BUG!…, a wonderful trick that succeeds on the double-level of orienting new readers whose eyes were totally glazing over during all the above references and but also causing those of us who love all that old material to start trying to punch holes in our respective ceilings out of joy and delight. The bottom half of the page is a straight-up reprise of the very end of Cosmic Odyssey, for God’s sake, only reproduced in the Allreds‘ signature drum-tight retro-pop style. And then our hero has a bunch of strange adventures that you should totally check out for yourself that contain an entire gang’s worth of Kirby business along with sneaking in quotes or paraphrases from Camus, The Troggs, and even Pinky and the Brain. 5/5 Ghost Girls & Talking Teddybears & Dominoes Lined Up In The Shape Of Mother Box Circuit Diagrams.
The post-apocalyptic era of comics and lore has been on a steady wavelength of popularity. We have bear witness to overnight ink and paper sensations in the likes of Marvel Zombies & The Walking Dead, to name the most notable. The amazing wonder of comics offers new pathways, stories, and creations that can take you down some incredibly awesome rabbit holes. Case in point, there is a new player to the cinematic undead universe of comics, Avenger-assembling Zombies. Flesh meat to the eyes of comic readers, but–be ready– there is a twist: these have gone Manga style! Yes, the clean and sharp flow of japanime with the samurai of story and ink Yusaku Komiyama has dived deep in the M.U. and it’s visually and story-arch incredible. If you’re a fan of manga, zombies and comics, this #1 ish should cause your brain pain and eyes strain, as you flip from reverse (right-left) in the new zombies causing in-havoc on the Avengers. Whom will turn and how bad will the situation be on the team? Let alone the humanity. 4/5 Manga Bibles.