THE FLINTSTONES / CIVIL WAR II – KINGPIN / 4001 A.D. – SHADOWMAN / BOUNTY / JUSTICE LEAGUE REBIRTH [Reviews]: Wilson vs. Wilma.
You know the difference between me and other people? When being accused of “phoning it in”, they’ll act shocked and insulted. Not I.. I’m phoning it in with this review. From my.. shellphone hahahaha.. Get it?! It’s like cellphone, but with the word shell in it. Because it’s set in paleolithic times..
(Bad) joke aside, if you enjoy puns — and, man, are there a lot — loved the Flintstones, are the type affected by the recent “nostalgia-type” wave of marketing or any combination of the three, well are you in luck. Unfortunately, aside from the occasional pun, I was never into the Flintstones as a kid and am mostly “meh” towards the nostalgia cash-in wave (where the hell is my Centurions movie? It would be amazing with today’s VFX). As for the comic itself, if you’re familiar with the Flintstones, it’s exactly what you remember/are expecting, only with writer Mark Russell‘s (Prez, God Is Disappointed In You) updated puns and references: shellphone, rocktagon MMA, art hipsters, etc. If you’re not familiar, then it’s about a stone age family that… Know what? Just search online for “Flintstones intro”.
Only real thing that I found kind of interesting is that Barney and Fred are now part of what seems to be this post-war PTSD support group for veterans. No; not kidding. Oh, and remember Mr. Slate, Fred’s boss? There’s hints of him being a sadistic sociopath. So there’s that. I really liked the artwork from Steve Pugh (Animal Man). I will say that. Wilma and Betty are still hot as hell and on an interesting note (or maybe so SJWS won’t bitch about tropes in case they’re bored that day?), it looks like Fred has been getting ready to face Rock Lesnar (hahaaaa puns). Not sure about Barney, they don’t show him in swimwear. I’m sure this book will find its audience–the nostalgic type–but I am not part of said audience.
What’s up, peoples? “The Belser” returns to more comic-reviewing madness after a much needed vacation. But enough basking in my own glory. Let’s get down to ‘bidness’, shall we? Today’s review is part of the ongoing Civil War II storyline that’s dominating Marvel right now, focusing on everyone’s favorite Netflix villain, Wilson Fisk. Yeah, you know him better as the Kingpin.
Here’s the story: After a lengthy stint in San Francisco, Wilson returns to the NY Nitty with the intention of taking back control of the underworld. He finds, however, that things have changed with the advent of the new Civil War. Fellows crime lords like The Owl and Madame Masque are scared. The heroes threaten them at every turn. Add in a new sheepish criminal named Janus, and Kingpin seems poised to reclaim his crown. The thing that impressed me about this book is the writing by Matthew Rosenberg (12 Reasons to Die). Here, he portrays Wilson as an anti-hero, not unlike a Scorsese character. Sure, he’s still a ruthless criminal and master manipulator, but he’s also a man of his word.
My favorite panels are the exchange between him and a pastry store owner named Armand. Kingpin takes on a personal favor because Armand is grateful to Wilson for helping him and his community. What I didn’t like was the artwork by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz (Wolf). I found it to be too experimental and “herky jerky” for such a mainstream comic. Regardless, Fisk’s on-point characterization made this an enjoyable read that I shall continue to follow. 3/5 Bibles.
Oh Shadowman, where have you been my whole life?
OK, that might be a tiny stretch of my feelings, but honestly, this tie-in to Valiant’s current main event had me hooked from the start. Quick synopsis: it’s hundreds of years after the world of the dead tried to invade and failed, leading to an aftermath where it’s basically hell on earth. One stronghold from the undead still exists and has a symbiotic relationship with a town built along its walls. This pretty much means the humans send a few occasional sacrifices and get to keep living off the mystic power.
Well, that all changes. Kaia is our heroine and also a sacrifice. She gets to the city of Sanctuary (the undead place) and everything changes! Jody Houser (Faith) and Rafer Roberts (Plastic Farm) do an amazing job of setting a fun, dark, almost Buffy the Vampire Slayer tone to the comic, while, Robert Gill‘s (Book of Death) art just enhances the feel. His take on demons is just gorgeous! I honestly wish HBO would adapt this next when GoT ends–yes, a darn comic event tie-in. 4.75/7 Circles of Hell.
Bounty #1 is the story of two gorgeous sister/bestie criminals named Nina and Georgie. They start out as intergalactic Robin Hoods called The Gaflies, anticorporate heroines whose identities are wiped with their sidekick and digital world wiz, Viv. Eventually they wind up as struggling bounty hunters, with someone nefarious about to uncover their felonious past.
The comic’s visual world building is like a bubblegum dream, full of vibrancy and oddities and the characters are nothing but fun. Nina is the flashy one who looks kind of like “Punk Storm” and fights like an action movie hero, while Georgie holds down the business end of their motley crew. Viv the wiz travels through a virtual digital reality even stranger than the intergalactic one they live in.
Bounty is a pop version of a scifi cyberpunk novel, and a feast for the eyes, totally cool and really damn pretty at the same time! Written for Dark Horse Comics by the talented Kurt Wiebe (Rat Queens), alongside brilliant art work by Mindy Lee, intensely enhanced by colorist Leonardo Olea (Fairy Quest), Bounty #1 elevates a girl power tale into a legitimate work of art. 4/5 Bibles.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were looking at a relaunched and revamped Justice League in the form of the New 52. If you’re like myself, you have probably read more than a few of these. In fact, I believe I’ve read at least eight JL births, rebirths and abortions. In this particular case, Justice League Rebirth #1 begins very similar, yet quite different.
True to form, JLR holds rigidly to the cookie cutter Super Team Uniting Formula. In that there is an overwhelming enemy, that no single (or even in this case a Superman-less Justice League) hero could face. While the team battles this insurmountable horror, artist-turned-writer/artist Bryan Hitch (The Ultimates), carries a familiar Justice League banter between the teammates. Unlike the New 52’s “forced to argue amongst themselves in order to create sense of angst” and piping, the Justice League Rebirth‘s characters interact as old friends or teammates would after years of battling together and interacting. Hitch’s pencils are very clean, with a good level of detail. His conveyance of battle and action is smooth and believable. Plus, did I mention a distinct lack of piping?
The twist to this story is that Superman has died and The League is facing a supreme battle without him. Well, at least the Superman of this Earth. Unbeknownst to the team, the Superman from another Earth is alive, but hoping to play stay at home dad to this world’s Lois Lane and her son. Will Clark stay at home and let Lois bring home the bacon? Will the Justice League find some way to defeat this “alien and horrific creature”?? You will have to read to find out, but I will tell you that it is a well drawn and written book, with nods to each character appropriately. They even found a use for Aquaman, so it can’t be bad! 3.5/5 Bibles.