BACK TO THE FUTURE / UNCANNY INHUMANS / BOOK OF DEATH / COGNETIC [Reviews]: 88 Comics Per Hour.
Thanks for tuning into yet another episode of Fistful of Comics: live edition. Once again we will be adding reviews as they come, so be sure to keep this link bookmarked and check back time after time.
October 28: Back to the Future #1, Uncanny Inhumans #1, Book of Death #4, Cognetic #1
October 26: Karnak #1, Astonishing Ant-Man #1, Justice League #45
October 24: Titans Hunt #1, The Rook #1
October 22: Chewbacca #1, The Shield #1
Boy, I sure wish we could hop into Doc’s DeLorean and prevent this comic from being written; neigh, pitched; neigh, conceived; neigh, more like tossed loosely over a few drinks at happy hour between Misters Gale and Barber.
And I mean, come on, Bob [Gale]… Haven’t you made enough off this franchise that you have to exploit it to this extent? Especially after the sort of magically meta-celebration of October 21st, 2015?
As a Back to the Future purist, and for those of you who I know are out there, avoid this. The issue #1 tells back-to-back tales of a Back to the Future pre-history — which, in and of itself, is something of a joke. Although I mind much less the intriguing precursor tale to Doc Brown’s involvement in The Manhattan Project, the “When Marty met Emmett” episode about the two characters’ first meeting was left better in the unwritten ether.
Dan Schoening’s (Ghostbusters, The X-Files) art in “Looking for a Few Good Scientists” is Golden Age Disney-esque, with its fine lines and retro feel, but even to look at the rest of the book is blah. Even the panel layout is, at best, reliable, but at worst, predictable. Which, for a story centered time travel, would be something to avoid. 1.21/5 Bibles. But it isn’t going to get us anywhere.
I don’t know how to feel about Inhumans in general. At first, I was ok with them because I thought they were going to be Marvel’s way of having “mutants” in their video media without saying “mutants” because they didn’t own the rights to the name. Now, they have their own comic book series. I’m starting to feel that the original “human” no longer exists in the Marvel universe. Win for Magneto!
Anyway, the story in this first book is kind of fun. Black Bolt and a couple others are on a mission to Atalla, where the gene that caused Inhumans came from. They are suddenly transported to the arctic and attacked by Kang the Conquerer, Master of Time. Someone thinks highly of himself. Then we are taken to a story happening in NYC with Medusa, the leader of the Inhumans, along with others, finishing off Chitauri warriors and signing autographs.
This is a decent introduction to the Inhumans, but writer Charles Soule (Star Wars: Lando, She-Hulk) kind of made them all talk like they were a group of Icemen. There were no character distinctions in vocabulary or choice of dialogue. The art was nice, though. Steve Mcniver, Jay Leisten, and Sunny Gho worked together to create some very familiar art and great color choices, that make the page really easy to look at and take everything in. I’ll have to see where #02 goes before I decide if this series is for me. 2.5/5 “Not-Mutants”
Here we are. In the last installment of the four part series, Book of Death comes to an end. Does the valiant (editor’s note – I see what you did there) Gilad complete his mission to protect Tama? Does the corrupted one, Darque, take over the power of the geomancer and lay waste to the earth? Will David see his mom again? To find that out, you will have to pick up a copy of this amazing issue.
And pick it up you should. Reading through all 4 parts, I’ve enjoyed every panel. My only complaint would be the pace of the end battle portion being a little quick, but I loved how the outcome was handled, even if it was sad. Definitely a great series to grab, and even though I own the individual comics, I will likely grab the collected volume as well. With beautiful artwork by Robert Gill and Doug Braithwaite and great writing by Robert Venditti, this comic book series shows that Valiant has some great stories on their hands. And don’t forget the many variant covers, all of which are gorgeous and made me wish I could afford them all. 4.5/5 Protectors of Earth.
cog·net·ics /kŏg’ned-ĭks/ n. 1. The ergonomics of the soft, and delectably moist, human mind.
- The bioengineering of inanimate objects and/or biological organisms, to make them subordinate to and accommodating of, critical human thought processing possessed by a superior force or consciousness of undetermined morality.
Apocalyptic AmeriCon Dictionary
New Millennium Edition
BOOM! Studios Communiqué: Directive Apocalypticon, Operation Cognetic
Issued forth: Year 2015, Month October, Day 21
Herein, by official decree, set forth on this day, in accordance with the ultimate authority of Supreme Leader Ross Richie, of BOOM! Studios; continues the implementation of: Directive Apocalypticon, 2nd Phase, Operation Cognetic (Part 1 of 3). This Operation is in compliance with approved and maintained protocol initially rendered under Operation: Mimetic, of Directive Apocalypticon.
Retention of the following Commanding Officers, for this continued onslaught of human annihilation is duly noted, as follows:
General James Tynion IV, U.S. Word Corps: (Batman Eternal, Talon, The Woods).
Colonel Eryk Donovan, 1st Pencils Brigade: (Memetic, Big Trouble in Little China).
Lt. Colonel J.M. Tumburús, Colors Battalion: (Night Breed, Robocop, Evil Empire).
Major Steve “Swands” Wands, Letters Company: (Green Lantern Corps, Scalped).
The Empire State Building, 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118, is presently the site of anomalous activity; wherein dozens of citizens and tourists have ascended to the Observation Deck Level, and they appear to be voluntarily throwing themselves over the side of the building. It is believed a supranatural entity or consciousness may be ultimately responsible for their actions.
A Joint Operative Strike Team (JOST) has been assembled from our Alphabet Soup Agencies, to infiltrate, counterattack, and defeat this unknown, perilous threat. Special Agent Annie X (FBI), may possess a geneaological link to this psychic aberration. Perpetual surveillance of this asset is deemed critical.
An agglomeration of offensive measures may be authorized to attempt to contain and eliminate this potential earthly apocalypse, including coordinated strikes from: sea, air, land, chemical, biological, and digital units.
A Globalized Task Force (GTF) is in the process of being commandeered, as of 0530 Hours, 21/10/2015, GMT; to assist in mitigating the potential extinction of our entire species.
COMMAND & CONTROL:
Underground Command Bunkers Whiskey Hotel and Mountain Rodeo, have been brought online; and Top Secret Security Clearance Level “L” and “Q” personnel have been mobilized to rendezvous at both locations.
“You just entered the Asshole of the World, Captain..”
3.75/5 Borgian Bunker Busters.
Marvel is really bringing the Inhuman’s into the forefront of the universe, as the cinematic and comic worlds continue to weave together. Warren Ellis (Hellblazer) has created an interesting, if not slow, first issue revolving around the recently resurrected character whose abilities see the weakness in all things and knowing the exact way of exploiting it.
Karnak is one part Batman, one part Magister of the Tower of Wisdom, a sort of peaceful warrior that trains other Inhumans. He’s called into action to help Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. deal with a recently exposed Inhuman son of regular human couple — who are very freaked out by their son’s recent transformation/abduction by an unknown person. Karnak and Agent Coulson’s interactions are quite funny, and their relationship will hopefully help make this book something special. Gerardo Zaffino’s almost unfinished lines and artwork works really well with Ellis’s take on the character, and creates a dark gritty feel to the book.
Karnak is in good hand’s with its new creative team, and shows a lot of potential. The pacing is kind of slow for a first issue and the artwork is a little sloppy at times, but i think we may have great new addition to the Marvel universe and the ever-growing Inhuman lore. If Ellis can do for Karnak what he has done with so many other Marvel characters, we may have something truly special on our hands. Praise be to Warren! 3.5/5 God Books.
Catapulted back into the limelight by the perhaps unlikely success of Marvel’s recent Ant-Man movie, Scott Lang is drafted from the team books into his first ever ongoing solo book: The Astonishing Ant-Man. The movie has a lot to answer for actually, with this book expertly aping the irreverent tone and loosely comedic feel from Scott Lang’s premiere big-screen outing – and that’s not a bad thing at all. Living in Miami as a small business owner (security, of all things), former criminal and Avenger Lang has a new set of life priorities: providing for and doing right by his teenaged (recently resurrected, former Young Avenger) daughter Cassie. But in this age of tech-savvy criminals, can he keep his new life and former life separate? I’ll just spoil it all for you right now and tell you: No, he can’t. And it’s awesome.
Nick Spencer (Action Comics, Thief Of Thieves, Secret Avengers) sets his wit and imagination to work, targeting Uber and other smart-phone apps in his social commentary whilst putting our erstwhile hero through his rarely-a-dull moment daily life. Newcomer Ramon Rosanas (Spiderman 1602, Night of the Living Deadpool) is one to watch, effortlessly imbuing every page with the bright and uncluttered classic Buscema-like Marvel style, with a modern quality reminiscent of Steve Dillon’s Punisher and Preacher work.
Removed as it is from the high-stakes world of the Avengers and X-titles, this book gets the opportunity to play up the same quirky and down-beat strengths of the movie, whilst never shirking on the action. It’s a great read. If you enjoyed the movie, then buy every issue of this creative team’s run. It’s only the first issue, but my theory is that if he can carry a whole movie, then Scott Lang’s Ant-Man can carry this ongoing title, because ants are quite strong. 4/5 Criminals Seeking Redemption.
Ho-Lee DAMN!!! What the eff did I just stumble into? Who the eff is responsible for this? I demand answers! Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, The Flash) is this your fault? My brain is completely melted and my eyes just imploded. You wrote this didnt you? I know you did. This is all your fault.
Justice League #45 is hands down the best comic I’ve read this year. I’m clearly 44 issues late to the party, otherwise there would be a 45-way tie for the number one spot. The story is incredible. This is everything I’d wished for during the boring-ass Greek mythology lectures in high school. 99% of the comics I’ve read in my life have portrayed the battle between good and evil: sunny, happy-go-lucky super heroes fighting the dark evil that lurks in the shadows. This puts the darkness in the hero. Not just in the suit. Not just in their minds. The darkness rests in their soul. As a GOD! That hasn’t been seen before in mainstream comics, and is the last thing that would have been expected. The light of the original hero is still quite visible throughout the issue, but the darkness makes its presence very known. Especially in Superman. I mean, c’mon, how do you NOT sit down and enjoy seeing dark God powers go to your favorite super heroes?
Let’s not forget the Tag Team Art Champions of the World, Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelato (both, Detective Comics, The Flash). The drawing itself perfectly captures the intergalactic epicness of the story as a whole. In addition to that, the varied color scheme for each hero not only separates the story into clear mini-chapters, but also blends all the story elements perfectly.
Pros and cons? This issue is essentially all pros. It’s effin’ amazing. So amazing that I’m tempted to give it a perfect score. However, I cannot, because Spider-Man didn’t get any God powers. I know there are legal reasons why Spider-Man isn’t included, in this story, but he still remains my favorite. So if we’re handing out God powers, he needs to get in on the action. Sometimes you just have to break the rules to achieve perfection 4.99999999999999/5 Mind Blown Bibles.
Time-travel stories are a tricky business, as they, more than any other type of story, tend to quickly devolve into an incomprehensible mess. The Rook #1 by Steven Grant, Paul Gulacy and Jesus Aburto avoids that trap by smartly using time-travel only as a vehicle to tell an interesting and fun action-adventure story. This issue focuses on introducing and fleshing out the main character, Restin Dane, and the other characters who will, presumably, have important roles going forward while also delivering some fun action as Dane fights a group of monsters at a college Halloween party.
The chess motif is surprisingly fun as the battle between Dane and his nemesis, Lock, is portrayed as a chess match, with each constantly trying to stay a step ahead and outsmart the other ending with what appears to be a checkmate, and the fact that Dane’s time machine is shaped like a Rook and referred to as his “Time Castle” was something absolutely delightful. There’s also a fun nod to the father of time-travel stories, along with the implication that he may have a role to play in the larger story as well. However, the biggest success of this issue is that, unlike most comics today, it clearly serves as the first chapter of a larger story while also providing a complete story with a proper conflict and resolution within it’s 22 pages. It is not just exposition and setting up a continuing arc, but actually completes a self-contained story in the process. What a quaint notion, that readers might actually want to read a story from beginning to end without having to be bogged down with exposition, right?
There are a few rough moments; the scene where Dane explains why he’s qualified to build a time machine was particularly grating. While the art was generally well-composed, the faces of certain characters seemed a little strange-looking; but overall this was a fun action-adventure story that also reads like a love letter to time-travel stories. The Rook may yet turn into a convoluted mess but, for now, it’s certainly a fun read and Grant, Gulacy and Aburto have my attention. 3.5/5 Time Castles.
As we all know, DC’s New 52 shook up almost everything in the DC universe. Characters, storylines, and relationships were shaken from the ground up. Fast forward to now, and the ground has sifted a little more, allowing more freedom with the mythology of the past. With a title like Titans Hunt, — referencing the Marv Wolfman storyline from the 90’s — it’s immediately apparent that scribe Dan Abnett (Doctor Who, Punisher, Nova) is taking the book back to its earlier days, or at least to some semblance of them.
The book has an interesting premise: a handful of our classic Titans (some established and some no)t, have that nagging feeling in the back of their psyche. It initially plays out as a sort of psychological mystery, and all the characters have one thing in common; they remember something they don’t exactly remember, something that may or may not have actually occurred. As far as first issues go, this one is pretty solid, despite being treated to the same mini story three or four times in the same issue, most of which is nothing more than exposition and setting up of what’s to come. But what is here, shows apparent promise.
Everything is pretty solid art-wise…well as solid as can be when you have two artists working on the same book (Siqueria and Borges). Sometimes jumping from one artist to another isn’t as smooth as it should be. None of the characters exactly stand out from each other just yet, with Aqualad looking more like a classic Nightwing than anything else.
There is definitely hope for this book, although it might not be off to the greatest start. By the end, you’d be hard pressed not to find yourself a little excited for things to come. Let’s just hope they do. 3/5 Bibles.
Writer Gerry Duggan (Deadpool, Hulk) opted to write a furball adventure in truly the only way one should, with only growling dialogue and absolutely no translation. Point on! Chewbacca is stranded on a planet with a bum ship, while under repairs he stumbles upon a slave on the run from the empire in need of saving.
From a slave’s origin story to a family predicament, Chewbecca #1 finds its nest when our furry hero decides to take lounge under the sun in a field of flowers, eyes closed with the slightest hint of a smile on his lips. Artist Phil Noto (Black Widow) illustrates this beautifully, showing how serene and lovable Chewie has always been across a stunning splash page. Its art like this that reminds you how much comics can be an artform beyond telling nerd stories.
Chewie’s peaceful day is soon ruined by his crashed ship and his new Oliver Twist little slave partner. Noto’s masterful illustrations perfectly convey Chew’s lack of spoken language with small facial acting and clear body language. The silent feel to the issue reminds this Traveling Nerd of one of my favorite Hawkeye issues dealing with his dog Lucky. Chewbacca #1 is a great little read and elegant in its simplicity. This little adventure in a galaxy far, far, far away will have you smiling and looking forward to issue two. 4.25/5 Furballs agree!
The idea of a lead character getting amnesia and not knowing where they came is pretty much now a genre itself (see: The Bourne Identity, Blindspot). It makes for an interesting way to get going on the action of the story without having to dwell on the possibily dull origin of a characters motivation. And with that, we have The Shield, starring Michael Chiklis and Roman Reigns. I kid. Rather, Adam Christopher (Made to Kill) and Chuck Wendig (Star Wars: Aftermath) presents a woman who is struggling with the fact that she has memories from lives she’s lived in the past — being a soldier in the Revolutionary War and WWI — but no recollection of the actual experiences or how she has realistically lived through all these events. She has people chasing after to her for reasons unknown to her while dealing with the fact that she can survive injuries from rolling off the hood of a taxi cab accident.
Of course, we know that there is a group pursuing with a crazed fixation on capturing her. But the only thing more scarier than the plot is whoever gave that guy his haircut and wardrobe, which looks like someone who went to his high school prom in the 80’s and never got his dance. I’m very keen on the brisk pace and extreme circumstances of Victoria Adams (she at least finds out her name) having to stay on the run in light of her confusion–so long as they start giving some more clues or stories to help her because there’s nothing worse than when a writing team tries to milk this trick too long. I don’t need a full reveal but at least drop some bread crumbs so we know where were going. 2.75/5 Bibles.