ELEKTRA / THINK TANK / JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA / THE VISITOR / OUTCAST [Reviews]: Warm Weather & ‘Hot’ Reads!
Good afternoon, fellow geeks. It’s another great day, and another great week to talk about our favorite topic here at GodHatesGeeks: A Fistful of COMICS! Yes, we’ll be taking a look at some of the latest titles to pop on out of the geek-o-sphere, including a look at a character nearly twenty-five years in the making, and a hot Image staple that enters its heroic fifth volume tomorrow!
This is a great way to prepare yourself for the upcoming warmer weather (although it has been unseasonably warm–at least on the Beast Coast–lately, no?), and prepare to get some spring reading done. Without further ado, here we go…
Marvel recently released Elektra #1, which is part of the “Running with the Devil” event. In it, Luke Cage writer Matt Owens, and artist Juan Cabal introduce us to Elektra’s current journey as she grapples with the demons from her past. At the beginning of the story, we find our ninja assassin in Las Vegas. She is running from from the violence that has plagued her life. However, she is unable to ignore those in need. She comes to the aid of Lauren, a bartender, who is a victim of the ultra-rich and morally bankrupt powers-that-be. They operate and thrive in city’s seedy underbelly.
Elektra brazenly destroys the enemy, and blood is unapologetically spilled. Ultimately, we find out that super villain Arcade is running the casino, and Elektra’s heroics makes her his prime pick to be the “marquee attraction” for his Murderworld. The comic itself seemed brief because it was not particularly full of dialogue; however, it succeeds in leaving the reader wanting more. Cabal’s art successfully brings her skills as an assassin to life. Each scene perfectly illustrates her odd brand of frontier justice and vigilante moral code. Also, her Netflix-Elektra look is simple, powerful, and sexy. This is definitely going to be one of the costumes I wear for Comic-Con! 4/5 bibles
***OUT TOMORROW, MARCH 1ST!***
Matt Hawkins (IXth Generation) and Rahsan Ekedal (Echoes) put together a slick, fun title with the fifth volume of Think Tank #1 from Top Cow Publications. I wasn’t too familiar with the prior iterations of this title, but if they are anything like “Animal”, I will be picking up some back issues. Dr. David Loren is a genius scientist/inventor recruited by DARPA to create robotic weapons for the military. Years of disillusionment in constantly creating machines of death (as well as the break-up between him and team-member, secret operative Mirra Sway) lead him to a depression, one that culminates in a suicide attempt.
But fear not! It is not a “real” suicide attempt, just one of those “cry for help” ones. But the one thing to snap him out of his funk is a rash of assassinations: the murders of pro-Russian European leaders. Cause of deaths? EXPLODING FUCKING ANIMALS. Dr. Loren learns someone has stolen, and improved, a design of his to remotely control higher-functioning animals, and has been using them as the means of assassination. Pretty cool stuff. There’s also plenty of double-crossing going on to keep this on par with the more intriguing espionage yarns.
Hawkins’ writing is sleek and unencumbered with exposition, which is great, especially for a first issue. We’re not bogged down with backstory to the characters, or any origin garbage. All of that is taken care of in the first page, and then never mentioned again. We, the reader, are told enough to hop into the story. And that is greatly refreshing. Ekedal’s drawings are clear and clean enough, without giving too much flash or style, and that’s not a knock on him; a story like this benefits from clarity, and that is what is provided with each frame. This is the sort of techno-espionage yarn I would have devoured back in high school, and intend to devour in all my ever-lasting nerd-adulting. 4/5 Murders of Crows.
Matt Hawkins will be at Emerald City Comic-Con all weekend! (March 2-5, WA State Convention Center, Seattle, WA)
You can find @topcowmatt at his booth in Artist Alley S1, with the following ECCC panel schedule:
–Top Cow 2017 Preview Livestream – Sat, March 4, 12:15pm – 12:30pm – Level 4 – Skybridge Lobby
–Coast to Coast Livestream – 3:10pm – 3:25pm
–How to Break Into Comics With Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins – Sun, March 5, 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm – Level 4 – Skybridge Lobby
So let’s just get right to it. The first official issue of Justice League of America (last time was the “Rebirth” one-shot) starts off with Batman and Vixen, in Gotham, having a meeting with shared doubts of the new team’s ability to stay stable. This.. new JLA also includes Black Canary, Lobo, Killer Frost–minus the Killer part; she’s a goodie-good now–The Ray and Ray Palmer’s assistant, Ryan Choi, as the new Atom.
In the City of Vanity, Ray and Dinah are rescuing people from a burning building; Lobo is fighting Fire Trolls in the Pacific Ocean because, uh, you know how much he loves dolphins! Meanwhile in the Sanctuary at Happy Harbor, Ryan is having troubles fixing the “TroublAlert” computer until Caitlin Snow adds her expertise. Throw in Lord Havok and the Extremist–the self-proclaimed saviors of Earth–from an alternate reality version of Earth, who are devoted to making sure Earth reach perpetual “peace and prosperity” by saving us all from the dangers of freewill. In other words: they want to enslave us.
Steve Orlando (Midnighter) pens an action-packed first issue with a definitive cliffhanger that makes me wonder what plan is Batman devising to stop these insane fanatics. Further, this team feels as if Bruce formed his own version of the X-Men, with Lobo being his personal Heavy Metal Wolverine. Another fun discovery? The Extremist are all parodies of Marvel characters: Lord Havok is Dr. Doom; Dr. Diehard is Magneto/Professor X, and even led a group called the Zen Men; Dreamslayer is Dormammu; Gorgon is Dr. Octopus; and Tracer is Sabretooth (Brute could also be a homage to Hulk). To close this review of Uncanny JLA #1, I’m really hoping there’s going to be a Lobo vs. Tracer face-off at some point. Y’all know why. 4/5 Bibles.
It’s been a long time coming. Twenty-three years in fact. Way back in Hellboy‘s debut miniseries there was a pag, of aliens. They looked cool, talked about the then-budding Hellboy prophecy — and off they went. Not to been seen again or even mentioned for over 6 more years where we see the Visitor in the pages of The Conqueror Worm (that’s the 5th collection btw). There we see the Visitor again and he tells HB about his connection to him and that he was there when he first arrived on Earth. Then, he died. Sonofabitch! Finally; I said, FINALLY!
The Visitor has come back…to tell us his story. Mike (Hellboy, Rocket Raccoon) Mignola, and Chris (iZombie) Roberson have decided that 15-years later, we can now handle learning the secrets of this being from another planet. Artistically–since Mignola is still on an comic sabbatical–they have enlisted creator Paul Grist, a British import whose stark black-and-white comics Kane and Jack Staff share an aesthetic kinship with Mignola that makes you wonder what has taken these two to finally work together. This isn’t necessarily “new reader” friendly–but that’s okay; we’ve all read all of Hellboy’s comics and his BPRD books too, right? Right?! Yeah, that’s what I thought. 3.75/5 Right Hands of Doom.
In previous reviews, I’ve stated the fact that I’m not a fan of the horror genre, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I wasn’t a fan of Outcast when it first came out. It felt a lot like Supernatural with less action and humor. However, like with The Walking Dead and Invincible, Robert Kirkman took a story we’ve seen a million times before (possession and exorcism) and flipped it on its head, leaving the characters within the story–all of whom have accepted the trappings of the genre–just as shocked as the audience. All of this comes to a head in Outcast #25.
It is rather annoying that, after 25 issues, it feels like we’re now finally going to find out what is actually going on; but it has been an exciting read once we started getting the first hints that things weren’t as they seemed about 7 issues ago. This ish is a turning point for the series, with some amazing cliffhangers that hang a huge cloud of uncertainty over where these characters are headed going forward. As always, the art by Paul Azaceta is great and Elizabeth Breitweiser’s colors are absolutely gorgeous. It is unfortunate that most of this series has felt like tired wheel-spinning, but Outcast #25 continues an upward trend for the book and creates excitement and anticipation for what’s to come. 3.75/5 Bloody Bibles.